Made me chuckle, Dabbsy. Just what the Dr. ordered on a Fri lunchtime.
"Fans, players and parents unite against England's 'rip-off' £90 World Cup kit" screamed the Mirror this week. "They think it’s all over... priced." Even after several thousand years of civilisation and organised commerce, it seems humans still don’t understand basic economics. Demand, not cost of manufacture, determines the …
I have to agree. Next to ME, XP was probably the worst version of Windows ever. Well, it was sort of okay after SP2 came out.
I was a 2000 user, that was brilliant. Then XP came out with its Fisher Price looks and I just couldn't take it seriously. Using it wasn't any better than 2000 and it was buggy as hell.
That was when I put Linux on a spare PC and tried it out. Over the years Linux moved from the test PC to my main PC and the test PC had XP on it for compatibility testing of Office documents before sending them out. Using KDE made XP feel ancient and it just didn't appeal. Then I got a Mac in 2006, in 2007 I bought a new PC and it came with Vista and it was so much better than XP - okay, it was a bit bloated and ran slower on the old hardware than XP did, but it was easier to use and security was up front, in yer face, just like Linux. In fact it felt like Microsoft had been secretly looking over the fence at Linux and put some of the good bits into Windows.
7 improved on it, of course. That was a much better OS than Vista. Vista is much maligned, but just like XP, it only really became a quality OS after you installed a service pack, luckily with Vista SP1 was enough to turn it around. But by then it was too late.
And Windows 8? I like it a lot, given a choice, I'd take it over Windows 7, but 7 is good enough that it probably isn't worth the full price upgrade to most people - I upgraded my machines with the 25€ deal, with free Media Center.
But there is no way I would go back to XP, you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming!
"can you really convince yourself that Windows 8.1 is better than XP"
Under the hood? Even speaking as someone who loathes Windows 8, it's definitely a large improvement over Windows XP in places where only systems guys ever venture. It's also an improvement over Windows 7. (In both cases, excluding the graphical configuration interfaces which are a step backwards).
All of which isn't worth a bean, against the fact that the NT 4 / Win 2000 / XP user interface which we knew and loved has been thrown away, and we're expected to enjoy being sent back to the nursery school. (Windows Programmers tell me it's much the same with the programming interfaces)
Linux gets this right. We can upgrade the user interface as and when there is a reason to do so. We can choose between many. If Microsoft did things the Linux way, you could install all of XP, Win 7 and Win 8 userr interfaces on the same system, and choose which you wanted when you logged in. You might have been able to install Windows 8 with a "boot to XP" environment, upgrade a user on a Saturday, and on Monday that user wouldn't notice that anything at all had happened.
But that's not the Microsoft way. Which is why I hate Windows 8, and the company that inflicted it on us.
Blimey, all those downvotes just for mentioning XPs poor screen scaling support. Lucky I didn't mention the shitty search indexing, poor security model, lack of IPv6, ancient task manager, no built in hypervisor, proper flash disk support, lack of real x64 support or the massive list of other things XP can't do that Windows 8.1 can do very well indeed. Oh, and booting almost instantly from cold. That's one of my favourites :)
It's wasted time. They do not understand how system programming evolved over the past thirteen years to support an evolving hardware, and they judge an OS just from the shell and widgets look.
Understanding the changes underneath requires knowledge not everybody has, it's an highly specialized kind of programming, and became pretty complex. Moreover, the mainstream development moved to web applications and managed/scripted languages, the less developers had to cope with an OS 'internals', and they give for simple and granted features that require a fairly complex management in the background.
Oh, and booting almost instantly from cold.
Ahem, pretty much any OS does that when you're booting it up from a RAM drive. Or SSD, as the case may be.
Try Windows 8 on the identical hardware to a few other OSes, and you'll find it's not all that speedy on the "start from zero" metric. Faster than Windows XP, perhaps.
This article never gets to a point. It switched around rapidly from topic to topic, opinion after opinion. What was the author on when he wrote it? I'm no Microsoft fan, but I found Windows 95 extremely usable. Look back at my previous comments if you're interested in how I feel about Windows. I was so excited when Windows 95 came out, and I thought it was great.
How about some professional journalism?
