JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

6,162 posts in this topic

BTW, has anybody else wondered about the timing of the original announcement last year that people should stop using Gagdets for "security" reasons? It was right around the time that Win8 was coming out (within a month, IIRC). I've always suspected that trying to eliminate the Gadgets was an attempt to make the Vista/Windows 7 Desktop look that much more static

--JorgeA

Of course it was.

I had an argument about this on Channel9:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/Coffeehouse/Dick-move

The fanboys didn't like it one bit and flailed around with ad hominems.

It's one of my "how to handle the boyz"-threads.

So, great minds think alike!! ;)

I have to hand it to you, though -- you really know how to deal with these fanatics. For me, it's hard to bear the stress and annoyance of hearing this cr*p, especially like the first one:

Never used any gadgets, so I really couldn't care less.

I just can't fathom that "I'm not a Jew, so I don't care" type of argument. :rolleyes: It's an emotional response to a rational line of discussion, and I've always found it to be so maddeningly irrelevant as to not know what to do with it. And yet, some (many?) people do approach discussions that way, so OTOH I can't just leave it unanswered lest they think that I'm conceding their "point." Hence, the stress.

--JorgeA

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GUIs: The computing revolution that turned us into cranky idiots ( ZDNet 2013-06-28 )

The author writes a pretty good historical article, and is doing fine until he flat-out lies about Windows 95, so I guess his whole post must be brought into question.

Yeah, toward the end it really degenerates into name-calling ("cranky idiots") and the writer comes off as arrogant and patronizing. And then we see his bio paragraph:

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

Except that, of course, in this case they do. So he's a paid employee for Microsoft. That gives us some insight into what he wrote and why.

One other point. If PC users became "simpletons," then due to its own GUI Microsoft has played a huge role in this devolution. Yet somehow Perlow is using this to argue for further simplifying the UI...?!? Does not compute (so to speak).

Finally, if Perlow doesn't understand the difference between "change" and "improvement," then I have to question whether Microsoft is getting its money's worth from the salary they pay him.

OK, I couldn't resist adding one more thing -- all right, two more things, both excellent observations in the comments section:

For all the talk about GUI's, the one thing I did not see in the article was human factor testing. Xerox certainly did it, and found that text labels were better than icon's, but somehow we forgot that. Apple did it, and found that reducing the transitions from mouse to keyboard and back improved accuracy and ease of use, but it looks like we forgot that.

Personally, I can't believe anyone did any human factors testing on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 on a desktop. It may look cool, but it fails in both of the examples from the early days I used, and in many more obscure studies since then.

Most importantly, it was never what the UI is, but it was whether the UI was well designed.

As a consequence of this, whoever advised Microsoft to adopt the same UI across different platforms and form factors in fact sent them towards the cliff.

Another great set of links, BTW. How do you manage to put all of these together so quickly? It would take me half an afternoon to create some of your digests.

--JorgeA

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Yup, it's all about torrents, NOT. We now have the ISPs exerting government approved snooping in the service of Big Hollywood. Oh wait, we've had that for quite a while now. So this is the next step, still disguised as serving the greater good looking after Hollywood intellectual properties, but actually putting names and places on download events. Okay, here's a question. If our government cannot even check and see someone's library records, the books they read, etc, how can this even be remotely acceptable? I have no love for crooks, torrents or pirates, but at this point I would take them in a heartbeat over the Big Brother that government and the sheeple are putting into place.

:thumbup:thumbup

I totally agree -- the cure is worse than the disease.

IIP bureau of U.S. State Department spent $630,000 on Facebook ‘likes’ ( TechSpot 2013-07-03 )

I just threw this one in to make everyone even more angry ( USA citizens obviously ). So, just to rub salt in the wounds from all the domestic spying against ourselves which we masochistically pay for, other government agencies are on a social spending spree! Isn't that just great? And what are the chances really that this is the extent of it all? The real number blown by all taxpayer funded bureaucrats will be in the millions. I don't suppose we could prevail on all these companies taking our money to consider reporting all the government entities wasting our money on their social sites?

If we could get the NSA folks to spend their time at the office "liking" stuff instead of what they're actually doing, I'd consider that tax money well spent... :D

--JorgeA

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Dvorak's philosophy on duopoly. I take it a little farther myself, and play down the Apple-Microsoft faux competition. It is a duopoly but not a competition. It is more like the crips and bloods dividing up the territory and scrupulously avoiding trespassing each others' turf, ever. They have never competed, until Surface. Ever.

