* Posts by Paradroid

121 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jan 2011


Windows 11 still not winning the OS popularity contest


I'd argue it's the best release since Windows 7 rather than the worst since ME. Windows 10 was ok but still had quite a bit of the failed Windows 8 interface kicking around, and some really primitive UI that made it look like Microsoft couldn't afford a design department. Windows 11 is a lot more polished and consistent.

It's not perfect - the new start menu was initially very limited, and the hardware requirements are frustrating, but on the right machine, it's a really nice OS.


Take a look at that new centred start menu on an ultra-wide monitor, it's a big improvement. I'm currently using a client laptop running Windows 10 and would love to get it upgraded to 11 just for this feature.

Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop


Really depends on the role

I'm a frontend developer, which is one of the most platform-indepedent roles, so it doesn't really matter which OS I use. Although *nix works better so Windows is at a disadvantage (without using WSL).

But how many roles are like that? Many businesses still lock information away in proprietary file formats like Office, and for that, despite there being options available, Windows is strongest.

In my role, Windows actually has the worst software support. It lacks the lovely indie apps of the Mac, and the inbuilt package management of Linux. Ironic given the dominance of Windows in the 90s for software.

Twitter sues Musk: He can't just 'change his mind, trash the company, walk away'


Re: Why aren't Twitter happy

"Musk came in with an offer so high". Awesome pun - even if unintended!

Microsoft backtracks on lack of easy Windows browser choice


Re: For some values of "default"

Yes I'm sure they've kept that behaviour. And in my opinion it's a bug. Why should users have to waste resources firing up Edge for some links if they've chosen to use a different browser and already have it running. There's just no excuse.

File Explorer fiasco: Window to Microsoft's mixed-up motivations


Re: Irritation and security flaws are an intentional feature

You jest but I actually want this option - with a more reasonable price tag of course! Microsoft, please let me pay you per year or per release for a well-maintained, private, secure, ad-free operating system. Oh and it needs to get out my way on choice of web browser, and let me log in with a local account.

Google's Pixel 6 fingerprint reader is rubbish because of 'enhanced security algorithms'


Firm enough press? I find it needs that. Have to press harder than I expect to press on glass, but it likes it


Re: How is this even a thing in 2021?

But is easily defeated by a face mask. And the official workaround is to spend nearly £400 on an Apple Watch


When the S10 launched some reviewers complained about the in-display fingerprint sensor being slow. I've owned an S10+ for nearly two years and have no idea what they're talking about.

Came very close to replacing my phone with a Pixel 6 Pro, but what bothered me more was losing a basic face unlock feature. Having basic face unlock and the fingerprint sensor for biometrics is my favourite setup by far

Facebook posts job ad for 10,000 'high-skilled' roles to 'build the metaverse' – and they'll all be based in the EU


No, Mark

When I watched Ready Player One, I saw the scenes of people wearing VR headsets as a dystopian nightmare. Bizarrely, Zuck seems to have watched it and thought "this is the future, we have to build it". Let's hope he doesn't get round to watching Squid Game.

Apple warns sideloading iOS apps will ruin everything


Re: Law of unintended consequences

A car analogy? Well, you don't have to take your car back to the franchise dealers for a service to maintain your warranty. Although it took government intervention for that to happen.

New GNOME Human Interface Guidelines now official – and obviously some people hate it


Sticking up for Gnome 40

I'm going to defend Gnome 40. Was running PopOS happily but with 21.04, found myself unhappy with the increasing divergence from Gnome 3, and the glitches. Switched to Fedora and am loving the vanilla Gnome 40 experience. Slick and easy to use, with very few pain points.

I agree with the criticism of weird UI simplification, and covering the title bar with controls is an annoyance too, but this is a trend across all OS at the moment. Instead of going deeper on the things that make desktop better than mobile, designers are attempting to make desktop as limited as mobile.

As it stands now, I rate Gnome 40 higher than macOS since they tried to make it look like an iPad with Big Sur.

Apple aptly calls its wireless over-the-ear headphones the AirPods Max – as in, maximum damage to your wallet


Are they serious?

Never mind the price (which does appear outrageous on the face of it), what about the styling?

One of the nice side-effects of paying premium prices for products is that as well as performance, you expect to get premium design. The sort of design that says the owner has taste, like the Bowers and Wilkins range. This latest Apple effort looks like headphones from Smyths Toys. The red/pink colour in particular is horrendous.

The other thing is performance. When the HomePod launched there was a bunch of people who thought the traditional hifi industry had just been made obsolete the way Palm and Nokia were in 2007. Which turned out not to be true of course. It's surely the same here - are these really going to sound massively better than B&W and the Sony WH-100XM4? It's possible I admit, but doubtful.

Chuck Yeager, sound barrier pioneer pilot, dies at 97


Re: To boldly go where no man has gone before

Chuck Yeager's Air Combat was one of my favourites too, played it for hours on end. On a 286 I seem to remember.

Chuck is a legend, sad to see him go, but at least he lived a long, full life and leaves behind a great legacy.

Apple now Arm'd to the teeth: MacBook Air and Pro, Mac mini to be powered by custom M1 chips rather than Intel


Good time to buy Apple shares

Their profit margins on these machines must be very nice. Saving hundreds of dollars by ditching Intel processors, keeping the same basic RAM and SSD specs, omitting various supporting chips, and not passing a penny of saving on to the customer.

Blazor: Full stack C# and Microsoft's pitch for ASP.NET Web Form diehards


Is anyone really going to use this?

For a public web site with accessibility and search engine considerations this is not the right technology. For apps there's big, established players like React, Angular and Vue.

I understand the point that Blazor means C# developers can build web sites without any JavaScript knowledge, but how often is that the right option compared to skilling your devs up in JS, or hiring some front end devs on a permanent or temporary basis. Occasionally maybe, but not often

Microsoft tells staff work-from-home is now ‘standard’ – with caveats galore


Re: Commuting

It's not about where a person works it's about their skills and approach to problem-solving that are the real value.

Apple's T2 custom secure boot chip is not only insecure, it cannot be fixed without replacing the silicon


Re: Surprised?

I mostly agree with you that Apple are not out to prevent other OSs being installed as Apple haters are making out, but the T2 chip was quite a hassle for Linux to work round and was only possible because of the desire of a lot of people. Not much chance of getting anything less common than Linux (e.g. BSD, Heroku) running unless you're prepared to run it off an external drive.

Since the EU won't share all its toys, UK Space Agency fires up fund to support more international collaboration


"The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want" (Michael Gove)

Not one to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple's cloud fell over too. Unlike Microsoft, it hasn't said what happened


It's a miserable, dull day here in the UK

But "At one point even the System Status page reportedly fell over." brightened it up a lots. Thanks for the laugh El Reg.

Windows to become emulation layer atop Linux kernel, predicts Eric Raymond


Re: The value of Windows is in the API

"The value of Windows is in the API" is 100% right, not sure why you're being downvoted. Have a +1


Re: Okaaayyy

I agree that Edge is a red herring here, but the the idea still makes sense to me. A cheap Windows PC could be even cheaper if Windows became free or almost-free, because the cost of developing it was slashed by switching to Linux with a thin layer over the top.


Re: Opposite will happen

I think WSL/2 is actually the start of it. The parasite its going to eat the host.


I've been convinced of this for some time

I wrote an article about a very similar theory a few years ago, no proof though sorry (on an old blog site that got taken down). The idea for the article came from noticing how much virtualisation is already going on with the Xbox One, a platform that obviously cannot afford poor performance. While Microsoft doesn't always make the right decisions around UI, their ability to write seriously impressive system code has never been in doubt in my mind. So it seems highly likely that we will see Windows morph into a Linux kernel, with maybe a couple of virtualisation layers (one for Windows/Xbox games and another for legacy apps), with a Windows-style UI over the top.

I'm convinced that there are people inside of Microsoft looking at what's being spent to maintain the core Windows OS, who are not impressed. That same opinion is probably behind some of the more aggressive marketing in the OS these days.m And with the performance gap that now exists between Windows and Linux, the writing is on the wall.

