* Posts by fung0

320 publicly visible posts • joined 29 May 2012


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


Software Slowdown

>>> "Modern hardware has passed the point that the end users get significant benefit from the purchase of new computer hardware."

This touches on an issue that goes far beyond Windows 11: the fact that software innovation stopped about two decades ago. The 1990s saw dozens of software publishers vying to field the Next Great Application. That stopped in the early 2000s.

Today, we rely on decades-old applications - or slightly modernized versions thereof. Windows 10 and Windows 11 are perfect examples - neither of them lets users do anything much they couldn't do just as well on Windows 2000. After two decades of 'improvement,' they don't even make the old tasks easier or more efficient. On the contrary, each new version seems to delight in destroying successful workflows.

The software slowdown became embarrassingly obvious with the launch of Windows 10, when Microsoft actually boasted that its new OS would use LESS CPU capacity most of the time. This sounded great, as long as one didn't stop to realize what it really meant - that Microsoft couldn't come up with any way to use more than a few percent of a PC's processing capability. Software evolution had not only fallen behind hardware, the dominant software publisher had stopped trying to catch up and instead declared stagnation to be a virtue.

Microsoft clearly has no intention (or ability) to make further substantial improvement in Windows, or Office. So all future 'upgrades' will happen only at the point of a gun - expiring support, end of security updates, SAAS contracts, etc. Linux has been the logical upgrade from every version of Windows for at least a decade. It at least has the potential to reopen the sluice gates of innovation - IF Microsoft's stranglehold on the market ever allows it to get a proper foothold.

Intel blasts Bitcoin mining, unveils own mining kit


Re: Yeah, but no

Good grief. Intel invents a way to cash in on the biggest Ponzi scheme in history by destroying the world just a little more slowly. If I hadn’t already planned to go AMD with my next CPU, this would do it.

Windows 11 in detail: Incremental upgrade spoilt by onerous system requirements and usability mis-steps


Re: Windows versions

The silly myth of bad/good 'alternating versions' never dies, even though it doesn't hold up to even the most casual scrutiny. Life is not that simple:

Windows 1.0 - ambitious, but not useful.

Windows 286/386 - good enough.

Windows 3.0 - excellent.

Windows 3.1/3.11 - even better.

Windows 95 - excellent.

... (Windows NT - ambitious but not beautiful.)

Windows 98 - better yet.

Windows Me - flawed.

... (Windows 2000 - superlative.)

Windows XP - excellent.

Windows Vista - flawed.

Windows 7 - better.

Windows 8 - garbage.

Windows 10 - slightly less horrible.


This is a good point. I've long (!) maintained that a time-traveling Mac user from 1984 would feel perfectly comfortable with the latest Mac. It might take time to get used to the new stuff, but the basic UI remains consistent. (Consistently bad, IMHO... the most 'modal' UI ever. But consistent.)


Re: Windows 11 will improve over time

I've been saying it for years: automatic updates are a HORRIBLE idea. Like allowing Dr. Nick Riviera to do 'proactive' surgery on your brain. Over and over again.

If it's not broken... turn OFF updates!!

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac


Re: What do we do with all this processing power?

"At the individual / personal level, computing power is largely irrelevant."

True... but, I would contend, mainly because we've become accepting of software that doesn't do all it could do to be helpful. Computers have essentially added no new end-user capabilities since the early 2000s.

My own ancient 4-core CPU is 90% idle over 90% of the time. I try to use that capacity, running things in the background. But I continually bump into things the OS could have already anticipated. I continually find myself adding bits of software to provide capability that should long ago have been integrated into the OS.

More specifically, I recently switched to Scrivener from MS Word, and was astonished to discover just how much better a word processor can be - if it's been properly re-designed any time in the past couple of decades. And I still see endless ways Scrivener could be better, more helpful with the ubiquitous task of creating meaningful, coherent text documents (not simply "processing words"!).

We've become conditioned to expect nothing more than new PCs that run the same old brain-dead software a little quicker. When there's a universe of other possibilities that's not even being considered by the monopolistic corporations that have come to dominate the digital realm.

Once upon a time, it was those possibilities that drove chip innovation. Today, we're happy with a marginal increase in speed, or a few more (woefully under-utilized) processing cores. Because we know that a new PC will not make our lives fundamentally better.