I agree in a practical sense that Apple never competed with Microsoft, but part of the sickness of 90s Apple ecosystem (employees, writers, fans) was that they thought Apple would destroy Microsoft. Steve Jobs addressed this at

, where it was announced he was taking over again, to a downright hostile audience (though they softened up a bit by the time of the index linked).
Ah, just what the doctor ordered - an ever-changing codebase. Now there is a real plan for stability.

Worked for Linux! Wait...erm, um, hmmm.

Microsoft calls it an update, I call it a placebo.

After 15 years or so of receiving 20-30 "critical updates" in semi-monthly batches, one does have to wonder exactly what they do.

what really sold Windows 95 were long filenames, FAT32 file system, better multitasking than in Windows 3.1, .LNK shortcuts rather than .PIF ones, and new desktop functionality like putting shortcuts on the desktop.

All that stuff seems to have been forgotten and even assumed as features. FAT32 was absolutely necessary. The hard drive capacity explosion caught FAT16 with its pants down and by 4Q 1995 2 GB partitions with 32K allocation units, the best FAT16 could do without hacks, was beyond end of life. People were also sick of basically having to name files like hex codes.

I had a stable of Windows NT 3.51 users who were irritated that they would be stuck with Program Manager for another year.

Personally I think the real surprise success was NT4. I think everyone knew 95 would be a hit but while NT3 had a growing market it was decidedly a niche product. NT4 was an overnight success and penetrated unforseen markets like computers used for word processing and gamer builds. There were howto sites detailing how to hack in DirectX and drivers into NT 4, and people were spending more on computers that were capable of handling NT. Businesses upgraded quickly, and some of them jumpted directly to NT4 and skipped 9x entirely (though that wasn't always practical).

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Oh, MS is screwing up yet again.

View 18:40. Apparently only the start button comes back, not the start menu! Also at around 21:00 Thurrott mentions that only the "business versions" will get this.

I've written about this.......:

An oldie but a goodie. Starting at about 42:40, Paul Thurrott reveals his personal distaste for the Metro UI and his preference for the Desktop:

Leo Laporte: I'm wondering if the Start Button is enough to assuage their -- don't they really want a Start Menu?

Paul Thurrott: Oh, probably.

LL: That's what I want. I don't want to see Metro! You know, I still have it, and as you saw I launched into it by accident. It's there, and I don't hate it.

PT: That is the way we all use Metro -- by accident.

LL: My Charms are still there, but I don't have to use them. That Start Menu has a nice shutdown button right on it..

***PT: If you have a Surface RT or whatever, the Metro stuff is nice. You know, when I'm on a computer, I use this thing for work, I want to get work done, I want to be efficient. Like you, the Metro stuff is not what I want.***

[...]

PT: People at Microsoft, you should be asking them, maybe this thing really is screwed up. You know, I think when you have this many people questioning what you're doing, you have to have a little bit of introspection. I mean -- I assume this happens, I have no idea what the decision-making process is like over there, but I mean, my God -- you know, there's so much complaining. And hopefully this stuff does happen the way we expect it to.

[...]

PT: It's even more true of Microsoft's customers, 'cause the core customer base really is businesses, isn't it? And them jamming this thing down businesses' throats is so anti-common sense.

LL: Well, at some point you have to say, "Oh, I guess this is more than just a knee-jerk reaction to the change, there is in fact substantive complaints." People are not buying Windows 8...

I'm thinking that the explanation for Thurrott's many apparent 360-degree turns is that he himself actually prefers the Desktop interface, but is resigned to Metro as the inevitable wave of the future.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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Oh, Outlook.com/Hotmail finally supports two factor authentication? Thanks for the video.

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I'm thinking that the explanation for Thurrott's many apparent 360-degree turns is that he himself actually prefers the Desktop interface, but is resigned to Metro as the inevitable wave of the future.

--JorgeA

I think the explanation is that he prefers the Desktop, and his turns to the metro side happen when yet another bribe arrives in the mail box (computers and tablets, software, phones, invitation to conferences.. And maybe even plain money).

Edited by Formfiller
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More spying:

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/07/04/revelations-on-the-french-big-brother_3442665_3224.html

Revelations on the French Big Brother

If the revelations about the American espionage program Prism set off a chorus of indignation in Europe, France itself protested only weakly. For two excellent reasons: Paris already knew about it – and it"s doing exactly the same thing. Le Monde is able to disclose that the General Directorate of External Security (the DGSE, or special services) systematically collects the electromagnetic signals emitted by computers and telephones in France, and the flow of signals between France and countries abroad: the entirety of our communications are being spied on. All of our email messages, SMS messages, itemised phone bills and connections to FaceBook and Twitter are then stored for years.

