Heater
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:56 pm

blc,
I don't disagree with your overall point either. But I think there is room for both "types" of computer user to exist: those who wish to learn more and explore further, and the "tablet generation" who just want the damn thing to work.
Indeed. Let's explore that a bit...

The "tablet generation" are increasingly moving to, well, tablets and such. Their world is increasingly WEB based. Gmail, FaceBook, Google Docs whatever. No worries about operating systems, installing applications, device drivers and so on. As long as they have a browser they are in business.

Currently the "tablet generation" are a bit stuck on "apps" and app stores. Android apps iOS apps. But they are almost indistinguishable from WEB apps, you search for what you want, hit the button it downloads and runs, no hassle. Soon HTML5 and future web technologies will enable all of that to happen in the browser at which point it no longer matters if you are on Android, iOS, a Mac, a Windows box.

For the "tablet generation" Windows is becoming totally irrelevant. As are all operating systems under the browser. Only performance and price is an issue.
Ultimately MS cannot survive here with Windows as they need their users to pay for it and users can run their browser by other means.

Those who wish to learn more: Well they are going to find that their progress is blocked in all directions by the closed source, proprietary, expensive, inflexible, operating systems of yore. The Pi is part of that movement away from the old ways.

MS cannot survive here with Windows either. Eventually the human population outside MS will code up everything they want, the few thousands of developers
inside MS cannot keep ahead of that forever or even much longer.

In general I see Windows and MS apps as a solution to problems we don't have any more. Word processing for example took off like crazy with the advent of the laser printer. Hence WISIWIG. No one want's to print stuff any more. If they write anything it's on forums and blogs and their own web sites. MS Word is like selling buggy whips to the generation that started driving cars. PowerPoint is looking increasingly stupid when you can make most of what is in normal presentations on web pages and have them available to anyone from anywhere with ease.

What's left in this picture? Ah yes, the power users. Those who need their CAD package or whatever which does not fit on the web paradigm yet, to big to slow, whatever. In the ever shrinking Windows world the cost of maintaining those packages there will become prohibitive, they will get ported to other platforms.
Personally I'll never be able to truly get away from Windows, at least not as long as I want to continue being employed as a SQL Server & .NET/VB6
developer!
Do you actually want to be an SQL Server and .NET/VB6 developer? I believe there is therapy for that:)

As for that ZIP in Windows thing. How come on my friends XP box where I have sometimes needed to unzip files always pops up winrar or whatever it is called nagging that I should register and pay for it?

And another thing...The last, perhaps only, useful program that came with an out of the box Windows install was HyperTerminal. It was a crappy terminal program but it did at least let you talk down a serial line. That is no longer bundled with Windows. There is nothing left at all any more.

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rurwin
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:12 pm

Heater wrote:As for that ZIP in Windows thing. How come on my friends XP box where I have sometimes needed to unzip files always pops up winrar or whatever it is called nagging that I should register and pay for it?
The same reason the JPGs on my PC try to open in Wine. God knows how that happened; I must get it sorted. Now which text file are the file associations in...

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RaTTuS
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:14 pm

rurwin wrote:
Heater wrote:As for that ZIP in Windows thing. How come on my friends XP box where I have sometimes needed to unzip files always pops up winrar or whatever it is called nagging that I should register and pay for it?
The same reason the JPGs on my PC try to open in Wine. God knows how that happened; I must get it sorted. Now which text file are the file associations in...
right click said .jpg
properties | change open with ....

or edit the registry directly

still no easy text file though
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rurwin
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:24 pm

The clue was in the post. Wine

'tis a Linux box.

There's 99% likely to be a GUI way to do it too, I just haven't bothered to learn either yet.

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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:18 pm

Heater wrote:Yes indeed, why is Windows, out of the box, so primitive?
Part of the problem is that for everyone saying 'this' ought to be included there will be someone else criticising such inclusion as monopolistic or damaging. Include too little and it's "primitive", include more and it's "bloat". They're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

There are Linux distros which include little more than the kernel and a shell. Smart phones don't always come with what a user might like. None of that's a problem if what a user wants can be added on top, and many prefer it that way.

