* Posts by Paradroid

87 posts • joined 26 Jan 2011


Microsoft confirms pursuit of TikTok after Satya Nadella chats to Donald Trump


Re: “Don’t worry Donald, we’ll take care of it”

Exactly, their acquisition history is littered with failure, and even things doing ok like LinkedIn are underperforming hugely. LinkedIn could have transformed the job market, instead it's a barely-alive job advert site with a Facebook Wall clone for shameless self-promotion.

The Last of Us Part II: Never mind the Metacritic nonsense, Naughty Dog's ultra-violent odyssey is a must-play*



The sad thing about this game is it was an attempt to remind people that there's two sides to every story, reflecting the polarised world we live in. Yet here we are two major camps of opinion about the game itself. There's all the online hate for the game, some of which is bigoted and some of it is valid feelings relating to a major event that happens early on in the game.

Then the other camp thinks it's the best thing ever and beyond criticism.Opinions somewhere in the middle get drowned out.

The first TLOU is the best game I've ever played, but this was a disappointment to me. It was just too depressing. Even chances to lighten it up like a bunch of kids holed up in an old theatre were not taken. The only lightness was in flashback scenes. I found playing as Abby tedious because the game rewound four days and it was a lot of game time to get back to the point in the story I wanted to be at.

Had a feeling they were going to struggle to top the first game and for me, that is true.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?


Re: UX designers and dark patterns

Windows 2000 doesn't get enough recognition for it's UI. It was the absolute best of the Windows 95-style UI's and was a real pleasure to use. XP was so ugly by default and looked like an OS designed for a small child. Took a lot of customisation to make it look right.


Re: Five years ago...

Same. I made the mistake of buying a Surface Pro 7 at the end of last year. It's not even compatible with the latest Windows feature release due to a bug they couldn't be bothered to fix after 6+ months. And it can't Linux without a lot of messing about. So I sold it privately and got a Dell XPS 13. Immediately shrunk the Window partition right down and put Manjaro on it.

I use a Mac for work now too, after 20+ years developing on Windows. The only Windows machine I have is for gaming, but I'm considering dual booting that and using Linux/Steam/Proton/Wine/Lutris etc. as much as possible.

Oh, you shouldn't have: Microsoft whips up website for devs that makes it easier to moan about Windows issues


Re: Another one?

This applies to almost everything they do. Rather than come up with a product strategy that's good for a decade or more, it's all over the place. They rename things like crazy and spin up new products that should just be enhancements to existing well-known products. Sometimes they run out of ideas completely and just stick an X on the end of the name.

I don't like everything Apple does but they do an amazing job of this. Like how they call the feature to use an iPad as a second screen 'Sidecar'.

Only EU can help us, pleads Slack as it slings competition complaint against Microsoft Teams


Re: "Slack threatened Microsoft's hold on business email"

Sadly true. Slightly off topic but I've got a 365 subscription and thought it would make sense to use it for personal email instead of the always-watching Gmail. Spent hours migrating all my data across to Outlook.com. Email was great, but I then discovered that contact management is completely broken - uploading images doesn't work properly via any app or even the web site. Investigated and it's been like this a long time apparently.

Their lack of care over any software product that isn't the absolute most important thing strategically at any given moment is a cause of so much hassle to their users.


Just because you don't like Slack...

doesn't mean they don't have a valid complaint here. Most of the complaints about Slack on this thread sound like issues with how it's being used, like too many integrations/bots etc being set up.

Slack's words about how Microsoft want all of the pie and don't even want to share a small part of it ring very true to me. Microsoft have been weird about Teams from the start - take a look at the promo video they put out a few years back which was an embarrassing clone of one by Slack a few months earlier. They're paranoid that Slack might take over communication that previously went through Outlook and leave Microsoft diminished in some way.

SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?


From The Independent in 2016:

Simon Segars, ARM chief executive, has had to defend the ARM deal against accusations that the UK is selling off its only top-tier tech company. “Our culture, our management, the way we operate, our ethos, none of that is going to change," Segars told the Independent.

"We are not expecting SoftBank to come in here and say this is the way we do business..."

Except they did.

