* Posts by Dave K

843 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008

Page:

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)

Dave K Silver badge

Exactly. Some marketdroid or designer probably thought for Windows 10's TIFKAM programs to re-do the icons to make them simple and consistent. Sounds noble! Unfortunately, the result is a load of monochrome icons that all look identical at a glance. Hence the "clean and consistent" approach for them has actually damaged usability. Icons are supposed to look visually distinctive so you can tell them apart at a glance.

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Here here

Yep! Place I worked at previously had a factory full of CNC machines. The majority of them ran Windows 95 (yes, I'm not kidding!). They were firewalled to hell, but actually worked pretty well surprisingly. The newer ones had Windows XP (again, heavily firewalled now).

Dave K Silver badge

The thing is, in many ways Windows 10 is not better than its predecessors, and after 6 years of updates, Windows 10 is still very rough and messy in many areas. Windows 7 was a far more polished and consistent OS to use - and even then it was far from perfect.

Rather than continued gimmicks and useless "features" that are brought in with a big fanfare before quietly sinking, I'd like MS to spend some time focusing purely on the user experience for once and making it look pleasing and consistent.

Tidy up the UI and make it look pleasant, user-friendly, consistent and customisable - Windows 10 currently looks flat, bland, dull, lifeless and inconsistent. The constant monochrome icons are also not user friendly. Sort out the "Settings & Control Panel" mess once and for all. Improve the update process so that I don't have to reboot after every single little update. Fix the "busy" logo as well so that it's a continuous loop, rather than one that keeps stopping and starting like some cheap, temporary placeholder. Some new sounds that don't sound as if they were knocked out in half an hour by an intern with a cheap keyboard would also not go amiss.

As it currently stands, Windows 10 is not a nice OS to use and many areas feel half-finished. Question is, will Windows 11 address any of this, or will it just be another ugly, inconsistent and half-baked mess I wonder?

Updating in production, like a boss

Dave K Silver badge

No test environment and no backups - yet important enough to make national news if it went TITSUP? Assuming this story is indeed true, the management involved redefines the meaning of the word "incompetent".

Wanted: Brexit grand fromage. £120k a year. Perks? Hmmmm…

Dave K Silver badge

Now, now. Maybe he's John Penrose recommending his wife Dido for another top gig...

Dave K Silver badge
Joke

My choice

I'd rename it to the Brexit Opportunities Office for Business Investment and Export Solutions.

Do I get the job now?

Lenovo refreshes workstation ThinkPads with 11th-gen Intel CPUs, RTX graphics, 5G

Dave K Silver badge

Lenovo did try to remove them with the dreaded "clickpad" on the T440 (the entire trackpad was a giant, movable button). I had one of these on my previous work machine and it was hands-down the worst trackpad I've ever used. So bad in fact that Lenovo caved into the negative feedback and brought the top buttons back for the T450.

Dave K Silver badge

I think it's increasingly outdated on laptops, and good riddance too. It was never introduced because it was technically better, it was simply price and economies of scale due to the HDTV connection you mentioned. Plus of course the marketing advantage as you could label them with the same "High Definition" monikers that were used on TVs at the time (never mind the fact that the resolution had actually dropped from 1920x1200 to 1920x1080 in many cases).

We've then had 10 years of laptops with uncomfortable screens and whopping, fat bezels at the bottom of the screen, but then 16:10 and 3:2 display have started to trickle back in - especially in "hip" devices like the Surfaces. Thinner bezels have become increasingly cool to have, the marketing label "HD" no longer sounds impressive, and companies are waking up to the fact that 16:9 displays are increasingly perceived as being old-fashioned now.

And like I say, I'm OK with it. What I now want to see if a resurgence of 16:10 monitors, and hopefully some 3:2 ones as well. However this may take a bit longer unfortunately.

Linus Torvalds tells kernel list poster to 'SHUT THE HELL UP' for saying COVID-19 vaccines create 'new humanoid race'

Dave K Silver badge

I thought that too. Quite a restrained response knowing how Linus used to respond in the past. Still, he's absolutely spot on here.

