Disturbing Computing Trend

potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
edited 2013-01-10 20:14 in General Discussion
Yesterday we replaced an older HP laptop. We bought the same product line so we could clone the system disk for a quick move to a new machine. Doing this generally saves a day or two getting a machine all setup for a user to use.

I'm shocked at what we received.

Got the machine, opened it up and there is no specific hardware identifier anywhere on it. On the outside of the box, that info is there with the additional "us" designator which used to not be there. HP typically has product and model numbers and those can be used to find out what is actually inside the machine.

On this one, they didn't provide that info.

All consumer products from HP now come as Windows 8 machines. All of them. You have to pay a lot of money for a "business" class machine that can run Windows 7 now.

The only identifier on the machine is a bland Windows 8 sticker, BTW. No license code, nothing.

So we took that system disk out before powering up the computer. My plan is to boot Win 8 on something else for some testing and use of the license. Since the machine shipped to us is secure boot, I wonder whether or not that OS will even boot on any other machine. Will find out Monday. If I were to call in, I have no codes to even tell them what I did, other than to just say, "I moved it to this machine" which I know won't work well at all. To get those, I suspect I have to boot and agree on the original hardware, but maybe not. Again, Monday on that.

Here is the fun part!

I installed the cloned system disk from the older machine and attempted a boot on the new one. Usually, that works with the worst case being a driver or two needed and a phone call to let them know we've taken the old one out of service.

This one just said, "OS NOT FOUND" and offered a Hard Disk diagnostic. I ran that and the machine said the disk was fine. Of course it was fine! It's a brand new disk cloned and tested. That was my first clue about how things have just changed recently. You see, the secure boot BIOS saw the disk, but didn't see the digitally signed OS and would not boot that OS.

Having kept up on trends, I knew I had to go in and select legacy boot mode from the BIOS. Guess what? They don't indicate how to do that anywhere. So I was left to power cycling and mashing keys. Found it, but not on the usual key and it made me enter a code to access the BIOS screen letting me know they could have simply locked that option out leaving me with a locked computer only able to boot the software authorized for it.

Legacy mode means "not trusted" and who is not trusted? Me, of course! I might want to do something I want to do with the computer, because it's well... mine! Truth is, it's mine, only if they say it is. Remember, ALL of the HP consumer devices now work this way. It's not possible to buy one that doesn't.

The trades report that Win 8 adoption is worse than Vista at this point. Well, HP is making sure those numbers come up and are playing hard ball given what I just experienced. Ordinary people will either deal or return the machine. It's that bad.

After booting Win 7, I found network, USB, bluetooth, ethernet all locked out due to lack of driver support. A trip to the HP site for drivers reveals they only offer Windows 8 drivers and a little more digging yields some very ugly statements of theirs. Basically, their position is Windows 8 only, and you can only downgrade legally if you bought Windows 7 Professional. Home users get no downgrade rights at all, which is why HP chose to offer nothing of the kind. Ordinary people don't need open computers anymore and that's the go forward message.

After some digging and a little bit of luck, I got the USB, ethernet and wireless going, leaving some odd bits and pieces not working due to lack of drivers and lack of knowing just what they put in there. That's a trip through the registry and long hours looking arcane and obscure stuff, something nobody is really going to do.

I was there in the 90's and 00's when this stuff was really being discussed. Many of you were too. Remember the rise of the closed smart phone? Well, there you go. At that time, I said that was the computing vision the big players had because that was the only path to a workable DRM. They've not let go of the dream and have just been quietly building this mess and have now deployed it.

On ARM, Windows 8 can only be sold on a locked down box, secure, no alternative OS bootable, unless it too has been signed and I'm unclear, but one or two Linuxes actually did this. On Intel, Win 8 will run on unsecure machines, but won't offer the full experience due to DRM issues. The users of those are not trusted users, meaning they can't have some stuff that users who are trusted --read prevented from doing anything undesirable to the manufacturers and software houses, do get that stuff.

Notice how many web sites are simplifying and applications are beginning to do the same? One UI, suitable for tablet, phone, computer, etc... appliance type computing where your needs are met with apps and dollars. Happy days kids!

I suggest you do some reading on these things and research your new computers very carefully. You may find they won't do what you want them to do.

