137 posts • joined Thursday 11th May 2006 10:48 GMT
A better reason for buying from JL
is that you actually get customer support and a reasonable warranty.
Though Apple's rabid devotion to fashion over function means they don't actually make much that's worth buying these days anyway.
Re: SOFTWARE SOFTWARE SOFTWARE
Well, the thing is - lots of people (including me) find Outlook horrible to use due to its everything-and-the-kitchen-sink nature. If you must have a calendar function embedded in your mail client you can use Thunderbird + Lightning which works fine, though personally I'm more than happy with a web-based calendar (lots of open source options) and Sylpheed / Claws for email.
Active Directory... what are you using it for though? It's a bit of a sprawling mess in my experience and the documentation isn't good. There are open source directory services of various sorts around, but if you want an alternative sprawling monster to control everything from email address books to wallpaper settings you probably won't find one.
LibreOffice is just as polished as Microsoft Office (which again isn't exactly ease-of-use perfection IMO, particularly when you try to do more than the odd letter) even if it isn't a 100% feature complete clone. iWorks is in my opinion not nearly as good as LO. I personally use LO or LyX (which to my mind is vastly superior for many tasks) for document preparation and have never come across anything that they couldn't do. If you want DTP, Scribus is pretty good, though I don't often want to work that way and MS' own DTP effort is rather abandoned feeling anyway.
I think your "problem" is that you're really looking for a 100% clone of one or two particular applications - you're not likely to find that, and you don't really know that your workflow with said application is actually as efficient as it's possible to get.
To sum up; the "Linux Desktop" is every bit as usable and efficient as "the Windows Desktop" or "OSX Desktop" for most people, assuming someone equal levels of IT support; there are applications (open and closed source) available to do almost everything that the vast majority of people want to do. Doubtless there are corner cases where that might not be true and some people have invested too much time and effort into particular applications to consider changing to any other way of working but that's their own problem... it works for me, it has worked for me for a decade and a half and if it doesn't suit everybody I don't see that being a problem for me.
Re: SOFTWARE SOFTWARE SOFTWARE
I think you'll find that that the "Linux community" (letting that one go for now) has produced a wealth of "alternative" software, much of which is so effective it's entirely mainstream and in use on all the main platforms around today.
The Linux desktop makes sense for a lot of people and many of us have been happily using it every day to get our jobs done for years - into the decades now even. If you really think that "we" have some kind of desperate need to entice Windows and OSX users to switch sides, you're entirely mistaken...
Re: Perhaps a little research ?
Have you ever actually tried to use any Microsoft documentation? I know I have and I've generally found it useless, requiring resort to the usual searching of mailling lists etc instead. Documentation for open source software on the other hand is admittedly of variable quality but perhaps somewhat ironically I've found the Gnome 2 System Admin Guide very good.
Microsoft provides practically zero support to "noob users" and I've seen hordes of them completely unable to make the latest version of Windows do what they want.
Re: Bill the Sys Admin
CentOS with a GUI is anything but silly - it provides a stable desktop setup designed with system-wide configuration in mind and is supported for a very decent length of time after release (which almost nothing else is.)
Funnily enough that's exactly what most businesses need and want, not stupid and almost entirely useless desktop effects, not the very latest version of this or that application. CentOS 6 is pretty close to ideal for this use case, not silly at all.
Re: Well, I love Windows 8. There, I said it.
You seem to have somehow missed the point that the badly re"designed" start menu is only the tip of the iceberg; the real hatred is for the rest of the truly idiotic Metro interface, full-screen only applications with gigantic but oddly uninformative toolbars which appear and disappear at (their own) will for example.
And yes, previous versions of Windows, OSX's finder and many open-source launchers allow you to start typing the name of a command or program and hit enter to run it - there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that idea, just virtually everything else that goes along with it in Windows 8.
You have to laugh... in my experience users of Windows 8 regularly find themselves with things suddenly lurching onto the screen apparently at random - I hardly think that adding yet another stupidly placed button on a mouse which suddenly flips people to that pointless full-screen Duplo start menu is going to make this situation any better.
One of my pet peeves is mice with ridiculous numbers of buttons plastered all over them and embedded in them so that you can barely touch the stupid thing without inadvertently pressing one. Two buttons and a left/right/down clickable scrollwheel is all that's really of practical day-to-day use IMO...
As far as I can see Windows 8 supports 1 physical CPU unless you've forked out for the "pro" version which supports 2. Not that either run on the RPi...
In any case this article isn't about Windows - one of the most fantastic things about Linux starting to come of age a decade and a bit ago was the way that we (university research group) could suddenly double or triple the amount of computing power for the same amount of cash by not having to pay for Windows or (more usually) overpriced Sun hardware.
The Pi is probably about as powerful as some of the older Sun boxes we had to use!
Re: Well (@fmaxwell)
Just as well you've no vested interest in keeping up the panic levels then... nice scientific debating method, too. Just shut up. Doesn't get us very far, does it? Still, so long as you're getting the cash which almost certainly could be better spent elsewhere on more immediately beneficial research, all is well in your world regardless of any actual facts.
Re: Pearl in a shell
Agreed, it's close to being my perfect phone and if they hadn't dropped it the very month my contract was up for renewal I'd have happily taken another one. This one still works well enough, although having been dropped quite a few times over the past few years, sometimes from considerable height, the top row of buttons occasionally misbehave which can be annoying.
Still gives the best part of a week's use on a single charge, has a keypad that actually works for dialling numbers, all the features I actually need and almost all the features I want - oh, and it has a nice controllable touchpad instead of a slimy grubby smudge screen.
Re: Have they fixed the bugs from the last stable release?
Race issues on startup with multicore CPUs... are you sure this wasn't last century? I've certainly never seen anything like that on any one of many servers with between 2 and 8 real CPU cores over one or two sockets... not this century, or last either for that matter.
Re: Give me your money!
So, you have to pay for a new cereal bowl every month, plus a monthly charge on your mug? No, thought not. You bought those tools outright, just the same way that plain old software ought to be sold (if it must be sold at all.)
This IS just a greedy short-sighted money grab by Adobe.
Your logic is no better than your spelling... Why would one have to be better organised to eat breakfast at home on the way to work instead of in town on the way to work?
I hate getting up in the morning and am not exactly the world's most organised person and yet even I manage at least a few mouthfuls of cornflakes on the way out the door...
I find it hard enough to stomach eating anything at all in these places at the best of times, let alone first thing in the morning. Coffee and Doughnuts (or pretty much anything else that's sold in DD as far as I know) for breakfast is a truly repulsive idea, and I have a better one.
Instead of chomping, sheep-like, on creepy mind-control marketing powered rubbish - how about pouring some cereal/museli in a bowl and pouring some milk on it BEFORE you leave home? You won't have to faff about generating barcodes on your smartphone or paying or finding a seat or even walking to the calorie shop - just sit down, eat it and go. As a bonus, you can enjoy your breakfast in relative tranquility and won't have to suffer your commute on an empty stomach or tolerate the stomach-churning stench of bad coffee. Unless you're unfortunate enough to travel on a bus fitted with artificial-coffee-smell cannisters of course...
I was pleasantly surprised by the K400 myself, very neat indeed and works very well for me. The overall "feel" of the plastics isn't great though, if you took the logo off I wouldn't guess it was Logitech.
Soldered-in memory is to me a worrying trend - not so much from the upgrading point of view (that's annoying enough), but I have seen an awful lot of memory go bad after a few years and it seems like an unacceptable risk to me.
The touchpad on that machine looks like it might be quite decent - any comparison to the Macbook Pro items?
Re: Best loved photo?!
Best loved photo?!
Can't say I've ever seen it before; supposing I had, I doubt it would have remained in my consciousness more than a second or so. It's a truly forgettable picture, absolutely nothing special at all. Educated me - what exactly is so amazing about it?
That Dell is pretty much exactly what the average office/Office user wants and needs (well - barring Windows 8, but there's not a lot of choice there now.) RAM is very cheap, but, like Win 7, Windows 8 runs perfectly well in 4Gb of RAM. The 320Gb HDD is never, ever going to be more than a third full and whilst horrifically unreliable and a bit slower than an SSD it's probably not THAT much more unreliable. These people don't really want a Porsche - what's the point if nobody else is going to see it and they're not into "cars" (read computers) anyway? They just want as cheap a machine as possible which will do the basics.
On the other hand, the HP Envy (certainly the model I've been dealing with over the past year or two) has to been one of the most unreliable bits of junk I've seen in a long time, far worse than the usual fraction-of-the-price Asus/Acer fodder! Oh, and much more difficult to get parts for...
Re: I'd almost take the Acer
Yeah, I know I could use a USB/Ethernet adapter - but as I've said before, the whole point of a netbook for me is that it's a fully fledged and fully functioning self-contained computer that's small and light enough to easily carry in one hand into some of the more awkward places that IT equipment (particularly networking gear) gets shoved - I definitely don't want to be clambering through some dodgy loft hatch with cables and adapters hanging out of my laptop and in any case the chances are it'd have got knocked off and lost in the boot of the car or crushed under a heavy server or something before then anyway.
For all the space they take up, and the truly negligible cost of the things, I'm just not going to buy a device that doesn't have one.
I'd almost take the Acer
If only the keyboard wasn't so badly laid out. I'd have to swap the HDD for a SSD of course, but at least that's easy to do. The Samsung keyboard looks fine but for the ten billionth and second time I will not buy a netbook with no Ethernet socket!
My original HP Mini may be glacially slow but it still does the job for now and has taken a fair few knocks... the Ethernet port has happily returned to life after an accidental bath in glycol coolant so hopefully someone will have produced a usable replacement by the time it properly dies on me.
Re: I have no idea what the problem is
It's not just WD... my BlackBerry phone's USB cable has the BlackBerry logo on top and the USB one underneath. While it was exceedingly irritating the first few times I used it, it is the worst problem I've encountered with the phone so I'll maybe turn a blind eye this once.
Re: Maybe he read Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion"
It is, but then Dawkins is rarely correct on matters scientific... it's probably one of the reasons he likes to keep to the unfalsifiable philosophical storytelling side, as real science rather inconveniently usually proves him wrong (note in particular his repeated attempts at proving "bad design" in biology.)
Re: Assam only
Pro tip - don't use teabags or sugar and the clumping won't happen anyway! And milk is definitely best added first, you just need to learn how much to add for your particular tea and brewing duration. Agree on the still-boiling water though.
In a state of dazed exhaustion the other week I went to make myself a rare cup of coffee ("decent" coffee but reserved only for emergency use). It was only when I started drinking it that I realised something was wrong... I'd gone and put tea leaves into the cafetiere! The taste was truly sickening, I still haven't quite got over it yet. Every time I go to make a pot of tea now (Yorkshire or Co-Op 99 loose naturally) I have to double check I have the right tin, in case an even worse mix-up occur...
Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?
Except that VI's user interface is actually very logical and efficient, if not intuitive (use gvim if you need menus, it's been around for decades now). I never did find GIMP particularly difficult to use, and have always found it vastly easier than Photoshop...
Blender's UI , on the other hand, I cannot defend - I have tried and tried and completely failed to ever get comfortable with it despite having learned to use many other 3d modelling and CAD programs over the years. It even drove me to actually paying for closed-source software for the first time in fifteen years (AC3D... at least it's cross-platform) - somewhat ironically, for work being contributed to an open source project!
LibreOffice's interface is quite OK in my experience, and so much better than any post-2003 MS Office UI. If you're looking for a rarely-used feature, you will already have a good idea of which menu it should live on and just have to look for its name - pictorial ribbon-type interfaces will never work logically because they often have to depict physically functions or actions which have no physical form.
Frankly I'm disappointed that not only is Verity actually using Windows as her desktop OS at work, she's even admitted to using Word regularly. I feel cheated.
The highly accurate VI / fly exit comparison did make me laugh though, I trained quite a few students to use it (VI, not the window) years ago and well remember my own initial struggles!
That looks interesting for a low power server project I have in mind... maybe it's not quite as economical with power as I'm after though. Amazing that they don't appear to be available on eBay?
Again - no Ethernet socket
Stopped reading at that point; there is zero excuse for omitting an Ethernet socket on a device that size (or even considerably smaller.) And for the ten billionth time, a USB Ethernet dongle is NOT an acceptable option. I need a device I can grab on my way out the door, or leave in the boot without fear of things getting snapped off, falling out or being left behind.
I am actually interested in a slightly smaller device (10 or 11" would be fine) which is reasonably robust, not Linux-hostile, has an Ethernet socket and isn't stupidly expensive. Basically a very slightly larger convertible netbook to replace the aging one I have. Even a nice thick solid tablet with the required sockets would do. Not holding my breath for it though...
Re: Astounding sensitivity
Every one of these examples of sensory capability is still astounding though - that there are so many different examples of amazing sensory systems in nature (many of which we just can't come close to matching in manufactured systems) around us doesn't make them less impressive, rather more so.
I wouldn't bother trying KDE again (said as someone who used it from before 1.0 until the Semantic Desktop garbage ruined everything)
E17 might be worth a try though; other than the horrible binary format configuration files I find it excellent and it's also finally just been oficially released so should be slightly easier to install. Depends on how much of a "desktop environment" you need as opposed to just a window manager, but IWFM and very efficiently too in every sense of the word. Have to admit I haven't tried it with multiple real displays never mind mis-matched ones, but I'd be interested to know how it turned out...
XFCE is a very decent desktop environment and I have deployed it elsewhere on quite a lot of desktops but not it's quite what I want on my own machine.
Re: Certainly have a use...
I've been using an original HP mini for just this purpose (highly portable network troubleshooter / configuration tool) for several years now and it's been superb.
All the connectivity you could want, very, very good keyboard (the trackpad buttons looked like they might be a problem but actually have been fine), high-res screen, plenty of RAM and all encased with a nice solid metal top (which has gathered quite a few dents over the years.) The only downside is the somewhat glacial C3 CPU.
Sadly it recently got semi-immersed in neat coolant / anti-freeze which has made the Ethernet port unreliable, though with a proper cleaning (that stuff is incredibly difficult to dry out with normal amounts of heat) I'm hopeful it will come back to life.
Re: less pranks, more apps
Seanmon - You're telling me that you were able to use a bog standard XP CD and with no further ado, all your devices including the WiFi worked? That's something that has never once happened in my own experience and I've installed XP literally hundreds of times on that many different PCs of all shapes, makes, sizes and ages.
Windows 7 (and, it seems 8, though it's a bit early to tell for sure) is vastly better than previous versions at "just working" but even then more often than not you need to download at least some drivers in an extra step.
I do care, as I buy quite a few of them each year (usually AU Optronics made, too)... but I have to say I'm almost always amazed at how cheap they are!
It's different in that there is no need for the pumps and control systems with a Hydragas setup, it's much simpler (more elegant, I'd say.) The only advantage I can see with the Citroën setup is the possibility of ride height control from within the car; with Hydragas you use an external pump to set that. Not that most people fiddle with the ride height of their cars on a regular basis, but I concede that it'd occasionally be useful...
I don't really know why; the last "modern" car to use it as far as I know was the MGF; as I mentioned above the "facelift" MGTF went to a conventional system as apparently the price per unit for keeping the suspension spheres in production was going to be just too high as they weren't in use on any other new cars. They were only available from one manufacturer (Dunlop if I recall correctly) - I suppose there were licensing restrictions involved.
The system is quite reliable, there's little to go wrong really; the spheres themselves or the front-to-rear interconnecting pipes on the MGF might eventually succumb to rust but they're just steel pipes, nothing fancy. The nitrogen used to provide most of the spring does eventually leak from the spheres over a very long period of time as the internal diaphragms perish - though they probably last as long as many plain steel coil springs do these days! The MGF used conventional dampers, unlike some(most?) other Moulton-based designs.
For routine maintenance all that's needed is (ideally) the occasional evacuation of the system and refilling with the correct fluid (or antifreeze mix) at a suitable pressure to set the ride height. Not a job frequently required though, or a complex / time consuming one...
In large luxury cars electronically controlled air suspension systems are more common nowadays, no idea why nobody has picked the idea up again for smaller cars other than perhaps cost?
When it's down to the level of completely unprovable and probably unfalsifiable conjecture, yes - I'm saying it's not real science. Philosophy, certainly - which has its place - but not useful science.
Re: So he has made (and sometimes later withdrawn)
No, not at all - I understand that perfectly well. What I'm not aware of is where he has made a properly verified fantastic scientific discovery...
So he has made (and sometimes later withdrawn) completely unprovable claims about the universe and religion... but what truly useful, practical achievements has Hawking actually made in real science?
I suspect there are several hundreds if not thousands of scientists actually producing worthwhile results which are directly beneficial to humanity, who are far more worthy of that award.
If you have any tendency to motion sickness, reading while travelling by car is almost guaranteed to have unpleasant consequences!
It's a shame Dunlop hiked the price of the spheres up so far that the MGTF had to use ordinary springs and shocks as the Moulton system works well and is very elegant in its simplicity... self levelling suspension without pumps or vulnerable electronic control systems to go wrong, can be refilled with a simple antifreeze mix if necessary.
Re: fuss over nothing
Actually, the parts are generally NOT reasonably priced (hundred dollar laptop hinges, over £100 for an iMac PSU etc) . In addition, they can be exceptionally hard to actually buy (only a "genius" can tell if it's broken, and can be trusted to replace it if so), and Apple have claimed not to have a standard price list for parts. They also refuse to quote a fixed price for a well-defined job which would be completely identical on every machine, and in fact charge all sorts of different prices for the same job, depending on where you happen to be in the country or who you speak to.
Not everyone lives within easy reach of an "Apple Store" (particularly not a proper one that actually repairs such devices rather than just flogging them) and even supposing they were Apple are in my multiple experiences such an awful company to deal with they wouldn't be blamed for not wanting to visit one. I will continue to encourage customers to spend their money with companies who produce serviceable hardware from readily available components and leave the shiny but half-rotten fruity stuff well alone...
Can hardly believe it's been twelve years since I started using SMS, it was probably partly responsible for my getting married... my wife is still the person I message most though this year as she also got a BlackBerry phone we've moved to BBM which is definitely far superior in use (though obviously lacking the universality of SMS.)
SMS is great for quick messages to customers asking for extra snippets of information or saying that something's ready - saves a load of time on the "polite chat" parts of phone calls and you know that if you're calling at an awkward moment they'll deal with it when it suits them...
I might order from Ebuyer a good deal more often if they didn't charge me a truly ridiculous tax for not living in one of the major cities of the UK, every time I want something delivered.
At least Amazon have that right - I live on the Mainland of the UK, no courier will have to pay parking fines to stop at my door, or congestion charges... if you're going to offer free delivery to mainland UK, PROVIDE IT or charge everyone the same rip-off rate and see how your business fares.
I very nearly bought OS/2 Warp for my personal machine in 1997 or so, as I had already become sick to the back teeth of Windows 95's unreliability (this was win95a, on a P166 bought in 96) I was even seriously considering going back to DOS (DR-DOS, at any rate.) WordPerfect 6 for DOS was pretty good, had a mostly workable graphical mode if required, and most games still actually ran in DOS mode rather than Windows so it was worth considering.
In the end, the only thing that stopped me was hearing about Linux and installing that instead on a newly bought hard disk - I'm very glad that was the path I chose in the end; maybe it wasn't all plain sailing at first but what I learned in the process turned out to be very valuable indeed (got me a job, in fact) and is pretty much all still relevant now.
Interesting to read about OS/2 again from an insider point of view - I do wonder sometimes how anything useful ever gets produced by these corporations with their massive layers of "business" people!