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  #1  
Old 06-01-2010, 01:05 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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  #2  
Old 06-01-2010, 02:34 PM
xjudson xjudson is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

Bob,Bob,Bob...Apple isn't a computer company any longer. They are a consumer electronics and financial services company. Their hardware is as closed as your tv remote for very good reasons. If you wanna fiddle around with your computer get a Linux machine and hire Harry to be your on call tech.

My mom and sister have iPads and they never have to call me for help. That's only one reason why Apple rules. I won't bore you with the other 100 reasons...
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2010, 03:05 PM
Stapler Malone Stapler Malone is offline
 
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Default This is Good TV

Stay tuned for next episode, when Bob weighs in at length about the shortcomings of that toaster he recently purchased.

Last edited by Stapler Malone; 06-01-2010 at 04:12 PM..
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  #4  
Old 06-01-2010, 03:11 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

We should just give up the goose and embrace the trend. Bob, can I do a diavlog with Ta-Nehisi Coates about video games (and maybe the Civil War) after Starcraft 2 and Civilization 5 come out this fall?
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2010, 12:32 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
We should just give up the goose and embrace the trend. Bob, can I do a diavlog with Ta-Nehisi Coates about video games (and maybe the Civil War) after Starcraft 2 and Civilization 5 come out this fall?

DZ, I'd watch that one.
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2010, 03:36 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

Quote:
Stay tuned for next episode, when Bob weighs in at length about the short-comings of that toaster he recently purchased.
Don't get me started! I'm for darkness/lightness dials all the way and a good left-right mouse button to toggle from bagels to whole wheat.

We could have a products program every week: Start with electric windows vs. roll-ups in cars, work our way toward cup holders and nail clippers. The sky's the limit, really: condoms, feminine hygiene, caskets or cremation, flossing ware, you-name-it.
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2010, 04:11 PM
Stapler Malone Stapler Malone is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
We could have a products program every week: Start with electric windows vs. roll-ups in cars, work our way toward cup holders and nail clippers. The sky's the limit, really: condoms, feminine hygiene, caskets or cremation, flossing ware, you-name-it.
I wonder if we could arrange for a Frigidaire customer service representative at the call center in Bangalore to flip on his webcam so we could have a diavlog of Bob airing his grievances about the fine print of the refrigerator warranty as regards that crappy ice-maker component!

Last edited by Stapler Malone; 06-01-2010 at 04:17 PM..
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  #8  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:02 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

Quote:
I wonder if we could arrange for a Frigidaire customer service representative at the call center in Bangalore to flip on his webcam so we could have a diavlog of Bob airing his grievances about the fine print of the refrigerator warranty as regards that crappy ice-maker component!
Would that it were so simple.

First off, you have the illegal alien issue to deal with if you transmit over a planet with Arizona in it.

Second, what is Mr. Bangalore's webcam attached to? I demand a s UN Summit on Clip Capability and Computer Display Screen Thickness. Bob got all millimetery on us when that came up.

I was not pleased that Harry used the nuclear option in his reply, suggesting that Bob could just buy a newfangled computer with a built-in camera. Humbug!

But yes, if we could get two Bheads to discuss crushed ice vs. cubes features I'd be delighted. Incidentally, why do some ice cubes stick to your fingers and others don't? Is it true that the Pentagon runs my fingerprints and gets a photograph of my genome every time I touch a sticky one?
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  #9  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:17 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Bob got all millimetery on us when that came up.
Proving, once again, that he hates America, because the metric system is socialist.

And has Latino prefixes.
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:23 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: This is Good TV

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Proving, once again, that he hates America, because the metric system is socialist.

And has Latino prefixes.
And Greek. And you know what that means -- men marrying horses.
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  #11  
Old 06-01-2010, 03:39 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

Quote:
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.

The parallels between what happened to cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York in the 20th century and what’s happening on the Internet since the introduction of the App Store are striking.
Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times

I've recently started using Apple stuff. I'll always take the messy internet over the app store, though.
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  #12  
Old 06-01-2010, 03:59 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

Quote:
Quote:
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.

