* Posts by ROC

182 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jan 2008


The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it


Re: It does suck - What modern PC is NOT a 2-in-1?

After looking at the Windows PC offerings on Best Buy's site, I see very few that are "traditional" clamshell types that cannot fold over into tablet mode, and most of those have touch screens in "traditional" mode anyway. Even the MS Surface models that are full-on tablets have add-on keyboards that let them be used in "desk" mode, and don't present a separate tablet UI (I think - have not used Win 11 extensively since my go-to PC's are running Linux Mint).

There seem to be about 3 desktop models, which are all the tower type, and maybe a dozen or so all-in-ones (system unit grafted onto a 20"+ touch monitor).

I actually learned to enjoy the Win 8.1 PC's capability to switch between distinct desktop and tablet modes (when not using my preferred Linux Mint PC's), and was really annoyed at the Windows 10 stealth "upgrades" when I was caught off-guard. I suppose using Windows Phones with their relatively elegant UI with tiles, after getting fed up with Android 4 when trying to bring my non-techie wife up to speed with "smart" phones, predisposed me for that.

Getting "settled in" with a new UI is an experience that is much to be skipped. Once I learn one and internalize and habituate the muscle memory, just let it be, and that goes doubly so for non-techies like my wife! If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it!

This is the end, Windows 7 and 8 friends: Microsoft drops support this week


256 color mode for old Windows games?

How would that work for old games per my title? I have been playing Hasbro's Scrabble game as originally written for Windows 3.1 and 95, but have always kept at least 2 Windows PC's through the years so my wife and I can play it. Every so often I try it on the latest Mint+Wine versions to see if that has some way to handle that absolute game requirement for 256 colors on the Windows platform, but to no avail.

Firefox points the way to eradicating one of the rudest words online: PDF


Re: I don't mind PDFs

As long as there are no important buttons such as the power button on the side chosen...

Serious surfer? How to browse like a pro on Firefox


Side tabs cool, but limited for new private windows??

Went through the "tutorial" on how to set the tabs on the side, but once I opened a new browser window session in private mode, I could not "manage" it to easily close it, or spin off child sessions. Now I will have to undo the changes, and hope that puts it back to the "ugly" FF I am used to...

Can't win!

Using the datacenter as a dining room destroyed the platters that matter


Reminds me of my boss at a small Virginia college at the time where I was the SysProg for a small IBM 4341. We had set up a student computer lab with about 30 Telex green screen CRT terminals in a "room" built in the old gym with its own large window air conditioner since our weather tended to be hot and humid more often than not, and that old gym still smelled of sweaty athletes.

As it was the middle of a typical steamy summer when we set this up, opening the door to the lab always let in a surge of that humidity.

The boss insisted on setting the AC to as cold as it would go which made it downright too cold for comfort after being in there about 30 seconds, so when we finally turned on all the CRT's for an initial checkout, and opened the door to walk in for the testing, the units closest to the door promptly sparked and shut off since the humidity immediately condensed inside on any chilled plastic parts, and then dripped all over the circuits.

The Telex tech who came out to replace them made it clear to my boss that max coldness in the lab was not advisable...

Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop


Re: preaching the gospel

There are probably more "desktops" than there are Linux gamers, and that is a problem for ever catching up to Windows usage.

I have stayed with MATE on Mint since it is closest to the Gnome 2 that I started using for my serious personal Linux usage, while stuck on Windows for work "office" functions, as that became increasingly locked down my last few years before retiring 7 years ago from my job supporting web servers on Solaris/Oracle Application Server, then Redhat/WebLogic.

I also provided Linux support for my wife, enabling her to use it for her teaching work (primary grades, so not the students, just for her own needs, mostly word processing with Open Office, then Libre Office, and web and email access.

While the variety of desktops for Linux is nice for letting every one do it "their way", the downside is that is the barrier to a commonly supported Linux ecosystem that can never reach "critical mass". Chrome and/or Android could have helped that occur, but the Google "taint" prevents that.

Unity and Trinity: New releases for forks of abandoned Linux desktops


Stable/static UI is my only requirement

Basically, I got comfortable with the original Gnome (2?) on Ubuntu (up until they forced Unity as the "standard"), and converted my teacher wife to it from Windows 95 about 15 years ago. And although I have dabbled in various distros and desktops/UI's from before that time (classic distro hopper), I kept going back to that thanks to Mint offering that interface with MATE.