HP could have locked out the BIOS option, and had they done that, I would have bought a brick, unless I wanted to run Windows 8 on it, and this user is very skilled too. Windows 8 is a huge downgrade in terms of basic user interaction capability. That is expensive enough to warrant buying the higher class machine just to run old freaking software!

This is a mess. I am not a happy camper right now.


  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-05 10:49
    BTW: I wondered why Bunnie started work on his own open laptop, publishing along the way. Thought it a curio, but...


    Now, I'm not so sure. He wants to own a machine, not rent it. This is the guy who published how to hack secure devices, using the original XBox as a model.
  • Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 4,050
    edited 2013-01-05 10:51
    potatohead wrote: »
    On Intel, Win 8 will run on unsecure machines, but won't offer the full experience due to DRM issues. The users of those are not trusted users, meaning they can't have some stuff that users who are trusted --read prevented from doing anything undesirable to the manufacturers and software houses, do get that stuff.

    The most annoying part about all this DRM is that Microsoft knows it won't work.They're just doing it to placate the media companies. Why does Microsoft know it won't work? Back in the early naughts two of their engineers wrote a paper panning DRM as ultimately impossible. The paper's predictions have proved remarkably prescient. Apple meanwhile continues to attempt to lock down the iPhone only to find the jail breakers continue to unlock them.
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2013-01-05 11:03
    The moral to this is pamper any cherished laptop you now have because if it dies the replacement will only run Vista 8!
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-05 11:04
    Actually, it will.

    Two things not really mentioned in that paper:

    1. Legislation So far, the law has done fairly well against geeks.

    2. The power of the default.

    If the vast majority of people are computing in a compliant way, the outliers are easily targeted and marginalized.

    As we all and our hardware age out, the up and coming people won't even know the right questions to ask, nor the full range of choices to expect.

    Think long game.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    edited 2013-01-05 11:27
    If it does not work as a "computer", which it perhaps has been advertised as, then return it as unfit for purpose.
    If it is sold as a single unit, hardware + OS, then you only have yourself to blame for buying what you don't want.

    Amazingly computer geeks, perhaps inspired by Richard Stallman, have been warning about this scenario for two decades or so.
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2013-01-05 11:30
    potatohead wrote: »
    Actually, it will.

    Two things not really mentioned in that paper:

    1. Legislation So far, the law has done fairly well against geeks.

    2. The power of the default.

    If the vast majority of people are computing in a compliant way, the outliers are easily targeted and marginalized.

    As we all and our hardware age out, the up and coming people won't even know the right questions to ask, nor the full range of choices to expect.

    Think long game.

    I was thinking long game and it's a sad state of affairs. The non-compliant are technological colonists facing an oppressive techno-gover-bureaucratic empire. The problem with revolution is the masses are so dumbed down and happy whatever they can get will let them Facebook and Tweet, they see no value in fighting. They don't understand the value of life, liberty and happiness, just friends , followers and how things are in FarmVille. We've lived in the best of times, our children and grand children are facing the worst of times.
  • ctwardellctwardell Posts: 1,713
    edited 2013-01-05 13:13
    Look at the Google Chromebooks if you want to see where it is ultimately headed.

    The typical user can do most everything they want from the web, so for them devices that are really just a UI back to some McCorporartions view of what computing should be is fine with them.

    Most people have no need for a "computer" in the sense of what most of us consider a computer. The big problem is once the kind of power and flexibility we are used too is no longer a commodity item the price for us will go through the roof.

    This isn't going to have a happy ending.

  • ercoerco Posts: 19,842
    edited 2013-01-05 14:20
    How about desktops, assuming you can still find those? Those are usually more user-friendly in terms of swapping HDs, video cards, memory, etc. My 2005 Office Depot Compaq Presario is still chugging along fine, after having replaced all those items mentioned.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-05 14:26
    This isn't a technical problem. Secure boot machines will require a chain of trust that's complete from the software / media vendor to the user. That means you won't get the final call on stuff you buy. Some allowances will be made, but it's going to be a lot like we see on some older computers now. "Can't watch that movie, or run this program on unsupported platform."

    It is a market / policy problem, which is why I put it here today. Some of us will build, hack, whatever but we will be an increasing minority and a little bit of law here and there marginalizes those efforts fairly well.
  • rod1963rod1963 Posts: 752
    edited 2013-01-05 15:22
    Computers may as well be magic for the bulk of the population today.