Hardware Isn't the Issue

Intel has definitely been asleep at the switch. But that doesn’t mean that Moore’s law is entirely dead.

AMD has continued to forge ahead. Also, Intel has recently (finally!) announced plans to move forward with new fab technologies, including increased use of techniques that could even lead to sub-nanometer fabrication.

But, more importantly, development in fab technology has become largely irrelevant.

The real bottleneck over the past two decades has been lack of innovation in software, not hardware. Windows and Office, in particular, continue on bloated, antiquated codebases that date back to the late 1990s. The monopolistic dominance of these two dysfunctional products has strongly discouraged more-aggressive hardware developments, since better silicon can’t make these most-used software applications more useful. (Far from exploiting newer chips, with Windows 8 Microsoft actually bragged that it had made the CPU do less work.)

This stagnant situation in software has resulted in steadily declining demand for newer and faster hardware. That decline in turn has discouraged chipmakers from investing as much in new chip technologies as they might otherwise have done. It stands to reason that Intel has been the most lethargic, since it had the most comfortable market share to rest on. Competitors like AMD and ARM, predictably, have been somewhat more aggressive. GPU makers moved much more rapidly, largely because gaming is the one software category not dominated by mouldy Microsoft products.

Apple, in particular, has recently proved that simply re-architecting today’s chip designs can lead to sizable gains in performance. But the PC world – thanks to Microsoft’s staggering lack of vision – has been stuck with an awkward hardware architecture that dates back to the early 1980s. MS should long ago have done what it did with Windows NT: introduce a parallel ‘advanced’ Windows track, portable to new silicon, and encourage gradual migration as compatibility issues are worked out. It also desperately needs to re-examine the functionality of its two core products, and start evolving them to exploit the full capability of today's processors, let alone tomorrow's.

Bottom line, the toxic combination of failed vision and monopolistic dominance by Microsoft, post-Windows-2000, is largely responsible for the flattening of the Moore’s Law curve. Until the world finally demands something better than the stagnant MS codebase, evolution in chip technology cannot be properly exploited, and will thus remain largely irrelevant.

TL; dr - we won't really know what Moore's Law can or cannot do, until we eliminate the software bottleneck.

Apple announces lossless HD audio at no extra cost, then Amazon Music does too. The ball is now in Spotify's court


Re: The fruit giveth, the fruit taketh away

Currently, AFAIK, all BT wireless headphones require lossy (re)compression of your music, on the fly. Some of the codecs are better than others, but you can imagine that compressing music in realtime - especially on a feeble smartphone CPU - is going to involve some compromise.

Starting with FLAC would be bad enough, since what you hear will no longer in any sense be "lossless." But starting with something like MP3 has to be worse, since lossy re-compression of a lossy recording escalates the loss.


Re: Yay!

> You mean, you own it.

> Stop with the marketing/lawyer speak.

Actually, no, you don't really "own it." For instance, in many countries you have no right to back up a disc as a separate copy. Or to copy the contents to a central server in your home. (There was a huge fight over this with DVDs in the US. The company selling expensive home servers lost.) You also have no right to use the music commercially. We've even seen challenges to your right to resell the CDs that you 'own.'

The way the rights work, you mostly own the perishable plastic part, but not the ineffably eternal content part. IP law is written by companies that make billions out of hoarding IP.

Why make games for Linux if they don't sell? Because the nerds are just grateful to get something that works


Re: SteamOS

You make the mistake of assuming that Valve is like every other big company. It's not.

Most corporations these days are driven not by "profit" as such, but by their quarterly stock reports. These determine executive compensation, and hence provide the main motivation for all decisions.

Valve is closely held, by just three individuals. It is also more lucrative than any of those three could ever have expected. So Valve, unlike Microsoft, Sony or Google, is free to make truly long-term strategic decisions.

SteamOS was not concocted as a money-making venture. It was a counter to Microsoft's idiotic attempt to monopolize Windows software retailing - which had the potential to destroy Valve's business model. This bonehead move awakened Valve, and a few other companies, to the urgent need for a 'plan B,' a platform that they could fall back on as Microsoft proceeded with its increasingly obvious decline.

