404 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008
Re: "standards compliance?"
I hate sites that insist on checking your browser then moaning about how its not a "supported" browser. As a user of Pale Moon, I get that a lot unless I spoof a Chrome/Firefox user agent. Then guess what? The site renders fine. If web developers could try detecting what features a browser supports instead of a blanket probe of "If its not a recent version of a major browser then moan", there'd be more instinct for smaller browsers/forks to flourish. As it is, too many big sites try to punish everyone who isn't using one of the top few browsers and its bloody annoying!
Doubtful. Probably one of the least-complained about features of Edge was the rendering engine. The UI, lack of features, crap extension availability etc. are why it flopped. Maybe using Blink will allow them to Utopias Chrome extensions? If not, and if Edge continues to be ugly and inflexible, I can't see this move turning anything around for MS.
There's a lot to like, but I have two main concerns with it.
Firstly, although the aspect ratio of the screen is lovely, touch screen = glossy. It's a pity that a none-touch matte version isn't available for people like me that hate glossy screens and have no interest in finger prints all over the LCD.
The other concern I have is with the trackpad. It's HUGE! I already have issues with my wife's Samsung laptop where it's not possible to type without constantly catching the trackpad. I fear this one may suffer from the same issue.
"...to be told initially that the behaviour was by design..."
I HATE when MS pulls this crap. They did exactly the same thing with the Windows Explorer "folder jumping" bug in Windows 7 (expand a folder in Explorer and it scrolls the view up so you can't see the contents of the folder you've just expanded - a bug that can be fixed with Classic Shell thankfully). It's not an excuse to say that a bug is "by design" just so you don't have to get off your arses and fix it.
Thankfully in this case, common sense has prevailed, however MS needs to be a lot more careful about using the "by design" excuse to avoid having to fix annoying (or sometimes dangerous) bugs.
Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid
Re: MS : From bad to worse to pathetic
"What we need is a large business to issue a profit warning or worse due to thee issues caused by the frankly shoddy stuff that MS calls software they shove over the wall with them saying 'there you go' while they run for the hills."
Not going to happen. Large businesses are often way behind the home-user peons that MS uses for testing. By the time most of them look to roll out 1809, many months will have passed and the bugs will probably have been patched by then. The "very large" company I work for are still on 1703 for most users - those that have Windows 10 that is. I very fortunately had my laptop refreshed one month before they rolled out Windows 10, so I've still got another good 15 months of reliable Windows 7 on my work laptop.
Re: Horses for courses
Nothing wrong with that at all. I do use a company laptop rather than a desktop PC (although my main home machine is a tower), but for me the laptop has the advantage that I often work from home as well as travelling on business. Saying that, once the clock reaches 5 to 5:30pm, the laptop goes off and does not come back on until work time the following morning. I like to keep my work life and my family time strictly separate.
Despite using a laptop for work, it's hooked into three monitors, and a proper keyboard/mouse 95% of the time. Even *thinking* about trying to do proper work on a tablet gives me the shivers...
Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs
If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update
I'm not surprised, I'd imagine the conversation at MS went something like this:
Engineer: There is one notable bug, network drives don't work properly.
Manager: Well, this update is only going out to home users initially and this issues won't affect home users right? I mean, which home users use mapped drives?
Engineer: Some users may have NASs, or may map a drive for sharing files between two home computers?
Manager: Yeah, but they'll be in a minority, and besides we don't really care about home users anyway.
Engineer: I dunno, it's quite a noticeable bug that will affect some people.
Manager: I don't really care. So long as it won't affect business users, we're OK. The update is overdue and our marketing people really want to get it released ASAP.
Engineer: It might also hit some small busine...
Manager: I don't care! Just get it out there now. Meeting our twice-yearly releases on-time is far more important than a few bugs.
Microsoft lobs Windows 10, Server Oct 2018 update at world (minus file-nuking 'feature') after actually doing some testing
MS deserve criticism for two reasons here:
1) Killing off internal QA that probably would have caught this bug prior to release.
2) The bug *was* reported in the feedback hub, and MS missed it. Hence, the feedback hub is clearly not fit for purpose and needs revising (something MS have admitted).
When you remove proper QA, then implement a "crowdsourcing" alternative that allows critical bugs to slip through despite being reported, you deserve some criticism. Especially when you "force" the buggy update onto people's computers because you've massively restricted users' control over updates.
Updating software to guard against security issues is very important. This is why it's important that users have trust and faith in the quality of updates. Regularly releasing buggy code and forcing it onto your customers machines is a great way to destroy trust in software updates in general, and that's dangerous territory if users start to increasingly see updates as something to fear...
"You can't have thin and lightweight without glue."
Disagree entirely. My wife's laptop is a Samsung Series 9. Very thin ultrabook on a par with a Macbook Air. Opening it up involves removing half a dozen small screws, inside the battery is held down with two more screws (not a drop of glue in sight), and the SSD is replaceable. Unfortunately the RAM is soldered down, so it isn't perfect, but it's a lot more easy to service than an Air - despite being no thicker.
Alternatively, pop open a Lenovo X1 Carbon and there's also no glue, plus the RAM is also replaceable.
You can build an ultralight without lots of glue, and without soldering everything in sight - if you want to. Face it, Apple doesn't want to. They want their products to be disposable so that users keep buying replacements every few years.
Re: "Because MS was just blindly trusting them all, they have to take some of the blame."
Many other suppliers of encryption software don't just trust all 3rd party hardware implementations however. If you encrypt your system disk with VeraCrypt (for example), it uses its own encryption algorithm. Hence the only way your disk can be compromised is if VeraCrypt's own encryption is compromised.
It would be interesting to know if MS was testing and vetting SSD encryption from various vendors before approving BitLocker to utilise it, or whether they were just allowing any device that stated that it supported hardware encryption to go ahead. If it's the former, their testing clearly could have been better. If it's the latter, it's a major risk if Bitlocker is allowing untested and potentially insecure hardware encryption to take the place of its own encryption capabilities.
Because what MS have done is to effectively "outsource" the encryption. Any SSD that says "Hey, I can encrypt myself", Bitlocker just says "OK, sure thing!" without any further checking.
End result, companies have enabled BitLocker to ensure that their data is safe, without realising that BitLocker is just allowing the drive to use its own encryption capabilities. And now many of those drives' encryption capabilities have turned out to be a bit shit. Because MS was just blindly trusting them all, they have to take some of the blame.
When you allow everyone who claims to be a locksmith to fit their own lock, you're going to be broken into eventually...
Re: Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs ...
> Macs typically have a longer usable life than Windows PCs
Hmm, they used to have a longer usable life, but I doubt that's the case any more. My old Mac Mini (2008) also ran great until I retired it last year, but one of the primary reasons it lasted so long is that I could upgrade it. If it was stuck with 1GB of RAM and the 180GB HDD it originally came with, it would have been obsolete several years earlier. Thankfully with an upgrade to 4GB of RAM and a 750GB drive, it kept me going for a few years more.
These days? I'm not so sure. Apple's hardware is pretty reliable, but the fact that modern Macs are increasingly soldered together and unupgradable means that "planned obsolescence" is increasingly built into them. Decent PCs are also pretty reliable these days (just recently retired my previous PC which was from 2010), so it's not that clear cut any more. Saying that, I'd be interested to confirm just how upgradable (or not) the new Mac Mini is...
Yes, they did. I've had a couple of Mac Minis in the past, my most recent was one of the first Core 2 Duo ones they released. Decent little machine, and lasted me a long time due to RAM/HDD upgrades. Last year it was really showing its age and I decided to replace it with another mini system. I had the choice of an outdated Mac Mini with 3-year old components and zero upgradability, or an Intel NUC where everything is upgradable, it used modern parts, and it was cheaper to boot.
End result, the little mini server running under my desk is now a NUC. Sorry Apple, too little, too late (and too expensive). On the plus side, I have seen some pictures that suggest the RAM is upgradable again. Anyone know for sure?
Re: Note to Microsoft
At least on later versions of Windows Server (from 2008 onwards I believe), you're required to provide a reason for the shutdown/restart that goes into the event log. This is usually about the same time that you realise you hit the wrong option when trying to select "Log off", and does at least give you chance to cancel the impending doom you've initiated.
We asked 100 people to name a backdoored router. You said 'EE's 4GEE HH70'. Our survey says... Top answer!
"Enterprise is their core market"
Quite right, which is why there is one additional round of testing that the article didn't go into - end users. Once the update has been through the Insider program and is considered ready for release, it's important to note that it is only considered ready to release to home/small business users. Enterprises on the Current Branch for Business (as it used to be known) get the updates a bit later once the update has been unleashed on home users and any final major bugs have been called out and patched.
Hence, these testing issues aren't a major concern for enterprise - they know that they'll only get the update once millions of other people have received it without major issue. It is however a big problem for home and small business users that are now being treated as a final round of testers for enterprise. It also means that instead of these bugs being caught and quietly patched during internal testing, they're now showing up on end-user systems and are causing much more noise and stink.
Ultimately, I fully agree with the article. MS's development approach to Windows 10 is broken and changes need to be made if end users are to see Windows 10 as anything other than constantly flaky and beta software.
At my school, it was common for the kids to synchronise their Casio watches to try to match the exact timing of the school bell. Result was a quiet assembly in the morning, then as 9 o'clock rolls by, about 100 watches all give off the "beep-beep" within about 5 seconds of each other. Was fun seeing the head developing a nervous twitch in his eye as the years rolled by and all the kids ignored his pleas to silence their watches...
Worst one for me at the moment is Windows 10. Most of Windows 7's notification noises are pretty short, quiet and sweet, but for Windows 10 they decided to create about 20 incredibly similar yet bland "bingy-bong" sounds and attach them to every single possible event imaginable.
Result is a workplace chock-full of "bingy-bong" "bong-bingy-bong" "bingy-bingy-bing-bing" etc. sounds firing out all over the place. Gah!
Re: Deinstall parts of W10?
As a Windows 7 user, I'm playing it by ear at the moment. I do continue to play around with test builds of Windows 10 from time to time on a spare laptop, so options are (if you need to stick with Windows):
* Windows 10 LTSB with hacks to remove the telemetry - might be good as it automatically doesn't include most of the crap and doesn't get the "feature" updates, but some apps won't play ball with it (MS famously blocks later Office from LTSB), plus it's only available in pirated form because MS won't sell it to none-VL customers.
* Windows 10 standard with various 3rd party tools to wrestle control of updates, block telemetry, replace the awful Start Menu with one that doesn't suck etc. A possible option, but an almighty faf, and will still involve dreaded feature updates from time to time.
* Windows 8.1 - it's supported until 2023, but does look awfully flat, and requires 3rd party tools to replace the godawful Start screen.
It's a toughy as there isn't really a good option. But for now, I've still got 14 months of support for Windows 7, hence I intend to enjoy 14 more months of having a clean, dependable and well-designed OS until I'm forced into the painful world of MS's later offerings.
You seem to forget that this version was released to the general public, only for it to cause numerous issues resulting in MS pulling it, fixing it, then running it back through the insider rings.
That's the main problem here. Major bugs are not being caught during insider testing (or if they are, MS aren't spotting them all in their Feedback hub). The more this keeps happening, the more people will continue to shout at MS due to their QA being hopeless. Right now, MS are up against the clock because this release was supposed to be good enough for general release. I wonder if the rushed rounds of insider testing will leave more issues to emerge once it's pushed out onto the general public's PCs...
Re: Web browsers are not the problem
Similar issue here when managing an old CUCM system. I'd generally be in favour of either a big screamy warning, or a whitelist for these type of sites. I'm all in favour of ditching obsolete technologies such as this, but some company-internal and other embedded stuff will be caught up in it.
Re: I guess I got lucky
Windows 7 will install onto a Kaby Lake system. I had it working fine on my Intel NUC last year. It's a sod to install due to driver support, but with perseverance I was able to get everything working and all drivers for all hardware working correctly. Admittedly I did this as a test because the NUC was earmarked for Ubuntu, but I just wanted to prove to myself that it was possible - and it was!
Windows 7 on Ryzen is a bit more simple as drivers are available for most things. My main PC is a Ryzen and Windows 7 runs fine on it (with the wufuc tool to override the Windows update block of course).
Re: Installing Windows 7 on Sky/Kaby Lake CPUs
There's nothing wrong with a new OS being different. However, there's a lot wrong when an OS is an incoherent and unreliable mess. And many people see Windows 10 as exactly that.
I use Windows 7 because it works, it's reliable, and it allows me to run all the programs I need. And lets face it, the job of an OS is to be available when I need it, and to run all the stuff I need to run.
Windows 10's issues fall into three main camps:
1) The UI is a mess. Despite releasing numerous updates, there's still the mis-mash of "Settings" and "Control Panel" with no consistency at all. Some dialogs are old-school style, some are Metro style, it's just an inconsistent mess. In comparison, Windows 7 has a single Control Panel with everything in one place. Sounds better to me!
2) The telemetry that cannot easily be turned off. Sure, it you know what you're doing you can block most of it, but it's still something that unnerves a lot of people when their PC is snooping on everything they do. With Windows 7, you just block the telemetry updates and voila! No telemetry. Again, a tick for Windows 7.
3) Big "feature" updates that offer sod all of any value, but which make a PC unusable for ages whilst it installs, and cause numerous issues for people (hence all these news articles). I don't get feature updates for Windows 7, and as a result update-reboots happen when I want them to happen, they take a couple of minutes instead of a couple of hours, and the chances of anything breaking are noticeably reduced. Again, a tick for Windows 7.
Windows 10 could be good. If MS could offer a proper "off" switch for the telemetry, finish the damn thing so that the UI is coherent and consistent, and offer an LTSB version to the masses, Windows 10 would find far more acceptance. Right now, why should I install a messy OS I cannot rely on just because it is "newer" when I have a clean and reliable OS that does all I need it to?
Re: Just the Usual...
We have a lot of desktop PCs in our shop floor area that sit quite close to CNC machines. The air is very oily, and over the course of 3 years of use, these machines steadily become caked in the stuff - such that we need to wear rubber gloves when removing them for refresh.
However, the fun part is that they are under lease. And I've been through all the various charges that can be levied, and there's nothing on there for a working PC that is smothered inside and out in oil. Of course, good luck to the leasing firm for cleaning these up for reuse!
Re: So who you gonna believe?
Barton and Alex miss two major points:
1) Earlier Windows versions received mainly small security updates and the odd bug-fix. Windows 10 receives huge "feature" updates every few months. There is no security benefit to new features, just the chance of disruption.
2) Modern Windows 10 updates do not have the same stringent testing and QA that updates for earlier Windows enjoyed. Not saying MS never released buggy updates previously, but you have to admit that problems are more common now.
Nobody is arguing much about security updates. The issues being faced by the majority of people however are coming about when big "Feature" updates are forced upon them. These don't provide security, but do leave a trail of borkage in their wake.
One of the biggest laughs about this is that whilst a big, pointless "feature" update is installing, MS likes to display a montage of messages to the user, you know the usual "Please don't turn off your computer", "We're getting things ready for you", etc.
Unfortunately, one of the messages they display during the update is "All your files are exactly where you left them"
Pretty much spot on, but I will add one more reason that Vista flopped - it was too CPU and memory intensive for hardware of the time. When Vista came out, PCs were single-core systems with 1-2GB of RAM, plus onboard graphics were quite shonky back then. XP ran fine on these systems, Vista did not. Hence it immediately developed a reputation for being slow (in addition to the messy UI and flaky driver support).
Saying that, Windows 7 will also run like crap on a single-core PC with 1GB of RAM. Only difference is that by the time Windows 7 was released, 4GB of RAM and a dual core CPU were now pretty-much standard issue, on-board graphics could now handle Aero with ease, hence Windows 7 ran very nicely and everyone was happy.
Re: What was that ?
I presume they mean Skylake chips. As you may recall, MS blocks later silicon from receiving Windows updates. Of course, that didn't stop me building a Ryzen system last year (with what MS considers "blacklisted" silicon), popping Windows 7 onto it, then using wufuc to get around MS's idiotic block. However, companies generally won't do this, and hence there is still a market for devices with Skylake chips that are officially supported by MS under Windows 7 still.