If this immense data base was used just by the DGSE, which operates only outside French borders, it would already be illegal. But the six other intelligence services – among them the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence, the customs service and the Tracfin anti-money-laundering service – delve into this base daily for the data of interest to them. This takes place discreetly, on the margins of legality and and beyond any serious control. Politicians are perfectly aware of it, but secrecy is the rule.

This French Big Brother, a little brother of the American services, is clandestine. Yet its existence appears discreetly in parliamentary documents. In a report issued on April 30, the eight deputies and senators in the parliamentary intelligence delegation note that "progress has been made since 2008 in the mutualisation of capabilities, notably regarding intelligence of electromagnetic origin, effected by the DGSE for the benefit of the entire intelligence community."

The DGSE thus collects the itemised telephone bills of millions of subscribers – the names of the callers and the called, the place, the date, the duration, the weight of the message. The same goes for email (with the possibility of reading the title of the message), SMS messages, faxes... And all activity on the Internet that takes place via Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo... It's what the parliamentary intelligence delegation very aptly calls "intelligence of electromagnetic origin", the equivalent of the NSA's SigInt (signals intelligence).

[..]

This system is obviously of great value in the fight against terrorism. But it allows spying on anyone, any time. The DGSE collects billions of billions of units of data, which are compressed and stored on three floors in the basement of the DGSE headquarters on Boulevard Mortier in Paris.

Bernard Barbier, technical director of the DGSE since 2006, has spoken publicly about this system on two occasions – in 2010 at a symposium on the security of information and communications technology, and to the Association of Reservists in Encryption and Information Security (Arsci). His comments were reported on a few specialised sites, including Bug Brother, a blog by Jean-Marc Manach on lemonde.fr. Mr. Barbier spoke of "the development of a calculator based on FPGA" – Field Programmable Gate Array, or an integrated circuit that may be programmed for logical functions – that is "probably the biggest data processing center in Europe after the English", capable of managing dozens of petaoctets of data, in other words dozens of millions of gigaoctets. The heat emitted by the computers is sufficient to heat all the buildings of the DGSE...

Sounds like yet another intelligence service has full access to Microsoft and friends.

Interesting that Twitter is once again not on the list. They seem to be the only ones to protest on such things. I wonder why? Do they get the least amount of bribe money or something?

Edited by Formfiller
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I'm thinking that the explanation for Thurrott's many apparent 360-degree turns is that he himself actually prefers the Desktop interface, but is resigned to Metro as the inevitable wave of the future.

I'm still leaning towards the medication see-saw. :lol:

It would be very interesting to chronicle his alternating positions on everything. I mean just pick an obvious one like Microsoft Tiles and cite dated quotes over the past two years since //Build/ 2011. The problem is that it would require quite a bit of time. I just recently noticed that on his site once the older articles fall off the bottom they are lost forever. Then when you use his search it throws them up in a random dated selection. He must be using Bing.

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what really sold Windows 95 were long filenames, FAT32 file system, better multitasking than in Windows 3.1, .LNK shortcuts rather than .PIF ones, and new desktop functionality like putting shortcuts on the desktop.

All that stuff seems to have been forgotten and even assumed as features. FAT32 was absolutely necessary. The hard drive capacity explosion caught FAT16 with its pants down and by 4Q 1995 2 GB partitions with 32K allocation units, the best FAT16 could do without hacks, was beyond end of life. People were also sick of basically having to name files like hex codes.

That poster was correct about almost everything, but FAT32 arrived in the OSR for November 1996, not Win95 RTM. I remember this because we had just set up a bunch of Win95 production machines in a music studio and had to face the possibility of reformat or gamble on the in-place FAT32 converter. Microsoft's reputation on the consumer side was not as solid as NT yet ( if ever ) because the Win3x era was still fresh in all our memories. We reformatted. :lol:

The list of positives for moving to Win95 was simply overwhelming though, and that is his point. In fact it was an extraordinary upgrade, none like it ever since. It lit a fire under Microsoft Windows users because it was an Apple-killer. Not that we wanted them dead, but it ended the envy we all had, that desire for a stable OS, with unlimited program size, unlimited running programs and multiple instances of programs. The shortcut concept with multiple customization options was well thought out. The GUI was icing on the cake because while ProgMan could be tamed into submission with enough fiddling with groups, the Start Menu collapsed it all into a drawer saving real estate on a 14 or 15 inch screen. Long Filenames was very useful but I suspect that people like me who had been doing the 8.3 dance for well over a decade could manage just fine without it, but I certainly didn't complain. It's a shame that ( contrary to laughable current Microsoft propaganda ) no upgrade since has come close to its pure value. Even Win98 was a mostly sideways step once the pluses and minuses were tallied ( the slow down of performance using current processors had begun, and that active desktop demonstrating their instinctive need to blur the lines between online and off ). Win95 was an upgrade with no downside. Not only did it carry forward everything from the previous OS, and not only did it add new features ( not a short bullet list, but a bucket full of new features ), it did all of this without breaking anything for the end-user ( breakage being the trademark feature of every OS upgrade since ). Just getting the Resource Kit book knocked your socks off because it was a two inch thick encyclopedia detailing change after change and really set a new bar for documentation..

If I had to state one potential pitfall that could be described as breakage it would have to be the Plug 'n Pray scenario where cards were not yet flexible enough to use more than a narrow range of resources, resulting in IRQ juggling by the BIOS and/or OS from a working state to a collision state on another reboot. That really sucked and you sometimes simply had to get different cards. In those scenarios I wished there was a workable off switch for PnP allowing manual expert settings of resources ( the Windows Device Manager options are just too limited ) if the cards physically even had jumpers that is. I've argued for static hardware resource management many times, so that on every boot the same IRQs and I/O and Memory addresses were in effect and predictability was preserved, unlike the situation of removing or adding a card and after a reboot and BIOS and OS juggling some new problem pops up. But this horse has clearly left the barn. Plug and Pray won.

I had a stable of Windows NT 3.51 users who were irritated that they would be stuck with Program Manager for another year.

Personally I think the real surprise success was NT4. I think everyone knew 95 would be a hit but while NT3 had a growing market it was decidedly a niche product. NT4 was an overnight success and penetrated unforseen markets like computers used for word processing and gamer builds. There were howto sites detailing how to hack in DirectX and drivers into NT 4, and people were spending more on computers that were capable of handling NT. Businesses upgraded quickly, and some of them jumpted directly to NT4 and skipped 9x entirely (though that wasn't always practical).

It was kind of crappy that NT had that lag every single time with NT 3.1 getting the Program Manager interface years after Window 3.0 and then NT 4.0 getting the new Start Menu GUI well after Win95. Come to think of it, I'll bet this is what is confusing all the MetroTards. They keep talking about some controversy during Win3x to Win95 transition. The only controversies that had merit and were argued in the magazines and on USENET were over differences between NT and 9x. The NT branch kept waiting for the GUI to catch up. The Win9x users were complaining about the half-baked PnP. Somehow this has percolated up into their mindless rants about the Start Menu which had no controversy because it was optional.

There were also complaints about the price of NT, the lack of any publicity, and the memory requirements and the talk already was about "Does Microsoft want it to fail?" that kind of thing. But if you read between the lines it was because the complainers wanted it to succeed and were trying to stop Microsoft from making a blunder. These things are all the opposite from what they are alluding to. They weren't complaining about a horrible new Start Menu. Screw the MetroTards and that dishonest propaganda they are pushing. It's a combination of plain ignorance and outright lying.

EDIT: typo, clarity

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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[ROTT] was a good step up from Wolf3D which was the engine that is was based on. It managed to come out in that gap between Wolf3D and Doom and IIRC, they were first to unlock the Z-axis ( player could move vertically ), and also introduced elevator and jump pads which obviously became the norm ever since. But the best thing was that the designers went for a wild and wacky arsenal of weapons, setting the precedent for so many later games like Quake and Unreal. If I'm not mistaken, they introduced the bazooka, drunk missile, and that great flamethrower thing. It was definitely way ahead of its time, and it's coming back.

Technology-wise, ROTT was an upgrade over Wolf3D and was originally supposed to be another Nazi game, which is evident in the game itself. The project was delayed, though, and Doom beat it to market. ROTT was still awesome, though, and was the best multiplayer FPS of its time. The influence on other multiplayer FPSes like Quake is obvious. ROTT introduced several staple multiplayer modes and had the most total modes at the time and allowed the most players, 11, over the usual 4 or so.

Doom had pseudo Z-axis in that one could move up and down stairs, elevators, etc, but no objects could occupy the same space vertically, so Doom was something like 2.5D. ROTT didn't entirely eliminate this restriction as those platforms were hardcoded spites. As in, literally hex edited into the game because while they figured out how to remove the Z restriction, they couldn't build it into the engine.