The parallels between what happened to cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York in the 20th century and what’s happening on the Internet since the introduction of the App Store are striking.
As unopposed as I am to entertaining the thesis/wankery. The bolded portion is illustrative of the failure to cram the silly analogy into an altogether different and irrelevant idea. So all the urban (NY, LA, SF, etc...) sophisticates that have incorporated the format into their lives (app store included) are responsible for contributing to "a" demise of the internet? WTF. Without ever having left. To say nothing of the difference between current Detroit vs. New York. High brow asshattery if you ask me.
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:17 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Originally Posted by graz View Post
As unopposed as I am to entertaining the thesis/wankery. The bolded portion is illustrative of the failure to cram the silly analogy into an altogether different and irrelevant idea. So all the urban (NY, LA, SF, etc...) sophisticates that have incorporated the format into their lives (app store included) are responsible for contributing to "a" demise of the internet? WTF. Without ever having left. To say nothing of the difference between current Detroit vs. New York. High brow asshattery if you ask me.
Hear, hear.
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:09 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Originally Posted by graz View Post
As unopposed as I am to entertaining the thesis/wankery. The bolded portion is illustrative of the failure to cram the silly analogy into an altogether different and irrelevant idea. So all the urban (NY, LA, SF, etc...) sophisticates that have incorporated the format into their lives (app store included) are responsible for contributing to "a" demise of the internet? WTF. Without ever having left. To say nothing of the difference between current Detroit vs. New York. High brow asshattery if you ask me.
Okay, I'll bite. I think a better analogy for the iPad/Phone is the auto industry--like how you used to be able to work on your own car at a much higher level than now, as cars become ever closer to high-tech lozenges that you plug into computers. The App Store does the same thing, making computers more indestructible and reliable, but also more like black boxes.

But also, Bob's critique of Jobs's somewhat capricious censorship: that does ring true. I agree that calling it white flight is a little dumb--not because it isn't a flight, but because white flight is a complicated, burdened example. The truth is though that the App Store is a sanitized version of the internet, free of ... what? Not minorities, and not poor people. What it's free of is crazies and pornography.

It might be a noble thing to weed out the crazies and porn. But I think it isn't. I like the internet with all that. What does the future hold?--will the App Store be 20% of the internet, at a steady state? Or will it be 100% of the internet? Will I still be able to buy a car with a carburetor? Er, I mean read 4Chan?
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:19 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Originally Posted by osmium View Post
What does the future hold?--will the App Store be 20% of the internet, at a steady state? Or will it be 100% of the internet? Will I still be able to buy a car with a carburetor? Er, I mean read 4Chan?
I think (by which I probably mean I hope) that the App Store world will come to be seen as the new incarnation of AOL, circa 1995.

On the other hand, the Internet was in some ways better when the geeks and the n00bs were somewhat walled off from each other. I'm sure any teenage boy on Facebook who has been friended by his mom will agree.
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  #16  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:21 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Originally Posted by osmium View Post
Okay, I'll bite. I think a better analogy for the iPad/Phone is the auto industry--like how you used to be able to work on your own car at a much higher level than now, as cars become ever closer to high-tech lozenges that you plug into computers. The App Store does the same thing, making computers more indestructible and reliable, but also more like black boxes.

But also, Bob's critique of Jobs's somewhat capricious censorship: that does ring true. I agree that calling it white flight is a little dumb--not because it isn't a flight, but because white flight is a complicated, burdened example. The truth is though that the App Store is a sanitized version of the internet, free of ... what? Not minorities, and not poor people. What it's free of is crazies and pornography.

It might be a noble thing to weed out the crazies and porn. But I think it isn't. I like the internet with all that. What does the future hold?--will the App Store be 20% of the internet, at a steady state? Or will it be 100% of the internet? Will I still be able to buy a car with a carburetor? Er, I mean read 4Chan?
I still think that flight misses the point. Customers are lead to or drawn to ease of use, not as an escape, but as a convenience. I'm certain that Job's is streamlining porn for reasons other than nobility. Which might include the same issues surrounding flash -- namely buggy and slow functionality. And Safari still allows you to surf for porn (or science sites in your case) unencumbered. The apps are a separate issue. Jailbreaking or tinkering are still possible and not altogether discouraged, if one is inclined.
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  #17  
Old 06-01-2010, 08:33 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Originally Posted by osmium View Post
It might be a noble thing to weed out the crazies and porn. But I think it isn't. I like the internet with all that.
I take delight when I see diversity in the industry. I am delighted at the stylistic differences between Apple, Google and Microsoft. When a company makes a bone-headed decision, like eschewing the two-button mouse, it gives competitors an opening.