Never understood what was in this for ARM - was it just profit for shareholders and CxO bonuses?

Microsoft takes tweaking tongs to Windows 10's Start Menu once again


Re: Clearly I've missed something but

Agree. The reason they changed it to Settings was because instead of evolving the Control Panel into what they wanted it to be in Windows 8, they decided to go scorched earth and start again with something new..They needed a new name and conveniently forgot that Control Panel was a universally known name that had value.

This is one area where Apple scores much better. When they name something, the name is a good one and designed to last. The file browser has had the same name since 1986, whereas Microsoft has had three. And Apple even hark back to past names when it makes sense e.g. Sidecar. They try to manage down the number of concepts their users need to hold in their heads.


I've been moaning a lot about Windows 10 lately but am pleased with this new start menu. Might be too little too late but at least it shows design is getting some focus again inside of MS, after them completely ignoring it for years.

The tabs in the task switcher idea is ridiculous though. This has been tried before with Windows Phone and I believe Chrome OS, and nobody likes it. Ctrl-Tab is for switching tabs, not Alt-Tab. They should improve how Ctrl-Tab works

Purism's quest against Intel's Management Engine black box CPU now comes in 14 inches


Re: Why Intel?

AMD chips have something very similar but with a different name (PSP).

They could go ARM but it's still very early days for Linux on ARM, Linus Torvalds was talking about it recently and hopes the new ARM Macs will help there.

Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release


Re: Upgrade ? No..

The elegance of a separate /home partition. Was always a Linux thing but most distros got rid of it, presume due to people being unable to deal with resizing partitions if they sized them wrong at install time.


Low end machines

On the point about low end machines, I've just been messing about with an old Intel Atom 330 board with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. I tried Linux Mint 20, MX Linux 19, Windows 8 and Windows 10 2004. Of those four, Windows 8 was surprisingly good, MX Linux was pretty usable, while Mint 20 and Windows 10 were both dog slow.

I'm not suggesting Mint 20 or Windows 10 are slow on sensible hardware, but they must have evolved in a way that expects a certain level of CPU power and/or RAM to be available. Lots of parallel tasks perhaps.

My biggest surprise with Linux is how much better the more lightweight window managers now look. Years ago I'd look at screenshots of anything that wasn't Gnome or KDE and turn away in horror. Now, something like xfce looks good to my eye.

Back to Mint 20 - personally I feel that although it still doesn't look quite as polished or modern as Windows or macOS, I'd happily trade that to get away from things like the Catalina security model in the Mac world. In the Windows world there's even more I want to get away from - Windows 10 increasingly feels like a stack of workarounds on top of other workarounds. The UI looks tired and I'm sick of seeing teasers about how it might look if they get their arses into gear. And in general, they are pushing things I don't want - it's now very difficult to sign in with a local account for example. You have to kill the network at setup time, it's just ridiculous.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services


Re: "There's no slave in git though"

Master swordsman - very good point. What will high end watchmakers do with their "master chronometer" certification? The problem at the moment is that no-one is prepared to argue against a change, even it doesn't make sense.

Using both master and slave together (e.g. ZFS) is a clear case to me where the terms could be improved, but master on it's own, surely it's just a word?

Microsoft's own operating system should finally start working on its own hardware ... 'in the coming weeks'


Re: Think long term...

There must be people inside of Microsoft looking at the shit the Windows team keep releasing, and wondering why they don't get working on a Linux distro.

I would suggest the distro could have a Windows-like UI that people would prefer to Gnome or KDE, but I'd much rather have Gnome than something that looks like Windows 10.


Re: Sums up Microsoft's quality control

You would think either the Windows team or the Surface team would be responsible for validating new Windows builds on Surface hardware.

Maybe there was a big childish argument inside of Microsoft because neither of them wanted to do it, so now nobody does it.


Yeah, whatever AlwaysOn/AlwaysConnected is, it's exclusive to SP7 and SL3.


Exposes their complete lack of direction

When they send out a new Windows build and it fails out in the wild on some specific hardware combination they've not tested, I think any reasonable person can accept that as very difficult to avoid. But when MS don't even bother to validate builds on their own hardware prior to release, it just goes to show how broken their processes are.