    Yeah I remember when the effort of turning PC's into black boxes was being discussed over a decade ago, I hoped it would never come about. But M$ has made enough strides OS wise and is such a economic monster today it can inflict its will on major hardware vendors without much effort and it looks like they finally got their way.

    The only thing hardware hackers can do is stay with older machines and OS's like XP. Dump the latest Orwellian garbage from M$. In time though the old school hackers will end up like Amiga users and having to roll their own systems with FPGA's or make open source ARM boards as M$ closes out open Intel/AMD alternatives.

    And it's just a matter of time before M$ pressures other motherboard manufacturers into doing the same thing as HP if they want to run M$ software. Since there is no competing alternative, they will bow to M$.

    Sadly the younger generations won't even understand what they are missing with these blackboxes. Then again all they want to do is watch youtube videos and spend time on Facebook. It would be wasted on them anyways.
  • NWCCTVNWCCTV Posts: 3,629
    edited 2013-01-05 16:40
    erco wrote: »
    How about desktops, assuming you can still find those? .

    I am still building systems for clients and many of them still want XP. It is getting harder and harder to purchase hardware that has ANY XP support as most of it is now Windows 7. The SATA setting in motherboard BIOS must be changed because it now defaults to Windows 7 settings and you will never get XP installed if it is not changed. I unfortunately forsee this happening with Windows 8 down the road. I think it is appalling that a Computer company is allowed to "Block" you from doing what you want with YOUR system. I smell Class Action all over this one. Just wait until a Lawyer gets his hands on one and wants to put Windows 7 on it and is told he can not. I think that is what it will take for the manufacturers to see they are wrong.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    edited 2013-01-05 16:46
    Sadly the younger generations won't even understand what they are missing with these blackboxes. Then again all they want to do is watch youtube videos and spend time on Facebook. It would be wasted on them anyways.

    As I got older and older I used to think more and more like that. However there is some light on the horizon:

    Have a look at what the Rasperry Pi Foundation has been up to. www.raspberrypi.org. The kids inspired by that will not be happy whith closed machines as they become adults.

    Have a look at the Maker movement.

    On top of that I find my bosses teenage children telling me that FaceBook is only for the old folks !
  • Erik FriesenErik Friesen Posts: 1,071
    edited 2013-01-05 17:39
    I used to never think Linux had a chance to be mainstream, I think from here on is where we may see. I see folks moving away from closed platforms toward android, in part because of the software/app store thing. It wouldn't surprise me to see a real android alternative for desktops.

    Dell typically allows you to choose windows version, although I see laptop options are more limited than desktops.

    The customer is ultimately who decides who wins.

    How many people realize that writing apps for windows rt is probably similar in some ways to getting a usb device and driver certified? Thus, the pool of apps will be much smaller, albeit "safer".
  • Peter KG6LSEPeter KG6LSE Posts: 1,383
    edited 2013-01-05 18:49
    Looks like MS has dare I say it . Become apple !

    rounded edges DRM and all. all they need is a hipster CEO whom will wear jeans and we are set !

    Sadly the face is that the masses are not smart enough to know what is going on ... I just hope that MS gets a wake up call in the form of poor sales ...
  • Clock LoopClock Loop Posts: 1,976
    edited 2013-01-05 19:02
    Notice that when this happens in the industry.... it takes a bit but things come along to replace companies like M$. Even DOS/Windows was the underdog while macs ruled.
    Cyclic... just a matter of time before some group moves everyone in another direction.

    Plus with all the tablet/phone android ... things will only move away from M$ into a open platform type programming environment.. we see this with java, flash, html...etc... M$ days are numbered, they know it, so they are trying to batton down the hatches to hold on tight to their market... which really only works for a bit before techs have finally had enough, and force their users to move onto another platform...(just as long as those techs provide database conversion and same functionality)

    Also, the problem you are seeing with these new pc's is their bios is UEFI... its a new standard with issues, that will most likely be ironed out... and the iron grip that M$ thinks they have will evaporate... (plus ee's will just create new UEFI compliant bios's that they can sell for hella cheap(or even re-flash). they did it back in the day too, when these same things were tried back in the 90's.
  • Peter KG6LSEPeter KG6LSE Posts: 1,383
    edited 2013-01-05 21:25
    Clock Loop wrote: »
    Notice that when this happens in the industry.... it takes a bit but things come along to replace companies like M$. Even DOS/Windows was the underdog while macs ruled.
    Cyclic... just a matter of time before some group moves everyone in another direction.