I'm fine with companies banning porn to get some market advantage. I'll go elsewhere for my porn.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 06-01-2010 at 08:43 PM..
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  #18  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:24 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Sadly, no

Sorry, but this is just flat-out wrong. You can control how Windows Updates works, through the Control Panel.* And further, I have mine set to the most automatic possible, but Windows will still ask me if I want to reboot, if the updating process requires it, after it finishes installing the update(s).

(Disclaimer: I'm still running Windows XP, so I can't be sure about later versions, but my experience helping a friend with a Vista machine showed the same behavior. Maybe this is a Windows 7 "feature," but somehow I doubt it.)

Further still, who in this day and age doesn't set his or her word processor or text editor to do autosaves? (Or what professional writer uses an app for writing that doesn't have this feature and/or has not long since gotten in the habit of doing C-x C-s or Control-S or whatever every few minutes?)

Somehow, this bothered me more than all of Bob's griping about his iPhone and webcams, hard as that may be to believe.

==========

* [Added] An afterthought: possibly Harry should change the time when updates are automatically installed to some time when he expects not to be rushing to meet deadline. I have my time set to 3 am, which means that the automatic update process usually works as follows for me. (1) The updates are automatically downloaded (at some less ungodly hour). (2) A little yellow shield icon appears in the System Tray. (3) I click that icon to start the installation of the updates. (4) At the conclusion of the installation, I get a notification window, telling me either that it's done, or that I have to reboot, and in the latter case, I am asked if I want to reboot.

So, possibly, if I was in the middle of something at, say, 3:30 in the morning, my computer would automatically reboot. But I have to say, I am often on my machine at that time, and I've never seen that happen, not once.
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  #19  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:51 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: Sadly, no

WTF! Is this a Windows tutorial now! I've never had the problems McCracken and Wright kvetch about. But, I do have plenty of co-workers who get flummoxed by the shield or any kind of change. My wife also has an aversion to doing anything for herself. I'm grateful to Mozilla Firefox and Ubuntu for teaching me about my PC.
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  #20  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:58 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Further still, who in this day and age doesn't set his or her word processor or text editor to do autosaves? (Or what professional writer uses an app for writing that doesn't have this feature and/or has not long since gotten in the habit of doing C-x C-s or Control-S or whatever every few minutes?)

Somehow, this bothered me more than all of Bob's griping about his iPhone and webcams, hard as that may be to believe
No, it's incredibly easy to believe, not to criticize you personally, BJ. Technical people are often astonished and actually enraged at how poorly non-techies understand the technology they depend on. Look at almost all of the comments so far -- very techie people are mad that a mere mortal like Bob would dare to interview someone about technology.

The amazing technology we have today is increasingly made possible because non-techies buy it and drive the prices down for everyone. It's still very hard to use, and if a non-techie asks for help, he's liable to get blasted by the techie for being so stupid.

I consulted for Sun Microsystems (a powerful server manufacturer) a lot during the 1990s and they absolutely hated dealing with unsophisticated users. They've recently been sold to Oracle and have essentially ceased to exist. Their stock price went from 65 dollars a share at the peak to around three dollars at the bottom.The only reason Sun survived into this century is because they had nine billion dollars in the bank when their business model tanked; they never recovered. Companies like that, who cannot or will not deal effectively with naive users, are doomed. Sad but true, I'm afraid.

Last edited by StillmanThomas; 06-01-2010 at 07:16 PM.. Reason: Typo
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  #21  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:02 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
No, it's incredibly easy to believe, not to criticize you personally, BJ. Technical people are often astonished and actually enraged ...
All of your points about regular people who are not interested in geeking out with their gizmos and want them to Just Work are perfectly legitimate.

