* Posts by h4rm0ny

4573 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

h4rm0ny
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Re: Some Big Assumptions

"Why would a sea-based life form discover fire? Gun-powered? Combustion? That rules out an entire tech tree that leads to space."

Somewhere on another planet right now, a eight-limbed creature is posting: "why would a land-based species discover steam-power if they didn't originate or just water-wheels powered by hot-water currents, if they hadn't evolved around volcanic vents underwater?" All that is needed is an energy source and the means to harness it. Once you've crossed that particular Rubicon, you're on a path you can't go back from. Our underwater civilization might even get to Space first as they'd be used to a 3D environment (assuming they swam) and they'd be used to thinking in non-2D movement.

"Would a species with a genetic memory develop writing? if not how would they work with complicated equations?"

A species with genetic memory would essentially be equivalent to a very long-lived organism. In either case, maybe that long-life would lead to a faster rate of technological learning (or slower). We don't know because it's one variable in isolation.

Not down-playing your points - we have no idea what we ourselves might have missed simply because we have our own limitations and assumptions. But equally, that blindness might lead us to arrogantly assume that our path to the stars is the only one.

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Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales marries Kate Garvey

h4rm0ny
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Re: Is it just me

"Martin Boorman was Hitler's for example."

That explanation should really be part of Kate Garvey's Wikipedia entry. A la "Kate Garvey was Tony Blair's diary secretary, just like Martin Boorman was Hitler's."

But I bet it wont.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Nothing can make a wedding nicer than...

I would cheerfully donate to a fund for charging Tony Blair with War Crimes. There's no politician I more despise, and that's despite the normal tendency of people to despise most whoever is currently in power.

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Top admen beg Microsoft to switch off 'Do Not Track' in IE 10

h4rm0ny
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",,,,,,all wrong! Bing can track a different part , so Bing advertisers will be advantaged over Google. It's war out there.!!"

What does "different part" mean? Please be specific as there are a lot of programmers and web developers here. Your post seems to imply that the Do Not Track HTTP header is something other than an explicit request to the web-application layer to not employ tracking technologies. DNT is not a way for browsers to actively conceal information from the server. Technically, it actually sends more. So what are you referring to?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: With apologies to DA

"saying 'Here be dragons'.""

Niiiiice touch. Pint for the subtle cleverness.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Not really...

"no normal person reads that (they just press next and finish to make it go away) so its on by default user does not understand why or what it is"

Have you ever actually installed IE10 or Win8? It's a full page with about eight settings on it and a clear message you should check how you want your browser to work. DNT is clearly titled and you can click on it to get a short explanation. You say people do not "understand why or what it is". I would bet money that if you showed 100 people a line saying: "Send 'Do Not Track' request to websites" that 98% of people would understand it was a setting asking websites not to track them. Do you disagree?

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h4rm0ny
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"why his post was liked so much, advertisers are just going to ignore the DNT flag if IE10 is detected as it has an incorrect DNT default on setting, Apache has all ready added it to there ignore list (other browsers are not affected and the DNT will work as intended )"

Both your statements are factually incorrect. Firstly, IE10's "default". Firefox has a default - you install it and it has DNT off and if you want to change that you have to go into the config and find the setting and change it. What IE10 does is present suggested settings on install to the user. DNT is one of these and it's right in the user's face with an explanation of what it is and a suggested setting of "On". It's compliant and the working group know that it's compliant and are seething about it. Believe me - if they could call it a "default" and kick IE10 out as non-compliant, they would love to. But it's actually presenting the user with the choice and they can't.

Secondly and more significantly, your comment about "Apache has already added it to their ignore list" is massively misinformed. Roy Fielding, one of the Apache team whose employer is Adobe (a company with a vested interest) and who is a member of the DNT working group (so hardly neutral in this), took it upon himself to submit a patch that erased DNT headers from IE10 and he submitted this patch in the early hours of the morning right before a significant release. That's not "Apache", that's one team member with a significant vested interest going rogue. Don't believe me? Look at the storm of critical comments from the rest of the team on the commit note and the fact that it was quickly reverted with a commit note about not bringing your politics into the code base. It's a gross distortion to say "Apache has already amended this" both because one team member is not Apache and because the amendment was undone as fast as possible (constrained by the fact Roy had sneaked it in at the last moment before a release - so the patch had to wait for the next update, but it was committed almost immediately).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: And lets not forget where its coming from...

Linux was the best thing that ever happened to Windows making them rush out Vista in a panic and then get it right with Win7, and Apple are the best thing that ever happened to Windows Mobile. Everyone who uses modern Windows or a Windows Phone device, owes a little debt of gratitude to Linux and Apple, for giving MS the fright of its life.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: @Christoph

"The only real report I know of was from the Apache programmer who apparently was so upset with this default setting that he threatened to implement a routine in the Apache server to ignore the setting whenever it was coming from MSIE10. Talk about professionalism..."

Heh. That "Apache programmer" happens to be Roy Fielding, employee of Adobe who didn't threaten to implement a routine. He actually submitted a patch that ignored DNT for IE10 users right before a major version release in the early hours of the morning without consultation or approval from anyone else. He's a member of the DNT working group so not exactly a disinterested party. Caused quite a storm of protest amongst other Apache developers, not least of which because his change alters things below the Application layer which, even if you do feel it is right to disregard headers from IE10, is the wrong place to do it as the application layer essentially gets lied to about the HTTP request. A patch was quickly submitted to revert it with a change log reason of (iirc), "don't bring politics into the codebase" or very like.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Available for other browsers too.

"There's an addon for Chrome to do it, and Google would surely have more to lose than most."

Yes. That's why to do it in Chrome, you have to go and install a separate addon. And in Firefox (Mozilla get a lot of funding from Google), you have to go via an Options->Options->Privacy->Tracking (it's off by default). Whereas in IE10, it's presented during install and you are asked to set a value (suggested is On).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: analytics?

I don't mind your site knowing I'm a visitor from the UK or that I'm using Opera. I don't really even mind your site knowing that I'm the same person who visited last week. But I do mind that all the information is passed to Google so that they can compile it against every other site and profile me. There's a reason that Google Analytics is free for you to use on your site - it's because Google are getting my online history for it.

Whilst I respect the use of ads on sites, and I respect that knowing more about your visitors helps sell those ads for a better value, where does it end? Google Analytics has taken over everything. If you block it, about a third or more of the Internet will simply stop working for you as pages simply refuse to load with a response from Google. That's a bad thing.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: For once

"I think MS are doing the right thing and putting their customers first. Or maybe this is a scheme to make it harder for google to target ads to people and thus help keep google's share price below their own."

It's both. Beating their rivals by doing the right thing! It's every company's dream opportunity.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: It's a good default

"But MS could backtrack slightly by asking users when they first launch the browser whether they want it on or off and recommend it's set to on. Then nobody has cause to complain, unless they think users should be kept ignorant so that it's turned off."

That's exactly what happens. You install IE10 or turn on Win8 for the first time and you get a page of config options with an explanation and suggested values. DNT is one of them. But how many people are going to say: "yes please, I'd like to be tracked."

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Yeah, there's pretty much no way to spin the admen's position

"But its an optional standard. It likely at least some of the admen were going to ignore it anyway, but now they all will. it wont Stop a thing!"

The purpose of the optional standard was a token gesture to shelter them from privacy laws. They would say: "look, it's okay that we tracked all these people because they have the freedom to tell us not to." Never mind that they know full well how difficult that is for many people. Of course you might argue that it could be made easy for people or a browser provider could help people choose. Like... Microsoft. ;)

Besides, there's some misinformation going on around here. IE10 doesn't have DNT set to on by default. It presents a screen full of options when you install IE or Win8 which has DNT presented as one of the options and a clear message that you're choosing these settings and asks you to confirm if these are the settings you would like. It's not like Firefox where the setting has a true default and it's not presented to you on install. The user is actually presented with a choice about DNT on install. It's just that 99% of users will elect to go with the suggested setting of having DNT turned on.

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h4rm0ny
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You say this is useless without regulation. If we don't build such a system, then it cannot be regulated and lawmakers will have circles run around them by the advertising agencies.

As to your comment about people being too thick to prevent tracking themselves, that's akin to saying people who aren't tough enough to defend themselves don't deserve protection from assault. The aim is to protect anyone who wants protection, not to selfishly say: "I know how to install various blockers, so everyone else can just do without protection against tracking." If you go to the trouble of blocking it yourself, then you must think it's got a negative to attached to it. So why shouldn't other people be protected from that negative?

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h4rm0ny
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The advertising industry surived decades without knowing everything about us...

...they can survive again.

If we're only given this option on the grounds that we do not use, that's no option. If we accept it on the grounds that a handful of technically knowledgable people will use it whilst we let all our friends and family and everyone else be monitored, then that's rather selfish of us.

