Friday, August 15, 2014

Windows 8.1 Replaces Netrunner 14.04

I overwrote Netrunner 14.04 with Windows 8.1 Pro and could not be happier. Windows 8.1 has the key feature that Netrunner 14.04 lacks. It is possible, in Windows, to right-click on a text file and open that file immediately into a text editor of my choice, in this case Notepad++. With Netrunner 14.04, everytime I tried to edit a text file, Netrunner would pester me for the exact location of the text editor, because apparently the operating system does not know where any of its applications are stored. Well, I am not the operating system, and I don't know, either; I rather expect the operating system to keep track of things like that for me, and if it does not, then the operating system has no business operating in 2014 and needs replacing.

I didn't mind so much the requirement of a password to edit a text file, which is a standard security measure among Linux distros, although it is boneheaded and wrong. But asking the user to go and find the text editor executable among the hundreds of paths on the hard drive is really the final insult. I regret to say I spent a collective hour over the course of several weeks trying to find the executable for Jedit before I finally realized the obvious, that Netrunner must be replaced at all costs, because it is costing me time and energy. There were other problems with that old thing, but this was by far the worst. I really don't know what the devs are working on, but apparently they never consult the users when determining their priorities.

As for the much-maligned Windows 8, I do not concur with all the naysayers that hate Eight. Yes, it is slightly more difficult to use than Windows 7. The main problem is the lack of a Start button. A lesser annoyance is the infernal Charms menu. I turned off all the tiles in my Charms menu, just to avoid any potential bandwidth drain. I think they are stupid, but they can be rather easily avoided by pressing Win+D whenever they pop up. I was pleased to read the Charms menu will be eliminated in Windows 9, and indeed the main reason I purchased Windows 8 was to be able to purchase a low-cost upgrade to Windows 9 when it is released.

In the past, keyboard shortcuts were for power users. The main thing to keep in mind with Windows 8 is that keyboard shortcuts are more useful than ever. I am able to short-circuit most Windows 8 annoyances and design blunders by using keyboard shortcuts. Simply being patient and taking the time to learn the quirks of Eight will suffice to overcome all confusion. The lack of a Start button can be rather easily circumvented by following the simple instructions found here to create something that approximates a Start button. This is not entirely sufficient, but is adequate. I have taken to allowing more icons on my desktop than usual in order to make programs more accessible.

I think that corporations and individuals in general are just following the money. They see a lot of money in mobile gadgets, and so they ignore or redesign their successful existing products to please mobile users. In the process, they annoy their true customer base, those with desktops, the people who tend to do actual work on the computer. I wish that more engineers would head corporations and fewer business managers. What is needed are people who understand how things work, not people who understand how to make money.

I also think mobile gadgets are stupid. Just plain old stupid. The proper place to operate a computer is seated at a desk in front of a very large screen with an optimal input device of one's choice. Staring at a device with a three inch screen and no mouse or keyboard is not my cup of tea. I do not know how anyone can get any real work done on such a gadget. And when one is out in the world, outside of a secure and controlled environment, among strangers and motor vehicles, it is not such a great idea to be staring at a screen.


Anonymous said...

Glad you found your home in Windows 8.1. We were tired of you crying about Linux. Stay there and don't come back. There are hackers and script kiddies. Obviously you know your place.

igor said...

This is my space for expressing all my unvarnished opinions about everything under the Sun and venting about all my pet peeves in life. May contain criticism(s) of your favorite operating system, political belief(s) or religion(s). Read at your own risk.

Anonymous said...

Not giving up on Linux yet, but I'm getting there. I've been using one computer or another for well over 30 years -- including several years under SCO about a decade ago so I'm not afraid of the command line (but I don't think it should be a near constant requirement). I'm blown away how an OS that's been around for over 20 years and with probably tens of thousands of developers contributing to it is still so easily broken. I've struggled for the past few months with various distros that all had at least one major show-stopper or another. It's 2014 and I *STILL* can't reliably hibernate or suspend?!? REALLY?!?

I've wasted soooo much time trying to patch basic problems like this that it's disgusting. I can't believe the Linux heads (who have been proclaiming "THIS is the year of Linux on the desktop" year after year) can't see these basic usability problems and instead ignore them. How do you honestly expect to convince the world of Linux's superiority when just closing my laptop's lid causes the screen to go completely black with no obvious way of recovering? (I stumbled upon a "solution" wherein had to configure a keyboard shortcut to execute an xrandr command just to get my screen back after a resume - what average Joe is gonna be able to handle THAT?)

It just blows my mind that nobody seems to have concentrated on a distribution that isn't flashy, doesn't worry about sporting the "latest and greatest," etc., but instead focuses upon being stable, reliable, and getting out of the user's way. I'm hoping Solyd will be that distro, but I've yet to read your posts between February (when you tried it) and now so that may change once I do.

Thanks for being honest, straightforward, and not letting the fanbois intimidate you.

igor said...

I just call things the way I see them on this personal blog and make no money and receive no rewards. The only purpose of this blog is to vent my possibly unpopular or controversial opinions and speculations.

My conclusion about the state of Linux is that it remains a useful tool in the computer world, but one must acknowledge its limitations and the strengths of Windows. It is illogical to assume Linux is always the right solution. Linux sucks when it comes to photo management and editing and modern gaming. Linux has issues with certain hardware, whereas Windows seems to work with everything, although some retro hardware (like Canon 32 bit scanners) actually work better in Linux, ironically.

Basically I'm just saying I'm open-minded about Windows and have come after a long journey to accept the limitations of Linux. It probably isn't the right solution for non-technical people, because they have a hard time figuring things out and aren't the types to go Googling for answers like I am. Windows just offers nice, pat solutions and even when Googling, it's easier to find an answer for Windows than one for Linux, because there's more out there about Windows.

I invested many hours--hundreds--learning about Linux and configuring my Linux systems. And I *do* continue to use Linux for light-duty HTPC and for an old laptop with 2 gigs of ram. I would probably continue using Linux as a primary desktop if it had a better photo editor and if I didn't really need to learn and use Windows for work. Windows is just easier all-around, with fewer issues (assuming one remains virus-free) and enjoys a wider and more robust universe of programs. A lot of the program selections in the Linux community have a beta flavor about them and just aren't up to the task at hand if they work at all, but that of course is due to lack of funding of development. I think Canonical is trying to address that problem with their Software Manager store.

techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions