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Comment: Opposed by opposition (Score 1) 79

by JonathanCombe (#42253899) Attached to: UK Government To Revise Snooping Bill
In the UK the two main political parties are Labour and Conservative. A very similar bill was proposed by the previous Labour government. The Conservative party, then in opposition, strongly opposed it. Now it is the Conservative party who are pushing for this legislation and the Labour party that is opposing it. This indicates why you can never trust politicians. When they are in power they do exactly what they were against when they were out of power. Governments are increasingly run by big business for the benefit of big business. Continuing to vote for the two main parties will mean no real change in policies.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 269

by JonathanCombe (#42135223) Attached to: NPD Group Analysts Say Windows 8 Sales Sluggish
This is useful for a developer for sure, but in normal circumstances the average user shouldn't need to go into Task Manager. If a program stops responding, Windows already offers to shut it down so you can launch it again. The only reason I can think is to disable processes that don't have a window open but are consuming resource. I really don't think the average user cares how much memory is free or how much CPU is being used as long as the system is responding.

Comment: Re:It Believes (Score 2) 222

The new cabin doors and increased passenger awareness already achieved that. Job done.

Really? In the last year I've travelled on several planes flying from UK Airports with no door between the passenger compartment and the cockpit. Indeed you can sit right behind the pilot on some flights with no barrier or partition at all. Unless you have a door on every plane flying from every airport the rules are pointless. Similarly if I can get on a plane without going though luggage scanners then so can a terrorist so putting in scanners at some airports and not all airports makes it pointless. I suspect it is done in the hope it shuts up those that always claim "something must be done" after a terrorist attack. There are also airports in the UK with no seperation to airside so even after I've checked in, I can wander back outside (and potentially pick something up). The current situation is like having 50 bolts on your front door and leaving the back door wide open.

Comment: Entirely predictable (Score 1) 195

by JonathanCombe (#41844407) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Outs Mega Teaser Site, Finalizes Domain Name
I've commented before that increasing surveillance of the Internet and increasingly draconian laws is just going to push more people to use encryption so that Governments and other agencies cannot see the data that is being transmitted. Even if they go after ISPs you will never stop people exchanging files - it is easy to set up a local Wifi network amongst neighbours, for instance.

Comment: Responsible for others action (Score 3, Insightful) 253

by JonathanCombe (#41825291) Attached to: EFF And Others Push For Open Wifi APs Everywhere
It's a nice idea but with the law as it stands if I open up my connection and someone uses it to download copyright music or films (or worse) it will be me that gets the warning letters, the police knocking at the door or gets my connection cut off. And anyone wanting to commit an on-line crime is far more likely to do it using someone elses connection than their own.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 403

by JonathanCombe (#41769509) Attached to: Microsoft Releases Windows 8

There probably isn't a single "killer feature" that can get you to move, but rarely is there ever such a thing.

Of the versions of Windows I've had on my own PC there has generally been a killer feature that has prompted me to upgrade. Windows 3.1 - because it wasn't DOS and you could easily run more than one program at once. Windows 95 - it added 32-bit support meaning I could access more memory (yes I know there was Win32s for Win3.1 but it was not widely supported). Although not a killer feature the GUI was also a big improvement over 3.1 despite some odd design decisions (press Start to stop the computer?). I had the OSR2 version of 95 which included USB support otherwise that may have been a good enough reason to upgrade from 95 to 98. Then Windows XP because it was the first version of Windows designed for home systems (and so with reasonable driver support) that didn't crash several times a day. The service packs added the only other feature I may have upgraded for - support for larger disks. Windows 7 because it added 64-bit support once more increasing the amount of memory I can access and making better use of improved CPUs. However for most of that time (since 1997) I've had a dual boot with Windows and Linux as I prefer Linux but use Windows for some applications that won't work on Linux and because the VPN software the companies I've worked for in that time used has never worked with Linux (save for a brief period when remote access was by dial up modem only).

Comment: Footpaths next? (Score 1) 41

by JonathanCombe (#41629485) Attached to: Google Maps Gets Massive Street View Update
I'd love to see them extend the street view to public footpaths too (although perhaps we'd have to drop the "street" from the title). Some of the UKs most beautiful scenery can only be accessed on foot and it would be wonderful to see some of these online too. Of course doing so would be very expensive but I'd certainly be happy to walk some local paths for free if Google could provide a loan of the equipment.

Comment: Bypass ISPs (Score 1) 360

by JonathanCombe (#40893433) Attached to: Why Internet Pirates Always Win
No matter how much legislation is put in place I don't believe it will ever stop piracy. If I can copy music, films, games etc to a computer file I can share it with someone else. Many years ago when I was at school piracy of Spectrum and Commodore 64 games was rife, with kids sharing cassette tapes they had copied on a Hifi and later when PCs became more popular floppy disks of copied games were in circulation. So maybe if it's outlawed on the internet people will go back to sharing files on USB sticks or DVDs between friends and colleagues in pubs or on street corners. Or by setting up a local network amongst neighbours (very easy with WiFi or bluetooth) and sharing that way rather than go through ISPs which may be subject to filters and laws. All I need to copy files is a way of transferring the data from one computer to another. There are so many ways of doing that that focusing on just the Internet will simply drive it to other less visible means.

Comment: Why it's always wise to have multiple copies (Score 5, Informative) 134

by JonathanCombe (#40555995) Attached to: Another Death in the Cloud As Apple Kills Off iWork
Just as it's not a good idea to have a single copy of your files on a single disk it's not a good idea to have a single copy of your data in "the cloud" either. Cloud storage is useful, especially when using multiple computers but it's not a substitute for local storage and backups (but does make a good off-site backup). But you have to be prepared to switch storage providers and go through all the hassle of uploading your data again if you rely on someone else to store it. If it comes to that at least having a local copy of your files means you don't have to download them first before you can upload them again.

