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Comment Re:Not equivalent (Score 1) 283

I mentioned that it does "feel" heavy, but I have no discomfort using it where I used my kindle before or for as long as I did. But I also find that in situations where the form factor is inconvenient, it's so easy to set down. Everything from using it to read sheet music, plonking it on the rumpled sheets of the unmade bed - I was *convinced* it would fall over but it's actually at that intersection between lightness and heft that even with me banging on the osk it stayed stable, damn it.

What you're saying will likely be true for many users, but I think it's also the same argument that us old farts were making about phones and then tablets in the first place. It's a different form factor and you adapt to it. If I were looking for a device to put in the hands of the forklift operators in a factory? A 6-8in tablet; maybe even a 4-5in phone or pad with a REALLY simple UI.

The surface, to me, feels like a revival of the sub-notebook form factor. I was never comfortable with that because the keyboard got in the way, the surface solves that.

Umm. So, I'm writing this at my desktop, but I'm using my surface, which I'd dropped on the most convenient thing on my desk - my keyboard (pic)

- Oliver

Comment I hate to say it, but the Surface Pro 3. (Score 4, Interesting) 283

Stay your pitchforks a moment: My desktop is a Lin/Win box, my laptop is a MacBook Pro that dual boots Mac/Lin, my phones are a Galaxy S5 and a iPhone 5c, I have a kindle, a verizon droid tablet (which I forgot I had), an ipad, heck my TV is a Samsung smart with a hacked evolve that can boot mint (because, seriously, if you're going to use cssh you really need to do it on a 4K UHD display ;)

I picked up the surface because - well, because of a 30 day return option. I wanted to rip the heck out of it. So I upgraded it straight to 10 (10 wasn't officially supported on it when I did, I wasn't about to give the thing a chance at success)

About 20 days in I realized I had pretty much migrated everything off of drop box onto One/Sky drive, and my Drive usage had become more organized and well deliniated against that usage.

A little later on I realized that I haven't had a single one of my esoteric usb/bluetooth devices /not/ work with the Surface. Somewhere about 10-14 days in, I stopped even trying to use them on my/my wifes other devices, I'd just automatically reach for the surface.

Truth be told, it was "Fresh Paint" that distracted me enough to get suckered in. It helped me discover the remarkable versatility of the devices form factor and the combination of the kick stand and the foldable keyboard and the magnetic attachment points for the power/keyboard.

I've used the surface now everywhere that any of my other devices used to go and places none of them would: Balanced on the dash of the car, on the tiny ledge by my shower.

I can't begin to do it justice trying to describe the versatility, I will just say that it was a huge part of enamoring me to the device.

It has the best wifi/bluetooth of any of my devices and it is fast at connecting; it talks to all of my devices, and windows 10 comes with an app for setting up a small handful of windows features against iphone/ipad/droid phones.

Battery life is pretty good, and unless you're trying to play an mmo at ultra-high-graphics it's very easy to switch to a battery saving mode to squeeze a few more hours of facebooking/solitaire out of it. The only problem is it's so good that when the battery does get low, you get a bit 10ish ("I don't want to go") #1stworldproblems.

Time for the cons:

The weight is just a few grams heavy, and although it's not, with the keyboard attached it feels heavier than the (17in) MacBook Pro. It does sometimes feel a little large and unwieldy, but yesterday I realized that's because I'm using it now where I would previously have used my phone. I wouldn't give up an inch of the form factor, tbh.

It has it's own, unique, special power connector, and doesn't seem to be capable of USB charging.

The little Windows insignia/button on the device is poorly placed. Instead of putting it near the camera, for example, it's on the right hand side roughly exactly where you would put your hand to hold the device a large part of the time. Good news: you can disable it.

Start-up time from off and sleep feel a little sluggish. They didn't at first, and I don't think they've gotten slower, I think I am just really eager to interact with the device now when I am turning it on.

If anything, the biggest drawback is the storage capacity. I have the Pro i5/256 and I have 167Gb left, mostly because I'm being very selective about what I install.

Some of the default Windows 10 apps for things I'm not very keen on. But hey, if you want default apps, go get an apple. Specifically, Groove Music. W.T.L.F, and I'm still very undecided on the photos app. I must confess that I had a Windows 7 Phone phone for a while, so I've experienced the original, pure, "Metro" experience, and I can imagine how the photos app would have been as a pure metro app and I like that idea - but using the photos app you can almost smell the blood that must have been spilled in the clashes between the mobile and desktop teams...

