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Comment: Re:Why didn't they just listen to users? (Score 4, Interesting) 681

Sinofsky happened, that's why. I'm sure there were people who raised red flags internally prior to Windows8's release, but Sinofsky was so hellbent on making MS a "devices & services" company that he ignored any feedback that didn't mesh with his vision.

Now he's gone, and MS has to undo his mess and spin it as innovation... So now we see MS shills writing things like this FTFA:

In order to do this, Microsoft is working on including in Threshold lots of new features specifically aimed at "desktop" users, meaning those who interact primarily with their Windows computing device from a desktop or laptop PC with mouse/keyboard and optional touch.

Note how "desktop" is in quotes as if this group is a fringe subset of its users instead of the 95% of its users who were completely alienated.

Comment: Disagree about ease-of-use (Score 3, Insightful) 319

by sttlmark (#44054855) Attached to: Java API and Microsoft's<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET API: a Comparison

I use both, and I find that .NET really shines when you're in unfamiliar territory and working with a part of the framework that you don't touch every day. Features are more easily discovered and idioms tend to be more consistently applied in .NET, whereas it feels like Java suffers from implementers applying the pattern du jour, forcing you to wade through more docs.

I attribute much of .NET's success in this regard to the absolutely awesome book "Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries," which includes a lot of direct insights from the designers of the framework. Microsoft has been really good about sticking to those guidelines, and it shows.

http://www.amazon.com/Framework-Design-Guidelines-Conventions-Libraries/dp/0321545613 ...or maybe I just understand the .NET Framework better because I read that book. I'm not aware of a Java corollary that would give me the same insights, though.

Comment: Re:Gamers' Rights (Score 0) 469

by sttlmark (#43154219) Attached to: Is It Time To Enforce a Gamers' Bill of Rights?

Thank god, I thought I was the only one with this perspective. Talk about a first world problem: "Waah, I'm 30 and my toys don't behave the way I want them to behave!" Now go whine about this to your grandpa who fought for civil rights, your suffragette grandma, your war vet down the street, or basically anyone who's fought and sacrificed for a worthwhile cause, and prepare to get your ass kicked.

Comment: Re:Possible languages to choose from (Score 1) 525

If you go the MS route, I'd suggest that he gets his feet wet in Microsoft's Small Basic rather than dive into C#:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/beginner/ff384126.aspx

Small Basic is a simple QBasic-inspired language that runs in the .NET CLR that's designed with kids in mind, right down to the non-threatening IDE. The site points you to a decent curriculum and community, too. It's very friendly and has a low barrier to entry--he can start making his programs do interesting things almost immediately.

Comment: Re:Not really (Score 1) 121

by sttlmark (#37519464) Attached to: Using a Supercomputer To Predict Revolutions

it is normal scientific work to test simulators by feeding them with true data up to some date in the past and look if their simulation up to current date is accurate. i have not RTFA, but there is nothing odd in the (short) summary here to me...

Great point--I wish they had more details about the methodology. I wonder if they're backtesting against the same historical news data that they used to create the model. That would be a big mistake--the model would perform terrifically well against the same data used to create it, causing overconfidence.

Comment: Mini review after 4 hours of use (Score 1) 154

by sttlmark (#36617114) Attached to: Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 5

I upgraded today on my Windows 7 work machine. The overall email experience is unchanged--I use it to access my work account on Rackspace email via IMAP, and the new version continues to work fine. But overall I'm underwhelmed to the point that I wish I hadn't upgraded.

At first the new Windows 7 theme struck me as a nice improvement with all its pretty glassy transparency up top, but a few hours of hard use it's just annoying... the menu bar is partially transparent now, so if there's clutter or a dark background under the Tbird window then the top-level menu items lose some contrast and become harder to read (for my crappy eyes, at least). The whole UI lost some of its snappiness, too--I'm not sure if it's the new theme's fault, but resizing the Thunderbird window isn't nearly as smooth as it used to be and the menus feel sluggish when I click on them.

But here's the part about the theme that's driving me batshit insane: Moving the Thunderbird window is broken (it's an advanced feature, I know, but hear me out). There's this big transparent glass area up top with all kinds of empty space that's just begging for you to click on it so you can drag the window around. But the click only registers if you hit it on the very top part of the window. Every other Windows program with a big transparent glass area (including Firefox) lets you click anywhere on the glass to move the window. But not Thunderbird. Most of that glass is a useless no-man's land. (This is so contrary to my deep Win7 usage reflexes that I thought that my mouse was broken for a while.)

The highly-touted improvements to the tab management doesn't do much for me either. Sure, it's neat that I can detach tabs and move them around now, but if I compose a new message then it has to be in a separate window. I can't dock the composition as a tab anywhere, so I have to mess around in the Windows taskbar or Alt-Tab to switch between the messages I'm composing. I'm not sure how this oversight slipped through the cracks.

Oh, and half of my extensions are incompatible after the upgrade. This should annoy much more than it does, but I've grown numb to it over the years.

Comment: Re:ThinkPad. (Score 1) 898

by sttlmark (#35641088) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose a Windows Laptop?
I'll support this recommendation, too. I bought a T410 for home use and my wife loves it. It's fast, solid, and it doesn't have any silly features. And, when the AC adapter died, the Lenovo support line (in Atlanta!) had a new one on my doorstep the next day. In general, my suggestion is to buy a business-class laptop instead of a consumer-oriented model, even for home use. The components and overall system design tend to be better tested and more reliable. So, opt for a ThinkPad over an IdeaPad, or, if you're going with Dell, opt for a Latitude over an Inspiron.

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