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The Struggles of Getting Into the App Store

Osty Re:Yes, it sucks (329 comments)

I have been hearing that Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT are not API compatible

I don't know where you heard that. The modern app WinRT framework (not to be confused with Windows RT, the name of the ARM version of the Windows 8 OS) is completely cross-architecture, and any language you write with targeting it (HTML5+JS, C#+XAML, C++) can also be cross-architecture. Of course you can choose to do architecture-specific stuff, or reference architecture-specific libraries that would limit where your app can run, but that would be a conscious choice on your part.

I suspect you've confused the fact that Windows RT for ARM does not allow you to write or install non-Modern third-party apps, which means no desktop apps for you besides the built-in Windows stuff (notepad, desktop IE, etc) and Office. That is not related to Modern apps at all.

God only knows what Windows Phone 8 will look like

Given that Microsoft couldn't figure out resolution-independent UI for Windows 8, my completely speculative guess is that it'll be similar to the Wnidows 8 WinRT API set, but require you to build a different GUI. Kind of like how WP7 supported (mostly) the same XNA as Xbox 360 and Windows, but you still had to redo the display (and control) portion to make it work on the phone. Code is shared, but two separate and distinct binaries would need to be built to support both platforms.

But we won't know anything until Microsoft releases the WP8 SDK. Hopefully that will be today (10/26), but we'll see.

about 2 years ago
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LG's 84-inch 3840 x 2160 Television Doesn't Come Cheap: $17,000

Osty Re:It is ~4,000 lines (152 comments)

That's not normally how "lines" is interpreted. A "line" is generally expected to be the same as a "row". Each line is 4000 pixels long (well, actually 3840 pixels), but there are only 2000 (really 2160) rows. 4000 refers to the columns. I guess we could start referring to 1080p as 2K, 720p as 1.5K, and 480p as 1K, but since we already have the row-based naming convention it seems silly not to call this 2160p.

about 2 years ago
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LG's 84-inch 3840 x 2160 Television Doesn't Come Cheap: $17,000

Osty Re:Going to replace my windows (152 comments)

It's been done. The problem is 3D tracking. To be convincing windows you need to have parallax movement of the images, but because the monitors aren't actually far away it can only work for one person at a time. If you don't have parallax movement, you may as well just mount it as a "digital painting" rather than a faux window.

about 2 years ago
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The Struggles of Getting Into the App Store

Osty Re:Yes, it sucks (329 comments)

From what I can tell, to have full support across all of their portable devices, you'll need to have 3 versions of each app. One for the Windows Phone 8, one for Windows RT 8, and one for x86/x64 Windows 8. I've seen reports that RT tablets won't be able to run phone apps and phones won't be able to run RT apps so that means two ARM builds. And there are also a lot of x86 tablets in the pipeline that will be running the full x86 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 8 so you'll need to cover them, too.

It depends on how you're writing your app. If you use the HTML5+JS framework or C#, you can write platform-neutral apps that will run on x86, x64, and ARM Windows 8 machines (including RT). You of course also have the option of specifically targeting one or more platform, which is good for games, but I would expect most apps will be platform neutral

That gets you down to two platforms -- Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The Windows Phone 8 SDK has yet to be released except to hand-picked developers under strict NDA, so nobody really knows what's in there yet. It could be binary-compatible with Windows 8. We just don't know.

about 2 years ago
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Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu

Osty Re:how about (396 comments)

Windows ME was uter crap. Actually I skipped this version because I used Win2k at the time.

ME only existed because 2k wasn't ready for the home market and they need a stop-gap. XP came a year later.

Windows ME was uter crap. Actually I skipped this version because I used Win2k at the time.

Sure, if you didn't mind not having drivers, having poor game performance (everything was still targeting win9x at the time), etc. Still, it was a solid OS.

Windows XP sucked at first. It was basicaly a slower version of Windows 200 with a Teletubbies interface

Except that XP benefited from 2k's run in order to have drivers available day 1, and was much better in terms of consumer support. There's a reason 2k Pro was not targeted to home users and XP was. That extra year and a half or so made all the difference.

Windows Vista was as shitty as ME.

Windows 7 is actualy Vista, but working.

Actually, a much more apt comparison would be Vista was 2k to 7's XP. Vista introduced a new driver model and didn't give OEMs enough time to get new drivers out (it needed to be done, but it was done poorly). Where Vista failed wasn't on the technical side of things, but on marketing. It had a significantly increased minimum hardware requirement, and for good reason. But it was just a little bit ahead of the curve and OEMs wanted to sell cheaper hardware so marketing came up with the whole "Vista Basic" thing (and they got sued for it). If you had the hardware for it, and you could tough it out for the first 3-4 months while drivers caught up, Vista was awesome. The search box on the Start menu on its own was worth the price of admission, and is what ultimately killed the Start menu entirely (user feedback indicated that nobody used the start menu for anything but searching, so no need for the menu itself anymore).

about 2 years ago
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iPhone 5 GeekBench Results

Osty Re:Faster is fine - do we need thinner? (470 comments)

I'm definitely an old fart (when did that happen?), but I use my smartphone for smartphone stuff like apps and whatever. I guess the difference is I don't grease up my hands with butter before trying to use it, or something. I just don't get it.

about 2 years ago
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iPhone 5 GeekBench Results

Osty Re:Faster is fine - do we need thinner? (470 comments)

Why is everybody dropping their phones? How does this happen? After years of smartphone use, and over a decade of cell phone use, I've only ever dropped one phone (an old Nokia, circa 2000; ended up with a loose battery connection that would occasionally cause dropped calls if it shifted mid-call).

Maybe rather than a case people should get the Nokia Lumia 920 and wear grippy gloves, since the 920's screen can be used with gloves on.

about 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Is Ready

Osty Re:Let the bitching begin.... (558 comments)

Don't forget the reviled "Vista Basic", allowing OEMs to install Vista on machines it was never supposed to run on. Vista was a little too far ahead of its time, as evidenced by the fact that Windows 8 and Windows Vista (Premium experience) share the exact same minimum requirements.

Still, Vista wasn't as bad as people like to pretend. A lot of the "bad" was around drivers as you mentioned, OEM issues, and behavior changes for users stuck in their ways (which usually tends to be the self-proclaimed "power users" more than "normal" users), and probably most importantly the extended development period and mostly public failure of the dev team (the ~2005 reset, for example). Judged by itself, with proper hardware and drivers, Vista was actually pretty good. Just the Start Menu search by itself was enough to make it worth it for me.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft Unveils Outlook.com, Hotmail's Successor

Osty Re:Microsoft Mess (368 comments)

1 account/password gets me e-mail, Youtube, Picasa, Docs, IM, news, etc

To be fair, you're really kinda doing it wrong. A single "Microsoft Account" (that literally be any email account like -- mine's my gmail address) gets you access to all of Microsoft's properties -- Xbox, Zune, all the Live properties like Messenger, Bing and Bing Rewards, Skydrive, Office Online, etc. Mail through hotmail.com or live.com or outlook.com is all the same (well, I don't think hotmail.com has upgraded yet, but the others are the same -- in fact for me, outlook.com just redirects to a mail.live.com domain). You have the option to get a different address, for example if you're allergic to @hotmail.com and want to have @live.com or @outlook.com instead, but you don't have to. If you decide you do want multiples, you can create aliases (my @outlook.com address is an alias on my @gmail.com Microsoft Account). If you don't want to do aliases, you can easily change your Microsoft Account name (email address) whenever you like (have foo@hotmail.com and want it to be bar@live.com? Change it on your current account, don't just create a new account). The only difference between this and Google is that Google doesn't really give you a choice of other names. And at least with Microsoft accounts you can link them if you want. You can't link multiple gmail accounts.

With Microsoft, my IM contacts were on the Passport account, my Windows Mobile phone is on my Live account, etc.

That's your own fault for creating a new account every time you do something (I bet you have yet another account for Xbox, eh?). You know that part where is says "Login to your account or create a new account"? Yeah, you can log into your account there. You don't have to create a new account.

more than 2 years ago
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Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!

Osty Re:Yes I do, thanks for asking (660 comments)

As a male of average height and hand size, I also prefer bigger phones. At least, bigger than the iPhone, anyway. For me, 4.3" is right around the sweet spot, but would be happy with anything from 4.0" to 4.5". 4.7-4.8" is pushing it, though my wife's HTC One X is pretty damn comfortable and not significantly wider than my HTC HD7S (mostly due to a smaller bezel). Once you get above 5.0" things start to get a bit uncomfortable for me, but aside from the Galaxy Note which is arguably a mini-tablet phones haven't yet gone above 4.8".

3.5" phones are just too damn small.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft's 'Cannibalistic Culture'

Osty Re:Stacked ranking at HP (407 comments)

But then you all have a black mark on your record, making it harder to move teams. And compensation is directly tied to review ratings, so for the review period where you get the short straw you may get nothing -- no raise (not even cost of living/inflation), no bonus, no stock. Just an uncomfortable discussion, a bad mark on your review record that will send up a red flag to other teams, and the hope that your manager doesn't get replaced with someone else who doesn't follow the previous manager's rotation and will pigeonhole you based on your previous bad review.

Jack Welch implemented stack ranking at GE when the company was over-sized and performing poorly. It was intended to be a short-term (couple year) measure to identify and weed out underperformers. It was not intended to be a long-term business standard. Filtering out 5-20% of your work force every year is not sustainable (why do you think Microsoft complains about the lack of H1-B visas?), and the system is ripe for exploitation. Your manager exploited the system in an arguably good way (making the best of a bad situation), but plenty of managers will use stack ranking to get rid of people who are competent but have somehow rubbed the manager the wrong way, or in a misguided attempt to retain talent (give them a good review and they will leave to better things, but give them a bad review and no other team will take them and they're left with the choice of staying where they're at or leaving the company entirely), or as an exercise in empire building (make your way up the corporate ladder by bringing along people below you to push you up at the expense of others who may be more competent but less willing to play politics).

Part of the problem is that stack ranking is so pervasive in the software industry. All of the major companies do it. Smaller companies do it because the big companies do it. Every now and then you'll find someone unique like Netflix, but if you leave Microsoft for Google, or HP for Amazon, you're just going from one stack ranking system to another. The individual details may be slightly different, but the overall system is the same.

more than 2 years ago
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Mono Abandons Open Source Silverlight

Osty Re:Netflix (336 comments)

And obviously I meant a general-purpose Linux OS rather than Android or BoxeeBox since every Netflix subscriber who has wanted a Linux product has seen all the "it works on Android/BoxeeBox so it should work on Linux" posts around the net.

It works on Android/Boxee/Tivo/WDTV/other Linux-based hardware because of hardware-based DRM chips. This is why, for example, not all Android devices are supported by Netflix, or why the WDTV Live device was not supported but the WDTV Live Plus device was, or why Boxee supports Netflix on its physical hardware but did not do so in the now-dead software distribution.

Silverlight uses PlayReady DRM, which is what Netflix uses on devices without dedicated DRM hardware. PlayReady is designed to be cross-platform. The only thing stopping it from appearing on Linux is the cost of licensing PlayReady from Microsoft, building a Linux-compatible implementation (shouldn't be too difficult, as it already exists on OS X), and hooking it into Moonlight. But now Moonlight is dead, and nobody's going to pay for PlayReady licensing anyway, and even if they did it might still end up being incompatible with the GPL at some level needed to make it fully work.

more than 2 years ago
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The 30 Best Features of Windows

Osty Re:Lets break it down (470 comments)

Your info is old. First, local sessions can and obviously do use graphic acceleration. Second, that functionality for remote sessions was added server-side in Win2k8 R2 and client-side in Win7sp1. But really, you've missed the point. Every local login session is effectively an RDP session, just running locally. That's a very simplified way of looking at it, but simplified is good when speaking at a high level.

more than 2 years ago
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The 30 Best Features of Windows

Osty Re:Lets break it down (470 comments)

7. Windows Store
Humm.. No thanks?

See:

1. Interactive tiles
This might be useful once I get used to it.

Aside from the built-in apps, you will not get any other Live Tiles without going through the store.

5. Airplane mode
Ok.. Why not... I won't use it but a good idea..

and

14. Improved 3G support
Cool.

go together.

I was going to go through and point out everything wrong about all your other statements, but then I realized that you already summarized all of my feedback:

I am still an XP user atm...

Not a lot more to say about that. It's basically saying, "I'm still a Warty Warthog user atm ..." or, "I'm still a Debian Woody user atm ..." or for the Apple lovers, "I'm still a Jaguar user atm ..."

more than 2 years ago
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The 30 Best Features of Windows

Osty Re:Lets break it down (470 comments)

As far as Virtual Desktops go (Number 5), it is technically unfeasible, for reasons I don't quite remember. Something to do with the way Windows handles windows which has escaped me for the moment. Nevertheless, there are third party applications of varying quality that already implement this, to a varying degree.

