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Miscellany

It is a rest day for Le Tour, and the day for the big monthly food shopping, so I haven’t been on the computer very often.

Ringo is progressing, and may get a modified release from confinement after the vet checks her out tomorrow afternoon. I would really like to get my bathroom back, but I don’t want to end the confinement too soon and risk her re-injuring her jaw. I’m also hoping that I can introduce damp kibble to transition her back to what she normally eats.

I did find a ‘wonder cure’ for a lot of the things that really annoy me about Windows 7. If you chose the ‘Classic’ theme, it changes not just how things look, but the way many of them work to mimic the ‘look and feel’ of XP, with the added bonus of speeding things up. Things may be a bit boring, design-wise, but that transparency that occurs when you open things on top of each other are gone. More than a few times I have accidentally closed the wrong window by clicking on the ‘X’ that belonged to the underlying program, rather than the one I wanted to close. The fading in and out is gone, and the wait time with it. Linux may be still annoying me, but Windows just got a bit more tolerable.

4 comments

1 Badtux { 07.13.12 at 1:54 am }

You can also change individual things via the Accessibility control panel. That’s where I wiped out Aero Snap and the majority of the effects, which interfere with screen readers for the blind thus can be turned off there one by one until your particular screen reader is happy. Windows 7 in general is quite controllable, you can adjust the effects everywhere from extreme to entirely off. The Classic theme turns everything off but I don’t use it because it turns off the bottom bar hover where you can hover over a program icon for a running program and get thumbnails of all its windows to choose which one to activate, instead replacing it with a Windows 95 set of boring program names across the bottom. Which after getting used to the full functionality possible with that bottom bar seems like going back to stone axes and surgery without anesthesia.

Regarding staying with Windows XP vs. moving to the new Vista/7 kernel, after spending some time digging into the innards of these operating systems for our software at work, you can keep your XP. It’s insecure, it’s got gaping holes in its functionality in some fundamental respects, and as an operating system kernel had clearly reached the end of its road. Sometimes I think the Vista/7 kernel is *too* secure, it takes major gyrations to get drivers signed for example (without which you can’t run them without disabling major parts of the innards of the system) and I never did figure out how to get VirtualBox running as a service with admin escalated privileges, but at least they tried. XP is a sieve. You can virus it by sneezing in its general direction. You can virus a computer running 7, but not easily — you have to trick the user into clicking on a security escalation, else your attempt to virus the OS is completely futile. While there are users stupid enough to do this, they can’t do it on a network if you’ve turned off the security escalations in your domain policies, period — whereas there were ways to bypass domain policies in XP due to its insecure innards.

Frankly, from a network administrator’s point of view, I wish XP would just die, already. Most XP boxes out there are so compromised by viruses and spyware that they’re pretty much useless anyhow other than as a way of getting your company blacklisted by every email server on the planet due to all the penis spam they’re spewing out.

Does this mean I like Windows 7? Not really. It’s still a mess. It’s just a *better* mess than XP for some fundamental technological reasons, especially when it comes to security. The sooner the last XP system falls off the Internet the better, IMHO.

2 Steve Bates { 07.14.12 at 9:50 am }

Oh noes! “Virus” has been verbed! Verbing weirds language!

The last Windows I dealt with before I gave it up was XP, mostly because I hated Vista on Stella’s computer and refused to “upgrade”. I got hammered, hard, by a virus that got past NOD32. I don’t spend time on known dangerous sites or pr0n sites, so it apparently came from an ad on a presumed friendly site. Life is too short to put up with that BS.

3 hipparchia { 07.14.12 at 12:51 pm }

there are still a lot of things i hate about windows 7, but like badtux, i really like that “hover over the icons on the bottom bar and see thumbnails of all the open windows” feature because i always have a gazillion windows open and i’m always losing track of them. yes, i know i could just close some of them, but i like this solution better. 😀

it took me a while to get used to the transparency thingy and the various problems associated with it, like clicking on the wrong x, but now i kinda like the look and feel of it. of course, the only reason i got used to it in the first place is because it took me so long to discover how to turn it off that i became hooked having on the open window thumbnails first.

4 Bryan { 07.14.12 at 9:37 pm }

Badtux, the XP interface was all I needed or wanted, to the extent that I needed or wanted a GUI. That the core was garbage is well known, and documented. If the Win7 core is better, great, as long as I can turn off all of the ‘great new features’ that I don’t need or want, which is what I’ve done. It is a tool, and nothing else for me.

Yeah, Steve, there was a run of sites that were spreading malware in ads. It was a pain in the neck to clean a couple of them that ESET identified, but wasn’t confident that they could remove without damage as they were rootkits. I got rid of them, but it wasn’t fun. I still need an XP machine for a client’s work, so I don’t have much choice, as the guy is also a friend after decades of working together.

You find the feature useful, Hipparchia, but I found it distracting. It depends on how you use the computer and what you are attempting to accomplish. As long as I can turn them off I don’t care, other than paying for stuff I don’t need or want.