Reminds me of a good one on Computer Stupidities some time ago (note, not my anecdote):
A customer logged a call that he occasionally finds his VAX 11/725 (one of the few of that model in The Netherlands) powered down when he comes in in the morning. As I was the site responsible engineer for that customer, I went over to investigate the problem. Didn't seem to be one of the usual: of course I'd read about janitors and cleaners unplugging power cords to run their vacuum cleaners or floor mops or what not. But in this case the machine was in a recess, side by side with a printer, and there was a perfectly good, unused wall socket in plain view, in the wall to the left of the recess. They'd have to stoop over the machine and unplug its power cord from the barely visible wall socket behind it to do that trick, and also plug it back in afterwards. Also, the power cord was snug; you couldn't trip the machine just by bumping into it.
But the machine did just power down occasionally, as evidenced by the console printout. No bug check or machine check, just opcom messages being printed, followed straight by the power up sequence the next morning when the customer came in and powered it up again. Timestamps showed the machine quitting early evening, between 18:00 and 19:00. If it did, that is; it didn't do it every day.
Ok, it's flaky somehow. But why that particular time? I put in a new power supply, as that'd be the most probable cause. Nope, that's not it. A couple of days later, the customer logged a repeat call, with the exact same symptom. I went on site again, exercised the machine, measured supply voltages. It ran without any sign of any problem. Looking over the possibilities, I wondered if it was an overheating or airflow condition. There's more than one sensor that can trip the machine the way it is tripped, and we hooked up a small logic probe that would show which one it actually was. And sure enough, a few days later it got tripped with an airflow problem. Now, I had already cleaned out the filters and the fans when I replaced the PSU -- pretty standard procedure to do whatever preventive maintenance you can when you go on site for a hardware call. So I couldn't imagine there would be a real airflow condition. But the sensor might have been woky, so I checked it. It was a pair of thermal sensors, one exposed to the airflow, the other not. Pretty simple. No mechanical parts that might have binded or gotten stuck. So no problem there. For good measure I replaced a power harness that showed vague signs of chafing, and I also replaced the monitoring logic.
Didn't help. The customer called once more, and sure enough the probe showed an airflow condition. Support is still on the case, and they authorize a swap unit to be brought on site, so that I can take the ailing 725 to our product repair center and go over it with a fine-toothed comb. Which I did. Stripped it down to the bare chassis, cleaned every sensor, every connector, every slot, every everything. It was the squeaky-cleanest 11/725 in the Western hemisphere that wasn't fresh out of the factory. I inspected every wire, checked every fan, and replaced anything that wasn't to my liking. It was arranged that it could sit in the PRC for a few weeks, running, with power monitoring probes hooked up. It passed without a hitch. In the meantime the replacement unit is humming along nicely too, without any problems whatsoever. Quite a bit of head-scratching happens. The temporary replacement was an 11/730, basically the same hardware in a different cabinet, so maybe that was a clue. In the meantime, a power logger had been running at the customer site, to check whether the flakiness is coming in from the main power supply. It wasn't. So, we handed back the 11/725 to its rightful owner.
And sure enough, it tripped a few days later. Yes, early evening yet again.
Running out of ideas, one of us decided to go on site every day at closing time and just sit there to see it go. And sure enough, he observed the problem right the first evening.
The cleaning crew came in. The vacuum cleaner was not the problem. The floor mop was not the problem. One of them took the waste bag from the paper shredder, tied it closed, and set it aside -- right in front of the air intake of the 11/725.
Same here. Office 2016 is remarkably crash-prone. I get 2-3 crashes a week from Excel, Outlook has a habit of randomly crashing every day or so as well. It's also bloody slow as well as times. Given the availability of modern processing power, it's quite startling how sluggish various actions are in Office 2016
But still, this is the modern Microsoft. Keep pushing out pointless new features that nobody really cares about whilst ignoring existing usability, reliability and quality issues.
Re: Lexmark next
It's not just inkjets with the issue. Laser printers do this as well, plus other naughty tricks.
