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Comment: Re:Those who can't... (Score 1) 177

by GreatDrok (#47723399) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

"It's been said many times - Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

I prefer "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach, and those who can't teach, manage"

In Ballmer's case he seems to be going around in circles, rather like Microsoft who can't choose a direction and stick with it.

Comment: Re:Well, I wouldn't be surprised if that worked (Score 2) 413

"I mean it worked for Windows Vista. (I'll always wonder if they didn't have to rename it would we have gotten what became Windows 7 as a service pack.)"

Indeed, I have Windows 7 64 bit home premium on my home PC and a spare copy of Vista 64 bit Ultimate on my MacBook Pro in VMWare so I use both relatively regularly. The main visible difference is the change to the task bar and honestly, I prefer the Vista version to what they did with Windows 7. Other than that, modern hardware zips along running Vista just fine and if it wasn't for the fact that I can see the different task bar I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in actual use.

Mind you, run 7 for any length of time and it soon starts to decay with the classic MS bit-rot and it still suffers from frequent reboots whenever it updates because it can't replace files that are being used. There's really very little different about 7 other than dropping the Vista name and little that couldn't have simply been a service pack because Vista today doesn't bog down anything like as much as it did when it first came out. Vista and 7 are still way more bloated than XP and that was a fat pig compared with 2K (my personal favourite Windows, gone too soon)

Comment: Re:Who has the market share? (Score 5, Informative) 336

by GreatDrok (#47592669) Attached to: Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

"Mac remains the desktop fashion accessory for those who care about style over function"

This is a very myopic view of the Mac. In some fields, particularly scientific fields, Macs are a better solution than Linux and have gained considerable support. It isn't because it is a fashion accessory, it is because it is a fully fledged UNIX with all the same open source tools as Linux, plus a bunch of commercial software that Linux lacks, all on hardware that is well specified, long lasting and well designed. I've had my share of PC hardware cobbled together to get Linux on my desktop but in the end a Mac is more cost effective and a better solution. Our site's Linux fanboy admin even bought a MacBook Air for his own use and now won't spec anything non-Apple for our users regardless of the OS they choose because we've had such bad experience of poorly made PCs.

Comment: Why all the anti-electric rhetoric? (Score 2) 120

I've been reading through the comments and there seems to be so much vitriol aimed at electric vehicles. Sure, this isn't a practical car, but electric vehicles in general can be very practical. We have a petrol powered car at the moment but when it eventually dies (which won't be for some time given how reliable it is, go Mazda!) I would seriously consider an all electric simply because we rarely if ever do trips in our car that are longer than the range of the Nissan Leaf for instance. One tank of fuel lasts us about three weeks so we're averaging around 100 miles a week. We have a garage so we can keep an electric topped up (from roof mounted solar panels) and for the once or twice a year where we need the range of a petrol car I have no issue with nipping over to the nearest car rental place and grabbing whatever I fancy for the trip. The cost savings of switching to an electric will be substantial and we would never have to waste five minutes filling the car up every few weeks so that's a plus.

It only makes sense to make the switch when we're shopping for a new car but electrics have become easily practical for an every day car when you live in a city and the cost is dropping down to the affordable range. If we were in the country then I would more likely look to a hybrid but for our needs, lugging around a petrol motor just for the rare times we would have to travel more than 100 miles round trip makes no sense.

If none of the above applies to you and you tow your boat everywhere just in case, and you won't even start your vehicle unless you intend to do an 800 mile round trip, well then, buy a huge 4x4 and be happy with your choice.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 928

" I just pledged to avoid that airline in future... and later upgraded it to a blanket ban after the next time I used the airline (4 years later) a similar event happened where my connecting flight was cancelled and trapping me in the same airport."

US airlines are some of the worst I've ever had the displeasure of encountering. I just got back from some work in the US and had to fly United internally as that was what worked for the necessary connections. The flight was late by two hours but fortunately it didn't matter that time but I was still grumpy sitting in SF for five hours. The next flight was Delta which was OK and on time, and then I was on United again and the same thing happened, delayed by two hours due to weather (aka act of God) and I missed my international connecting flight which stranded me in LA for 22 hours until the next connection. United didn't offer a hotel having left me there at close to midnight. I paid for an hotel myself having confirmed my insurance would cover me but the lack of customer service skills was very apparent. The flights were also lousy with no in flight entertainment unless you put your hand in your pocket and the same goes for food or drink.