    Plus with all the tablet/phone android ... things will only move away from M$ into a open platform type programming environment.. we see this with java, flash, html...etc... M$ days are numbered, they know it, so they are trying to batton down the hatches to hold on tight to their market... which really only works for a bit before techs have finally had enough, and force their users to move onto another platform...(just as long as those techs provide database conversion and same functionality)

    exaclty !

    just my opinion from what I saw as a kid /teen and young dude.

    In the 90s apple was failing bad ! ., windows 98SE was King and I had a PC AMD K6/2 450 MHz with 3D NOW ,,,,, 128 MB ram and a 7.8 GB HDD
    then the IMAC came ... I did not get one till the IMAC DV SE came out . it had 450 MHz CPU 256MB RAM and a 20 GB HDD and FIREWIRE !

    The latter is why I got it ! . I can finally do real video ! . ( I still wonder how I rendered any thing on a sub GHZ G3 ! )
    So in 98 the Win-tel was for the first time challenged ! .. The Imac was Sexy and hip ! .

    OSX was a huge leap forward . it was the 1st time a major OS did a complete recode . inside and out.... Me I used OS9 till 2008 .

    Till vista and 7 you could still see the " looks " of windows 95 !

    Vista was a sign of things to come and many I knew dumped Windows and just " dealt with " apple . most are still on a mac . Some just begged me to get something on there new PC so that they can do Facebook and do homework . I have to admit Linux was HOT HOT HOT in my dorm I can say that a least a 3rd ran it !

    20xx is going to be the year of the Linux .. no sadly no year is that year . its a slow change . but what most Dont know is that they OWN a Linux computer in there pocket .. android is based on the Linux kernel ........ its a success story for consumers ..... and makes me happy to know I was dinking with Linux back in 2005

    So now its just 2013 and No mac is not the top the charts ( but there stock is ! ) MS is not Dead ( but man its making some very risky moves )
    and Linux has found its calling ( where I feel it does really well as a Phone OS . )

    MS in a attempt to stay " hip" has dropped the start bar and has gone IOS on us .

    Apple has dropped the optical Drive for all but the Mac Pro . has now USB 3 and thunderbolt and now is going all IOS on us with a " app store "
    and considering they yanked the CD drive they had to ! . hipsters have to get apps ( ehem programs ! ) some how !

    frankly I consider OSX as of now to be a more "traditional " * OS then W8! it's not as dumb ed down! for a change HAH!

    * traditional as in has a Full file browser tree and is less like a tablet OS

    this Year will be one to watch as we see the rise of ARM as a HW option . and see MS soar high or sink .
    Apple with no more Steve at the helm has some rough days ahead .

    franky as soon as I can Iam trying as fast AS i can to leave apple as a base system for day to day use, and transistion to a Full Linux desktop for my main system ! .... its al haignin on the programs I use ,, I need to have some good AV editing stuff and its just not up to snuff Yet ......
  • rwgast_logicdesignrwgast_logicdesign Posts: 1,464
    edited 2013-01-05 23:58
    This appalling and scary, yet it could also be the kick in the butt the stale desktop market needs. I started using linux back in 1998 because at the time I wrote alot of tcp/ip code and some of my code was on the shady side, so my 16 year old "elite" type attitude was definitely attracted to a unix box with all those utilities and programming languages, everyone knows real hackers use *inx. Since 1998 linux has come a long way and in the past few years Ive switched from gentoo to ubuntu, its just so easy to install and theres no fussing with it.

    Why I find the MS move scary is because, like you've all said most people do not care and don't know enough to understand what windows 8 has the potential to do to the desktop market. It runs a Browser, MS word, and Netflix ans that's enough for most people. If your new laptop can do that your gold! So most shoppers see windows 8 and see it does what they need, they go on with there life. It really scares me the MS is basically the puppet master for the hardware OEMs and they are getting away with this stuff (even if it fails they've shown up HP will do there bidding).

    On the flip side maybe there is a bigger population of people using computers who are more technical than I think there is. Hopefully these people will fight back against this bs, and hopefully this will turn in to another law suite against MS, if you ask me this is alot more sinister than bundling IE with windows ever was. This might finally stat a bigger percentage of OEM selling ubuntu PCs! A PC with ubuntu will do everything most people need these days, if netflix would dump silverlight that is. So no matter how bad this hole thing sounds, it could just be the begging of MS's end in the enterprise and consumer market.