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LASER STRIKES against US planes on the rise

h4rm0ny
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Re: Ironic Punishment - use MIRRORS

"to search property / hoodies in the imediate area."

It's a good idea, but, you're singling out the hoodies?

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Mozilla floats fondleslab-ready Firefox for Win 8

h4rm0ny
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"Microsoft needs to be very careful about this."

It's a bit more complicated than this. Basically, the WinRT devices are more like enhanced iPads than they are like PCs. At least in significant ways. The focus on the ARM platform is to really lock down installed applications so that nothing can run away with it, crash it, etc. If you want to know in detail what Mozilla Foundation are talking about when they complain about restricted APIs, they want to do things like fork processes without restriction (they use that for sandboxing add ons), reserve and write directly to memory rather than use the OS's more standard methods (they would use this, for example, for optimizing Javascript).

These are all things that it is natural that a Firefox developer would like to have available to play with. But they're also the sort of things that can transform a nice shiney new product into a juddering, crashing bad experience. So it is also natural that MS want people to use the provided, ARM-friendly ways of producing apps for WinRT. The thing is, which need do you put first? If you allow Firefox to have this high level of risky access, then how do you say that any other app should not have it? And if you do allow any old app to have it, then you're basically waving goodbye to your nice, performance-friendly, secure app framework. So should Firefox get a free pass where others don't because they have a bigger brand name? Should richer companies be able to buy a first class access level? Neither sounds good to me. Should Mozilla get a free pass because their browser has a history of not spawning unnecessary processes or running wild with memory? Yeah right. ;)

So there are very good reasons for these constraints and if you're going to be fair, Mozilla have to live in the same constraints (which aren't actually that bad) that other app producers do. Well, all others except MS that is. But again, here is a problem. It's not a simple case of hypocrisy. OS and browser are growing ever closer. Google have produced an OS that is a browser! WinRT uses HTML5 for it's applications. And you can use Javascript as part of them too. The OS uses SVG graphics and CSS. In a lot of areas, the WinRT OS is rendering things just as a browser does. So what are you going to do with your browser when you write it? Are you going to duplicate a vast amount of what is already there in the OS, but deliberately cripple it to give your customers a worse experience and your competitors (such as Apple who have absolutely no problem giving their own browser tight integration) a very large advantage? Or do you accept that these days, a browser is becoming an integral part of the OS and just make a streamlined code base?

You can't give Mozilla Foundation a big advantage over all other app developers and there's no fair criteria by which to divide app developers. You can't give all app developers access, because at that point, with the sort of things Mozilla are talking about, you're all but actively stating you want people to bugger up the customer experience with WinRT. And you can't rip out major parts of the OS's rendering code and create a complete, parallel but arbitrarily crippled duplicate of that code for the sake of creating an inferior user experience. Especially when you see all your rivals doing tight integration without any consequence. As I said, with ChromeOS, the OS actually is a browser! Really, there isn't an option. WinRT is just that sort of device. More like a PC-ish iPad than a Desktop. And that has ramifications for the APIs. It's the nature of the beast.

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Motörheadphönes ears-in review

h4rm0ny
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Re: who knows....

Ah yes, I remember when Motörhead played Guildford Civic Hall. I enjoyed that one.

Mind you, I was in Aldershot at the time.

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Windows 8 early-bird users still love Windows 7 more - poll

h4rm0ny
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Re: What, no dual screen on Windows Tablets?

"So you're saying I wouldn't be able to hook my tablet up via mini-HDMI to a monitor or my beautiful TV and do dual-screen? That's pants."

Yes you would. One or both windows would show Desktop or you can have one of them (your choice which - you just drag Metro to the one you want) will show Start Screen or Metro. That's if you want the two screens to work as extensions of each other. You can still set them up to be duplicates if you want - like a laptop and a projector. I know because I am able to do this with Win8 and my own TV.

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Mobe app makers doubt Windows 8 will be worth the hassle - poll

h4rm0ny
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Re: Hmmm...

"You mean Eadon is unequivocally wrong? Wow."

Well, Eadon made an argument that is refuted by my very existence, so I suppose so. And whilst it is possible that the one person in the world who is interested in Win8 just happens to be present in this message thread, I think it is statistically unlikely so even in a broader figure of speech sense, the argument still falls down.

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h4rm0ny
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"No user base means no developer means no apps means no user base."

