1151 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011
We bitch and complain because things could be better, so simply, with a modicum of care and effort from MS, yet every time patches or 'features' are released it's a new flavor of pain for IT departments and end users, and it just doesn't have to be that way.
Sometimes I wonder if the management at MS was offered a deal with the devil: "You will have the world's most used software and be rich beyond your wildest dreams, but your payment to me is to cause aggravation to all of mankind."
How hard would it have been for MS to offer CHOICES of which menu system the user wants? Classic Shell, a freeware, rock-solid app that is unfortunately no longer being supported did so, offering Win XP cascading menus, Win 7 menus, Win 8 (if you're a masochist), or the option to use Win 10's native menus, plus many configurable options. And the missing 'Quicklaunch' bar, while I can recreate it, was far more useful to have by default than "pinning" apps to the taskbar.
So instead of MS offering us a simple choice, or simply buying Classic Shell to include, most people are stuck with some upper manager or marketing schmuck's "vision" of what a menu system should look like and how it should function. Also, the Win 7 'glass' windows were elegant and pretty, but apparently deemed irrelevant. I realize that the goal was to unify parts of the 'experience' across platforms, but must we all be stuck with the ugly, flat look that is worse than the Fisher Price scheme of XP, and reminiscent of some of early Linux's worst desktop manager choices circa 20 years ago?
If research was done and this really is what users wanted, I now hate people more than ever before.
..Windows seems to use a dartboard to determine which default audio device to use, especially for Skype.
Even though in reality it's likely to be more like 10 days or less, it still got my attention. This was one of the reasons I haven't bothered with a smart watch--who needs yet one more thing to remember to recharge daily or every few days? If it's reasonably rugged and water resistant, I might give it a go.
I remember people freaking out because they thought their cars wouldn't start on 1/1/00. As though cars (at least of that era) cared what date it was, with the exception of somehow knowing when they're 1 week out of warranty..
Based on our experiences with the hardware, that "Surface will die" seems to be an accurate prediction, whether or not MS discontinues them.
"There's still a mystery about why Microsoft let Windows 10 October update ship with the bug, because it was reported by testers of Insider releases in June and August."
Personally I would blame internal bureaucracy coupled with pressure to get the update out the door, and the somewhat arrogant attitude MS has had for its users for the last decade or so..
"MS-DOS 2.0 was a milestone for Microsoft, supporting the capacious 180 and 360 kilobyte floppy disks of the IBM XT and its clones."
Back in 1980, Commodore had 512K and 1MB floppy drives. (the 8050 and 8250 if I recall) It's a bit off-topic, but I still wonder what the world would be like if Commodore hadn't been so mis-managed. They were so far ahead of everyone for most of a decade..
"What happens when weather / terrain / power failure means that your electronic map dies?"
Agreed.. but have you ever tried to unfold, read, and re-stow a map outdoors on a windy and/or rainy day?
Octopi is a misnomer."
Octopi = 8.1415926
Both my ancient Samsung phone and my Asus tablet, which is about 4 years old, got updates about a year ago. Not as frequent as Apple, but not abandoned either. And lately it seems like the next iOS update is to fix bugs introduced in the last iOS update..
"Apple are still way better than Google in that department. Your Android might get one or two updates if you are lucky, and Google regularly discontinue products, even ones that people pay for."
In what way is this actually better? While nothing lasts forever, at least if you have an Android phone, you're not getting actively screwed by having to choose between either doing without a key feature or having your device run much slower. At least you can count on the features you had when you got the thing still working, even if no updates are being made after a certain point. If your Android device gets 'orphaned', at least you're not being "encouraged" to buy another phone by strong-arm tactics and then lied to about it.
"I'd blame lack of sex, here. And, before I'm being called sexist, that's not because she's a woman, it's been proved to be the same with males !"
I'd blame lack of self esteem, which of course leads to lack of sex, which leads to lower self esteem. Lather, rinse, repeat. That and using her personality as a form of birth control..
We have 5 people on a good day (actually 4.5 as one is about half useless) supporting 1,200 people and about 1,400 machines, as well as printers, cell phones, desk phones, and whatever else is hurled our way. Yet there is plenty of money for beautifying the lawn, constant remodeling of areas that were just remodeled the year before, acquisitions of smaller companies, as well as "feel good" stuff like employee activities and clubs. Which makes for an odd schizophrenic environment, kind of like being in hell but with nice lunches.
While I realize that image and growth are necessary for any company to remain relevant, IT is a foundation of any business these days, and I feel like we're building the Taj Mahal on gravel in a floodplain most days. We are stretched ridiculously thin.
Save yourself some money and just use Google Voice for a 2nd phone number. Actually save all your money, since it's a free service.
And save even more by not being one of the twats that has to have a new phone every year or so when they don't even understand all the features on their current one.