Lastly - and this is really Windows 10 rather than surface specific - the availability of the on-screen keyboard. The OSKs themselves (there are four modes, a phone-style keyboard, an split-ergo-style layout and a regular notebook style - plus there's a handwriting keyboard for the pen) I am actually very pleased with.

The problem is that there are too many places where they don't auto-pop up (I've given up hoping that tapping on an input box in Chrome or Edge will open an osk for me) and then they don't auto-hide when you're done with them. And it seems like closing the OSK trains it not to come back automatically for that input field.

Also, Chrome has this annoying behavior that when you try to type in the search box on the google home page, it switches you to the address bar which causes the OSK to go away.

The second half of this problem is that in order to manually invoke an OSK you have to use the taskbar rather than the "Action Center" (which you swipe in from the right). This is a dissapointing oversight I am hoping they'll fix soon (feedback submitted), because otherwise if you have the task-bar on auto-hide the flow is like this:

Tap input box. Sigh that you didn't get an OSK. Swipe the bottom right of the screen, causing the app/input box to lose focus. Focus change event causes the taskbar to auto-hide again unless you were really fast. Now you have to wait a few seconds for the task bar to be swipeable again. Repeat until you get an osk to appear. Except now, you probably have to tap on the app/input box again which causes the OSK to dissapear. Repeat entire process until you manage it fast enough that the focus change doesn't happen.

That said, point of kudos: Using the pen to summon the OSK is consistently reliable and the tablet notices you used the pen and will select the handwriting keyboard; if that's not what you want, it does appear to learn this on an app-by-app basis which also seems to feed more gradually into a global selection. The upshot is that in Chrome I get the keyboard, as I want, but in sublime/one note/etc I get the handwriting keyboard this way, as I want.

The only thing that beats the display is a retina display, but it's close enough for me and I'll gladly sacrifice that little for the extra battery life :)

I'll go say five Hail Linuses now, ok?

Comment When we moved off modems (Score 1) 495

The first home-use dialup was Demon Internet in '92, by '94 there were numerous, small, local ISPs and several national to choose from. For all EU ISPs up to the mid 90s the big problem was connectivity to the US, but by '97 there was enough non-US content that being a non-US Internet user didn't mean your experience was gauged solely on the fatness of your US pipe.

Up until that point, the major portion of cost handed on by EU ISPs was their individual pipes to the US. Because of this, EU ISPs generally provided excellent national and European peering, their networks were robust and their speeds were great.

Transit ISPs emerged and big cables laid across the pond. All that competitive energy got redirected into building local/regional/national infrastructure and leveraging it right as the transition to broadband etc happened.

In the US, ISPs basically fell into the hands of the cable and phone companies, companies who have vested interested in non ISP related business models that are often actually threatened by the internet service they happen to provide.

My personal take - as a Brit-expat who worked in the UK ISP industry through 2002 - is that somehow Europe ended up with a very democratic and capitalistic internet industry, while in the US some very deep pockets essentially knitted it up into an entirely feudal system.

Comment AFK: Developing self-repair app (Score 4, Informative) 471

If the watch is broken, it will automatically get directions to the nearest watch repair shop.

Then it will display a large, friendly, compass arrow to point you on your way.

If the problem is a display failure, it'll speak out loud: "Hotter" or "Colder" until you reach your destination.

If the speakers are broken, it'll just run the phone hot or cold against your arm.

If the strap is broken, you're SOL.

Comment "Time when you need it" app (Score 1) 471

I'm just old enough to remember when we wore actual watches, but not quite old enough to get why Douglas Adams was obsessed with digital watches.

But what I remember is that there was always someone else who asked "What time is it?" and you showed them your watch. And, of course, people who said "nice watch, can I see it?"

So: What I'd want is an app that makes me money every time someone else makes use of my device. Either via a direct micro payment, or: the app could put the time display over an ad, so I could get an ad impression based on the time they spend staring at my clock.

Maybe it could be developed alongside a cell phone app that lets people with phones request someone with smart watch to come give them the time? Of course, established cell phone app developers would complain it was infringing on their market... But, ... progress...

Ooh - and maybe an tBackup app: if your watch isn't working properly (i.e. it doesn't know what time it is), it will direct you towards the nearest person with a working watch!