ROTT had unique weapons for its time. Doom had introduced the vanilla rocket launcher, plasma gun, and BFG, but ROTT introduced what you mentioned plus the baseball bat (and balls), dog mode, magic wand, god hand, and others I am surely forgetting. It also introduced begging enemies (that would get you back if you didn't kill them). Besides allowing character selection, there were subtle differences between the characters. Another first, I believe, but this is usually attributed to Goldeneye I think, probably due to Oddjob's obvious and extreme advantage.

EDIT: ROTT also introduced modifiable environments (smashing pots, bullet holes) and disintegrating enemies (burning, explosions). Okay, I'll stop now.

Doh, you're right! Doom was out before ROTT. Thanks for that . :thumbup Don't know how I forgot it.

Oh yeah, dog mode! That's what I mean by outside the box thinking. God hand too. And wasn't there a follower mode? I think it was tied to one of the missiles ( I may be mixing it up with Unreal maybe ).

So at the risk of exposing another memory error, tell me one more thing ... Am I recalling the random level generator correctly? ... I think it was RandRott and you ran it standalone, outside the game and it created a new map PAC or WAD or whatever their resource was? I'm stunned that such creative use of automation, especially the randomizing component, has not been exploited since unless I'm mistaken.

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Two perspectives on Windows 8.1:

A. Woody Leonhard reviews what's new, sprinkling in commentary that will warm the hearts of most readers of this thread:

For those who link in the traditional desktop (which, I assume, is 99 percent of Win8 users), the improvements to Windows 8.1 are few and far between. But they are useful, particularly if you want to stay out of tinker-tile hell.

The sham Start button: Man, it bugs me when tech writers and Windows 8 fanboys claim that Win8.1′s new Start button is like what we’re used to in XP/Vista/Win7. It’s not even close. Microsoft put an icon on the far-left side of the taskbar (see Figure 1) that looks like the modern Windows logo. But when you click or tap it, you don’t get Win7′s start menu; as with Windows 8, you’re immediately flipped over to the Metro Start screen.

[emphasis in original]

B. PCWorld makes a list of things that are still "missing" in the preview version:

The simple return of the Start button, even in its bastardized "drop you on the Start screen" form, fixes one of the major interface woes found in the original Windows 8.0 release, especially when paired with the new All Apps button. But Microsoft shouldn't stop there.

Both articles make for good, informative reading.

--JorgeA

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Wow, the new Opera (NuOpera?) is even more dumbed down than Windows RT.

Their blog is very sinofskytastic now:

http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/

p***ed off commenters and stupid excuses by the devs galore.

Quite interesting how the companies think: Stagnant marketshare - dumb down! Even when it makes no sense. And with Opera it makes even less sense than the NuMicrosoft route MS has chosen: Chrome is the dumbed down browser, Firefox is for the add-on freaks, IE is the "standard" bare-bones one and Opera was the full-featured one. Creating another Chrome makes zero sense, ZERO. Chrome will always be more popular, thanks to Google's financial power and advertising budget. Why should Chrome users switch to... Chrome (Opera branded)? Opera had an established audience, and they are giving it all up. That audience is p***ed, and there surely won't be a surge of Chrome users coming.

The "nu" disease is spreading.

Edited by Formfiller
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Just for the record, on the "enterprise" side I remember no particular "wows" at Windows 95 (let alone at FAT32).

The .pif vs. .lnk argument is simply senseless.

The "desktop paradigm" was already common in Windows 3.x (at least in my experience).

Remember that any DOS user (in his right mind) would have had at the time two "compulsory" third party softwares:

  • Norton Utilities
  • Norton Commander

and most of them would have had (as soon as it came out) the Norton Desktop, see:

FAT32 came later than 95, it was first in OSR 2 (which was an OEM only release, i.e. you couldn't have it without having it bundled with new hardware):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_95#Editions

That means (flatly) that FAT32 was NOT available in enterprise before August 1996 and ONLY on new machines.

Again *any* enterprise would have been running NT 3.51 since one year and the real "break through" for them would have been the new interface of NT 4.00.

I remember at the time how the enterprise was (correctly) "forked", "real" machines would be expensive "work PC's" with NT 4.00 and "secretary machines" would be cheap PC's with the bundled Windows 95.

jaclaz

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Uncanny deja vu:

It was clear from the start that they won't ever steer away from their core plans. That's why Opera developers here only respond to comments that do go in lieu with the new concept of their browser, every comment that is helpful in pushing this new concept further is considered constructive. Every comment that wants old features back is ignored.

http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2013/07/04/the-vision-behind-opera-15-and-beyond?startidx=100#comments

There are also some "embrace the change" fools in the comments.

Creepy!

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