    Ive been a computer enthusiast since I was in the 5th grade, and I really hope MS doesn't kill that opportunity for the next generation. Turning a computer in to a house hold appliance thats locked down doesn't help anyone get enthusiastic. I dont know about you but I dont get the urge to learn about my refrigerator.
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2013-01-06 01:02
    I grew up in an era when people said, "The customer is always right."

    Those days are long gone. It isn't only electronics. McDonald's and Starbucks try to train me to behave the way they want me to rather than provide the service I demand as a customer. Try to get a hamburger with a glass of water instead of buying a beverage or to tell Starbucks that you prefer paying cash rather than use one of their cash cards.

    Now, 40% of the cellular phones are based on a iPhone style 'smart phone' and I prefer using a clam shell cell phone because it suffers no damage in my pocket. Nobody will sell me a clam shell style cell phone.

    And I love my notebook computer, but Asus is discontinuing the whole notebook product line in favor of a new generation of iPad clones.... with Android or Windows8 or whatever.

    Hewlett-Packard used to be one of the Linux loyalist, but those days are long gone. It seems the US policy is to make digital equipment that the government wants, not that the customer wants. Generic is the enemy and so is the informed user.

    As Pogo said, "We have seen the enemy and it is us."

    I suppose I will go wherever Linux exists, and at least I live in Asia -- so I may have more choice. But I have grown a bit weary of 'consumer electronics' as I don't need the games, the junk email, and the pop-up advertising. And it certainly seems no major corporation wants to listen to what the customer wants.

    We have gone from the days when IBM's slogan was "THINK, think, think"
    to Microsoft with "EXPLOIT, EXPLOIT, EXPLOIT".

  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,574
    edited 2013-01-06 01:12
    potatohead wrote: »
    Yesterday we replaced an older HP laptop. We bought the same product line so we could clone the system disk for a quick move to a new machine. Doing this generally saves a day or two getting a machine all setup for a user to use.

    I'm shocked at what we received.

    What is it about Windows 8 that needs this much effort to avoid ?
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-06 02:23
    Quite simply, the new user interaction model doesn't add as much value as the existing one does.

    Two cases:

    User who has no real skill accumulated on the Win 7 style / Desktop metaphor UI

    , and

    User who has skill accumulated.

    In our case, the user has considerable skill. In the general case of consumer electronics, it's arguable that the longer the user has been computing the more considerable their skill accumulation is.

    Clearly HP recognizes this as they have not made the same moves on their business class computers. It's very highly likely that the majority of their users have considerable skill accumulated.

    Additionally, there is the peak value added. The Win 8 UI is a subset of the Win 7 UI, very generally speaking. There are many metrics on this, and I could write a short book on discoverability, efficiency, etc... I won't, suffice it to say the learning curve on a Win 8 interface also has two cases: Familiar with Desktop UI and Unfamiliar or mobile / tablet preferential.

    We have identified a few areas where the Win 8 interface simply is not optimal. One is window management and context switching. Task focused users, who dominate on one task, briefly moving to other ones, only to return to the primary may well find the Win 8 interface optimal for them, due to the context switches being narrow in scope and often brief. Secondly, a user who operates on well defined and not diverse sets of data may also find the Win 8 UI advantageous due to the fact that these things together do not produce too many states and or elements that must be remembered. Discrete tasks work best where there is little moving of information between applications, etc...

    Users who operate on many tasks, often changing primary on demand and who operate on lots of data find the Win 8 UI crippling due to lack of multi-window management and lots of context switches required to perform many common tasks involving multiple bits of information across multiple applications. Either:

    More actions are required to accomplish the task

    , or

    The user is required to buffer considerably more info in their head.

    For the user in the more complex use cases, this head space requirement significantly increases task switch time, reducing their productivity on the machine. The cost for this is reduced productivity or increased error. Poor design for all but shallow, casual, light use cases, like say a Kiosk, or mobile device intended for specific things. Not really doing computing or performing advanced tasks / content creation / analysis, etc... (which is what I specialize in and what our group does)

    That's basically why. As solid as the Win 7 and I would submit Apple UI experiences are, they still have issues with context switches, one being it's not generally possible to operate with a given window or dialog without also popping that dialog to the front. Very common copy - paste actions then require window management and a sorting of the order of things to happen in order for the user to perform the task in an optimal way.

