Sunday, 30 June 2013

09:13 – I spent three hours at Frances’ house yesterday getting the new computer and printer working. Or kind of working. I hate Microsoft, and I particularly hate Windows 8. It’s a terrible product, truly terrible. It sets a new standard for terrible. I am just trying to imagine what it would have been like for someone like Frances–an ordinary civilian–to go down to Costco, bring home a Windows 8 computer, and get it working. She couldn’t have done it. I could barely do it, and what I managed to get done is not acceptable. At least I got Firefox, Thunderbird, and Skype installed and working, and she can now print. I understand that Windows 8.1 is imminent and will be a free upgrade to Windows 8. If it brings back the Start button and the desktop, that’s all I ask. The current version is unusable. I’ll upgrade her to 8.1 as soon as possible.

15 thoughts on “Sunday, 30 June 2013”

  1. A word of caution, Bob; you can still get to the regular ol’ desktop with Windows 8; it should show up as one of the tiles in Metro. And yes, the Start button is back with the 8.1; I have the Preview on here now. You may find, however, that when you install 8.1, you might have to uninstall and reinstall one or more apps that no longer appear to work, which is what I just had to do with Viscosity and CrytpoHippie. My jury is still out on FF working right, although I did get it to see YouTube vids and download them with the Downloader Helper add-on. Which I could not do before with either FF, Chrome or Real Player.

    I’m not real fond of M$, Google, Apple, or Linux right now; they all have been PITAs at various times, and mostly unnecessarily. And you’re right; the average civvie would have a tough time with a lot of it. Inexcusable in this day and age; does NO ONE ever do end-user studies and sims to see how it works in RL anymore?

    More showers and t-storms in the forecast for today; off shortly to pick up Mrs. OFD at the airport who will be ecstatic to be home again after a week in sweltering Tampa. Hope she likes monsoon rain and lightning bolts and a soggy back yahd.

  2. Yes, I just commented to Barbara yesterday that companies used to understand that the way to prosper was to put their customers’ interests first. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all rape their customers and expect them to come back for more. Linux companies still have their hearts in the right place, but their arbitrary and senseless changes of interface have made life difficult.

    That’s why I’m writing this on my old system, which is running Ubuntu 9.04 (!). I have a hex-core system sitting here turned off that has Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installed on it, so it’s at least supported until 2017. I just haven’t had the time to migrate.

  3. Once you install one of the many start menu programs W8 works almost like W7. My system at work boots to the desktop, start menu exists, icons on the screen, etc. not much different than Linux desktop of the week. Apple looks the same as it has for 10+ years. iPad and iPhone will change with IOS 7 which I am not sure I will like but the functionality is still largely the same.

    Companies feel they have to change because tech writers call the interfaces stale yet these same writers pan any new interface.

  4. As I mentioned before, I’ve reached the point where I’ll use whatever tool works the best for the least money and I’ve become an agnostic in that regard. As for Windows, a lot of what used to cost beaucoups piastres can now be found for free. Whatever works. YMMV.

    For now, it looks like my next gig will involve mostly M$ products; Mrs. OFD needs a couple of M$ apps for her job; and vid streaming to the tee-vee is just easier with Windows so fah than with Linux; like I said, I don’t wanna spend my downtime being a hacker guru for hours and hours at a crack just to get basic tools up and running. Life’s too short.

  5. Once you install one of the many start menu programs W8 works almost like W7. My system at work boots to the desktop, start menu exists, icons on the screen, etc. not much different than Linux desktop of the week.

    Any in particular you recommend, ideally free or cheap?

  6. I haven’t seen Windows 8. For your casual user, Windows 7 worked (more or less) out of the box. As an IT type, there were some things I wanted to changed, but it was basically ok. I think there are two things that are wrong/broken in the Microsoft ecology:

    – Drivers for Windows are “in your face”. Why should I put up with a huge HP installation – with tray icons, background services and a horrible UI – just in order to be able to print? Why should every single piece of hardware (and every separate software package) install it’s own driver, with it’s own UI, and it’s own backgroun update-service? Insane, and this is something Linux gets very, very right: Updates over a unified service, drivers depend on the chipset rather than the brand. It’s downright peaceful.

    – Crapware. Lots of the Windows problems for new computers stem from the incredible array of crapware that comes pre-installed. How about…just an operating system? Granted, this is another huge Linux advantage: centralized software repositories. As long as I don’t need Adobe or Microsoft Office, I can have all the software I want on Linux installed with a few mouse clicks.

    That said, as RBT points out, Linux continues to shoot itself in both feet. Certainly Gnome 3 and Unity are two gigantic brain farts. Dropping Oracle’s Java for OpenJDK was also stupid – OpenJDK just has too many unresolved problems, and putting Oracle Java back onto a Linux machine is a real PiTA that and involves circumventing the central package management.

  7. I bought an HP Windows 8 PC in December with Windows 8. After struggling with the “Modern” interface for a month or so, I installed StartIsBack and have been much happier. The guy who sits next to me at work had a similar experience, except he used Classic Shell and is happy with that. With one of those utilities, Windows 8 works much like Windows 7 and is perfectly usable.

    You might also consider StarDock’s ModernMix which lets you run Modern apps from the desktop shell.

  8. Start8 and ModernMix – never deployed a Windoze 8 PC or 2012 server without ’em. Microsoft are idiots.

  9. I need a laptop battery for an older ThinkPad. Was it Ray that had a trustworthy source for batteries?

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