MS passed the 100,000 apps milestone earlier in the year. And that's just with WP7 as a platform. With Win8 rolling out on new PCs, WP8 phones looking like really good devices and really being pushed by big carriers in the USA and apps are going to be deployable on XBox, the user base is going to increase many, many times over. So if they managed a 100,000 apps on that, there're going to be a lot more on their way. Besides which, can you think of a hundred thousand different needs you have for apps? Or even just one-hundredth of that number? The overwhelming majority of apps are duplicates and clones. When you have one calorie counter that works well, how do you benefit from having forty-two others?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Android is the largest platform!

"No, it all becomes clear now - it's most supported because many people *think* it's the most popular. Even though it isn't. And I find that rather sad."

That's probably true and I would probably think that too if I didn't read the El Reg forums. But is it also possible that people find writing for iOS more profitable because there is less piracy than on Android? (Note this is *not* a loaded question, it's a genuine one - I don't know about piracy levels on Android).

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Android is the largest platform!

"You are making the mistake that you think their motivations should be based on the number of phones sold, or the total number in use, or of the revenue of those phone sales"

No he isn't. Re-read his post. He is saying that the respondents to the survey said that size of the install base was the most important criterion to them. He's not saying what he thinks their motivations are, he's saying what they say their motivations are and pointing out a contradiction with other things they say.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Meh?

"Investing in a small user base is hardly wise"

Small is not the same as smaller. Analysts reported sales as being disappointing for the iPhone5 because it only sold five million in its opening three days (which is not disappointing at all, to my mind but anyway...). Look how many apps are supported by the Android market, or the slightly smaller iOS market. Even if WP8 devices never rise above 10% of Android's share (which they almost certainly will over time), that's plenty market to support a thriving app market. And then you can add in WinRT devices, Win8 environments, which are going to be large markets again and which all support the same apps. You talk a lot about "stagnant pools" and "crocs", but the facts are very promising for app developers for the Win8 ecosystem.

Elsewhere you talk about how MS deserves extinction along with its users and developers. You're hardly a neutral evaluator in this.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Hmmm...

"NO ONE is interested in Windows 8"

I am.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: If only...

Java does do that (imperfectly, I'm told - I'm not a Java programmer). But it doesn't bring you support for all the different environments. If you look at the APIs provided for MUI apps, there's a lot of stuff in there to handle different screen sizes, resolutions, auto-laying out menus according to screen format and orientation, etc. Java might let you run something on different devices, but it's great to have APIs and support so that you write your app and the menus and layout will still work when you move between different screen sizes or even to the Desktop. Ditto for input devices. Whilst the same Java code may run on both a phone and a PC, it's great to have the API handle a lot of the work in whether someone is using a mouse or touch for example.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Meh?

"Wise developers are playing it safe and giving it a big bit of 'wait and see'."

That's not very wise. This is one of those rare chances to get into a market where there isn't already a large installed base of competitors. Opportunities like this come along rarely and will never come again for iPhone and Android. We know that there will be a huge install base of Win8 devices. The majority of new computers sold will support it, the Lumia and other phones look fantastic. Even if for some reason they don't sell well, there will still be huge numbers sold. Plus the Win8 tablets. I would rather my product be one in a million selling to a market for ten million, than my product be one in twenty million selling to a market double the size. Wise developers are getting in right now to catch the wave of early adoption when people can type in Calorie Tracker and get twenty results instead of a thousand.

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Samsung claims Apple jury foreman LIED to get REVENGE

h4rm0ny
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How did he end up being a candidate for the jury?

I always thought a jury was drawn from the public in some semi-random way, but just the candidacy of Hogan to the jury (before you even get to approval or rejection) tells me that this is not the case. How is it that someone with that background happens to end up on a jury in the biggest patent trials yet?

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Microsoft sets date for Windows Phone 8 unveiling

h4rm0ny
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Re: Trying not to sound too much like an apologist here...

Why does someone who likes an WP8 have to explain that they're not an apologist? People can like what they like - the world can take it. ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Paucity of apps?

The Windows store passed the 100,000 apps mark earlier this Summer, I don't know how many duplicates and rip-offs of each other an app market requires, but I don't see how most people can need or use even a hundredth of that number. And that number was just reached with Windows Phone 7. We're about to see Win8 rolling out on the majority of new PCs, Win8 tablets, a big pushing of WP8 by AT&T (and the phones look really good, lots of people will want these). You're even going to be able to deploy apps on Xboxes. So in addition to "paucity of apps" translating to over a hundred thousand already available, there are going to be a tonne of new ones as developers try to get in early.