"JFYI: in firefox, set media.autoplay.enabled to false. So far, I have not encountered any auto-playing video after making this setting."
This is the trend over the last couple of decades. Everyone is dumbing down everything these days. Most newer laptops don't have indicators for hard disk activity. Win10's menus are very vague, and good luck figuring out how "Preparing to configure Windows" for an hour actually relates to what might be going on inside your computer.
Unfortunately when people think they're being somehow smart by dumbing everything down, you end up with even dumber people in the populace over time.
"It’s capable of retaining its stickiness in temperatures ranging from −269 to +400 Celsius"
I met a used car salesman that had a handshake like that..
..fruit flies would still manage to find their way into my house, and annoyingly fly in circles 3 inches from my face.
A couple of years ago we went through the Surface Pro fad, with a lot of our users going "Shiny! I want one!" As a result, we had dozens of these non-repairable turds. Many were subsequently returned as they were flaky and users learned their limitations.
One of our vice presidents had a ton of not backed up data on one that had died. After trying every little trick I knew to try and get it to power up, I was preparing to destroy it to extract the hard drive when the idea came up: "Why not beat it on the desk a few times to see what happens? What do we have to lose?" With the VP looking on, and cringing, I gave it 3 stout whacks on the desk, attracting the attention of our whole department. Sure enough, it powered right up and I began retrieving his data. It died near the end of the process and a few more whacks revived it again long enough to get the rest of the data off it.
It's useful to have Skype on my phone so I can get and respond to messages when away from my desk at work.
It works okay for the most part, but why oh why doesn't it time stamp the messages received? And sometimes I click on a message notification and the notification just disappears without the app opening, leaving me to launch it again and look for the message. And Outlook is just as randomly quirky and laggy as it is on my PC at times.
So it appears that MS has gone to great pains to ensure mobile users have the same experience as desktop users of their products. Too bad it's not a good one overall though.
"These selenium rectifiers were notorious for the stink they made when they failed, which has been compared with a robot farting."
Everything in that column of the periodic table forms stinky compounds and reeks when burned. (Eg. sulfur, selenium, tellurium, and presumably polonium too)
If you're bored, google "tellurium breath". Apparently it only takes a very small exposure to tellurium to make the breath, urine, sweat, etc. reek horribly of garlic for a very long time.
A friend of mine bought a house, and she asked me to take a look as every time she plugged in her computer monitor (CRT type) into a certain outlet, the circuit breaker would trip instantly. The monitor worked fine when plugged into any other outlet, and anything else plugged into the suspect outlet worked fine too.
The outlet was a standard 3-wire duplex outlet, like billions of others in the US. The house was somewhat older and parts of it still had 2-prong outlets. Upon pulling the outlet out of the wall, I found that to make this a 3-wire outlet, someone had wired the neutral and ground together, as there were only 2 conductors available from the panel. While this was a code violation, and a safety issue, it would have been mostly okay if the idiot that wired it hadn't mixed up the hot and neutral wires. So the neutral and ground were both hot, and her monitor apparently had some internal fault that led to the discovery.
This could have been lethal, if for example, someone was using an older power tool that had the metal case grounded for 'safety', then touched a pipe or similar with their other hand. A metal-cased power strip could have been shocking too..
In a previous life, I managed a restaurant and also did maintenance on some restaurant equipment, including conveyor ovens. We had a satellite operation in an auto plant's commissary about 50 miles away that I also oversaw.
One evening I get a page (yes, that long ago) and the message is "Oven is down in Plant 2" So I bundle up my tools and drive 50 miles to troubleshoot the problem. After some head scratching I discover that one leg of the 3-phase power is not present. So I go hunt down one of the plant electricians, which takes quite a while, then we go on a snipe hunt for which electrical panel actually services the grimy receptacle. Eventually a panel is found and we verify that the breaker actually controls power to the outlet, but it's not tripped. It also appears to only be a 2-phase with the 2 breakers mechanically linked. The electrician verified this by taking the cover off the panel--only one screw was holding it and it came crashing to the floor when it was removed.
Now we're both scratching our heads and with the help of another electrician and a ladder he begins tracing the wiring back from the outlet. He finds that 2 phases and the neutral are wired to the panel we found, but one diverges in a ceiling electrical box and runs to a panel about 50 yards away in another part of the labyrinthine plant. There, another 2-phase breaker is found with only one phase connected, and it was not just tripped, but defective to the point where you could practically make it trip by breathing on it.
I can't imagine the level of incompetence/indifference/rushing to complete a job that would lead to wiring something this way, but it was one of the first displays of this sort that I'd experienced, contributing to barely anything surprising me these days.
But maybe not, in these times where simply making a somewhat poor joke or merely insulting someone can get you locked up and/or sued.
Surely there are some IT jobs that are rewarding and not continually stressful. But a lot of us suffer the stress of a thankless job daily and anything that takes the edge off life, even for a while, is pretty hard to resist. Also, when people are unappreciated, it's a lot easier for self-destructive behavior to take hold. If no one seems to care, it can sometimes be hard to care about yourself.
Some of the things that bother us:
-Constant stress/long hours/on call/not enough rest or peace.
-All blame and little recognition or rewards/chance for advancement.
-Unskilled/self-serving management that only have their jobs from failing upwards, yet couldn't walk a mile in the shoes of those they lead without tripping and falling on their face.
-Companies starting more projects without coming close to finishing the ones currently running. (see above comment)
IT is one of the foundations of any company in these times, yet management is nearly always trying to build their house without caring that the foundation is overburdened to the point of crumbling. Because many of us work behind the scenes to put out fires and fix problems that management never even realizes exist before they become catastrophes, our contributions are often not even known. And most of us have a love of technology, problem solving, and helping others, and not of office politics. So we don't play "the game" as well as perhaps we need to. And those of us that do seem to be the lesser-skilled and seem to end up as sycophantic "yes men" (and women) that no one likes, dividing everyone and destroying integrity and unity. Again, people fail up. A lot of us also worry about layoffs or worsening work environments when the poor decisions of people higher up the food chain come to their rotten fruition.
I work for a large company, and in the last 3 years, 3 good people where I work have died literally on the job from strokes and other sudden illnesses, and a few more have had cancers or other conditions that while you can't specifically pin them on work, IMHO stress and the unhealthy behaviors resulting from it are contributing factors in their disease.
Now I've depressed even myself and will finish my pint so I can try to get some sleep and do it all over again tomorrow.
Clearly the mechanical hard drive in the article's picture needs a thorough defragmentation.
(I actually encountered one like that--I hadn't realized that some platters were glass until then)
I remote rebooted a UNIX server that had been acting increasingly strange. A server with an uptime of over a year that ran a busy call center. Then did a ping -t and waited for it to come back up so I could continue maintenance. And waited.. and waited.. and waited... Finally, faced with the reality that it was never going to come online, I stated making phone calls and leaving messages to the few people that had a key to the server room, and prepared myself for an early rise and a 150-mile drive to see what happened. I didn't sleep very well that night.
Fortunately one of the people got my message and found the machine stuck on some minor error with a "Press Y to continue" message on the console, and doing so restored normal operation.
Then there's this: https://thedailywtf.com/articles/ITAPPMONROBOT
Most of us don't like people that are too chatty, at least not when all they do is spout continual inanity. Superficial friendliness is not friendship, and there's only so many conversations about the weather, your latest workout, or that great salad someone had that can be endured. I wish some of my coworkers had an off switch. Or at least a "go away for an hour" button.
"What do you mean theres no magic anymore? Have you not used wifi?"
Well, I have managed to get older versions of Oracle to install on Win10..
..as there is not enough magic or mystery in the world these days. But I fear this may be some guys with a solution looking for a problem. Eg., find what you want to believe and then figure out a path that sort of gets you there. I'm curious as to the concentrating effect of other shapes, such as cones, trapezoids, etc. I fear that this may be just some random intrinsic property than anything approximately shaped like a pyramid would have. Like some far future archaeologist finding a hubcap and noting that it rings like a bell when struck, so it must have been used in religious ceremonies..
"Oh dear, am I at risk of being penetrated by a Pointy Mummy now?"
Is this some kind of euphemism for a MILF with a strap-on?
"I've used Dell for years and my experience has been like yours. Engineer on site within 24 hours and never had a repair refused or quibbled."
You've been lucky then. With the "gold" Pro Support warranty, I've occasionally had my time wasted with all sorts of pointless extended diagnostics for an obviously failed HDD or SDD when trying to get warranty service. Is it a coincidence that the warranty service is more reluctant to replace a drive when there are price or supply issues, such as the some years back flooding of major manufacturer's facilities? I think not.
As far as the next-day service, usually it is, but sometimes we just don't hear from the tech until the day after that. While this isn't as big a deal for laptops or desktops, it's still in violation of our SLA. And occasionally we've had techs quibble over nonexistent "physical damage" to machines.
Still, they're 100x better than HP's support services.
"I have a Dell Premiere account and I make a point of telling the account reps that they;re losing sales bercase I can buy the exact same 2TB SSDs they're putting in their boxes for half the price from a retailer."
And, you can choose whatever brand you want and not whoever the lowest bidder was that month for Dell.
"I'm not sure why but I never really liked working with Linux.