My wife would be totally lost now after 10-15 years on Gnome as she has gotten older and less flexible about dabbling in new paradigms. It was hard enough getting her up to speed on cell phones beyond feature flip phones, but Windows Phone 8.1 made it far easier than Android 4 which was current then. In fact I was happy to drop my Android phone after I retired, and did not have keep using biz-approved apps, when I saw how usable WP 8/8.1 was right up until MS yanked that out from under us after a few short years. Then I had to get enough of a handle on new Android versions to ease my wife into that mess, and we both get annoyed by it way too much even now.

If Mint ever drops MATE as an option (or whatever keeps looking/working like it), I will probably have to just not "upgrade" her PC unless it absolutely keeps her from using email on Thunderbird/web browser, and accessing Facebook, and a few other of her favorite web sites.

Ordinary, non-geeky people simply don't have the patience to waste time and effort on constantly changing UI's! And I am just tired of getting bogged down in it much myself anymore when there are other more "eternal" concerns on my mind...

Windows 11 usage stats within touching distance of... XP


Re: @BOFH in Training - Her employer

It would not be too surprising if they use this setup as an excuse to layoff "unproductive" workers...


The SSD Era

SSD's have revived a lot of machines that I have dabbled with for home and family/friends, and some for work (retired now). I always knew that the disk was the tightest bottleneck for most use cases.

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe on to PCs, is 40


Understated impact???

"Over five million of the Z80A-based devices were sold, and its impact cannot be understated."

Not familiar with UK computing scene from back then (C-64 and IBM PC focus for me in the US), but would not "overstated" be more appropriate?

No, I've not read the screen. Your software must be rubbish


Re: Just like me and trackpads

Thanks, but since it only offers an exe download, I assume it is only for Windows, which I rarely use.


Re: Just like me and trackpads

Mint Linux MATE has that setting, but I frequently stop typing just long enough for it to "step aside", and/or have the issue when I am just getting ready to type without being careful in the positioning.


Just like me and trackpads

My lazy way of typing (cannot keep the heels of my hands elevated for long at all) that constantly has my thumbs touching the pad, and making the cursor jump randomly. Keyboards with the pads on the side work much better for me, but those are not an option on notebook/laptop PC's. as they would be far too wide.

My preferred solution is the old IBM style Trackpoint, which Lenovo still makes available on some models, and a separate keyboard that I found at a recycling place for $5.

Also, I have found that the bluetooth keyboard for a Thinkpad Tablet 2 is excellent for many laptops as it not only has a very responsive optical Trackpoint, but also lots of the "extra" keys that complement it such as PgUp, PgDn, End, Home, right-hand Alt and Ctrl, etc. These boards are still on eBay occasionally.

How not to attract a WSL (or any) engineer


Re: How do your school friends view you now?

Did you all pass your O.W.L's and N.E.W.T's at Hogwarts?

(Sorry - just finished re-reading the Harry Potter collection after getting by with only watching the movie collection for the last 10 years, or so, and those names in a Brit school context just looked as though they would have fit right in...).


Re: This process is widespread at Canonical

Ah, a bit of Churchill there?

I also remember reading William F. Buckley, Jr, a similar master of the language (and founder of National Review in the US in the mid fifties, and with that, "modern" American political conservatism), justifying they/them usage in singular references. I was surprised then that he did not advocate singular pronouns for referring to individuals. Your historical antecedents make it much clearer as to why he took that stance. Thanks.

Linux Mint 20.3 appears – now with more Mozilla flavor: Why this distro switched Firefox defaults back to Google


Re: Ten years and counting.

I have a recent PC that challenges Mint MATE sorely at times for upgrades/updates, a Dell Inspiron 7375 with AMD Ryzen 5 2500U and Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx, which has been my main PC for the last 3 years or so, and it is a nicely capable all-purpose machine with 13" touch screen, 256GB SSD (just upgraded to 500GB (with issues), and a decent array of ports. It came with Win10, but I almost never boot that, so don't care that its Ryzen is not "qualified" for Win11. I usually have a dozen of varying configurations/ages (or more - lose count sometimes...) others for "projects" to occupy my retirement, and a couple for wife to simplify supporting her usage).

Most of these other machines, and earlier ones, have had little trouble with Mint updates and upgrades over the past 10 years or so.

But this beast: when all drivers are working it's great, but about every other kernel update messes up any and all of bluetooth, video/touch screen, wifi, audio, and random lockups (if it boots up at all - a simple low-end MS mouse with USB cord can freeze booting at times).

I have learned to keep 1 or 2 of the previous versions for alternate booting with each such update, blacklist the offending kernel, and see what the next version fixes with one hand, and breaks with the other.

