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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......

Comment: Re:Why did it take so long? (Score 1) 275

by GreatDrok (#45675599) Attached to: Munich Open Source Switch 'Completed Successfully'

"completing the Windows XP --> Windows 7 transition. Big organizations move slowly... "

There it is in a nutshell. Munich was on NT4 when they started this and while XP was out, they decided they didn't want to go that route because they could see that they would just become more and more tied to Microsoft.

Fast forward ten years and they're on their own Linux distro with upgrades in their own time. No being forced to move from a platform that is well understood and works well (XP) to a different platform that has compatibility problems with software developed for earlier versions (7) just because the vendor (MS) doesn't want to support XP any more.

This is a bit of a watershed. Many thought Munich was mad doing this and MS clearly hated it and wanted them to fail but they haven't failed and more to the point they've taken control of their environment in a way that MS only shops would never be able to. I've got to wonder how many sites are going to be going through a world of pain getting off XP while staying in the MS fold when they could move away entirely and save themselves the trouble in future?

Comment: Re:GNOME? (Score 5, Informative) 211

by GreatDrok (#45665371) Attached to: SteamOS Will Be Available For Download On December 13

"Are they providing a sensible version of GNOME? I very want to shuck Ubuntu, and this would let me have my Steam games *and* a usable desktop system."

This isn't the Linux you're looking for. This is stripped down and intended to run Steam in Big Picture mode all the time. No desktop at all. The standard Steam client on a Linux system is what you're looking for.

Personally, I shy away from the bleeding edge Linux systems and stick with CentOS.

Comment: Re:save us from *all* pseudo-science (Score 5, Insightful) 674

by GreatDrok (#45656521) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

"Science hasn't "disproven" the existence of *any* supernatural being, just as it hasn't "proven" the existence either."

It isn't up to science to disprove the existence of god or whatever you want to call it. As Sagan so eloquently put it "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and religion doesn't like to produce evidence.

On other hand though, when you look at how many gods mankind has believed in over the millennia (approximately 3000) the odds that the one particular god currently favoured is the right one is pretty darn small so as far as disproving it, no you're right, the particular favourite god of the moment (and this will change as it always does) may not be disproven, but it in no way stands out any more than all these other gods ever did and as such the probability that this god is any more real than any of the others is very tiny indeed. I certainly wouldn't go betting my life on being right about which one to pick.

Comment: Re:Games on linux (Score 3, Interesting) 108

by GreatDrok (#45598785) Attached to: Valve Joins the Linux Foundation

Hmmm, mod points or comment..... Oh well.

"The answer is: No...

As I see it, the Steam eco-system will be no different than the current consoles (XBox, PS4). The Steam boxes will have the advantage over the consoles of higher-end graphics, game controllers, etc. Windows boxes not only support higher-end gaming but also a wide variety of applications. A gaming rig can, and usually is, also used for gaming, photo editing, finances, and many other applications. Much like tablets, it's all about the apps...

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see the expansion of gaming. However, Steam is not the savior of the Linux desktop. In my opinion, It will be just another console..."

At some point the market will decide there are too many choices. This happened back in the 1980s when there were loads of different types of home computer and eventually they got thinned out through the 90's until Windows PCs were basically it. Valve is likely to turn console gaming on its head if they can get a sufficiently console like experience in place (Big Picture is close but enough games don't work with it that I still have to keep a keyboard and mouse close at hand) and enough AAA games come to it. Certainly, the market is saturated with PS4/XBone and then SteamBox and of the three I wish the SteamBox most success because it already has a massive game library compared to the other two, plus you can upgrade your hardware and keep your games. That's a killer improvement.

As for Windows, the main reason people use it is applications. When I talk to people about why they don't use Linux or Mac on the desktop there are largely viable replacements for the apps they use (especially true with the Mac) but games always come up as the main reason. Take that away and Windows is severely weakened in the market. Sure, it will hang on for a long time especially in corporate environments but these days home users have very little need for a PC when a tablet can do their social communications and a games console can do the gaming. I have a Mac and a PC (Win 7) at home and I barely use either because I have to actually go over and sit in front of them. Sure, I use my work Mac in the office all day but in my off time I don't want to sit at a desk. Steam on any computer is OK but it still can't be totally driven without a keyboard and mouse so maybe Valve's new controller can fix that (I hope so) in which case I'll leave my Windows box in Big Picture mode all the time and enjoy my games from the couch in full 1080p or more when I next upgrade and I won't lose my library. With SteamOS taking on more of the games I already own, a wipe to that is in the future for my PC and I'll keep the Mac for the boring stuff like work.

MS is desperately trying to remain relevant but they're bouncing around taking shots at everyone in sight because all these little devices are pulling the eyes away from their platform. Windows 8 has done little to improve things because it looks and works so badly unless you tweak the hell out of it with Classic Shell to get rid of the nightmare modern interface and restore it to something that looks and behaves more like Windows used to.