(applause)

BOFH: But we think the UK tax authorities would be VERY interested in how we used COVID support packages

Dave K Silver badge
Pint

"A hint of 'forest fruits' permeates the room as the Head Beancounter's antiperspirant kicks into turbo."

Outstanding, you owe me a new keyboard for that one!

Protip: If Joe Public reports that your kit is broken, maybe check that it is actually broken

Dave K Silver badge

Most likely response:

"Never mind that, they're broken and I demand you come and fix them NOW".

Either that, or they fib and say "of course I have, I'm not stupid".

Big right-to-repair win: FTC blasts tech giants for making it so difficult to mend devices

Dave K Silver badge

Re: End of life

That for me is the biggest issue here. If a manufacturer is going to drop support for a product, they should be required to provide unlock tools for any locked areas of the ROM/bootloader. Of course, no firm will voluntarily do this because they want you to throw it away and buy a new one. Alternatively, locked bootloaders should really be banned on principal. If I've bought a device, why shouldn't I be free to do what I want with it?

The swift in-person response is part of the service (and nothing to do with the thing I broke while trying to help you)

Dave K Silver badge

Are we sure that Simon didn't disable the voicemail server intentionally? And I'm pretty sure he would have brought his cattleprod to help with the "user" as well...

BOFH: Postman BOFH's Special Delivery Service

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Peace and quiet

The place my sister works at is doing this, only they've termed it "agile working" then they get irritated every time someone cuts through the jargon and refers to it (truthfully) as hot-desking.

Microsoft calls time on Timeline: Don't worry, more features that nobody asked for coming your way

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Focus Assist

Good point, Focussed Inbox is always one of the first things I disable. Once again, instead of gimmicks like this, I'd much rather they stop the damn thing from freezing if there's a delay with server communication. Oh, and pruning some of the god-awful white space they keep adding in as well. Outlook is almost unusable on a small 16:9 laptop screen these days if you have the message pane below the e-mail list.

Dave K Silver badge

This is one of my typical gripes with Windows 10 - the fact that MS keeps introducing new features, making a song and dance about them, then dropping them a few years later after take-up has been slow. Meanwhile, the core UI of Windows 10 remains messy and clearly unfinished in many areas.

So far we've seen the end of:

Cortana

Sets

Paint 3D (not completely dead, but shuffled off to the store)

3D Objects folder

Timeline

Maybe instead of devoting so much effort to short-lived gimmicks that people largely don't use, they might want to spend some time getting the basics right first of all.

Cracked copies of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop steal your session cookies, browser history, crypto-coins

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Ah, warez

Blame lazy DRM devs, not the warez scene for that though. Thankfully in most cases, it's trivial to apply a crack that both allows your virtual drive to work, and ditches the need for the optical media.

I've applied many cracks to games I legitimately own over the years - mainly to stop me either having to dig around for the CD each time (just to prove I own the game), or to enable me to take a laptop with a few games on it when I travel.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store

Dave K Silver badge

Re: confused?

I still prefer Snipping tool for grabbing quick and specific grabs of the screen. The keyboard shortcut for S&S is handy, but otherwise I find the tool slower, less user friendly, and it lacks the ability to send the snip directly into an Outlook e-mail (either in-body or as an attachment) whereas Snipping tool can do this.

LG Electronics finally gives up cellphone business

Dave K Silver badge

Farewell!

I'll be sad to see LG go. Had an LG G4 for many years and it was the best smartphone I've owned. Yes, there was the well-known bootloop issue (had my phone fixed under phone insurance). That aside however, it had a great camera, headphone jack, SD slot and removable battery. It also didn't succumb to "performance-rot" like many Samsung phones I've had, and was slick and responsive even after more than 5 years of hammer.

They were also a company that was always trying to innovate. Of course, not all of their innovations were successful (or at times even sensible). I looked more recently at LG to replace my ageing G4, and too many of the innovations did come across more as being questionable gimmicks if I'm honest. Still, I'll be sorry to see them go.

