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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: February 17, 2009, 03:39:34 AM
It seems Win 7 allows software vendors to bypass your firewall and lock you out of your own settings folder as a result of tinkering with a legitimate copy of a piece of software:

http://tech.slashdot.org/...pl?id=3443509&op=view

Quote
That's not so much a surprise, but what WAS a surprise: Noting that Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to stealthily insert themselves in your firewall exception list. Further, that the OS is crippled towards allowing large software vendors to penetrate your machine. Even further, that that crippling is responsible for disabling of a program based on a modified .dll. Remote attestation, anyone? And then finding that the OS even after reboot has locked you out of your own Local Settings folder; has denied you permission to move or delete the modified DLL; and refuses to allow the replacement of the Local Settings folder after it is unlocked with Unlocker to move it to the Desktop for examination (where it also denies you entry to your own folder). Setting permissions to "allow everyone" was disabled

MS gives with one hand then steals much more back with the other. Perhaps it is just some modified UAC, and we need more details, but it sure does seem draconian.

Palladium is still (stealthily) slowly on the March for Windows users, and it still stinks!
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: February 04, 2009, 04:32:30 PM
Quote
Perhaps the largest change, however, is Microsoft's recognition of the netbook market. Previously, Microsoft sold its Starter software only into emerging markets. Now, the company has positioned Starter as an ideal entry point for extending Windows 7 into netbooks. The catch? Like other Starter editions, that netbook will only run three applications at a time, an arbitrary limitation the software imposes.
{source}

WTF!!!?!?!?!!? Why oh why would any OS vendor limit their OS to running 3 apps at a time. It makes cutting out Aero as Vista did seem generous. So I'm researching a web article to mail to a friend, making notes in word as I go along. If my antivirus opens its UI, I have to close one of my others. What if heavens forbid, I want to listen to music while working!? Holy schnitzel...

3  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: copy paste between 2 computers on separate networks? on: January 26, 2009, 02:45:19 PM
I made a bookmarklet for http://cl1p.net I use from my Opera context menu and a cl1p plugin for Quicksilver. For me the slight extra hassle of going via the web is offset by its simplicity, not needing additional software and being cross-platform robust...
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 25, 2009, 05:36:37 PM
Scott Finnie ain't singing the Windows 7 anthem either:

http://blog.scotsnewslett...-beta-1-im-not-impressed/

He doesn't see the performance boost he saw with Win 7 alpha, suggesting this is a classic cycle where the MS OS gets slower as it marches to RTM... And homegroup can be less than ideal to setup. Why can't Windows 7 interoperate, it can't play with any Macs on the network, yet Leopard can see both Macs and PCs. Bonjour is open-source and wouldn't kill MS to extend its interoperability.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 25, 2009, 10:40:20 AM
Btw, I really love the new taskbar. It might be *cough* inspired *cough* by OS X (although I think the jumplists and other stuff goes beyond that?)

OS X had "Jump lists" since inception, and apps like iTunes, Finder, Terminal etc have customised contextual lists that are very useful even when the window is closed. But the problem is that they don't populate when the *App* is closed. They work well when opened, but some of the advantage is lost on exit. OS X icons still seem richer in functionality terms (animations and status updates are very prevalent among apps), but I think we just need to wait for developers to implement the richer status possibilities now available in 7.

The main differences between dock and taskbar are perfectly summarised by that Ars Technica article I linked to above.
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Links for Windows 7 information and tips on: January 25, 2009, 10:38:18 AM
From the main Windows 7 thread, this is the best geek tip list I've seen by an MS developer:

http://blogs.msdn.com/tim...of-windows-7-secrets.aspx
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 23, 2009, 12:27:09 PM
I think he mentions DRM because his test is a parallel test, the media test runs at the same time as his other tests (testing mutlithreading workload), and I think he thinks it therefore makes a difference. As I asked earlier, I don't know what happens to the codepath with no protected content, but looking at the diagrams, the DRM architecture is all still there, just that the output is not disabled/enabled?
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 23, 2009, 05:21:53 AM
InfoWorld have done another set of benchmarks, showing that Vista and Windows 7 are birds-of-a-feather, closely identical in CPU intensive workloads, and are still significantly less efficient than XP:

