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Comment: Re: Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 243

by DrXym (#47763217) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
I find live tiles quite useful. They tell me if I have unused email, the weather, the time, the currency exchange rate, breaking news etc.

Besides, the springboard UI is for tablets where the expectation is someone runs one app at a time. If they switch away from an app it's to run another app. It is not comparable to a desktop where someone may have 20 windows open and therefore their mental processes and context are built around that. I have no major objection to the start screen in Windows for tablets but this isn't what the thread is about - it's for the desktop behaviour.

Comment: Re:Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 243

by DrXym (#47760373) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
Not really. Just something like the old start menu but with some of the functionality and styling of metro. It doesn't have to be exactly analogous to the start menu because the start menu is not something which was immutable to begin with. But it should be familiar to someone who is used to the start menu and it could add useful stuff from metro such as live tiles.

Anyway I think it's remarkable how fucked up Microsoft managed to make it. I remember before Windows 8 came out being positive that they wouldn't walk all over mouse / keyboard users and yet that's what they did. Win 8.1 took off most of the rough edges and in general is an excellent desktop. It's just that disconnect between the desktop and the launcher still hasn't been solved.

Comment: Re:Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 243

by DrXym (#47760309) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
Before starting let's be clear that the start menu has never been an immutable thing. Every release of Windows has changed it, often in very substantial ways. Go back to the days of Win95 / 98 and the thing is appalling.

Regarding your question, most recent versions of the start menu offered you multiple ways to access your apps. You could pin menus to start. You also saw a list of apps you used a lot. You could navigate all apps if you wanted. You could also start typing straight into the bar if you knew the name of the app. You also had links to control panel, to services, to devices, and run... command and power / log off options. And other stuff in a little semi transparent box which didn't stop you losing context of where you were.

Windows 8 offers much of that functionality but chose to smear it over multiple screens activated by swipes, hot corners, and other nonsense - is control panel in Start Menu? Haha no, it's that gesture on the right buried under settings and you won't even see it unless you are in the desktop at the time. How do I shut down? Haha we've hidden it! And so on. Windows 8.1 took some of the rough edges off (e.g. more discoverable shutdown) but its all over the place.

The only sop to the Old Way is Windows+X brings up a power menu, but it's basically its a hack that shouldn't exist if they just put something where the start menu used to be.

Comment: Re:Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 243

by DrXym (#47760055) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
That's why I said metro apps should live on the desktop. Once you have a mini metro / start thing and the apps run alongside the "classic" apps, there is little reason to open the start screen ever again. Maybe it's a user setting somewhere that takes a sensible default - devices with touchscreens or multi screen displays enable the start menu, mouse and keyboard devices default to desktop and mini metro.

I don't think the apps are inferior or redundant to the desktop counterparts. The closest Microsoft got to an "app" in the past were gadgets and few people bothered with them and arguably all the apps in Windows 8 are better anyway. Even where there is a counterpart, e.g. Internet Explorer, the desktop version hasn't gone away. The metro one is obviously easier to use in tablet mode however.

The biggest bug bear is apps are treated differently in the UI and how they're activated. Windows 8.1 at least sticks them in the task bar and fixed alt+tab so they're peers of each other. It also put close buttons on top of the apps. Now it needs to house them in windows with resizing capabilities. At that point people can take them or leave them. Perhaps they could even allow apps to be docked in some sensible way or pinned to the background.

Anyway it should have never come to this. Microsoft clearly made a beeline for tablet land. It's understandable that they did but they seriously botched the execution and failed to anticipate the backlash. Let's hope they make good.

Comment: Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 4, Insightful) 243

by DrXym (#47756477) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?
Just a mini metro which launches from the start button and serves a similar role as the old start menus. i.e. something which doesn't cause the user to have a brain fart when their entire screen is hidden and replaced with a massive launcher. Let the user customize it and have access to all apps and control panel etc. That and remove the distinction between metro apps and classic apps on the desktop. Let them both live there. Outside of these issues Windows 8.1 is pretty stable and fast really.

Comment: Re:McDonallds should sue ... (Score 5, Insightful) 249

by DrXym (#47710419) Attached to: Comcast Training Materials Leaked
If a customer says no thanks then that should mark the end of the sales pitch. There are occasions when good customer service means not selling shit to them AT ALL. For example if someone rings because of a fault and you fix it with profuse apologies then they are a happy customer and likely to be remain loyal. If someone rings and you badger them to switch packages instead of focussing on the problem then the next time you may hear from them is when they call to cancel.

And if you REALLY piss people off then sooner or later someone is going to recall that excrutiating call with customer retention and post it up on the internet. And then the reputational damage will far exceed any benefit of being incalcitrant with departing customers.

Comment: Re:McDonallds should sue ... (Score 3, Informative) 249

by DrXym (#47710407) Attached to: Comcast Training Materials Leaked
Unless they've changed from my McJob youth, the standard McDonalds policy was to upsell once according to what a customer didn't order or wasn't specific about. If you bought a burger you were asked if you wanted fries. If you asked for meal (without being specific) you were asked if that was a large meal. etc. You were only supposed to ask once and if a person said no that it was it.

If they took a page from the Comcast book they wouldn't take no for an answer and would methodically break down your objections until you relinquished and bought that large meal. Oh and you'd have a 12 month contract for large meal with a huge penalty fees if you tried to escape from it.

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 1) 578

by DrXym (#47702163) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
That's great for you. Doesn't that in a 10,000 seat deployment consisting mostly of administrative / clerical / managerial bods that these issues aren't annoying or frustrating to the extent that some people complain about them.

And many issues with LibreOffice are easy to identify just from using it. It needs to focus on fixing them and modernizing itself.

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 2) 578

by DrXym (#47701719) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft
Or 3) People are genuinely bitching about the experience because it's unintuitive, unforgiving or lacking features.

I think if I had to use Open/LibreOffice day in day out that I'd be pretty pissed off with it too. It's fine for simple things, but start using it for complex documents, spreadsheets or presentations and lots of little annoyances become apparent - resizing that doesn't snap to things, text that wobbles around as you type, dialogs which aren't prefilled with useful defaults, clutter in the menus and toolbars, inscrutable icons and menu items, lack of outline mode (navigator doesn't count), lack of useful shapes etc.

This project would benefit enormously from devoting an entire major cycle to usability where the goal is to simplify the UI, make workflows more task centric and give the software a makeover.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.