However, Harry is not such a person. He was in fact on Bh.tv precisely because he is a geek, who is in the business of distilling wisdom for everyone else. So, he has to meet higher standards, and that means getting basic facts right.
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  #22  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:13 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

To Bokonon and xjudson, also too:

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
All of your points about regular people who are not interested in geeking out with their gizmos and want them to Just Work are perfectly legitimate.
I will say, however, more generally and on a note unrelated to the particular gripe I had about Harry's mistake, that I am actually only 90 or so percent sympathetic to this point of view. To my mind, a user has some responsibility to learn about the gizmo, especially now that we're all connected to each other through them.

I also think that because there is this urge to make everything so simple that even your proverbial Aunt Martha could use it keeps threatening to go too far in the direction of everything being a sealed environment, and nothing under the hood being accessible for those of us who do want to play around, make it do things differently from the way some so-called "usability expert" thinks it should, and more importantly, learn. Mark Pilgrim had a nice post, "Tinkerer’s Sunset," about this a few months back. Ironically enough, one of the star characters is an Apple computer, though the principal villain is the iPad.
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  #23  
Old 06-01-2010, 07:12 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I will say, however, more generally and on a note unrelated to the particular gripe I had about Harry's mistake, that I am actually only 90 or so percent sympathetic to this point of view. To my mind, a user has some responsibility to learn about the gizmo, especially now that we're all connected to each other through them.
Well, good luck holding them responsible. I don't think you can do it, so you're left (as a developer) with making computers increasingly easy to use, and especially to administer.

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I also think that because there is this urge to make everything so simple that even your proverbial Aunt Martha could use it keeps threatening to go too far in the direction of everything being a sealed environment, and nothing under the hood being accessible for those of us who do want to play around,....
Yeah, I hate idiot lights, too. I think that's why people find old cars and hack away on them. You can't really do that with the modern marvels we've created. The same may be true of computers in years to come. You'll have to find some old iron to muck around with, because everything new is a sealed-up xPad.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:14 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
Well, good luck holding them responsible. I don't think you can do it, so you're left (as a developer) with making computers increasingly easy to use, and especially to administer.
Mostly, I agree. But I still think we could do more to encourage people to educate themselves and to take some small amount of responsibility. I think we're making some good progress, and I expect it will always be easier with kids. I just want to keep agitating against too much of a tendency by companies who want to sell you gizmos to advertise themselves as "Don't worry. You won't ever have to think. We've got it all figured out."

[Added: and don't get me started on people who install GPS gizmos in their cars, refuse to look at a map before going to someplace new, and then gripe about being led into a bit of road construction.]

Quote:
Yeah, I hate idiot lights, too. I think that's why people find old cars and hack away on them. You can't really do that with the modern marvels we've created. The same may be true of computers in years to come. You'll have to find some old iron to muck around with, because everything new is a sealed-up xPad.
Cars I can sort of accept, because they really are so high-tech these days, in order to be safer, cleaner, and more efficient, that it's not reasonable to expect them to be made in such a way to enable the backyard mechanics. But as a principle, yes, I agree, and I've got lots of old iron kicking around, for that very reason.
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  #25  
Old 06-01-2010, 07:05 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

Your added comment was posted after my comment was. I think Harry is right that you can't configure automatic updates to install the updates but not reboot automatically. If you're sitting at the computer, it asks if you want to reboot and allows you to delay it. If you're not there (because you went to lunch or are on the phone), it will reboot automatically.

But your response is what my comment was trying to grapple with. Very sophisticated tech people frequently seem to bang on people who "get the facts wrong," which is unhelpful I think. Every bug I've ever encountered, either as a developer or an end user, was created by someone who got the facts wrong. Human beings, both creators and users, always get the facts wrong, at some point.

Commoditizing computers has allowed very unsophisticated users to buy them, but they are still very difficult to administer. What Bob and Harry were talking about are administration problems. This is a Catch 22, and I don't think it has a good solution. But it's vital for developers to realize that users like Bob don't buy computers;they buy solutions to their problems that happen to be implemented on computers. They don't want to look under the hood; they just want to get in and go. That's not a bad thing per se; it just makes developers' already-difficult job that much harder.
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  #26  
Old 06-01-2010, 08:21 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
Your added comment was posted after my comment was. I think Harry is right that you can't configure automatic updates to install the updates but not reboot automatically. If you're sitting at the computer, it asks if you want to reboot and allows you to delay it. If you're not there (because you went to lunch or are on the phone), it will reboot automatically.
Hmmm. I suppose that could be right, although as I say, I've never experienced it, and I do leave my machine on all the time, and due to the way I have it set up (multiple accounts, one of which has to be chosen after the first part of the boot completes), I would notice if a reboot had occurred, for sure. On the other hand, I usually click the icon to start the install as soon as I notice it, so I may have never given the machine a chance to get to this point. I'll try to remember, next Patch Tuesday.

