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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 22, 2020, 05:06:45 PM »
tl;dr:  MS is bullshit, man.  BULLSHIT.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 22, 2020, 05:06:17 PM »
I really, really, really hate using Windows 10 for almost anything.  It's just . . . so broken and bad.

I realize, MS has completely lost vast swaths of the basic Using A Computer market to Google's online crap apps and to free clones of Office (which really aren't much better, but are free, so . . . ).  But still. 

Paint has been broken since Windows 95, and they clearly aren't gonna fix it, but they keep 'updating' it with a new version for each new flavor of Windows, anyway.  They want everything to have the same look and feel.  I guess.

Shame they keep making the look and feel worse.  Seriously, they keep making the keyboard support worse and making the mouse support clunkier and more irritating.  I could not tell you WTF they might be thinking.  It's constantly less convenient to access, you know, commands, in most apps, and much harder to find commands you don't already know how to find.  Didja know basic file tree control in File Explorer is accessed by right-clicking the white space underneath the tree (there's a little bit of it) in the folder pane?  It's true!  It's intuitive!

And replacing drop-down menus with The Ribbon?  What amateur-hour crap that is.  I use Wordpad a lot, because I'm not using Google Cloud Shit if I can ever help it and I don't need the bloated colostomy bag that Word has become.  But I wish it were easy to install the XP version of Wordpad into Win10, because the current Wordpad is poisoned ass.

It doesn't handle fonts right.  Doesn't display them correctly, and doesn't keep font settings properly, and keeps changing the font type in 'white space' parts of a doc.  For me, it keeps trying to reset the font to Calibri.  Thanks, no thanks.  It also constantly tries to set the font size to 11-point, and the margins to 1.25" all around, and the line spacing to 1.5 lines, and add a blank 10-point space after every paragraph.  If you want to use the Help, it fires up Microsoft Edge and fails to find the page, which is awesome, but the googles will walk you through changing the defaults.  Which won't work.

The Ribbon itself is utter crap.  It takes up ENORMOUSLY TOO MUCH SCREEN REAL ESTATE for no good reason and has a strange array of shortcuts that are mostly not things you'd want there.  The font controls don't work properly -- nothing to do with fonts really works right, anymore.  It appears to have three tabs, but it actually doesn't.  File gives you an ill-considered kinda sorta drop-down menu, while your other options are the oddly named Home, which has a random smattering of formatting options (some of which work), and View, which has zoom, ruler / word wrap, and status bar on/off options, and nothing else.  View doesn't have, say, a link to a print preview, which is actually nested under Print, under the fake File tab, because Microsoft figures you won't want a preview often.  Even though they've broken WYSIWYG.

Wordpad also doesn't handle pagination properly and often doesn't even try, so don't ask it for a page count.

It's all like that.  Just purely irritating.  I know, I could use Open Office instead, but Wordpad used to be good, clean and simple and fast.  I don't really have high expectations for Windows, but almost every version is less useful than the last.  They always argue that you're just not used to it and are just resisting change (as if change were automatically improvement), but . . . I don't buy it.  'Tis crap, it what it is.
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Arts & Entertainment / Re: What are you reading lately?
« Last post by random axe on February 16, 2020, 01:42:50 PM »
Read a noir thriller called Nobody Move, by big-time well-reviewed author Denis Johnson, who's more famous for a giant Vietnam War novel called The Smoke Tree.

Nobody Move almost seems experimental, like a 'serious' author dabbling in pulp for fun.  A many-time loser who's a compulsive gambler and doesn't seem to have a job gets picked up by an enforcer over a late payment.  The tables turn, and turn again.  Our antihero meets a beautiful woman who's been screwed over too many times, herself, and would like revenge or suicide or something.  The enforcer is hunting them.  Everyone wants revenge on everyone else, more or less, and bad things happen.

The dialogue is witty, sometimes funny.  The exposition is scant, and expert, and often very nicely executed.  This is like a 300-page book with almost everything cut out, but by a truly expert editor.  It reads like Elmore Leonard not bothering to plot, or Dave Barry after a bad divorce and miserably coming down from a month-long alcoholic bender.  It made me think favorably of Harry Crews, Jim Thompson, Donald Westlake.  I didn't get the feeling that Johnson hates the world, but more that his characters do, and that he sympathizes, but . . . that he doesn't care what happens to them.

In fact, the book seems . . . a little . . . not half-assed, but indifferent?  It feels like the last 15% was written much later than the rest of it, and on a deadline, with the author a little tired of it and a little angry that it had to be finished.  I was definitely on board, but the ending was massively unsatisfying. 

It's not a happy ending, and it's not really an unhappy ending.  It just sort of falls apart.  For instance, he keeps alluding to a terrifying character called The Tall Man, who we're told isn't actually tall.  The Tall Man is apparently the most alarming of all of the top gangster's associates.  He finally appears during the race to the climax (such as it is) and in the denouement, and he . . . does almost nothing at all.  He uses a desktop computer, a little.  He tells the femme fatale that he and she are not like other people.  He almost seems to switch sides, but he doesn't.  He's discarded without drama, not killed off but simply set aside, like an unused Kleenex that's been carried in a pocket as insurance but has been there too long without a sneeze coming along.

