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Comment: circle mouse (Score 2) 122 122

I once programmed an arduino to move my mouse cursor in the shape of a square to keep my workstation from auto-locking per company policy. There's a slider control on the Arduino board that I have that I used more-or-less as an on-off switch. For fun I'd hook it up to my supervisor's machine just to hear him try to explain it to somebody.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 166 166

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: Major Problem (Score 1) 245 245

Yes a Colony on Venus would have water and sunlight but they would still be at the bottom of a gravity well(same for Mars). It would make more sense to establish a colony in space where you could find water and minerals in asteroids. Supply ships would not need to overcome gravity and return flights could take back precious minerals that would help fund the expense.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 166 166

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:Why force her to do something she doesn't want (Score 1) 245 245

Although I agree with your sentiment, Slashdot is dying. It was painfully clear in the thread about James Horner. However I did want to ask: When did Ask Slashdot EVER produce no criticism? I remember ten years ago when the big complaint was that people would ask any question at all when there was the magic Google around.

Comment: Re:Assumptions are the mother of all ... (Score 1) 166 166

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.

Unix: Some say the learning curve is steep, but you only have to climb it once. -- Karl Lehenbauer