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

vux984 Re:Going to/from a Mac isn't hard (200 comments)

The Mac interface is a LOT closer to classic Windows (XP through 7) than Windows 8 is.

Nope. Not even close.

If anything Windows 8 and OSX are the closest. (Start Screen = Application Launcher); and the taskbar and dock continue to converge.

I've transitioned plenty of people between OSX and Windows XP/Vista/7 in both directions. They're not all that different and transitioning between them isn't hard for most folks

Agreed. Its not that hard to transition to OSX. Less so than people would imagine. But its far harder than your letting on.

But transitioning form 7 to 8 isn't hard either. It's far easier than transitioning to OSX because once they know how to find and launch a program in 8 it looks exactly the same on 8 as it did on 7. And the names of all the apps and utilities etc are all the same. Snipping Tool, Notepad, Internet Explorer, Stickies, etc.

Whereas everything equivalent on a Mac is a bit different, and has a new name. "command-shift-4 for screenshots", TextEdit for notepad, Safari for IE, Notes.app... etc. And even the familiar stuff like Microsoft Office has a completely new skin, and doesn't work quite the same in a zillion places.

Its simply completely dishonest to suggest OSX is easy to transition to while 8 is hard.

I can't really see why anyone would pay to upgrade to 8.1 from 7; but I can't imagine getting worked up about a new computer coming with 8.1.

And 10 is looking better still. I'm sure it'll have its flaws. Every OS does. (XP was widely "loathed" on /. for its fisher-price look and then-new two-column start menu when it arrived too...) And people were falling over themselves to boast how the first thing they did was restore it to "Classic" Win2K themes.

Maybe it's fine on a tablet

It is.

but I absolutely hate using it on a desktop.

I agree it needs about 5 - 10 minutes to cleanup its settings to make sense on a default, pin what you need, cleanup the live-tile overload on the start screen, tell it to boot to desktop, and use the desktop versions of the photo viewer, etc so you aren't being thrown into "Modern UI" at random all over the place. Turn off the extra hot-corners, etc.

But you don't need any third party utilities or anything to make Win8.1 a completely serviceable desktop OS. I'm at this point indifferent which one I'm using.

I like the start-menu search on 7 better than being tossed to full-screen for that in 8.1 enough to recommend "launchy" to power users who use the 'feature' but that's about it.

16 minutes ago

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

vux984 Re:Charms Bar vs Action Center (200 comments)

It's not at all clear to me what "Replacing the Charms bar is the Action center which has many of the same shortcuts as the Charms bar but also has a plethora of other information too." actually means.

First, the Action Center was a feature of Windows 7 (Vista?). It is not a new thing.

So I guess it means the charms bar is gone. And its functionality has been moved to the action center. Seems pretty reasonable.

I never liked the charms bar. Glad its going away. I hate hot corners.

Having a secondary OS Settings menu to complement the Start menu for programs isn't necessarily a poor design choice

Its really just expanding the role of an existing control panel.

about an hour ago

NVIDIA Launches New Midrange Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card

vux984 Re:Midrange? (114 comments)

the screen size comes into play. i would play 4k with maybe a 32+ inch screen but then it may be too close for a desktop experience. I output to a 4k projector if I truly need color corrected picture quality, plus my old eyes really appreciate the beauty of high res but at a much bigger screen.

I don't get this at all. The only reasons ever not to game at the screens native resolution is

a) due to framerate losses due to pushing more pixels

b) due to poor game designs where the fonts become unread-ably small because they are fixed pixel size instead of scaled.

If your down sizing because of framerate on a 970GTX; that tells me that video cards really aren't ready to push 4K yet.

If your down sizing because of readability and font issues; that tells me that the games themselves aren't really 4K ready yet.

Or perhaps a combination of both issues; depending on which game we are looking at.

Either way, it tells me that 4K isn't really quite "there" yet for gamers.

1 hour ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

vux984 Re:Modula-3 FTW! (423 comments)

. What can you do in Pascal that you can't do in C++, or Python, or Java?

So the world only needs 3 languages? Everything from Lua to OjectiveC to Javascript to Haskell... we already have C++, Python, and Java.

And frankly that's an odd 3 to choose. Why Python? Why not Javascript? Why not Lisp?

Maybe we just need Pascal, Lisp, and C#.

"all the extra typing"? I don't even know what to say to that. 99% of programming, is design and debugging. 1% is the actual "typing out the code". If you lost 50% of your time to typing out the code due to typing out begin and and I've got serious concerns about the design.

and reduced readability

          Formatting, indentation, and syntax highlighting make using being and end work just fine as block markerers.

Plus I admit I hate python's semantic white space. At least begin and end don't get mangled simply by copy and pasting a snippet. And since all the semantic information is in the content, the IDE can do the pretty formatting FOR YOU to improve readability.


In Addition To Project Spartan, Windows 10 Will Include Internet Explorer

vux984 Re:Internet Explorer (98 comments)

That was it. That was why corporations went with it.

That's a big part of it, but you do have to factor in activeX. While it was always a bit of a boondoggle on the consumer internet; it did provide some much needed glue that those old browsers didn't have.

Wanted your cool new enterprise intranet application to be able to print to the receipt printer? Or upload local files with an elegant interface? Or (and a long list of other stuff.) There simply was no cross-platform way to do it. Netscape Plugsins OR ActiveX... and if the enterprise had the luxury of controlling what people were using so it could pick just one... and IE in addition to everything else you said ALSO was easy to manage via AD group policy etc. So it just made sense to use it.

And once they'd gone down the activeX road, and became dependent on it... well the whole planet has suffered for that mistake. :)


Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

vux984 Re:In after somebody says don't run Windows. (461 comments)

What's next, are you going to start talking about how there's a worm hidden in everyone's ring 0?

Reboot. Solved.

which "tells windows not to report it" and "doesn't show up in the registry editor"

So I kept it in laymen's terms? is there really any need to be technical with respect to how that's accomplished?

(why a virus would have to write in the registry in the first place is beyond me)

Usually to hide a gazillion triggers to restart / heal itself after at reboot.

They're far, far more likely to be built off CatPicturesScreensaver.exe than from some crazily smart drive-by which is completely undetectable and doesn't do anything... until the doomsday comes.

That's harder to say really.

There is going to be a clear confirmation bias. Like the idea that all criminals are stupid... just watch cops. Yes, LOTS of criminals are stupid. But the ones that are smarter? The ones that don't get caught? Where its not even obvious a crime was ever committed? Can we really say there's more dumb criminals than smart ones based on the fact that we don't see them as much?

I agree with you, but I'm not so sure what the ratio of good unobtrusive stuff to in your face nonsense really is. I concede we're not likely facing 'james bond' grade viruses ... and I think the majority out there is the fast and dirty social engineering to get a toolbar added to your browser... but I think we underestimate the just how prevalent unobtrusive malware might be; simply because by virtue of being unobtrusive we don't even know when were infected.

And for the less technical... they simply would just never know. They'd never complain, because nothing was 'wrong'. Eventually it would get old, replaced, or they'd pay some kid to wipe and refresh it because they were giving it to someone else and they'd be none the wiser that it was ever infected.

I found my parents computer once had been very discretely turned into someone elses "cloud storage". I only stumbled over it by complete fluke. I was troubleshooting something else; and just stumbled over it as there was a lock preventing a folder move or rename or something like that and that and it got me to look deeper.

I can only speculate that I've missed an unknown number of others over the years.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

vux984 Re:In after somebody says don't run Windows. (461 comments)

If this botnet is that good then unless you can monitor all your traffic to and from the suspected infected system with a separate, knowingly uncompromised system.

Pretty much. Yes. Unless its designed to overload your centrifuges and not communicate with the internet.

I think a good botnet would be dormant offline and invisible to the kernel, making an offline scan using the suspected system to inspect itself useless as well.

Which is I said it needed to be an offline scan.

If this awesome botnet gets me, hey...oh well.

Agreed. That level of security is out of most our reach.

However, the point remains that you could be part of a pretty run of the mill botnet, have your passwords harvested, and a variety of other nasty stuff and you'd have little to no chance of catching it in time. Even if it wasn't hyper-adept at hiding from the kernel itself.

Just not being particularly "obtrusive" will let run for months... perhaps years before you catch it. And most botnets these days qualify for "unobtrustive" because if they start throwing up piles of ads, redirecting your searches, and puking all over the place you'll wipe and rebuild and take them out. And they're in it for the longer game... while the puke on your system shit is just looking for some quick ad revenue before you find someone to "fix it" again.

2 days ago

NVIDIA Launches New Midrange Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card

vux984 Re:Midrange? (114 comments)

Asus PB287Q with a GTX970

Yeah, that's a TN panel. It's good for gaming; as it gets the response times etc where they need to be, but its not really suitable for anything that requires an accurate color space; which was one of my requirements.

It's also telling that even with a GTX970 you are finding running at 4k to be a bit hit and miss.

1080p is painful to watch.

And that's unfortunate too because 99% of content is not available yet for QHD / UHD so your going to be looking at a lot of 1080p content for a while yet.

I'd rather have QHD panel (2560x1440) and be able to run everything at native, have an accurate color space due to it not being TN (I ended up with a PLS display this round; and had IPS units previously) ~and~ its not as fast as a TN panel, but its still good enough for games.

Im glad your out there blazing the trail for us. But I just don't think 4k is really here quite yet.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

vux984 Re:In after somebody says don't run Windows. (461 comments)

- it's hard to do any kind of virus research at all when you've got antivirus trying to delete every infected file you're examining.

What kind of special flower does "virus research" on their "main" computer that they use for ANY thing else? I don't even look at them on a NETWORK that has access to anything else.

I agree that a/v products value is dubious at best. But good god man... your basically telling us the equivalent of "I don't bother with brakes in my daily commuter car because I like to study car wrecks... and... well those darn things prevent them from happening."

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

vux984 Re:In after somebody says don't run Windows. (461 comments)

I use visual and audible cues like an oddly running HDD: going by the activity light mostly using SSDs.

Because a botnet is going to need a lot of hard drive on your computer with GB of extra RAM?

Also, fan operation, CPU temp, resource monitoring stuff.

Unless you've been coopted to mine bitcoins or something, your CPU temperature isn't going to be noticeable if your part of a botnet either.

Just checking out what .exes are running and/or in startup once in a while is a good habit.

Sure it is; for the low hanging fruit. The really good stuff doesn't show up in taskmanager because its told windows not to report it. It doesn't show up in the registry editor either. And windows explorer can't see the files on disk. Or maybe it's hiding in plain sight... some common service replaced by a malware version; that still performs all the original functions, but also does something... extra.

The idea that anyone could detect anything sophisticated with "visual cues" and "checking stuff" is laughable; on any OS.

An offline scan is usually required, that flags everything not known specifically to come from a trusted vendor... and the resulting list is probably going to be overwhelming anyway for the average person / average system. Only the most secure managed environments would be able have any real confidence.

2 days ago

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

vux984 Re:I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

Just about every supermarket everywhere disagrees with you... http://smallbusiness.chron.com...

We're definitely talking about different things here.

After all, how can walmart pay a 2.17% dividend if they're only making ~1% profit? :)

I was talking return on investment (ROI) where as you are talking about profit margins on goods sold. They are not the same thing.

A $100,000 investment to create a business selling widgets that cost $1/unit to produce and sell for $1.01 and sells 2 million units a year.

The profit margin on the product is 1% (1.01/1.00)
On the other hand the ROI is 20% (2M x 0.01 profit/unit = $20,000 per year) 20,000/100,000 = 20%

I would definitely consider investing $100,000 in company that would earn me 20% back in year :); even if it only makes 1% margin on units. I wouldn't touch with a 100 foot pole a company that would only return 1% a year.

