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Comment: Re:Just in time (Score 1) 128 128

I doubt anyone actually believes Microsoft considers the "supported lifetime of your device" to be only a year or two for a desktop computer.

True, but people would have said the same about Apple once upon a time, while lately Apple's software policies seem tailor-made to artificially limit the lifetime of its already relatively expensive product range, up to and including the high-end business laptops and such.

I think the concern is that this is a one-way trip. Once consumers and particularly businesses start making the switch to Windows 10, it is unlikely there will be any going back.

If Microsoft then ships one box-bricking Windows update to all those Windows Home users, who will have no option to defer or skip any update under the current proposals, there is going to be carnage.

The other significant risk I can see is that if Microsoft's new business model doesn't work out -- after all, it seems they're essentially betting on giving away Windows for a considerable time in the hope that it will drive more sales of other software, media content, and related services -- then they are going to need to make their money somewhere else. It would be a brave person who bet against a major tech company exploiting its locked-in users in the face of shareholder anger and probably changes in senior management under those conditions.

Comment: Re:Need to be adjustable (Score 3, Interesting) 256 256

Thanks to anti-worker or at best worker-apathetic politics and budget priorities, it's hard to get OSHA to force companies to even offer sufficient protection from hazardous chemicals like hexavalent chromium. The car parts factory in my town with several hundred employees on the shop floor was giving workers latex gloves and dust masks for protection while chroming bumpers until it was hit with a whopping $10,000 fine after many years.

The darkly amusing punchline to this anecdote is that the guy who owns the factory & built his fortune with it has given millions of dollars to the local university to help them put up a new building for their school of medicine.

Comment: Deliberately shipping unfinished software (Score 1) 128 128

It is the likely change in philosophy that concerns me.

Very often, once software has moved to on-line upgrades from static installation, or from on-line upgrades being available to routinely applying rolling updates for new versions, the quality at initial launch time drops sharply, and the quality of rolling updates is significantly lower than professional standards should dictate. There's something about the mindset that means shipping half-finished products is now somehow OK, like the "perpetual beta" junk that even some of the biggest companies in the business have inflicted on us in recent years.

This slide towards version-less rolling updates has so often been used as an excuse to ship sub-standard products, or to actively damage previously acceptable products after the fact, that I don't want anything to do with it for anything I actually rely on. Browsers have turned to sh*t since Google started doing it with Chrome and Mozilla started copying them with Firefox. Apple have been systematically nerfing iDevices by forcing apps (which are only available through the App Store that they control) to update to match recent iOS versions, even though there are widespread reports of those newer iOS versions crippling performance on "old" (like, maybe two years old) devices to the point where they are basically useless. Adobe have alienated a substantial part of the creative/design industries with the move to Creative Cloud rentware, and I have yet to see anyone say a good word about the updates they rolled out a few days ago (complete with awful performance and blatant bugs). Even Microsoft, long the champions of doing things with professional standards of stability and backward compatibility in mind, seem to have gone full see-what-sticks in recent years, and I don't see this changing given they appointed Nadella as CEO.

Personally, I like my operating systems working and staying that way. That's why I no longer install anything but designated security updates on my Windows 7 systems unless I have an active reason to do so; I just ignore everything else on the assumption that it's going to break something, hurt performance, start nagging me to update to Windows 10, or otherwise make my experience worse. And so far, after following that policy for some considerable time, I'm quite happy with not having those updates and having a stable system I can actually use.

Comment: Re:Microsoft is not trustworthy for a rolling rele (Score 1, Troll) 128 128

I couldn't agree more.

"While the RTM process has been a significant milestone for previous releases of Windows, it’s more of a minor one for Windows 10. Microsoft is moving Windows 10 to a 'Windows as a service' model that means the operating system is regularly updated."

Yay, now my OS can also ship as bug-ridden, slow, insecure software, because "we'll patch it later".

Sounds about as promising an upgrade as moving to subscription software-for-rent for something I rely on to earn my living. Ask anyone using Creative Cloud since the latest updates how well that one works out.

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 4, Insightful) 636 636

How about we also remove all those oil subsidies, and see how cheap that car really is? Oh, and also the cost to the environment from burning fossil fuels - let's see, how much will it cost to move everyone out of Florida? Anf how about all the carcinogenic bullshit that comes along with it - all those health costs need to be wrapped into it as well. Oh gee - look! It's actually more expensive to run fossil fuel vehicles than some flimsy govt subsidy for an electric car.

I'd call you a troll, but that would overstating the case, and it's possible you're something stupider, like a republican.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 172 172

And should I also put the bigger screen, full size keyboard and mouse in my bag and carry it with me every time I visit a client on-site?

Taking a portable computer with a big screen with me is better than taking a portable computer with a small screen with me, for exactly the same reasons that having a big screen (or more than one) on my desktop is better than having a small screen on my desktop. Yes, it's balanced out modestly by weight and power issues, but carrying a bag that weighs an extra pound from the train/car to the client's office/facility is hardly a burden for any reasonably fit adult.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 172 172

I don't need to install an alternative shell. I've got one that works just fine out of the box. It's called the Windows 7 UI.

FWIW, it's not the start menu I'm bothered about. Since Win7 I hardly use it anyway, I just have my regular applications set out in the task bar and use jump lists probably 90% of the time I load one. This gets me to anything from a spreadsheet I worked with recently to a shell on a remote server I use regularly with two clicks and is one of the cleanest UI set-ups I've ever seen in an OS GUI.

The thing that annoys me about the Win8+ GUIs is how dumbed down and in-your-face they are. Huge areas of bright colours (yay for eye strain), boxy styles where you never quite know what you can click (sorry, tap) until you try, clumsy icons that don't really tell you anything anyway, and everything all spaced out so fat-fingered people with tablets don't accidentally reformat their disk instead of sending an e-mail. For someone using a keyboard and mouse with good screen(s), all of this is moving backwards. If I wanted dumb UIs for simple stuff, I'd buy an iPad and use web apps instead of desktop applications.

I do realise that some of this related primarily to what was then called the Metro UI in Win8 and some changes have been made since then. But from what I can see so far with Win10, it looks like they're pushing the overall UI theme even more in that direction, even if the default method of interaction looks more like a traditional desktop again.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 172 172

Unfortunately, I'm in the UK, where the selection is much more limited.

For example, Dell UK's web site lists exactly one laptop with a 17+" screen and SSD, and it is also a touchscreen and comes with Windows 8.1.

HP do at least promote the Windows 7 option (via Win8 downgrade rights) for the high-end ZBook laptops on their site. However, the pricing on those tends to make the closest equivalent Retina MBPs in specification look cheap.

Also, Microsoft UK don't seem to have any high-end devices at all within their Signature Edition range, so it's invasive crapware city all the way with a lot of the big name brands, even on their expensive, high-end models.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 2) 172 172

But the screenshots I've seen of Windows 10 still mostly look flat and/or garish, and it seems to be more a case of trying not to make the visuals too much worse than what is already available via Windows 7 than actually trying to be better. Another example is the icons, which have gone from being widely ridiculed to being... well, slightly less widely ridiculed... in all of the reviews I've come across, and with considerable justification if the examples I've seen myself were representative.

It's not just the visuals that put me off, though. It's also the fact that I use a traditional desktop PC with multiple large monitors, and I want an OS and software that work well in that kind of environment. I saw a review the other day of the new preview release where literally every screenshot that had substantial content in it also included the word "tap" somewhere, with obvious concessions to touchscreens that just don't make sense for a desktop workstation. This was one of the big problems with Windows 8, and it seems like with the Surface tablet hardware and Windows 10, Microsoft are doubling down on touchscreens. #donotwant #haverealworktodo

I'll wait to see what people say when Windows 10 actually ships and we're not just talking about preview releases and educated guesswork, but so far the signs don't seem promising. Windows 7, on the other hand, is tried and tested and works just fine on the numerous computers I use it with today, so as I said, if I could buy an approximate equivalent with newer and more powerful hardware right now, I'd be right in there. Sadly, I'm in the UK, and what you can pick up over here is quite limited compared to what you can get in say the US.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 2, Insightful) 172 172

If I could find a good high-end laptop that came with vanilla Windows 7 instead of 8 and all the pre-installed extra junk, I would be throwing money at the supplier and begging them to sell me one. That has far more to do with avoiding more recent versions of Windows and their kindergarten, touch-obsessed UIs than it does with wanting a cheap upgrade when 10 ships.

Comment: Re:How do we know we've only discovered 1% of NEAs (Score 1) 54 54

If I were doing this, I'd have a probe go through the asteroid belt and catalogue the number of asteroids it identifies. Then I'd compare that to the number I'd catalogued previously. That misses rogue asteroids, of course, and assumes that asteroid distribution is uniform throughout the belt.

Comment: Re:essential to know about jQuery (Score 1) 125 125

Given the fact that this is a third-party library that you are unlikely to modify, hosting it on your own servers provides no advantage whatsoever.

Of course it does. It has the same advantages in terms of security and your visitors' privacy as any decision to host your own material instead of quietly using a third party service. Whether you consider those significant advantages is a different question, and whether your visitors would is a different question again, but clearly there is a difference.

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