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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

ray-auch Re:Great news. Bye Charms bar! (320 comments)

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.

11 hours ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

ray-auch Re:Microsoft would be onto a winner if... (320 comments)

Actually, I do have one other annoyance: their seeming insistence that you have some kind of an Windows web account (outlook.com 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 live.com 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...

11 hours ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

ray-auch Re:Full-screen Start is the problem (567 comments)

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.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

ray-auch Re:Only for the first year (567 comments)

1. users (or at least us power users) can configure away

2. (Charms bar) is I think the single most annoying piece of UI design since the blink tag, or possibly ever. It's right there to annoy you every f***ing time you go for the scrollbar (particularly the *$£!%^ new Chrome ones).

Best news of win 10 ? Charms bar is gone. I scrolled happily and error free for days without noticing, before I suddenly realized it had gone - bliss. Free upgrade is good news for that reason alone - I do not want to have to go back from the previews to that stupid charms bar !

4 days ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

ray-auch Re:Full-screen Start is the problem (567 comments)

The fact that it's forced full-screen rather than snapped is the problem. At least with the Windows 7 Start menu, I could see a bit of what I was working on [...]

I have never understood this argument, why do you need to see what you _were_ working on when starting a _new_ program ? The article you cite doesn't help - it says there is a cognitive burden from the metro/desktop split and hot corners etc., all of which I agree with, but it _doesn't_ say there is a cognitive burden to the start screen (in fact it concludes it's the best choice for tablets and justified on grounds of commonality for desktops).

I fully understand the need to have multiple windows visible when working in one and referring to another, or for drag and drop, and un-moving dialogs (and metro apps) can be a right pain in this regard. But starting a new program is the one part of the desktop workflow where you _don't_ need that at all, at absolute worst case you need to read the name of the new program from another window and remember it - most of the time you already know what you want to start at that point in your workflow.

The start screen is something you flick to, find what you want (with the full screen available to show your options or search results, at least in 8) and then leave, the full screen rendering seems to be faster and a better workflow. I see no reason for the live tiles - I'm not on the start screen for long enough to use them.

In contrast the start menu on 7, with a lot of things installed, I found slow to render and cumbersome to use once you got to two or more levels deep and/or more than a screenful (I seem to recall menu scroll was horrible - 10 is better in this respect but more limited, still prefer the start screen), quite often the start menu would cover most of the screen anyway - it would just take a lot more clicking and scrolling to get there.

4 days ago
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Systemd's Lennart Poettering: 'We Do Listen To Users'

ray-auch Re:The very first thing out of his mouth (551 comments)

If something works, then don't break it. If a vanishingly small number of people need a different alternative, then don't shove it down everyone else's throats.

OpenRC, upstart, launchd, smf, dmd (hurd) and various others. And systemd obviously. All designed to replace sysv/bsd style init.

That's a lot of projects created to replace something that didn't need fixing. Seems to me there must have been a lot of affected people, not "a vanishingly small number" to make all those projects happen.

You may not have problems with sysv init, but that doesn't mean there aren't problems.

Whether systemd is the right solution is a different question, but denying there was a problem just seems silly.

about two weeks ago
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Kawa 2.0 Supports Scheme R7RS

ray-auch Re:Traditional (62 comments)

"Great" clearly means different things to different people.

To malware authors, JRE is clearly great, because it is a frequent (successfully attacked) target. Maybe it's also great if you trust Oracle, which I don't.

Oracle's JRE patching record is not great, but worse than that you daren't set it to automatically update itself because Oracle has previously distributed malware bundled with JRE security updates ( http://www.zdnet.com/article/a... ).

about a month and a half ago
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DOOM 3DO Source Released On Github

ray-auch Re:The fact remains... (323 comments)

Biological sex is not binary, so it is difficult to arbitrarily say that an individual is biologically one sex or another.

It's in the chromosomes. It's all about the X's and Y's.

Er, yes, for many/most people, but for a significant minority, it is not, which is the point (and actually even if it is all about the chromosomes, you still have the trisomy etc. conditions).

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... (see definitions section)

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

ray-auch depends where you live - some figures (516 comments)

Thought I'd actually look up some real numbers for reliability by country (terms can be found on wikipedia, larger is not better...):

International Comparison of 2007 Reliability Indices

COUNTRY ..... SAIDI SAIFI
United States 240 .. 1.5
Netherlands .. 33 .. 0.3
Austria ...... 72 .. 0.9
Denmark ...... 24 .. 0.5
France ....... 62 .. 1.0
Germany ...... 23 .. 0.5
Italy ........ 58 .. 2.2
Spain ....... 104 .. 2.2
UK ........... 90 .. 0.8

Source: Council of European Energy Regulators ASBL. (2008). 4th Benchmarking Report on the Quality of Electricity Supply. Brussels: CEER.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

ray-auch Re:Hide your cables (516 comments)

Sounds more like doing a crap job does not work - which is pretty much a universal truth.