    I experienced this when I moved from the SGI IRIX desktop, which featured "focus follows mouse" as a window manager default, meaning I never worried about window focus when operating across applications and windows, only visibility which significantly enhances the overall utility one gets from a given display screen. The utility I lost was generally recovered by having higher resolution and or two displays to work from in order to account for having to manage visibility as well as focus. (that still chaps my ***, and I miss my highlight text in one window peeking out underneath or on top of one to then middle mouse paste into another window that may be partially occluded by other windows on screen functionality...)

    The Windows 8 metro interface seriously impacts this as it's not really designed as a multi-window interface! In some cases, it appears possible to work with multiple windows, and it definitely is with multiple displays, but the number of application context switches required to really move data and perform operations is quite frankly stunningly bad! Not productive at all for many use cases.

    In my niche, where we do a lot of work with complex engineering software this deficiency is completely and totally unacceptable. It was bad enough for people to decide that all interfaces needed to be distilled down to the Microsoft Office lowest common denominator. When this was going on with CAD, I actually did some research and ran a few basic studies to get metrics highlighting how much of a value loss this was.

    On that point, value loss happens two ways:

    1. User with some established skill must remap it to the new UI paradigm, and that loss is simply time and money and proficiency for a time during the transition. It must be noted that transitioning from an inferior to a superior UI, as what happened to me when I moved TO the SGI IRIX desktop at that time, delivers a return for that initial value loss in the form of much higher peak productivity. However, moving to an inferior one really doesn't deliver any return other than a reduction in value loss rate over time as the user copes with the less effective UI model.

    2. Peak capability offered. Even for a new user, not reaching a peak interaction model is simply value left on the table, diluting the worth of the whole thing despite it being technically capable in every other way. There is a damn good reason people study UI dynamics, and that's the reason and for some reason, the folks over at Microsoft apparently missed a few days in school on that one.

    In their defense, the appeal of a more diluted UI common to computer, phone, tablet, etc... is they can shave off development time, consolidating UI efforts for a considerable savings on their part. That's really compelling, but the cost of that is simply not exposing their products with their full potential, which makes them worth less. Ugly dynamic that one is. There is also a damn good reason why people study these things to understand whether or not the savings is real across the whole product cycle, or simply localized to one area.

    Anyway, when this was all going on, the idea was we would just settle on the "Office" model because it was "Easy To Use" and for the most part the clowns that entertained that were very right about it, only to leave out the very Orwellian "flip side", which is "Easy To Use" does not equal productive, effective, etc... it simply means easy to use. When one considers that simply executing UI actions is only part of the dynamic that determines the value of a given software solution, "Ease Of Use" comparisons on software is like "Fun or Easy To Drive" comparisons on cars. A lot is left on the table.

    BTW: That flopped. Technical computing users are not well served by a dumbed down "office" type UI, and the move back to realistic UI designs that actually do offer peak performance was welcomed and rapidly embraced. I literally saw experienced users just slower for no reason other than, "easy to use" and there is a fine line on that. One must always consider the new user and work on all of the metrics so it's not a closed loop that gets off into the weeds. Over simplification of things carries real costs, that's what I'm trying to get at here. Win 8 will be expensive for a lot of people. It's very expensive to my group and this user in particular. Paying to deal now has a return over a few years, no brainer. We will do it, or if not really optimal, return the machine and either pay more for one they've not broken, or I'll get older machines and spiff them up.

    That's probably way too long of a description of the trouble. The user took one look at this mess, looked at me and said "no way, unless you plan on hiring another one of me" and she's completely right about it.

    And there is another way to look at it: We spent X on a fast machine that didn't need to be business class due to this users particular use cases. Due to this mess, we will invest about 8-10 hours on the $100 rule. My $100 rule is simple. If you have to mess with it for an hour, that's worth about $100 in a professional setting. This exceeds the cost of the "business" class machine we were hoping to avoid as we normally spend an hour or two on this process prior to this first order cock up.

    HP knows this, and has priced their wares accordingly. That's called creating artificial value. Suddenly, for no reason other than they prefer to extract more revenue while delivering less value for presumably higher margins from their customer, what was quite an expensive, overkill machine now seems a nice bargain. Thanks HP! Really appreciate paying more now with no real gain on my end.

