STOP Helping Me

Sorry this is so late.  Part of the issue is that windows`10 continues its reign of derp on my computer.  Among other things, it’s decided it’s a great idea to not run JASC paintshop 9, which is what I use to make covers.

Yeah, I know it’s an old and obsolete program, but it does exactly what I want it to without dropping me in the claws of Adobe.  Yeah, yeah.  You’re going to suggest GIMP.  Would you believe GIMP is not intuitive?  And that I’ve not had the time to conquer the learning curve? While I’m completely proficient with JASC from using it for years for other stuff, like posters and thank you cards?

So, Dan installed the Anniversary Upgrade (WTF?  Why are they doing… never mind.)  And it completely did away with Pidgin.  I mean, did away with it to the point of not showing it under installed programs, even though I’ve been using it for two months.  And then when I find it in downloads, as Pidgin.exe it tells me it can’t install because it can’t remove old program.

This is not a big deal, as I re-installed AIM.  It’s only a big deal as it clearly went trumping through my file system doing crazy sh*t without any warning it was going to do it.  And definitely sh*t I didn’t want it doing.

Same applies to “easy access” supposedly programs I use most, which showed Skype (never use on this computer, which has a sound issue) and Corel Word Perfect which I not only haven’t used in 7 years, but am FAIRLY SURE I have uninstalled (or only severely crippled to bring up files word can’t handle.)

Yes, I am in a state of high rant, and about ready to uninstall 10 with a sledge hammer, except I love my husband, and he’s a tech-head and wants me to continue trying it.  (Even though he promised me he’d reverse it if I hated it.  Hey, Dan, I hate it. And no, it’s not just new-program annoyance.  It’s changing files it didn’t ask to change.)

I’m not a ludite.  I was very excited when my computer was upgraded and I could use my computer with an internal drive.  Or when I could make files big enough that I didn’t have to save each chapter separately.  I love my spell checker.  I’ have an unrequited love affair with filter forge.

What I don’t like, what drives me nuts, is of another order.

The best way to explain this is to tell a story: when I was a young newly wed, I made our bread by hand.  Part of this is that I was used to freshly made bread every day (what we’d call artisan bread, I suppose) and wonder bread tasted like slightly less appealing pillow stuffing.  Part was that we had a warehouse membership and I could buy 50 lbs of flour for pennies on the pound.

So a part of my morning was kneading the bread.  Problem was two small children, and wanting to speed up process.  I told Dan I wanted a kitchen aid mixer, the almost top of the line, so it could do the kneading. It was, of course, beyond our reach.

When Christmas came around and his parents asked what I wanted, he mentioned mixer.

They sent me a bread machine.  (This was early days of bread machines.  They later became FAR more flexible, and when I could eat carbs, I owned two I used every day to keep family in fresh (small loaf) bread.)

Early bread machines were DUMB and designed for dumb.  They had a set program (which btw, wasn’t very good high altitude, and involved buying special bread mixes, which we really couldn’t afford) and if you wanted to do anything else, too bad.  Sweet bread?  Never mind.  Challa?  You’ve got to be kidding.  And what do you mean you want it to knead dough for pretzels?

To me this was far worse than not having the mixer.  It was something that forced me to do things ITS way and expected me to be grateful for it.  Fortunately it dove off the counter in a poltergeist incident (I’m actually not joking.  I didn’t do it.  I was across the room.  It wasn’t dancing on counter.  It was unplugged.  We were eating dinner, and suddenly it jumped up, pirouetted mid air, and dove to floor. No, I don’t have an explanation.  Do you?) Five years later I bought a mixer.

More and more, with computer upgrades, particularly windows 10 (8 I got around by refusing to use the computer on which it was) I feel like I’ve been given a brand new bread machine.

From the things it keeps pushing as very important, I gather that Microsoft thinks I want a gaming, tv/movie/music system.  I DO.  I have one of those.  DOWNSTAIRS.  This is my work computer.  I want it to work with the things I use every day to do my job.  It’s not a complex job.  I use email, word processing, chrome (which I also hate, but not as much as all others) to do this and facebook, Jasc paintshop, filter forge, and oh, yeah, a chat program to ask for help/run something by friends who are closest thing to a work group I have.

Windows 7 did that fine.  I don’t object to Windows 10 having a new look.  I find that annoying, mostly because I didn’t choose it, but I’d get used to it.

The thing is that other than new look and my stuff stopping working I have yet to find something it does differently/better than windows 7.  I mean, just ONE thing.  ONE.  So far nothing.  It’s like “but you have cortana, and you can ask it questions.”  Uh, okay, but I can navigate file system by hand without that.  And I DO know how to use a browser’s search engine.  Or “you have all these gaming things right here”  “don’t game.”

It’s like those birthday gifts you get that you look at and go “Why on Earth did you think I wanted THIS?”

What worries me about all this — besides my being in a state of high snit at the computer right now — is that it seems to be the way things are going.

I’ve talked here before about how I think new technology frees us from the tyranny of mass everything, and gives options to the INDIVIDUAL.

At the same time there seems to be a reaction from not just our politicians but from our tech companies, and yeah, our book companies, too.  And that is to create something standard for the “standard voter/user/reader” and then demand you fit their parameters, instead of their fitting what you want and need. This is the result of MBA programs (and others) that treat people as “classes” and “widgets.”  This thought was outmoded in the 20th century, but to an extent the technology demanded it.  There was only so much we could do, and it worked better if done en masse.

Those days are gone, but the thinking remains, and the thinking is trying to force the tech back into forms the intelligentsia are comfortable with.

I don’t think it will work.  As I said, it’s a reaction by people who are afraid of freedom: for themselves and more importantly for others.  I think in the end, like the bread machines, they’ll have to give us more options.

I just wonder what it will take to get there.


368 thoughts on “STOP Helping Me

  1. Ah me — the endless promises of intuition, as if we all think the same way.

    “Intuitive” actually just means “I don’t know how it works and if I try to explain it I will lose the ability myself.”

    1. Confronted some some mysterious, manual-less piece of consumer electronics, adorned only with incomprehensible icons, I’m often told it’s “intuitive.”

      Best as I can tell, “intuitive” now means “it works like some Apple product I never heard of.”

        1. I’ll post this high; it’s IMHO, pretty important. When MS rolled out Win 10, they said you could roll back to Win 7 (or 8 or 8.1) with “no” problems in 30 days. As part of the Anniversary Update festivities, MS quietly decided to change that to 10 days. So, if AU is a bust, you have 10 days to get rid of it! Any longer and the old files will get written over. You might (maybe) be OK if you have offline backups.

          The AU has some major problems, including random losses of data and it screwed up applications that were working previously on 10. There’s an article on Infoworld (and other sites) talking about the problems.

          I considered Win 10 last year, and downloaded a copy to do both of our Win 7 machines. I found Woody Leonard’s askwoody dot com site (he’s the Windows guy for Infoworld) and held off. For the gory details of what’s going on in the Windows world, I’ve found Woody’s site to be invaluable. (Especially the fixes for the hours-long searches for updates in Win 7.)

    2. Have you read The Pyschology of Everyday things?

      The husband and I have a saying now as a result, confronted by an unusually foolish set-up: “I bet someone won a design award for that one.”

      Noodles around… Here you go.

      If you’re involved in any kind of product design please read it. You might never win an award, but your customers won’t be sticking pins in your effigy.

      1. Toilet seats!
        Seriously, I’ve changed out about two dozen broken toilet seats in my adult life. EVERY ONE HAS A NEW WAY OF ATTACHING. And I swear each of them is worse than the last. The one yesterday had me cursing in seven languages. SERIOUSLY. You need to make it so I have to hug the damn toilet to install it? Who thought I want to do this? Also it looks unstable and I suspect it will break within six months.

  2. What will it take to get there? Might I suggest sledgehammers?

    The are those who absolutely adore win10. It just works, for them. Nifty things, new things, new interface, and so on…

    Me, if and when win7 stops doing what I want, I’ll probably dump Microsoft and do a *nix build. Because that, generally, only does what I tell it to *and nothing else.*

    1. Currently using an old cheapo eMachine. The drive died (Thanks IBM!) so I got a new one.
      eMachines will gladly sell me a fixit disk with their bloated version of Win7 for $20 plus some exorbitant shipping. I found a download of Win7 on a microsoft site and finally got a clean and burned image. When I tried to activate it, Microsoft decided they were not going to allow that, and I had to use the bloatware version provided by eMachines, or buy a full version of then Win8.
      Kubuntu has been running since the first drive died (and ubuntu in various flavours was dual booted on there too) and other than not being able to update my Garmin (and it’s about dead anyhow, I’ll just get something that will update without Win/Apple), I really don’t miss Microsoft in the least.
      I managed to get my work’s stupid site to show me my paychecks (really, their pages are designed to ONLY work with IE9, and even then you might have to change settings and then it might not work anyhow) and everything else I want to do works for me. Why should I pay for the hassle that is Win10? .

      I do wish my Win2000 Pro box was still alive. It ran 3 years without a restart.

      1. Running Mint 17 on the main machine and a laptop. Mint 18 is being tested (and overall meeting my expectations) on another. After a trip (I want to be sure things work during the trip) I plan to repartition the laptop and install Mint 18 – and likely blow Windows away (the Garmin was stolen, so no updating).

        And I do agree, Win2000 Pro was perhaps the best version made.

        1. Win2k was pretty good. It’s also the last version before they put that absurd Activation nonsense on the system. Sadly, the last time I tried to install it on something (Asus EEE901,) it just didn’t have the drivers.

          I’m on either Ubuntu 16.04 or Mint 17.3 on almost everything. I may switch my main system to Mint 18 soonish.

      2. eMachines might pull a Dell and have a special variety of Windows. Not knowing this, i did a repair from an XP disk that wasn’t an Dell XP disk, and promptly messed things up big time. It’s been years ago, but I think I found a utility to correct something on the boot sector, then we did a system repair from a Dell XP disk that fixed things.

        Before all this I had burned a Linux CD and did a file copy from all three hard drive partitions (I think it was three – certainly it was two) to an external HD. At that point i thought we were headed for a clean install, and what prompted me doing a repair from a boot disk was that it wouldn’t boot at all.

        1. I’m not doing the name brand thing anylonger. Back in the days of Win98/2000 I built my own stuff and had far fewer issues. After my 2000pro tower died I went with laptops then decided to get a tower and just grabbed something cheap from Walmart. All the best PCs I have used were scratch built. Every work PC that was Dell, HP, and the one Compaq I’ve had inflicted on me were buggy at best and constant problems. This eMachine wasn’t a whole lot better, neither was the Toshiba laptop. The noname laptop with clean XP on it lasted years (7 had been out long enough for the fixes to be out before it finally gave up the ghost), I did have a HG loss (Another IBM click of death) but other than some music I lost, I was able to get a full reinstall as I had the OEM full XP disk. It wasn’t a “rescue” disk.

          1. I have had reasonably good luck with Lenovo laptops & Thinkpads for home use, but the operative term for those may be Luck, with a capital “L”.

            I also primarily use the home PC for routine reading/web browsing and watching only a few podcasts, such as Bill Whittle, Andrew Klavan and the odd Youtube video.

            1. When IBM sold off what became Lenovo, the Defence Dept, NSA and CIA refused to allow them to connect to their networks. apparently the Reds put a ton of backdoors into them.

              1. Heh. Youse found me outs — I am red diaper commie agitprop provocateur. Must now disappear underground, change identity and resurface in other blogses.

            2. Lenovos work great, just don’t use ’em for anything the Chinese might want, military-style.
              Haven’t heard of any sort of normal-people risk, but it’s a serious enough problem for “sensitive” information that there’s “by the way make sure you don’t do anything sensitive on these computers” warnings all over. (It’s not a malware issue, as I understand, but the chips themselves are compromised.)

              If you write mil-type fiction on them?
              Tell me the name of the story you’re writing, I’ll buy it just for the defensive noise it adds against Chinese intel gathering. 😀

        2. Back in the ’90s an employer signed a “single source supplier” deal with Compaq, replacing all the desktops with what were supposed to be high-end 486 machines.

          They were dog-slow. And they would only run special “Compaq” Windows 3.1; they’d roll over and die with the retail version. It turned out they had special cheapo processors with a tiny cache, no system board cache, slow RAM with lots of wait states, and some weirdball hard disk setup with the controller built into the hard drive (a predecessor to what eventually became IDE).

          Those turkeys were so slow that I could overtype the keyboard buffer in Notepad…

          Soured me on anything with a Compaq badge after that. I can hold a grudge a long time.

          In the same era, the “old” HP: when most places played annoying ads on hold, or “1001 Strings Does Captain & Tennille”, Hewlett-Packard’s phone system seemed to have a playlist comprised entirely of Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. There were worse things than burning up someone else’s long distance listening to “Crazy Train.”

          “Just shut up and listen to the Ozzy!”

    2. I am one of those people for whom W10 works just fine. Never wanted it, but had to buy a notebook for work with W8 installed. Hated W8, so upgraded to W10 at first opportunity (I _never_ do that normally – my standard pattern is to wait until Service Pack 1 comes out, and then _consider_ upgrading. I just hated W8 THAT much.)

      Tweaked the UI to look more like W7, actually use the ’tiled’ portion for my most frequently used programs (after removing from it crap I never use), and… Life is GOOD. Excepting a couple niggling issues specific not so much to W10, but to Dell workstation-grade notebook computers.

      So far I’ve been able to make _every_ old program I wanted running run under W10. There aren’t many of those – I’ve never allowed myself to get that wedded to a particular program – but there’ve been a few.

      Having looked into the Paint Shop Pro in particular, I see that people have been successfully running version 9 under W10. Having never used this program myself, I have no idea how they do this, and haven’t dug deep enough to find their suggestions.

      Personally, I’d suggest downloading and running a free trial of the current or next-to-current (X7) Corel version of the same program, from Corel website. And if it is any good – the next-to-current version, X7, is available for download from Amazon for $26.61 (

        1. You might try firing up a Virtual Machine on the system and installing JASC 9 into that. That’s what I do when I need to run a non-Direct3D windows thing that doesn’t work in my current system. VMWare Workstation is a pretty solid solution.

        2. Ah. So Corel dumbed the software down after purchasing it? And are still marketing it as Paint Shop Pro? Yeah, I’ve run into a couple situations like that with the programs I’ve been using in the past. Extremely annoying, that.

  3. Not allowing them to force us is what it will take. I opted out of Windows Ten — would not agree to their terms. Now the free period is over, so the threat is gone.

    1. Ditto. Saw what they were offering, and said “Nope”.
      Honest to Offler, I do not want machines talking to me. A classy beep or tone followed by a warning light or a written message is fine. But machines shouldn’t talk to me.

  4. Recently Windows got tired of me refusing to upgrade and upgraded my system to Windows 10 on it’s lonesome on my last working Windows 7 machine. I finally just reformatted it and installed Ubuntu Linux. It doesn’t do everything I want, but at least it’s stopped dunning me.
    Still love my old Paint Shop Pro. I use it, however, on a virtual Window 7, running on my Mac Mini.

  5. Yes, I am in a state of high rant, and about ready to uninstall 10 with a sledge hammer, except I love my husband, and he’s a tech-head and wants me to continue trying it. (Even though he promised me he’d reverse it if I hated it. Hey, Dan, I hate it. And no, it’s not just new-program annoyance. It’s changing files it didn’t ask to change.)

    Somebody is sure to make this point, but I won’t.

    Most women learn fairly early in a relationship that a man will make such a promise but cannot be relied upon to keep such a promise.

          1. I referred not John Wayne, but to the Day-by-Day comic link. Although now that I think about it, John Wayne may be NSFW in some SJW-infected zones.

            1. I missed the Day By Day link. Though the John Wayne clip is far more likely to cause vapors in certain departments in companies I’ve bee.

              1. Uh, yeah — I embedded that one but neglected to caution against unsecure viewing.

                Although Day By Day is almost be definition NSFW in any environment visited by SJWs. Not for the egregious displays of feminine pulchritude (which, to my thinking, has gotten a little Game of Thronesy — to the point where, aside from enjoying Muir’s line work I’m a trifle bored with it) but rather for the political views expressed.

                1. He got mad for being booted off facebook for really being an evil conservative , though they claimed it was some violation of user agreements, and he went Caligula with the nudity.

                  1. Yeah, my favorite horror movie site, “Arbogast on Film,” got an “adults only” complaint, causing a warning to come up discouraging you from going there, so he did a bunch of frames from sixties nudie movies for the next entry, then just quit.

              1. The EEOC has been ruled a bunch of idiotic SJW a$$holes by me. May the Potomac run red with their blood.

  6. It will take not agreeing to their terms! I resisted the free offer of Windows Ten every time it was rammed down my throat. I chose no, instead of yes. Even when it started downloadiing automatically, I refused to abide by their terms of service– and magically it disappeared. If you don’t agree to the Devil’s TOS, he does not get to own your soul.

    1. There is a reason I only booted into Windows once in the last several months – and that on an old laptop, to remove all my stuff before it went to someone else – and even then did not do any update or update check.

  7. Managed to avoid it on my workstation (gaming, writing, etc. Built for CAD except I need a GL Card) and laptop. My media pc got it. Still can’t get it looking as it used to.

  8. I run both Mac and Windows since I need compatibility with Army systems and I won’t upgrade Windows until absolutely necessary for exactly that reason. I only went from XP to 7 last year. I spent years in IT system administration and am so tired of having to fix things that Microsoft is sure I want to use. Apple does the same thing, but being Unix based it’s easier for me to track down the conflicts. My sympathy…

    1. I only moved from XP to 7 at work a few years ago when my desktop had to be replaced. Unfortunately, some of my development tools were never upgraded for 7, so I lost the use of them.

      I was actually still using a 166MHz Win95 system until about 5 years ago, because one set of development tools I needed was node-locked to that system, and the company that made them was long out of business. I only stopped using it because the machine finally died.

      At home, I’ve got a 5-year-old MacBook Pro and a Dell that originally had XP and now has Fedora.

    1. Exactly. Linux is the answer to this question, although our hostess probably doesn’t want to hear it. 🙂

      1. Unfortunate, since openSUSE and Wine run Jasc Paint Shop Pro fine on my machine… and my 1986 text editor, which is more or less a direct connection between my brain and the screen.

        “Doctor, it hurts when I do this!”

        “Are you using Windows?”

      2. The problem is, depending on Wine support for apps, it still means a learning curve for the transition.

        And that is assuming Linux is a viable alternative. In something it just is now. For example, I am tied to Windows via music production choices. Some of what I use would be available on Mac although the key program (FL Studio would not be). On Linux the odds of it being available are about zero. My existing investment in VSTs is pretty close to if not over $3000 and going from Windows to Linux would mean not only would they be unusable but have no viable replacement.

          1. You are displaying some of the worst aspects of Linux evanglizing:

            1. Assuming that the user in question is unfamiliar with Linux and what is available in Linux.

            2. Assuming that “serves the same purpose” means “is a drop in replacement”.

            3. Assuming that software is 100% fungible.

            I have installed Ubuntu Studio and KXStudio. Reaper (my #2 DAW) mostly works under them. However, you can forget most of NI Komplete Ultimate, Aturia V Collection, or Slate Digital’s Everything Bundle. Not only is that a loss in cash but in functionality. Don’t you think if there was a FOSS alternative to Virtual Mixing Desk, Kontakt, Battery, Reaktor, CS-80 V, or Vox-V I’d be at least trying instead of ponying up $600 in upgrade costs this year plus $25/month in subscription costs for a hobby (actually, I’ll probably hold off on NI Komplete 11 Ultimate upgrade until 2017 for just that reason because I put $200 into the Arturia Upgrade already and don’t have $400 laying around).

            That’s before we even get into losing use of prior project files because I’d be giving up FL Studio (which became my goto over a decade ago) or the issues of latency running under Wine in an arena where discussions like “how much to lead your DAW’s click track to stay in line due to various latency issues” is a common topic.

            When dealing with specialized domains it is generally wiser to assume a user in those domains is more aware than you of what’s available and how well it can substitute, support, or replace traditional Windows and Mac software.

            In audio Linux generally cannot complete with the two biggies for people do a good deal of production in the box. If I just needed recording support for nearly 100% outboard it would be fine. For heavy VST users (which is A LOT of the industry and not just people at home) it isn’t even close to 4pm reruns much less primetime.

            People in audio production know that.

            1. Look, if you don’t want to know about this stuff, that’s fine with me. I’m no expert in audio production, I just wanted to put the possibilities forward. As for “displaying some of the worst aspects of Linux evanglizing,” that’s fairly insulting when all I did was pass along a link for some things I thought you might be interested in. If you don’t like them, ignore them. But don’t get pissed off because someone passes some information on to you.

                1. You seem to have misunderstood what Sarah was talking about. She meant for WINDOWS to stop “helping” her. If getting information bothers you, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading blogs like this. Unless you do so just to be insulting, in which case, carry on.

                  1. You seem to have read only the first two-thirds of the blog post. Try reviewing from the portion which begins “What worries me about all this” and reflecting on the difference between offering information and backing up a truck and dumping the contents on a person’s front lawn.

                    You passed the “offering information” point several comments ago.

                    If being advised you’re becoming overbearing bothers you, perhaps you shouldn’t be commenting on blogs like this.

              1. To repeat what he said:
                You are displaying some of the worst aspects of Linux evanglizing:

                1. Assuming that the user in question is unfamiliar with Linux and what is available in Linux.

              2. Look, if you don’t want to know about this stuff, that’s fine with me.

                You’re still making assumption #1: that you know more than I do.

                What part of:

                I have installed Ubuntu Studio and KXStudio. Reaper (my #2 DAW) mostly works under them. However, you can forget most of NI Komplete Ultimate, Aturia V Collection, or Slate Digital’s Everything Bundle.

                did you not understand. It seems to me a strong indiciation that:

                1. I have tried to do the work I do in Linux.
                2. Such efforts failed.

                You aren’t passing on information. Twice I have stated exactly that I know what I need to work isn’t supported in Linux and both times you decided to “passes some information on to you” when the information you passed on was below the level at which I am already working.

                That’s why I said it was a Linux evangelism fail.

              1. Yep, only Slate requires me to have an iLok. Reason has their (non-iLok compatible) one but can also do online unolck. That said my Reason dongle never worked right and the need for it is a reason (not the main one though) that has me updated Reason less.

            2. > latency

              At which point the machine is a tool, not a PC.

              I ran into the same problem with my machine control system. It didn’t need a lot of horsepower to run, so I stood up an old eMachine with XP and set it to boot directly into Mach2 so I don’t have to look at its horrible Hanna-Barbera UI.
              Latency is such an issue that Artsoft says it’s not a good idea to run much network traffic through the IP stack while cutting metal…

                1. Yep, this puppy was built the first year I got bonus at this job and while it has to function as a general use PC it was optimized for music. I never did update the 16GB of memory to 32GB though. Even though it is old I went with the M-Audio Delta as I wanted the advantage of on the board in an expansion slot audio as opposed to USB.

                  Next year she might become just a general use PC and a dedicated tool for audio work be built. My only concern is non-USB or similar audio is very expensive now.

                  1. I just upped my workstation to 48 GB. Mind you, that’s my graphics machine… This machine is the one I use for music. but i have a lot of outboard hardware.

                    1. I got my first outboard synth this year, a Roland Boutique Ju-06. Sure, I’d love to have the real machines behind my Arturia collection but I can’t afford (or lift easily) a Yamaha CS-80 even withouth the third party MIDI add on.

                      My main outboard is my mics. What boggles my mind is how limited info on recording woodwinds is.

                    2. I have 15 synths, mostly racks and desktops.

                      Many people don’t worry about solo recording woodwinds usually, or use breath controllers.

        1. A friend of mine has a big investment in an online game called Eve, which doesn’t have a Linux version. When he bought a new high-end computer earlier this year, I set it up to boot Windows and a Linux VM sharing the same drive. He now runs a KDE desktop, which he can minimize to run Eve.

          I’m in a similar boat; my CAD and CAM (separate) systems run in Windows only. So I run them in an XP VM, since they don’t hog the whole system like Eve.

          1. In Texas, we had a huge blueprint plotter and Corporate demanded we upgrade the 2000Pro on the box to Win7.
            Yep, the plotter and software will not work with Win7. So the trashed the plotter and shopped out the printing at 5 times the price.
            They did decide not to do the same thing with the $150,000+ XPpro powered GC machine, especially when the company gave us an upgrade that was worth $10,000. I wonder what they did with that now that they closed that location.

        1. Well, we’ll just have to differ on that. I’ve found very little if anything from Microsoft that is more reliable than the equivalent from not Microsoft.

          1. It’s not an opinion thing. It’s not a reliable thing. I SUPPOSE I can convert stuff from OO or its equivalents using Calibre, but Calibre and my brain don’t work together. So I use Atlantis. Atlantis is a lousy word processor but great editor/converter. It works best with word. Since I’m the damn publisher for three and a half writers, I HAVE to make it simple.

              1. Sarah has already said that she’s not interested in Linix.

                Also, she very likely doesn’t want to “waste” time learning to use your “great suggestions”.

                Time that she’d likely rather use to write in order to bring in more money to pay the bills.

                1. Paul, I’m not insisting anyone do anything with this information. But there’s nothing wrong with having it.

                    1. “I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”
                      — Samuel Johnson, Boswell’s “Life of Johnson”

                    2. But you haven’t found an argument, only a buzzword that doesn’t even fit here. Nice try, no cigar.

                    3. Guys. RES is just tweaking. Drloss, I’m not going to go to linux. If it were appropriate for me right now, Dan would be pushing that way. He runs linux on several of his machines.
                      Now quit the squabbling, or I’ll stop this blog and come back there.