The underground cable coming into our property looks to be at least 50yrs old and I doubt the path above it has been lifted in that timescale either, and it definitely hasn't been touched in the 17yrs I've been here. Some of the distribution wiring out in the street has been upgraded in the last ten yrs because we were getting outages every couple of months, now we get zero, I doubt that wiring had been touched for decades and I don't expect the new stuff under the street will be replaced in the next few decades either. Doing this stuff right isn't rocket science and we knew how to do it over 50yrs ago.

Transformers sometimes flood, but new ones shouldn't unless you don't have design standards or don't enforce them - just looked up some here and for consumer substations it's 300mm of concrete above the 100 year flood level. There are problems with older substations built to lower standards or because flooding risks have simply changed - there are places that haven't flooded in over 100yrs and then this century have flooded several times, call it climate change or whatever, it means the 100yr flood line has effectively moved. But that is older infrastructure, if you have new areas where transformers are "constantly" getting flooded then you have poor standards or poor monitoring of standards.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

ray-auch Re:Super-capitalism (516 comments)

For one, the US is big.. really big.. So it's not cost-effective to run power cables and alike underground. So that makes them more vulnerable.

That is not the problem - most of our long distance high voltage stuff is above ground here, but that is usually redundant (hence "grid"). The weird thing about the US is the way the last-mile low voltage stuff, which is more vulnerable and typically _not_ redundant, is above ground too. Many people are convinced that is why your power is more flaky - it is not actually the grid (although the US high voltage grid does not have a good reputation either).

So, how's our grid ? Well, a few years ago we started to get more power outages - by which I mean one every couple of months for a few minutes to a couple of hours. The distribution cable from the substation was either degraded or handling too much new load, anyway that was enough for them to dig up all the roads a year or so ago and replace / add new cables. Haven't had a single noticeable power outage since then.

about 2 months ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

ray-auch Which is why we have gods... (335 comments)

Exhibit B, God (or Gods), generally regarded as being infinite/omnipresent/omnipotent/otherwise not subject to laws of physics - hence plenty of room for an infinite tape.

God does the complicated bit of deciding whether puny humans should kill or not - the "why" - leaving the humans to decide the simple bits like "when / who" (goes first), "how" (which bits to cut / shoot / throttle / stone), and which way up to hold the camera.

about 2 months ago
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Longtime Debian Developer Tollef Fog Heen Resigns From Systemd Maintainer Team

ray-auch Re:Don't like Systemd... fork it. (550 comments)

My understanding is that cgroups is moving (for various reasons) to require a single userspace process manager a la systemd. No, it doesn't have to be systemd but it sounds like it will have to be something _like_ systemd if you don't use systemd. Also, if your one process manager needs to manage stuff spawned from init, maybe it is right that it should _be_ init - I am not actually sure, but that seems to be the argument.

I am not sure if RedHat is chasing a phantom use case as you say or a genuine and valuable innovation - probably only time will tell - I just think it is clear they are chasing something in the PAAS / cloud / server space, and that that is where systemd is coming from.

about 2 months ago
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Longtime Debian Developer Tollef Fog Heen Resigns From Systemd Maintainer Team

ray-auch Re:Don't like Systemd... fork it. (550 comments)

Mod parent up.

Exactly right - systemd isn't about desktop boot times at all, it is about servers and process management and supporting containerization (and managing using cgroups). See RedHat Atomic / OpenShift / Geard etc.

I agree that monitoring and re-spawning doesn't _need_ to be at OS level, but the cgroups type of stuff (resource limits, accounting, namespace isolation) really does.

Systemd is definitely about servers, lots and lots of servers delivering PAAS clouds, so no, traditional discrete server admins won't like it, but then they won't like PAAS either (if it really takes off) as it outsources / automates a large part of their job.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re:Nonsense (219 comments)

For me, for _typing_, anything less than a good solid desk and a proper keyboard with springs in (i.e. Model M or similar) is already inadequate, the chromebook keyboards I have seen look awful, and probably are given that the whole machine is less than twice the price of a proper keyboard (and probably about the same weight). Yes, the clamshell format is better for typing than a tablet, but both are a lot worse than a desktop. Tablets can also use fancy predictive or modal keyboards (swype et al) to swing the balance back.

Let's also not forget that these are kids, they have not grown up with real keyboards and then switched to touchscreen, they have grown up with touchscreens, they live by their overwhelmingly touchscreen phones, what is more comfortable and efficient for us old ones may not be for them.