To each their own. I use Linux at home, and having supported both OSes, I'd say both can be a pain. But it's little things that I like about Linux--the way when you plug in a mouse or other device, that Linux instantly identifies it and it works--no waiting 5 minutes for Windows to decide whether it has a driver for it or not. The way it doesn't constantly pop up pointless notifications. The way it never steals focus from the window you're using. And the quick, relatively graceful patching process that actually tells you what it's doing compared to Windows, which is about as graceful as a drunken hippo in a log rolling competition when patching. If it feels unfinished to some, it's more like because there's enough there and not more than you need, IMHO.
There are days after getting frustrated by a long hard day of supporting Windows machines that I boot up my Linux desktop and enjoy the serenity of it. Conversely there are days when dealing with some stubborn Linux issue, such as getting DRM to interoperate, that it's a joy to boot into Windows and have it just work too.
You can bet though, that if I had a scheduled flight on a new aircraft, that I'd feel a lot less apprehensive if I found the autopilot ran on Linux and not anything from Microsoft.
Have an upvote for the SG1 reference.
For that matter, you can use Linux desktops in an AD domain, run a Linux machine as a domain controller, and interoperate both worlds. I understand the want to consolidate things and only support one family of OSes. From a user point of view, the experience probably won't be much different, other than I'd predict everything will run a bit slower and possibly less stable. Hardware requirements will go up too. From an admin point of view, there's going to be a learning curve whether you go from LInux to Win or vice-versa, and there will be some teething problems.
Since management usually only understands cost and not technical things (even some IT management), and Linux is a lot cheaper than Windows, Office, etc., it has to be that MS made them a really sweet deal. Probably something along the lines of "We won't charge you licensing for the first year, and you get free support from us, plus discounts on hardware from one of our partners." It's after that, that there will likely be hell to pay.
"Sorry, you've sent us an MS Excel (.xlsx) file: we don't use those. Please resave the file in the correct OpenDocument (.ods) format.."
Um, when was the last time you actually used Open Office or Libre Office? It opens and saves in .xlsx and other formats, and IMHO, crashes a lot less and is much more responsive than Office 2013 and 2016. MS Office may have a few features that the free alternatives do not, but 99% of Office users likely never use them or even know they exist. SharePoint is kind of useful, I'll admit, when it feels like cooperating.
And why switch the whole infrastructure over? Surely an incentive was given by MS to do so, as there's no reason both platforms couldn't coexist.
Some Microsoft salesperson is likely getting a big bonus this quarter..
"Weirdly enough, it appears it is mostly drawn from a formation on its surface called the Medusae Fossae, a single geological object that is slowly crumbling and scattering debris all over the Red Planet."
So THAT'S where that billion year-old mothership crashed...
This is the way in the time of A.J., common reckoning. (After Jobs)
"But even if we did I'm sure the world would just keep spinning."
Yes, but you wouldn't be able to find a damn thing on it.
..would be that all the vendors, now having the power to include whatever they want, will actually be 10x worse than just letting Google preinstall its defaults, which while a bit heavy handed, actually work quite well.
While I do think what Google is doing to phone makers with GMS and their Play store is BS, and I agree with the spirit of the antitrust suit, instead of reasonableness I'm afraid we'll end up with a bunch of bureaucratic solutions that make little sense and do very few any favors, such as the idiotic "Korea Media Player" link that MS was forced to include on the Win 7 'Start' menu to make everyone happy. I wonder if anyone ever bothered to even try that, even in Korea?
..with the DroidX and their "Atrix" desktop. It never caught on. While there was a dock for the phone I think, I had a DroidX and a suitable cable, and with just plugging the cable into the phone and an HDMI input, you had a couple of options--mirroring the phone display or using it as a "desktop". I will say that the desktop option wasn't bad--the whole phone became a touchpad and apps like the web browser suddenly had usable tabs. Other apps reformatted for the bigger screen too. I'm sure the dock had USB ports for a keyboard, etc. but I never laid eyes on one. I never used it for productivity, but it was good for web surfing and watching videos. And at the time, surprising Apple fanbois with what the little Droid could do.
My personal feelings on why it never caught on was the need for accessories bringing the price into the range of cheaper netbooks, and the lack of proper marketing. Also, the Android platform not being seen as a platform for productivity apps at the time, especially ones that would interoperate with MS Office, which love or hate it, has become the world standard.. (Apple really has the same problem)
The thing about alcohol (and drugs), is that it only brings out what is already there in your psyche. A lot of mistakes in politics, hiring, marriage, etc. could likely be avoided by giving someone a few drinks and then letting them speak their mind before making an evaluation. Or perhaps requiring a final debate to be done under the influence of Pentohol.
..you could carry a grand piano out of the building and the guards would hold the door for you.
..another underspec'd, over-hyped, not repairable, barely usable, likely unreliable, fairly useless device from Microsoft.
Spend the same or slightly more and get a much better machine from Asus, Dell, even Acer, with more than one pathetic USB port and a keyboard that doesn't feel like a pizza box lid when you try to type on it, and won't set you back an extra C-note.
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