                    4. Moi? You KNOW I never Tweak! I just don’t have the pelvis for it.
                      (walking away now.)

                    5. I used libreoffice on windows before ever using it on a linux box. There wasn’t as much learning curb and I was actually getting work done.

                      I use photoshop but I would not recommend it to anyone right now. About the only thing I would suggest trying on one of Dan’s linux boxes is Krita for artwork. From the reviews on ImagineFX it looks like a viable alternative to graphics programs like Photoshop and Painter and it doesn’t remotely resemble GIMP which is to me a huge plus. I will admit that I haven’t had a chance to give it a go because I don’t have a tablet I can hook up to my main Linux Debian machine to give it a go.

                      The only reason I suggest this is because I deeply sympathise with your frustration about software and OS changes and there being no really good equivalent of the stuff you had that would work. Unfortunately with art programs thats one of the big problems and they’re heading into the frustrating territory for me.

                    6. No, I’ve made an argument in a manner which you’ve been unable to grasp. Sorry about your tiny cigar.

                2. To be fair, LibreOffice is also a Windows program, so suggesting a LibreOffice plug-in isn’t the same as handing out Linux tracts. Whether or not someone wants to learn a different word processor is another issue.

        1. Only if the answer you’re looking for is, “Nothing but a Microsoft OS will do.”

  9. We finally replaced our 30 year old lab computer system at work. The old one had menus and you had to put in the 3-character program mnemonic to get the function you wanted. The new one is Windows based and so you’re going back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard.

    We also had over a quarter century of custom SQL reports. I’m told the new system is a lot easier for writing reports, and can do things like graphs and pie charts instead of just text, but from what I’ve been able to figure out it’s less flexible as well.

    Now, I know part of this is learning curve, and part is a change in how we’re organizing LIS support, and as part of LIS I’m doing my best to be a cheerleader for the new way of doing things… but newer is not always better.

  10. Yep. That’s why I did NOT switch to Win10 and used the revert option when it ran the “upgrade” without my consent a year ago. I guess I could uninstall GWX Control Panel (which suppressed later attempts to “upgrade”) now but I’ll be paranoid a bit longer.

    1. I sense a market opening for an app that automatically tells the Win 10 Upgrade not just “no” but “Hell No!”

      Preferably with a virus that trolls Bill Gates.

      1. Don’t install the updates: it was that easy. (Do install the other updates. Except not the graphics updates that’ll break *my game*’s graphics. *My game* came out for 98. Which explains why I read every single update’s info before installing it.)

  11. “Don’t you like how computers make your life easier?” 👿

    Mind you, I haven’t had much problems with Win10 except for that new “Edge” internet browser.

    So I switched to Goggle Chrome. 😀

    1. I, too, have not had much trouble with Win10…though I also turned Cortana and all the other ‘bells and whistles’ off (because Microsoft does NOT have the right to track my every activity on my computer, though they’re claiming it’s to ‘improve’ my experience. The hell it is.) But it’s still given me a few headaches here and there, mostly involving borking a couple of older programs. (A couple of which I could live without and the other–WordPerfect–I found a more recent version for a very cheap price. Since the cost for ‘upgrading’ my old copy of Microsoft Office–also borked–was astronomical. I do most of my writing on my tablet now anyway.)

      Thing is, though, I’m about the only person of my acquaintance who *hasn’t* had a ton of headaches involving Win10, so I suspect I may have got off lucky…And I have profusely apologized to those friends/family whom I encouraged to upgrade on the grounds that “Nah, it’s not that bad I haven’t had any trouble with it…”

      1. Win10

        Not sure what it says about me that I’ve been reading Win10 as “wino”

          1. I cannot recall why, but yesterday this memory popped up in my head:

            (Ring) “Hello”
            “Hello, Dave?”
            “Yeah, this is Dave. Who is this?”
            “This is Jane.”
            “Jane? Jane who?”
            “Jane Jane?”
            “Jane. You met me at a party about 6 to 8 weeks ago and you said I was a real good sport.”
            “Oh, Christ yeah. How are you, Jane?”
            “Pregnant! And I’m gonna jump out the window!”
            “Say, you are a good sport, aren’t ya, Jane?”

            It is an odd change in the world when that bit is outrageous but the “7 Words” routine doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

              1. There has been a bar/club in Chapel Hill NC named “He’s Not Here” since 1972, an unusually long life for such establishments. It’s opening is so close to the release of the Cheech & Chong album as to possibly predate the routine.

                Sign pointing to the entrance.

                1. I do hope that somewhere is a bar named “Here There Be Flagons” … with the motto: “With the brew that is true.”

                  Is there any chance of kids these days getting offa my lawn long enough to learn what a flagon is?

                  I don’t suppose Colorado Springs has such an establishment?

      2. I hope I’m as lucky. My old lappy went to that ol’ 404 in the sky, and replacing it means that Wino (thanks freddie!) gets to make its baleful entrance into Chez Nightfly… at least until I can overwrite it with the copy of Win7 Pro I keep handy for such emergencies.

        1. There’s still a crap ton of Win7 laptops, brand new, from budget to high-end models, available at this time. Just not necessarily in brick-and-mortar stores – but Best Buy’s website has plenty, so does Newegg, and so do many other online stores.

          Or, if you don’t want any flavor of Win, period – there are Chrome laptops (admittedly, mostly budget) and several companies from which you can buy pretty decent laptops with various flavors of Linux preinstalled.

          It’s a buyer’s market, you just need to look around.

      3. My computer, my wife’s and kid’s computer, all smoothly switched to Windows 10 with no problems. We all use chrome for the browser. BUT- there’s two websites we order from on a regular basis which we have to use Edge on. Neither one interacts correctly with Chrome, and we find we cannot complete orders.

          1. Not quite. As I understand it, Google bundled a version of the flash interpreter into Chrome rather than requiring a plugin from Adobe.

    2. Not sure what it is, perhaps the relative inflexibility of Chrome (and Firefox and…) compared to Opera 12.16 and earlier. (The new Opera is… ugh). I’ve been running Vivaldi and am mostly happy with it. The bookmark access is overly clicky or screen-hogging and I find I use it less for that deficiency, but that might be the only issue. It is Chrome based and can use Chrome extensions, but feels much more flexible to me.

  12. For years i’ve lusted after a Kitchenaide six quart mixer with whisk, paddle, and dough hook. My problem is that I’m desperately short of counterspace already. Nowhere to put the blasted thing. Already at the point where the deep fryer is sitting on the clothes dryer, and the bread machine is in the rec room.
    Picked up the bread machine on a whim on sale. Tried the included recipes once. Then found one online with a mix of regular and whole wheat flour and using honey instead of sugar. Much better when I bother to plan far enough ahead to use it.

    1. Just don’t get the ‘artisan’ series: they have plastic gears and aren’t for serious users–I should know, I burned through three of them in four years.

      My bread machine story involves smoke. (It didn’t turn off from bake, we think.) I’m pretty good at wearing out appliances, I guess!

      1. I’m that way with yard tools, mowers, etc. Kitchen appliances, normal power tools, computers, etc. all seem pretty resilient around me but the yard tools and mowers seem to get cruddy or fail in a relatively-short time frame (2-4 years).

      2. Oooooh, thanks for the warning. I’ve been eyeing the mixers for a while and though I might not use it extensively… who knows, maybe once I had one I might.

        (Impressed/envious: A friend once caught a 90% off code for a KitchenAid mixer on Facebook. Wow.)

      3. We bought a 5 quart Kitchenaid mixer in 2003 when we moved up here. It just squeaks under the counter, so it’s not going to be replaced if I can help it. My wife uses the grain mill, and last week it started making horrible noises when she started to grind some brown rice for flour.

        The good news is that this mixer is designed to be repairable. It’s a bit of a mess, but good instructions and parts are readily found. I bought replacement gears (steel or cast iron) from an appliance parts place, then when I realized I needed food-safe grease and should replace another gear set, I ordered those from Amazon. To rebuild the upper gear case, I needed a Phillips screwdriver, a small punch and hammer, and a putty knife to get the non-food-safe grease out. (I put regular grease in the gearcase in 2012 when I replaced a speed lever, but I neglected to do the accessory shaft. Oops. Kitchenaid sells tubs of the food safe grease, the small ones handle one full rebuild.) Cost for this level of rebuild, about $40. I’ll check everything in a few years, for a cost of a few bucks if I have to replace a gasket.

        No idea on the Artisan models, but ours is quite good. If Lazarus Long won’t sneer at your mechanical abilities, you can keep it running. [grin]

    2. Sib-in-law and Sib have a big Kitchenaide. I have mixer envy. Plus their kitchen is big enough that they can leave it out so it is ready and waiting whenever they want to use it. *sigh*

      1. My 7th anniversary gift from TrueBlue was permission to get a GOOD mixer– ended up getting a $300+ one from one of NewEgg’s deal emails for $150 all told.

    3. The Kitchenaid and the garlic press were the two tools that changed my life. Oxo for the garlic press. And everyone got one for Christmas one year.

  13. Win8 was a complete shitshow. Win10 is better, but not nearly as good as Win7. XP was the easiest interface to learn and did the most stuff.

    1. Which is why I’m still on XP. I’m keeping this poor thing alive just as long as I can.

      (Although… it wasn’t the easiest to learn all of the ins and outs on – but NT4 did the most stuff. At least the most stuff that I needed to do.)

    2. I wish Putin would fund the ReactOS team some more. Every year or so I stand up a VM, but it’s too delicate even for casual use. So far.

      1. Aye. ReactOS has long looked interesting, but I suspect it’s ready to be part of the no-longer as amusing joke that “One day I will be able to run Duke Nukem Forever on a stable release of WINE running on Hurd.” And I still expect ReactOS to be ahead of Hurd. I do not expect to still be very interested when (if) it gets usable.

      2. I haven’t gotten ReactOS to run yet. Latest LiveCD goes through the motions and gets as far as thinking about loading the video driver, then stalls forever…. which is further than the last one, that wouldn’t even think about booting up. :/

        Still on XP for everyday and XP64 for the heavy lifting. Hate Win7. hate Win8 more, and no I do NOT want ^$^%^% Smartphone10 on my computer!

        1. I’ve never had any trouble with VMware or VirtualBox. The ReactOS site warns that it probably won’t load on bare silicon.

  14. The problem is that you aren’t the target user base. The target user base are the people who are the subject of this rant

    There seems to be a general desire to dumb stuff down and dumb it down in such a way that you can’t then smarten it up a little. You now have a choice of “I’m a level 1000 computer hacker give me all of the controls in a completely unfriendly UI or “I’m a poor sheep who needs protection from anything that might cause me to have to make a choice”

    Having said that (and noting that while I am a computer expert I’m not YOUR computer expert) I’m not sure why you are having trouble finding apps on Win 10. At least I haven’t had that problem. But OTOH I mostly use win 10 as a host to run Linux VMs on (and no I’m not going to suggest you rune Linux now – soon perhaps but not now) so I could be missing things.

    1. Heh. I’ve never had the patience to get Linux running on any computer (OR VM) that I’ve ever set up. It has NEVER worked for me*.

      *Note that I am not telling you that you’re giving bad advice, since I can see you’re explicitly NOT giving advice. I just used your comment as a jumping-off point for a mini-rant about my own personal experiences with it.

      1. Really? Linux today is perhaps the most trouble-free installation of any OS I’ve ever done, and I’ve done pretty much all of them over the years.

        1. I can get you a good deal on a dodgy port of CP/M-68K to ARM Cortex-M3. Global userbase of one.

          1. Haven’t done that, but I did do M68K Linux on a bunch of old Motorola Macs, as well as Linux on an HP Jornada 720, as well as NetBSD on a Tadpole Sparcbook (a Sun-workstation-compatible laptop).

          2. I used to have the CP/M-68K sources – I was going to put it onto the 68332 boards we build at work as a side project, but the Win95 system with the tools died, and I didn’t want to seek out and validate new tools for systems which were no longer under active development.

            We’ve now got an ARM Cortex-M3 board as a replacement for those 68332 boards, but we’re using FreeRTOS. I’d be interested in seeing your dodgy port, though.

        2. Same here – Ubunto just installed and worked. No problems at all. I actually brought several (umm…4?) old tower PCs back to usefulness at a prior job by dumping Windows and loading Ubuntu on them in the support-lab note-taking and general use spots.

    2. I preferred m$ to Mac solely because they didn’t play the ‘users are idiots’ game as badly. Now it’s almost as bad and buggier.

    3. Lovely article. During my time as an engineering student at UAH I took on a job managing a micro compute lab for the math department. Only did it for a couple semesters before figuring out that instead of that for minimum wage I could take a few extra stem courses and graduate sooner.
      But it was truly sad how many bright shiny faced kids would beg me for help writing their entry level basic program. Could not code to save themselves and they were majoring in computer science because their parents heard somewhere that’s where the good jobs were.

      1. Programs either work or they don’t. You don’t get a shiny gold star for “try.”

        Modern schools are big on “grading for effort.” The silicon doesn’t care about your effort.

        1. The silicon doesn’t care about your effort.

          Or your race, gender, orientation, physique, etc.
          Does the code run? [YES] [NO]
          Does it do the correct things? [YES] [NO]

          To be a slightly crude…
          “But it almost works!”
          “Ever almost have sex?”

        2. The following doggerel was posted in the computer center at USNA back in 1971:

          I do not like this darn machine,
          I wish the boss would sell it.
          It never does just what I want,
          But only what I tell it.

      2. A couple of decades or so ago, we had an intern who was working toward a degree in computer science “work” with us for about a week. I think he was between his junior and senior years, but I’ve long since forgotten. The company made microcomputers for the embedded control marketplace, but that turned out to be a step too far for him.

        As a first task, I had assigned him to do a simple example program that we intended to make available to our users (specifically, showing them how to set and get time with an add-on clock/calendar chip), a program that eventually took me about half an hour to write.

        After giving him rather more than 8 hours of one-on-one training and direct help over the course of a few days, he decided that what we did wasn’t for him. All of his experience had been in Pascal on VAXen, and he had absolutely no conception of how to deal with actual hardware.

    4. I’ve been looking for a linux I could love and use for everyday for 20 years. Hasn’t happened yet. 😦 PCLinuxOS FullMonty edition is close, tho… at least, when I messed with it, it didn’t annoy me in the usual ways linux finds to make me send it to the bitbucket. But if they move to KDE5, well, that’ll put it back in Unusable for me. Gods, can’t anyone leave well enough alone??!

      Gnome, tho… ain’t even downloading any more Gnome distros, EVER. You think Win10 is like a mutated smartphone? Gnome is now like a mutated dumbphone.

      1. I hear from most folks that debian + KDE gui is friendliest to people making the move from win to linux. I was dualbooting win and linux mint debian for a long while before shifting to debian. I do not recommend deb to everyone because they are more focused on security and stability so their releases on stable are not frequent and are at least 2 months behind. Because of my personally extreme security requirements though my experience is atypical. If I stop using commercial software i will move to kde which I hear is more friendly than before – especially if i want to use my cintiq on a drawing program.

        I freaking hate gnome. MATE FTW.

      2. I have an ancient machine at a client site that’s still running KDE 3.14.5. It’s like a breath of fresh air compared to KDE 4, which I only went to when distributions stopped including KDE 3.

        The Kraut developers decided to bin the entire codebase and start over from scratch. Okay, I can see that. But far too many things I liked vanished and never came back. They ripped the media controls out of Konqueror and put them in some piece of crapware called “Dolphin”, because Konqeueror was “too complicated for the average user.” Screw the average user, they can run Fireflop. Or Windows, for all I care.

        And little things… we lost the ability to span the same wallpaper across multiple monitors. KDE 4 required separate wallpaper for each monitor. Eight years later, it still does.

        I don’t like what happened to KDE at all, but every time I try something else, it’s so clunky and limited it’s not worth bothering with. Even the crippled KDE4 Konqueror is too useful of a tool to give up.

      3. Between GNOME silliness and KDE silliness, Xfce has gained some popularity – but it will feel stripped down from KDE (of the non-silly version). When I used PCLinuxOS (2007?) one of the things I liked about it was that it did much of the ‘de-annoyancing’ of KDE for me.

        Then, I’m one of those strange creatures that thinks since his computer is a gazillion times faster than the stuff he started with, it ought to be snappy, and has no patience for the window manager putting on a show like it’s thinking over if really wants to do I told it to.

        There are times I am a bit amused (and annoyed) at how things have progressed. Once upon a time, there was waiting for the tubes to warm up. And then came solid state and instant-on really was (without keeping filaments hot). And now… there is waiting for things to boot up. Phones. TV’s. Even maps.

  15. Usually about half the time I want to find the microsoft programmer responsible for a feature and beat them about the head and shoulders with a nerf bat. Very occasionally such programmers deserve a frozen pike upside the head instead of the more gentle nerf bat.

    1. Steel rod upside the head instead of the nerf bat for almost all of them. A few probably need to be hit a few times with a fully loaded speeding dump truck, and then backed over for good measure.

  16. As a corporate accountant I have used spreadsheets extensively for over twenty-five years. I have worked in Excel, Lotus and Quattro-Pro simultaneously, according to the specific functions each served better than the other. I have experienced numerous “upgrades” and in each instance I have found the programs eliminated features I valued and added features for which I had no use.

    A frequent user of a program develops reflexes — your fingers “know” the hot-key combo you need for what you’re doing — and too often those upgrades render your reflexes inappropriate. It is as if somebody came into your house and rearranged all your furniture, leaving you to come home at night and stumble over things trying to find the light.

    It is not just the being constantly wrong-footed that aggravates, irks, annoys and confounds — it is the fact that you had no choice about the upgrade. [Windows} announced they were upgrading and that they would be phasing out support for prior versions of [Windows O/S] — and any apps, attachments, peripherals or whatever you may have invested in (both money and in time spent learning their quirks) are irrelevant, wasted, gone, tough luck. Like buggy-whip manufacturers, our capital investments have been obsoleted and neither our wills nor our won’ts can affect that.

    1. your fingers “know” the hot-key combo you need for what you’re doing

      As a bonus for Emacs users their nose and chin do as well 🙂

    2. Lotus Improv is the only spreadsheet I’ve ever enjoyed using. I wish there was something available that worked the same way.

      1. Microsoft has been talking about that since the late 20th century. I expect they’ll do it after they dump support for everything below Windows 10.

  17. A recent (but small) experience: The other day they upgraded the sticker machine at work (to put time stamps on various food items). Before the items were grouped by function (grill, breakfast, enjoy by, prep, drinks). Now they’re in alphabetical order. Now, I don’t deny that the order the stickers were in could have been improved (primarily by taking out about half of them), but now we have to find where everything is. My general manager complained that half her people don’t know the alphabet anyway. 😉

    Now, if they had put in a toggle, so that you could switch between alphabetical and group related, that I could understand.

    1. Point of Order: One could quibble about the numbering for the next world war.

      Item: We are due for the next one anyway. Obama had moved us substantially in that direction. In theory, some of that could have been reversed. In practice, Clinton, Trump, John, Castle and I strongly suspect Stein have unserious policy plans.

      1. You want funny, Castle is not the Constitution Party candidate in Idaho. Seems he figured he didn’t have to follow state law. (It’s all on CP: Idaho’s website.) I am highly amused, and wonder a) what it would take to convince Idaho to vote Copeland, and b) if that could possibly throw the election to the House.

        1. The House may only choose from among the top three recipients of electoral college votes. I don’t see how that particularly helps this instance.

  18. Windows 10 crashed my computer but there was an option to revert to Windows 7 so instead of reinstalling 10 I reverted back. Very happy to know all the stuff again even if it isn’t quite as fast and efficient as Windows 10.

    Having it not work was fine, I’m running a seven year old computer, wasn’t particularly surprised it had problems.

    What I was surprised about was when Microsoft downloaded a new keyboard program onto my system. That’s never happened to me before so when I suddenly started typing double apostrophes and double quotation marks I assumed my keyboards was broken. My wife took it apart, cleaned it, got rid of the dust, cat hair, eraser shreds, put it back together and yet it still didn’t work. I searched and searched and all of the tutorials I found said to clean it, and if that didn’t work get a new board. So I bought a new board (the keyboard that came with the computer was too small to type on with big hands and I need the comfort of a big curved board).

    Plugged it in, downloaded the new driver, typed an apostrophe. Still got doubles. Clearly not a keyboard problem.

    A virus sweep. Nothing. Disable non core programs. Still not working. Finally I found a thread where someone gave the actual solution (click on keyboard icon, click off new ink widget that Microsoft added for some reason, that’s it. Two second fix that took me five or six hours to find).

    And now I get to go and return expensive new keyboard. Thanks Microsoft, my quota of feeling stupid for the week needed to be filled somehow.

    Tangentially, I used to own and use Jasc 9 and always found it a useful and explicable program but after ten years it finally crapped out and given how many times I’d moved since then and how many computers ago it was first uploaded on there was no way to just reupload the thing. I upgraded to Paintshop pro x7 and it basically follows the same format. Unfortunately, it hides some of the things I liked and took for granted, and the help option isn’t always helpful in finding those options but after a few months I got most of the bugs out (on my end, the program worked fine). Basically, it’s the same program but better, but not as well organized. This is probably because it does more things and does the normal things better, but it’s absolutely irritating to have a learning curve on a new tool. Personally, I think new programs/technology should be getting more streamlined, intelligent and simple but that’s just me being silly I guess.

      1. I was a Paint Shop Pro user (maybe version 6 or 9 was when I quit) back in the day, but I switched to PhotoFiltre Studio. It’s a French program, though, and some of the buttons are in English and some I have to guess at because they are in French. It doesn’t do everything I want, though enough for most of my needs. I also have an old version of PhotoScape that I use occasionally.
        I used to use WordPerfect (ptui because of all the crashes, although it was nice to be able to sort of see the code and be able to fix problems that appeared in the text formatting); tried to use one of the coding publishing programs (some version of Latex) and gave up in frustration. Currently using Atlantis and using one of the free Office programs when I can’t avoid it. I keep flirting with a change to Softmaker Textmaker and Office because it is touted as a marriage of the best of Word and WordPerfect with all the famed German efficiency; supposedly the newest version does eBooks.
        Love FilterForge. Have been using Serif PagePlus to put together cover designs, and they are ending the Serif programs for something newer and better soon, much to my dismay.

    1. I have my Win7 installation disc in a safe location, against the day that Win10 finally *does* start screwing up my computer…

      1. Won’t do you much good if Microsoft turns off the magic-decoder-key-server in Redmond.

  19. My Lady and I have been Apple people since her Apple II, way back when 56 k was a lot of memory.

    I have, occasionally, and with great reluctance, used various Windows machines. Never by choice, and never one moment longer than I had to.

    That said, MacOS isn’t without it’s annoyances in upgrades. What the pluperfect hell goes into a modern text editor that requires more than 30 Meg of memory?

    Conclusion; there is no technology so well established and stable that it cannot be ruined by an upgrade.

    1. I loath the new Mac OS and Office for Mac with a white-hot passion. Far too much bloatware, got rid of what I liked and added c*ap I don’t use, and slows stuff to a crawl. Arrrrgh.

      And no, I agree that GIMP is not intuitive, at least not to me. I’m still struggling with getting different images to superimpose into one.

      1. If you’ll pop over to my blog and give me a comment on the last Learning Curve, re your struggles with GIMP, I’d appreciate it.

        I am planning to continue that “series,” soon as this latest round of miserable muggy either rains out or heads your way. I can’t claim it will be useful to people that are far ahead of me on cover – but occasionally a newbie stumbles into something…

        1. If I ever find out how to do what I want, I’ll write down the steps and let you know. At the moment I’m still looking for a tutorial that doesn’t begin two stages past where I am. The on-line manual is, ahem, less than helpful.

          1. Well, I am wondering what you mean by “superimpose.” Combining layers you’ve brought into the current work into a single picture? If so, that’s one I’ve figured out (and, um, applied more than a bit too early a few times).

            1. Back up about four steps to “converting images to layers and getting them into the same work-page at the same time.” That’s where I’m having trouble. And since the summer just ended for me, it will be a while before I can get back to hunting and experimenting.

              1. Ah! Do keep an eye on my blog, it may help. And I may actually get something done this week with the rain finally coming back. (Although, sigh, I would do without if I could. Pretty nasty down south.)

      2. I loathe Apple for their hardware lag and the way they regularly screw over my particular market space. See: the TrashCan Pro.

      3. Re: GIMP issues… if the application is running on Mac OS, you might consider looking at Acorn 5 from Flying Meat. Earlier versions are still up if you’re running some pre-10.10 version of Mac OS.

        (I have to use Word, btw, for a periodic technical editing gig; I refuse to “upgrade” from Word 2011. No way. No how.)

        1. Amusing, but not quite true. I’ve never had to resort to keying with horn or tail to get all the keys needed to do something in GIMP. I do use a trackball, however. And will agree that GIMP is… decidedly non-intuitive.

  20. By telling Windows update very firmly that it would not even so much as download updates without my explicit permission, I appear to have dodged the Win10 bullet. Never let the Borg have access to do things to your computer unsupervised! I used to work there!

    The reports I’m hearing in the biz about Win10 indicate a large part of the problem is driver compatibility (again). They release version X of windows, and they never, EVER give the device drivers code early enough for them to catch up and be ready on release day. And who knows when they will get to it? Also, the “phone home” reporting feature has irritated a LOT of people. Especially in these times of Big Brother (or sister).