I also get the feeling that they're losing control of the Windows codebase. Reading through the list of known issues makes you wonder why so much stuff is getting broken on releases that on the face of it don't really deliver very much. They must be spending more engineering effort refactoring low level code than actually changing things that would benefit users.

Visual Studio Code finally arrives on ARM64 Windows. No, you haven't woken up in 2017, sadly. It's still 2020


Re: If Node.js is supposed to make "cross platform" easier via JavaScript...

Not node, electron. Which is essentially Chromium, so they were dependent on that being ported.

Even though the language is considered to be script it still needs a runtime

Apple promises third, no, fourth, er, fifth time's a charm when it comes to macOS Catalina: 10.15.5 now out


Re: It's UNIX

Have an upvote for your attempt at humour thay went over the heads of a few people!!


Re: Rebooting

Been thinking the same. Not happy with the direction of Apple or Microsoft operating systems. Plus the new XPS15 is so nice.

Microsoft announces official Windows package manager. 'Not a package manager' users snap back


They're correct, it isn't a package manager

Used this lastnight to install PowerToys and it appeared to just download an MSI and run it - the installer was full of popups and UAC.

Understand that it's beta/preview but it needs a lot of work. The ability to update is critical and I question whether it should have even been let out the lab without that given that updating software is essential for security.

Heading in the right direction though, I like it.

Latest Microsoft 365 'wave of innovation' really just involves adding or renaming a bunch of update channels


Re: All I want to know is ...

Totally agree, I saw that search box change on some sort of preview and was shocked how bad it looked, can't believe it's been released like that.

Microsoft seems to be a company of mostly talented individuals, but with a few idiots who wield far too much power and can demand arbitrary UX changes to products, which the sane people have no power to override.

Microsoft puts dual-screen devices and Windows 10X in the too-hard basket


Re: Mangled language

I thought exactly the same thing, its just code for "we completely fucked up out strategy and need to totally rewrite it, and think we can get away with blaming it on Coronavirus".


Re: Keyboard & trackpad location

Yes - and this is a very interesting point about experimentation vs refining proven designs. Nobody wants to stifle new ideas, but we keep getting too much change for changes sake. UX is the worst example, where a new generation of designers threw away decades of progress in favour of a "clean" look.

Desktop OS makers need to be really careful about fragmentation too at this point. There's already a lack of decent native software, so trying to get traction on niche hardware designs like dual screen Windows 10X devices is going to be a quite a challenge.


Re: Dual Screen Woes

This is exactly why I don't use dual screens. I totally appreciate the advantages but the OS quirks gets in the way too much. I find I can work quicker with a single screen and heavy use of Alt-Tab, which works the way you expect it to when there's only one screen.


It felt gimmicky

The fact that they've pivoted away from dual screen just reinforces my concern that it was a gimmick all along, just something to differentiate and try to generate some interest.

I'm much more interested in the OS though. With the mess they've been making if Windows 10 it is time to try something different. My SP7 feels like great hardware let down by poor quality software that I don't completely trust, so if there's a way to install it cleanly on that I'll be all over it.

Is this an ASP.NET Core I see before me? Where to next for Microsoft's confusing web framework...


Re: Web Forms needs to be moved forward onto .NET Core

From my perspective it feels like it's going the other way - on Core they're starting to talk people out of MVC and into Razor Pages, which is closer in approach to WebForms.

That puts me off personally, I migrated a big e-commerce site from WebForms to MVC years ago and it was a real transformation, I have lots of time for MVC.

They need to have good options for server-side pages because Node doesn't, I've messed about with a few view engines on express and they're not a patch on Razor.

Microsoft throws extended support lifeline for folk stuck on car-crash Windows 10 1809


Re: They can't even have sensible version numbers

No I'm not trolling, and I'm well aware of how their versioning works, but the emphasis was on "a normal person", or perhaps I should have said casual user. The sort of person who doesn't know a lot about their computer but in the past knew perfectly well whether they were running XP or Vista.