Sitting here at my Mac I have VMs for many different Linux distros, various versions of Windows too but I run OS X because I can run everything on it either native or via some form of emulation. Games aren't really the Mac's forte but that's OK as I don't want to sit in front of a keyboard to play games and I want a viable replacement for my current Xbox 360 (which I dislike more with every update) and MS just burned the Xbox platform by releasing the One without any backwards compatibility. Similarly, Sony's PS4 has no library and the price of games have gone up another 15-20% over the already outrageous prices so no sale there either as I can't pick up cheap back catalogue stuff to fill out the collection. Pity, I had hoped to play many of the PS3 exclusives and as it stands I'll likely buy a PS3 cheap at some point soonish to do that. I also just bought a WiiU because Nintendo is still innovating and it plays my current Wii games so we already have stuff to play along with the couple of WiiU games we got and you can pop them off the TV onto the controller screen. That's cool. PS4 and Xbox One? No back catalogue, expensive games, sub-PC graphics and all that lovely DRM. Nope, don't think so.

Comment: MacBook Air (Score 1) 477

by GreatDrok (#45529667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro?

I went from a 2006 model MacBook Pro which I had done all the upgrades on maxing the RAM and putting a 300GB drive in (big for the time I did it) and it is still running. The thing is, while I appreciated that I could upgrade it, it turns out when time came for a new machine I looked at the specs for the i5 MacBook Air and it left my 2006 MBP for dead. I figured, sure, I may not get the 5 years of working life I did out of the Air but it was less than half the price, way lighter, same screen resolution (1440x900) with a better trackpad, way better battery life and an SSD that made it so fast it was nuts. Here I am, two years in and the thing hasn't put a foot wrong. Battery is holding up nicely at just shy of 90% capacity after nearly 200 recharges whereas my old MBP had chewed through 400 recharges by two years and the battery was stuffed and needed replacing (the benefits of twice the run time I guess.)

Anyway, these days I look at the pros and figure I can't be bothered. I can hang all the stuff I want off this machine and the 4GB of RAM isn't terrible, especially now that Mavericks implements memory compression. Very glad I stumped up for the 256GB SSD and the i5 has proven a very good little workhorse. I have a big PC at home that I use for the heavier compute work and also a Mac mini which is my preferred desktop computer but the MBA is what I use 90% of the time. I wouldn't trade the small and light form factor even for a retina Pro. We have one in the office and it is heavier by far and while the screen is nice it behaves like 1280x800 so appears to have less real-estate.

I'll easily get another couple of years out of this machine and then I'll go straight back and buy another with the latest specs. The benefits of the largely solid state design, light weight and the wonderful keyboard and trackpad more than make up for any losses. Oh, and the screen, while not matte, doesn't have a glass cover so is actually very nice with the antiglare finish.

Comment: Fire safe (Score 1) 285

by GreatDrok (#45320561) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor?

Get a fire safe. Put your backups inside. Probably safer than having them in your neighbour's house as anything that could happen to yours could also engulf theirs. Get two drives so you can have one attached and the other in the safe. That's what we do at work as well as having drives go off site. Can't have too many backups. Of course, it does require some work but you can't really get away without some effort. Heck, if you have a basement you could locate your drives down there. Anything short of a meteor strike should be protected against assuming you're also protecting against water.

Comment: Good effort (Score 1) 283

by GreatDrok (#45216925) Attached to: 5-Year Mission Continues After 45-Year Hiatus

I've followed this and other projects for a while and the quality of the sets, costumes and SFX are right up there. Sadly, the acting is poor at best. I hate to single anyone in particular out but the main three characters really don't work. It isn't just that they are different people, it is just bad acting. I actually haven't had such a problem with the Abrahms reboots despite there being new actors because the standard has been decent so it isn't that. Of course, when you get the odd trek alumni in these then they stand out as being more comfortable in the roles. Now, if we can get CGI up to a standard where we can produce lifelike replications of the original actors then we're really talking about being able to continue the series.

Comment: Re:Patentability Originally Req'd a Physical Model (Score 1) 65

by GreatDrok (#44859255) Attached to: "Patent Troll" Closes Controversial Podcast Patent Deal With SanDisk

'I'm assuming what he meant was, "New Zealand doesn't have a large enough software industry for them to have enough lobbying dollars to write the laws."'

Again, I disagree. We have a solid high tech industry and there was quite a lot of lobbying around software patents. I just think the OP was being arrogant in assuming that NZ has no software industry when actually we have some significant output and the country doesn't just rely on dairy. The software patentability thing was hard fought and a victory for common sense.

Comment: Re:Patentability Originally Req'd a Physical Model (Score 1) 65

by GreatDrok (#44857723) Attached to: "Patent Troll" Closes Controversial Podcast Patent Deal With SanDisk

"Well to be fair, New Zealand doesn't have a software industry."

It most certainly does. I've worked for a successful NZ software company for years now and we're doing very well with customers globally using our well regarded software. You don't have to look far to find there is a lot of software development going on in NZ and companies based around it. Heck, you might even have heard of a small company called 'Weta' that did the CGI for some fairly popular films.

At these prices, I lose money -- but I make it up in volume. -- Peter G. Alaquon