back to article That 70s Show: Windows sprouts Sets and Timeline features

Microsoft isn't short of good ideas – but getting good ideas into Microsoft products, which then stay alive for a long time, is another thing. New builds of Windows 10 will feature a couple of these – and they're features that hark back to the utopian computer labs of the 1970s. One feature, Sets, yokes related documents …

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  1. Forget It
    Joke

    > .... we’re still in the computing Stone Ages, only with 64-bit colour stone.

    > A kind of neo-Paleolithic age. ®

    Paleo Alto

    perhaps

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Neolithography?

      I'm reminded of the Discworld, with its 33-MegaLith stone circle computers.

  2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    The ancestor of Timeline was surely...

    ... the idea described by Vannevar Bush on his 1947 article for Atlantic Monthly in July, 1945, called "As We May Think":

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/194507/bush

    As the earliest reference to hypertext I'm aware of, its well worth reading.

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: The ancestor of Timeline was surely...

      Old man Van was required reading on my course.

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

    the most tasteless decade in the 20th century, from hideous polyester patterns to disco "music".

    I think I'm gonna hurl...

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      the most tasteless decade in the 20th century, from hideous polyester patterns to disco "music".

      And if you doubt him, click here.

      1. Trilkhai

        Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

        Plaid Stallions Fashion Mockery is also a favorite of mine. "Virgin powers, activate!"

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      the most tasteless decade in the 20th century, from hideous polyester patterns to disco "music".

      I think I'm gonna hurl...

      Yup; Only people who never experienced the horror would ever be nostalgic for it.

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      the most tasteless decade in the 20th century, from hideous polyester patterns to disco "music".

      Wasn't most of that late in the 70's?

      Any hoo, on the other hand, quite good Sci-fi movies, some rather good cop Tv shows (maybe Bob prefers TJ Hooker), Prog Rock and the early days of electronic music...

      Compared to the 80's....it's 'woody' to 'tinny'

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gwXJsWHupg

      ...oh, yes, rather a lot of Python too.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

        Prog Rock and the early days of electronic music

        Hmm.. Yes, Genesis, and Jean Michel Jarre..

        (For some reason I never got into Kraftwerk and can't really stand their music..)

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: "range"?

          Kraftwerk only made two "prog" LPs (when they were a two piece, and a few tracks feature drums)

          After that it was all pop. But then JMJ is pop too?

    4. Trilkhai

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      The 70s also produced a lot of excellent, highly-creative rock music.

      Otherwise, you sound like the kids from my junior high back in the late 80s — they started out bashing "70s music" (defined only as 'disco'), then in high school just a few years later, were instead bashing "80s music" (with a similarly narrow definition) and playing 70s rock on the quad during lunch.

      As for fashion, pretty much every decade & generation has its share of wince-worthy fads.

      1. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

        high school just a few years later, were instead bashing "80s music" (with a similarly narrow definition) and playing 70s rock on the quad during lunch.

        I worked with one of those guys. I used to have a bunch of tapes in an unlocked cupboard, and he'd been surreptitiously taking a couple home to listen too. Eventually he started asking questions "Er when was this recorded?" 71, "when was this recorded?" 75. "When was this done?" 72. "What about X?" 72.

        Lets just say that the decade started with "Bitches Brew" - now let the millennials top that.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

          John Lilburne Lets just say that the decade started with "Bitches Brew" - now let the millennials top that.

          Counterpoint, or "hot take" or whatever the kids say these days: Terry Wogan and The Floral Dance. Middle Of The Road. Boney M. Dan The Banjo Man. Demis Roussous.

          And that's just a small selection of the more cringeworthy stuff from my MP3 70's folder!

          But on the other hand, The Undertones, Strawbs, Motorhead (can't do the metal umlaut on my current keyboard, sorry), Fleetwood Mac's golden era.... hmm. I am conflicted.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

            Oh Dave, that was *pop*, not rock.

            You want some equivalent nasties from the 80s?