Comment: Could backfire (Score 1) 312

by JonathanCombe (#40328687) Attached to: Online Activities To Be Recorded By UK ISPs

I think Governments need to be very very careful about going down this route. Should this go ahead I expect any ciminals to encrypt all their network traffic via a VPN or proxy as well as measrues such as sending emails encryped via PGP. This is next to impossible to break so the government will lost the ability to see what users are doing on line anyway - all they can see is nothing other than an encyrpted connection to a VPN whose data they cannot snoop. If the VPN is located outside the UK then there will be no obligation to store sites that user has visited.

If I want to communicate with others privately I can set up a basic web server (perhaps via something like Raspberry Pi) running web forum software over an https connection with a self-generated certificate over a broadband connection and grant accounts only to those who I want to communicate via the site. All the government sees is encrypted data going to this address.

In addition IP address do NOT identify an individual. Many people can and do share a single internet IP address. Wi-FI can be cracked so an innocent users connection may be being abused without their knowledge. Then there are things like public WiFi. Or just by a mobile broadband USB stick with cash and then the connection cannot be traced back to an individual anyway. Sure the mobile operator would know the rough location it's being used via the base station it's on but not the individual property (especially with blocks of flats).

Comment: Windows Vista was also widely praised in the press (Score 1) 1027

by JonathanCombe (#40327255) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Beef With Windows Phone?

I remember when Windows Vista was released all the major press (and PC magazines) printed their usual reviews giving it something like 9 out of 10 and rating it as superior to Windows XP. As they've done with more or less every release of Windows (even ME). When Windows 7 came out those same magazines were quick to praise it and at the same time make very negative comments about how bad Vistal was, the same OS they praised just a year or two ago. The reality seems to be that large amounts of the mainstream press generate good reviews of Microsoft software regardless of whether it's actually any good.

For my sins I've used Windows for many year (since the days of Windows 3.0). I personally think that when compared with competition, all versions of Windows were actually pretty dreadful prior to XP. At the consumer level, no memory protection was present in the OS until Windows XP. That meant a single badly written program or driver could write over another programs memory causing seemingly random crashes and lost work and when it crashed it was usually that the whole OS would go or become unstable, not a single application. As a developer a single mistake could leave you having to reboot your PC, wait minutes for it to re-load, re-compile your code and try again. This alone was what made me switch to Unix sytems were a coding mistake (which I think all developers make from time to time) wouldn't bring down the entire OS and all applications (editor included). Yet magazines continued to heap praise on the likes of Windows 95, 98 and ME. It is only really when XP came out I felt Micorosoft had released a version of Windows for the consumer that mostly worked most of the time (yes the odd BSOD and hang up, but no longer something to endure every few hours), which is probably why so many are still running it today, more than 10 years after it was released.

Yet all the press reviews of WIndows 98, ME etc would cover things like enhanced USB support, larger disk support but ignore the fact it was nearly impossible to a days work without rebooting your PC at least once, especially if running more than one application. As a user you just had to get in the habit to save every few minutes to minimise lost work. In a similar vein, most magazines give every version of Internet Explorer a good review. Certainly they did with IE6 whilst now they criticise it for how bad it was and what a dreadful legacy it has left - but why didn't the reviews say so at the time?

Comment: Re:Number One! (Score 5, Interesting) 642

by JonathanCombe (#39737569) Attached to: 12 Ways LibreOffice Writer Tops MS Word

I think there is an awful lot to dislike about the ribbon interface. For example in Excel in 2003 if I wanted to insert a row, I'd go "Insert -> Row". In the ribbon I have an insert tab which allows me to insert lots of things but none of them are a row. No if I want to insert a row I have to press the Insert button on the Home tab and select the option from the drop down on there. How is it any easier when I have two Insert options and there is no way to know which one I need to use to insert something without clicking through both of them of and hunting for the option.

There are similar problems with Word. For example if I want to insert an object, I use the Insert tab then select object on the drop down. But if I make the window a little narrower it becomes just an icon and it's not exactly obvious until I click on it what that might do. If I make the window narrower still, to the width of the document, it puts the object button under another drop down labelled Text. So I have to click a box marked "Text" to insert something that is NOT text? This is better how?

Then there other features like the fact the "File" menu now takes over the entire window of the program.

Now with the old system I had drop down menus which makes it much quicker to go through and find all the options then go through the ribbon, click each button and navigate through all the various drop downs off those buttons. The pull down menus also made it very easy for me to find the keyboard shortcuts for an option, so I can quickly learn to use the program more efficiently. All this is now hidden in the help system - it is not obvious what the keyboard shortcuts are and I suspect users new to the system will keep reaching between the mouse and keyboard for even simple things because the keyboard shortcuts are hidden away.

However for me the worst of all is the inconsistency. In years gone buy these things were defined in a style guide so if I used one program I could quickly get familiar with others as many of the options would be called the same and in the same menus (e.g. Edit for the clipboard functions, file to save, open, close, print and so on). Once I'd learnt one program it made it much easier to find my way around other programs. Yes the menus may be illogical in places (e.g. Find, a read only option, on and Edit menu) but at least once the user has learnt these oddities they can easily navigate around other programs. The toolbar was a useful addition to this, making common options a single click away, and the user could customise them to their hearts content. Now we're stuck with a horrible interface (in my opinion) that has very few possible customisations. Worse as Microsoft has patented it, it stops other application writes from using the same interface - thereby making Microsoft programs have different interfaces from other vendors and increasing the learning curve of non-Microsoft applications.

Sorry but I'm just NOT going to be convinced the ribbon is a good idea.

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