(All this is well-documented online, not in any way my personal conjecture. You'll have to find Microsoft's statements in the Internet Archive - they've been quietly removed from the MS sites.)

As for installing Steam on Linux, I've done it multiple times, and found it just as easy as on Windows. Installing games from Steam is just as easy too. My only problem is that my Linux machines are re-purposed PCs that run Linux fabulously well, but lack the horsepower for the more elaborate 3D games. This will change over time - my hardware dollars are going where the future is, not into the fading glory that is Windows today.


Re: SteamOS

SteamOS was more important as a concept than as a shipping product. In reality, Ubuntu Linux (and derivatives like Mint) serve just as well as primary targets for game development. So there's really no need for a separate 'game oriented' distro.

What Valve did with SteamOS, however, was incredibly valuable. It moved Linux forward significantly as an important platform for gaming. It set a standard for compatibility. It established a commercial platform for selling Linux games.

Given Microsoft's half-hearted efforts to evolve Windows (no significant improvements in almost 20 years, lots of new downsides), Valve was absolutely correct that gaming, and software development in general, needs a more stable - and simultaneously more forward-looking - desktop platform to fall back on.

Yes, supporting Linux is currently less lucrative than just targeting Windows... but we have to think of it as an investment in future-proofing. Hats off to the game developers who instinctively understand this.


Re: Steam on OSX

The 'peak players' is interesting, but doesn't really tell you about the size of the market. If 25 million play tonight, and a different 25 million play tomorrow night... that's a lot of players.

It can be hard to find current Steam stats, but those I've seen, usually dating back a year or two, suggest the service has something over 130 million 'active' accounts. You can quibble about the definition of 'active,' but it's probably safe to assume that Microsoft and Sony define the term at least as generously as Valve does.

Furthermore, I think it's safe to assume that Steam users, on average, purchase way more games each than do console players. Steam offers a wealth of low-cost games, and drives sales with frequent (and meaningful) sales promotions.

The conclusion is that the 'PC' games business is typically as large as Xbox+PS put together... and then some. You'd never know it from the media coverage, of course. Microsoft and Sony spend gazillions on advertising; Valve doesn't.

You'd think 1.8bn users a day would be enough for Zuck. But no. Oculus fans must sign up for Facebook


Apple and Microsoft

If there is a silver lining, it comes in the form of Apple and Microsoft. Both of them are working on next-gen AR and VR headsets, and Facebook has just given them a market differentiator: we will respect your privacy, unlike others.

I call total BS on this rosy statement. It would be more accurate to say that Facebook has given those competitors the green light to step up their own rapacious data-harvesting efforts in the VR/AR world, with no competitive disadvantage. (As if they needed the encouragement...)

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


Re: Quo vadis Microsoft?

I agree with your reading on the situation, but not the timeframe. Microsoft reached the crossroads when the FTC offered to break it up. Bill Gates' biggest error of all time was resisting that option. He doomed Microsoft to a slow, cancerous death by over-expansion.

Anyone who knew IBM in the early 1980s will recognize the symptoms. The market was more fluid then, so IBM's death throes were reasonably brief. In today's monopolistic marketplace, Microsoft, as you say, could stagger along for decades. Sadly, no one in the company has any direct incentive to avert that outcome.


Re: Okay, but…

Microsoft's commercial advantage never has been and still isn't the absolute quality of their product but their market share.

Beautifully stated. I'd like that on a tee shirt, please!


Re: It's fine if you're an average user with modern widely used hardware, and standard requirements

What you're basically saying is that Windows 10 is an okay OS, if you set your standards very, very low. As in "It works, most of the time, if I don't try to do anything too interesting..."

After 35 years of development, that's really, REALLY Not Good Enough.


Re: Windows 10, AKA the Windows nobody asked for

Windows 2000 was amazing.

Absolutely. It was the definitive version of Windows, in many ways.

Windows 7 still looks like Win2k, just shinier and rounder and more modern.

WinXP and Win7 really were Win2K, with extra UI polish. There were things to complain about in each release, but in general each was an improvement. (We won't speak of Vista, which was an obvious mis-step.)

When did Microsoft stop caring about us Windows users?

This is THE key question. The answer is: just before the release of WIndows 8. That was the first version of Windows designed according to Microsoft's addle-brained Master Plan, with no thought whatsoever given to improving either productivity or usability for the user.

Microsoft started blathering about the Windows Store - an obvious attempt to mimic Apple's App Store monopoly on third-party software. It destroyed the UI in a vain attempt to compete with the perceived threat of tablets. That threat never materialized, but the hideous Metro UI remains like a curse. And Microsoft attempted to shift the user base to an appliance-style locked-down API, the Universal Windows Platform. That API is now mostly abandoned even by Microsoft itself.

Microsoft clearly realized that most of its revenue was coming from enterprise services. Its current CEO comes from that side of the operation. The company obviously no longer gives a flaming crap about Windows as an end-user OS - other than as a way to anti-competitively force its services down users' throats.

Meanwhile, all progress in desktop computing has ground to a halt. Back in the early 2000's, Bill Gates said that there was "further to go than we have already come." But that future went on hold when he allowed Microsoft to go to seed, so he could gallavant around the world sprinkling his billions on the unwashed masses.

I live for the day that the decrepit Windows empire crumbles to dust, and the way is opened to real progress once more.


Even when it is working properly, Windows 10 cannot, by any stretch, be called "great." The UI is a hideous mess, for a start. (Where did Microsoft find designers who could concoct such a travesty?) Telemetry doesn't go away. And even at the best of times, you're never more than one auto-update away from catastrophe.


Re: Nope

The line above fits in the headline of any article on Windows OSs written between 1995 and 2020, spare none albeit being a bit more lenient with respect to XPSP3.

Much as I detest Win10, I can't agree with your blanket statement. The period of which you speak included several brilliant releases: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7. All of these met up to expectations; all were significant advances not just over previous versions, but in desktop computing generally. The UI evolved, became increasingly pleasant to use. The core evolved even more, adopting mainframe architectures.

And I say this as someone who started using MS-DOS with version 1.0, and actually booted Windows 1.0 on a dual-floppy XT, and lived to tell the tale. (It was much nicer to use than Windows 10.)


Re: Win10 is Not Fit For Purpose.

"DirectX 12 performed well, for example, continuing the PC's role as a strong gaming platform."

Then why is no one using it? Look around, most games still use DX11 exclusively. Even Microsoft's vaunted Flight Sim 2020 has been widely reported to run on DX11. Many game developers have even turned to Vulkan in order to avoid DX12.

I've never heard any explanation. My theory is that DX12 must be so hideous to work with that nobody can be bothered.

Bill Gates debunks 'coronavirus vaccine is my 5G mind control microchip implant' conspiracy theory


Choice, not Charity

I certainly don't hold Gates SOLELY responsible. What bugs me about Gates in particular is that he thinks his "philanthropy" is enough to make everything okay. It's not - and his thinking that it is simply adds insult to injury.

What people need is choice, not charity. Gates may put his money into (some) worthwhile causes, but the whole point of taxation is to make those kinds of decisions democratically. Even if Gates were both a genius and the nicest guy in the world, things like charter schools should be decided by the public, not by a small clique of plutocrats.


I don't think Bill Gates has enough involvement in 5G to be a threat.

However, I do very much blame him for the endless tracking horrors that have been built into Windows 10. At the very least, he failed to take any action to prevent his headless monster Microsoft from building this stuff into the world's dominant desktop OS. This is a corporate 'conspiracy' that has been widely reported and analyzed, and is now far from theoretical.

I also blame Gates for thinking that throwing his billions around in whatever way amuses him somehow excuses his wilful denial of the deeper ailments that afflict our world. He sees himself as a vindication of capitalism, when he in fact embodies one of its nastiest symptoms: vast power vested in a single unaccountable individual.

You like to Moovit? Intel snaps up Israeli mobility startup for rumoured $1bn as part of expensive mobility push


This is the End

When you acquisition takes over from attention to your core business(es), it's a sure sign the company is moribund. We've seen it over and over again.

Intel will lumber on as a sort of corporate golem, but it will never do great work again.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it


Best Protection

uMatrix replaces most of those add-ons, and offers better control. I would never venture onto the Web without it.