> Plus when the lid closes the screen is protected, the iPad has to go into a sleeve of some sort for protection.

The kids' school iPads never come out of the (allegedly mil-spec) protective case, and I'd be a lot happier dropping one than any kind of laptop, closed or open.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re:Different strokes. (219 comments)

As somebody who works in the IT Department at a large public school district, I find the inclusion of tablets (not just iPads, but any tablet) to be a bit of a headache. You can add all of the peripherals you want to a tablet, such as a bluetooth keyboard, etc., but it can not match the span of usability of an actual laptop. Likewise, accidents with tablets are a bit frustrating to deal with. The act of holding the device, by nature alone, causes the chance of damage to rise considerably, as opposed to a device that sits on a table and is used accordingly.

See this is where I think people go wrong - you are viewing a tablet as "can it replace a laptop" rather than "what can it do". I don't understand why schools even use laptops in the first place - the entire purpose of a laptop is to be portable (less so than a tablet), but you say they "sit on a table". In that case, a desktop is surely better in every way - more robust, more upgradeable, more ergonomic in terms of screen and keyboard positioning, etc. If on the other hand you are actually _using_ the portability (the raison d'etre of a laptop) then you have schoolkids carrying them around, and then bring on the breakages - unless you have the budget for the likes of ToughBooks.

Tablets on the other hand are straightforward to ruggedize with external cases (being essentially a cuboid slab with zero moving parts), and open up a lot of use cases you simply wouldn't even consider a laptop for. When my kids' school trialled them, the most interesting and perhaps the most compelling use cases they came out of it with were things I had not even considered, simply because I had always used some combination of desktops laptops and phone.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re:Who is ubmfuturecities? (219 comments)

Notepad++, full screen mode, portrait if you have it, or landscape with multiple tabs side by side.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re:Not really... (219 comments)

I work in a school. We've been through the whole "every pupil gets a computer" phase and it was a disaster - we used eeepcs running Xandros and initially there were complaints about how crummy the programs were. (IE people expected Office, but they got OpenOffice instead).

Then after a few days the breakages started - minibooks left in bags, being dropped, screens smashed, drinks spilt on them etc. So that meant that teachers couldn't rely on everyone having one any more and the whole point of them was lost. They stopped being used and we ended up getting about 30% of them back after the year was out,

I am astounded how many people still think it is a good idea to give non-ruggedized kit to school kids, it's as if they deliberately forget what it was like to be a kid.

Tablet form factor (and lack of moving parts) lends itself to ruggedization, and there are lots of case options available, laptops (or chromebooks etc.) with moving and spinning parts need to be built rugged so you want ToughBooks or similar - but then you've blown your budget by a mile.

My kid has a school iPad, it's locked into a case that claims to be mil-spec - I have my doubts, I don't think you could throw it in a puddle, drive over it and pick it up and use it afterwards like the old Husky Hunters (the military being somewhat like overgrown school-kids) but you can certainly splash drink on it or drop it down some stairs without problems. Their breakage rate after a year was about 1%, which is way better than professional developers manage with corporate laptops IME...

Like anything else - research properly before splashing cash.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re:Compromise combos don't work (219 comments)

Another anecdote is the school where my wife teaches are about to dump iPads in favour of a convertible laptop (Not decided on a Surface or a Transformer or which specific device, but it will run Windows and it will be a full laptop / tablet convertible), and the private school across the road already did last year and went with Asus Transformers.

The iPad is a shit device for learning.

The ASUS transformers are awesome little beasts, but they don't have the camera capability which seems to be a major use case for tablets at my kids' school. I'd also question if the surface "cover" or even the transformer are rugged enough for schoolkids on their own, and getting ruggedized cases that accommodate the convertible feature may be tricky. Tablets are relatively easy to ruggedize.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

ray-auch Re: Compromise combos don't work (219 comments)

It is doomed, but that is not why. If MS chose to unlock it, you could rebuild native x86 apps for RT no problem - that's how they did Office. But MS didn't want to allow that, they wanted a go at the 30% of everything sold in the app store model - the fact that that failed is IMO good.

The real reason RT is doomed though is that it was built to give Intel a kick to get better performing low power x86 chips out (or alternatively to hedge their bets on mobile hardware platform). Since Bay Trail atoms came out there is just no reason to run Windows on an ARM tablet, and hence no need for the arbitrarily crippled RT.

They are going to take the ARM port and produce ARM server Windows I believe, which might actually make more sense (more limited set of software than desktops, more of it custom and hence rebuildable, and admins who won't be as confused as desktop users about requiring ARM or x86 binary). Again, it will be to hedge their platform best but also maybe to push Intel to more efficiency in server chips.

about 2 months ago

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