            "Dah dah dah".

            "The Devil Went Down To Georgia"

            "Karma Chameleon" and "Do You Really Want To Squirt Me (Do You Really Want To Hose Me Down)"

            "I Just Called To Say I Love You"

            1. David 132 Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

              Phew. For a moment there, Stevie, I thought you were going to give some examples of bad 80s music.

              Just kidding. And yes I know the pop/rock distinction thank you. My point was that there was a lot of utter dross in the 70s.. just like every decade before and since.

              1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                RE: "...there was a lot of utter dross in the 70s.. just like every decade before and since"

                I know I may be seeing through rosy spectacles (or X-Ray Spex - making teeth braces cool) but...While it may be true there is a lot of dross in every decade, there are few decades that can compare with the highs of the 70's except maybe the 60's. The highs are much lower through the 80's onwards. IMHO obviously.

                These are the issues that matter in our turbulent times.

                1. David 132 Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                  Geoffrey W "While it may be true there is a lot of dross in every decade, there are few decades that can compare with the highs of the 70's except maybe the 60's. "

                  Agreed. Plus, I'll argue that by the 70s, recording technology had pretty much reached a great standard, after the crackle-and-fuzz of the 30s-early 60s.

                  But what would I know? My friends would say that having me opine on matters of music is like asking Dwayne Dibbley for his guidance on power-dressing.

                  I offer as proof my last 3 music downloadslegitimate purchases:

                  Melanie - Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)

                  Cat Stevens - Father & Son

                  Jack Johnson - My Mind is for Sale

                  Stop sniggering. Anyone else here brave enough to offer their own list?

                  1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                    Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                    With the exception of Jack Johnson (who he?), whom I know absolutely nothing about at all, there is nothing to snigger at. Melanie and Cat Stevens are fabulous. Especially Melanie who is a goddess who I am unworthy to kiss the feet of. Do not, thou who knowest not, do NOT judge her by the huge hit "Brand New Key"; she is so much more, and even brand new key has its little bit of sly subversion too. I adore her and spent half my life looking for my own Melanie.

                    Last music new to me? Sally can't dance (Lou Reed - he should have stuck with Cale and the Velvets), and the first three Fairport Convention records.

                    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                      And speaking of sly subversion...last month, or recently anyhow, I got a nice new copy of "Songs to Remember" by Scritti Politti - one of the better things about the 80's. "The Sweetest Girl" cannot be beaten for sly subversion.

                      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                        Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                        Oh, oh...while I'm here and still awake, I must tell you all about another singer from the 60's I only just discovered and have to proselytize to everyone who will stand still long enough to listen. Judy Henske! Listen to her song "Snowblind" and tell me she hasn't one of the best voices ever. Janis Joplin eat your foot stomping heart out.

                    2. David 132 Silver badge
                      Trollface

                      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

                      Geoffrey W - we seem to be turning this thread into our own version of the Old Grey Whistle Test.

                      Jack Johnson is a contemporary singer/songwriter. The track I mentioned sounds rather like mid-70s Paul Simon ("Mother and Child Reunion", etc.), for better or worse - it's on Youtube if you care to listen. And I agree re Melanie! Besides, everyone knows Brand New Key was just a rip-off of the Wurzels. (...trollface icon for a reason...). Fairport Convention also excellent (Matty Groves, Rising for the Moon, Fotheringay).

                      Other good-but-lesser-known? 70s tracks I'd suggest you might check out: Medicine Head ("Rising Sun"), Labi Siffre (listen to "I got the..." from the 1m49s mark and reflect on how much royalties he's earning from Eminem), Bob Seger ("Turn the Page"), Don Fardon ("Indian Reservation"), Tanya Tucker's version of "Blood Red and Goin' Down", and J.J.Cale (whose version of "After Midnight" I think I prefer to Clapton's cover).

    5. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      RE: "the most tasteless decade in the 20th century, from hideous polyester patterns to disco "music"."