With uMatrix, you can see that most commercial sites actually source content from 20, 30 or even more separate domains - most of them ones you've never heard of, whose ownership is difficult to discover. Most of those domains want to load scripts, cookies, frames and other stuff that is detrimental to your privacy, and an ideal delivery mechanism for outright malware.

JavaScript, in particular, exists based on the premise that I will let strangers run unverified code ON MY DEVICE. Not gonna happen, folks.


Re: "Microsoft Loves the Web"

If site operators are concerned that their content is not being paid for, they are free to alter their business model. It is not my responsibility to allow them to enter my digital space and creepily follow me around for the purposes of STEALING my personal information so that it can later be used against me.

Duck Duck Go has an excellent blog post explaining how they make money without tracking people. Just showing an ad tied to the current search term provides more than adequate revenue. All that tracking stuff most sites add provides a relatively small increment to profits - but a huge benefit to mind-control.

The problem with micro-payments isn't that they can't work - it's that the online ad (i.e. content) industry would never accept the equivalent in cash - because it is no longer (just) about the money. It's why Zuck told the US investigation that the had "no interest" in running a paid service. (It would let his friends control elections, for one thing.)

Big Brother isn't going to give up - but I refuse to go willingly.

Chef roasted for tech contract with family-separating US immigration, forks up attempt to quash protest


Re: @Bronek Flaming idiot, social justice warrior and political hack

Criminals breaking the law are still criminals, even if putting them in prison would "separate them from their children".

Applying for asylum is not criminal. Trump has made out that it is, but that's just his usual BS. In any case, the government has failed to apply due process for asylum claims, locking up (and separating) even those who attempted to apply correctly.

As for why they're applying? Mostly the fault of US foreign policy, which has devastated multiple Central American countries. Plus a bit of (largely US-caused) climate change, which has devastated crops in those countries.

My heart bleeds for NO one.

Nor will our hearts bleed for YOU, when it's your turn in the chain-link cages. Of course, by then it will be too late for all of us...

Stallman's final interview as FSF president: Last week we quizzed him over Microsoft visit. Now he quits top roles amid rape remarks outcry


Re: He should have stuck to what he knows

The fact that Stallman's views on software and freedom seem "extreme" is an indictment of the world we live in, not of Stallman.

He is absolutely correct in stating that most non-free software today meets the definition of malware. It spies on us, it tracks us, it subverts 'our' computers for the purposes of corporations and governments.

We may not be willing to adopt Stallman's extreme defensive measures, but each of us can adopt some of them - preferring free software when it's available, disabling tracking whenever we can in our browsers and devices, avoiding addictive social media that are cunningly designed to use our own psychology against us, preferring encrypted communications when we can.. and so on.

If everyone adopted some of these measures, and we all raised our voices just a little more often, we could shift technology onto a far more benign course. If we don't, things are bound to continue getting worse. (It's inaccurate to call it a 'race to the bottom' - there is no bottom.)

Microsoft has Windows 1.0 retrogasm: Remember when Windows ran in kilobytes, not gigabytes?


Re: Win3.0

Win 3.0 was first more usable than DOS.

That was exactly my experience. I was happily running DOS with DESQView, but when Windows 3.0 came out, I quickly discovered that it could multitask DOS more easily and more smoothly than DESQView. There was no longer any reason not to live in Windows.


How to Win the OS Game

Microsoft beat Amiga and GEM the same way it did everything else: by persisting longer and moving faster than the competition.

I worked in GEM for years (using Ventura Publisher). It was a nice environment, but basically just a GUI, not an OS. I also spent time with the Amiga. It was a nice OS, if you could get anything done between Guru Meditation Errors. Neither platform evolved much, before eventually fading away.

Windows 1.0 had a horrible UI, but it was well-architected, with features like multitasking, that neither Mac nor GEM could match. With the release of Windows 3.0, five years later, it had evolved into a slick, stable, attractive OS, while still offering a smooth migration path from the dominant platform of the time (DOS). With Windows NT, five years after that, Microsoft left all competition behind in the dust.

Subsequent advances were much smaller. Windows 2000 brought the consumer UI to the Windows NT codebase. Windows XP was 2000 with a gaudier skin. Vista added DRM and transparency effects. Windows 7 fixed the problems of Vista. Windows 8 and 10 were sizable steps backward, adding only 'improvements' that benefited Microsoft, rather than the user. There is absolutely nothing you can do in Windows 10 that you couldn't do just as well in Windows 2000. That's 20 wasted years.

Tragically, Microsoft was a great company only while it had actual competition. The Microsoft of today is a at best a caricature of its former greatness. When companies get to that stage, they never come back. The quicker we dump them, the sooner the digital world can surge forward once again.

Hongmeng, there's no need to feel down: It's patently obvious this is Huawei's homegrown OS



...cited by China Daily – the English language ideology-emitting limb of China's Communist Party leaders...

...much like the BBC...

(One gratuitous side-swipe deserves another.)

Flight Simulator 2020: Exciting new ride or a doomed tailspin in a crowded market?


Things Left Unsaid

What the article fails to mention is the "Powered by satellite data and Azure AI" notice right at the start of the video. That, together with the ludicrously-detailed visuals, suggests that this will be 100% cloud-streaming. And therefore probably a very limited joyride simulator, akin to Flight.

This is probably Microsoft's feeble way of distracting Xbox fan(atics) from Google Stadia. Developing a deep simulation would take years, and it's clearly not a task that MS is up to these days.

Microsoft promises to boil down its lengthy and confusing privacy controls… in 1,500-word announcement


Re: It's all privacy theater

You deserve double-digit upvotes for this observation.

The term "privacy features" should remind us of George Carlin's observation about weasely corporate claims like "chocolatey"...

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!


No such thing as 'a little censorship'

Freedom of speech is indivisible, because there is no omniscient arbiter. As soon as you draw a line, others will get to work moving it. The 'common sense' rules you establish to muzzle 'offensive' others will soon be used to muzzle you.

Ivan to be left alone: Russia preps to turn its internet into an intranet if West opens cyber-fire


Re: This will be good for my self-esteem...

I find it depressing that half the world has defined the leader of a major nation by a single photograph. So the guy rode a horse with his shirt off, once. So what?

Regarding the Russian airgap: it sounds not like an over-reaction to minor incursions, but rather a last-ditch contingency plan should Russia experience a large-scale 'cyberwar' attack. Given the unhinged rhetoric coming out of Washington (and other capitals), having such a plan in place seems only prudent.

Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral


Re: "GPL is cancer"

There's nothing in GPL that prohibits publishers from making money. And moreover, nothing in GNU/Linux that prohibits publishers from selling non-GPL products on that platform.

The main reason for lack of Linux ports is both simple and obvious: a small market.

That won't change until some segment strongly embraces Linux. The best possibility right now would be governments or other large institutions discovering that they can switch to Linux + LibreOffice any time for 99% of their clients, at lower cost, with easier support, and better security - with no more single-vendor lock-in. Even a modest base of enterprise clients would attract further investment in applications.


Re: Evil Neutral

Under Gates, I'd have said Neutral Good.

They ignored laws, were guided mainly by technical expediency. But, for the most part, that worked out rather well for their customers. They made PCs ever-cheaper and easier to use. They resisted the lure of DRM, keeping products like Office and Flight Sim being conspicuously free of creepy malware or dongles. They evolved the GUI while keeping it reasonably flexible, and the kernel to robust multitasking.

Under Nadella, they're clearly Chaotic Evil.

The evil? UWP. WIndows Store. The 'Metro' UI. Perpetual 'updates.' Advertising in the UI. Rearranging the UI for no purpose other than increasing lock-in. Firing their QA staff and shipping buggy updates. Continued use of monopolistic tactics to push products that no longer offer any real improvement in the user experience (e.g. Windows 10).

The Chaotic? Randomly altering and ultimately canceling almost every initiative, including the evil ones noted above, as well as those mentioned in the article, such as Zune and WinPhone, plus some not mentioned so far, such as the excellent Windows CE/Windows Mobile, and the needlessly murdered Flight Sim. (Admittedly, killed by Ballmer, not Nadella.) Spending $2.5 billion for a single videogame franchise. The list goes on and on...

Clearly, both Chaotic and Evil.