I won't fly United again. Consider this my 'tweet'.

Comment: Re:An extended rental... (Score 1) 116

by GreatDrok (#47217827) Attached to: Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

"The problem with digital "sales" is that they aren't really a sale. They are effectively an extended rental. That rental can be revoked at any time and your entire collection can be made to go away."

This is exactly my problem. I've always bought discs but sometimes I get a free iTunes voucher so I redeem that. I've recently had a case where a movie from iTunes was showing in reverse colours and they swore blind that it was my fault. I tested it on every device I had an the thing was always the same, a file I downloaded was fine, the one they were now serving via iCloud was inverted. In the end I had to give up because they kept to the story that the issue was with my Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone rather than the file being the problem. If this file had been a purchase I would have been stuck. Fortunately, I rip all my DVDs and Blu rays since they are then fine and I can archive the discs. Discs are still the way to go.

Comment: Re:Read the Article! (Score 1) 363

by GreatDrok (#47174955) Attached to: Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

"Sadly the killer for this, and all electric cars, is that assuming an internal combustion car uses 6l/100km of petrol the price of petrol would need to reach $5/litre before it became more expensive than the cost of battery or about a factor 4 higher than it currently is in Canada. Still give it a few more years of declining battery costs and increasing oil prices and we will finally be there!"

My relatively modern and efficient regular internal combustion car can do about 7l/100Km on a run (2.3 Mazda 6 wagon) but typically it gets nearer 10l/100Km for combined driving. Fuel at the moment costs $2.30 a litre for 95 octane super (required by the car because I've tried 91 and it pinks like mad) so the numbers here in NZ are getting pretty close.

Personally, I use a motorcycle which returns 4l/100Km in heavy traffic and doesn't get stuck behind the idiot in front for hours - 1.5 hours to cover 25Km in Auckland is madness but that is what people put up with, my bike does it in 35 mins. No way a car averaging 17Kph is getting anywhere near 10l/100Km, let alone 6. Then again, I don't think the fuel matters so much as the time it takes and to me when it takes longer to drive than to use a push bike then you're using the wrong mode of transport.

Comment: SteamBox just got really interesting (Score 4, Insightful) 106

by GreatDrok (#47062111) Attached to: Valve In-Home Game Streaming Supports Windows, OS X & Linux

With this I can grab a little steambox for my TV in the living room and play all my steam games on that from the comfort of the sofa. No worries about having to only buy Linux compatible games as I already have a Windows PC purely for games anyway. I'll see how well this works tonight when I can stream a PC game to my Mac laptop but if it works well then I'm sold.

This is what Sony should have done with the PS4 - let users stream from their old PS3 to the PS4 rather than rely on the PSNow solution they're pushing but I guess they don't have the flexibility of a PC to do that sadly.

Comment: Re:200 channels... (Score 5, Informative) 340

by GreatDrok (#46945791) Attached to: Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17

"and nothing to watch."

Yeah, we had satellite for a good long time but gradually pared back the channels we received because many we wanted were tied to other channels we didn't and that pushed the price up. Once we got to the basic package we realised that the vast majority of what we watched was on free to air digital HD via our TiVo so we dropped Satellite. We're down to about ten channels now. Still nothing to watch though.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

Look, I'm not disagreeing that the OS called Windows Phone 8 works well on a phone. The problem is it has no real relationship to the Windows operating system that users relate to. It doesn't use 'windows' and they nailed the phone/tablet UI onto desktop which is kind of the reverse of what they did with previous phone attempts and why I specifically mentioned the Compaq iPaq which really looked like a little Windows desktop with the start button and everything. Rather like the tablets running Windows that MS was pushing in the early 2000's. MS was always going to run afoul of having names that were so descriptive. You can see why they did it initially because when Windows was a GUI shell that ran on top of DOS it made sense to call it as such. But taking such a commodity word also makes them have to keep adding 'Microsoft' in front in order to maintain trademarks. As a trademark using such a common name is dumb. More to the point, tainting the brand as they keep doing by slapping it all over everything they do makes it difficult for users to understand why their Windows apps don't run on Windows Phone or their shiny new Windows tablet. Apple didn't make this senseless mistake and while the underpinnings of OS X and iOS are very similar in the same way that Windows Phone and Windows 8 are they realised that the GUI is what people see. MS tried to force their dominance in the desktop into the phone space by using the Windows name on something that didn't look like Windows, and then to just rub salt in the wound, drag that non-Windows UI across to desktop Windows and piss everybody off. I'm sure they could have paid someone with sufficient skill to come up with an attractive name for the tablet/phone OS they developed. Anything but Windows. Then again, even when they try it stinks up the room (Zune squirting?) but seriously hasn't the Windows brand suffered enough? Or should I say the Microsoft Windows brand since they can't have a trademark on such a common word, especially when it was already in use to describe the GUI windows before MS even developed Windows 1.0.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

"And Macintoshes don't have waterproof coats. And it doesn't matter - it's the power of the brand that matters."