Also, must the Reg repeat any rumour no matter how ridiculous? First it was the stupid low price of the SurfaceRT which all stemmed from one single anonymous source with no corroboration. Now it's this notion that MS might unveil their own phone hardware. That particular rumour came from someone (anonymous again), saying that MS had considered the possibility of doing this at a later date. But by the time it reaches the Reg it's become something they actually report seriously as MS might unveil one at an event this month. Ridiculous reporting.

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Paul Allen: Windows 8 'promising' yet 'puzzling'

h4rm0ny
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Re: Yep

"Wrong. Things that *Microsoft already knows about,* such as Office, do so. Most of the programs I have installed, which are *not* Microsoft products do not default to any sort of rational order. Also, it may be an infrequent operation, but it's a crappy implementation, and it ensures that I spend as little time in the Start screen as I can humanly manage."

Hey - you said there was no organization. I just pointed out that when you install the OS and a number of programs you install, do come with organization. If you want to modify your statement to "when I install a new program and if it's not got a category provided for it, it will end up just on the end of the list", then I'm fine with that. What I find very dubious is that you say having to take all of a few seconds to literally drag and drop it into the place you want as a one time operation when you install the program., is "crappy implementation" . Complaining about this and saying it's a reason you avoid "spending time in the Start Screen as little as you can humanly manage" just makes you sound incredibly sensitive. Are those literal five seconds that precious to you or are you just seeking reasons to criticize? And as to spending as little time in the Start Screen as possible, why would you be spending lots of time in the Start Screen? It makes a nice holding screen because it's informational, but for most of us it is a waypoint in launching something. If you think anyone is telling you you have to spend time sitting in the Start Screen then you're building a strawman.

"That's great if I want to visually sort through 50 totally disorganized icons to find the one that I want. "

But why are your icons disorganized? You've already conceded that there is a rationale behind their layout. Are you one of these people that just spreads icons across their desktop with each software install until they can't find anything? If not, why would you become one with the Start Screen. I do not accept that dragging and dropping something instantly to where you want it, is a barrier that causes you to be disorganized. If you are, then the problem is with you. Besides, the human brain rapidly learns where it leaves things. As things don't move around in the Start Screen (unlike the 'last used' approach of the Start Menu), it's very quick to get what you want.

" Also, why can't I grab a bunch of tiles at once and relocate them? Why do I have to pick through each tile of dozens and relocate it? That's poor UI design, and I defy you to argue otherwise."

You can. Just switch to Small View (the minus sign in the lower right, or just hold down Control and scroll-wheel down as you would if you want to change the font size in a web-page). Your icons go smaller and you can grab whole bunches of icons and shift them around as a block.

"All the useless crap that Microsoft wants me to see, like Shopping and Weather, are on the main screen by default. Things that I might want to use, like the Command Prompt or Control Panel, are hidden away"

Well unless you are installing the OS every five minutes, I fail to see the problem. Different people have different needs and MS have put by default things on their that they think people will want. It's customizable so if you're doing corporate installs, you'd have different defaults for example. Besides, you're just repeating the same things you said earlier now, about how Control Panel is "hidden away". Seriously, it should take you less than a minute to remove Shopping and Weather which irritate you so much and about thirty seconds more to put Command Prompt and Control Panel on the initial Start Screen. And thereafter they will always be in the same place just two clicks away from you which is on average faster than the Start Menu in Win7 because that has a lower capacity for how many things you can have just two clicks away from you.

"Again, wrong. I have put *more* stuff on my desktop and taskbar so that I don't have to use the Start screen, and I even wind up using the command line more frequently."

Well with respect, that's as a consequence of you choosing not to use the new interface.

"Anyway, I'm glad that Metro works for you. For the majority of desktop users, I suspect it's at best a useless change and at worst a significant impediment to productivity."

As I've demonstrated in numerous ways, most common operations are the same or faster to launch with Win8. So hopefully long-term, productivity should improve. I know that once I got used to Win8 on my desktop, I found it faster to use. The same principles should apply to other people. But I'm sorry that you find it bad for you. I had a bad reaction to Win8 initially, but decided to try and evaluate it using objective criteria (I actually started comparing mouse moves and clicks to get different tasks done between Win8 and Win7) and I found that despite by initial dislike, I could objectively show that Win8 was faster to use, so I re-evaluated and now I really like it.

Anyway, we're starting to repeat so I think we're probably done. I'm sure we both have other things to do.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: @H4rm0ny -- Super Genius?

"And you, sir, are no super-genius...."

Well then we have to look elsewhere for why others here are finding Win8 so disorientating or such a hindrance, and I am able to quickly learn it and get on with it. Also, I'm not a sir.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Its a new paradigm

"If that happens it will mean no proper hardware acceleration and thus limited performance for your legacy desktop applications and games."

I can use hardware accelleration from a VM right now. There's no reason why *if* your supposition about Desktop being treated as a "VM" were true, that you couldn't use hardware accelleration. And thus no impact on older games. Also, there doesn't seem any advantage in running Desktop as a VM seperate to the rest of the OS and a fair bit of added complexity in bridging the two together. Availability of libraries is already constrained in Win8 depending on whether something is Desktop or MUI, so what further advantage of seperation is to be gained by VM'ing it?

"Why do you think Valve are really running to Linux and the idea of having their own console?"

Because the Windows Store renders Steam redundant. Games developers will be able to gain the benefits of DRM, centralized selling, et al. without having to use Steam. That's a direct threat to Valve's business model who make money from selling other people's games for them.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: The GUI previously known as Metro UI?

"Remind me, why did they drop the 'Metro UI' name ?"

The Metro grocery chain in Europe threatened a possible lawsuit. MS are using "Modern UI" at the moment.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Yep

"The point is that you have to individually drag each tile into place, which is a colossal hassle. On a classic desktop, you can select multiple icons and manipulate them, but with Metro, it's a tedious process of dragging and rearranging them, one by one, which is frustrating and inefficient."

Well for a start, things default to a set of groups that do have a rationale behind them. For example, all my Office icons fall together. Secondly, it's very easy to drag things to a new position. You just do it and the other tiles arrange themselves accordingly, making space. It's something which if you are unhappy with the default order, you have to spend a minute doing. And maybe update occasionally when you install a program if it pops up somewhere you don't like. It's no more onerous than dragging something in the Win7 Start Menu to pin a program. Seriously if a highly infrequent operation that takes a minute or less is "frustrating and inefficient" then I am quite frankly frightened of how highly strung you must be. This is no reason to reject a desktop environment.

"The W7 Start Menu bubbles to the top commonly-used programs, so if I open my Start Menu on W7, I get the applications I use the most"

And this might be fine if you use a handful of programs, but I am a power user and I may launch twenty different programs in a week quite frequently. It's slightly annoying to wonder whether something will be in the menu today or if I'll have to navigate down through sub-menus. And I don't want twenty different icons pinned to the Start Menu. If you think it's an advantage to have your most commonly used programs "bubble to the top" then logically you should welcome the Start Screen which allows even more of your most commonly used programs to bubble to the top. The Start Screen on my Desktop easily accomodates fifty programs and with column spacing between groups, it's very easy to know immediately where they are. Though I normally just hit the Windows key and type the first couple of letters. A process that is the same on both Win7 and Win8 (though slightly faster on the latter). So objectively, Win8 is better by the criteria you just gave.

"In W7, I have the choice of scrolling through All Programs, *which is alphabetized*, and finding my program *or* typing in the search box"

You can still type and search. Just hit Windows Key and start typing. It's my preferred method and in my experience, faster than Win7. I don't know about your Win7 but it's not alphabetised. It's hierarchical. So you might have to hunt for a program under its company name. And it's twice as many clicks to get "All Programs" as it is to get the Start Screen which has all the normally used programs (space for fifty tiles on the first page, remember?)

"In Windows 8, every single program installed on my computer is shat all over the Start screen in an unorganized mess and to organize them, I have to drag and drop *every single fucking icon* into order."

Firstly, this is not true. Not all programs are placed on the main Start Screen. You have to go into extended mode with an extra click to see all installed programs. Secondly, there is an order. E.g. all my office suite are columned together. All the communication stuff which has updates gets put on the left, etc. Alphabatised - which you praised earler - would be a terrible way to do it. E.g. Excel sits next to Fiddler2, Word is over next to Windows Media Center... Thirdly, re-arranging them should only take you a couple of minutes (unless you are staggeringly less capable at the task than I was) and needs doing only once and then occasionally if you install a program you might drag it somewhere else if you like. And those dozens of tiles will all stay where you put them too, without "bubbling" out of view.

"On top of that, things I might actually like to access by default, like the Control Panel, are hidden."

But 98% of users wont want to. Especially now that all the settings a user typically might need are accessible through the Charms sidebar. So if you're in the 2% that do want to use Control Panel frequently and you object to just hitting the Win key and typing 'co', then drag it onto you main Start Screen. That will take you ten seconds and is a one-time operation, Do you think the rest of the Windows using world should have a rarely used and confusing icon put on the main Start Screen because you wish to avoid that ten seconds of one-time activity?

"Also, the W8 start screen is hideously ugly"

Well the rest of your arguments were things I could objectively refute but this is a matter of taste so all I can say is that I like it. But regarding this:

"on the other, many people prefer a less-cluttered desktop, and Microsoft has basically told all of us to go fuck ourselves"

I just don't understand. With Win7, many people end up with program shortcuts all over their Desktop. In Win8, it's far more likely to be clean and free because program start icons all go onto the Start Screen.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

"However the fact you just said if you open from the desktop it opens in the desktop apps, suggest more complexity than is needed for the average user."

If I open IE on the Desktop, I expect it to open in the Desktop. It would be far more confusing for "the average user" if it didn't. And as I sometimes need to use a browser on the Desktop in conjunction with other programs on the desktop, then there is reason to keep it.

As it's clear from your post you aren't using Windows 8 yourself, why are you arguing about how something works with someone who is plainly talking from direct experience?

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h4rm0ny
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Re: An honest question

"This is not a troll, a wind up or sarcasm, but why do people put up with this?"

Because what for you is something you have to "put up with" is for another person, a good new feature. Your post talks about having to re-learn things, but it took me about half an hour to figure out how to work Windows 8 and after the first week, I was doing things faster with it than I could on Windows 7. Basically, you've started with an assumption - that the difference between you and other people is that you don't put up with something and they do. That assumption is only an assumption. For many of us, we don't find it onerous to spend a very short time familiarizing ourselves with the new OS and we actually like it. Assuming that you question is honest as you say, and not trolling or sarcasm, that's my honest answer.

As to your comment about it being easier to learn something because you're "in the trade", that's true. But I'd say several things about Win8 make it easier for the non-technical to use. Flat, non-hierarchical Start menu that shuffles a lot of the more obscure stuff off into an Expanded section, commonly adjust settings being accessible outside of Control Panel and obscure icons. All good stuff. Now when I'm explaining to someone over the phone how to get their network working, I don't have to say: "see the little computer and cable icon in the bottom right, it will look like a little monitor with a cable on the left. It might be next to a little flag. Yes, click on that. No Right Click. Select Open Network and Sharing Centre..." etc. I can just say "Open the Charms menu and tap Settings. Tap Network down the bottom. What networks do you see? Good tap that one." It's objectively simpler.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Having read comments on El Reg for the past couple of months...

"Apparently you've repeatedly completely missed the point made by every even semi-sane and semi-rational person I know that's actually tried Windows 8 (and even Paul Allen apparently!)... IT HAS NEEDLESSLY AND ILLOGICALY AND HIDDEN IMPORTANT CONTROLS AWAY."

I like the No True Scotsman hiding in the above. Anyone who has tried Win8 and doesn't agree with you, is not even semi-sane or semi-rational. The difference between your post and mine is that I will back my opinion up with objective facts. For example, you get rather excitable about how "important controls" have been "hidden away." Pretty much any control that a normal user will need at all frequently, is quickly accessible by the Charms menu at the right hand side of the screen. Once you know it's there (and it's pretty easy to discover even if you didn't know about it, which you must do), you can manage network connections, displays, volume, syncing, updates, connected devices and a tonne of other things via this menu - usually just requiring two or three clicks to get what you want. And Control Panel is still there. Hit the Windows key, type 'co' and you're in Control Panel. I honestly have trouble believing that you would have trouble getting into that. The only thing I've found that takes longer is connecting or disconnecting to a VPN manually.

Honest question - what are you having trouble finding? Maybe I can help.

"This is entirely different from waving your mouse around like Sooty's wand, hoping for magic to happen!"

You can learn where the different menus and controls are in five minutes - your screen only has four corners and four edges! My jokes in my last post about people being intellectually sub-normal, I actually was joking. You can't seriously expect me to believe that you're having trouble learning the handful of ways to bring these menus up or having trouble navigating through them?

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h4rm0ny
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Having read comments on El Reg for the past couple of months...

...it has become increasingly apparent that I am a super-genius. I was not aware of this previously, but since the release of Windows 8 and the difficulties many El Reg posters are having with a Start Screen instead of a Start Menu, with moving the mouse cursor to the lower left when there is no longer a Start button there or how much disorientation is caused to them by having larger program icons with information in them, rather than a small menu item, it has become obvious to me that I must be an exceptionally gifted human being. Not only this, but reports are coming in that children who have been given it to play around with by their parents are able to quickly learn how to find and launch programs the programs that they want. I wonder perhaps if we are seeing a new dawn of human brilliance, some mutant gene now expressing itself.

