[rescue] NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP?

Michael Parson mparson at bl.org
Tue Aug 12 13:43:45 CDT 2014

On Tue, 12 Aug 2014, Liam Proven wrote:
> On 12 August 2014 00:04, Carl R. Friend <crfriend at rcn.com> wrote:
>>    On Mon, 11 Aug 2014, Liam Proven wrote:
>>    Hmmm.  "Drama queen".  I'll have to say that's the first time I've
>> been called that.
> :B,)
>>    What they forgot, however, is that certain classes of people have
>> very specific needs when it comes to a computer.  Programmers and
>> writers need -- absolutely -- real keyboards; publishers require
>> screens that realistically render what the finished print will look
>> like; photographers who work in the digital realm need large very
>> precise monitors.  These are the "content producers"; everybody
>> else, unless he's dual-role, is a consumer.
> You continue to doggedly miss my point.
> We are not talking about Windows RT here. We are talking about Windows
> 8.x, a PC OS that runs on generic PC hardware and which has the exact
> same desktop interface it has had since 1995, with a different-looking
> Start menu -- as the Win7 one is different from the Vista one, Vista's
> from XP's, XP's from Win2K which was different from NT4's which was
> different from Win95's.

To be fair, the Start-menu differences between all the previous release
of Windows were pretty minor compared to the full-screen-o-panels you
get in 8.1.

> The desktop is still there. Exactly as it was. Notification area. Menu
> bars. Close/maximise/minimize buttons. Alt-F, O to open a file, Ctrl-P
> to print it.
> It is all still there. Nothing removed, nothing disabled. In W8.1 you
> can even right-click the Start button -- yes it has a Start button --
> and get the Control Panel, system management etc. stuff just as
> before.

Thanks for that tip, I never thought to right-click on the Start-menu...
found a better way to shutdown/reboot the remote system.

> I am a writer myself. I make my living from bashing out words.
> Windows 8.x is 100% as good at that as any previous version. It's a
> bit faster and sleeker than Win7, actually.

So far, I've only used 8.x in a (remote) VM, which makes it even harder
to interact with.  I've not googled around or read any docs, so, the
only way I know how to bring up that slide-up/pop-out/whatever menu on
the right side of the screen is to hold the mouse over just-the-right
spot and after a delay it shows up, not sure if there's a keyboard
shortcut to bring that up or not, but until I'm shown how to do that
better, that was a horrible UI design decision.  Makes sense in touch,
makes zero sense in a mouse-driven UI.

Keep in mind that whatever keyboard short-cut that it might be has to be
accessible when I'm accessing the VM from another Windows (7) system and
can't be intercepted by the local OS.  Maybe things are better when it's
the local OS, but it's not cleared for desktop use by my company yet, I
only have it installed in a VM for compatibility testing of stuff our
clients use.

> And you know what? An increasing number of the writers I know are
> using iPads with keyboard-cases and so on now, which gives the lie to

Not 100% touch interface any more.  Ironically, hard to touch-type on a
touch-screen. ;)

I love my tablet, great for consuming media, but when I need to get work
done, I snap it into its keyboard dock (Asus TF300T) and I have my real
keyboard. Still (going OT a bit here...), even a touch-screen keyboard
is an improvement over the first two-way pager I had to use... I think
it was 'Skytel' clam-shell with a 5-way nav where you had to scroll
thorugh the letters/symbols one a time to tap out your message.  Once,
when I got paged and was in a movie (don't worry, it was on vibrate
and it didn't have a bright screen, I didn't bother anyone else in the
theater), I had to tap out, char-by-char:

/usr/local/news/bin/ctlinnd go ""

Which I then saved off as a canned response, cuz I never wanted to have
to do that again.

> your comment about:

>>  Tablets and whatnot
>> work great for consumers -- and are where touch-enabled idioms are
>> not just OK, they're actually a very good idea; however, for the
>> producer, the touch idiom is not just an unnecessary distraction
>> it's a detriment to their work, and I think that's where the largest
>> complaint sector about the default W8 interface comes from.
> Win8 is Win7 with a full-screen Start menu, *and nothing more*. It can
> do everything Win7 can and more besides. All this guff about it not
> being suitable for content-creators and power users and sysadmins is
> 100% double-hopped horseshit: it can do absolutely everything all its
> predecessors could.

I can't say I disagree with this too much...  Yeah, the built in apps
suck, but they've always sucked on Windows.  Anyone that wanted to get
any real work done never used Outlook-express, notepad, Wordpad, or IE.
Power users have always installed their mail client of choice, their
text editor of choice, and most businesses provided us with an install
of MS Office, or if you're a home user, if you didn't liberate a copy of
MS Office from elsewhre, you install Open/Libre Office, and IE was just
used to download FF or Chrome.

When I'm stuck using Windows on my desktop, as I currently am, I install
cygwin and spend most of my time in xterms sshed into remote *nix hosts.

MS corrected most of the blatenly bad ideas of 8.0 in 8.1, and the
full-screen-o-tiles start-menu is a presentation change from the
semi-hierarchical presentation of the old start-menu that debued in Win


My theory on how MS comes up with some of their ideas... They have
people that hear about what the competition is doing.  These people then
try and use their words to describe what they think they saw and heard
to those who do the design and dev of the rest of it, who do their bast
to produce what they think they heard described to them.

I first noticed this with IE 4.0 and 'Active Desktop', where your
wallpaper/background was basically a we browser showing web snippets.  I
could just imagine the conversation...

"So, what is it people like about this new Linux OS over what we've

"Well, Linux is always on the Internet, it's like it's in the background
always there"

"Internet in the background you say....?"

Years later, we're given Windows XP and it's bubble-gum looking default
theme, and followed by Vista and it's even more candy-coated look:

"So, Mac seems to be making inroads on our market share, what is it
people like about it?"

"Well, from what I've heard, it's a very pretty UI, the icons are kinda
pastel and soft and remind me of an easter-basket of candy"

And then we're at Windows 8 and 8 RT and Metro/Modern/whatever it's

"So, I hear Apple is starting to merge some of their UI experience bits
between their mobile devices and the desktop"

And here we are today.

Michael Parson
Austin, TX

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