Apple is at least a brand people aspire to. MS' problem is seeing Windows on something isn't the easy route to market share it may have been in the past. They've diluted the brand, made it a shitty brand especially with what they've done with Windows 8. Brands only have positive power when people feel good about it but Windows as a brand is something people are shying away from. Even the Microsoft brand itself doesn't have the power it once had. You can't stay on top forever.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

"You do realize you are comparing completely different operating systems with different core and UI and completely different hardware with over a decade between them and different input mechanisms don't you?"

Of course I do - that's why I was pointing out that there are no windows in windows phone 8. Earlier attempts at putting Windows such as CE/Mobile or whatever on a phone such as the Compaq iPaq tried to reproduce the Windows UI with the start menu, task bar and so on. It was awful. I think the tiles on Windows Phone 8 actually work pretty well but there are no windows. It doesn't look like Windows. On the other hand, it does in that they totally broke Windows itself to nail this UI onto their desktop platform which does have Windows. I can see Windows RT being called Windows because it does at least have the traditional desktop although in a limited form, but on a phone it has none of that.

The other point I made was that MS has this stupid habit of calling its applications by names that describe it (Word for uh, word processing, Windows for GUI based on windowing and many many more) but when the tool no longer does that thing such as Windows Phone which doesn't have Windows then the name makes no sense. They should have come up with a different name like they did for Xbox which while technically also the Windows kernel, isn't called Windows. Then again, they stuffed that up too by nailing the tiled UI onto the 360 as well. Crazy times.

Comment: Re:"Free" Windows (Score 1) 387

"Windows on a phone works pretty well"

Windows on a phone is crap - did you ever try the Compaq iPaq? That basically had the same UI as desktop Windows and it was shocking. Windows on a phone is a disaster. The thing they call Windows Phone 8 doesn't have windows. The name is non-sense. Branding gone mad. MS has problems all over the shop - calling their software by simplistic idiot names, then using the branding all over a range of incompatible systems. Worse, was the attempt to pull it all together again by using the same UI on different form factors and buggered up their entire market. The tile interface does indeed work well on a phone or tablet. But tiles are not windows, so why the heck call it Windows? Maddening, and by association with the desktop OS that actually does have Windows and which people only bought to run software they liked but then to find that software doesn't run on this Windows but does on that Windows the confusion is legendary.

MS has confused their entire market. They've bullied their partners, abused their customers, crapped on the history of lessons learned from other platforms and produced multiple generations of OS that still feel deeply embedded in old world thinking while desperately trying to retain their controlling position. And thank goodness for that. All the missteps, crap products that alienated customers and the general dislike they garnered they have lost control. They have to play by the wider set of rules now or die. Anyone who ties themselves to being an all MS shop today is nuts, you have to be cross platform and support a wide range of tools and especially mobile. The poor slaves tied to a desk tapping away at Word documents are a dying breed and MS doesn't really know what to do about it. The desktop is not the location for real work and what they've tried to do to redefine real work to fit their vision hasn't worked. Real work moved away from them and we're not coming back.

Comment: BMW, not MINI (Score 1) 437

by GreatDrok (#46039471) Attached to: You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

BMW make the MINI range of cars having bought the brand off Rover. Nor are all MINI's 'Coopers' since they have MINI One, Countryman and so on. So it should be BMW MINI followed by the model.

I personally don't equate these new BMW cars with the actual BMC/BL/Rover Mini released in 1959 as the last actual Mini was made in 2000 to be replaced by this much larger car which apes the appearance of the original (like the modern Beatle does, or the Fiat 500.) I'm sure this new car is a great car, but it isn't a Mini and Alec Issigonis wouldn't recognise it as being a true member of the Mini family. I've owned three Minis, and they were all plenty big enough for me (6'2" tall) but I found the BMW car to be much too cramped inside for me to reasonably drive. Then they made that 4x4 one......

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne