"the man who literally drove through the sound barrier"
104 posts • joined 18 Oct 2007
I got this one several times yesterday (several different email accounts) and I've had a lot of similar ones over the last month or so, all from (apparently) compromised Australian Sharepoint Online accounts....
I didn't click on it, obviously, because I'm not a total fucking retard. All the ones I received yesterday had the same name, James Eley-Gaunt. Did all these 'eggheads' think that sounded like someone they knew?
This does seem to be a rather poorly-specified compo, ironically enough. What are the judging criteria? The Reg article suggests correct entries will be judged on code quality more than performance, but the compo rules don't say anything one way or the other. It's not at all obvious that a high-quality Java solution can or should be contained in a single source file, but that's what the rules require. There's no indication of typical input data volume, which is necessary in balancing performance against code clarity and simplicity.
I've been using Win 8 on my main desktop machine since November 2012 and haven't had any problems at all. I completely agree that there's no need for a touch UI on a desktop, which is why I don't have a touch-capable display and don't use any* Metro/Modern apps. I'm always completely puzzled when people complain that they've tried to use Metro apps on a desktop and found the experience to be less than satisfactory... well, duh, obviously. It's like reviewing a Land Rover and claiming it's rubbish because you drove it up the A1 in low range with all the diffs locked - obviously, that would be a bit shit, because you're doing it wrong.
On a desktop machine, use the desktop, keyboard and mouse... on a tablet, use the touch UI. If you have a convertible, switch between the two. Don't use the wrong interface for the job you're doing.
* The exception being Hill Climb Racer which I enjoy playing (with the keyboard) in all its 1920x1200 24" HD glory.
Hmm, well, that's not really relevant, at least for an insurer's purposes - they just want the best possible estimate of the 'expected cost' of each individual, they don't care about the massively complex web of social, biological, etc effects that lead to that result. In the same way, the fact that women earn less than men (on average) doesn't *necessarily* mean that all employers are sexist - there are massively complex webs of cause and effect in that case too.
In the case of this particular research, they claim to have found an underlying biological cause for the observed difference in spatial awareness abilities; this is exactly the sort of research that is needed to decide whether the observed differences are due to biology or society. This is interesting and valuable research, regardless of how it affects the 'political correctness gone mad' crowd etc. This would have been a valuable finding even if there were no observable difference in the gender's spatial awareness abilities (ie, if it was found that men and women achieve equal spatial awareness in different ways).
So, I stand by my earlier comment that research of this type is not *necessarily* discredited by in-group variance being greater than between-group variance.
"greater significant differences within each sex than between them"
I've seen this point raised in many places following this kind of study, as if it somehow discredits or invalidates the findings. This seems bogus to me. So what if the within-group variation in a metric is larger than the between-group variation? The between-group variation is still a real, measured fact of the world. For example, it is perfectly true, and in some contexts useful, to say that men are taller than women. The fact that some women are taller than some men, or that the range of heights in either group is larger than the difference in the means, is irrelevant.
People seem to hate generalizations, especially about gender. Don't panic! Generalizations are fine, and essential in many areas of life. What's NOT ok is assuming that a particular generalization will be true for all members of the population. While this should be obvious, many people don't seem to realise it. So, maybe women are worse drivers on average, but one really can't assume anything about any individual woman based on that. Still, at the population level, it's worth knowing, and is essential for calculating insurance premiums fairly, etc.
"...and the Classic desktop that Microsoft murdered a year ago in Windows 8."
How on earth did this massive untruth make it into the article? I'm writing this in Firefox on a Win8 desktop. Requiring a single click to get from the Start screen to the normal desktop hardly qualifies as 'murder'. Has anyone at El Reg actually used Win8?
For the record, I'm also in the 'would buy a Surface Pro if I could justify the cost' camp.
I'll just put this here in case someone in power sees it...
The O2 flash ads that have been running on this site for the last couple of weeks consistently peg one core of my machine at 100% and cause the whole browser window to become horribly laggy, cooling fans to start whirring, etc. It only seems to happen with the O2 ads. Please sort it out or I'll have to (a) avoid the site or (b) install an ad blocker, neither of which would be good for your business.
Windows 8, Intel Core i5, Firefox 23.0.1.
I never had one - we had a BBC B - but I remember always lusting after the photos of the Memotech in the magazines - nice looking machine. The BBC B served me well though, and is still here in my study.
Re: "the near-complete collapse in demand after Christmas 1983" - presumably this was caused by the release of MS-DOS 8?
Dennis, Win 8 is an evolution of Win 7. As soon as you get to the normal Desktop (zero/one click from booting) it's virtually indistinguishable from 7, and the differences are pretty much all improvements (no Fisher-Price startup/shutdown sounds, no 'start navigation' clicking from IE, etc). If you don't like TIFKAM and/or don't want to use it because you're on a desktop machine, then don't use it. The video in this article is all about the touch/tablet experience, which is why the demo machine is a Surface... unless you've actually used Win 8 on a desktop, you really need to reserve judgement.
Win 8 is a perfectly usable desktop OS, it doesn't require touch, it's not 'awkward' on a non-touch machine (as one Reg hack recently wrote). Yes, TIFKAM is all new and scary but you don't have to use it; I don't. You can run just as many apps concurrently on the desktop as you can in Win 7, and if you don't look in the bottom left corner of the screen it looks virtually the same as Win 7. Yes, you do need to reset some file associations (mainly PDF and JPG) to use desktop apps in place of Metro, if that's what you want. Yes, you do need to set up some shortcuts / pin things to the taskbar, but who didn't do that on Win 7 anyway?
If you want to boot straight to the desktop in Win 8.0, follow these simple steps:
- Open a Windows Explorer window
- Choose View -> Options -> Change Folder and View Options
- Click the 'View' tab
- Check 'Restore Previous Folder Windows at Logon'
Leave the Explorer window open (minimised, if preferred) when you shut down; next time you start up, you'll go straight to the Desktop.
I remember thinking a couple of years ago that Matt Smith as Dr Who and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes could very well have been cast the other way round; I'd like to see Cumberbatch as the Doctor, even if it was a one-off. I guess it would be harder to have Holmes 'regenerate' as Matt Smith, though...
Having now read the (extremely flimsy) report, it's clear that it's pretty worthless. Here are the headline and the first sentence of the report:
"How often are Metro apps used?
We found that, on average, a Windows 8 user will launch a Metro app 1.52 times a day."
So they've already conflated 'how often are apps used' with 'how often are apps launched' within the first twenty words, and it doesn't get any better. Add to that that this survey only covers professionally-managed (ie corporate) devices and it's really not telling us anything useful. Excellent click-bait, though.
I also found this interesting:
"We took the 200 most popular Windows 8 OEM-branded PCs. This sample included 10,927 PCs, representing the following vendors (in alphabetical order): Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba."
Counting the number of times someone launches an application is a terrible metric for working out how much they use each app. I admit I haven't read the survey itself but presumably the writer of this article did... why no comment about the methodology?
The applications that people use most (email, browser, spreadsheet, IDE, whatever) are likely to be precisely the ones that they launch least often - you launch once when the machine starts up and keep them running all the time. I hear that the kids these days rarely shut machines down fully, just letting them sleep/hibernate, further reducing the number of launches (and partially excusing the relative difficulty of doing a 'shut down' in Win 8).
Seriously, you can't report on such an (apparently) flawed survey without comment...!
On starting a job a few years ago, I was given an RSA SerurID fob by someone from the IT department, who went on to explain that the contantly-changing six-digit numbers on the display were received from a satellite. I had to quickly suppress a smirk when I realised that they were serious.
We were in the basement of a three-storey building at the time...
Indeed, if he's using an external mouse, that's the most likely culprit. One would like to think that a Reg reader would have tried a different mouse and/or the trackpad before diving face-first onto the 'Win8 is shit' bandwagon, but then, it apparently it took him several weeks to find a Start button replacement so he's obviously not the sharpest tool in the box.
My thoughts exactly - the fact that *completely unrelated* huge lump of hurtly rock death smashed into the Earth within a day or two of an even bigger one just missing us is hardly reassuring. Not that I'm misunderstanding the level of risk, just amused at the unreassuring reassurance.
The correct term of endearment for our cousins in the USA is 'septics', from the rhyming slang 'septic tank -> Yank'.
@Kobus Botes - I can't decide if your post is trolling, or if you could really have missed the joke so spectacularly. Entertaining stuff, either way.
No, if you already have your hand on the mouse, go to the bottom left corner and left-click - you know, like you do know to get to the Start menu (What? That glowing orb thing is a menu? How is anyone supposed to know that?).
You guys should really try using Win 8, it'll be quicker than me trying to train you all up myself.
"The first problem I have is that the whole damn interface, aside from the crippled desktop, is designed for touch."
Well, that's wrong for a start. The Start screen and the Metro apps are designed to be touch-comaptible, but the rest of Windows (ie 99% of it) isn't. The main Windows 8 desktop is just like Windows 7 with no obvious concessions to touch-compatibility. Agreed, the Charms menu is 'different' in Windows terms but that kind of always-available 'home' menu is a pretty familiar concept to anyone with a smartphone.
Similarly re: closing apps. You're getting stressed about whether an app is really closed, like some OCD victim constantly checking that the front door's locked. It doesn't matter - it's a different paradigm. You don't need to close apps, you just switch away from them and don't worry about it - let the OS deal with it. (If you really want to close them, drag from the top of the screen to the bottom).
"When you see Win 8 in the shops it has a touch screen UI"
"it's default interface, that cannot be switched off *within* windows 8, is a touch interface"
No, it has a *touch-compatible* UI, one which is equally usable both on touch screens and with mouse/trackpad/keyboard. Seriously, are you trying to say that it's impossible, or even difficult, to use Win 8 on a non-touch device?
@I ain't Spartacus
Thanks for the detailed reply - most people haven't responded to my questions about what *specifically* they object to.
So, you haven't actually used Windows 8 properly - that's a key point. Your main concern is with the Start screen and the default file associations, on the basis of which you're writing off the entire OS.
Re: 1 - You're right, to start a new, non-pinned app, you tap the Windows key, start typing 'Exce...' and then click on the Excel icon ('tile') when Search finds it. Or, you can click directly on the Excel tile if you know where it is. I agree, this sounds like it's the recipe for a bad user experience, but you should try it first. Switching to the Start screen and back the Desktop are instantaneous operations, very smooth and not disruptive at all.
Re: 2 partially agree wit you - it's not inconsistent about individual file types, but the most annoying thing I found was that clicking a PDF link from Firefox would (out of the box) open the PDF full-screen in a Metro app, requiring a tap of the Windows key to get back to the desktop. I installed Foxit to remedy this. And really, it wasn't that bad anyway. A lot of non-techy users tend to run everything full-screen, and at least Win 8 comes with some sort of PDF reader, which it never did before.
Re: 3 - Clearly Microsoft is suffering a PR disaster, the question is whether it's justified. You're correct about the importance of techy opinions, but your criticisms are from a techy point of view - I think a normal user (running only a few applications, surfing, checking email) will have far less to complain about in Win 8 than most techies. Windows has never been designed primarily for techies.
I would genuinely recommend that you spend at least half a day using Win 8 for real work before condemning the entire OS as a disaster. It's mainly a perception thing. I've read many reviews saying that Win 8 'relegates' the desktop to the level of a 'mere app'. This is ridiculous. TIFKAM, the Start screen and Metro apps are a thin skin over the old and familiar Windows that we all know and love. If you just think of the Start screen as a full-screen Start menu, it doesn't seem so scary, does it?
@I ain't Spartacus
TIFKAM is already very easy to 'remove', or at least to avoid. I assume that, like everyone else here, the thing you're complaining about under the title 'TIFKAM' is just the Start screen. What would you like to see in your updated Win 8? The machine boots straight into the Desktop without anyone having to click the 'Desktop' icon first? You can already do that very easily. Once in the Desktop, there's no need to go back to the Start screen for the rest of the session.
Your improved version of Windows 8 is virtually indistinguishable from the current version.
"Windows 8 is an awful interface"
Please clarify. Which part of the interface is awful? The desktop mode, which is essentially identical to Win 7? The Start screen? Are you writing off the entire OS just because of the Start screen? What is it, exactly, that is 'awful' about the Start screen?
The Start screen is perfectly usable with a mouse and keyboard. Pro tip - the mouse scroll wheel will scroll the Start screen and various Metro apps left and right. It's like some sort of usability magic - how do they come up with these things? Using the scroll wheel for scrolling? MIND BLOWN.
Ok, you're stupid.
For fuck's sake, people, try to understand. Windows 8 is NOT a touch-centric OS. The desktop mode is completely identical to Win 7 in usability terms. You run all your usual software, you don't need a touch screen, no-one's going to make you little arms all tired. If you're running on a standard desktop/laptop, you use it just like Win 7, with the mouse / trackpad / keyboard, and everything works just fine.
IF - please note, I'm saying "IF" - you're on a touch-enabled device, like a tablet or a convertible, then you can ALSO - please note, I'm saying "ALSO" - interact with the machine using touch. Is anyone here claiming that there's no place for a touch interface? No, of course not.
Windows 8 has both a regular interface and a touch interface, with no requirement to use either one in a context where it doesn't work. If you're some sort of idiot sitting in front of a 24" 1920x1200 touch screen and you keep reaching up to touch the screen instead of using the mouse, then you've only got yourself to blame.
Why would anyone in their right mind, running Win 8 on a desktop with a 24" screen, be using Metro apps anyway? Metro apps are optimised for use on relatively small, touch-enabled screens. Sure, you can use it on a big screen if you want, but don't complain if it's not ideal - it's not meant to be.
I read the El Reg review of the Lenovo Yoga the other day, and it included something to the effect of 'Windows 8 doesn't make sense with a mouse/keyboard'. Bullshit, you're just using it wrong.
Now, I will agree with the thrust of this article which seems to taking the position that Win 8 is actually fine, but that it was launched with too much emphasis on the touch features, leading various commentards to say "touch won't work on a big screen / desktop". Microsoft should have spent more effort highlighting the continuity offered in Win 8, whose Desktop is hardly changed at all from Win 7. Desktop users need have no fear of upgrading.
Note that this is all based on the fact that I use Win 8 every day, on a desktop machine with two large non-touch monitors, using nothing more than a normal keyboard and mouse. Do not rely on the opinions of commentards who say things like 'I don't know anyone who's got Win 8' or 'based on the reviews I've read', etc.
If you know which program you want to use, hit 'Windows key + R' and start it from there. That's only the first time, then you pin it to the taskbar (or create a Desktop shortcut) and you're golden. If you regularly need to go to Metro to find yet another program whose name you've forgotten, which I accept is a bit jarring to the user experience, then you're probably doing something wrong.
Please stop referring to 'the Windows 8 UI'; if you're whinging specifically about Metro / the Start screen, please make that clear. If you've got a problem with the Windows 8 desktop, please explain what it is. The Start screen / Metro and the Desktop are two different, complementary ways to use the same machine.
"usability was poor and my colleagues experience was the same, productivity took a nosedive"
That's interesting - can you provide some examples of the issues that affected you and your colleagues? Specifically, were the issues with normal Windows desktop apps, or with Win 8 Metro apps? How long did the dip in productivity last?
Perhaps you'll let me add:
"Problems not from Windows 8 either"
just to give a fully accurate summary.
This is me on starting Win 8 for the first time: "Hmm, a new Start screen, let's explore".
This is (apparently) most IT professionals on starting Win 8 for the first time: "Arrrgghhh what are all those little square things why are they moving what do I do know I don't understand cool wet grass cool wet grass NURSE!!!!!!!!!"
"What critical life-changing computing tasks can you do with Win 8 that were impossible on Win 7?"
On a desktop - none. That's beside the point. I'm trying to offer an experienced opinion to counteract the myriad voices saying 'Win 8 is rubbish", "I'll never use Win 8 unless I'm forced", "Win 8's UI is horribly broken", etc etc. Once you get past the Start screen, which itself isn't as bad as people make out, it's just an incremental improvement over Win 7. Personally I much prefer the muted aesthetic in 8 - I moved to Win 8 when upgrading to a new machine in December and find it much easier on the eye than the awful visual bling that Vista (and 7, to some extent) was afflicted with ("16.7 million colours?! Really?! Let's use all of them!").
If you're using Win 7 on a desktop now, there's absolutely no rush to upgrade, carry on as long as you like. When/if you move to Win 8, you will NOT find the transition to be 'difficult' or 'painful' so long as you can remember how to press the Windows key on your keyboard (maybe write it on a Post-It if you have trouble with this).
Agreed, I really can't believe that most/any of the Win8 haters have actually tried it. I keep reading comments implying that people are forced to use 'the touch interface' when using Win8 on a desktop, which is utter bollocks. If you're on a desktop, the only issue is that, when (after about 5 seconds from hitting the power button) the new and terrifying Start screen appears, you just have to suppress the rising panic long enough to click 'Desktop' and you're back to a completely normal Win7 desktop, fully mouse-/keyboard-controlled and with absolutely no requirement to use any special 'touch' interface at all.
This quote from the article:
"Even so, Norton remarks that most still use the device in clamshell mode, “because there’s an adjustment period until they get used to a new way of working and operating it in a slate form”."
gives the game away - any trouble the BT OpenReach people had was due to being required to switch to working in slate form. There was absolutely no need for OpenReach to make that switch just because they moved to Win8 - they could have carried on using the old XP apps (perhaps with a few minor tweaks) if they'd chosen that path, but they didn't.
My Win8 desktop is set up with VS2010, Firefox, Thunderbird, PaintShop Pro, Blender, Google Earth, FoxIt Reader, OpenOffice, Putty, Xming, all with absolutely no problems.
It makes me laugh a bit when I read comments to the effect that these Reg articles are just thinly-veiled Microsoft marketing. It must be very confusing to be inside the hater's heads... "Microsoft is an evil, stupid, hopeless dinosaur of a company with no future... what have they done to my lovely Windows 7, that was a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic OS, the work of the most noble geniuses... oh, wait."
I take your point, absolutely, I just don't think it's such a major fail as people are making out, and I specifically think that about the loss of the Start menu. XP to Vista also changed the look of lots of aspects of the UI, as did the Ribbon, etc. I remember being sent on a training course many years ago when my company introduced Win95 where they explained what the funny little 'X' at the top-right of each window was for. No company is going to roll out Win8 without that sort of basic familiarity training, and I doubt any company would roll out Win8 in the next two years regardless of the UI changes, by which time many users will have learnt how to use it outside of their work environment. There are only four or five new things that a basic user needs to know, after all - how to get to the Start screen and back to the desktop, how to shut down/hibernate, how to change passwords, how to use the search box - half a day's training at most?
@K, re: "removing the "Desktop" features such as Start Menu"... since starting to use Win8 as my home desktop OS a couple of months ago, I've started to take note of how often I use the Start menu when using my Vista/7 work desktops. The answer is - not very much at all, actually. The only time I go into the Start menu most days is (ironically) when I'm shutting down. Once the machine is set up with Desktop shortcuts, the Quick Launch bit of the toolbar, etc, what do you (or 'the average user', if you're not average) really need the Start menu for?
Like a lot of people have said already, the lack of a Start menu was a bit disconcerting to start(!) with, but I soon got used to it. One has to suppose that a Microsoft spent at least an afternoon or two on usability testing, so perhaps they came to the same conclusion.
You're still attacking a straw man. Neither Lewis nor I claimed that there has been no rise in global temps since 1880, nor did he or I claim that there has been no net rise over the last 25, 30 or 40 years. The article is about the FACT that there has been no net rise over the last 20 years, and the implications for the current theories explaining the rise since 1880 which do not explain how or why this plateau could have occurred.
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