    Part of the Mandatory Simplicity is also user support. If the little darlings can’t muck with the internals, the amount of trouble they can get into is minimized (see: Apple). Also, apparently everyone wants to do massive data entry via touchscreen (news to me and most of the software industry). WARNING. this also makes it easier to lock down equipment manufacturing, again like Apple. If your cheaper and just as good component requires a special config, congratulations, you are now locked out if users can’t set that special config.

    I am planning my own private cloud/VM setup so I can have virtual windows and virtual Linux because I can see where the tea leaves are pointing. Windows is starting to mumble to itself and forgetting the pants/underwear donning order again. The end is nigh…

    1. Long ago I wore the steel-spiked leather Jackboots of the Security Administrator. I guess I have retained most of hte mindset. HOW can any business, medical, or government organization allow software on their machines that babbles unknown data to an unknown host? Particularly in cases where there’s patient or financial data that you’re legally responsible to keep confidential?

      “If security involves even the tiniest bit of inconvenience, to hell with it.”

    2. The reports I’m hearing in the biz about Win10 indicate a large part of the problem is driver compatibility (again). They release version X of windows, and they never, EVER give the device drivers code early enough for them to catch up and be ready on release day. And who knows when they will get to it? Also, the “phone home” reporting feature has irritated a LOT of people. Especially in these times of Big Brother (or sister).

      This is interesting as my driver issues (and I’m assuming it is a driver issue) is not worse under 10 (I took the plunge) than 7. My audio interface lost got a driver update 2011-12-21 yet I have no issues.

      1. The worse one we had was a brand spanking new Dell that had so many drivers hosed I’m surprised it booted. Downloaded the network driver to get that going, then ran Dell’s support tool and let it find the hosed drivers. It did, and that got it going.

        With my not-so-old office computer, Dell didn’t even bother checking Windows 10 compatibility and the video driver barely worked. Fortunately, updating the driver from within Device Manager did the trick, but we weren’t so lucky in a few other cases.

    3. I am backing a KickStarter project (called Superbook) that is a laptop-like shell that uses a smartphone as the computing engine – the computer you almost always have with you, etc. It fits a use-case I have. What amazes me are all the requests for a touch screen version. Me? I am looking forward to a screen without prints all over it.

      1. I’ve seen a few of these over the years: Superbook, NexDock, Casetop, off the top of my head. If you do a search on I’m sure you can come up with listings for the efforts. I think pretty much all of them have not moved past the proposal stage at this point.

      2. I’ve got a Motorola LapDock for the Droid Bionic that was my previous phone. Never used it all that much, but I may pull it out again – the phone is still usable if I put it in airplane mode and then enable wifi.

    4. They release version X of windows, and they never, EVER give the device drivers code early enough for them to catch up and be ready on release day. And who knows when they will get to it?

      They had random users able to grab windows 10 beta for at least half a year before anybody was able to get it in “finished” form– how much time would it take for it to be “early enough”? (I know it was just random users, because I hated 8 on my “typewriter” laptop enough that I seriously considered it. Several times.)

      1. Based on the account I read a few days ago from someone who was part of a group tasked to write what he described as a small, nearly insignificant feature in some Windows build or other, the lead time should probably be about two years.

        He described a nightmare of meetings, emails, attempts to coordinate people, etc., that lasted for months.

    5. Yep. Had Win 10 on my main machine for a day or so. Absolutely refused to use the usb wireless radio. Rolled it back and drove on.

  21. Yeah, I know it’s an old and obsolete program, but it does exactly what I want it to

    Two examples came to mind as I was reading this …
    1. Quicken: I don’t use any of the auto-download features (paranoid? me?), and used the ancient version until I upgraded to a new computer (& had to find the newest old version that would talk to my version so I could import my archival info to the new computer). So now I’m using a more recent version (2010? 2013?), but I still don’t use the auto-download or any of the fancy bells & whistles. I simply want an electronic check book that will help me reconcile my accounts.

    2. Nook Simple Touch: yeah, yeah — Amazon’s Kindle owns the world, yadda yadda. I decided on a Nook for two reasons: wide variety of file types and I could side-load a memory card. So, which feature disappeared in the next upgrade? *shrug* So, I poked around on ebay and bought a couple back-up Nooks to cannibalize for parts when mine finally dies.

    1. I hear ya about the NST. When I initially went looking for an eReader the things I was looking for were 1) how it felt in my hand/weight 2) compatibility with various file types 3) long battery life, 4) ability to share 5) ability to checkout library books, 6) expandable memory.

      Eventually some of the other vendors gained the ability of the NST, and have since surpassed it. However, as B&N has ‘upgraded’ they’ve taken away the ability to share eBooks, read online, and removed the microSD slot from newer devices. One of their updates improved the dictionary at the expense of page numbers (WTF?). I quit buying from them when I couldn’t back up my ‘purchases’ anymore.

      But the NST itself is an awesome little device. It’s the perfect size and feels great in the hand. I love having the buttons to turn the pages and the microSD card slot. The couple of deficiencies it still has are it needs more memory and a better library management/shelving system. I’d also like a better dictionary (I reverted to the old firmware), but I’m OK with the one it has.

  22. The only reason I’m still stuck with Microsoft, I swear, is because I’m a gamer and most of my beloved pastimes are not, at this point, compatible with Linux. (Or even MacOS, in the unlikely event my budget ever allowed for such a machine.)

    1. I think games and Sketchup are the only reasons I’m still on Windows. Just about everything else I commonly use – LibreOffice and the various GIS, 3D, etc. – has a Linux version.

      Well, there’s also the issue of Visual Studio, but that’ll involve only my personal code. The little C/C++ I’ve done lately could transition easily enough (need to write make files, etc.), but the C# code with GUI would take a bit more effort – some tedious porting of an OpenGL GUI toolkit that works under C#/Windows and rebuilding some forms.

      1. Have you played with Visual Studio Code yet? It started out “Meh, Atom does all that and does it better”, but it’s turning seriously good. I switched from Atom to Code last month and haven’t looked back once. Having a very responsive dev team that’s doing monthly releases helps a lot, too.

        They’re also serious about supporting people who are writing extensions. For example, the July 2016 update that just came out had quite a bit of API changes that were designed to support the Vim extension — the people writing it had opened a GitHub issue saying “There are some Vim commands we can’t convert until you add this API call,” and the VS Code devs said, “All right, we’ll add that API call”.

        It’s a high-quality piece of software, done in proper open-source style with a responsive dev team, and it’s coming from Microsoft. Is it just me, or did the foundations of the world just rock a bit? 🙂

        1. I took a quick look at the website when Visual Studio Code was first announced but there were some important features (can’t remember at this point) that were not there. I guess I should take another look.

          1. Fimbulwinter is going to be an artifact of the solar dynamo. Trump and Clinton are the two ‘torture the world’ dudes in Revelation.

  23. it clearly went trumping through my file system

    Not sure whether typo or political comment.

      1. It could be worse, it could have gone hillarying through your file system. The Russians would have all your files, and your file system would be empty. 😛

        1. And your machine would “short circuit” and tell you everything it did has been approved by the FBI.

    1. Could be *even worse*. A nephew clicked the “sure, upgrade me” button on the mother-in-law’s computer one day while playing games and bricked it.

      As in the thing won’t even come up anymore; no BIOS display, nothing. Can’t revert if the thing won’t even turn on.

      No idea what happened, but I have seen a note about evil things UEFI can do to certain models of HP machines, and hers was an HP machine.

      1. At the school we’ve been ordered never, ever upgrade Win for that very reason. Someone came within a hair of bricking but for some reason panicked and literally pulled the plug. IT was able to salvage the machine but we all got a Sternly Worded Memo about it.

      2. Well, there’s bricked and then there’s bricked. There’s no guarantee, but you might can try booting from a (looks over shoulder) CD or DVD burned with something like Puppy Linux, copying all the files to an external HD, and then taking it to a shop. If you can get it to boot an Linux or Windows disk, then it’s probably salvageable.

        1. As I was closing my eyes in sleep, it occurred that if you aren’t getting the BIOS, you aren’t going to boot to CD/DVD ROM. Doh! One trick that works on occasion is remove cards and see if it boots. That’s maybe not so applicable in these days of everything on the motherboard, but unplugging the HD might do the trick – or it might not. Trying to think if I’ve ever run into that. Also scratching my head trying to figure out how software could possibly hose the BIOS without flashing it.

          Taking it to a good shop, they should be able to pop the HD into another machine and extract the data.

          1. Removing the battery for ten minutes or so sometimes helps. Some of the BIOS is in ROM, some is in battery-backed RAM, and the rest is in EEPROM. Depending on what’s in the RAM, it might be corrupted enough to stop it from booting.

            Hey, at least checking it is free…

    2. That sounds familiar. I had to download Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool, burn DVDs, and install from that, forgoing checking for updates during install just to get it to work. Instead of booting from the DVD, you ran setup from within Windows 7, otherwise it asked for the product key. Now all of them should ask for the product key, so that’s a mote point.

  24. Win10. Nope, not gonna do it. I ran windows XP for the longest time, and I got to know the ins and outs pretty well. I am not a computer person by any stretch of the imagination, but I learned how to personalize my computer to my liking.
    Circumstances required m3 to by a laptop a couple of years ago, and it had the latest system (7?), and I hated it. Took forever to personalize anything, and a lot of it still won’t do what I want, won’t let me access files to link to emails, won’t let me map out file locations.
    Then it says to upgrade to Win10? !@#$%^&! I’ve barely begun figuring this one out after three years!
    Why can’t it have an option for, “I know what I’m doing, let me keep easily accessed options.”?

  25. Hate to sound like a Mac fanatic, Sarah, but get a Mac. I have an iMac and have partitioned the HD. Half runs the latest Mac OS X and the other half WIN10. I use the Windows side mostly for games, Yes, Sarah, I has problems with Windows as well, but eventually got it straightened out. In my humble opinion, Mac is far superior for DTP and graphics work to anything for Windows.

      1. If 7 was working for you, why change? Run it until some new software or hardware absolutely refuses to install on your “obsolete” OS.

        1. I’d say, run Windows 7 until the extended support runs out in 2020. Then hopefully they’ll have learned better, or you can find a way to run all your programs in some other system.

          1. That’s where I’m at. Either Microsoft will have a better Windows by 2020, or I’ll be looking at a migration to Linux (or less probably, Mac).

    1. Interestingly, I’ve had the exact opposite experience. I’ve used Macs for graphics and windows machines for graphics (same programs). They were as stable to more stable on Windows. (Rhino 3d, Adobe Suite being the ones I remember off the top of my head. Been about 5 years.)

      1. Yeah, and if you use MS Office, the Mac version will lag several (~5) years behind the features on the Windows side, and when they do release new stuff to Office-for-Mac those new releases will leave some stuff out, and also introduce bugs reported and fixed on the Windows side several years back. You can literally find the same exact errors being discussed in detail on the MS Office for Win support forums from right after the Win version release.

        As someone who used to run a software development group, I cannot tell you how much this screams “Process? We don’t need no stinking PROCESS!!”

      2. The only reason I switched from Mac to Windoze is for the architectural programs.

        Then I found that Win7 was at about the same level of ease of use as whatever out of date Mac system I was running, and I’ve been perfectly happy with it ever since.

        It’s a Lenovo system so China has access to half of my building designs, but they’re not very good, so no loss there.

        1. Kinda what I figure.
          “Oh, China is now going through some really bad fantasy novel starts that keep trying to become romances. What a loss!”

  26. Sarah, it almost sounds like it would have been better had you gotten the problem that older son’s friend got: The computer failed to start after the upgrade, and gave this error message”

    “Windows could not automatically fix your PC Error code: 0xc000000f”

    Apparently there is a problem with Windows 10 re-sizing some SSD drives. The solution to that is apparently to wipe the computer and reinstall Windows 7.

      1. I haven’t seen any indication of that on the pages where I have found solutions to the problem. They just say it’s because Win10 re-partitions the drive, and one guy said he checked the drive and found that the format had gone from NTFS to RAW after the install.

        It appears to be not terribly uncommon, too, from what I was seeing, for computers with SSD drives.

    1. My current go-to bread recipe is the “Rustic Almost No-Knead Bread” recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but I’m getting ready to try some of the bread recipes from the book, “Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast.”

  27. Your experience reinforces my conviction that you can NEVER expect to change operating systems on a machine and still have it to run all third party software as it did before.

    Nuking the hard drive and starting from scratch is fine. Starting with a new machine is even better. But changing the horse mid-stream? I don’t care how fancy and easy to use the new OS is, it is more hassle than it is worth.

    1. As a wise support tech once said: “Nuke the hard drive from orbit; It’s the only way to be sure.”

  28. Been working on computers for 26 years, loaded every version of Microsoft and Apple software, even the Korean version of Windows for people, I found a clean install beats an upgrade for giving me the least amount of IT headaches.

    1. Not every game works in Wine, but some do. gives you a list. It tends to be a fairly advanced topic though. Personally, I just buy native Linux games (~2000 of them in Steam so far) or play games on Consoles.