The whole book sort of whimpers away that way.  It's a balloon that keeps getting inflated but never pops.  Instead, the air farts out because the thing was never tied off.

The rest of the book was pretty excellent, though.  I was hugely admiring of how well the story works with so little exposition.  I'm not good at that, at all, as a writer, myself.  I often see it done badly.  Not here.  Now if only the last forty pages or so could be rewritten, Nobody Move would be magnificent.  :shrug:  It would make a signature Tarantino picture, but . . . yeah, new ending.

So it goes.  Still pretty good, but I'm gonna be irritated about it for awhile.


edit:  I wrote "Quarantino".  I kinda like it, but I didn't mean to.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 12, 2020, 04:39:39 PM »
At the house, for home internet, we currently have no good options (still, despite living in a modern town and all), and so we have:

(A)  A hotspot option on tangerine's Verizon account.  Which means I have an internet connection there if she's home and I'm home and she has it turned on.  She usually doesn't leave it turned on, and I wouldn't either.  :shrug:

(B)  A Verizon Jetpack, which . . . they don't want to come out and admit it, but it's a wireless router that uses a cell phone plan.  That's what it is.  It connects to the cell network, and you connect to it by WiFi, and there you go.  It's like the size of a deck of cards, and it's really pretty neat.

Except the fuckin' thing doesn't work.  It disconnects your WiFi connection roughly every ten seconds.  :eyeroll:  FFS.  I've tried googling the problem, and what you mostly find is thousands of people complaining their Jetpack disconnects from the cell network constantly.  :nonplused:

So the search goes on.  Lightspeed was expanding into our area, slowly but steadily, but of course they got bought out.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 12, 2020, 04:33:39 PM »
SO my excellent cheapo cell plan from Virgin Mobile is no more.  They transferred it (and many others) to Boost Mobile, for unspecified reasons.  They promise it's all the same.  Immediately, I got a notice I was over my data limit and would be throttled.  In the past, this slowed my data throughput, yes, no question, but it wasn't a big deal.  Now, it means almost no data gets through before Chrome gives up.  :nonplused:

On the other hand, Boost Mobile just charged me for next month, and they didn't charge me taxes.  Surely that's . . . wrong?  BUT it's a 10% error in my favor!
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 01, 2020, 02:26:10 PM »
It's just crazy.

Have they ever heard of WYSIWYG?

The other day, I spent like forty minutes determined to get font substitutions for screen display to work, and googling and re-googling it, and . . . I don't think anything I did had any effect.  It's just crazy. 

I really, really miss XP.  And not just because the desktop and File Explorer were also much better.  And the calculator and Paint.  And because it ran faster on computers with 1/64th the power and drive space and RAM.


Of course, I also miss Opera from before it was just Chrome wearing a mask.  :eyeroll:

Firefox has become much more tolerable under Linux since I learned how to force the system to run multiple instances.  It still tends to crash at least once a day if I have more than about three windows or twelve total tabs open, especially if JavaScript is enabled anywhere.  And it has shit for session management, so you just have to restart it and hope it remembers your tabs.  It usually does, but . . . usually is not world-class.  Sometimes I have to log out entirely and log back in, which is basically like turning the machine off and on again, in order to get it to restart properly.

Now I run two instances, one with JS and one without, and when the few JS tabs I need crash that browser, the other one keeps working.  Mint sometimes gets confused when I try to start a second instance, but it does pretty well.

Firefox still isn't great, but it's better than Chrome.  So there's that.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by pdrake on February 01, 2020, 01:32:18 PM »
It's such garbage I can't believe people put up with it. I can't even get the same fonts to be consistent through Adobe applications on windows machines. I'm going back to Macs now that the new power macs are out.

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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on February 01, 2020, 11:19:26 AM »
I am astonished almost every day by how bad a lot of font display is in Windows 10.  I have to use three different Windows 10 machines, and none of them consistently display fonts properly.  Chrome manages it, but Windows menus sometimes garble them, and things like word processors consistently fail to display a lot of fonts cleanly.  Like Times Farkin' Roman, for instance.

The new Wordpad consistently does this thing like it's trying to right-justify as you type, even with justification turned off.  It's the most obnoxious thing, constantly rekerning the text as you add words.  WTF?

It's just so Microsoft.  More chrome, bells, and whistles, but the basic shit is worse than the last version.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on January 18, 2020, 11:36:30 AM »
I would LOVE to have a laser printer again, although I almost never print anything at home.  But a color laser printer is expensive, and seems like everyone needs color now and then.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by pdrake on January 17, 2020, 08:29:39 PM »
Our whole office is HP and they all seem to be pretty solid. The only inkjets are the 60" roll printers and the 8' flat bed printer. The rest are laser printers.

we have a few Xerox big copy/print/fax machines (big floor standing models) that are utter garbage. constantly breaking down and the windows print drivers were written by drunk (superfluous) Russians on their 80th hour of work for the week.
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