If you found Win95 extremely usable, you never used OS/2. IT came out a fair bit prior, and '95 felt like visiting the parents after having moved out: it was familiar, but the kitchen is re-organized and your bedroom had been turned into a yoga studio.
Win95 was usable, but only just.
I've just had a think, and I don't think I found an OS that was a stable, even over the long term, as AmigaOS until Windows 7.*
Everything up to XP was less stable, and less capable. XP just about managed to be more useful, but still fell over from time to time, and needed a reinstall about once a year.
Win 7 was the first microsoft OS I used that didn't need re-installing at regular intervals (Vista was close, but had back tracked on the usability front). I'm still using the same installation from it's first release, on a computer that's been upgraded so many times that every single component is different.
* The hardware kept improving of course, but software has continued to bloat at the same rate.
"I am thrilled at the prospect of looking through all of your previous comments to find out how you feel about Windows. It certainly won't be as boring as this article!"
The point was that I'm not a Microsoft shill, but apparently you missed that. Secondly, comparing comments I leave on here to someone attempting to do "journalism" is a really weak argument. Hopefully your next article won't be a cacophony of non sequitur ramblings.
I have to agree about Win95 - and don't understand the people who say how yummy it was. Distance in time dulling the pain? I had Win 3.1, which was quick on crap hardware, solid and almost never fell over, or did weird stuff to you.
By comparison Win 95 was like dancing on eggshells. It was good. Could be great, when it worked. But you always felt you were seconds from disaster. Lock-ups, crashes and doom. Plus you had to re-install it every so often, if you wanted to clean up the mess. It was Win95 that taught me to hit save, before I dared hit print.
My hatred for it may also have something to do with the time I came into work one Monday morning in about 99. IT had done an upgrade on all the PCs in the US mult-national I worked for. My trusty NT4 PC was still there, but when I booted it up I discovered that they'd 'upgraded' us all to Win 95! This made me sad.
I remember when Windows 95 came out. Shortly afterwards, I visited some computer stores, and I was assailed by that Windows 95 boot sound from all sides. I interpreted that to mean that Windows 95 was not especially stable. Almost 19 years ago... Feels like a completely different world, one where Microsoft was considered a hero by everyone except the Apple Evangelists (an actual thing, headed by Guy Kawasaki), and people lined up to buy copies of Windows 95 at launch. At least Ctrl-Alt-Del worked reliably.
Windows 95 was slower than Windows 3.1, but I used it anyway. It was the mid-90's: Why continue to use retarded 8.3 filenames? Windows 95 also had preemptive multitasking among Win32 processes, and its own built-in TCP/IP stack, and Plug-and-Pray so you didn't need to configure devices using text files as much, and it did useful things with that right-click button that exists on every single mouse intended for a PC. Still didn't do anything useful with the middle-click, but that was less common.
I think of myself as an optimist. Computers are stupid. Every OS sucks. I hate computers. I think I am an optimist because I consider upgrades to be an opportunity to approach, ever so slightly, the ideal of a computer that actually works for you. Windows XP is insecure and slow and bad at 64-bit and bad for the Internet, so it needs to be eliminated. Windows 8 is terrible, but I think it's better than XP.
Erm - planned obsolescence? You know, that thing big corporates do because it's the only way they can make any money?
It's not just for fridges and boy bands, you know.
What's worse is that Planet Linux does it too. I'd really like one *incredibly good* desktop, not an endless stream of nearly-there--this-time-we-mean-it ones.
But coders gonna code. So there's that.
Well it can't be the *same* shirt as worn by Steven Gerrard for the simple reason that Steven Gerrard will be wearing that one. It can't be *identical* either because Steven Gerrard's shirt is not a size XXXXL. But in every other respect, the replica shirt is of the same design, uses similar materials (again, not the *same* materials because those are already sewn into SG's shirt) and created by the same manufacturer.
Now look how long it took me to write all that. Easier to write 'virtually identical t-shirt'. That's good enough for anybody except for an insufferable pedant.
let me take a guess.... it might be because
1. punters are already groomed into being free (actually paying) guinea pigs
2. it saves Adobe a lot of money for them developers (see guinea pigs above)
3. they can. having a (not virtual, but factual) monopoly (hard earned) helps a lot
4. they can flog the cloud as the perfect solution for all ills, thus grooming customers into believing, or just resigning themselves to the fact, that if it ain't in the cloud, it's got to be shit. And Adobe has more than a couple of fingers up the cloud's arse (or pie).