        1. [shrug] If you don’t like them, don’t bother with it then. It’s a volunteer project–people port what they want to. If you want something else, join the project and do the port. No one’s forcing anyone to use this.

    2. Feel free to ignore anything I say – I won’t mind. But I’ll tell you what Housemate tells people who ask him whats the best OS: It depends on what you use your PC *mostly* for.

      If you do a lot of gaming and use a lot of commercial art programs and similar paid for stuff, stay on Windows. If its occasionally used for browsing the web email writing documents printing – stay with windows. A properly set up Windows install won’t be a pain in the ass.

      If you run mostly free to use programs like VLC, Firefox/Thunderbird/Pidgin and play mostly Steam games consider a move to Linux. Libreoffice does the same office stuff as MS Office – and can save to the native MS file formats if needed. If you need an accounting software KMyMoney works for that I hear and is what he installs for people who need it.

      If someone is doing mostly art and media related work like music and film he will most likely recommend an iMac; but be prepared to buy a new one about every 6 or so years.

      If your laptop is shipping with a W10 install and your main use is gaming stay on Windows. DO NOT INSTALL MULTIPLE ANTIVIRUSES. The only one hear recommended is Norton – and yes this is what I use on my windows gaming box. It does not get in the way the way old Norton used to.

      It should’nt be a problem. Yes I have Win10. I seem to be one of the few with few problems on it but thats because I have relegated it as the entertainment only thing. I will occasionally browse on it but not for anything important but thats just me.

      Anything else I do on either a Mac (art) and Linux Debian (everything else plus Star Trek Online and Minecraft.)

      I am not sure if Battlenet runs on Wine

      If you don’t play the latest games there is a good chance it’ll be playable on WINE.

  29. “…what it will take to get there?” Blood in the streets.(Now that I think about it, that kind of applies to Microsoft updates and other stuff doesn’t it..)

  30. I guess I’m lucky. My laptop was fairly new to begin with, so the upgrade wasn’t that big a change. For the most part, I’ve had no major problems. There’s bells and whistles I barely use, but that’s not a new problem for me.

  31. I hate the “help” too, but I’m with Dan– give it a little time. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s like those techs who will spend five minutes doing the “and the power strip was plugged in?” thing, but figure out that you actually do know what you’re talking about and will stop it. You just have to figure out how to signal “hi, I built this machine, there may be a derp but the isn’t a stupid.”

    The missing program– that happened with one of my games. Look in your program folder files, or- gads, it’s evil– search for the name to try to find it. Then you can make a shortcut to the desktop and pin that to start.

    The “quick access” stuff seems to be based off of what was updated/installed.

    By the way, go into the Store (icon looks like a window on a fancy clothing store shopping bag, the ones with the twisted paper “cord” for handles) click on your user icon and click settings, and turn off auto-update.
    Or it will keep installing the junk you uninstalled.

    1. The wife accidentally deleted a folder on her flashdrive (my fault because I didn’t back it up recently) and then she downloaded (while I was at work) a program that was supposed to be able to recover the files. I was a little perturbed as she didn’t ask first and got to the point where it was demanding payment before letting her get her files. When I said NO, the computer suddenly started having issues where the cursor would jump around the screen and then the machine would shut down. When I tried uninstalling the program it wasn’t listed and I had to go searching for it. What a hassle. People who are caught writing ransomware should be hung from the top of tall building by their toe-nails until they rip out.

    2. And even people who know what they’re doing can occasionally have moments of deep derp. For example, about a decade ago I was getting a computer set up for my grandfather (who has since passed away) to be able to email us. This was in the days when most Internet connections were via modem, so I was plugging in the phone line to his computer. I did so by reaching around the back of the computer with the phone line in my hand, feeling around for the socket it would plug into, and once I heard the “click”, I knew that the phone line was properly plugged in.

      Or so I thought. But when the modem wouldn’t dial up the phone line, and wouldn’t even acknowledge that there was a phone line, I eventually (after much head-scratching) ended up turning the computer around and actually looking at the back of the computer. At which point I discovered that I had managed to plug the phone line into the Ethernet jack! (A phone line’s RJ-11 connector is the same basic shape as an RJ-45 jack, only a bit smaller, and so an RJ-11 connector WILL indeed fit into an RJ-45 jack. And SOMETIMES that’s what you want, like if your building’s phone system is set up to run over Ethernet wiring in the walls. But most of the time, plugging the phone line into an Ethernet jack is not what you want).

      I have a vague feeling that I only found out about this mistake when I called the ISP’s tech support line, and the technician on the other end asked me to unplug the phone line and plug it back in, just to be sure it was well-seated. I thought at the time, “Yeah, this won’t help anything, because I could tell it was well-seated in the first place,” but I did it anyway — which required turning the computer around. At which point I said, “Oh, I see the problem, thanks for your help.”

      I think that was my first and only time in my life when the basic “unplug it and plug it back in” steps actually solved my problem for me — most of the time I’ve already tried that before I call tech support. But that’s why those steps are still on the tech support script, and why even experienced people shouldn’t get too mad when they have to run through the basics. Because even someone who knows what he’s doing can have a deep derp moment.

      1. The Navy has several trouble-shooting write ups where you have to REPLACE a power cable… not with a new one, one off the wall will work, but Just In Case.

      2. I can’t remember what I was talking to tech support for, but at one point a really good tech support guy mentioned that the “is it plugged in” type steps are things that even technicians on site should do, even with their own machines– because derp happens.

          1. Worked at a place once where we didn’t realize the ground to the ice machine was bad till we fixed the drain so it wasn’t sitting in a puddle.

        1. I remember reading about a call where the woman was eventually told to return the computer. She said she needed to get a flashlight to find the box the pc came in. The tech asked why. “Because of the piwer outage in our building.”

          There are people who have purchased ipods thinking they were cheaper iPhones and yes there are the calls where something isn’t plugged in – because of the cat lying asleep on top of the cord yanked it from socket. Stuff like that actually happens and techs tend to have had serious doozies. Makes for lolsome stories…

          1. Story about myself.

            I decided to get a new computer (my old one was about to die).

            Had it all set up but it wouldn’t turn on.

            Just after I called a gentleman who had helped with the old computer, I noticed that the power code hadn’t actually “gone in” to the back of the computer.

            Once I got it connected properly, the computer came on. [Embarrassed Grin]

            1. Something similar: after setting up our computers after a workspace rearrangement the things refused to turn on after being plugged in. Housemate proceeded to troubleshoot everything including testing RAM and SATA cables. No dice. Thinking maybe the powerboard was at fault he went to unplug it… And discovered the switch that turned that particular wall socket on had gotten pushed to off during the furniture shuffle and move around. Everything was fine after that. Stuff happens.

    3. A family member urged me to upgrade to 10 before the freebie went away (I hadn’t planned to do so). It worked fine for about 2 weeks, but now it is taking a long time to start and shut down and giving me the warning message:

      Windows 10 couldn’t connect to group policy client service

      But it is letting me log on eventually as the System Administrator. Any thoughts of what is going on?

      1. Group Policy is part of the domain/enterprise parts of windows. It allows you to configure multiple computers from the central server so that all of the computers on the network use the same antivirus, or the same wallpaper, for instance. The update of Windows 10 that just came out in the last week disables Group Policy for all but the highest end, most expensive versions of windows.

        This would normally be fine because it’s mostly just an enterprise feature, except there are certain features in Windows 10 that report back to Microsoft, and do automatic forced updates and the like that can only be disabled with Group Policies. If you’ve done any of those tips on making your Windows 10 not spy on you, you may have interacted with it at some point. In the process it may have left something broken when they did the Anniversary Edition upgrade of W10.

        I’m personally no using W10 at the moment so I can’t test this, but this site has a solution you could try:

        It’s fairly old though so it may not apply to your situation. I can’t find anything more recent on the subject.

        1. It started giving me trouble after I went into the App store and disabled automatic updates for the Apps (which I don’t plan to be using, since at present I have a limited number of programs on the machine and do updates for them individually as needed). But I reluctantly went back and turned on the automatic updates and restarted and it still wasn’t working right.

          I am connected to a network, but everybody has different versions of Windows, from Vista to 10.

          1. The network probably doesn’t matter unless your usernames and passwords are stored in a domain controller.

            Yeah, Microsoft is really pushing the idea that updates must be mandatory and you can’t block them. Did you turn them off before the anniversary edition update?

            1. I am embarrassed to say I’m not sure which version of Windows 10 I’ve got . . . I am trying to figure out how to get it to ask before putting on updates because I am migrating over from Vista and had a horrible experience a couple of years ago with an update “breaking” my most-used font and rendering almost all my book projects, my email account, etc. unreadable for a few days until I figured out what was going on and “un-did” the update.
              In looking at the log of updates, the most recent two I see are dated 7/27. I only put a stop to the app updates after I read about it on this thread, so it is possible that the new version of Windows was already installed by then.

  32. Incidentally?

    Per husband, who has to keep track of this stuff, part of the outrage against Windows 10 is because this is Windows stealing market share from Apple. It’s doing what Apple does with most of their computers, but doing it in a way that you can turn off, at a lower price.

    Obviously the folks who DO NOT WANT the iSsues don’t care for it, but the kind of folks who don’t like Apple are also the kind who can/will work to make their machine do what they wanted again.

    1. It’s also because Microsoft has now decided that The Designated Corporate Enemy is no longer Apple, but Google. That pivot has not reached all the way through the company, so Win 10 is still a little schizo.

    2. Beloved Spouse & I were discussing whether this might be MS’ positioning itself for the next wave, more congenial to streaming video, gaming (which would explain deleting solitaire, minesweeper, etc in favor of Xbox) and other coming demands on platforms. Considering that Time Warner is investing in HULU it would suggest an effort to remain ahead of the demand curve rather than fall into the trap that sucked in BlackBerry and other lost OS.

      One can argue that their purpose is better served by use-specific applications, but there seems something in the American psyche that leans toward Swiss Army Knife solutions (e.g., the Air Force’s insistence on all-purpose weapons platforms (fighter-bombers) rather than mission-specific answers such as airspace control — fighters — and> bombers and> close air support.)

      1. I find Swiss Army tools to be fantastic in a pinch, when you don’t know what kind of situation you’re going to be in, so it’s useful to have something that can do lots of things, even if it doesn’t do any of those things well. For emergencies and for some basic tasks, these tools are fantastic!

        I have a major problem, however, with using Swiss Army tools when taking on a serious undertaking. If I were to take an engine out of a car, for example, I’d like a whole set of wrenches, socket wrenches, screw drivers, and other very specific tools for the task at hand. I do not relish the idea of trying to do the task with nothing but the crescent wrench, pliers, and the Phillips and Slot screw drivers available on a Leatherman!

        Specialization may be for insects (as Foxifier reminds us), there’s also a special place for specialization in our tools. (This applies to computers as much as anything else: Nintendo was able to do fantastic things with games that no general purpose computer could ever hope to do, because they designed their console to do very specific things for games, and only for games. Very useful for entertainment purposes, but very lousy for word processing…)

        For computer languages, the situation is weird: languages like Common Lisp, Forth and Smalltalk get their power because they start out simple and general, but can become laser-focused on a particular special purpose very quickly. These languages are meta-tools for creating tools to do what you need to do…

  33. JASC PSP9 is something that is listed as working really well in Wine under Linux. 😉

  34. I run Ubuntu myself (with xfce), but having done development myself an hanging around users a lot, the problem seems to be a combination of users that treat choices in a system like Robin Williams treated choices in the coffee aisle in “Moscow on the Hudson” (panic attack) and users that are incapable of understanding anything about a system, but can memorize keystrokes to get the few tasks that they need to do done. Unfortunately, these are the bulk of the new users that are being targeted especially on smartphones and are driving the UI decisions.

    One of many reasons that I use Linux is that I have the choice of many different UI’s and can pick the one that suites me best. Having said that, if you are comfortable with Windows or for that matter with CPM, go ahead and keep on using it. The important thing is that you can get your tasks done not that you use the gee-whiz tools to do them.

  35. Having upgraded at least eight machines to Windows 10 (after a while it starts to blur), I’m certainly not a Microsoft booster. Where I had my say, I disabled Mata Hari, er, Cortana, and some other settings. I have dealt with .dll and driver issues until I’m close to some choice invectives. Last night the CD player in the church sound room decided to malfunction, and we had a couple of music specials. So we go to play one and I’m not sure how it happened, but this thing called Groove comes up, which wouldn’t be so bad except that it looked like it was streaming an ad. Not cool, Microsoft, not cool. I killed that post haste, did a right click, and opened with Windows Media Player.

    Did I mention the singer was waiting while all this was going on?

    No, the water in the baptistry did not boil. I have witnesses.

    I changed the defaults immediately after service where Windows Media Player. I’ve been doing that a lot recently, including putting IE Explorer back on the task bar, the start menu, and the desk top for those sites we have to use that doesn’t like Edge, Firefox, or Chrome.