2 days ago

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

vux984 Re:I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

4.4% is a LOT more than govt bonds pay. It's not 1985 any more.

Hmm... 2.2% is the best I can find in the states on term deposit. GIC's in Canada are up to 2.85%. But if you have literally millions to invest you can generally do better than advertised retail. So I think my claim that 4.4% is only 1.5% better than they could find in a guaranteed investment vehicle is a reasonable claim.

2 days ago

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

vux984 Re:I thought they're making money... (194 comments)

They are making money

4.4% profit.

That's not making money hand over fist on an investment. If I was in a business venture making 4.4% profit, I'd shut down and do something else.

Nobody is going to run a business to make 1.5% more than they can get out of GICs and govt bonds

2 days ago

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

vux984 Re:i doubt MS is abandoning the surface (157 comments)

Calls from slashdotters that redmond is abandoning surface might hold water.

Honestly, calls from /. about Microsoft are usually full of crap.

That said, Microsoft abandoning Surface RT is probable. The surface pro on the other hand is a solid concept that is getting better with each iteration.

Combine this with Gaben's steam machines, OS, and broad support for an approachable commodity linux

Steam Machines and Steam OS is Valve's hedge against being one-punched out of business by a hypothetical future microsoft where everything goes through the microsoft app store. They see ios... they saw Windows RT... they saw the OSX app store and an OSX that blocks app installs by default from 'elsewhere', they saw the microsoft app store launch with windows 8. And they realized if they didn't have -something- they could be squeezed out of existence a couple iterations down the road.

I think the overall flop of windows 8 and the app store have really taken the pressure off valve to actually have a steam machine. Although they say they are still working on them; as long as Microsoft remains an 'open platform' that users can develop for, and install software from anywhere easily; I don't see the steamos/steambox being a big deal.

and its hard to really see where microsoft makes money

Not really.

Office (of course)
Servers (incl. CALs, Remote Desktop CALs or whatever they are called this week)
Enterprise desktop OSes (so win 8 isn't being widely deployed; enterprises are still paying for software assurance etc to keep installing windows 7 and MS is making great money at it.)

Bing profitability is apparently close, if not already there.
There's definitely money in skype as well; although it surely hasn't paid for itself yet.
And Xbox is has been profitable as well, for several years by all accounts.

Azure? I don't know.
OneDrive? I don't know.

2 days ago

NVIDIA Launches New Midrange Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card

vux984 Re:Midrange? (114 comments)

i have an asus 4k monitor, 1 ms gtg 60hz on displayport

1ms gtg though means TN display right? If performance / gaming is your primary and only driving consideration that's fine.

But I wanted something that does better with picture quality and color representation than a TN will deliver. I ended up with Asus as well but selected a 27" QHD PLS based panel; (the pair of which so far I'm very happy with.)

But I know they'll be obsoleted with really good 4K stuff soon.

Still the fact that you are choosing to game at 2560 on 980GTX (a better card than I have) says a lot too (not about you personally; but about the current state of UHD gaming).

3 days ago

NVIDIA Launches New Midrange Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card

vux984 Re:Midrange? (114 comments)

For 3840x2160 - Low end

Are there any good monitors at that resolution though? I bought a pair of 27" screens this holiday season and ended up opting for 2560x1440 because 3840x2160 were all terrible for gaming; with pretty much any video card it seemed.

So if you are going to shell out for a top-line nvidia card... what monitor are you pairing it with? A 30Hz QuadHD monitor with high lags, and latency?

I don't get the logic of that.

I couldn't find a good 3840x2160 screen that was remotely any good at least at the price ranges I was looking at? How much do you have to spend to get a good 4K screen - that's decent build quality, decent at gaming, and decent at picture quality?

I know they are -coming- but what is actually HERE?