One of the big beefs I have with lots of different laser printer manufacturers is how they falsely state that the toner is empty even when there's tons of toner left. HP used to make it increasingly difficult to override this. I remember at my last job a colour HP printer that claimed the black toner was out (4,500 page toner). After managing to delve into the super-hidden-ultra-advanced menu (17 sub-menus down), I managed to find the override toggle to allow the printer to continue printing.
It managed about another 3,500 pages before the printing became patchy. Hence that so-called "empty" toner was actually about 40% full still when the printer decided to display the "toner out" light and stop working.
Similar story at home with our little Brother laser printer. That claimed the toner had run out ages ago. A bit of gaffer-tape over the perspex window on the side and it is still printing away perfectly fine over 5 years later.
My opinion on printer manufacturers in general? Dishonest crooks, the lot of them.
Re: Give and Take
Not everyone likes updates. I've had too many phones that have been super speedy when new, yet have become slower and more stuttery with every update. Nowerdays, I often avoid major OS updates on my phone and have a 3 year phone which feels as speedy as when I bought it as a result. Seriously, what does Oreo (for example) do so wonderfully that I'm missing out on with Marshmallow except (inevitably) run slower?
Back with iOS, when I had an iPhone 3G, I deliberately kept it on iOS 3.1.2 as it ran like an absolute turd with 4.0.
And anyway, this is about Apple taking functionality that worked under iOS 6 and disabling it not long after iOS 7 came along. I don't recall Google disabling features on earlier Android phones the moment they release a new version?
Seems they're going backwards with each new model. Even the lauded X220 was a downgrade on the earlier X201 (16:10 screen with thinner bezels, trackpad with proper buttons), then with each new version the keyboard has got worse, the trackpad has been poor for a while, removal of status LEDs, lousy screen with awful fat bezels for a while now, then they go and kill the removable battery as well.
Such a disappointment to see what has happened to the X range over the last 8 years. Sorry Lenovo, I'll be sticking with my trusty X201 for a while yet! Love it for long-distance traveling due to being able to swap the battery over once the first one starts to run low
Re: Do the right thing
Have to admit to doing the same. New games? I'll often pirate a copy initially to see what I think. Is the game enjoyable, available with no DRM (ideally) or at least none-intrusive DRM? Does it allow me to skip those infuriating into logos after the first run? Does it have a proper save-game system (no god-awful "Checkpoint only" system) If so, I will pull out my wallet and will buy a copy to support the developer.
Of course, if it is only available with some draconian always-online DRM crap, forces a dozen unskippable into logos down your throat every time you launch it and has a lazy and console-derived Checkpoint system, I'll usually keep my money in my pocket and will send the game to Davy-Jones locker courtesy of the Uninstall option.
The ball is in the developers court here. If you make a good game and do your best to make an enjoyable experience for the gamer, I will reward you by buying your game. If however you make every possible attempt to piss off and irritate your customers, I'll vote with my feet.
Unfortunately, finding out how the dev had approached the game does necessitate trying the game first, and it's amazing how few demos exist these days...
Re: Noisy phone lines in building
Ahh the problems when people don't take into account cable lengths. Couple of years ago we had some major building work done at one of our sites. As part of this, they shifted the access gate for the car park and planned to move the security hut (small building with a couple of PCs and IP phones in it). Everything was planned to shift the hut and have a cabling firm in the same day to run new data feeds.
Except that later that day, the site called to say that the connectors looked different. Upon investigating, the old location for the hut was 80m from the nearest comms room, so just had a couple of lengths of CAT5e run to it. New location is 125m away, so the cabling firm ran a fibre feed instead.
And of course, nobody had budgeted or planned for an extra switch. The hut was without phones and PCs for a couple of weeks whilst everyone scrabbled around for more budget to purchase a switch and fibre GBIC for it...
Re: 'overcomplicated some of our core scenarios'
I agree with you about Skype, but have to disagree about Skype for Business. Leaving aside the similar name but lack of compatibility with desktop Skype, I personally find SFB's interface awful. It just looks too cartoony with awful, circular blobby icons. In fact, it looks about a "business" like as a Fisher Price toy.
We used to use Cicso Jabber for IM and that had a far cleaner and more professional-looking user interface. It also didn't randomly log you out every now and then and didn't crash for no good reason every few days like SFB does...