The key thing is whether a platform supports adding what's wanted, has what's wanted available, and supports the creation of such things when they don't exist. I don't think you can fault Windows in that respect. And for programming there is plenty of choice; proprietary, closed-source and open, from free to paid for.

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RaTTuS
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:19 pm

arg yeah missed that
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blc
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:20 pm

Heater,

Regarding the "app-ification" of modern computing I personally think that Apple are far more to blame than Microsoft ever were, as I mention here. Obviously there is a market for this kind of device, otherwise they would have never had the explosion in sales, despite the Cult of Mac fanboys.

Your point stands however. But it's worth bearing in mind that sales of iOS devices are slowing down while Android device sales continue unabated (even though Samsung is the clear leader amongst the pack). Android is essentially an open source system; despite the fact that it's aimed at portable touchscreen devices, it's still getting open source software into the hands of millions of people. Yes I know that the Google components are proprietary, but you're not forced to use them and the OS will function without these; you'd just lose Google's content delivery network and many would argue that this is no bad thing. Much of the closed source proprietary stuff on Android is locked up in the media side of things; such as DRM on Google Movies, apps like Spotify and Netflix, or content delivery networks like Google Play. When it comes to media consumption it's still an uphill struggle. Ideally when I buy a film there should be no restrictions on what devices I view it on; also in an ideal world I should be able to buy DRM-free films over the internet, by whatever legitimate means, and download that to as many devices as many times as I like. Services like Netflix are a step forward, but we're still a long way from the ideal scenario. That's going to be a long battle, and as long as there are people clamouring for open source software and DRM free media then the battle will not be lost; there are plenty of those people around. Let Android carry on getting an open source platform out there, and keep the OS open source. There will always be proprietary closed-source software, even on "regular" Linux distributions, but as long as the OS remains inherently open then I will be happy. Full-fledged Linux on the desktop, or even server, will never go away - even if we don't recognise it in 20 years' time. Effort needs to be made in educating people about computers and that's definitely where the focus needs to be, and hell yes there is a market for cheap and powerful computing devices to support that. You'll get no argument from me in that regard.

Part of me wants to say that consumer versions of Windows can die a quick death for all I care. What's tying me to Windows however is the dependance of game developers on DirectX. Many devs use OpenGL these days, so in theory their games are not inherently tied to Windows, but there are many more developers out there using DirectX. I like playing games, so I'm going to have to stick with Windows. I made a conscious decision to get rid of my consoles, and I'm not about to change my mind on that. It will take a massive shift in the games industry in order to remove the dependance on DirectX, and one of the only companies that has a realistic chance of achieving this is Valve with their Steam platform. Which is what frustrates me endlessly about the situation with Valve, their "Steambox" hardware (a PC designed to boot a custom Linux distro and run Steam - effectively a Linux-based console), and their seeming inability to realise that releasing products does actually matter!
Heater wrote:What's left in this picture? Ah yes, the power users. Those who need their CAD package or whatever which does not fit on the web paradigm yet, to big to slow, whatever. In the ever shrinking Windows world the cost of maintaining those packages there will become prohibitive, they will get ported to other platforms.
You underestimate the buying power of large companies however. I work for a very large banking group in the UK and our standard PC hardware still runs Windows XP with Internet Explorer 6; that's in the region of over 150,000 desktop and laptop PCs across the group. We (as in, the company I work for) will only be upgrading to Windows 7 because Windows XP will no longer be supported as of next year; if it was within our power to convince Microsoft to change their mind on this then we probably would have and we'd stick with an 11-year old unsecure OS. Yes it is very expensive to keep running Windows, but it's a stable platform and there's little risk in sticking with a stable and proven platform. Of course the people making these decisions don't actually have to get their hands dirty in configuring or running these systems; dear lord no, they can hire a specialised company full of nerds to do that mundane stuff for them while they concentrate on the important things: lining the shareholder's pockets and making lots of lovely money. (Because the internet is bad at conveying this sort of thing, you should understand that this last sentence is heavily laced with sarcasm! :))

Personally I'll never be able to truly get away from Windows, at least not as long as I want to continue being employed as a SQL Server & .NET/VB6
developer!
Do you actually want to be an SQL Server and .NET/VB6 developer? I believe there is therapy for that:)
Hah, it was not a conscious decision - I always wanted to be a pilot :D. Like many people, it was just something I sort of fell into. I did poke around with games copied from magazines in my youth, and studied some programming in college, but largely left programming behind when I started working. A few years ago I started mucking around with more advanced formulas in Excel, moved to embedded Visual Basic when I couldn't do what I needed to with formulas, and started tinkering with T-SQL when our MI systems started migrating to SQL Server. Two years later I'm now working as a SQL Server/VB6 developer, we're looking to branch out into .NET or C#, and changing jobs is a risky and expensive proposition when you want to keep a roof over your head!

