Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Nov 19 / 2012
  • 3

Windows 8 A Nightmare But You Are Awake

“The worst gesture might be the one to reveal the list of currently running applications: you need to first swipe from the screen’s left edge, and then immediately reverse direction and do a small swipe the other way, and finally make a 90-degree turn to move your finger to a thumbnail of the desired application. The slightest mistake in any of these steps gives you a different result.

The UI is littered with swipe ambiguity, where similar (or identical) gestures have different outcomes depending on subtle details in how they’re activated or executed. For example, start swiping from the right to the left and you will either scroll the screen horizontally or reveal the charm bar, depending on exactly where your finger first touched the screen. This was very confusing to the users in our study.”

see Windows 8 — Disappointing Usability for Both Novice & Power Users (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox).

Nielsen turned actual users loose on a bunch of “8″ PCs and reported folks were dazed and confused. The OS is “Windows” in name only and nothing that has been learned in decades of GUIs has been improved in the latest release. It’s “square one”, literally, all over again. GNU/Linux with XFCE4 and xdm would be a much more comfortable environment. I know people who hated “7″. They are not going to love “8″ either. Ordinary consumers are now demanding choice and they aren’t getting what they want from M$.

  • Nov 19 / 2012
  • 0

Linus Torvalds Cracks His Whip – udev breakages

“Lennart/Kai, fix the udev regression already. Lennart was the one who brought up kernel ABI regressions at some conference, and if you now you have the *gall* to break udev in an incompatible manner that requires basically impossible kernel changes for the kernel to "fix" the udev interface, I don’t know what to say.

"Two-faced lying weasel" would be the most polite thing I could say. But it almost certainly will involve a lot of cursing.”

see LKML: Linus Torvalds: Re: udev breakages – was: Re: Need of an ".async_probe()" type of callback at driver's core – Was: Re: [PATCH] [media] drxk: change it to use request_firmware_nowait().

Oh boy! It’s good to see someone with his eye on the road at the wheel sometimes… We all make the mistake of thinking too locally or not considering consequences of our actions but Linus whips such failings back into shape. Good for him.

Linus is not the only one up in arms. Some forks of udev are in the works.

udev is a daemon which dynamically creates and removes device nodes from /dev/, handles hotplug events and loads drivers at boot time.

  • Nov 19 / 2012
  • 7

Few Want to Buy and Few Want to Build “8″ Tablets in UK

Windows 8 tablets are trickling into the UK channel but demand is still barely outstripping supply, distributors have reported.

OEMs have taken a conservative attitude to their inventory position this Christmas, ignoring bullish calls from retailers and web shops for more kit – it seems the experiences of 2011′s stock mountain are fresh in the memory.

see We CAN'T GET ENOUGH Windows 8 tablets, moan distributors • The Channel.

Compare that with the situation a decade or so ago when no OEM thought they could sell anything PCish without a licence and burdensome licensing agreement with M$. How the mighty have fallen. Not only is the channel tentative about new Wintel and WARM products but the channel is rebelling against M$’s intrusion into their hardware-space. The ship is sinking and everyone wants to be in a lifeboat.

  • Nov 19 / 2012
  • 4

Smartphones The New PC in 2013

“Global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 30% to 865 million units in 2013, accounting for 43.9% of total handset shipments in the year, Digitimes Research has estimated.”

see Digitimes Research: Global smartphone shipments to grow 30% in 2013.

This is it. A decade ago everyone anticipated having a desktop/notebook PC at home or at work. Now everyone anticipates having a smartphone PC everywhere. The growth rate of shipments of smartphones will slow significantly as we approach the situation that everyone who can afford one will have one but the number of people who can afford a smartphone clearly exceeds the number of people who can afford a desktop/notebook PC and the greater mobility and superior flexibility of Android/Linux over that other OS are the last nails in the coffin of that other OS as the dominant force in IT. I expect 2013 will see more widespread adoption of GNU/Linux as well as prices of desktop/notebook PCs plunge in order to compete on price/performance. Tablets, of course, are still growing but at a much slower rate. What they have in larger screens is offset by the amazing mobility of the smartphone.

At the same time that acceptance/accessibility of smartphones peaks, the realization that few of us actually create content or have devices that interface with a desktop/notebook PC sufficiently to justify the greater cost and consumption of resources of the desktop/notebook PC compared to the fantastic customization of smartphones with apps for everyone is just too much for any exclusive dealing or advertising to overcome. While 2013 may not be the year of GNU/Linux desktops it certainly will be the year after the Wintel monopoly became a sick old man.