Microsoft's 0.5 release of Project Reunion dev kit has production support – just don't be touching UWP

Dave K Silver badge

I get that, but it's still pretty typical for UWP applications unfortunately. All icons completely monochrome and the same size with several of them not demonstrating any obvious link between the icon and the function it is supposed to serve. A quick trawl through Settings or 3D Paint shows the exact same issue.

It looks consistent and clean - sure! But from a usability perspective it's just crap.

Dave K Silver badge

"a Project Reunion application has pretty much the look and feel of UWP"

So, still looks like crap then with "simple design" prioritised ahead of functionality, wonderful.

Take that screenshot for example. All the icons down the left are monochrome and excessively basic, plus some of them convey no logic between the icon and what the function is supposed to do. A floppy disk icon universally means "Save", yet here it is used to represent "Menus and Toolbars". An electricity bolt is somehow meant to mean "Motion"?

Sorry, but my big problem with this design language remains. It may be "clean" and "simple", however it also looks flat, colourless and lifeless. On a little mobile phone screen with just a couple of icons, probably not a problem. On a proper Windows application with dozens of icons, it's simply a nightmare to differentiate between a jumble of icons which look identical at a quick glance.

Bring back icon bars with colour and clearly differentiated icons, and menus for the lesser-used features. Stop trying to be a mobile user interface on a desktop OS!

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy

Dave K Silver badge

Incompetency isn't always a major problem by itself. I get that some users make mistakes and are not computer literate. What I do expect however is that a user will try the steps I suggest over the phone to fix an issue - even if a troubleshooting step sounds basic and/or obvious.

My patience and sympathy disappear when a user insists they've tried something when they haven't, or when they argue with me about "no it cannot be that", despite not having a shred of evidence to support their opinion here. Rocking up in person, doing exactly what I'd told them to do over the phone and watching as the issue magically disappears almost always leads to either a red face, or a burbling and fake excuse - "it wasn't like that before" etc.

Guilty: Sister and brother who over-ordered hundreds of MacBooks for university and sold the kit for millions

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Actually no

It also depends on who is monitoring the asset register (if there is one), and if anyone was cross-examining orders with the asset register. Assuming it was the culprits who added the laptops, it's probably not too difficult for them to order 23 laptops, stick 20 in the asset register and siphon off the other three.

Or of course to order 23 laptops, hand 20 over to whoever does add them to the register, etc. etc. It's sad, but all it takes is a gap in the process that can be exploited and an employee who is unscrupulous enough to do so.

From Maidenhead to Morocco: In a change to the scheduled programming, we bring you The On Call of Dreams

Dave K Silver badge

African customs

I've come across my fair share of issues from corrupt customs officials in Africa, thanks to working in support for a major oil & gas firm for a number of years (we had facilities in Nigeria and Angola amongst others).

I remember particularly one engineer who returned from a trip with a physically smashed laptop. Apparently a customs guy grabbed it from him and demanded £100 to get the laptop back. Our engineer refused, so the official simply threw the laptop onto the ground, smashing the screen and casing. Unfortunately this wasn't an isolated event for us and I had a few others like this over the years.

Partial beer print horror as Microsoft's printer bug fix, er, doesn't

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Tired of MS

It's the perfect storm isn't it. A version of Windows that force-installs updates, combined with a woeful lack of QA testing for those aforementioned updates.

People with sufficient skill know how to wrestle some control of the update process back from MS so that patches are only installed once we're pretty sure they're trouble free. But for all the normal folk out there, they are left picking up the pieces from yet more crap coding from MS.

The great Microsoft cull continues as paid content set to be stripped from Business and Education Store

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Good

It's a step in the right direction. Slowly but surely we are seeing MS moving away from UWP thankfully. Within the last week they've also confirmed that 3D Paint will be stripped from the core of Win 10 (although it'll remain available through the store for now).

I do wonder if part of the general shunning of apps like these is because of how crap they look. Microsoft really went out of their way to make sure that UWP would be as flat, lifeless and bland as possible. I haven't found a single UWP app so far that I'd consider to be pleasing to look at, and the fact that you often have a row of monochrome and minimalist icons for things without any text (at least in earlier versions) also means that they're not actually that user-friendly either.

