219 posts • joined 23 Jun 2010
In my experience, Windows 8 is a very usable desktop OS, more versatile and improved over Windows 7. Not sufficiently better that most enterprises should feel in any hurry to go through an upgrade program as has happened in recent years with the move to Windows 7.
Turtle - I'm curious, what is it about Windows 8 that you find unusable?
Certainly introduction of Windows 8 and subsequent marketing has been shambolic and its been like watching paint dry waiting for Microsoft to take the obvious steps needed, technical, licensing etc.
Re: Make it free
Anyone who cares about the presence or absence of the sodding start menu is not a power user by definition, surely. No need to look for powershell or dev tools.
IMO its not a bad name at all. Whats wrong with it? Actually connects with their aspirations (One drive to rule them all). Considering the disaster zone that is Microsoft Marketing normally, I'm surprised they chose such a good name, better than SkyDrive I reckon.
Re: A Mac article with no mention of Xerox or PARC...
I personally wrote a pull down menu implementation in 1977 (PL/1, used a trackball rather than mouse for input, ran on mainframe with 'smart terminal' not PC, but functionally and visually the same). Overlapping (character-based) windows were definitely around by then, probably on bitmapped displays too.
In fact none of the GUI concepts introduced by Apple on Lisa then Mac were new, not by any means just a Xerox PARC thing either. Apple did a fair job at assembling a mass market oriented product a year or two ahead of others working in the area, although at the cost of poor performance to get there early (this approach would be reprised more recently with the iPad 1).
Re: multicast is already here, but 4k is not the answer you were looking for
DisplayPort v1.3 is due later this year - I understand this allows 4K at 120Hz over a cable so a good reason to wait for dust to settle with 4k monitors. Presumably HDMI 2.1 will allow for clearer motion in 4K - anyone know when this might be happening?
Skilled in the art
Unfortunately, the language of patents has been contrived by lawyers to make the text totally unreadable or understandable by everyone actually skilled in the art to which the patent claims purport to apply.
Also, after 30 years in software development, R&D etc. I have yet to meet anyone who has read a software patent in order to find out how to solve a problem.
Agree 'think smaller' is the key and disappointing how lacking in imagination the OEMs have been recent years. HTPC and compact desktops in general have been a neglected market opportunity for ages. Not just great for enthusiasts indeed many businesses could benefit from replacing towers with compact boxes which can start very low cost as don't need screen, battery, and enclosure constraints of laptops.
The new Gigabyte BRIX hardware sounds neat at performance end although I'd personally go for larger than NUC ultra compact to enable thermal management for near silent operation, and ideally faster graphic card option.
Hopefully the interest in Steam Box will encourage OEMs to wake up here. Amazing how many 'desktops' on sale are still pointlessly large tower units.
Yes and a lot of these are not replacements for aging systems that still do the job - this kind of article would be more interesting if it placed the sales figures in the context of the size and composition of the installed base. e.g. what % growth in number of PCs used regularly does this represent? Age profile of PCs in use?
Re: Why the angst about quad-core
Its 2013, not 2003. Most modern PC software is multithreading and takes advantage of multicore. Browsers, developer tools, image and video processing (which often also use a GPU for computation). The other benefit of quad core designs is with well thought out power management they can do at least as well as dual core for power consumption (although I don't know how true that is in practice for Haswell generation or latest AMD).
Re: Thank God it Failed...
OP AC, if you are really a game designer as you claim you should study both consoles more carefully and not take your development input from fanboyism like that 40% headline.
Failed to do what?
Yes the PS4 GPU is more powerful than the XBO equivalent and GDDR4 a better design call by Sony than the ESRAM+DDR4 chosen by Microsoft (in my opinion) and this shows on certain benchmarks and lets us turn out slightly better graphics on PS4 (though realistically neither here nor there in most living room situations). Bottom line for the game developer this hardly translates into a 40% better system. Both are a step forward from their predecessors and let us advance what we can do with our games. Sure I'd like higher performance consoles personally but at least both vendors have chosen a platform design that gives the option of a faster 'pro' version (perhaps in 2-3 years when they do a 14nm process shrink) while maintaining compatibility with released games.