3 days ago

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

vux984 Re:Full-screen Start is the problem (567 comments)

I can touch start, type a specific sequence of keys (usually only 3, sometimes 2), press Enter, all without moving my hands from the keyboard and also without losing focus on what I'm reading or working on.

a) that does work in 8. But i agree the context switch is an unwelcome burden.

b) That sort of workflow is a power user thing to do. See below.

it still serves as a reminder that Win8 wrested-away a reasonable feature.

That's fair. I'm not arguing that 8 or 8.1 was an improvment in every way. But the old start menu was a disaster of legacy crap glued together. And it was replaced by a set of reasonable features too... the start screen caters to casual users search (and looks a lot like OSX launchpad) AND it supports real searching better than the start menu ever did being full screen.

The way you and I used the start menu ... it still works... but I agree there is a cognitive burden to the mode switch.

So the only loss was a mode-switch free way to keyboard activate programs quickly that you already knew the names of... doesn't that sound like a power users utility to you? It does to me... and its an itch that's been well scratched.

Launchy, Executor, FARR... and others all not only support that feature, but go beyond what windows 7 ever did. So why cling backwards with classic shell... when we should be looking forward; embracing the things 8.1 got right, and using a power tool like launchy for its shortcomings.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe something like launchy should be bundled with windows. But then I think calculator.exe and notepad.exe are pretty worthless too compared to speedcrunch and notepad++...

3 days ago

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

vux984 Re:The "you're holding it wrong" mentality (567 comments)

I realize I'm replying to you a second time here; but I this sub-thread sort of illustrates my point quite well.

In addition to windows, I use OSX and *nix. And OSX, most notably doesn't have a start menu. And I don't miss it there. I certainly don't miss it to the point that I feel compelled to find a "MakeOSX work like windows 7 please" start menu utility.

I have my most frequent apps on the dock (essentially pinned apps on the system tray).
I use launchpad if I need to browse and search for an app (its a full scree application launcher tool; essentially windows 8's start screen - but its more limited).

And finally I use spotlight if i know what I want and can just type a few characters (eg. to launch terminal.app on OSX users who don't have it docked, etc)

So when I was first faced with 8.1; my observation was pretty much ok. Last round OSX borrowed from Windows. This round Windows is copying OSX and the start menu is souped up OSX application luancher. Neat.
But what about the other stuff i did with the start menu ?
Access control panels, computer properties (system control panel), shutdown, etc... oh its all rightclick off the start button. Cool.
Start menu pinned apps --> custom tool bar. We've had this capability forever; just rarely needed it before. Solved.
And the search widget? Hmmm. ... ok... yeah I miss that for quick search program launching. I see I can still do it from the start screen, but like you noted the context switch is overkill for that.

What I need is "spotlight" for windows; and it doesn't have one. But lets be honest here, most non-power users don't use spotlight on OSX to launch programs. And while I'd like window to include one, I'm a power user... and just like the built in calculator is worthless and I always install a replacement (in my case SpeedCrunch is the one i like), I'd like a little desktop search / program launcher... So Launchy (which goes back to XP), but there are others such as Executor, and FARR (find and run robot).

And frankly that's what blows my mind. What windows 8 "needs" is Spotlight (or Launchy) built in; yet somehow that one little short coming that only power users even needed turned itself into "Lets stick our heads up our asses and re-create everything that was wrong with the start menu just to get at the one little thing it actually did well back" instead of "Lets just make something does that missing bit well"... oh wait... someone already did... years ago... for XP and they've been updating it ever since. Lets use that.

3 days ago

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

vux984 Re:Full-screen Start is the problem (567 comments)

How would an end user discover A. that this is possible and B. what keywords to use on Google to learn how?

First, we aren't talking about joe-average end user. We are talking about intelligent windows-savvy power-users.

So how do you discover it? Same way we power users discover most things about the user interface by clicking on things.

Right click on your taskbar. Its the first option... "Toolbars"... hmm... what's all this about a savvy power user might ask themselves for that is what savvy power users are apt to do?

what keywords to use on Google to learn how?

Well, having now discovered it: "windows 8 taskbar toolbar" works the 2nd result is pretty much a tutorial on them.