MPs slam UK's £22bn Test and Trace programme for failing to provide evidence that it slows COVID pandemic

Dave K Silver badge

Tory bashing != Incompetence bashing

Granted they've often gone hand in hand over the past year, but this article is bashing her incompetence and obscene waste of money, not her political affiliation. Try to understand the difference here.

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Hats off

Same here. My company used Webex previously and it wasn't great. There was a project underway to migrate to Teams, but full rollout wasn't expected until mid 2020. As lockdown loomed, seeing a seamless and major capacity upgrade to the company's VPN, plus the expedited rollout of Teams handled in such a smooth manner really was a testament to the hard work of all involved!

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Old kit

I have an X201 which was in regular use until very recently (never got around to downgrading it from Windows 7 or trying Linux on it). The Core i5 version upgraded to 8GB of RAM and with an SSD popped in is still a nice and capable little machine. It's the spinning rust and lower default RAM which are likely hobbling your family member's system.

Dave K Silver badge

Re: When you say "pants",

I have a Silicon Graphics Indigo2 from around 1996 which sees occasional use still. Mainly for hobbyist stuff these days if I'm honest! I also managed 8 years out of my previous PC, which isn't bad given that I do play games on it.

The sooner AI stops trying to mimic human intelligence, the better – as there isn't any

Dave K Silver badge

Reminds me of an old tale (possibly an urban myth) I was told some years ago.

The military had the idea of creating and training an AI to spot potential weapons installations, possible hidden bases etc. from snapshots of satellite footage. Programmers created the AI, and they proceeded to train it by showing it numerous satellite pictures of weapon installations, hidden bases and the likes, then showed it a bunch of nice scenery shots where there was nothing suspect.

All seemed to go well!

Then they tried it on some real data, and the AI promptly started flagging *everything* as a weapons base. After some head-scratching, someone figured it out. The photos of weapon installations they'd used for training were all gloomy, murky shots. The normal scenery shots they'd used were taken on a brighter sunnier day.

In essence, all they'd done was train the AI to recognise a sunny day...

Linux Mint users in hot water for being slow with security updates, running old versions

Dave K Silver badge

Usage case

My Linux machine effectively runs as a mini home server (using the LTS version of Ubuntu). As such, updates are strictly set to manual. I do update it from time to time (usually every couple of months or so), but it will be one of the systems that doesn't show as being on the "bleeding edge" of update compliance. Of course for what I use it for, I don't see this as a major problem. It serves files and a couple of other bits across my local network and I hardly ever use it for web browsing or external stuff.

Problem in this day and age is that updates are a balancing act. The vendors would have you believe that every update is critical and must be immediately applied, yet how many times have updates introduced problems, broken compatibility or changed things that previously worked etc? Hence for me, updating is often about finding that balance between keeping my systems secure, but also wanting to ensure that I don't run into issues that prevent my system from working as it should.

Does Samsung want you to buy new phones? Asking 'cos Galaxies now get four years of security updates

Dave K Silver badge

The question from me is if the performance of the phone will last. Every Samsung phone I've experienced has run fine for 18-24 months, then the performance has fallen off a cliff. I've experienced this across 5 different Samsung phones over the past number of years (my previous phone, wife's phones and my work phones). Yet in comparison, my current LG phone still feels slick and speedy after 5 years of hammer.

Extending the support is a good move, but I remain apprehensive of buying another Samsung phone after seeing so many turn into sluggish, stuttery lumps after a while - even applying a factory reset didn't help for long with them.

Slow your roll: LG reportedly puts new smartphone on ice as it mulls future in market

Dave K Silver badge

Re: LG phones

I'd also be sad to see LG depart. My trusty old G4 has been the best Android phone I've ever owned.

What I have noticed lately is that LG's naming scheme is all over the place, so it's difficult to tell where each of their phones fit in the market place. They also seem to have struggled with some of the basics such as decent support, and I often struggle to see what the USP of many of their recent handsets it (outside of gimmicks such as the dual-display thing they've recently been pushing, and which I have no interest in).