The latest f-up was a probably the most aggravating: I installed a new Mint MATE 20.3 instance in a new partition of its own on the 500GB SSD for testing, but when I wanted to boot back up with the "stable" 20.2 version that I had been using before, I was appalled to find out its partition was EMPTIED of any OS files. Luckily, I had the Home directory on a separate partition that was untouched, so I could copy over my primary user files (and still had all the recent originals of system and home on the the prior 256GB SSD).

WHAT. THE. F'ing. Hell, Clement/Mint???

However, the "fun" of this love/hate relationship will probably continue my insanity as I keep doing the same things, and expect different results - been doingthat since installing from floppies in the 90's when not locked into work PC's with Windows of all versions...


Re: Quick fix for the stupid skinny scroll bars.

Not seeing "System Settings" on Mint 20.3, nor other recent versions (all MATE). Most comparable setting I see is "Preferences".


Re: I shall be investigating

Works for everything, so far, EXCEPT Firebox. But more useful for me on T-Bird and file manager anyway. ;-}

Microsoft fiddles with Fluent while the long dark Nightmare of the Print Spooler continues for Windows


Return of Linux Hater?


Is that you Linux Hater, but now with impartial hatred of all OS's?

We sure could use a good ol' fire and brimstone tent revival of raising OS Hell!

Sic 'em!

China stops networked vehicle data going offshore under new infosec rules

Big Brother

All Data to The Party

There is a big difference between having a lot of corporate scoundrels accountable to anyone who can bring a lawsuit, as well as a variety of government agencies/jurisdictions, and a scoundrel-in-chief accountable only to The Party.

Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far


Nuts! I always start off setting up a new Windows installation with a local aystem manager account while the network connection is disabled. Then any user Id is added as a non-privileged account. Oh well - those are little retirement projects when I get bored with my preferred Linux projects.

I can probably fend off dementia longer if I foreswear Win 11...


Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

One of most pertinent descriptions of touch vs keyboard/mouse UI's that I have ever read!

Would be interested in your assessment of Windows Phone 8.1 UI that I miss more and more with each new version of Android.

I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google


Re: This is confusing

Could it be that maybe he was hoping to inspire other anti-semites to see the light?


Re: Shakespeare

Not so obscure to those knowledgeable of Christianity.

Microsoft hits Alt-F4 on Windows 10X: OS designed for dual-screen PCs axed


"a" subordinate?? Seems that should be in the plural.


Windows Phone Done Right? nah...

I was rather hoping it could have morphed into a revival of an updated version of Windows Phone. Maybe it could have been an alternative OS for the Duo (along with a significant hardware upgrade). Could it be that that potential is what killed it?

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


Re: The endless story

Seems more like devolution...

Fedora's Chromium maintainer suggests switching to Firefox as Google yanks features in favour of Chrome


Re: "blocks

Check out SeaMonkey, the Mozilla "classic" web browser/email client that uses FF/TB code base, but keeps the older look.

Remember when the keyboard was the computer? You can now relive those heady days with the Raspberry Pi 400


Re: Built into a keyboard?

How about the MS Surface Go? Got an open box unit with 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD; added open box keyboard (and even open box stylus, but hardly use that), all for under $500. Works well with Linux Mint 19 (once I found the tricks for setting Windows boot manager and fixing wifi driver via DDG searches).

Only real deficiency for me is lack of screen rotation support - not automatic, and manual change only seems to activate half the screen (maybe time to do some more DDG'ing?). I have several Pi's I mess with, and they do ok as straightforward low-end PC's (Kano touch screen is a nice add-on if you can find one on eBay), but the Surface is a big step up for performance and "tight", neat packaging for extreme portability, and is easily extended with a USB-C expansion adapter.

Thought the FBI were the only ones able to unlock encrypted phones? Pretty much every US cop can get the job done


Re: I'm not stopping you...

More whites than blacks are killed by police in the US, and most such cases for both races involve suspects with weapons.

Big Brother

Re: Shot while fleeing?

Maybe you should move to China, or Mexico (cartel-controlled areas in particular) if you prefer "alternative policing" options (or downtown Portland a few months ago...). That, or realize reality is always a bit messy...

RasPad 3.0 converts Raspberry Pi 4 to a tablet – be prepared for some quirks


Re: Just why

I have been hoping RPi Foundation would beef up the A+ for such purposes. With its single USB port for data connections, it has a much lower profile than any of the models with their 4 USB and ethernet ports. I dremeled a 4mm DAT cartridge plastic storage case to hold my A+, including mounting a 3.5 inch 480x320 display on the gpio pins for my home Pi-hole server - a very compact package.

They really should be able to take its basic layout for the 3b+ CPU/chipset, and swap for the Pi4 equivalents.

It's happening! Official retro Thinkpad lappy spotted in the wild


Re: Screw 16:10

Actually, any Chromebook I have looked at lets you select from a wide variety of resolutions, even if not "optimal" for the screen hardware, and Windows will allow, to a lesser extent, similar such settings. Alas, most Linux DE's are not so accommodating with their implementation of the X-Window manager, and insist on only what the hardware "signals" to it as acceptable.

Nokia 5310: Retro feature phone shamelessly panders to nostalgia, but is charming enough to be forgiven


Re: Is it 4G, and can it work as a wifi hotspot?

Considering that AT&T is among those carriers dropping 2G, there is a LOT of point in 4G support for a significant number of users. As with most things, it depends...


Seems to me the Facebook app spoils that "perfection"...

IBM job ad calls for 12 years’ experience with Kubernetes – which is six years old


Re: Why wouldn't Tim Berners-Lee have 17 years experience designing websites?

And the candidate would have only been 11 at that time, so the value of that "experience" would have been rather questionable.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app


Especially if they "retain" all attachments. Not mine!

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate


Re: Hmmm

Discourage, or punish?

Vivaldi opens up an exciting new front in the browser wars, seeks to get around blocking with cunning code


Re: Let me use whatever browser I want to use.

Yeah, that is more typical of dealings with such monopolies, public or private (e.g. the local utility company). Similarly, if one has been dealing for some time with a business one prefers for most other aspects of its operation, but the browser requirement is not in line with one's preference, it can be a difficult choice ...


Re: A Ubiquitous Weapon for Mass Distraction and Destruction and Disruptive Creation?

What about Chrome OS? Seems as though it has been approximating that goal.

Google sounds the alarm over Android flaw being exploited in the wild, possibly by NSO


Greatly assisted by MS in their Windows Phone self-destruct mindset under Nadella.

Now maybe they are sneaking back into the phone market indirectly with Android phone support on Windows 10 - should be "interesting".

Android dev complains of 'Orwellian' treatment as account banned after 6 years on Play store


How about small claims courts for what would seem to be breach of contract? Being owed thousands of pounds for the past month should qualify, no?

The OS is 'no longer' important to Microsoft, and yet new Surface kit has 3 Windows flavours


Re: Quick earnings - it'sall about beancounters

So are bean counters giving up Excel to count the beans?

The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row


Re: Is this just an English thing ?

Ah - maybe something STUPID has happened in the USN, and that explains the recent ship collisions?

The D in Systemd is for Directories: Poettering says his creation will phone /home in future


I notice the past tense in that assertion. I was involved in Solaris sys admin'ing for external customers of the Big Blue from 2001, then directly as contractor, then employee, supporting a global app for a major pharma biz through 2015, and I saw the demand for uptime constantly adding 9's to the uptime requirement.

We responded with clustering, backup systems at alternate DC's, and tighter monitoring with round-the-clock support "following the sun" globally. The "old" ways were constantly pushed and tweaked, so anything perceived as improving the uptime was welcomed. But, perceptions were deceptive, and metrics, and more metrics, were demanded to monitor how well we were doing.

But both still constantly laid off IT support people, thus constantly increasing the load on the remainder in expectations of greater automation efficiency (and cheaper "2nd world" IT labor...). That drove out some people who still had options, thus leaving even fewer to deal with the load.

Glad I'm retired now, and having fun dabbling with Raspberry Pi's among other gear ;-}


Well, from what I recall of Solaris 10's System Manager (forget the exact name as I last used it about 4 years ago before I retired from web app server support for a big global biz but, close enough), it seemed to work a lot like SysD, and was a more comprehensive way to manage clustered and otherwise linked servers. As I have monitored the brouhaha over SysD on Linux, it has struck me as a Solaris Sys Manager wannabe, only more problematic by all accounts.

Black Helicopters

Mint 17/18/19 with MATE, which keeps the Gnome2 look/feel I grew used to over the last 10 years or so (as my non-techie teacher wife did, following my lead since I was not interested in supporting her school issued Mac, nor Windows), but it still has drunk the SysD koolaid. Guess I need to start re-acquainting myself with BSD's, ando/or Slackware again...


Re: Pottering around at RedHat

And now IBM's ownership of RedHat just amplifies the effect...

One person's harmless japery can be another's night of LaserJet Lego


You're just messing with us. Right?