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It's not a useability nightmare, I think, as much as it is a marketing and PR nightmare.

That sums it up for me, really. I've never understood the criticism of its usability. Once you get your head around what the RT desktop can and cannot achieve, it's fine, and fulfils my needs.

But in asking the marketing department to explain a new OS with "a desktop that isn't really a desktop", the designers gave the marketing people a tough task, and they just weren't up to it. Having read all the negative publicity, I long ago decided not to buy an RT product. It was only after deeper reading, and seeing the discounted price, that I decided to give it a go. I'm very glad I did.

I'm a bit late to this debate but my recent experience with Win8 prompts me to add a few words. I tried Win8 as soon as it came out but had to roll back to Win7 as my HP laptop had one of those hybrid AMD/Intel video cards and there was no driver on the horizon.

Fast forward to last month, and I found a Nokia Lumia 920 at a very good price, and decided to try Windows Phone 8, fully expecting to dislike it. Right now, if asked, I'd say without hesitation that Windows Phone is the best mobile OS (although the bar is very low -- they're all far from perfect). I use the 920 every day, and my once-loved Razr i is sitting in a drawer. Not at all what I expected. WP8 is well thought out, with features that make me reluctant to go back to Android. Glance for one...

And then a couple of weeks ago I bought a Microsoft Surface (RT), as they're now priced very reasonably. And again it far exceeded my expectations. Almost every piece I have read about the RT OS has been violently negative. And having used it for a couple of weeks, I just can't see the problem (for tablet use). It's a gorgeous bit of hardware, which cost me £250 including the touch keyboard (which I use all the time), and full-fat Office, including Outlook. And the crippled desktop still gives me full access to the registry editor and all the other system applets. I wanted to enable network shares? Simple -- open services.msc as normal, switch on the sharing service. It's all there. I no longer use my Android tablet. A pattern is emerging...

For what it's worth (something between very little and nothing), if I were boss of Microsoft I would bet the farm on RT. Demote full-fat Windows to a niche product and merge Windows Phone into RT (why on earth is there a separate phone OS in the first place?). The only people who object to walled-garden OSs are consumer geeks (i.e. the sort of people who inhabit this forum). I'm guessing that if you offered corporates a walled-garden OS (RT) that communicated seamlessly with Windows Server/Exchange and offered VPN access/whatever else might be essential, then said corporates would be perfectly happy.

Having said all that, I still run Win7 on my desktop, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I remain a consumer geek, but will keep an eye on Windows 9...

I think the main form of automation that the average PC user should but does not use is the humble text replacement macro. I've been using Macro Express for this purpose for many years, and I've built up a list of a few dozen text replacement macros that are now instinctive, and save me a lot of time, month in, month out.

So when I type ",jm" (without quotation marks), it's replaced with my main email address, ",ad" is replaced with my full postal address, ",es" contains positive feedback for an eBay seller, and so on. Over the years, it's been a huge time saver. Macro Express is also powerful and flexible, so for example I use "CTRL+F9" to call a NirCmd action that powers off my monitor.

Any number of programs, including AutoHotkey, can take care of text replacement, and most average PC users would benefit, far more than they would from more complex forms of automation.

While I applaud getting non-programmers interested in programming, automation is one area where I would just encourage people to get an appropriate existing program (there are so many), or if someone is determined to dip their toe in the programming waters, they can introduce themselves to scripting automation with Autohotkey (I did replace Macro Express with Autohotkey for a while, just to prove to myself I could get Autohotkey to do anything that Macro Express could do, but really, Macro Express just made everything much, much easier, and encouraged me to add more macros).

Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone
« on: September 11, 2013, 08:34 PM »
Another recommendation for After trying feedly I've switched to Bazqux and been really happy with it. I've had to switch from Reeder to Mr. Reader on the iPad, which is ok too. Still looking for a good Android client though.

Bazqux now supports the Fever API, which means you can use the excellent Press reader on Android.

Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone
« on: July 30, 2013, 09:08 AM »
That's why I asked.  He said it only supports 5 feeds in parallel... then when someone asked if it would support 600 feeds (surely an arbitrary number) he came back with snark.

The "5 feeds in parallel" refers to the method for refreshing feeds from the UI. I don't know what that means, to be honest, maybe someone else can chip in. I use a cron job to refresh feeds, which updates all feeds reliably.

Relevant quote: "Miniflux uses an Ajax request to refresh each subscription. By default, there is only 5 feeds updated in parallel."

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