I'd love to see LG go back to basics and try to fill some of the gaps that have emerged in the marketplace. I recently had a look at new phones and I could not find a single high-end Android phone that had an SD-card slot, headphone jack and decent camera in the same device. If LG could go back to basics and make a decent and expandable phone with a guarantee of at least 3-years of OS support, there's definitely a market for such a device IMO. Adding in a removable battery would also be a stand-out feature in this day and age, although I appreciate that's difficult to do if you're wanting something water & dust resistant.

Axe-happy Microsoft halves support for Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Stability. Who wants that...

The only experience I usually get from Windows 10 is that of a product in permanent beta status.

6 years on from the original release, Windows 10 still feels rough and unfinished to me. The UI is flat, lifeless and uninspiring, there's still the strange mis-mash between Settings and Control Panel, the Start Menu is still an ugly mess, the "busy" animation still feels like a placeholder as the rotating balls disappear then reappear every second revolution, the sounds still have that whiff of having been created in a hurry by an intern with a Casio keyboard.

Quite simply, it doesn't feel like a finished and polished product. Too many bits feel as if they're quick and temporary mock-ups that were intended to be replaced with the finished article in due course. Age is generally irrelevant to me, I simply expect my OS to feel well designed and finished. Ironically to me, Windows 7 still feels like the last OS that Microsoft actually finished properly.

Big Tech workers prefer 3 days at home, 2 in the office. We ask Reg readers: What's your home-office balance?

Dave K Silver badge

Flexible for me too. Prior to lockdown I already worked from home most of the time, but I did used to travel every few weeks to meet customer contacts, team members and the likes. After almost a year, I do miss that to some degree, but I wouldn't want to lose the WFH aspect of my job.

Recovery time objective missed by four weeks, but Parler is back online

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Who's the audience?

Nobody is saying that right-wingers aren't allowed to express a point of view.

However, when you degenerate things down to blatant threats of violence, this is going beyond simply expressing a "point of view". Companies are under no obligation to give you a platform from which to threaten violence against other people.

Parler were given numerous warnings about unacceptable conduct before having their hosting pulled. This isn't "bullying", it's simply enforcing your T&Cs - terms that Parler were well aware of when they signed up with AWS in the first place.

Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows

Dave K Silver badge

Re: The secret to intelligent tinkering ....

Yep, it's the curse of the young and over-confident sysadmin. Nothing like a trashed file system or major outage to bring someone down to earth with a bump. I was fortunate when much younger in that I witnessed someone else at my first place of work cock things up and bring down half the network. Seeing the panic unfold around the place as people tried to coax an entire rack of servers back to life taught me an important lesson about backups and testing before doing anything to a live environment...

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent

Dave K Silver badge

Although she had the right message with "Don't Leave Home"...

ThinkPad T14s AMD Gen 1: Workhorse that does the business – and dares you to push that red button

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Vile

You go and stick with your shiny-shiny then. Some of us care more about actually using our equipment than just looking at it.

Dave K Silver badge

I've had one, the Lenovo T440. The buttonless clickpad was truly awful, the screen on mine was very poor quality, and despite being a fairly standard sized laptop it only came with 2 USB ports, With my dock plugged into one port, it meant I was constantly jostling the remaining slot for my external drive and headset.

The only redeeming feature of that machine was the keyboard. I still prefer Lenovo's classic keyboard, but their current ones are still some of the best keyboards currently available on laptops.

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Red pointy thing

I don't use the nipple myself, but have no problem with it being there for others to use. I'm surprised the author took a swipe at the trackpad buttons however. I hate buttonless trackpads. If I recall, Lenovo did experiment with removing the buttons on the T440. It was an abject disaster, the clickpad was widely hated (I had one and it was awful) and Lenovo backtracked just one year later and restored the buttons, albeit not the ones at the bottom of the trackpad.