(Edit: found an archive of the article, a bit out of date now, but just my claim above doesn't sound like BS) https://web.archive.org/web/20180905111053/http://www.blitterandtwisted.com/2017/02/future-of-windows-linux-and-a-built-in-xbox.html)

Das Keyboard 4C TKL: Plucky mechanical contender strikes happy medium between typing feel and clackety-clack joy


Black lettering on black keys

I've got a black Topre keyboard, and had a choice of white or black lettering. Thought it would be big and clever to go for black lettering but I do find myself regretting it at times, in certain lighting conditions (e.g. home office) it's not easy to read at all.


It's probably the other way round. I code and don't use a number pad, so tenkeyless is ideal for me. People who don't code are likely to spend more time in office tools like Excel, where it becomes useful.


For plenty people, a tenkeyless keyboard is a great option.

The review says it's ideal for smaller desks, but this misses a much more important advantage - it puts your mouse or trackball much closer to your keyboard. Also I like it because it makes it easier to centre the qwerty part of my keyboard up with my screen, which my OCD seems to require. While still keeping my trackball close enough.


Re: @ Mr Cumberdale

That is exactly what a tenkeyless layout gives you. It's a full sized layout with arrow keys, extra editing keys, but no numeric keypad.

Another week, another dual-screen phone, this time a T-shaped LG thingamy


Re: The Robin Reliant of mobes!

As a kid who spent time being driven around in a Scimitar (probably listening to Dire Straits), I agree.

Microsoft to charge $200 for 32 GPU cores, sliver of CPU clockspeed, 6GB RAM, 512GB SSD... and a Blu-Ray player


Re: The point ?

There's definitely a difference of approach between Microsoft and Sony.

On the Microsoft side there's no such thing as an Xbox exclusive any more, because they release everything on PC now too (a.k.a Microsoft exclusive). So their game engines have to be scalable, and therefore a bit more abstract from the hardware.

On the Sony side, they have always made the PS3 and PS4 punch above their weight with first party exclusives because those developers know exactly what hardware they are dealing with. And we've already seen some impressive PS5 tech demos like Unreal and Ratchet and Clank, which benefit from the custom SSD.

I prefer the Sony approach, but arguably it's going to get less relevant over time if they continue with PC ports of their games.

Huawei set to exit server, storage, networking business in the UK


Re: Not so fast

Yes. Even the accommodating and level-headed EU is now criticising China and their one-sided relationship with the rest of the world.

I am no fan of Trump by any means but do wonder if anyone else would have taken aim at China in the (blunt) way he did. Cameron and Osborne certainly didn't. Alongside the chaos Trump has caused domestically and globally, he may well be remembered as a sort of necessary evil with regard to changing the narrative on China.

Epic Games gets itself epically banned, launches epic Fortnite death match with Apple over App Store's epic 30% cut


It's payment processing, plus hosting, an entry in the catalogue, potential promotion. Not saying it's right - we all know it's a big fat fee for access to Apple customers, but to be fair it is more than payment processing.

I wonder what point companies like Epic will stop calling this a monopoly and accept it as a cost of doing business. 15-20% maybe? Epic themselves are charging 12% on their own store.


Greed on all sides

I can't see Epic winning against Apple. There are countless examples of middle men in many industries, and it's not illegal or monopolistic. Remember when CD prices were extortionate, and out of the £13.99 shop price, artists were getting about £1.50 or less. I would have some sympathy with Epic if they weren't in the app store business themselves on PC, paying developers for 12 month exclusivity.

The more interesting case is Microsoft attacking Apple for their cloud gaming policies in the App Store. I think Apple is on shaky ground there - the argument of not being able to verify each game doesn't hold water. Check them for what? They aren't running locally. But again, Microsoft has a platform-exclusive store on the Xbox and would they allow a cloud gaming service from Sony, Apple or Google? No way. So if Microsoft pushes it against Apple, it could backfire on them.

I am no defender of Apple or 30% shakedowns, but this all sounds very hypocritical.

We have bad news for non-US Microsoft fans: The incoming Surface Duo is underspecced, overpriced, and over there


Re: Battery capacity for starters

The size of the battery had me thinking only one part of the device contains a battery. I've done some digging and Pocket Lint say there are two batteries, which makes it surprising they couldn't fit in more capacity. Guess they made it very thin because it doubles up in thickness when closed and pocketed.


Battery capacity for starters

3,577mAh powering a high end processor and TWO screens. Can't see this ending well.

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.