Actually, virtual desktops should be trivial to do, and I'm surprised it hasn't been done yet. The key is Remote Desktop. Since XP/Server 2003, even your local console login session is essentially a remote desktop session, just optimized for being local. There's no reason why there couldn't be four or so local RDP sessions available to switch through on demand. It's effectively Fast User Switching, just without the actual user switching. It would even fit well with the RDP licensing for client OSes, where you can only have one login session active at a time (try it -- if you log in remotely, your local session locks). Processes in inactive sessions still run just fine, so the fact that your virtual desktops would technically be inactive RDP sessions would not affect running programs. Moving apps between desktops would be tricky or impossible, but on the other hand separation between desktop process spaces is potentially a good thing.

There are already hacks that allow multiple remote logins by the same user and multiple active logins, so in theory you could fake this yourself by connecting a couple of local-remote sessions and switching between them as needed.

Bring back visualbasic? (Number 6) No. Just no. That thing was a mess. Friends don't let friends script VB, drunk or otherwise.

Depending on the goal (the article was very vague, just asking for "a simple app development language"), this is either solved by Powershell (replaces batch script and vbscript) or by the new WinRT runtime with its Javascript interface and Expression Blend support for easily building GUIs. VB6 needs to stay dead, and IMHO VB.NET may as well follow it since there's really no benefit to using it over C#.

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft's Hotmail Challenge Backfires

Osty Re:Yes, but other than that, how did you like it? (453 comments)

This is also very informative, at least for me, as it gives me one more reason to avoid Win 8 as i had no idea everything in their new appstore was tied to hotmail. So Barance thanks for submitting this article, most grateful. Sorry about the poor bastard that tried Hotmail and got pwned but there is a good reason why many of us avoid hotmail like the clap.

First things first, Hotmail != Live ID. A Hotmail (or Live.com) account is a Live ID, but a Live ID does not need to be a Hotmail account. It can be any email address you want. My Live ID is my gmail account.

Second, this isn't anything new. Xbox and Windows Phone both use Live ID as the ID into their stores. This is no different than Google requiring a Google account for Android or Apple requiring an iTunes account for iOS/OS X app stores. Windows 8 takes it one step further by giving you the option of using your live ID as your Windows login, but it's not required. You can still use a regular local user, or a domain account if you're on an AD domain.

Third, the author of the article obviously sucks at using strong passwords. A 7-character, all lower-case alphabetical password is just begging to be cracked. Even with thottling in place on Microsoft's services, that could be brute-forced in a trivial amount of time even without a dictionary attack (assuming no throttling or login attempt limits, it would take approximately 32 seconds to crack). He's blaming the tools when he should be blaming his own password management skills. Hacking of Live IDs is no more rampant than hacking of Google accounts or iTunes accounts. Well, okay, not entirely true -- there have been plenty of social engineering hacks through Xbox Live. Stuff like, "Send me your login credentials and I will get achievements for you" or Points scams or whatever. But there's nothing Microsoft can do about social engineering short of identifying the culprits and taking action against them after the fact.

more than 2 years ago
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iTunes' Windows Problem

Osty Re:Uhm, no... (332 comments)

It's easier and cheaper to switch phones to Android or WP7.

more than 2 years ago
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XBMC V11 Eden Has Been Released

Osty Re:Never got the "point" of XBMC (195 comments)

As long as I'm being pedantic, that is correct. It's an abbreviation. An acronym is an abbreviation that intentionally forms a word. So unless you pronounce XBMC as "ex-buh-muck" and not "ex bee em see", it's only an abbreviation.

And it certainly is an abbreviation, as the original project was called "Xbox Media Center". That the abbreviation is now the name doesn't make it not an abbreviation (see KFC, IBM, etc).

more than 2 years ago
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XBMC V11 Eden Has Been Released

Osty Re:Never got the "point" of XBMC (195 comments)

Well, that's interesting. Only the Eden logo has the "media center" subtitle. Everything else (the site header logo, the about page, every other single reference to "XBMC" on the web site) refers strictly to "XBMC" and not "XBMC Media Center". So I'll stick with the more consistent representation of the name as "XBMC" with the "Media Center" as part of the abbreviation.

more than 2 years ago
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XBMC V11 Eden Has Been Released

Osty Re:Never got the "point" of XBMC (195 comments)

It is called "XBMC Media Center" for a reason

This may be pedantic, but it's not called "XBMC Media Center". It's called "XBMC", originally from "Xbox Media Center". "Media Center" is part of the abbreviation. Calling it "XBMC Media Center" is akin to calling an ATM an "ATM machine" or a PIN a "PIN number". "Media Center", "machine", and "number" are all part of the preceding abbreviations, respectively.

more than 2 years ago

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