However, irrespective of that, I would point out that going away to lunch or whatever should not mean loss of the document you're working on, should the computer reboot in your absence. Some minimal amount of effort to reduce PEBKAC is not unreasonable to expect, in my view. Save your work before you walk away. Is that really so much to ask? You wouldn't leave papers on a desk with the windows wide open on a rainy, windy day, would you?

Quote:
But your response is what my comment was trying to grapple with. Very sophisticated tech people frequently seem to bang on people who "get the facts wrong," which is unhelpful I think. Every bug I've ever encountered, either as a developer or an end user, was created by someone who got the facts wrong. Human beings, both creators and users, always get the facts wrong, at some point.

Commoditizing computers has allowed very unsophisticated users to buy them, but they are still very difficult to administer. What Bob and Harry were talking about are administration problems. This is a Catch 22, and I don't think it has a good solution. But it's vital for developers to realize that users like Bob don't buy computers;they buy solutions to their problems that happen to be implemented on computers. They don't want to look under the hood; they just want to get in and go. That's not a bad thing per se; it just makes developers' already-difficult job that much harder.
Again, I mostly/generally agree. But I maintain that given who he is and what he does for a living, Harry is not in the group you're thinking about. You wouldn't expect a carpenter to express surprise at those pointy things on a saw blade, would you?

As an aside, I think the Windows Update system is pretty darned good. It's virtually automatic, and gives you about as painless a way as I can imagine to keep your system patched and up to date. I don't really agree that this is an "administration problem" -- right out of the box, it just works. And if you don't like the default behavior, visit the Control Panel. Or open Help, type in some obvious words, and you'll be taken right to the appropriate controls.

There gets to be a point where one can excuse too much on the part of people who don't want to be geeks, I think. I think it is a mistake, as I said elsewhere, for companies to keep promising that you can remain fully disengaged and just trust the gizmo, and for consumers to believe them.

Finally, if it's true that the rebooting happens automatically, after some span of idle time, okay. I could see tweaking that. But other than that, I really don't think Microsoft should be taken to task for this of all things.
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  #27  
Old 06-02-2010, 12:29 AM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
However, irrespective of that, I would point out that going away to lunch or whatever should not mean loss of the document you're working on, should the computer reboot in your absence. Some minimal amount of effort to reduce PEBKAC is not unreasonable to expect, in my view. Save your work before you walk away. Is that really so much to ask? You wouldn't leave papers on a desk with the windows wide open on a rainy, windy day, would you?
Well, I completely agree that it shouldn't be too much to expect, but clearly, from my long experience helping friends and family, it is. People don't realize that they can turn on autosave and specify the interval. Many users have no idea how to do that, and if you tell them it's possible, they couldn't find the settings to make it happen. To quote Boz Scaggs, that's the sad sad truth, it's the dirty lowdown. So once again, we can bang on users and try to hold them responsible for knowing enough, but they don't and many of them won't try.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Again, I mostly/generally agree. But I maintain that given who he is and what he does for a living, Harry is not in the group you're thinking about. You wouldn't expect a carpenter to express surprise at those pointy things on a saw blade, would you?
Well again, Harry was surprised that Microsoft hadn't made this an option after all these years. I would be surprised if Sears didn't install safety guards on their Craftsman table saws.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
As an aside, I think the Windows Update system is pretty darned good. It's virtually automatic, and gives you about as painless a way as I can imagine to keep your system patched and up to date. I don't really agree that this is an "administration problem" -- right out of the box, it just works. And if you don't like the default behavior, visit the Control Panel. Or open Help, type in some obvious words, and you'll be taken right to the appropriate controls.
I agree that automatic update works very well indeed. I never thought 20 years ago that it could ever get to this point. That said, many users are incapable of doing the simple steps you mention. I consider setting up system default behavior, especially for things such as updates, but even for word processor autosave, to be administrative. Having consulted in dozens of companies over the years, that's just the kind of thing that sys admins were constantly being driven crazy with. It's the high cost of low price; the systems are enormously powerful, but they're hideously complex. As they say, "that's why they pay those techies the big bucks."
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:54 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Harry was right and I was wrong