What I'm getting at is that an OS with widespread consumer usage should have clear versioning. It helps people understand what version of an OS their machine is running once the time comes where their hardware can't support any more updates. It also helps developers clearly state what version of the OS is supported by their app.

The link to Unbuntu is spot on, but even they have the sense to put a dot between the numbers so it's a little bit clearer what's going on. And why would Microsoft choose to copy a company like Ubuntu which serves a somewhat different audience.

I just think they really screwed this up and there's no reason for it to be so awkward. It could have been a simple Windows 10.x numbering system although that is of course similar to macOS.


They can't even have sensible version numbers

How do you explain any of this 1809 and 2004 bollocks to a normal person?

"Sorry, your version of Windows 10 is unsupported and needs to be updated"

"Oh right, which version will I be getting?"

"Windows 10"


MS really backed themselves into a corner with this badly thought out attempt at dropping version numbers. They've just ended up with version numbers but ridiculous ones. And what hapoens when hardware becomes too old to upgrade?

Was it an attempt to copy ChromeOS?

What's the difference between Windows 7 and a bin lorry? One is full of garbage, and the other… oh dear


Re: More to the point.

Exactly what I thought. Maybe the truck is being driven by replicants too.

Give us a reason... not to buy a new handset? Samsung back-ports Galaxy S20 photo features to Galaxy 10 range


Full disclosure required

This article sounds like it's written by someone who has shares in Samsung. Do you Simon?

Samsung has got grief for years over their poor software update record, and now they're doing a really good job, you're saying they need to stop it to sell more phones. From an S10+ owner, thanks a bunch.

No-no-no-notarised: Apple gives Microsoft's Visual Studio Code the all-clear for Mac devs


Re: Amazing!

Quite the opposite! Macs are very popular for developing with many non-Microsoft languages like PHP, Ruby, and JavaScript front ends and node apps.

Windows Subsystem for Linux was actually added by Microsoft to try and make Window more appealing to these developers because they knew they were losing that market.

Google: You know we said that Chrome tracker contained no personally identifiable info? Yeah, about that...


Re: ????

Because they don't want a phone made by Apple. That's where I find myself. My latest plan is to use Android but run as many Microsoft services as possible because they're properly cross-platform so I can get at my notes and reminders from both my Mac and my Surface.

I would happily use more of Google's services if they were just transparent. The biggest issue for me is where to store photos. Nobody seems to have any idea what Google Photos does with customer photos. If it's purely to get data to train AI then that's not the worst privacy invasion, but if they're actively mining data from people's personal photos collection, that's creepy in my book. And is there any privacy difference between the free and paid tier? Nobody seems to know.

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?


Re: Barclays don't dogfood their IT

Sadly, he probably would. He got caught with the "we are calling from Microsoft, your computer has a virus" scam to a point of letting them start controlling his computer remotely before an intervention saw the network cable ripped out the back and the phone put down.

The funny thing is, on those sorts of attack vectors, it really doesn't matter what version of Windows is on the machine!


Re: Barclays don't dogfood their IT

That's brilliant. I had it in my head Barclays were at least intelligent enough to log the user agent data from Online Banking logins, and then mail the appropriate customers, but I should have known better.


Friend of mine also encountered a Barclays cash machine showing the Windows 7 desktop. This one was touchscreen! The photo he sent me showed an Explorer window (File Explorer for the modern crown)!


Barclays don't dogfood their IT

I would laugh at these poor decrepit cash machines, except I recently lost 2 evenings of my life upgrading a family members computer from Windows 7 to Windows 10 because he was scared that it would be insecure. The reason for his concern? He received an email off Barclays telling him his computer needed to be upgraded and should not longer be used for online banking.

Huawei unfolds latest shot at the phone-tablet hybrid with reinforced hinge and reassuringly Xs-sive price


Would love to be in Apple's marketing department today

"Damn these guys, they make our overpriced premium phones look cheap"

Ever dream of being an astronaut? Now’s your chance. NASA wants new people for the Moon and Mars


So close

Was thrilled to see even at my age I am (only just) within the acceptable age range to apply. Then I read the bit about US citizenship. Damn.

