Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Gaming on Linux will matter... (Score 1) 198

by ray-auch (#49145919) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era

I've never come across anything I can do in excel with VBA that I can't do with OOBasic. In fact, the opposite is true.
What you actually mean is "I can't be bothered switching from VBA to OOBasic - Learning is hard."

Here's one thing - open your old Excel marco spreadsheets and have them work just the same as in Excel.

Can't do that ? Well then you've got to convert them, take cost of converting them vs. cost of Office licence - are you still saving anything ?

Or you parallel run, do new stuff in OO and use Excel for old ones, probably for several years (7 or more at a guess if it's financial stuff) until the old stuff is no longer needed. Now you're not switching from VBA to OOBasic, you're having to learn both and be productive in both at the same time, which is a lot harder, and you won't save anything in Office costs for years.

Comment: Re:Gaming on Linux will matter... (Score 1) 198

by ray-auch (#49145887) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era

Nope, it's not.

Come back when it has things like Outline View, first requested oooh about 13yrs ago ( ), been highest voted or second highest bug/request ever since, but not fixed in 13yrs (apparently it required some reworking of the architecture, and apparently this was done back in 2010...). Having a equivalent of Normal View is also highly voted - I don't use that as much but I can see that if you work on certain types of document layouts it would be essential.

Track changes also lags MS Office significantly.

Excel removed ridiculously low row/column limits almost a decade ago, LO will still only do 1024 columns AFAIK - again, apparently fixing this is too hard. I might only need that for a handful of spreadsheets, but if I have to buy Office anyway for those cases, why would I also use LO and have to master two different tools when I can use Office for everything.

Trouble with OO/LO is similar to electric cars, 80/20 or 90/10 is not a success (against an incumbent tech), it's a problem - if OO/LO can do 90% of my documents or even 95%, I still need Office for the other ones. Similarly if range & charging have improved so that the electric car can do 90% of my journeys or even 95%, that's great - but I still need a fossil fuel car for the others. If I have to have two cars, or two Office suites, instead of one then the new one needs to offer something really compelling that the incumbent doesn't have - and OO/LO doesn't, for me, yet.

Comment: Re:Bad usability, man (Score 1) 513

by ray-auch (#49138277) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Not just the icons either - the buttons are uniformly a disaster. Title bar buttons, explorer controls etc. have all been reduced to ultra thin (single pixel?) pictograms that are flat and borderless. If your eyesight is poor the lines are so thin they start to disappear.

Borderless seems to be the modern style but it too has usability issues - the only way to see the active target area of a button (or even if it is a button) is to hover over it. For the life of me I can't figure out how this is supposed to work for touch - seems the idea is to highlight what you just hit. Take a look at the new calculator, the buttons are just flat text with quite a large (in proportion) button area round the text but no way to see where the actual buttons are.

There are other areas of the UI where buttons and not-buttons look exactly the same, or in-active buttons look the same as active ones, or, in fact I'm not sure what they are, inactive buttons or information or something else. Worst trait of web design brought to the desktop - "hey we can make buttons out of anything", "including things that don't look like buttons, brilliant", "how do users know what buttons look like to click them", "they don't, that's what's brilliant". NO it ****ing isn't.

Comment: Re:The best trick (Score 4, Insightful) 257

by ray-auch (#49104637) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs?

Yeah that worked right up to the time everything went mobile. Still just about works for high end gaming but that's it.

Nothing is plugged in now, kids or devices, unless it's charging. All is wireless and portable and trivial to hide what you are doing even for feet away. Todays kids come home with tablets provided by the school which need to connect to the net to do their homework. Yes, really, they do.

People need to understand that todays kids have grown up with this stuff, they are intuitively familiar with it in the way we never will be - I was writing games in assembly language at age 12, but when I need to know how to do something on a phone I ask my kids, its quicker than Google. We will never out control or outsmart our kids on tech, best we can do is pass on our experience so they are prepared, and they'll still catch us out.

Comment: Re:Ultrabook isn't a "class" (Score 2) 70

by ray-auch (#49104567) Attached to: Intel Core M Enables Lower Cost Ultrabooks; Asus UX305 Tested

It is a bit surprising. I have an ASUS TransformerPad TF700, which is pretty close to the ultrabook market segment and came with a 1080p screen. I've had it for a few years and the newer model comes with an even better screen.

And yet as soon as you get into their full-OS transformers the screen res becomes lousy - the TF100TA comes really really close to being all I need on the road (as long as I move dev to cloud based vms - but lugging around a laptop that can run vms is getting old and tiring), but biggest let down is the 1366x768 display. Since I would also like it slightly bigger, I was really looking forward to TF200TA with 11in screen - but they made it 1366x768 again. Really don't see why they think that they have to have high res for Android and lowest possible res for a tablet that can run full Windows / Office.