Both consoles offer voice control so your comments about Microsoft just establish you as a partisan, and sorry to have to say this but you do come over as a tinfoil hat.
You can also configure 8.1 to login directly to desktop.
Not exactly fair, all these devices have their strengths and weaknesses.
For instance the Venue 8 Pro has access to the largest ecosystem (Windows applications) including a vast army of open source programs but on the other hand doesn't have quite the range of tablet optimized programs as iOS or Android.
Nexus 7 and iPad Mini retina have great displays and colour quality (although iPad Air does better than Mini for the purist). Venue not so great.
The old iPad Mini and iPad 2 look worst value of the bunch now, couple of years time when all the cool iStore apps require 64bit A7 these will look very sad indeed.
Tho I must admit this resale value we so often hear about is something of a mystery to me, never encountered anyone in real life from this apparently bottomless pit of people prepared to buy generations old technology for a modest discount over the up to date models.
Re: Nice display
The point is to use the same pixel scaling factor as the larger model so as to be able to run apps without need for change software.
Interesting anecdote Nigel but why are you offering them an OS at all? Students and lecturers I know buy their own PC, tablets, whatever. I suspect your group of postgrad students is not at all representative of the real world.
Also curious about the reasons they give for choosing Windows 7 over 8. Apart from a few inconsequential or cosmetic UI differences, Windows 8.1 boot to desktop makes no functional difference to me apart from improved performance.
PC installed base
Yet the installed base of PCs (notebooks and desktops) continues to increase as commercial and consumer users hang onto kit for longer.
Aside from games business its hard to see much in the way of new software around to encourage replacement of even 5 year old machines, one area where Microsoft has definitely dropped the ball.
Re: the keyboard conundrum
No, presumably they wanted both tablet and notebook functionality without having to buy and carry around two devices as is the case with older style mobile PCs.
Remember the days when Apple enthusiasts used to lug around an iPad and a MacBook Air?
the keyboard conundrum
The snag Microsoft faces with Surface 2 is nobody uses them without having a keyboard cover to hand. Even their own advertising emphasises the point. The cheapest 'touch cover 2' option adds £99.99.
So for many consumers faced with iPA vs S2, its an easy choice to take the well known established iPad over a more expensive and unfamiliar Surface package.
Microsoft need to cost reduce the key covers (if expensive to manufacture) or accept lower margins so the Surface 3 with keyboard can compete with iPad without, price to be paid to challenge an incumbent I'm afraid.
Less of a problem with a Surface Mini which should stand as a viable product without keyboard.
Re: Surface Pro 2
I was going by Anandtech, usually a reliable source "Surface Pro 2 also retains the same front and rear facing cameras as its predecessor, both 1.2MP units and it doesn’t get the new 3.5/5MP sensors from Surface 2". Anyone know which is correct?
Re: Surface Pro 2
No. Surface RT actually has very low resolution cameras like the new Surface Pro 2.
I already pointed out the new Surface 2 has 3.5/5 MP, making it much better than the 'Pro' model for imaging applications but not so useful when software is written for x86. Makes no sense to me but if I've missed something, feel free to explain the inexplicable.
For comparison, the Nexus 7 (2013) has 1.2/5MP and last years iPad 4 (2012) has 1.3/5 MP.
Re: Surface Pro 2
Inexplicably, the Surface Pro 2 comes with 1.2 MP front and rear cameras so this £1.5K tablet is probably the most useless tablet over £100 for anyone interested in imaging applications (one area where x86 compatibility is a real boon over ARM right now).
Inexplicable since the Surface 2 has 5MP rear facing camera, 3.5MP front facing starting at £359.