Although taskbar toolbars have been around for a while... Windows 7 has them too. And Vista. And XP. I kinda-sorta think even Windows 98 might have had them.

You can use Jump Lists from apps pinned to the Taskbar in Windows 8 but having 10+ apps pinned to your Taskbar tends to make it needlessly cluttered, especially when you have multiple non-pinned apps open at the same time.

Agreed. But how typical is that REALLY? And your most common 5-10 apps are probably open all the time anyway, and pinned apps are just a partial solution.

Toolbars the other part. The stuff you don't use THAT frequently should go in a toolbar... a toolbar is basically like the pinned list on the old start menu, which can hold another 20-50 apps depending on your screensize and icon settings etc.

Hell you can even point a toolbar to the "start menu" folder and get a hierarchical popup back. Although crafting your own smaller customized list is probably more useful.

3 days ago

Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

vux984 Re:Missing the point. (180 comments)

You are missing the point.

No. You are. You can't have perfect security.

With the exception of point 5 and 6, which are simply just good advice (but #5 wouldn't have helped him here; and #6 makes it difficult to provide a criminal service -- after all someone else needs to know about it.)

All your suggestions have caveats and vulnerabilities. I'm picking on 1 and 4 in particular below, but there are issues with 2, 3, 5 too.

Step 1) NEVER carry incriminating evidence with you. Encrypted or not.

Good advice, but how exactly do you accomplish this? Either your data is somewhere with you. Or you have remote access to it, and there will be evidence that you do in fact have remote access to it if they seize your laptop WHILE YOU ARE USING IT to remotely access it.

Plus if YOU have remote access to it, then so does somebody else; if they can somehow convince the remote system they are you; or if there is some unpatched exploit they know about that you don't. (And you should assume there IS.)

After all what is it they say about stuff you don't EVER want leaked online? Oh right... DON'T PUT IT ONLINE. That runs directly counter to your advice to "always put it online".

You can't have it both ways.

4) use a dead-mans switch on that servers encrypted data

And then if the internet goes down due to a storm, beaver, or backhoe somewhere; all your records are gone and your now out of business. No idea who you owe what, or what people owe you; or where any of your assets and contacts nor how to reach them...Oh yeah. That's a great plan.

2) use a VPN/SSH Tunnel/etc (and/or both) to connect to the server where your data is. (make sure that server is located in a non-extraditing country, and filtered from you by a few shell companies)

If they have enough network surveillance at their disposal in place to unmask tor users, a couple VPNs and shell corporations isn't going to work. It might work to keep boris and igor from being able to find you. But I wouldn't rely on it to keep the FBI at bay if they are genuinely interested in shutting you down; and you live in the states.

4 days ago



Evidence for another Sony Rootkit

vux984 vux984 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

vux984 (928602) writes "There's some preliminary evidence that SOE is heading face first into what may be another rootkit scandal. A poster named Bug started this thread here: (I expect it to disappear if the story gains traction.)

and posted his findings to a torrent:

My read is frankly that "Bug" is overreacting to a lot of the details, and assigning a lot of malicious intent where I'm highly skeptical any exists.

Nonetheless: They do in fact install a browser add-on without any sort of proper disclosure in all major browsers. They do in fact silently add zones to your Internet 'trusted zones' lists. And they are in fact uploading scads of crash data (multiple GB) without user permission or review and its evident that the crash data can contain information the user would not wish to transmit to Sony.

Additionally, the combined effect of the add-on and white listed zones potentially exposes users to remote execution attacks; similiar to the way Sony's XCP could be exploited by 3rd parties. Again there is some circumstantial evidence at least that it is already being exploited in the wild.

There was an uproar here when Microsoft quietly added its .NET Framework Assistant add-on to Firefox , this seems to go way beyond that, and its the first time I think I've seen zones silently added to the trusted zone. I think Sony's crossed a line... again.

In any case, anyone here who plays any SOE titles should at least be aware what Sony is doing and decide for themselves what they think of it."

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