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Comment: Re:When did Slashdot become a press agent? (Score 4, Funny) 198

by Gadget_Guy (#49325707) Attached to: Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan

This is nothing more than a press release for some software. It's literally an ad for something made by Pixar published on Pixar's website.

Then what would you like to talk about that doesn't involve mentioning any products at all? If you go to a website that talks about "News for nerds, stuff that matters" then you are going to find that the stuff that matters to nerds will often be products that people sell (or in this case, give away). We can't all be MacGyver building our own supercomputers from coconut shells and earwax.

If a story doesn't interest you, or you think that it is just blatant consumerism, then feel free to go do something else like watch another inspirational episode of MacGyver from the MacGyver Complete Series box set, available at a cheap price and with free shipping at Amazon.

Comment: Re:Last week I tried to write a Win8.1 universal a (Score 1) 133

by Gadget_Guy (#49325621) Attached to: Microsoft Releases Windows 10 SDK

It's true that Microsoft have dropped some products quickly (and their support for APIs can be faddish), but they have also supported a lot of products for very long times. In fact, some of your examples seem a bit out of place with Flight Simulator lasting 24 years and Encarta lasting 16 years.

Comment: Re:Trojan horse (Score 1) 322

by Gadget_Guy (#49284387) Attached to: Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

Psst. They have always charged money for the platform. The difference now is that for the next 12 months they will not charge for upgrades. You seem to have it backwards.

People misunderstood the time-limited nature of that offer as it being a subscription service, but that was just wrong. Once you have upgraded to Windows 10 you won't have to pay a cent to keep using that OS on your PC. It will never expire and revert to a subscription system, because if they did that it would be a PR nightmare for Microsoft with allegations of turning the OS into ransomware.

So yes, it is FUD. It is FUD to tell people not to believe what Microsoft is saying now because you have imagined a future where they will suddenly force people to pay for their free product retrospectively. That really is the very definition of FUD.

Comment: Re: stop electing anti science politicians (Score 1) 416

by Gadget_Guy (#49273213) Attached to: Politics Is Poisoning NASA's Ability To Do Science

so the HEAD of NASA says that the single most important thing he has been tasked to do is muslim outreach... and all you can say is yawn and make up excuses???

As the grandparent said, this was just pandering to the specific audience. No, it is not the most important thing for NASA to do any more than companies who claim that "safety is their priority" really care about anything other than their profits. Or bands on tour say that <INSERT_YOUR_STATE> is their most favorite place to be. Or insurance companies who advertise that "we care about you". Or politicians who say... pretty much anything!

The only reason that you are fixated on this is that it gives you something about them Demeeecrats for you to get angry about. Do you have any specific problems with the actions of NASA? Can you even cite even one way that it has actually become a "muslim outreach"?

Comment: Re:I must be missing something. (Score 1) 240

by Gadget_Guy (#49272363) Attached to: Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes

Windows 7 was just Vista, which, for some reason, the people who hated Vista decided that they loved.

WOOOAH there, friend. That is far from the truth.

By the time Windows 7 was released Vista had enough service packs to make it quite usable, so I don't think that it is fair to say that my statement was far from the truth. There are plenty of people who still claim to this day that Vista was an unusable mess even though that was just the initial teething problem.

And even then, a lot of what was said about the OS was just wrong. I avoided Vista because of what I read about it here. When I finally got a laptop for my wife with it pre-installed, I decided to try it out for a laugh before I wiped it with my XP CD only to find that it was a perfectly capable system. It certainly didn't take 30 seconds to do a directory listing for me. I'm sure that a lot of people had driver issues that caused problems, but the other stuff said about it (like the DRM that was supposed to infest the OS and stop you from doing anything that Microsoft didn't want) was just the product of fantasy.

I guess you could make an argument that Windows 7 was Vista SP3+, but it definitely contained more changes than a SP usually brings - and it definitely wasn't "just Vista".