Re: Schools can do better
I disagree. Consider a comprehensive secondary with 2000 pupils and staff. Various devices in the school for educational and admin functions. Thousands more home PCs used by students and thousands more personal phones and portable PCs and tablets in use by members of the school (and parents). Making all this gear work together in a way that supports learning in a pleasing way is very different to the usual SME business situation where separation of home and personal interests and assets from the business dimension is crucial.
An education IT specialist could bring a lot to that party. Sure the wiring and basic hardware may be commodity but the natures of schools and SME businesses are very different.
If RM aren't addressing that wider context with their education offerings then they are missing an opportunity. Doesn't make the notion of education IT specialist pointless.
Re: Windows just has a bunch of overhead
Guessing and betting is all very well but this measurement on Anandtech is interesting, mainly because if its not a benchmark artefact and relates to real usage (which on the face of things it seems to) this implies there's an opportunity to get substantial improvements in common usage scenarios of Windows on x86 hardware, either via software or better hardware or both. Intel must have something they could say on this.
I'm always sceptical about benchmarks until I know they are representative of real world usage. Twenty years ago I discovered a driver from a leading graphics card vendor tricking common benchmarks at the time into the illusion it had twice the pixel fill rate that it actually delivered. I'm not suggesting anything underhand is going on in this instance, just that it is often easy to favour benchmark type scenarios by accident or design.
Re: Ditch Windows, save the planet?
Would be interesting to see your figures on how much better versions of Linux perform on the same hardware for these benchmarks. Couldn't see numbers on Anandtech or codinghorror. What sort of improvements are you seeing?
I set the 8.1 update installing on 3 systems simultaneously (4 year old core i7 and haswell desktops plus a three year old laptop with fairly slow hard drive. No SSD.). Downloading over domestic internet connection. The haswell finished first at 40 minutes and the laptop last after 50 minutes. Guess I must have been lucky hearing these stories of it taking over 2 hours.
I dual boot the 4 year old using Windows 7 half the time so conscious of the Windows 8 performance benefits - nice to see 8.1 improves matters even further.
novels and editing
What Charlie Stross is actually complaining about is the fact the publishing industry has been making increasing use of Microsoft Word formats in document production systems "And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow". Word processing is an open market, there are many alternatives for writers - he mentions Scrivener (recommended).
Most novels I read make precious little use of typography so I'm rather curious what onerous load is placed on Mr Stross by his publishers. A topic he largely ignores in that piece in favour of sharing his personal take on the history of word processors. After all its ever so fashionable to rant against Microsoft and its products.
My own view on word processing is not a million miles from his. Disappointing that alternatives to the Microsoft Word philosophy of word processing (imitated by Libre/OpenOffice) remain in the margins. However "Microsoft Word has to die before we can move on" is pure polemic. More useful if commentators would focus on what can be done to open up the world beyond Microsoft Office and what if any obstacles lie in that road.
Re: Still not enough
Speak for yourself ITF. Most of us have personal preferences or ideas for what constitutes an ideal desktop environment. I don't miss the old start menu or classic application menus everywhere. but don't claim to be a spokesperson for other PC users to promote my preferences.
$350 for a good condition Surface Pro
I'd buy Surface Pro in a heartbeat that price. Neat device, just too expensive and flawed to pay its premium list price unless you really need a good small screen PC/tablet. $350 is a different story.
yeah little tight though 20nm NVidia GPU parts and Intel 14nm should open up power envelope options by this time next year.
Re: Anyone find this kinda creepy?
Steve, why do you feel that a 4 lens camera is in some way creepy compared with a one lens device? Where does that leave the eye of a dragonfly with its tens of thousands of lenses?
plurality or pluralities
Its about time the word 'plurality', when used in a patent claim, were established as a sufficient and automatic reason to invalidate the claim. Along with the rest of the tedious language and writing conventions that usually combine to make content and meaning unintelligible to almost everyone 'skilled in the art' of the field to which the patent purports to apply.