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey


Re: re: contractors are not prepared to be unfairly treated

That's a ridiculous statement, I've worked as a contractor in places where I care more about what I deliver than the permies around me. That's not having a go at permies, it's simply pointing out that it's got little to do with employment status and more about the individual, and the culture of the business

You sound bitter that you're not a contractor.


"No one is saying you'll never work in this town again, just that you might need to pay a bit more tax"

A bit? That's an understatement considering the limited company pays a significant amount of corporation tax, on top of the tax being paid on salary/dividends to the individual. It really doesn't make sense to tax someone as an employee when they don't get the benefits of full employment.

Electron devs bond at Covalence conference: We speak to those mastering the cross-platform tech behind Slack, Visual Code Studio, etc


Re: What?

I kind-of agree with your point, but UI designers haven't exactly been on fire since this trend of "stripping back" interfaces, removing common affordances like knowing you can scroll something, and indications of what has focus

Hey kids! Ditch that LCD and get ready for the retro CRT world of Windows Terminal


Re: I don't need retro effects


Have you seen how excited the Digital Foundry guys are getting now they've remembered that instead of needing a monster graphics card to render games in 4k, they can get a better result running them at 1080p or even 720p on a CRT, relying on the CRT to do nice anti-aliasing naturally. And of course, they can max out the graphics settings running at low resolutions. And fast motion always looked better on CRT.

Microsoft emits long-term support .NET Core 3.1, Visual Studio 16.4


How does anyone make sense of this?

While I'm not a Windows app developer (I am a web developer though) I struggle to make sense of the options available. It seems there's three different ways to build GUI apps for Windows, but none of them is quite the best, they have different strengths. There's one that's dated with broad adoption, and another that's modern but feature-incomplete and won't run on Windows 7 or older.

Is it any wonder the Microsoft Store is missing a number of key apps, some devs must looking at this and deciding it's not worth the hassle. The reason Windows took over the world in the first place was software support and MS are in danger of throwing that away if this doesn't come together soon.

Apple's latest keyboard travels back in time to when they weren't crap


Re: Post Jony Ive, maybe Apple products can work again

That actually happened already in September for the 11 Pro (both sizes). Massive 4 hour increase in usage time over the equivalent model from the previous year. The phone is slightly thicker, and 3D Touch was removed to create more space for the battery.

While Apple fanbois rage at Catalina, iGiant quietly drops iOS and macOS security patches


Re: Apple software quality seems to be definitely dropping...

Isn't it fascinating how times have changed. When Vista shipped, Apple looked on, feeling a bit sorry for Microsoft for trying such a daft approach to security (basically a liability shift to the user). They would have correctly said "that's not the right approach"

Fast forward a decade, and they're now making the same mistakes. Their intelligence, direction and judgement with respect to MacOS is failing rapidly. I found myself contemplating going to Linux rather than Catalina recently.

To be fair I think iOS is on the right path, just with massive process issues that's causing silly bugs to get out in the wild. Notice how they massively rewrote Photos and Reminders, and pretty-much nailed it. But then one of the 13.1.x released shipped with a bug where it was almost impossible to clear the red bubble on the Phone app after a missed call.

You'e yping i wong: macOS Catalina stops Twitter desktop app from accepting B, L, M, R, and T in passwords


Sure it's not the keyboard?

It'll be hilarious when this gets fixed, but lots of people report that it's still broken. Er, no sir, this time the problem is your butterfly keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Pro X: Windows on Arm usable at long last – but, boy, are you gonna pay for it


Re: £1,700 for a Surface Pro X

Not sure on the comparison to a gaming laptop - that's the complete opposite of what the Surface Pro X is. A gaming laptop prioritises CPU and GPU power at the expense of portability and battery life.

I do agree though that this Surface Pro X is a tough sell. It's usually a good idea to buy based on what a device does now, not what it could be the future. While ARM might be the future for portable devices like this, there's a big premium for very little upside, especially with the software situation. I'd go Surface Pro 7 or if portability was absolutely critical, an iPad Pro.

Crumbs. Apple has tweaked the MacBook Pro keyboard


Crumbs indeed

Love the pun.

Are they just quieter because there's some sort of rubber protective rings around the ultra-delicate switches?



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