Of all the examples that I gave of the times when people have said that a version upgrade of Windows gave no real features, I think the Vista to Win7 would have to be either first or second in the list when ordered by plausibility. I think the fact that this claim was made about Xp->Vista (when that was the biggest change in Windows under the hood in nearly a decade) shows that in reality it is a bogus thing to say. I certainly don't say it. I was just pointing out that with each upgrade, someone will make that claim.

Comment: Re:I must be missing something. (Score 1) 240

by Gadget_Guy (#49272243) Attached to: Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes

Having to move the mouse to particular corners of the screen is a crap idea too

OS X has had the concept of "Hot Corners" for years

The difference there is that if you didn't know about the hot corners, the Mac was a perfectly usable system. On Windows 8, you had no way of getting to the start screen or charms without knowing about them. Without that knowledge, Windows 8 was an unusable system.

I should have been more clear that having the ability to do this is fine, but requiring the user does it as the main interface is not.

Comment: Re:I must be missing something. (Score 1) 240

by Gadget_Guy (#49264783) Attached to: Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes

A lot of those shortcuts were also on the Windows 7 start menu (unless you turned them off). I don't have a Windows 8.1 system in front of me, but I don't recall anything on it that could not be pinned to the Start Menu. Perhaps some of the direct links into the Control Panel, but that could be done with a bit of fiddling.

Comment: Re:The quality of a lot of that feedback is suspec (Score 1) 236

"It doesn't print" is a different bug report than "it prints garbage".

That's true. It is also different to "it prints blank pages" and "it emits no pages". "It doesn't print" is vague and unhelpful, because as you said customers lie in bug reports and will therefore say it won't print when it actually prints garbage.

Having been the recipient on many a bug report that was as simple as "it won't print", I know that you almost always have to follow up such general bug reports with questions to narrow down the problem. This is especially the case with printing when the problem may only present with certain documents (something a crash report will not tell you).

Comment: Re:The quality of a lot of that feedback is suspec (Score 1) 236

But when Firefox doesn't crash it doesn't send that information (obviously). The equivalent of "it won't print" would be "the web page is blank". A rendering error will not trigger the crash reporting system.

However, if a bug report is generated due to a crash in the print spooler then it will be obvious that it didn't print so adding the text "it won't print" provides nothing useful.

Comment: Re:I must be missing something. (Score 3, Insightful) 240

by Gadget_Guy (#49264079) Attached to: Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes

Problem 1: Multiple instances of the same program.

This was answered in the link that you provided. Right click on the task bar icon and open a new instance of the application (or access the jump list of recently used files). It works for Windows 7 and 8.

Problem 2: The start screen forces me into a mobile interface.

Yeah, I hate the Metro interface too. But this is the high profile change that they made to Windows 10, so it is already a solved problem.

Problem 3: Windows 8 sends to Microsoft everything we locally search.

This is a configurable option in Windows 8.1, so that isn't a problem.

Problem 4: Functionality isn't everything.

It will be interesting how many of Windows 8's less intuitive user interface features will still be around in the final version of Windows 10. My most hated modern user interface idea is the removal of UI hints to simplify the screen. You end up having to try clicking and swiping everything just to see if it does something. Having to move the mouse to particular corners of the screen is a crap idea too

Problem 5: The new paradigm has a negative impact on consumer perceptions.
The absolute best way for Microsoft to introduce the changes we've seen with Windows 8 would have been to make them optional at the moment of installation. We could then have chosen the interface that best suits our device.

Well that is what they have done now. I read a great article once on the though process that went on behind the scenes about the new interface. I wish I could find it again, because it put it all into perspective. I will still always hate the Metro interface and the loss of functionality that it brings, but I have been surprised at the change of heart about it that the staff at my company have had about it. They went from hating it to acceptance (and even one who loves it).

Problem 6: Nothing about the new Windows features is necessary.

That gets said about every version of Windows. XP was just a face-lift on 2000. Vista was just XP run as a limited user. Windows 7 was just Vista, which, for some reason, the people who hated Vista decided that they loved. The changes in each version are more noticeable when moving back to an old version. You suddenly realise how many of the new features you use when they suddenly disappear.

Now I write that though (on my Windows 7 computer), I can't think of any examples of things that I miss from Win8 right now.