I do agree however that Lenovo doggedly clinging to 16:9 panels isn't a smart move. Plenty of other manufacturers have started to introduce 16:10 and 3:2 screens on productivity laptops, it's a pity Lenovo are holding out here.

Death Becomes It: Who put the Blue in the Blue Screen of Death?

Dave K Silver badge

I remember the early fail messages well, along with the rather daft options of "Abort", "Retry" or "Fail".

When computer literate people often fail to understand the difference between "Abort" and "Fail", it's no wonder it was confusing to general users!

Transcribe-my-thoughts app would prevent everyone knowing what I actually said during meetings

Dave K Silver badge

Re: Bloody meetings

I did that once. An issue on a council IT meeting went on and on as people on both sides couldn't agree. As the newb at the time, I was assigned the task of taking the minutes.

This issue ultimately descended into quite a fiery argument that continued to run for some time and was quite difficult to follow. My minutes reflected this as simply: "A heated debate ensued".

I wasn't asked to take the minutes again...

Samsung Galaxy S21: Lots of little downgrades, but this phone is more than the sum of its parts

Dave K Silver badge

Yes, I need a memory card slot. I regularly travel (well, I did regularly travel when it was permitted), and when you're onboard a flight, on the tube, or somewhere where data costs extortionate amounts of money, having a decent on-board supply of music, films and TV shows is essential for me. I also like how easily I can sync those up by simply plugging the SD card into my PC and accessing it far more natively than when my phone is plugged into my PC and operating as a "media transfer device".

Being able to transfer 120GB of data from my old phone to my new one in a matter of seconds is also pretty handy!

For batteries, I used to think this wasn't a big deal, until a combination of having an older phone with a dying battery (cost me peanuts to replace the battery - no third parties required), and again some long travel where a flat phone battery could simply be swapped out mid-flight to bring my device back to life. And a spare battery is much smaller and lighter to carry than a power bank.

I'm less bothered about root access, but there's my reasoning for SD cards and batteries anyway...

Takes from the taxpayer, gives to the old – by squishing a bug in Thatcherite benefits system

Dave K Silver badge

Ahh, a 1900s-style "millennium bug", a nice little twist there!

AMD's Lisa Su: Our processor sales are Ryzen faster than the PC market is growing

Dave K Silver badge

Quite a turnaround for AMD given where they were 5 years ago. I too have a Ryzen-powered PC after finally replacing my ageing Core i5 system a couple of years ago. I'm very happy with it indeed, it's fast, quiet, reliable and didn't break the bank either.

Good to see some decent and sustained competition for Intel once again. Keep it up AMD!

Chip fab Intel said to be using better chip fab TSMC to make 5nm Core i3 processors, 20% of its non-CPU parts

Dave K Silver badge

I recall a lot of scepticism when AMD spun off its fabs into Global Foundries some time back. In hindsight, it has worked well for them. I wonder if Intel will ever consider something similar a few more years down the line...

Leaked memo suggests LG is thinking about quitting the smartphone biz in 2021

Dave K Silver badge

Very much hoping this doesn't come to pass. I'm *still* using an old LG G4. It did have the bootloop issue several years ago, but was fixed under my phone insurance (a freebie that comes with my bank account). Other than that, it has been absolutely solid.

What I particularly love with it is that it hasn't succumbed to "performance rot" like most Android phones I've used. My wife and I have had several Samsung phones and without fail, they all start to stutter and run like crap after a couple of years. My G4 is 5 years old and still feels virtually as slick and responsive as when I bought it. Add in a good camera that supports RAW mode, a decent DAC, plus the headphone jack and SD card slot and it has been without doubt the best phone I've ever owned.

Windows Product Activation – or just how many numbers we could get a user to tell us down the telephone

Dave K Silver badge

Question is if this is due to "hacks", or due to people using early VL keys. I seem to recall that some of the service packs blacklisted a number of the most common "pirate" VL keys that were in use. Hence, bung the service pack on and Windows Update refuses to install any further updates.

Still, having your neighbours asking you to fix their pirated OS is a bit of a cheek!

Page:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021