No, he is clueless, or just drowning in de-Nile ;)
Developers have constraints which mean we have to release "good enough" stuff, or basically not get paid, because of this obsession with short-cutting and short termism to make more profits, and the covert _deliberate_ corruption of the education system which makes for less capable people.
A lot of other products are probably developed this way, but people seem not notice this much e.g. flawed production mechanical design of physical products, which causes them to break, malfunction, or be less usable for stupid reasons, even for premium goods e.g. what moron thought it was a good idea to put a flat bottom surface on a CNC switch to be mounted on a _round_ handlebar, and with Velcro, seriously WTF!
Before "cloud" Adobe has be one of the Kings of adding useless crap into software so they have something to put on the Box to sell upgrades. Acrobat has not had a useful new feature (other then making it work with the latest version of windows / office) in about 15 years. I do NOT want music and video in my PDF thankyouverymuch and Flash, hell no!
Now with "cloud" I expect as soon as they have enough people signed up they will no longer need to create useless feature upgrades to the software. That could be good if they only need to maintain the software and add feature people ask for, but I expect soon management will decide that that developer "cost center" can be killed off for a quick stock price boost.
Speaking as a dev, the problem is the "softness" of software - quality is rated lower than features because "bugs can always be fixed later" (by that, the PHBs mean "replaced by new bugs, later").
For the first time I've been working on some embedded software, and am really enjoying that fact that the project manager wants me to take the time to make it work perfectly - and also that it is not cluttered with pointless features.
Adobe needlessly locked itself into an 18-month upgrade cycle just before the turn of the century, when it exacerbated the process by kludging half its product line into a suite. The result was..
..Acrobat Reader(TM) Icons appearing on my desktop. Possibly the most useless object ever to appear on my desktop.
The first time I saw Windows 95 was during a demo at a Computer Life readers' evening. The demonstrator double-clicked on three videos, whereupon all three launched immediately and played back simultaneously in separate windows - no glitches or hitches. To this day I have not been able to reproduce this feat (on a Windows computer).
Nowadays, most computers have sound cards (very much an expensive optional extra when Windows 95 came out). Having multiple sound-tracks running at the same time is a lot more distracting than having multiple video windows, so most media players default to only running a single instance - it's not a bug, it's a feature!
If you want to display multiple videos at once in Windows, open up VLC, go to Tools, Preferences and uncheck "Allow only one instance" and "Use only one instance when started from file manager". (Why two options? So that you can have multiple widows open when you deliberately right-click and select Open With, but no accidental multiple videos running when you double-click on a video).
I quite liked '95 thought it was quite a step on from 3.11 (i had a reasonable spec pc at the time) - the 'reinstall from the ground up every couple of months' was a bit of a pain in the arse, but you got used to it - after a few hair raising moments realising the only cd-rom drivers i had were on a cd-rom, and i'd just reformatted the hdd! And let's not forget there is only so much crap you could fit on a 500meg hdd. So it was only a few hours work to rebuild.
I resisted xp like all hell, as I recall when forced to u/g 95 (version 4 browsers i think it was - nutscrape excommunicator and internet exploder 4.fuck) I went straight to win 2k so never used xp at home at all.
As I recall I was not at all in the minority. 1 year after launch xp was being slated as a big a failure as vista did in fact turn out to be. (SP1 was the game changer I think)
apart from that, good article! although I expect it to be a better article after patch tuesday, and i am fully prepared to be disappointed in this expectation.
The difference is that Windows XP pre SP1 (and Windows 2000 before that) were very buggy. Some called them "broken" because of that, but bugs can be fixed, and were fixed, and XP (specifically, the XP UI) became much liked.
Windows 8 is broken by design. There's nothing can be done to fix it. It's not prone to crashes. It works as it was designed to work. It just doesn't do what its users want. Compared to Windows 7 it's a large step backwards. Microsoft's best hope is to make Windows 9 ("Windows Desktop") an evolutionary improvement over Windows 7, and consign the Windows 8 user interface to the dustbin (or possibly the tablet/phone arena) where it belongs.
If they EOL Windows 7 without having a proper desktop UI to replace it, it's curtains for Microsoft. Ditto if they EOL all the Windows 7 APIs which proper desktop software uses. They're now in the last chance saloon.
Why on earth didn't they learn from Apple? Three device classes: Keyboard+Mouse, Tablet, Phone. Three user interfaces, each optimised for its device class.
While I agree... 99%
and on no basis beyond my own limited experience. that argument could be advanced for most MS upgrades.
I was building systems when 95 came out (in 1996 lol) and the biggest bitch people had was that they had bought the wrong machine a year earlier. I mean it was the right machine for them, but didnt fit with MS vision of where the business was going (i.e. all vesa and 32 bit and plug and play - if you didn't have that hardware 95 sucked - oh and a shitload more ram and Mhzes than was de rigeur before).
now i haven't looked at 8 at all - as far as i can tell it seems to be assuming that everyones desktop is a fucking big smart phone. mine isnt, it never will be, so im not interested. 7 is much better than vista (which again i didnt mind as much as most), which was worse than w2k. so i kinda have my hopes out for 9 really.
Im a bit intrigued by the 'broken be design' claim, as far as I was aware ms put most of it's upgrade effort into a new front end with the vast overwhelming majority of code in a 'brand new' windows being legacy code in some cases going back to dos. Like I said, they aren't aiming it at me, so I haven't looked at it. though you are dead right about the device classes, i wouldn't be too chuffed if ms got to be more like apple... but that's a matter of religion, and there's always going to be more heat than light generated on both sides of that one. :-)
If they EOL Windows 7 without having a proper desktop UI to replace it, it's curtains for Microsoft.
Microsoft could release the biggest dog's breakfast on the planet. You will buy it, because that's what all the software runs on.
Some might say that's what Microsoft have already done, a number of times.
It's appalling how many people still think an OS is its shell, and vice versa. They look deeply stuck in the MSDOS/Win 3.x model, where Windows looked just a GUI atop DOS.
I thought Linux told most that an OS it's not a shell, but it looks it failed too. Well, after all most distros are identified by their desktop managers, not what's below, even if most Linux server use no X.
Windows 8 *shell* is broken by design (the OS below is even a little better than 7). But luckily for MS, that's the easiest part to fix, as long as someone in Redmond understand he has to swallow his ego fully and admit that shell was big mistake for non-tablet PCs, and Sinofsky was not the only responsible for it.
From many perspective Vista was a far larger mistake than 8, because the issues were deeply within the OS itself, not in the new GUI. It required to bring in people like Mark Russinovich to help iron them out.
They look deeply stuck in the MSDOS/Win 3.x model, where Windows looked just a GUI atop DOS.
Windows 3.x was not "a GUI atop DOS" when running in protected mode (i.e. either "Standard" '286 protected mode, or "386 Enhanced" mode). For that matter, neither was Windows/286, which was a version of Windows 2.0. They all had a kernel and provided all OS functions except the boot loader.
If you're going to complain about people failing to get the technical details right, you could make a bit more of an effort yourself.
And the Vista kernel and userspace were a huge improvement over XP in several areas. The knee-jerk reaction against Vista is precisely the same phenomenon that you're complaining about here - users mistaking the user experience for evidence about the quality of the OS as a whole. Vista took quite a lot of coaxing (with policies and other tweaks) to make it usable, but it remedied a number of XP's deficiencies.
Remember the archetypal story of the slugged mainframes?
IBM used to sell a big, powerful mainframe and a less powerful (but still very, very big) mainframe*. It emerged that the two machines were in fact the same, but the less powerful one was slugged** to make it slower.
When challenged about this, IBM pointed out that the total number of computers they could sell by using this strategy was greater than the number they would sell if everyone got the powerful computer for slightly less money, so the huge development costs could be distributed over more units. Everyone wins***.
* IBM veterans will no doubt be able to fill in the model numbers for me.
** I'm sure that's the expression that was used. Did they hit the computer with a sockful of sand?
*** But IBM wins most, naturally.
A mainframe boy once told me that their new (non-IBM) system has a special software knob that could be used to de-tune its responsiveness. The idea being that, as the workload grows, the "de-tune" is reduced so that the users do not perceive the system as becoming unresponsive. Expectation management!
Also, a long long time ago I was part of a task team that selected networking technologies for our organisation. The mainframe boys were quite keen on a particular 10Mbps Ethernet device, obviously the most expensive one available (£30K at the time). But the team insisted that they at least test all the options, including the el-cheapos at "only" £12000. It turned out that the expensive box was indeed a good option, but also that that it was a re-badged version of the cheapest unit on the market.
In a rare victory of common sense over corporate IT inertia, the low-priced version was purchased...
This is still common with iSeries machines. Except not the visit from the engineer. It is all done with keys now. And it is transparent and sold as many different options, e.g. Capacity on Demand, where you get the greater performance for just a certain time period. Seasonal companies presumably use that option.
And it is transparent and sold as many different options, e.g. Capacity on Demand, where you get the greater performance for just a certain time period.
Indeed. I could have sworn I just read an article here on the Reg that opened with some comment about people not understanding the function of demand in a free market.
(Of course, had this not been a Dabbsy article and all for a lark, I'd've complained that the author apparently hasn't learned anything about economics beyond the summary of Adam Smith in the grade-school encyclopedia. But it is, and so I didn't. A narrow escape for all!)
It's exactly the same with Intel CPUs. To start with they sort them by attainable clock speed, and sell the slower ones cheaper. After a while they have perfected their process, and then almost all production can clock at the fastest speed. So they clock-lock some of them slower, and sell them cheaper. (I think sometimes they also nobble a perfectly good chunk of cache).
Yup, how true.
Thought you were going to talk about office 365, we are about to hit end of subscription (still two days away), but for the last three weeks we've been hammered with email after email saying there isn't enough money in our credit card (it is one that you have to put cash into, not just open slather). It appears that MS check and recheck the card many times before the end of the subscription period and email more and more aggressively saying 'where is the money'. Feels like the mafia actually. Has this happened to anyone else? I was considering complaining to a consumer folks about it.
I am staggered by the combination of vitriol and obsessive nit-picking at the head of of the comments.
Last time I looked, Mr Dabbs was writing a light-hearted and whimsically amusing end-of-week column. So, saying "I don't like that" or something similar is not unreasonable but to say "I hate it because it is technically incorrect and Mr Dabbs is obviously a moron" or something similar before blathering on for half a page in tedious detail is, frankly, stupid. Stupid in that particular way that only ICT tragics with high IQs, poor social skills and a worrisomely loose grasp of the bigger picture can manage.
In short, if you don't rate Mr Dabbs' writings, don't read them. Meanwhile those of us in the industry who like a chuckle can carry on.
I'm not surprised.
If he'd written a column instead about a couple of brands of beer he didn't like the taste of, several commentards would still have complained that he'd had no right to write a review because his tongue had obviously been ripped out by pot-bellied ogres at a bogey picking festival in Droitwich in the seventies, or something.
Then we'd all have to wade through post after post going into the details of the ale brewing process, after bugs, like ale brewers toenails, adds flavor...
I do think Windows is a little like flat lager though (there, I said it, come get me).
I freely admit the UI assuming you have a touch screen tablet is a disgrace. It's not that hard to get a traditional start menu though (first thing I did was to get a replacement for that. The 2nd thing was to get a sidebar replacement).
I don't much like the way they've tried to kill off all the desktop UI. I don't particularly want to be logged into MS network to use skydrive or whatever they call it now.
But the underlying system though is much smoother and better. As soon as I got a windows 8 machine on my network, ALL the problems I had with windows homegroups went away...
All they need to do is shoot their UI department. My experience in this industry is whenever you let programmers or trendy people get involved in UIs, the usability goes down the hill faster than Sisyphus's rock. And it takes a similar effort to get it back where it was.
BTW I like the article, thank you
"Is it more compact? Is it faster? Is it easier to use? Like arse it is."
"And what do all these updates do? They fix bugs and make ‘stability improvements’. Well, heck, why not try coding this shit more slowly and more carefully in the first place?"
...The prose is angry, honest and you gotta love it!
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