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently


Re: Google are cunts

I switched to DuckDuckGo years ago, and have never failed to find what I'm looking for. Once in a while I use the !g ('bang-g') option to search via Google (anonymously), and I've never yet found any magic link that DDG missed.

Easy and painless. Anyone still using Google (directly) needs to explain themselves.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait


Re: Am I missing something here?

Multivac, dId you actually USE any of these OSes?

Windows 3.x - amazing, breakthrough platform. A solid, usable GUI environment, but with full backward compatibility to DOS, which no one was prepared to give up at the time.

Windows 95 - refined in every way, brilliant new UI; Windows 98 - even better than 95, in endless small ways.

Also, omitted from your list:

Windows NT - sheer genius: crash proof, rock-solid, albeit with the older UI. Possibly THE greatest achievement in the history of desktop OSes. Win2k was just NT with the Win9x UI, an absolutely superb OS in every way - I relied on it for years, even after WinXP shipped.

Windows CE/Mobile - the breakthrough mobile OS, way ahead of its time, with a huge third-party ecosystem. Abandoning it was Microsoft's single biggest mistake, which Apple quickly capitalized on with its own vastly inferior mobile OS.

Credit where credit is due - Microsoft didn't rise to power by building crappy products. Alas, once its competitors were all exterminated, the company rapidly went to seed.

And yes, many companies did try to find alternatives to Windows, but all failed. That's how it is with monopolies. Even IBM couldn't break free, at a time when it owned the hardware side. Not because OS/2 was a bad OS, but because the lock-in of Windows was already too strong.


Re: Home networking broken

Beware - if your Win10 PC has recent Intel hardware, it may be impossible to load Win7, owing to the (deliberate) lack of motherboard drivers.


Re: Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

Excellent list - you hit all my favorites, and added a few.

Isn't it odd how game developers have failed to support DX12? Years after Win10 shipped, still only a handful of games with DX12 (optional) support, and no particularly dramatic benefit.


Re: I think it's worth remembering ...

IBM, which was once (believe it or not) synonymous with desktop computing. Borland, Ashton-Tate, Lotus. Netscape. Compaq. Novell. Digital Research.

In the 1990s, MS could never have been as stupid as it has been lately, without being instantly devoured by smarter competitors.


1) Did Microsoft ever really produce reliable software?

Yes, all through the 1980s and 1990s, and into the early 2000s. MS-DOS was terrific, and so was Windows 3.0, for its time. Office was always far more reliable than its competitors. Windows NT, starting in the mid-1990s, was a miracle of stability when compared to most anything on the desktop. (OS/2 was damn' good too, even if it turned out to be a blind alley.) Windows 2000 was also brilliant, and XP was almost the same OS, with a consumer facelift. Lots more examples - ambitious, leading-edge software that no other company could have pulled off as well as Microsoft did.

2) The "vicious downward spiral" started about 20 years ago.

True. But MS really fell of a cliff about the time Bill Gates found that nobody was reading his memos any more, and left to go and cure diseases.


Re: Please Please

Please define "working update system." Because I'm sure Microsoft thinks you mean what they have now in Windows 10.


Broken, yes... and not fixable.

I strongly agree with Andrew on his premise, not his solution. Hiring more testers now is not going to fix the problem. Microsoft has clearly demolished the corporate culture that once supported the Windows multi-million-line codebase.

In the 1980s, I visited the MS 'campus' many times. There was an electric hum in the air. A feeling like NASA mission control, of many parts working together in perfect synchronization. Over the past couple of decades, all reports indicate that this culture of precision, responsiveness and attention to detail no longer exists. This kind of collapse is self-reinforcing. MS used to be a Mecca for software geniuses; now it's just a name for ambitious execs to put on their CVs.

A corporate culture is like any fragile ecosystem: once it's lost, it would take a miracle of reverse entropy to ever see it rebuilt.

Winner, Winner, prison dinner: Five years in the clink for NSA leaker


Winner of The Blame Game

The Intercept certainly deserves some blame, but its people did admit their failing multiple times, starting immediately after Winner was arrested. What’s more, their error was an honest one – it just shows how difficult it is for even the most paranoid organization to be 100% secure. The Intercept takes stringent precautions to safeguard electronic submissions - what tripped them up was the rare inclusion of physical evidence.