    For some programs, tinkering with compatibility settings is enough to get them going under Windows 10, especially if it worked under Window 7. That’s not an absolute, and I assume that was tried first. That expensive program at the office that no longer worked under Windows 7 and above is why we had to set up a virtual machine running XP. That turned out to be a good solution for us, and only has the added step of opening the virtual machine.

      1. Sure — that’s what the Constitution is — the original O/S. But it’s been infected by viruses (Wilson2.8), laden with garbageware it has no business running (FDR3.2) and finally infected by malware that is disabling safeguards against process corruption built into the original O/S. Badly crafted kludges by the nine-member IT department have effectively deleted entire arrays of processors intended to protect against runaway illegal operations and the data repository has been swamped by vaporware.

        The government nearly crashed thirty-five years ago, but the system owners installed an antivirus program, Reagan4.0, which attempted to introduce bots to repair and restore systems damage — Rhenquist2.0, Scalia1.0, but two of the bots (Kennedy1.0 and O’Connor1.0) were themselves corrupted after Senators borked the program. Bush4.1 installed Thomas1.0 and Alito1.0 was installed by Bush4.3, but their effects have been undermined by agents put in place by Clinton4.2 and Obama4.4.

        It is beginning to look as if the system will require a reboot or even a complete wipe and re-installation of the original O/S (necessary if the Clinton4.5 demon succeeds embedding in itself and installing its code-rewriting bots.)

        1. Well, before the complete wipe and reimaging with the original OS, we should probably try using the Article V repair program. If it doesn’t work, we can still wipe and reimage.

        2. Discussion of complete wiping and reinstallation reminds me of something I once heard: “The Constitution isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than what we have right now.”

          After hearing about the Colburn Amendment that basically meant that the Great O would be able to make deals with Iran with no checks whatsoever, I’ve been very fearful that such a reboot is in our cards, whether we want them to be or not.

          (Of course, it’s no guarantee: the Iranians can decide to test their new superweapon on New York City instead of Washington DC…or even on just some random American city…but the possibility certainly is there…)

      2. The Constitution is sort of like the starting pattern in Conway’s “Game of Life.”

        Of course, the computer in Life has to follow the rules. Congress and the Supremes just ignore the parts of the Constitution they don’t like.

        1. Don’t forget the Executive. It doesn’t even seem to remember there is a Constitution, except on those occasions when it wishes to block some other portion of government from acting, or to claim sovereign immunity.

        2. I recently noticed that there’s a glider in the opening credits of Dr. No, about a decade before Conway created his game of life. It’s static (it doesn’t move), but it’s there.

  36. While this isn’t a solution to your current problem any more than GIMP is, because I’m sure it also has a learning curve, I just found out about Krita and it looks like something that could be very powerful in the hands of someone artistically inclined. Two-and-a-half minute video showing it off a bit:

    Krita was originally developed for Linux, but it has Windows and OS X downloads available on its website as well, and there are tutorial videos on Youtube, as well as a tutorial and user’s guide on the Krita website. (Which has an “Introduction to Krita for people who are used to Photoshop” section).

    Probably worth checking out at some point, even if you don’t have the free time to learn a new program right now.

    1. Krita is amazing and on my list of programs to learn when I’m not running at 100 miles an hour. Some of the work that people have done on it is gorgeous.

    2. Krita is quite powerful, and it has quite the learning curve just like Gimp. Nothing rocket science, just another program where the thing you want is buried four deep in nested boxes.

      But then, so is Photoshop. We tried that too, it’s just as bad that way.

      With these programs you have to sit down and -learn- them, a process that takes more than a few days of watching youtube. If you don’t have that time, you don’t have it.

      If you do have time though, the results are professional grade. You can use it to make a movie. A real movie, not a home movie.

  37. Windows gives me flashbacks of an abusive ex. Microsoft word makes me want to beat things with a hammer. So, I use Libre Office and Libre Office for my stories and whatever Linux I’ve got installed, usually Mint but I’m playing with Manjaro for a while. It works for me. I like it. But it certainly wouldn’t work for everybody. It does have the benefit that, when I tell it to do something, it usually does it and doesn’t randomly put things back to the default to be “helpful”.

    Here’s hoping you can actually get back to the Windows that works for you and everybody else stops “helping”.

  38. I write (well wrote, recently retired), and I hate being forced too. But since “I write them, don’t use them” my problems are fewer. When hubby complains about changes, my answer “darn if I know, didn’t write that one”. To be fair didn’t write for global use.

  39. Sort of related. Had to get a new GPS. Programmed in locations for home and work. After owning it for about a week, started the car, and the the GPS had a display at the top- “52 minutes to work”. I didn’t tell the GPS to do that. It learned all on its own that when I left the house near the same time, it was travelling to work. If I vary the route at all, like to stop at a store, the time to work display goes away as soon as I make the “wrong” turn. Two days after displaying time to work, it started displaying time to home when I started the car after my shift.

  40. Amusingly, the Portuguese word for computer is computador, and it can be read as a sentence, com puta dor, literally meaning with whore pain. It’s slang Portuguese meaning with a mot***f****** pain. A very accurate description of computers sometimes. :0)

    Rui Jorge

  41. … wonder bread tasted like slightly less appealing pillow stuffing.

    You should have brought it back to the store for a refund, as it was obviously not fresh. Fresh Wonder Bread tastes like cotton balls straight from the package.

    1. One of the side benefits of Army basic training was learning that I like whole wheat bread; it has actual taste instead of the trace amount found in white bread.

    1. My father used to complain about the ‘smart’ car that was his official Ambassador’s vehicle. The anti-theft feature often trapped him and his driver inside because, being unused to having to key in a code after using the ignition key, well, they would forget.

      1. Imagine a self-driving car. It locks you in and then drives you to Stazi headquarters.

        Always have a window breaker in your pocket, right?

  42. I understand the pain. We have one Windows 7 laptop at home which my spouse uses for almost everything critical and a Windows 10 desktop which is only trusted for her games. Last thing she needs is Windows messing with her workflow…

    (I personally think that the Fonts and Colors SJWs at Microsoft “redecorated” the Windows interface and made changes just to justify their own existence… One exception is the Windows Phone 8.0 interface, which will probably die…)

    As much as I like Linux, (I have 5 systems at home), when you need MS Office, especially Excel or Word, or any other optimized application that makes you productive, there’s no substitute for it.

  43. Hah! I thought I was the only one still using stone-knives-and-bearskins, that is, Jasc Paintshop Pro.

    I migrated to Manga Studio last year. It’s a huge improvement , no question, but the learning curve is Hell on wheels, and most of the “official” tutorials / YouTube vids just assume you purchased the $$$$$ pro edition + lettering add-on rather than the basic kit. (Which if you wait for a sale costs as little as $50)

    But once you make the jump, it works a treat. If you decide to go for it, I’ll be happy to talk you through any sticky bits, including my lettering workaround.

      1. Yeah, you’re certainly not the first person I know who has claimed that JASC PSP9 is the best version ever. It has quite a devoted following.

  44. Recently, it has struck me that “I don’t want to convert to Linux” smells very similar to “I don’t want to convert to libertarianism”. Tell someone Linux or libertarianism does it this way now and they need to adapt, and they respond with a huge wishlist of changes which don’t fit in their budget to hire programmers. Net result is Linux or libertarianism can’t possibly be acceptable. Tell someone Microsoft or Apple or government does it this way now and they need to adapt, and they become oddly submissive, and defensive of MS/Apple/gov.

    People want what they want, and that’s fine that they have a concrete goal in mind, but Windows and politics have never delivered and are moving in the wrong direction. I don’t see these people banding together to hire programmers to manage the Ubuntu 7 codebase to minimize user interface changes, updated only to support new hardware and close security holes. They could start this project tomorrow. They don’t. They won’t. They don’t want reality, or success. They stamp their foot and insist the world give them a pony, a limited government, and a Windows 95 descendant that stays up for a year between reboots. Instead you’re getting Windows 10 and Clinton, which is not what you want but what you’ve produced with your past support of Microsoft and politics. I’m not feeling sympathetic anymore. Perhaps addicts really do have to hit bottom before they can recover.

    1. I didn’t approve this because I thought it would be unkind TO YOU. But since you insisted on posting again: WHO has said “being a libertarian is hard” — you are the worst kind to call himself libertarian, someone who wishes to FORCE Libertarianism down people’s throats.
      As for your crazed push on Linux: WHAT PART OF “My husband is a computer professional whose job is in part choosing software. He has linux machines and has put friends in linux machines. He didn’t judge this was right for me or my circumstances” do you FAIL to understand.
      You are rude, stupid and obnoxious. I wonder why people don’t see the beauty of your arguments.

      1. In other words, he’s saying “If you don’t like the things I like, you are a stupid person”. 😦

          1. So in other words, we must force people to be free. Because we know better what is good for everyone. Libertarian, my ass.

            “Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free.”

            How Simon Pritchetty!

    2. Awww, here comes someone who thinks we will take him — her? — seriously because they “know” what they are talking about but who doesn’t have the stones to even give a fake name. But because Anon speaks with authority we are supposed to fall in line like good like whatevers and do as we are told. Sorry. Linux isn’t for everyone. Apple is screwing owners of older machines by making them obsolete when the new OS comes out. Doesn’t matter that they have the tech specs to run the new OS. Apple wants you to buy new machines. Microsoft is at least improving things with Win10, especially the anniversary edition, over Win8. Is it perfect? No. But Windows and Microsoft still has the best software choice around and is, in case you haven’t noticed from your cave, the OS a number of employers use. Those that don’t, usually go with Apple. Linux is very limited, especially when you are locked into using certain programs by your employers or those you contract with.

      As for the rest of it, grow up. Learn what libertarianism really is — and it has nothing to do with forcing anyone to do anything.

      1. I’ve been a user of Apple products since about 1984.
        I was a lot happier with them when they were more of the niche market underdog. Got burned when their OS 10.9 upgrade made my primary computer obsolete.
        But then the only Mac I ever bought from them directly was a refurb laptop for my grand daughter. Everything else has been off the third party used market. Lot to be said for riding the trailing edge of the technology wave.
        I like libertarianism because it’s the closest thing I can find to Heinlein’s rational anarchism, which basically holds that all government is evil, but for people to live in close association with one another some government is necessary.
        As for linux users, I’ve seen two types: power users who want complete control over the nuts and bolts of the software, and effete snobs who don’t really have a clue what they’re doing, but like acting superior to all those common folk.

      2. My thought on “which software is the best”.

        Software is just a tool for people to use.

        The “Best” tool is one that does what you want it to do and is easier for you to use.

        The second part is IMO the most important.

        Tool A may do the job faster & better than Tool B but if it takes you three times as long to do the job with Tool A (than with Tool B) because you’re fighting to learn to use Tool A, then Tool B is best for you.

        1. *nod*

          A lot of folks get all religious about operating systems; I’ll foam at the mouth about the defects that bug me, but that’s because I don’t like defective tools. Not because a name that starts with a lower case ‘i’ has inherent meaning.

      3. Luckily, while my job does force me to use certain programs, I’ve figured out how to make all of them work in linux for myself. The obsolete 1999 era version of GCC customized to work with VXWorks? Wine takes care of that pretty well, and by using Linux’s version of Make instead of the ancient 1999 make in windows, it parallelizes it to boot so I can compile the project in 16 seconds that took 2 minutes in Windows. It took me a few days of fiddling to get that working though, so it’s not for everyone.

        The Email client? They force me to use Outlook, but there’s the outlook for web for most purposes, and those times when I really need the client, I can open it in Citrix. Excel for the timesheet? Citrix once a week for that. The various programs from Schneider Electric? They all work in VirtualBox with my Windows 7 image.

        The only reason I keep my Windows machine around at home at this point is for the handful of games that require it that won’t work in a VM.

        It’s a huge improvement over the time when I had Windows 7 and ran Linux in a VM for the things that I needed it for. (Part of my job is Android OS compilation, so linux is required there.)

        Of course, the OS you use is still a personal choice. Some people enjoy the fiddling it takes to get hostile programs working in Linux, but not everyone is entertained by that sort of thing.

        As Linux Evangelists, it’s our job to find ways of making it easy to move over, not berating people for not investing in their own linux programming or trying to force people over. At work everyone else still uses Windows, so I’m not forcing them off of it. Instead, I work on getting our toolchain setup so that if they need to move off windows in the future, most of the work has been done for them and they can do it easily. I try to encourage the purchase of platform agnostic solutions for all of our internal tasks wherever possible.

        Though, people who frequently bring me their lurgy-ridden computers and ask me to fix them, I’ve started telling them that I’ll only help them in the future if they use Linux instead, because I’m tired of repeatedly reinstalling windows and going through the microsoft phone activation everytime they go to the red light district of the internet and catch something.

    3. Recently, it has struck me that “I don’t want to convert to Linux” smells very similar to “I don’t want to convert to libertarianism”.