Comment: Re:The quality of a lot of that feedback is suspec (Score 2) 236

"It doesn't print" isn't a complete and useful report because it is just one step up from simply saying "it doesn't work". Presumably it does print for some people, so the developers really need to be able to narrow down the problem.

Does it crash as soon as it starts the print process, or does it go appear to generate each page? Does it send anything to the printer (flashing light on printer), but just no pages are emitted? Is it just that blank pages are emitted? Or random garbage characters? There can be many symptoms of not printing, and they would each suggest a problem in a different bit of code.

I haven't read the privacy statement for this, but it would be sensible for the OS to capture recent activity in a bug report, no?

Yes, it does log activity in the beta versions of Windows. It seems that their collective head is in the right place. However, all the logging in the world can't see what has come out of your printer.

Comment: Re:Global Warming? (Score 1) 356

by Gadget_Guy (#49245385) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

As any investor will tell you, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Then surely this just backs up my point, which was that you can't use the current performance as a guarantee of future results. What I was using the past performance for was as proof of that exact point; not that past warming was proof of future warming but that the current pattern cannot be used as proof of the lack of future warming.

I would further direct your attention to the fact that your link to the satellite data only goes back to about 1970.

Of course it didn't go back a long way. It was a graph showing more detail of the most recent temperatures to demonstrate how noisy the data is that you can't use a short term phenomenon as a predictor of long term trends. It was not the graph that I was referring to throughout the rest of my post about the previous lulls and drops in temperature not being harbingers of the end of global warming. I was looking at a PDF of a graph while I was writing, but I had intended to link to an online version in my post. Rather than me choose one that you might take issue with, why don't you do a Google search and find one yourself. Whichever you choose they demonstrate my point.

The further back you go (prior to around 1930, there wasn't even standardization or widespread training for temperature measurements at weather stations), the less accurate, precise, and available the data becomes.

We have a pretty good picture of temperatures dating back thousands of years from various sources like tree growth patterns and ice core samples. So do you really think that scientists suddenly get all stupid about interpreting the measurements made a hundred years ago? That they can't (or didn't think to) correlate between the various measuring stations at the time and factor equipment problems and local environmental changes?

It is no coincidence that temperature graphs for modern times all start in the mid to late 1800s. That is the time that scientists agree is when accurate enough records began. You might like to say that it is only the last 45 years that we have accurate measurements, but the scientific community would beg to differ on that assertion.

We are a child trying to understand the inner workings of a nuclear power plant even as we struggle to master basic arithmetic. ... It does mean that setting public policy based on the level of understanding we have today is foolish and that any attempt to purposely alter the climate through mass engineering efforts is downright suicidal.

Suicidal? How can it be suicidal to reduce our carbon footprint to a level that we had in the past, when obviously we didn't all die out back then - either literally or economically. And they say the AGW proponents are alarmists!!

But if you are right and we really don't know enough about the environment, surely the most sensible approach would be to not keep pumping the atmosphere with substances that we don't know what effect it will have on our climate. Stop doing that until we know more. How can you possibly defend doing otherwise? Surely those children who haven't mastered basic arithmetic shouldn't be trying to build nuclear power plants.

Comment: Re:Global Warming? (Score 5, Informative) 356

by Gadget_Guy (#49239963) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

Which Global Warming? The one which stopped 18 Years ago?

No, not that Global Warming, it's another one. You can't say that it has stopped or is dead, because all you need to do is look at a graph of global temperatures to see that this is not unprecedented. The global temperature peaked in 1940 and then didn't reach that point again until 1970. Global Warming didn't stop back then, despite that lull.

In fact, that wasn't a lull, it was more of a plummet then a rise. If you look at the graphs, you will see that the global temperature repeatedly plateaus (or even falls) only to continue warming a few years later.

It is totally premature to try to call the end of a major trend while you are in the middle of it. Just look at how noisy the data is for the period that you mention (which is just one reading). Who is to say that we wont see another step up in the next year or so followed by another plateau at a higher level? It certainly fits the pattern that we have seen in the past.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.