"No, wait, only joking, of course it didn't: the Intercept is never wrong."

Of course, The Register is in a great position to scoff. It has for years been risking its reporters’ lives by heroically publishing leaked material, in a never ending fight against secrecy and oppression. With never a slip.

No, wait, only joking.

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way


Slash 'Week'

I've been using the /week/ page, which gives me a compact, readable, sequential view of the latest news items. It still seems to work with the new layout. Please don't try to 'improve' it!

Just remember those words: compact, readable, sequential. Everything else is an impediment, and likely to drive me away.

It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old


Re: Traditional stuff

"In general every other Microsoft OS sucks badly..."

I've used literally every version of Windows, and I have never experienced this flip-flop that people keep citing as fact:

Windows 1.0 - weird but interesting (what's "multitasking"??)

Windows 286/386 - considerably more usable, but still fairly weird.

Windows 3.0 - fantastic!!

Windows 3.1 - even better!

Windows 3.11 - and still more better!!

Windows 95 - nicer

Windows 98 - incrementally nicer

Windows NT - never crashes, shame about the UI

Windows Me - not exactly better (but not horribly worse)

Windows 2000 - stability of NT plus UI of 98 - what could be better??

Windows XP - Windows 2000 for the masses

Windows Vista - oops!

Windows 7 - Vista UI plus viable 64-bit - it's all good!

Windows 8 - WTF???

Windows 8.1 - WTF continued

Windows 10 - OMFG!!

No alternation of any kind. From version 1.0 through 98 Microsoft made steady, massive improvements - then introduced amazing robustness through the separate NT track. Windows Me and Vista were the only notable mis-steps, and they came several versions apart. Whereas the more recent Windows 8, 8.1 and 10, all hideous blunders, came one after another.


"So really I dpon't know what everyone complains about. There are no issues with W10 that can't be solved by ... not using it at all."



Re: "time to step into the wonderful of world of Linux"

"They haven't cared about macOS for at least five years."

I'm not a Mac user, but I've felt that Apple was being smart enough to leave the Mac OS alone - to maintain continuity for fans who've come to love it and rely on it. (Exactly the opposite of Microsoft's Windows strategy, which has been to f**k up the OS and infuriate long-time fans as much as possible.)

Could you elaborate on what Apple has done to harm the Mac world?


Re: "then it may time to step into the wonderful of world of Linux."

"I've not seen a real gearing up of Linux (desktop) for the Enterprise."

Nor will you. There's no overriding direction and no ultimate authority to dictate such a drive.

It's just a question of momentum and motivation. Plus a bit of time.

The truth is that it Linux is already a better client than Windows in every real sense. It's cheaper, with more than adequate functionality. It's easier to maintain, deploy, configure. It has all the software most cubby-hole denizens will ever need - even Microsoft Office, now available in a handy cloud format. And it's available from multiple vendors - something that big purchasers prefer, in every other product category.

Of course, enterprises won't switch without a compelling reason. What we're seeing right now is a sort of 'super-cooling' of the desktop landscape. Soon it will need only some tiny nucleus to trigger a sudden phase-change.

Recall that at the start of the 1980s, "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM," yet by the end of the decade the company had completely departed the desktop. Apple and CP/M similarly ruled the office in the late 1970s, but were barely a factor ten years later. Today, the unshakeable Intel CPU stronghold is crumbling under the onslaught of cheaper, faster chips built by multiple vendors based on the ARM architecture. Such shifts are always "impossible" - until suddenly, in retrospect, they look inevitable.

We've already seen a few big Linux implementations. (I think Schleswig-Holstein is still going open-source, though they seem to flip-flop every other week.) Microsoft will continue to make the Windows desktop increasingly problematic. And the US (ably led by Trump) will continue to make US spyware-infested technology less attractive. (Especially in fiercely independent economies such as China and Russia.)

In the end, Linux won't need a corporate cheerleader - it will simply become the default commodity option. It's hard to see any other possible outcome. Microsoft was a capable steward for desktop computing in the 1990s. Today, the company has clearly given up any intent of playing that role. The only other plausible option is Linux.