JDX you are assuming developers won't make the (often minor) mods necessary to make Windows desktop applications work well on an 8" multitouch screen. I for one have several apps that would work well on this kind of device but have enough complications (e.g. 3rd part libraries) porting to WinRT that I simply don't have the incentive to invest the time while RT-only accounts for such a tiny part of the market.
The new Atoms from Intel fit just fine.
Re: One wonders
Clarification. Sure Microsoft could have done a better job yet 32 bit Windows application binaries going back to last century happily coexist on 64 bit Windows 7 and 8. Theres no particular OS X advantage here.
Re: A modest proposal
What ARM model are you proposing to compete with the Core i7-4610Y clocked at 1.7GHz?
Re: Niche but cool
2.4kg and 18" is portable enough for me, fits into a shoulder bag so handy enough when away from base so long as carrying a smaller tablet too. No reason not to get prices down to close to AIO levels in which case an easy purchase for me, shame no manufacturer has the confidence yet to launch something non-niche.
Re: Someone has to say it
Even worse, a computer that can be used for software development, how annoying is that,
Re: 4G is nice..
According to the Google tech specs the new model does have 5Ghz.
Teenagers and university students alone account for 10% of the population and all need to do homework and coursework for which a notebook or PC type device is essential if they don't want to go nuts. Over 10% of the working population is self employed, again a PC is a requirement. Think it through and its easy to see for over 50% of households at least one PC or notebook remains a necessity, not a luxury.
Also, its very early days for tablet PCs but these really change the basis of the notebook vs. tablet discussion.
Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...
True JDX. However declining notebook sales prove the OEMs have those other factors partly wrong by not giving consumers many reasons to upgrade their 5+ year old devices, except when targeting users where weight is the overriding concern. We are seeing some innovation like Surface etc. but watching these OEMs slowly learning from mistake after mistake is far worse than watching paint dry. Display resolution is one of those factors.
Surface Pro urgently needs the extended battery life offered by 'Haswell' as already shipping from some vendors. Will be interesting to see when Microsoft catch up with Apple (new MBA is already available). Neat device but I'm not buying one until the refresh comes through and expect that goes for most potential customers.
Re: Too pricey in Europe
Arithmetic. How many time do we have to say the UK prices quoted include (high) sales tax but the US prices don't. The price is actually about 10% higher in UK. We can blame Microsoft or Sony for many things but hardly the 20% of our cash claimed by our government.
Most of that 25Gb will not be required to be downloaded before playing the game, the vast bulk will be media assets related to where you are in the game which can be downloaded if and when they are needed. No reason I can't design a game with 250Gb assets but only a few megabytes to be installed before it can boot.
In principle what Microsoft are doing makes a lot of sense and for some people (not all) represents a step forward in the console model of gaming. The devil is in the detail, much of which we don't know yet.
Personally, I'm looking forward to being able to visit a friends house and address the kinect "Good morning Hal" to hear "Good morning Dave, what can I do for you today".
boosting the PC market
Desktops. Year on year improvements in desktop PCs are modest, very different from the heady days when every 2 years we saw real noticeable improvements in performance and functionality. To address the '5 years old but still good enough' obstacle to sales, Intel and AMD and the OEMs need be proactive. How about some reasonably priced 8 core processors and higher definition panels (new games consoles and high res mobile devices make all this dead easy to communicate). As well as games and Photoshop lets have more applications that can take advantage of modern CPU+GPU and are not ashamed to tell people their old system is too underpowered. A widely accepted 'power index' for desktop PCs could go a long way to help by telling people just how out of date their machine is.
Notebooks. Increase battery life and improve graphics res (e.g. make 1080p entry level). USB 3.0 only. Lets see more nice fast USB 3.0 peripherals that make a point of saying USB 2.0 equates to out of date notebook. Lets see some old vs. new comparisons in adverts, tell people how much has changed since they last bought a notebook. This is all no brainer stuff so get products and the message out there.
PC Tablets. The new format 11"+ hybrids, detachables means you no longer need to carry around a large tablet and/or a PC, one larger screen device is enough for both uses. Original iPad is yesterdays news. Future is 7/8" device and/or PC hybrid. Its a step forward so promote it all clearly and price for volume.
Apply these changes and see turnaround of the PC market, no need to worry about further decline in 2014. It really is that simple.
A resizable HDMI input stream sounds like a neat feature, especially if there is a protocol so Tivo, Sky etc. can be updated to make for better integration. I like the idea that I can mix/match games, apps and TV services from my Nexus 7 or voice (iff the speech support is improved over 360).
Wonder if we will be able to input a feed from 360, PS3 or PS4 consoles "Xbox play TS4" ?
Why the negativity? Will be cool if implemented well.
Not to disagree with the value of good lenses Martin but its all a more complex topic than you suggest. Time to focus, depth of field, length of exposure all go into making a good shot. Zoom speed. Continuous shots/second. DSLR video.
If you have time to adjust settings, good conditions and a simple goal such as shooting a posed portrait shot, a DSLR is an excellent tool. Likewise standard landscapes. Less so e.g. in sports photography or casual snapping.
Furthermore by embedding the camera in a fully programmable device like a phone, we are no longer tied to imaging and interface the camera manufacturer decided on, we can write our own software or buy apps. Wish I could do that with my DSLR.
High resolution sensors and fast image acquisition change the rules of the game and open up interesting opportunities in processing the raw data stream even though end of the day we are happy with a 6MP image. For instance, in some situations, an effective way to avoid the need to mechanically zoom a lens. Key point is new camera technology is not just about shrinking the traditional optics and sensor to ape traditional cameras.
I think Nokia are being clear that they are using the technology to improve camera flexibility, not selling the idea of shooting 41MP images like the old silly ad-hype for cameras.
Re: Let's talk photon counts and well sizes
However there are a lot of other factors. Effectiveness in various lighting conditions. Supersampling at high frame rates. Using a wider angle lens with software undistorting for physically larger sensor in small space and wider range of shooting options. Dual/multiple lenses. Expansion lens systems for cameras.
Not arguing with you, in principle DSLR large lenses and sensors could always do better in situations where DSLR works. The point is that the number of use cases is continually declining.
I can quite imagine within a few years a good camera phone with one or two exchangeable backpanels with enhanced lens systems etc. will be sufficient to replace 95% of the DSLR market.
Opinions differ but to my mind a real computer is a computing device on which you can build and run programs on that device. Otherwise its a gadget. So yes, its not sophistry to state Pro is a real computer and iPad is not. Just saying for the benefit of downvoters.
Re: Buy an ultrabook
I'd find it useful to go beyond this Core I5 to have an Intel quad-core in a handy hybrid tablet format though I accept many people would find an Atom or ARM sufficient for their software needs. Rather have option of extra battery in the detachable keyboard unit rather that tied to that light Surface Pro affair. Great to see there are more options coming on the market even if nobody is making my perfect hybrid/detachable yet. Can't see my ever needing a legacy format clamshell again but as always, your mileage may differ.
Odd this anthropomorphism business still runs on thousands of years after ancient gods were invented. Lots of people were doing things with PCs before Microsoft won that 1980s race. Likewise smartphones before Apple, Tablets etc. Crediting Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or even their companies with these concepts rather than noting their commercial success in exploiting the ideas is about as daft as it gets.
As you point out Sil, its primary driver is computing power/watt.
'the incumbent always misses the next wave'
That would be ARM then by his logic. Not entirely convinced.
Re: Sporking hell
Metro isn't just about touch so two versions would be a recipe for FAIL. An option to go to directly desktop or corporate start setup at logon would make sense, arrogant they removed this option. Having said that, I would choose to logon to Metro start screen, as I suspect would many people outside locked down corporate systems.
- Fee fie Firefox: Mozilla's lawyers probe Dell over browser install charge
- +Analysis PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies
- Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers
- Patch Tuesday It's 2014 and Microsoft Windows PCs can still be owned by a JPEG
- Microsoft's battery-boosting Surface slab cover to ship soon