Lastly, I'd want an "icebreaker" app. You've gone to a party, and according to your watch you arrived on time. However, half an hour in, nobody is talking to you or coming over to look at your watch. So you tap the icebreaker app, which figures out who is nearby to you, finds a subject that would be of interest to everyone around you, and presents you with an ad you can use to break the ice, and get paid page impressions based on the number of people in the room!

Comment This plan makes very little sense (Score 1) 330

Why would you link a solar strip to a microwave on the moon? Never mind there is currently nobody living on the moon, the second you open the door on the microwave all the air - and the hotpocket - would get sucked out into space, and I'm pretty sure you can't eat a hot pocket once it has moon dust on it.

Comment US Broadband isn't slow (Score 0) 513

There are three possibilities here:

1. You are a communist.
2. You aren't buying the correct tier of service from your provider, select the "deny me any rights and take all my privacy away and then send around a representative to take me up the kyber",
3. You hate freedom.

Right now American telcos and cable companies are working very very hard to keep your money in America, to keep the Internet American and to ensure that good, wholesome, American packets stay in America where they can be consumed in the American way (leisurely, from the sofa), and to bring you, the consumer, choice: should I wait for the next packet or should I go to the fridge and get a soda?

Some people would argue that it is incredibly un-American that cable and internet provision is all but a monopoly that prevents choice or diversity in the marketplace, but those people probably aren't with timewarner or cox - if they were, they wouldn't have internet access so we wouldn't be able to know what they were arguing.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 31

I love how some people think is a source of actual scientific facts, unlike places like with their "factual peer reviewed" hoity toity pdf publications, by using waffly long winded jibber jabber that has nothing to do with fun information about cats.

If you're so smart, spot the actual humor, then respond using credible objections you produced after learning the relevant ability to laugh.

You semi-evolved simian.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 31

That position seems rather like arriving at a pool table and from 10 seconds of observation concluding that the game is to wait for a black ball to drop into a pocket and then collect a series of balls from a slot under the table and place them on top of it.

Is this some sort of safe/default position in the absence of significant counter evidence or is it just not thought out? If I see water splashed around a sink, I don't assume that the droplets formed in-place although they *could* be condensation.

It has to have been vigorous enough to cause a lot of dispersion so that droplets didn't land close enough to clump to the point at which gravity overcomes inertia and pulls them down into the sink.

Comment Counter point (Score 1) 432

Why don't people replace their video card and CPU every 6 months? There are costs associated with those things, sure, but it only takes a small amount of work to pop open your case and drop in the new hardware and the reality is that you WILL save time and energy from each and every small improvement: you'll spend less time waiting for the PC to boot, etc, etc.

Why don't people upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7?

Why hasn't Python committed all-out to 3?

There are two main groups of Python users who are not going to upgrade:

. Users who consume installed Python software, who can only be negatively impacted by upgrading Python because they have no recourse to fix the stupid crazy crap that goes wrong when you upgrade Python without being Pyknowing. Historically many users experience with Python is that it's the thing that suddenly starts generating errors when they do an update on their linux distro.

. Users who have a large established based of Python code, which amounts to time and money expended on the Python version that works with their code, for these folks upgrading is largely frivolous when you consider the costs of re-testing and proving their source code, or the cost-risks of deploying it if they don't have sufficient testing infrastructure.

The latter group have two paths they could take: Python 2.x, which is generally a "deprecated path"; upgrading to 2.x is basically busywork. Meanwhile, Python 3.0 is a pipe dream. Nobody wants to upgrade to Python 3.0 because the only people who believe in it are Pyvangelists. I don't mean Python 3's goals, I mean the Python 3 effort. It's a failure. It's not going to happen, people are too burned on it, it's been dragged out for 5 years. It's about as interesting to a company's bottom line as investing in Perl 6.

Comment Re:What might scare MS (Score 2) 564

Android is available and in direct competition with Windows 8.1. Ultimately, it's not about Android, it's about OEMs defying Microsoft's 25+ year exclusivity deal: If you wanted to ship hardware with Windows and wanted OEM discounts on the Windows licenses, you had to agree to sell only Windows. So these guys are breaking the exclusivity deal.

As things stand, that means if you buy the hardware with Windows, either the vendor takes a huge hit on the cost of Windows or they forward it on to you.

RESULT: Vendor will able to offer you the "System + Android" for /cost of system/, or "System + Windows" for /cost of system + *full* cost of Windows license/.

That's the real threat to Microsoft - loss of that "comes with" throne. As long as the other options are free, there's no way back from that for MS.

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga