phone vs. tablet vs. laptop vs. desktop vs. server

It seems that Microsoft’s all-in-one strategy on support for different devices is still progressing. Windows 8 will have interfaces for both the desktop and touchscreen devices. This is akin to how Windows Media Center works. This model must have an unusual level of attraction to Microsoft due to the large base of existing applications, but it makes assumption that you’d want to use all the applications on all the devices, if only you could — that may turn out not to be right.

Microsoft has for years tried to get into mobile devices. Here you see Bill Gates really uncomfortable with the notion that Apple has succeeded more than Microsoft in this space. He is not wrong, since for a time Windows phones and tablets were the only ones out there, while Apple’s Newton was forgotten memory. Those devices either used a slightly modified Windows OS or one that copied all of its metaphors. The latest Windows phones are an exception, but with Windows 8, it will no longer be. It cannot be disputed that there are important applications that do not exist on mobile devices (currently), and therefore mobile devices are not complete (currently). So people argue that mobile devices will be full-fledged computers or desktops will not die. The idea of a dual interface seems to be aimed in this direction. However, a third possibility exists. Applications, after all, merely solve real life problems. They are not themselves holy. If there were a different way of accomplishing the same things, the applications could be replaced. One could argue that data is the rather more holy object. Back to this later.
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on transparency, dynamic wallpaper, 3d desktops

With Windows 7 about to arrive, I’ve been thinking about supposedly “cool” UI trends of recent years that actually annoy me greatly.

Beginning a few years back, when graphics cards in computers not used for games became powerful enough to do something interesting, out came features that tried to take advantage of this power. I’m talking about things like circular windows, transparency, video wallpapers, flipping window previews, 3d desktops, like a cube or whatever…

Now trust me. Since I don’t play games, I’ve thought about using the idle GPU for other purposes, too. So I tried the above features. And they all suck. Greatly. (I also tried GPGPU but that’s a rant for another day.)
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Virtual mode for Windows 7?

Is this a joke?

Windows XP Mode is an add-on for Windows 7 Professional and higher that comes in two parts, each of which has its own setup. The first is Windows Virtual PC, a new version of Microsoft’s free desktop virtualization platform, and the second is Virtual Windows XP itself, which is a virtual hard drive pre-loaded and licensed with Windows XP Service Pack 3.

The magic happens when you then close Virtual XP. Windows 7 whirs and grinds and creates a new Start Menu group called Virtual Windows XP Applications, in my case full of Office 2000 applications. I started Word 2000, and after a couple of minutes’ initialization, it opened in its own window, just like a native application. Impressive, until I started typing and found a severe delay between striking a key and text appearing on the page. (Edit: the couple of minutes are for booting Windows XP in the virtual machine?)

Just me or is this an incredible kludge? If the integration is that weak, it probably makes sense to just let the virtual machine be transparent rather than be a sleight-of-hand.


When you shut down Windows 7 after using Windows XP Mode, the virtual machine hibernates by default, which is convenient but could in time lead to degraded performance.

Bad idea…

Living in the cloud

Cloud computing is taking off. That’s like the first sentence of some recent “introduction” mumbo jumbo I wrote for some paper. There are of course different models of this.

One is to use all services that Google provides, which are entirely built on web applications. I don’t believe this is the right model.
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learning to use other senses (part 2)

… and squint.

This is part of the laptop backlight repair documentation.

So I gave up on fixing the laptop screen. The screen shall forever stay apart from the laptop. I even removed the laptop cover from its hinges so I just get a nice flat machine, and lighter, too. On second thought, this isn’t that bad. It’s no worse than a desktop machine. It’s still portable, and I just need to find a VGA monitor to connect to. Or just use Remote Desktop to connect in. Fine with me. But before I can get an external monitor, I still have a transition period where I need output from the machine right on the desk.
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Activesync is truely (sic) a piece of shit where installing software on your pda also inserts an item into your desktop.” [*]


(Installing and removing software on WinCE with self-deleting cab files… ugh… I don’t want to get started.)

Activesync also has one of the most disorganized program settings interfaces, and it makes no sense. There has been no improvement (save for the changing colors of icons in the GUI) since the earliest versions. Notably, it has no security, so the hack-around solution to make wifi synch’ing work in the past, is no longer supported in the newest versions. The pda file system view also is not a native file system driver, so any file manipulation on the pc is crippled.