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LemmeFatale
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:39 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:@ LemmeFatale:

Very interesting post. Lots of information there - most of which I am in complete agreement with. Thanks for taking the time to post. I will probably respond to various bits of it at some future time.
You're very welcome. And, thanks very much - it was, in an odd sort of way, kind of fun to write. :lol: (A little bit nostalgic, after a very strange fashion, I suppose?)
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:27 pm

Sigh... I guess I'm not mainstream at all.

In the mobile field I just want a decent PDA that is big enough to read and small enough to holster on my hip...say around 4 to 5 inch screen. I don't want it to be a phone. I don't really care what OS it runs, though I'd prefer Linux and the ability to install packages as I choose. The major functions I want are file storage (notepad sort of stuff, though some files could be of considerable size...on the order of a few thousand words) and a decent calendar/"appointment"/"reminder alarm"" function.

The other main desirable features would be as much time between needing to recharge as possible and a means of backing up the contents (I'd settle for removing a storage device and attaching it to different system for copying).

At the moment, what I may find myself with for this is an "obsolete" smart phone from someone who is upgrading to a newer model.

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mahjongg
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Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:23 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
mahjongg wrote:Linux is written as a "work station" OS, while Windows and Mac OS X are consumer OS's.

Works stations ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workstation ) are far more powerful and complex than these "toy" personal computers, based on operating systems like windows and OS X.

Ducking to get out of the way of the incoming the flack...... :lol:
Twenty years ago that was true, but PC games drove the development of faster PCs and better graphics systems pretty hard. And that's to the point that your typical business desktop PC, instead of needing top grade processors to handle big spreadsheets, can get by with pretty indifferent gear. The 2D performance of even cheap, obsolete graphics cards--or even on board graphics--is more than adequate in any business environment. Tell a gamer you're using a two year old graphics card (let alone on board graphics) and watch him laugh at you.

If one could magically extract the VCIV from a Pi and make PC graphics system out of it, it would do everything a business PC needs and more. While the same cannot be said for the ARMv6 core, it's probably within (distant) shouting distance of powerful enough for a business PC.
I'm not talking about how powerful the hardware is, (although a workstation 20 years ago was much more powerful than a PC then, and will, on average, be more powerful now than a PC is now).
That isn't the big difference! The difference between OS's for workstations and OS's for personal computers is that (to a degree) workstation OS's do not put in as much effort to cater for "low know-how" users as PC OS's did now and then.

Workstation OS's simply cater only for technically mature users that want a specific computing task done, in the most efficient way. They are designed (as the name implies) to get the work done.

Personal computer OS's are catering for a much wider user base, from the very "low tech" to much more tech-savy users, so they do much more "hand-holding" for the simpler users who "just want to do basic tasks" .

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Re: Why so primitive?

Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:39 am

W. H. Heydt

Sounds like what you want is a Psion Organiser as we had in 1980 something http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser Brilliant
machine.

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Re: Why so primitive?

Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:05 am

Heater wrote:W. H. Heydt

Sounds like what you want is a Psion Organiser as we had in 1980 something http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Organiser Brilliant
machine.
I had a Handspring unit until it died. What I want is--functionally--an updated version of that. Without all the stuff that make a smart phone a smart phone (telephony, cameras, etc.), such a device *should* be pretty cheap, but try to find something *without* all the extras.

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joan
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Re: Why so primitive?

Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:29 am

rurwin wrote:The clue was in the post. Wine

'tis a Linux box.

There's 99% likely to be a GUI way to do it too, I just haven't bothered to learn either yet.
Pretty much the same answer. Right click on an object of that type -> properties -> open with (Gnome 3).

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rurwin
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Re: Why so primitive?

Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:03 pm

@joan, thanks. That's got it.

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