http://www.infoworld.com/...-windows-multicore_1.html

Quote
It should come as no surprise that Windows 7 performs very much like its predecessor. In fact, during extensive multiprocess benchmark testing, Windows 7 essentially mirrored Vista in almost every scenario. Database tasks? Roughly 118 percent slower than XP on dual-core (Vista was 92 percent slower) and 19 percent slower than XP on quad-core (identical to Vista). Workflow? A respectable 38 percent slower than XP on dual-core (Vista was 98 percent slower) and 59 percent slower on quad-core (Vista was 66 percent slower).

His point is that on dual and quad-core systems, XP is still causing much less CPU activity to do the same operations, but it fails to scale as well, and that by 16-core systems, Windows 7 should finally overtake XP for comutation efficiency in the kinds of tests he used. Whatever kernel changes MS made to Win7, they are still not enough to negate the simpler code paths of XP unless you have many cores. That still also suggests XP will remain speed king on current and low-end newer hardware for a few years to come.

Caveats: will RTM Win7 be significantly faster than the beta?
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Tagging Files (Tag Everything) on: January 23, 2009, 04:12:00 AM
I hate the way Windows has half baked tag support (we'll let you tag music files, office docs, but not any file) even though NTFS has all the support built in !!

Indeed, I wish Windows 7 had rehabilitated file system level tagging for NTFS... Metadata is such an important advancement in terms of digital data management that I think it has to be available at the base of an OS. Perhaps there have been some changes to make Libraries more solid in functionality?
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Tagging Files (Tag Everything) on: January 22, 2009, 07:30:13 PM
But what are these apps using for tag storage? If they are using proprietary datastores this makes using them utterly unsatisfactory. The OS needs to provide transparent metadata, accessible to all; not rely on these information-rich data islands.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 22, 2009, 08:15:42 AM
Really nice summary of the new Win 7 taskbar from the perspective of the conceptual differences of applications <-> windows between Windows and OS X:

http://arstechnica.com/ar...and-windows-7-taskbar.ars

And a similar kludgey attempt by Gizmodo:

http://i.gizmodo.com/5131...dock?skyline=true&s=x
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: software for removing greenscreen/inserting any background on: January 20, 2009, 05:34:32 AM
Do note however, that to successfully chroma key, you must ensure the person has no clothes/accessories the same colour as the background, that the background is evenly illuminated, and that there is no reflected light from the background back onto the subject. Lighting is critical to ensure quick and effective background replacement.
13  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 14, 2009, 01:15:39 PM
This is a great list of Win 7 tips and tweaks:

http://blogs.msdn.com/tim...of-windows-7-secrets.aspx

and for completeness from the other thread (thanks majorspacecase), a keyboard shortcut list:

http://www.blogsdna.com/2...yboard-shortcuts-list.htm
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Quick Search Box — Quicksilver redux… on: January 13, 2009, 10:56:13 AM
I doubt it personally. Google will probably want it cross-platform at some point. Alcor is a real Apple developer, using Apple's core APIs to the max. The more features he adds, the more impossible it will become to port to other platforms. The source of QSB doesn't share much with his current next-generation Quicksilver trunk. I'd love it if he at least gets Elements, the new plug-in framework, and Catalyst, the new triggers framework integrated for extensibility.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft Songsmith on: January 13, 2009, 10:36:45 AM
Poor microsoft can't get a break.. Video may be cheesy but the idea is nice.

Yes, the idea is nice, though the advert does highlight how much painful sonic drivel could be produced with it. tongue Don't want to sound elitist though, everyone should have access to flexible tools.

Hah, just found a more cowbell edition of the advert jingle:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kVUIid2hT74

Songsmith is a real-time audio analyzer. http://www.morecowbell.dj uses an echonest analyze algorithm (similar tech) to add synced cowbell ala the infamous Saturday Night Live sketch. Double audio-analysis lovefest!  Wink
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Quick Search Box — Quicksilver redux… on: January 13, 2009, 10:11:37 AM
Google have just released a new launcher-type app (currently Mac only) called Quick Search Box (QSB):
[attachimg=#]
http://code.google.com/p/qsb-mac/

What is interesting is that the lead developer is Nicholas Jitkoff (aka Alcor), who was the creator of the legendary Quicksilver (QS). Just as with Quicksilver, it uses a simple launcher interface, but allows powerful object—verb—modifier to be used; you take something, do something more to it with additional input.

It has a nice data sources plugin system, pulling in address book items, music items, allows access to your google docs, calender and mail accounts (not fully functional yet), and is fully open source.

One very cool thing, it can search within pages for more content. Notice in the screenshot above I have wikipedia searching for robot. In the list, QSB has already done the search and given me the wikipedia pages that contain robot. I can select one page and then search just that page for another word (drreams, screenshot below), getting the contextual part of the page in QSB's interface without ever visiting a webpage!!!
[attachimg=#]

Can hook into spotlight. Not as visually beautiful or elegant as QS, nor can it manage triggers (noun-verb-modifier blocks bound to keystrokes), no general plugins.

It certainly is no replacement for Quicksilver for power users, but it is a very nice basic launcher nevertheless.

17  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Microsoft Songsmith on: January 12, 2009, 04:28:06 PM
How, but seriously, how on a 1000 earths, does Microsoft come out with the most staggeringly awful, cheesy & cringe-worthy publicity. This must seriously be a clever parody of MS:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3oGFogwcx-E

“Microsoft, huh? So it’s pretty easy to use?”
"And what a happy home we'll have, with every word in rhymeeeeeeeeee......"

Lisa, the annoying little girl, runs Vista on her Macbook Pro (covered in girly stickers so you don't think it's a mac). I normally hate YouTube for the moronic depressingly idiotic comments, but these comments are spot on:

"Be right back...stabbing my eardrums."

"Music is dead."

Yes, it really is real (maybe even fun, if it wasn't for the searing pain in my brain from watching that wretch-inducing advert):

http://research.microsoft...dmond/projects/songsmith/

I'm off to get sink into copious glasses of absinthe; surely it's the only way to erase this pain from my mind...
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: windows 7 beta available for free Jan 9 (!) on: January 11, 2009, 09:38:36 AM
No, neither VMWare nor Parallels can run the windows experience index to completion, and hang in the same place you found. I tried editing registry values to force aero to show, but it didn't work. I know VMWare are working on getting aero supported, don't know why they find it so difficult as they are DirectX 9c compliant.
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Editor for PDFs: recommendations, please? on: January 11, 2009, 09:32:59 AM
I often get asked for PDF annotation software by friends. On OS X, Preview can fill forms, and the magnificent Skim can annotate and add arbitrary text all for free. Payware-wise, PDFPen Pro is really nice.

On windows, most of the things I've tried are clunky. However I recently tried PDF-XCHANGE viewer, and it seems to be the best of the bunch for free. Most importantly, the annotations are later editable which is good, and I can get interoperability with PDFPen on OS X for collaborative notes cross-platform.
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: windows 7 beta available for free Jan 9 (!) on: January 11, 2009, 04:24:08 AM
Are the old school classic themes and taskbar available in Win7?  tellme

The classic look is still there if you mean this:

[attachimg=#]

You access it from Control Panel > Change the Themes > Ease of Access themes.

You need to set small icons on the taskbar to look more Win9x like. But the cool thing is that the taskbar still retains the benefits of the new unified launch/manage interface. So you get classic look but better functionality. Except for the fact the best new features (aeropeek, thumbnails and window visualisation are all locked into aero as I keep moaning about).

You can also turn theming on/off as in previous windows from the display performance dialog:

[attachimg=#]

Win 7 is starting to play up a bit, I've had Windows activation reset itself with no changes to virtual hardware or software. And on startup today it has sat telling me it is configuring windows software whatever that means for 5 minutes instead of, you know, starting.

Windows activation is such a horrid system, I wish they'd remove it once and for all. It doesn't affect pirates one bit, but does annoy everyone else...
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: windows 7 beta available for free Jan 9 (!) on: January 10, 2009, 06:54:06 PM
Quote
IMHO: The "new look" is functional but boring with a capital B. (What is this fetish with baby-blue lately?) The best I can say about it is that I like it better than Vista.

Indeed I ***hate*** that namby-pamby squealing-boy-sprog blue that MS seems so fond of (which has plagued Windows in one form or another since Win 9x IIRC, it just spread in quantity in Win 7...). Oh, and on visual rants, MS still hasn't sorted out fit-and-finish with the window border, there is still a fugly 1px cyan border on the right+bottom of windows, a cheap fake transmitted light effect that fails miserably. And why still have that obese 4px window padding!!!. OS X (graphite) still wins fit-and-finish by a long run for me.
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: windows 7 beta available for free Jan 9 (!) on: January 10, 2009, 04:24:34 PM
[attachimg=#]
{sourceWink
23  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: windows 7 beta available for free Jan 9 (!) on: January 10, 2009, 03:44:38 PM
Installs quickly on my Macbook under VMWare. Resource usage is slightly higher than XP, but that could be due to unoptimised VMWare drivers (VMWare Fusion advised to use Windows Server 2008 profile for install). Not having used Vista since earlier last year, I don't remember but still lots more services than XP running, but according to the Windows 7 Dev blog they've been further optimised for lower CPU and thus lower power requirements.

I love the new taskbar, unification of the launch/management space is long overdue. As I moaned on the other Win 7 thread, forcing fundamental functionality (proper window management) to only work under aero is obnoxious. I really hope that aero is available for all versions of Win 7 when it comes out...
24  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 10, 2009, 01:42:29 PM
I also want to ask, but I've never seen a clear explanation of how the protected path handles non-protected content. How does all of this switch on/off? If you see Gutmann's slides (taken from the Vista technical documentation), the image and audio paths seem so convoluted (this is apparently simplified):

[attachimg=#]

Is there a completely separate bus architecture, or does it pass through the same path just with no secondary checking?
25  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WINDOWS 7 THREAD (ongoing) on: January 10, 2009, 10:33:18 AM
Yes, I agree MS had little choice but to implement some DRM if it wanted to be first to the HD market. And yet, just as with Apple's iTune's DRM, they were still hoping to benefit from lock-in. MS rushed to this market way before they needed to, going well beyond minimum specification (tilt bits being the clear example). I think they want to capture the HD market by being the "favoured" channel (i.e. most zealous!), and thus as Apple did with music, lock the market into its revenue stream. So far they've just damaged their own platform and users with little to show for it. I think once HD content explodes , they want to be the dominant platform to view it, and that is when the money comes in. I think they hope their zealous implementation will not be implementable by others and thus further extend their dominance.

So they they may not be entirely to blame, but who exactly was MS competing against to "force them against the wall" (the PS3)? They could have taken Apple's stance on the PVP, which is wait and see, and implement the minimum necessary only when necessary. They could have under-engineered, knowing that no one else was going to out-zealot them. They rightly could have been less stringent with driver policing which caused such difficulties for many vendors on switching to Vista which directly hurt Vista and its users.

Peter Gutmann's fundamental point is that the PC is driven, and indeed was born, from an open platform. MS tried with palladium, and its step-child WVCP, to close up an impossible to close platform. This was doomed to failure, as Gutmann spends most of his time showing.
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