But yeah, I have enough vacation and never know when to take them. Being in Europe doesn't help much against that.
I don't hear about nightmare housing situations where 20% of a country's homes sit vacant while nearly the same number of people are homeless.
No, you don't hear those... They do exist. I live in Luxembourg, which is -granted- a quite peculiar place to live. In the capital (which is small, by any reasonable standards), there are 2900 homes empty (source: Près de 2900 logements vides dans la capitale. Link is in French). I don't know how many homes there are in the city, but given a population of 80000, with an average of 3 people per home (wild guess), we're talking 11% vacant. People want to live there, but it's simply cost-prohibitive. Owners don't want to rent cheaper: they'd rather have their buildings vacant than getting less than the perceived market rate.
I'm well paid, so is my wife (she actually makes more than I do, if she would work full-time) and we did manage to buy ourself a small home. We need to work both, though, and we did get a significant financial aid from my parents. Alone would be impossible. This brings me to another example: the house we got, is newly built. Formerly a big house was on the terrain, which was split for three smaller houses. This particular big house, was built in the mid seventies, and had been vacant since 2000. We just moved in our house, so, that's over 10 years completely vacant. The reason? Nobody can afford these kind of houses any more, especially if they're require some restoration. I don't even live in the city, a house like mine in the city is unaffordable, even for people in my income class.
Personally, I have no idea how, let's say, a cashier married to a bus driver (which is surprisingly well paid!) can even subsist in our country. I know as per fact, that many people with lower wages, just leave the country. Sure, it's not all that hard to do, given the country is so small.
I'm pretty sure, you'll find situations like these in many locations with high real-estate prices: Paris, London, etc...
It ought to be a law that they have to pay you for unused vacation, especially if they don't allow you to use it.
In my country, that exists (in some form, too long to totally explain the details). I simply don't want that. Those are taxed so high, I would effectively be paid lower than minimum wage. So gimme me free days? Can't... Fine, as long as I don't lose them... I'll take them later, or when I quit.
Like that PDP-11 that someone mentioned earlier. You can't get a spare one these days.
The application "dock" is also pretty annoying, especially since it only seems to pop up every second time I try
I think you are referring to the fact that the dock used to auto-hide in earlier releases. It doesn't do that any more. I vastly prefer it that way.
I mean, he does have a high-profile Linux distribution he's responsible for. He has the problem that people hate change and he needs to take decisions. The thing is: change can be right too. Unity has many haters, but from the latest LTS release on, it is actually pretty good. I like using it now, and I originally dreaded the switch for my two "normal" users on it, being my mother and mother in law. I expected support calls to no end, when I finally did switch them from 10.04 (Gnome2) to 12.04 (Unity).
Surprisingly, neither had any problems adapting. That shows me that he was right: for normal users it is actually not all that hard. That said: when Unity was released it really did have a lot of rough edges. That's what it gave a bad reputation, IMHO.
Microsoft has the same problem: change is hated by their users. Probably even more so, in the Windows ecosystem.
I'm normally a proponent of "don't fix it if it's not not broken". The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome, and thus they said "we can do this better". Whether this "better" is truly "better" lies in the eye of the beholder. My experience is: the common user reacts positively to it. That's a win in my book.
I don't have an iPhone. My wife does. She got it two years ago, with that plan. The phone is still perfectly fine. Still holds charge, still functions as expected. It is entirely sufficient for her needs. We could chose not to renew the contract and get a new phone, but we'd continue paying those 49€/month any way. So, I went to my telco, gave then 149€ and renewed the contract. My wife has a new iPhone 5, I have a new toy to play around with (her old iPhone 4) and all that just because I renewed a contract and spent a bit of money (basically, 149€/24 = 6.21€/month for the next two years).
The alternative would have been to let my telco get away with a fat margin for all the months that iPhone 4 would have continued working exceeding the contract time. I don't know about you, but I'd rather spoil my wife a bit than give them extra money.