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Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
Your added comment was posted after my comment was. I think Harry is right that you can't configure automatic updates to install the updates but not reboot automatically. If you're sitting at the computer, it asks if you want to reboot and allows you to delay it. If you're not there (because you went to lunch or are on the phone), it will reboot automatically.
Hmmm. I suppose that could be right, although as I say, I've never experienced it, and I do leave my machine on all the time, and due to the way I have it set up (multiple accounts, one of which has to be chosen after the first part of the boot completes), I would notice if a reboot had occurred, for sure. On the other hand, I usually click the icon to start the install as soon as I notice it, so I may have never given the machine a chance to get to this point. I'll try to remember, next Patch Tuesday.
This Patch Tuesday, I remembered this thread, and had two computers to experiment with. I let the downloads happen automatically on both of them. On one, I clicked the icon in the System Tray to install the patches after they had finished downloading, and at the completion of installation, Windows popped up a screen telling me I would need to reboot. I left it alone, and it never did reboot automatically. For the next 5+ hours, at least, until I clicked the OK button to make it reboot.

However, on the other (this machine) I let the installation proceed automatically, at its scheduled time of 3 am. I could tell the patches were being applied, because Windows, as is usual, repaints the screen after each patch is installed. When all patches were installed, the following pop-up window appeared on my screen.

________________________________________________

BELOW IS A SCREEN CAPTURE. NO NEED TO WORRY.
NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU CLICK IT.
(BUT TO BE EXTRA SAFE, DON'T CLICK IT.)



ABOVE IS A SCREEN CAPTURE. NO NEED TO WORRY.
NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU CLICK IT.
(BUT TO BE EXTRA SAFE, DON'T CLICK IT.)
________________________________________________

I should add that this pop-up window stayed on top of other windows, even when I made the other windows active.

When the time expired, the automatic reboot did, in fact, take place.

So, Harry was right, and I was wrong. Sorry for harshing on you, Harry.

I do want to point out that I had a fifteen-minute warning, with a persistent nag screen that couldn't be inadvertently hidden, closed, or minimized, about the pending reboot, so I'm still not buying the full extent of the claim that Harry made, that Windows reboots when you're right in the middle of something, with no warning, causing you to lose work. It would take an unusual amount of not paying attention for this to happen.

[Added: I suppose, that since the Restart Now button is active, an inadvertent press of the Enter key right at the instant when the window first pops up would start the reboot, and could leave one with the impression that it had happened "without warning."]

Nonetheless, the essence of Harry's claim stands: Windows will automatically reboot your computer, if you have the updating process set to happen fully automatically, and you let it all happen automatically, rather than clicking the icon to start the patch installation ahead of the scheduled installation time. +1 to Harry, -1 to me.

I remind those who for some reason are worried about this that you have control over the process, as the screen shot below shows.



Access this through your Control Panel -- look for Automatic Updates on Windows XP, and probably the same or close on other versions.
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  #29  
Old 06-02-2010, 09:02 AM
CarolinaGirl CarolinaGirl is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

L
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All of your points about regular people who are not interested in geeking out with their gizmos and want them to Just Work are perfectly legitimate.

However, Harry is not such a person. He was in fact on Bh.tv precisely because he is a geek, who is in the business of distilling wisdom for everyone else. So, he has to meet higher standards, and that means getting basic facts right.
But is it unreasonable to expect our technology to (someday) work as seamlessly as the basic, old school telephone? Apple products have always strived for such seamlessness. Just think how different the world would be had Apple been granted a monopoly as AT&T was way back when.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:45 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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But is it unreasonable to expect our technology to (someday) work as seamlessly as the basic, old school telephone? Apple products have always strived for such seamlessness. Just think how different the world would be had Apple been granted a monopoly as AT&T was way back when.
To your opening question, I would say, "Yes and no." Bjarne Stroustrup, an über-geek if there ever was one (I'd call him a true wizard), put it well when he said:

Quote:
I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.
He's being a little tongue-in-cheek, obviously, and I'm pretty sure he sees it from the opposite side, as do I. Which is to say ...

In the old Ma Bell days, you picked up a phone and it just worked, as far as making or answering a call went. End of story.

On the downside, you had to stand with a few feet of the connection to the wall, you had to pay a monthly rental fee for the piece of equipment, you did not have any option about services like call waiting, call forwarding, or Caller ID, not to mention options about various long distance calling plans, not to mention the ability to do conference calls, have an answering machine or voice mail, and so on. You could not buy a piece of hardware that you liked better, whether because of its aesthetic appeal or its additional features like Redial, Mute, and Speaker. You could not ... well, you get my point.

Now, maybe you don't care about these new bells and whistles, as it were, associated with your phone. But a lot of people do, or at least like having the choices, or at the very least, appreciate the plummeting real costs of telephone service, consciously or not. And I know parents rest a little easier knowing that their kids don't have to search for pay phones.

So, on to computers. In the end, I do not think all of us will ever share the same views about what a computer should do and how it should do it. It sounds like you are one of those who wants to take it out of its box and just get to work, and feels like hurling it across the room whenever your train of thought is broken by it. As I said, I consider this a completely legitimate point of view, and I am delighted that Apple exists to serve these desires and evidently does it so well. I do not hate on Apple for running such a hermetically sealed operation, whether it comes to being the sole supplier of the operating system for their computer hardware, or how they integrate the iTunes store with their other gadgets. If people want not to have to think to do whatever it is they want to do, be it send email, surf the Web, make movies, listen to music, or whatever, and they're willing to surrender some freedom to tinker in return for convenience and reliability (and coolness, I'll admit), fine.

However, not all people want this deal. Not everyone wants a MacIntoy, as the old insult went. I, for example, find fiddling with computers an endlessly fascinating activity, both at the hardware and software levels. I like to take them apart. I like to try to make them do things in ways they weren't originally designed to do. I like to be able to buy used components on eBay and Craigslist and be pretty darned sure I can connect them with other things made by other manufacturers. I like to blast software -- including new operating systems -- written by other people onto them, just to see. Just to play. Just to learn. Just for whatever reason.

Therefore, I most certainly would not like computers to be designed and sold by a monopoly, especially one that is convinced that it alone knows the best way to do everything. There is room for a multiplicity of approaches, and I think that's best for overall progress, as well.

[Added] Afterthought: As far as your implicit question about reliability goes, I also have some sympathy. I sometimes wonder if we'll ever get computers and their associated networks to the proverbial "five nines" that telephone engineers always used to talk about.

On the other hand, for all of our collective grousing about glitches, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of us prefer lower prices and shiny new things ASAP to rock-solid reliability. Not much to do about that except accept it as a fact of life, and try to improve things incrementally, in spite of it. And be a little more demanding when setting specs for when it really matters that things work.
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  #31  
Old 06-01-2010, 08:20 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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Sorry, but this is just flat-out wrong. You can control how Windows Updates works, through the Control Panel.* And further, I have mine set to the most automatic possible, but Windows will still ask me if I want to reboot, if the updating process requires it, after it finishes installing the update(s).
I believe you, but Windows kept crashing while hunting for updates at 3AM in 2004, on a computer running a weeks-long fuel cell test, which would crash the test. Every day I would re-configure it, and then blam it would do it again. Took like 4-5 tries to get it to stop, and the results even made it into print (Figure with breaks in the data curve).

The point of this post: They may have (since then) made it easier to configure it to do what you really want, but regardless I still hold it against them, and if you drugged me up and gave me a word association test and said "Windows" I'd scream (while drugged up) "Those fuckers ruin everything, damn them, damn them straight to hell."

At the time, I looked up what all the daily updates were about, and they were for DRM. Which makes it even worse. Very likely, my hatred for Windows will not go away till a few days after my funeral is held. PR is important!

(Disclaimer: I like Windows better than both Mac and Linux. I wish I didn't have to use computers at all.)