      One begs to differ: Prime Bowie (Ziggy) and Punk, plus lots of other stuff you are cringing and squinting too hard to see. Plus Peter Hammill at his psychedelic best, and pop music, if that's what floats your boat, that simply lays waste to everything the kids are popping to today. Shitty politics though, plenty for proto anarchists to rail against. I think the internet is responsible for flattening and removing all flavour and savour from our culture.

    6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      There were *some* good things about the 70's...

      One of them being prog music. The other is that I became a teenager during the 70's.

      One of those is better than the other.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

        There were *some* good things about the 70's...

        One of them being prog music. The other is that I became a teenager during the 70's.

        Meh, being a teenager in the 70's gave me PTSD (important to include the "P" in that abbreviation, lest you think I had one of the other).

        I'll never be nostalgic for the 70's, but at least I don't hate them anymore.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

          Fuck everyone who says what is in the Title bar.

          Whole genres of music were being invented and improved on in the 70s. All the Old Wild Men bands still drawing mega crowds today were coming of age in he 70s.

          Industrial Light and Magic were being invented in the 70s

          Clive Sinclair was still On Topic in the 70s.

          Dr Who was still going strong in the 70s. It died in the shoulder-pads-and-big-hair 80s.

          70s girls were cute and approachable and not completely fucked-up because of the lastest flavour of STD or what some idiot on arsebook just said in the 70s.

          The Campaign for Real Ale was founded in the 70s.

          You're right. The 70s were great for those that lived through 'em. Those that grew up in the Duran Duran/Soft Cell/Ultravox/ decade have my sympathy. We had "Maggie May", they had Maggie Thatcher.

          I got about halfway through the 80s and bailed for the States in disgust.

    7. Quentin North

      Re: the 70's? *ANYTHING* but the 70's!

      Star Wars and Punk. What is not to like?

  4. J. Cook Silver badge
    Flame

    Y'all lost me at...

    "Microsoft isn't short of good ideas".

    YES THEY ARE. They *are* long on stupid ideas, like 'take away the start menu button', 'enable user activity tracking on a server OS and require a non-obvious means to turn it *down* (not off!)' and 'forced upgrades to crummy operating systems via the security update channel', for starters.

    I'm waiting for Server 2016 R2 (or whatever they are going to call the next proper release of it) to see if they've actually turned telemetry to "security" by default, instead of defaulting it to "Basic". (Desktop Users can only turn it down to Basic, and it's cranked all the way up by default.).

    1. azaks

      Re: Y'all lost me at...

      You lost me at "Y'all"...

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for

    Would have been nice if they had fucking explained it back then, because I never did understand just what use there was for it as there were NO support docs of any kind.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for

      Thank you. I thought I was the only one.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      " Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for "

      It also let artists program.

      Programming "for the rest of us" to steal a phrase.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for

      as there were NO support docs of any kind

      Of course not. This *was* the 70's! Where anything to do with computers was mysterious and involved techo-geekology.

      (My first computer was a Nascom-1. It arrived as a bag with a motherboard and lots and lots of components. ISTR that a lot of soldering was involved. I think I'm going to blame everythings that's happened since on inhaling lots of lead vapours in my teenage years..)

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for

        Hypercard was much later than 70's

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Oh so THAT'S what Hypercard was for

        Technical documentation in the '70s and earlier simply destroys the pitiful documentation we get today for hardware and software. When was the last time that your computer came with a schematic, or your software came with a nice, thick, complete manual?

        Hypercard excepted -- but that wasn't really a '70s thing.

  6. Fihart

    Trying to second-guess = fail.

    Most programs that try to think for you -- second-guessing what you might want to do -- just cause confusion.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Trying to second-guess = fail.

      Likewise programs that force you to do things the authors/dev/publishers was instead of being customisable so you can make it work the way you prefer. eg Windows since Metro was invented, let alone the programs you actually need to use.

  7. albaleo

    Lower the barrier to entry

    Lower the barrier to entry, and more crap gets in.