    I'll end with this. UI issues matter to me. I've driven a lot of them, and I've been involved at a pretty high level on some big, expensive software, like $20K / seat and up type software, working on UI issues. People are expensive and shorting them on the UI never, ever, ever pays off, because you basically dilute their peak productivity potential for nothing other than a short term gain in the initial software production phase. This is precisely what Windows 8 UI is all about. From an internal stand point, their savings may well be considerable and the hardware lock in is always good for bonus dollars and we all love that right? Right. But, the value actually delivered to capable, powerful people is significantly less.

    This will fragment people into basically limited users and professionals, at least while we wait to see whether or not we get forced onto Windows 8 across the board now or some time later, and it means failure to develop skills on superior UI meaning we just lose out on a whole lot of things, leaving people less effective, running fewer options, getting less out of things overall.

    Now, you want to talk artificial value? All those less than optimal use cases need an app right? Well, who do you think is going to write a bunch of them for $3.99 a pop? Exactly. That's why I'm not a happy camper. More artificial value as core design issues require "solutions" which cost more when the truth is resolving core design issues would be better for everybody not requiring patch type solutions and the investment, management, etc... that comes along with that mess.

    I am a value for the dollar kind of guy. Show me a lot of value and I will pay you a lot of dollars. I really, really, really dislike artificial value because I really dislike giving away my dollars without getting good value in return. That's the core problem, put as simply as I can put it.
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2013-01-06 04:53
    Proprietary software. MS has a two-tier license structure. The cheaper licenses are tied to one set of hardware - usually the hard disk and the motherboard and the CPU. The expensive license might also transfer to another machine. But it seems that the days of the expensive, transferable software license are numbered.

    In other words, if you buy a computer with MS and it dies - you just have to buy another computer with another MS license.

    My Toshiba netbook cost about $300USD and Microsoft wanted another $500 for MS Office, upgrade from W7 stater and other applications (like AV) for the machine to be useful. So I loaded LInux instead.

    If the machine breaks, is lost, or stolen -- one has to relicense!!!! Nasty, nasty, nasty.
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 21,233
    edited 2013-01-06 05:10
    Quite simply....[a post here the length of which makes Tolstoy look like a twitter user]....put as simply as I can put it.

    Sorry that made me giggle. I all ways have to put the kettle on and make a cup of tea before I settle down to a potatohead post.

    I think you meant to say "Win 8 sucks".

    This is not a complaint or negative criticism by the way, I enjoy your posts, keep it up.
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 23,024
    edited 2013-01-06 06:54
    Well said. I studied Human-Computer Interaction at one point in the context of early Computerized Medical Record development. It's amazing how costly UI mistakes (or ignorance) can be especially when the user is a high cost / value resource and very very few potential users are equipped to do the measurements / analysis. Efficiency drops; productivity drops; work satisfaction drops and often the institution buying the stuff thinks it's still start-up woes and it'll get better with time and practice. Fortunately, in this area, tablet-style interfaces can work if done well. Unfortunately, few of them are ... they're mostly old text-based systems revised for windows, then for tablets.
  • prof_brainoprof_braino Posts: 4,312
    edited 2013-01-06 09:44
    This is not a trend, this is the status quo.

    You simply have a virus (unwanted software that prevents yo from using your machine) named "windows"
    and poor hardware what does not do what you paid for (from HP).

    This is nothing new. Fix these two errors and you are done. You're welcome, send cash.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-06 10:28
    Not so easy.

    If I had my way, I would be running X window systems everywhere, application serving and networked for a very lean, client independent "business cloud" that I would build, the folks would make a lot of money, I would make a lot of money, and I would probably have more time to tinker with Propellers and explore music.

    Got to build one of those once on IRIX and the cost / performance has never been matched by anything I've seen or been involved with since. Those guys actually did it right, assuming you had a competent window manager and application UI engineer at the helm. When I was done with that system, it served 30 people on high end mechanical CAD, was automated to the point where I hardly touched it and when I did I just ssh in, take a few minutes to deal, automate that and wait for the next little thing to deal with. They basically had no sysadmin. When that was taken down, the part time me was replaced by two full time somebody elses who to this day still walk around dealing with the mess that "cost less" lol!

    Cheap and standard costs them about 200K / year, every year, compounded by the opportunity costs their far less efficient department deals with every year. It did create jobs though, lol again.