      Linux is pushed by its supporters as a cure all, all objections are dismissed as either ignorance or “it will just work,” and there is nothing that can be said to the evangelical who simply can’t accept that other people may not be identical to themselves.

      So yeah, the response will be a lot the same.

      1. That’s not totally true, you know. If you don’t like it, don’t use it; we don’t particularly care. We just try to make it known that Windows and Mac aren’t the only options available. Are there some fanbois who flame anyone who doesn’t see the Linux light? Sure. Just as there are for Macs and Windows.

        1. That’s not totally true, you know. If you don’t like it, don’t use it; we don’t particularly care.

          If that were so, you would have listened the first sixty or so times folks said “no, thank you” with increasing levels of ire.

          We heard. We know. We’re not buying. Please stop nagging.

          1. You have a strange concept of nagging. And I know you’re exaggerating, but I didn’t post anything remotely near 60 times about Linux. And the post you just responded to wasn’t anything like nagging–it was a calm observation on what you’d said, and a presentation of a different opinion. If that’s nagging to you, I’d say you have too thin skin, my friend.

            1. You and yours keep talking about the “glories” of Linux after we said that we’re not interested.

              That’s Nagging

              As for the insult of “thin-skinned”, your “thick head” isn’t allowing you to get the message of “we’re not interested”.

                1. And I never did defend his screed. I only mentioned that not everyone who is a Linux user is like him, to which it seems others are taking unwarranted offense.

                  1. Part of it is that you didn’t realize you came across as defending him. I KNEW that was not what you meant, but it didn’t much squinting to see it that way.
                    You’re passionate. I appreciate that. Unfortunately other people are passionate too, and today I’m tired and have a headache after 3 solid nights of nightmares. And the Sowell column didn’t make me feel better.

                    1. Sorry for being ungentlemanly (meaning, unintentionally giving offense). I won’t apologize for holding the opinions I do, but I will say I’m sorry if in expressing those opinions I upset others.

                    2. Of Sowell’s “50 prominent Republicans”, many are RINO’s, career bureaucrats and even Hillary allies. So much smoke, propaganda and drak, it’s like being trapped in a Robert Anton Wilson omnibus.

                      I don’t like Trump, but there’s not a trail of bodies in his past like his senile rival. (That we know of…) In fact, very little serious ordure has been dug up from his past compared to the Arkansas couple.

                      But I’m afraid the nightmares are just beginning, since no knowledgeable person I now sees a non-violent future. 😦

                    3. I don’t like Trump, but there’s not a trail of bodies in his past like his senile rival.

                      See, zum Beispiel:
                      Julian Assange suggests DNC staffer was shot dead for being a ‘source’
                      Joel Rich, Seth’s father, ruled out robbery in an interview with local affiliate KMTV.

                      “If it was a robbery, it failed, because he still had his watch, he still had his money, he still had his credit cards, still had his phone, so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”
                      — — —
                      I am being increasingly persuaded by Progressives’ past defenses of Wikileak.

                2. After seeing his “response” to my post, I’ll leave any “beating” to you. [Frown]

                  1. dr loss is passionate. Sometimes he doesn’t realize how that comes across from the other end.
                    Fortunately no one else on this blog has that problem — coff.

              1. And again, you’re seeing nagging where none exists. If you don’t like that observation, tough.

            2. You picked a fight with Herb and accused him of being ignorant when he explained in detail why Linux would not work for him.


              And have repeatedly taken offense when people said “no, thank you.”

              If you think that’s not nagging– “constantly harassing someone to do something”– would you prefer being informed you’re being a bore? One who cannot change his mind and will not change the subject?

                1. Oh for the days of swords at dawn, and the only real question was “to first blood” or “to the death?”

    4. I’m sorry, what part of, “Linux-based products do NOT do what I need, and Windows-based products DO” is so hard to understand? It is not up to Windows users to make changes to Linux to make it do what they want, it is up to those who want Linux to be used by Windows users to make those changes.

      Compare it to personal vehicles: If I have a passenger van which is comfortable for my family to ride in, yet can have the seats removed to give me room to haul cargo, including full-sized plywood sheets, but I hate the WAY that the seats are removed, and I hate the controls on the radio and the environmental controls, I’ll still use it because it does what I WANT it to do. Now, you come along and tell me that I should convert to a Panel van, with no seats, but the radio and environmental controls are better, but I have to put in the time and effort to REDESIGN and heavily modify the damn thing so it can have seats, I’m NOT GOING TO DO THAT. If you want me to buy the damn thing, it’s YOUR responsibility to make sure it does the CORE Functions that I want.

    5. ‘Libertarianism’, or ‘libertarianism’? If you’re referring to the party, I’m sorry I can’t support it based on its pre-mass communications stance on international relations.

  45. W10, how do I love thee, let me count the ways LOL.

    I have moved everything to W10. Machines that couldn’t be upgraded, I have abandoned/shelved/donated (except my beloved Surface RT).

    My newest workstation was built specifically for W10 (since it’s AMD, I’m maxed at 32GB, but the mainboard supports M.2 NVMe so the boots are absurdly fast: several seconds to logon after restart …I’ve seen 6 second restarts …it’s a bit of a game changer, that …drive access speed is rather more important in many ways to “user perceived speeds” than memory and CPU power, and NVMe is the “it” thing right now).

    I have a single W7 machine left. (I’d upgraded that one too, but realized life would be simpler if I kept one system, at least, to run old VM’s that I didn’t want lost in the mists of Computing Past. So I reinstalled W7 on a tertiary older box that still performs quite acceptably hardware-wise.)

    …I use the Classic Shell interface, so my UI is mostly XP/W7 (not much of a learning curve, that). The disappointing W10 UI is a *regression* from the Metro UI (W8.1) …if you used a touchscreen, you’d understand.

    (W8.1 allowed the best of both worlds: classic desktop or metro ui …though I understand their reason, it was an execrable decision by Microsoft to abandon the Metro UI, when what they should have done was buy Classic Shell and call it good.)

    Why would I be such a W10 fan (after a 30 plus year of fixing Microsoft screw-ups: of which I made a career out of lol)?

    To wit: W10 Mobile (or Windows Phone 10, if you prefer).

    As the Nokia 1020 (Windows Phone 8.1) convinced me that learning to appreciate W8.1 was probably in my best interests, so the Lumia 950 is an adjunct of W10 (or vice versa: they’re nodes on a continuum …that’s a pun, as Continuum is a feature of WP10 heh) and nailed “the future of computing” home to me with W10.

    My business [now] is entirely remote support, and essentially I live off my phone (in essence …more technically I live off comm tech with a focus on remote access). It’s a niche, yes.

    Here’s an example of what W7 can’t do.

    I get a client call. Oops. I left my phone in another room (so I didn’t hear it at all: my bad …it happens, sigh). W10 Notifications pops up an unobtrusive note on my workstation desktop that I just missed a call, and Cortana asks would I like to respond. “Yes, I would” …so I text an SMS message from my PC to the caller.

    That, my friends, is, like, 2nd order magic.

    …and that example was far harder to describe than it is to actually, well, do.

    And that is for a feature that just popped up one day, while I was on my secondary workstation.

    I had a “huh?” moment, and went “whoa” and then kind of cackled while I responded to that first missed call via SMS. With …zero learning curve.

    I could go on. There be many wonders. Does your IE11 sync your favorites across devices? Yeah, I thought not.

    And I’m not going to try to convince anyone with that one example, but – to me – W10 is much, much more productive than W7 even.

    As for the apps problem …I’m a sys admin: after Splashtop, my main “app” is google …and that mostly used in the service of simplifying technical problems and concerns for and of my clients (who are several hundred miles away, as I “escaped” Cali’ almost five years ago, and they decided they didn’t want to do without me). “Google is my brain” lol.

    …and so I’m fortunate that “apps” per se isn’t my focus (I support them these days: I don’t have to use them …well, “much”).

    Anyways. What I’m saying is there’s actually reasons to change (or “to have changed”) to W10. For some of us.

      1. LOL. Yes, I did realize that. Hence my “…I’m fortunate that “apps” per se isn’t my focus” Sarah.

        (As for holding onto old apps, I used Claris CAD, a Mac port, on Windows boxes far past the use-by date, simply because it worked like my brain worked. I could be, and was, productive with it. Ironically, the Windows version worked through W7 – haven’t had occasion to try it with W10 – long past when the Mac version could no longer work with the Apple OS.)

        I was mostly throwing Dan a bone, as counterpoise to the curmudgeons, in the general W10 bashing.

        All my Cali’ clients are small businesses with small IT budgets, and nary a one was upgraded to W10 (due to critical business apps that W10 merely might not have supported), because, like you, they “have real work to do” and I wouldn’t dream of making their lives more tech-stressful.

        And. I’ve had surprisingly good results on making old apps work by using the OS environmental variable “compatibility mode”. Oh. And additionally open up the install folder with your specific user permissions if compatibility mode alone didn’t do the trick. Dunno if Dan tried doing that to make your old apps work, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re stuck with W10 and hating it.

        Can’t hurt. Might help.

        (JIC: right click the Jasc .exe file, choose Properties and the Compatibility folder tab, and under Compatibility –> “Run this program in compatibility for:” …choose XP from the drop down list. And don’t forget the change to full permissions for your profile.)

        …but for me, W10 has been a minor revelation. First time I recall that Microsoft has mostly got it right.

        Hence: The Paen lolol.

    1. I too have a Nokia 1020, which is the best smart phone ever IMHO. And a semi decent daytime camera.

      I’m not much of an app person at home, but at work, there’s a ton of them that really don’t have any great replacements in OSS/Linux land. Try telling a really good Excel/data analysis wiz that you are switching to Linux/LibreOffice… 😮

      1. The same could have been said for Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel, back in the day, you know. Being an expert in the use of a particular application (any application) doesn’t automatically make all competing applications worse; it only makes the expert’s app more comfortable for him. It’s possible that his choice is the best (for certain values of “best”), but there’s no guarantee of that.

        1. But if you truly use Excel and LibreOffice Calc past the basic novice level, the differences are night and day. Some of the Excel masters do some really amazing stuff in real time that puts the US women’s gymnastics team to shame as far as jaw dropping entertainment. Calc is like a goofy looking bike that breaks down once you start climbing hills.

          There’s just some apps that are essential for making some people productive. And productive is the thing.

          1. As I said, it’s possible that your choice is “best,” but there’s no guarantee of that in all cases. But as you say, if you’re more productive with one app than another, the more productive one is best for you.

      2. The Nokia 1020 and WP8.1 moved me into the 21st century LOL.

        I very much agree with you about the 1020 Chris …except for its dual core processor, which meant “no W10” …and I’d already had taste enough (via tablets) to understand I’d be living in a W10 world going forward, and the unprecedented integration of the desktop and phone OS’s meant “new phone”.

        (The 1020 didn’t make the cut – because of the processor – to the fairly recent W10 upgrades list: the beta pretty much killed the camera.)

        For raw digital pix, the 1020 is still pretty much “the best” smartphone camera (but – due to firmware magic – in some situations, the Lumia 950 can take *better* pix …I’ve done enough side-by-side pix to not be all *that* disappointed day-to-day since I changed to the 950).

        …I “stumbled” into the Windows Phone OS enviro by chance really when we moved to the new house (we had to change providers as Sprint reception was non-existent, and I bought the cheapest smartphone I could find to test with for each of the other three major cellular providers in the area, and those just happened to be Windows Phone), and after using those cheap-o phones (I sold them all on Craigslist), I was so impressed with WP8 that I offed the Nexus (Nexus’s? Nexii?) and just went with the best deal on what appeared to be the best Windows Phone available at the time (2013/14).

        Since my main concern and focus with any phone is as “a communications ‘platform'” – I don’t use a lot of apps, not really – and taking tons o’ pix, the other phone OS’s paled by comparison (the Nexus was only as smooth at the $50 WP8’s were: how’s that possible? …debatable answer: optimized code …considering it was Microsoft, that was a bit startling).

        …yeah, in my dotage I’ve turned into a fan boy LOL.

        1. I’m not a fan boy for companies/OSes. Been in the computer world since the 80s and have run more OSes and coded in more languages than there are sycophants in D.C. But systems and apps serve to make people productive, otherwise why have them?

          I ended up with the 1020 since it was the only phone that let me do what I wanted, which was text, phone, map, read and browse without the security issues of Android nor the expense/control of Apple. The lack of “hot apps” helps.

          Not too enamored with Windows 10 since I know too much of the underside of Microsoft and it’s issues. (Been a user since the DOS days.) Will probably end up using the Enterprise version at work.

          Linux I use at work since I understand it and don’t mind dealing with it’s foibles most of the time. It’s come a long way since the ’90s, but there’s still some sharp edges and burrs there.

          1. Yep …also around since the halcyon days of MS-DOS v2.21 (my introduction was on a PDP something-or-other 15 or so years earlier though) …made an accidental career out of it. It worked out.

            …I do not miss those days, heh.

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