The alternate view would be that many posters on the Reg are intellectually sub-normal in finding these changes difficult to work with or holding them up, or that they are seeking ways to criticize due to some a priori grudge against Microsoft. But as open-minded and IT literate people, I am quite utterly certain that this is not the case. So I count myself blessed that I was granted these intellectual abilities.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

As I have been using Windows 8 for sometime now, I can confirm that whatever Paul Allen says in the article, it does work the way blackjesus says.

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Scottish brainiacs erect wee super-antenna

h4rm0ny
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Thumb Up

Re: Headsets in the vertical plane.

"It's the conductive (watery) bits of you that are the good absorbers. Adipose tissue is unlikely to be a major contributor to absorbtion of microwaves!"

You sweet talker, you! ;)

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h4rm0ny
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Pint

Re: "can save more energy than would be supplied by a battery occupying the same space"

The phone in my pocket just became that little bit cooler. :) Thanks.

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h4rm0ny
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Re: Headsets in the vertical plane.

Thanks for the informative response. I guess my main surprise was that Bluetooth and the normal phone signal are using the same antenna. But I realize now I was probably confusing the antenna with the Thing That Is Connected To The Antenna That I Don't Know The Name Of. Probably there are two chips working at different frequencies, but they share the bit of wire that is the actual antenna and it's this latter of course that is relevant for direction. Makes sense, now!

Not sure I like being called a very "effificent absorber of radio signals", though. Makes me sound a bit fat. : (

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h4rm0ny
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Re: "can save more energy than would be supplied by a battery occupying the same space"

"My thoughts are you'll need at least two in the phone to cope with handover between cells - possibly more. For starters, when you're locked on a particular tower you are also taking measurements of your surroundings to see if any other cell is getting better than the one you are on. How is this achieved with a single directional antenna?"

Depends how quickly it can swap to checking around and back again whilst you're using it. My CPU has only six cores, but it is running way more than six processes. In between me typing each character in this post it carries out a million other actions. If the antenna only has to interrupt for 1ms every 5 seconds during a call to see if there's a better antenna to use, you still only need one.

Note, I don't know much about antenna design, I'm just illustrating that it might be fine.

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h4rm0ny
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Headsets in the vertical plane.

Not directly the subject of the article, but they mentioned it... I have a Bluetooth headset (like many of us) and I typically have my phone in a hip pocket while I use it. Are they telling me that this is less efficient than having the phone in the same horizontal plane as the headset itself? I had always assumed that the phone used a different transmitter / receiver for bluetooth than for the actual phone calls. If this is the case, why would it be designed to transmit in the horizontal rather than the vertical? No-one walks around with their headset on holding the phone up at the same height as it. Or is my assumption that Bluetooth and the normal phone signal use different transmitters incorrect? Can anyone explain?

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STILL TRUE: Facebook and co to handle taxpayers' ID

h4rm0ny
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"True fact, the money went on equipping everyone at GDS with iPhones and Macbook Airs so they can hot desk at Aviation House."

If that's true (and I could believe it), then that particular piece of information deserves a lot wider attention and a few heads on the chopping block. There's a much cheaper way to hotdesk. It involves roaming profiles and a sysadmin that knows what they're doing. How many people does "everyone at GDS" equate to? Are we talking ten, fifty, a hundred? Also - security!

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Liquefied-air silos touted as enormo green 'leccy batteries

h4rm0ny
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Re: Penny wise, pound foolish.

"A storage mechanism to store excess generation until its needed is equally useful for nuclear."

No it isn't. A nuclear power station can provide a steady level of output and can be ramped up or down to adjust for changes in demand. A means to store excess power is therefore of only marginal use for nuclear because mostly it wont be generating excess. As the storage and retrieval process of power has inefficiencies, it is intrinsically worse than just getting the right amount of power output in the first place. Wind power cannot produce a steady level of output and only ever produces the right amount of power needed as one moment of intersection on the graph as it slides lower or higher that what is actually desired. Therefore a means to store excess generation of power is highly useful for Wind Power. Ergo, the mechanism is not equally useful for nuclear as it is for wind power (and other renewables to a greater or lesser extent). For nuclear, it is of marginal value (I don't say no value).

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Rapper rips up Microsoft's Atlanta store during performance

h4rm0ny
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Facepalm

Re: FAIL == Microsoft

Not a Microsoft event. See article.

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