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Comment Re:How does it know (Score 1) 59

Why only Flash?

They've already gone further with Java, Silverlight, and anything else that relied on NPAPI. As of this update, these technologies will no longer work, even if they worked just fine a few months ago on some site or app you find useful and they still worked last week if you flicked a hidden option back on. Yay for mandatory updates, I guess.

Comment Re:Mainstream media reviews are baffling (Score 1) 201

It seems to me that Windows 10 moves some things forward if you have the right kinds of device to take advantage of it, but suffers from trying to treat widely differing kinds of device used for widely differing purposes as if they should all work the same way.

Incidentally, articles like this one by David Pogue are exactly the kind of thing I was mocking before, and I stand by that mockery. He summed up his own position quite neatly with this:

If you’re a PC veteran, then you’ll recognize Windows 10: It’s pretty much Windows 7, with Cortana, nicer typography, and a few new features.

Those new features seem to be at best hit-or-miss, though arguments for why he thinks they are good are rather few. He glosses over the privacy, security, stability and reliability concerns, despite these alone being reason enough for significant numbers of people not to upgrade. And he literally wrote that the best thing about it is that it's free. (So is sticking with the Windows 7 already running on my boxes, by the way.)

Comment Re:To be expected (Score 1) 201

The world is too big for personal anecdotes to be reliable in this context. None of us have a personal social circle that is a good representation of the general population in all things. That's why I was looking at industry-wide data: following the money is a neutral indicator.

Comment Re:So how bad it is really? (Score 1) 201

closed source == who knows what the heck it's doing?

Wireshark does, for a start.

The other question we should be asking in the context of Windows 10 is what it could do in the future, now that it has a mandatory update mechanism, given the various provisions as currently written in the EULA/privacy policy/etc.

Comment Re:Just bought my first Windows 10 box (Score 1, Informative) 201

Unless you're running Enterprise, it's not disabled and still spying on literally everything, including sending sound from the mic to Microsoft. I was going to list some links but I'm at work and don't have time. A little searching will show you the truth.

Perhaps you should do a little searching yourself. Perpetuating this sort of ill-informed FUD really isn't helping.

There are legitimate privacy concerns about Windows 10. There are also reasons for some of the behaviour, and settings that do turn some of the behaviour off. What we need to further this debate is facts, not hyperbole.

Comment Mainstream media reviews are baffling (Score 1) 201

I do find the positive reviews of Windows 10 in a lot of popular media slightly confusing. The pattern always seems much the same:

It's free. It's better than Windows 8. It has some new features, but you probably won't use them. (Little if any recognition of any privacy, security, reliability or stability concerns.) BEST OPERATION SYSTEM EVERZ 11/10 UPGRADE NOW LOOKS UNICORNS AND RAINBOWS!!!!11!eleven!

I can understand mainstream media not being particularly technically literate, but how does anyone qualified to write a professional review plug things like being free and not as bad as the immediate predecessor that most people never bought as solid reasons to upgrade immediately? How do they not do one Google search and at least acknowledge that there have been some serious problems in the first few weeks even if they then argue that they're teething troubles and they believe Microsoft will fix them?

I've been reassured that in the last week or two, I have at least also seen a few more balanced reviews acknowledging the problems and suggesting that it might be worth waiting to see how things go rather than installing right now. But even there, a disturbing number of professional IT reporters seem to be casually dismissing things like security or privacy risks that they don't seem to fully understand themselves or conflating important security updates with general patching and moving around of the software without questioning whether Microsoft's approach here is really in users' interests.

Comment So what *positive* things does Win10 offer? (Score 1) 201

10 is going to be big.

Why? Aside from the widely publicised problems, what actual positive things does 10 offer that previous versions didn't?

Cortana, like all the other personal assistant gadgets of recent years, seems very clever at first sight. However, I've seen little evidence so far suggesting that real users want this sort of tool or find these tools work well for them.

Edge seems to be unfinished and to have negligible adoption rates so far. This might change in time, but for now it seems to lack both the stability and reliability of IE and the flexibility and new features of Chrome or Firefox. It's not clear yet what, if anything, it will offer beyond these existing browsers to encourage users to switch.

DX12 is a gaming platform that so far has little support from either hardware or games. Again, this might change in time, but historically new versions of DX that were locked to new versions of Windows haven't been the driver for adoption that Microsoft might have hoped and in practice games have continued to support older versions of DirectX as well.

There are a few UI changes in Windows 10, but the positive comments about several of them seem closer to "this isn't as bad as Win 8" than "hey, this is actually useful". Other UI changes, such as splitting up configuration settings into lots of different places, are getting quite negative comments so far. So again, overall I don't see the UI being an advantage over other contemporary operating systems that might encourage people to switch.

So really, what is the killer feature of Windows 10 that would make a normal but well-informed user decide to install it on, say, an existing Windows 7 machine?

Comment Re:Nukes are safer than coal. (Score 4, Insightful) 201

Oh, you mean versus all that pristine land that coal mines leave behind? Or if you step slightly to the side and consider the tar sands, the utterly blighted landscape left by that mining operation. The tailings ponds leak into the ground water, poisoning everything. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima have things living in their exclusion zones. There aren't any exclusion zones for the tar sands, and nothing can live there. If birds land in the tailings ponds--and they do--they pretty much immediately die.

The tar sands are considered a SAFE operation, one that's operating within the bounds of the law. This is what happens when there are NO accidents. With operations like these, who needs meltdowns?

Comment Re:To be expected (Score 1) 201

For businesses, sure. For private individuals, gaming is one of the main blockers for migration to other systems today, and it seems reasonable to assume that this one affects many, many more people than tax software. After all, which of (a) the PC gaming industry and (b) the PC personal taxation software industry makes so much money that even Hollywood is jealous?

Comment Re:So it's not unlimited, then... (Score 1) 301

Yep. I didn't even realize they'd bumped my tethering cap from 3GB to 5GB until I had to use a few hundred MB of tethered data this weekend and went to the My Account app to see how much I'd used. The cap was 2.5GB when I signed up (500MB baseline, 2GB extra as part of the "Unlimited (when you aren't tethering)" plan), then they bumped the baseline to 1GB (which increased my limit to 3GB), and now it's apparently 5GB.

For something "very hard", they seem to be doing just fine at it!

Comment Re:So it's not unlimited, then... (Score 1) 301

Sorry, I think you misunderstood me. I should have been clearer. Replace the current "unlimited" (yes, note the scare quotes) plan with a 100GB one (advertised as "100GB", not as "Unlimited", and actually offering that). After you change "Unlimited" to 100GB, there no longer is an "unlimited" plan. Most people will never be directly affected by this change, and those who would be can either cancel (preferably with plenty of warning), cope with the reduction, or maybe do something like pay for data a la carte beyond that.

I think we're going for the same idea. I never suggested the deception that you seem to think I did, though.

Comment Re:Sorry, but Apple still deserves most of the cre (Score 2) 334

Eject a disk by moving it from my desktop to the trash with all the files I want to delete? Makes sense.

Well, to understand this, you have to recall that early Macs had to be able to run off of a single floppy drive. Users might buy a hard drive or a second floppy drive (or if they had a dual-floppy SE, a third floppy drive for some reason) but it couldn't be relied on. Yet they still had to be able to tolerate having the OS disc ejected at times.

So there was a distinction between physically ejecting a disc while keeping it mounted (which was represented onscreen by a greyed out disc icon) so that you could copy to it, and both physically ejecting _and_ dismounting a disc.

The formal way that you were supposed to do this was by using menu commands. The Eject command was for eject-but-keep-mounted while the generally ignored Put Away command was for eject-and-dismount. It was also possible to use Put Away on an already greyed out, ejected-but-mounted disc icon.

User testing showed that this was inconvenient, and one of the OS developers eventually created a shortcut for the Put Away command, which was to drag a disc icon to the trash. It wound up being so popular that it shipped.

Apparently there had been some thought at the time about changing the Trash icon into some sort of Eject icon in the case of ejecting a disc, but apparently this was felt to be confusing or too difficult, so it wasn't done. In OS X the idea was revisited, and now the Trash icon does turn into a standard Eject icon when you're dragging a disc.

In any case, in real life, whatever confusion dragging disc icons to the trash might have caused, everyone got over it basically immediately.

Switching tiled applications makes the one menu bar change? Sure. It's not like moving the cursor half the screen for each click is a waste of time.

It's not; since there's nothing above the menubar, you can just slam the mouse up. It turns out to be faster and easier than having multiple menu bars. The Mac and Lisa groups did consider per-window menubars, but having tested the idea, it was rejected. For example, here's some polaroids of a screen from 1980 showing a Lisa with a menu attached to the bottom of a window: Later that year, the menu had moved to the top of the windows: And early the next year, it finally settled at the top of the screen:

Comment Re:Answer is easy (Score 1) 787

The silly thing is, depending on how "super" a yacht you need, you're off by a few orders of magnitude. My parents have been living aboard and cruising the world for the last 14 years. A 48' (14m) sailing catamaran isn't exactly a mega-yacht, but it's actually more boat than two people need - it was bought for a family of four plus visitors - but it's also possible to buy it and fit it out for about the cost of a house. In fact, they still own the house, and I think its value is higher than the boat despite being a fairly dated suburban location. Lots of people go cruising on less than a quarter million. You certainly can sink a few million into the boat if you want to - it'll get you a larger and more luxurious one, maybe with a few more perks and automation and definitely with more space - and you can then add a permanent staff if you'd like to (owning a boat on your own is a lot of work, and there's something to be said for hiring a cook, a mechanic, etc.) and now you're talking real money... but it's still only going to come out to probably 7 digits initially and then about 6 digits per year.

Not saying you couldn't spend more than that if you really want to, of course, but you hit seriously diminishing returns.


3 Category 4 Hurricanes Develop In the Pacific At Once For the First Time 281

Kristine Lofgren writes: For the first time in recorded history, three Category 4 hurricanes were seen in the Pacific Ocean at the same time. Climatologists have been warning that climate change may produce more extreme weather situations, and this may be a peek at the future to come. Eric Blake, a specialist with the National Hurricane Center summed it up with a tweet: "Historic central/eastern Pacific outbreak- 3 major hurricanes at once for the first time on record!"

186,000 Miles per Second. It's not just a good idea. IT'S THE LAW.