    I don't recall crap Hypercard stacks appearing on my computer in the same way as crap web pages.

    And isn't this idea more like OpenDoc than Hypercard?

  8. DrBobK
    Alert

    System 7 emulator

    Oh God! Is the a 7.5.1 version? Does it crash randomly at least twice a day? Is its low level colour management insane (if you specify a palette with fewer than 16 distinct colours it adds extra colours you haven't asked for)? I hated it, and 6 before it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sets = SuperBinder?

    A previous Microsoft attempt at keeping all your project parts together was Office Binder - but that only linked up Office documents and was dropped with Windows XP as so few people ever used it.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Sets = SuperBinder?

      "A previous Microsoft attempt at keeping all your project parts together was Office Binder - but that only linked up Office documents and was dropped with Windows XP as so few people ever used it."

      I tried Office Binder in its Office 97 guise and couldn't get it working reliably.

      A good concept which I could have used, but I found it unworkable in practice.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Sets = SuperBinder?

        Office Binder in its Office 97 guise and couldn't get it working reliably

        So, much like modern Microsoft software then?

    2. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: Sets = SuperBinder?

      How do we get a review of Binder and Journal that doesn't mention the previous incarnations? Firstly, because MS press releases never mention previous incarnations of the product: acording to the MS journalist kits, all MS product releases are ex-nova.

      And secondly, I can only assume that the author was an Apple user who never used Windows in the 90's and 00's.

  10. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Whitelist vs Blacklist

    "It's the best argument ever against "teaching everybody to code", and illustrates why it is not an imperative like "teaching everybody to read", or "teaching everybody to swim" at all."

    When only the 'educated' could read and write, the 'average quality' of literary output would have been higher. So, was it a good thing that it was taught to everyone...?

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

      Thing is, everyone needs to read, write and do sums - even if it's to a basic functional standard. At least to study to the age of 18 or so, and at least from time to time for the rest of their lives. And most people need to do these things a lot. But not coding. You don't need to code to be able to access the school curriculum. Nor to be able to do any job outside of engineering or technology. And being able to do some limited amount of not very good coding is of even less utility. (I know, because that was my level - which is partly why I was never a full time IT Pro).

      Coding is the 21st century equivalent of metal/woodwork - the largely useless working class subject(s) that my generation was pushed through for no other reason than that we were working class.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

        Not everyone is going to be a coder, but I'd imagine logic is quite a useful subject.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

          Which is a good reason to teach logic and reasoning. There are plenty of schemes of work that will do this.

          http://www.philosophy4children.co.uk/

          https://www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org/

          http://www.sapere.org.uk/

          https://depts.washington.edu/nwcenter/

          And so on.

          And these are all directly applicable through the entire school curriculum and into everyday life, develop language skills and improve thinking. But coding isn't.

          1. Daggerchild Silver badge

            Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

            "(Philosophy) And these are all directly applicable through the entire school curriculum and into everyday life, develop language skills and improve thinking. But coding isn't."

            I'm currently embroiled in an argument between two entities. One made a request, relative to their local frame of reference. The other interpreted the request, relative to their local frame of reference. A fight is going to ensue, because neither have realised their contexts are our of sync, and neither will be particularly amenable to synchronisation, as both consider their reference to be the Master.

            Imagine a philosophy debate, where you sent your philosophy, instead of yourself. Imagine receiving new reasoning, already perfectly aligned to and enhancing your own understanding.

            Imagine business processes, in version control, with test suites, and "import uk-tax.law".

            If they just taught predicate logic I'd be happy with that for now. I don't honestly know what philosophy does for me. As far as I know, it's just for arguing :)

          2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

            I don't think children are scared of philosophy, they ask some really good questions in my experience.

            I think the philosophers, especially in the USA, are terrified of the children!

        2. PerlyKing

          Re: Whitelist vs Blacklist

          Logic ≠ coding. Logic wasn't even part of my CS degree course (but then, we weren't taught much about coding either - expected to do it: yes; taught about it: no).

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