Last edited by osmium; 06-01-2010 at 08:26 PM..
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  #32  
Old 06-01-2010, 08:41 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Sadly, no

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I believe you, but Windows kept crashing while hunting for updates at 3AM in 2004, on a computer running a weeks-long fuel cell test, ...
It is now possible to disable Automatic Updates completely, so that you have to do them explicitly. I don't know how long that's been true, but given that it works that way on my XP machines, and worked that way on my Win2K machines, I think it's probably been around for a while.

I might have a vague memory of MS forcing updates on something related to DRM, though, so ...okay. Yes, no question, that's evil, in addition to being evil for breaking other things when it doesn't work. In that case, you probably already saw this.

==========

[Added]

Quote:
(Disclaimer: I like Windows better than both Mac and Linux. I wish I didn't have to use computers at all.)
(emph. added)

Philistine!

;^)
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  #33  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:48 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default @Bob - Get the Pre

HPalm is probably going to release a vastly more powerful webOS phone down the road, but you can just hop to that later on and if you like webOS then patronize it, too many others did not and it led to a superior phone OS being sidelined in a sea of android/iphones.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:56 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: @Bob - Get the Pre

Can anyone tell me what the 'Under the Hood' difference between WebOS and the other OS are? McCracken only went so far with the aesthetics v. functionality distinction. My first laptop was an HP, and I had a Palm PDA for the longest time, so I'd love to stay loyal to both and reward innovation by buying whatever comes next - all things being equal.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:03 AM
thouartgob thouartgob is offline
 
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Default Re: @Bob - Get the Pre

WebOS is linux under the hood like android (well android uses java virtual machine on top of linux and iphone uses a subset of BSD Unix ) but it allows developers to use tools that web developers use, javascript,html,css etc. to develop apps that run on the phone, I believe the web browser handles most of the interface. Android devs use java and iphone uses xcode ( a version of apples Objective C programming language ) and webOS could or will be able to run flash.

So WebOS is easy to develop for but because it is relatively young developers didn't get to easy access all of the hardware bits such as graphic accelerator, touch interface blah blah.

Here we have another issue with apple since if you want to develop for iphone/ipad you MUST use their tools to do so. You can use whatever you want to develop WebOS or Android as long as it spits out the right code at the end to run on the platform. This puts me in mind of video showing Microsoft's steve balmer yelling at his minions at M$ to concentrate on the needs of software developers "DEVELOPERS,DEVELOPERS,DEVELOPERS " and slamming the table as a exclamation point. In response Steve Jobs must say something like "Developers ? Tell those scum to lick my boots" :-)
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:32 PM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: @Bob - Get the Pre

Thanks!

It sounds as if WebOS is superior, at least for developers, to Apple and MS. Why has Palm never gotten traction in sales or among developers?
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:24 AM
thouartgob thouartgob is offline
 
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Default Re: @Bob - Get the Pre

Palm has a ways to go to get a critical mass of apps in their store. They started late because Palm went through a couple of versions of operating systems before settling on webOS. They tried to buy a new one (BeOS), stopped that, started working on at least one more before they settled on webOS. They actually were going to try to introduce a new type of cellphone accessory the Folio, basically a small subnotebook that talked to the internet through their treo phones, then just before launch dropped it. So developers might be a little reticent to jump in too early.

Also the OS is young and it didn't have all of the hooks into the hardware that phoneOS and Android did. So as an example you could use the tilt sensor on the thing to tell you it's in landscape mode or portrait or maybe even 45 degrees but it didn't allow the developer to access the "tilt data" either with enough precision or with enough speed so that limited the functionality a bit ( games ). Of course that will be rectified.

I enjoyed by palm 3x and sony clio so I wish palm the best of luck. I had cut and paste on my palm 3 and had to wait 2 YEARS for it on the iphone. That is what I hate about Apple. Withholding features that are trivially easy to implement but important in order to sell you the next version. Still their interfaces are second to none and you never have to crack a manual to use it.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:53 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Clearly, ...

... this is all the fault of the commenters.
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  #39  
Old 06-01-2010, 05:58 PM
claz claz is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

Bloggingheads app for the iphone????? hello
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  #40  
Old 06-01-2010, 06:22 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Tech Nerd Edition (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)

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Bloggingheads app for the iphone????? hello
If it did automatic transcription of the diavlogs, then even I might buy an iPhone.
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