    Some specialized software is expensive, 5 digits a seat, and sometimes mid 5. Interestingly, I work with the one vendor who does actually support Linux, Win 32, Mac OS, UNIX. (would I be dealing with any other one?) BTW: Here is a stat that will disturb you. I am one of two people on the West Coast who actually supports, trains and can consult on platforms other than Windows. I very regularly teach some Linux / MAC UNIX type classes each year to get the others up to speed on things we regularly discuss here as basics or for entertainment. Most common reaction after learning UNIX command line? "Wow!" how long has this been going on. I face palm regularly... (That is in my high end software niche, not overall)

    Business software is the crux. When you look at an enterprise of any size, application dependencies and data portability are huge issues. I personally could switch to Linux or MAC OS as I run both regularly and have all I need, but the vast majority of my peers cannot.

    That's why "oh, just switch!" really isn't meaningful outside a personal niche, or business that has few application dependencies.

    Sorry Prof, that's just not a realistic option at this time. I'm also a "let's get it done so we can enjoy life' kind of guy, and managing this balance is a key part of that. Windows it is for now.

    I think they (MS) will balk. The wave of major league licensees hasn't really felt the impact of this yet. We are small, nimble and generally at the edge of things. Frankly, people pay us for that, so bumping into this now actually is of considerable value as will seeing resolutions to it.

    MS really wants this, but the net value loss is so high, I can't actually see them getting it universally. There will be options, just not yet.

    My gut says they are trying to pull an Apple. The big difference between the two efforts is Apple actually gets it and added UI value. Seriously good UI value and people paid for it easily. MS didn't do that, and people won't pay for it easily.

    That means "trend", until I see some serious shifts happen, which have not yet happened.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-06 10:47
    Oh, if they do force it? (Right now they are floating an expensive trial balloon.)

    And part of me says, "Please, please pick that fight!"

    I'll build up a prototype on MAC / Linux and show them how to really do it right and I'll do that because the net value gain will exceed the cost of application dependency. Trust me, I'm just itching to go there. I know my stuff cold and can absolutely nail it first time, standing ready to do so as I've kept those skills sharp, despite my largely windows use case right now.

    Test me MS. Please. :)
  • Peter KG6LSEPeter KG6LSE Posts: 1,383
    edited 2013-01-06 13:25
    I have for a short time used a SGI with IRIX ......... I was sad to see that company loose its edge and its really Fun HW and SW ! .. IRIX was one very well thought out system and one that was ahead of its time ! ....... Twas a sad day when I got rid of my Octane O2 .....
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 10,148
    edited 2013-01-06 14:32
    Yeah, I'm kind of tempted to go back... P2 will output "Pro" quality signals, which will work much better with an O2 than the P1 did. Some of the drivers for P1 are actually NTSC compliant, most not. And that's not a bad thing, more like the O2 wasn't designed to capture and work with "off label" signals.

    Back then, when I ditched the IRIX stuff, we didn't have open tools. Made little sense. Now? It can all be built. I'm thinking about it. There is a really nice, stuffed R10K O2 in the office right now. :)
  • Erik FriesenErik Friesen Posts: 1,071
    edited 2013-01-06 15:13
    It seems to me that is will take some organization with money, like google, to get linux/android anywhere where mainstream can use it. The questions is where can money be leveraged out of this? If it can't we won't see things move forward.

    And until these companies need to sell to android users, we won't see quickbooks, quicken, vcarve pro, you name it. Those who know how to program make different programs for linux, but across the board its more frustrating to use, currently, and in part because programmers make what they want for their own use? I use ubuntu for linuxcnc, and it works fine, but there are missing things, and certain things that would cause endless irritation to a windows user. For example, there is no standard installation method. Sometimes the installation manager handles it, the next time you just get a zip folder. It seems to me a fix for this takes someone with an eyeball on a goal, and there isn't anyone, because no one can really make money on it.
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited 2013-01-06 20:05
    No one will ever have to put tea on to read one of my posts...but I certainly do agree with potatohead. I won't touch Win8, just like I wouldn't Vista. Similarly, I have no interest in a cloudbook, a netbook, or any box bound to a closed OS. It will be very interesting to see if MS and hardware manufacturers come to their senses. If not, I hope and pray some enterprising innovator seizes the opportunity. In the meantime I've got half a dozen Sandy Bridge-based laptops and desktops running Win7 that should survive the next ten or 15 years.
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