Comment: Re: Does It Matter? (Score 1) 288

by ray-auch (#48945735) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

Hyper-V is free on Windows since 8, and is a full hypervisor - should be a lot faster than virtualbox (definitely faster than VMWare Workstation - .binned several licences for that when Win 8 came out).

You just have to decide to leave you start menu behind, or use 10 preview and see how badly they are screwing up bringing it back.

Comment: Re:Full Screen Start Menu! (Score 1) 214

by ray-auch (#48923255) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

It's not the start screen though - it's a crippled version of it, with all-apps in a long list instead of over the whole screen. So rather than have everything shown by scrolling over two screenfuls, I have to scroll down over 5 screenfuls and then expand the ones that are hidden in folders. Some applications are randomly in a folder of one item, which has to be expanded before you can click on it. To cap it all they've crippled the search so that you have to click a search bar (it loses focus for no reason), it only shows one result when searching incrementally for applications, and that looks exactly the same as no results - no change if it is clickable (try search for "reg" and "regedit" - exactly the same look but one is a non clickable non result and one gives a clickable result).

It's almost as though they want to make it as difficult as possible to find what's installed on your machine - possibly because so much is metro crap.

Comment: Re:9926 is so awesome (Score 1) 214

by ray-auch (#48923115) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

And no, we're still not getting our start menu back (despite 2 headlines on /. suggesting otherwise).

Well we've sure as hell lost the start screen, I tried to like the start menu on previous build but reverted to start screen which I've always found much more efficient, now that option is gone - it's start menu only and search for applications is completely broken.

Comment: Re:Great news. Bye Charms bar! (Score 4, Insightful) 378

by ray-auch (#48906709) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Good news: charms bar's been gone since early preview builds, wonderfully refreshing to be able to hit the scrollbar reliably again.

Bad news: the start menu has not got more functional and sensible, it's gone way backwards in the latest build, and it's now the only option. Incremental search for applications is now completely broken, you get one result (if you are lucky) and half a screen of completely irrelevant web search results. In fact after enjoying using the previous builds, I may now revert to 8, it's that bad.

Comment: Re:Microsoft would be onto a winner if... (Score 3, Informative) 378

by ray-auch (#48906623) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Actually, I do have one other annoyance: their seeming insistence that you have some kind of an Windows web account ( or whatever) in order to run the OS I understand that they're actually doing something kind of neat with that, but it's pretty annoying that they won't let you skip it during the Windows setup.

You need _an_ email account - nothing more. It doesn't have to be windows or or outlook,.com at all - I use a throwaway on one of the domains I own.

If you want to have things shared across multiple devices (I am finding now that I do - and I suspect it will become more of a requirement not less) you need a common identity, and without a corporate domain, windows is simply doing what most websites and services do and using an email address.

Also, you can stop it requiring email account, even in 10 (tech preview) - simply disconnect the network during installation, it will allow local account - if you think about it there isn't much else it _can_ do...

Comment: Re:Full-screen Start is the problem (Score 1) 570

by ray-auch (#48878161) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

why do you need to see what you _were_ working on when starting a _new_ program ?

It's to see the task I am still working on when I am starting a new program to do a new step of working on it. To some novice computer users, an application is a destination, and people don't use several small applications in several steps of a task. But I was brought up in the philosophy of the best tool for each part of the job.

I agree, but don't see the difference, you either know what you want to do next or you don't. Menu or start screen, mouse or keyboard, the process or launching the next thing is one process and I don't see how you'd forget half way through. I use the keyboard mostly now, and I have typically already started the next keypresses before processing the visual of the start screen (or before it appears). I don't see how there is time to forget. Even if you do, it is one keypress to go back to the desktop to refresh your memory..

at absolute worst case you need to read the name of the new program from another window and remember it

Remembering it is an unnecessary cognitive burden. To open an RDP session, is it "msts" or "mstc"? Oh wait, it's "mstsc".

Um, what ? That is command line / run dialog. It is "remote desktop connection" on the menu - but remembering what it is called is not the problem with start menu, it is remembering _where_ it is.

It was actually in "programs -> accessories -> communications" on 7 (but I had to look that up), sometimes it's in "programs -> accessories" on servers, but it's easy to think it is in "administrative tools -> remote desktop services" or "accessories -> system tools" (accessories -> communications being absent...). All that is why most people just use the run dialog and try and remember "mstsc".

On the start screen, I usually pin it so it is right there, because there is room to pin a lot more, or it is two keypresses away - "r" and "e". So much easier.

I have tried to like the new / old start menu on 10, really, I kept resisting the urge to disable it, but in the end I only lasted a week. Start screen it is, for me. I guess the nice thing about 10 is we can choose.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.