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Now what Microsoft?

#41 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-January-16, 03:18

View Postbarmar, on 2013-September-02, 17:45, said:

There's a well known psychological paradx: Most people think they're above average in expertise at common, everyday tasks. E.g. most people think they're an above-average driver. Which is, of course, impossible: half the people have to be worse than the median, by definition.

So if everyone believes it, why not make it mandatory? :)

In my last 12-board robot tourney I got 48% which may be around my average. But really there were a number of bad boards which I shouldn't count: one was a misclick, once I took a superior line which happened not to work because of a unlikely split, once the stupid robot misbid, and once I lost count of the trump suit because I was distracted by a phone call. And once I decided to experiment with an off-shape 1NT, something I obviously wouldn't have done in a serious tournament.

Discounting all those anomalies I hold 66% over. So really, I am above average. (The fallacy is, of course, that all the other 48% players had similar bad luck. So 48% is probably a reasonable estimate of my skill level).

I imagine something similar could apply to driving.
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#42 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2014-January-18, 03:23

Microsoft is not alone in feeling the heat, read this.
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Posted 2014-January-21, 07:46

HP launches "Windows 7 is back" promotion.
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#44 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2014-January-21, 08:12

View Posthelene_t, on 2014-January-16, 03:18, said:

In my last 12-board robot tourney I got 48% which may be around my average. But really there were a number of bad boards which I shouldn't count: one was a misclick, once I took a superior line which happened not to work because of a unlikely split, once the stupid robot misbid, and once I lost count of the trump suit because I was distracted by a phone call. And once I decided to experiment with an off-shape 1NT, something I obviously wouldn't have done in a serious tournament.

Discounting all those anomalies I hold 66% over. So really, I am above average. (The fallacy is, of course, that all the other 48% players had similar bad luck. So 48% is probably a reasonable estimate of my skill level).

I imagine something similar could apply to driving.

Driving is a particularly difficult example. After all, the idea is that even mediocre drivers will not get into accidents. Many people think they are good drivers because they have had 0 accidents in N years where statistically, they are expected to get into 0.1 accidents in that time, so they haven't really accomplished anything.

It is like saying: "I am living so healthy. I haven't had cancer (not even once) during my entire life!"

Rik
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#45 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 03:12

The six worst operating systems in the history of computing
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#46 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 08:20

View Postblackshoe, on 2013-September-02, 06:51, said:

Heh. I thought the government had mandated that everyone should be above average. Or was that just about income? B-)

No it is education: "The United States Congress, acting with large bipartisan majorities, at the urging of the President, enacted as the law of the land that all children are to be above average."

Source: http://www.aei.org/a...al-romanticism/
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#47 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 09:17

View Posthelene_t, on 2014-January-27, 08:20, said:

No it is education: "The United States Congress, acting with large bipartisan majorities, at the urging of the President, enacted as the law of the land that all children are to be above average."

Source: http://www.aei.org/a...al-romanticism/


As I read it, they are not quite seeking a logical impossibility. But still they are being unrealistic, and that may be even worse. The claim that I get from the article is that they looked at what was, at the passage of the law, performance at the 70th percentile and mandated that all children would be able to perform that well within 12 years. That's not really saying that all children will be at the70th percentile. But realism is that in any honest assessment, this goal will not be reached.

The problem is that the assessments are designed very narrowly in order to show students have reached a very artificial goal. I have mentioned before my experinece with weights when I was 15 or so. Like all adolescent males, i wanted to lift as much as possible. I got very good at maneuvers to get a large amount of weight up above my head. I got so good that I could get more weight up than I could keep up so it all came crashing down. This is the way I see many responses to mandates. I was on a panel onetime that discussed how children could learn to add fractions. The stipulation was that they had to add fractions but they only had to handle those fractions where the denominator was 2,3,4,5,6 or 8. Adding 3/7 to 5/9 was not needed. These narrowly defined skills, like getting weights over my head that I could not stabilize, are of extremely limited use. They allow people to claim that they have done something.
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#48 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 11:29

View Postkenberg, on 2014-January-27, 09:17, said:

As I read it, they are not quite seeking a logical impossibility. But still they are being unrealistic, and that may be even worse. The claim that I get from the article is that they looked at what was, at the passage of the law, performance at the 70th percentile and mandated that all children would be able to perform that well within 12 years. That's not really saying that all children will be at the70th percentile. But realism is that in any honest assessment, this goal will not be reached.

Setting unreachable goals can have two results. The optimist believes that it will cause people to strive to reach the goal, so they'll try harder; even if they don't actually reach it, they'll get a better overall result. The pessimist believes that they'll just give up, since they know they can never reach it.

I haven't read the NCLB laws, but I assume that it isn't an "all or nothing" requirement. I assume there are a variety of milestones below that 70th percentile goal, and schools benefit from achieving them. That should hopefully prevent the second scenario.

#49 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 13:49

Hopefully there will be a Windows 9 soon. Usually every other Windows OS from Microsoft is pretty reasonable.


95 - Pretty good
98 - Not great
2000 - Pretty good
ME - Horrible
XP - Pretty great
Vista - Horrible
7 - Pretty good
8 - I haven't used but the reviews are mediocre at best (at least as a desktop computer OS - maybe better as a tablet OS)
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#50 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-January-27, 18:53

View PostMbodell, on 2014-January-27, 13:49, said:

Hopefully there will be a Windows 9 soon. Usually every other Windows OS from Microsoft is pretty reasonable.


95 - Pretty good
98 - Not great
2000 - Pretty good
ME - Horrible
XP - Pretty great
Vista - Horrible
7 - Pretty good
8 - I haven't used but the reviews are mediocre at best (at least as a desktop computer OS - maybe better as a tablet OS)

You neglect Windows 1.0 - which was so bad on the hardware of the day (1986 or so) that although my US Navy command bought 45 computers and 45 copies of Windows 1.0, the latter, except for one copy used for evaluation purposes, never left the closet in which they were stored.

About six months after I got involved in "IT" at that command, I met the VP in charge of Federal Marketing of the company with whom the Air Force (the other services just used it, we didn't set it up) negotiated that contract. He apologized, saying "we never should have put that on the contract".
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#51 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 03:26

I used windows 1.0 but only for playing "Balance of power", a great game in which you were either the US or the USSR government, and your task was to gain as much influence on various banana republics as possible (through diplomacy and such) while at the same time avoid a nuclear war. Back then (1988) I thought that windows was a wrapper for graphics card drivers. It wasn't until three years later that I realised that it was meant to become an OS.
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#52 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 08:46

Here is something for developers to ponder. There is a point of diminishing returns for innovations. Most of us are not super-users. There probably are some things that Windows 8 can do that Windows 7 can't, but I don't really know what they are and I doubt that I would care if I did. My wife has 8 on her computer, I have 7 on mine. Sometimes she has trouble figuring out how to do something on 8 that she knew how to do on 7. Sometimes I can help, often I can't. So then she just uses my 7.

So clarity and ease of use of existing features is now far more important to many of us than new features.

It's not just Windows. Gmail has new features. Mostly they are annoying. Firefox was giving me a lot of pop-ups, someone on BBF suggested disabling some of the add-ons. This worked. Significantly, I was unaware that I had ever enabled the add-ons. I don't even know, or care, what the add-ons added on. I was going to switch from Firefox to Chrome but Chrome seems to want to give me all sorts of features that mostly get in my way.

There was an article in the Washington Post along these lines. The theme was that smart-phones are getting smarter, but the users aren't and many users are baffled by the new features. This even extends to my car. I bought a new car a year ago. The user's manual is 500+ pages long. Who reads this crap? The shop manual that I had for my first car, a '47 Plymouth, describing in detail how to repair most any engine or transmission or brake or other failure, was significantly shorter. There was nothing said about how to drive it on a daily basis, this was assumed to be known. . Handbrake on, one foot on the gas, the other on the clutch, turn the ignition key, put it into gear, release the brake as you engage the gears by releasing the clutch, that's it. No explanation of other features because it didn't have other features. If I changed lanes w/o first signalling it didn't beep at me because it had no turn signals. (I eventually installed them). I was very happy with this car.
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#53 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 10:36

No single user wants all that crap. But it's like having hundreds of channels on TV: there are enough customers who want each of them. So the final product contains the whole kitchen sink of features, to satisfy everyone.

I see ads for simple cell phones that just make phone calls. They're obviously a niche market, mostly targeted to elderly customers who don't want to learn new technology.

#54 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 10:53

View Postbarmar, on 2014-January-28, 10:36, said:

I see ads for simple cell phones that just make phone calls. They're obviously a niche market, mostly targeted to elderly customers who don't want to learn new technology.

Yeah, I still like the idea of telephones being used for making telephone calls, cameras being used for taking photographs, and the like. And they still don't let me play in seniors events!
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#55 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 16:04

View PostWellSpyder, on 2014-January-28, 10:53, said:

Yeah, I still like the idea of telephones being used for making telephone calls, cameras being used for taking photographs, and the like. And they still don't let me play in seniors events!


Old before your time!

I think that technology is advancing at such a pace that almost everyone has to make choices. Currently I am doing some stuff with Mathematica. This is a sophisticated program for doing complex computation and related matters. It has some very frustrating aspects. but it also has great power, so I stick with it. If this means I lack the time/energy/interest to develop my Smartphone skills, so be it. But it does get weird. I was in some techno store the other day, I forget which one, and I realized that I had no idea what half the items on the shelves actually do.
Ken
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#56 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-January-28, 20:12

In some cases, the salespeople don't know what the stuff does either. :lol:
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#57 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-January-29, 16:33

When something does a thousand things, it's hard for any single person to know all of them. Sales people are in an inherently tough spot -- the basic skills required to be a good salesman are not technical, they're personal. But customers expect them to be technically knowledgeable, too. Some companies pair them up with "sales engineers", a techie who tags along on the sales call to answer the difficult questions. But if the engineer were really proficient, he'd be working on the product, not as a backup to the sales rep. So there are a bunch of catch 22's that make it difficult to get really good answers in sales calls.

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Posted 2014-January-31, 04:33

Windows 8.1 to push Metro underground
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#59 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-January-31, 10:19

From the article:

Quote

Microsoft has made many mistakes in the past (we're looking at you, Windows ME), but it's not above course-correction. The future of Windows could now become just another odd relic that we see by default when we accidentally press the Start key.


Firstly, as with so much of geekspeak, I have no idea what this last sentence means. But more broadly, are these guys slow learners? Windows 8 implies there was a Windows x for x=1,2,3,4,5,6,7 . Plus updates, plus Vista, plus ME etc. Have they really not yet learned that it might be a good idea to find out what the non-geek user likes before launchingh their dazzling display of stuff?
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#60 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2014-January-31, 11:21

We recently renovated our house: a major year-long job. One of the minor tweaks was a Honeywell programmable thermostat that has a touch screen that lights up when one presses it, to display an incredible array of data and possible inputs.

It is not intuitive, beyond the very basic + and - signs that allow a variation of the temperature (we have a heat pump so we can cool the house as well as heat it). I asked the HVAC guys for a manual and they told me to look online.

I did.

The manual is over 700 pages of dense print with some diagrams. It turns out that the manual covers every single model of residential control made by Honeywell. So to find out where the relevant bits are for my control I have to firstly find the model, which information is on the controller in extremely fine print with multiple alphanumerics. Then, without the aid of a good online index I have to find those portions of the manual that apply to my model and not to ones that look almost identical and that have model numbers that are very similar.

I usually wear bifocal contacts, which sacrifice a little precision for convenience. I literally can't read the very fine print on the panel, which, for reasons known only to somebody in Honeywell, is a pale green screen with relatively muted grey-black symbols, which are far more difficult to read than black on white, or other normal schemes. Maybe the pale green looked 'techno' to somebody aged 30 or less, with 20-20 eyesight.

The result is that I have (so I am told) a very powerful control interface that allows me to program my home climate, including (by use of an app I haven't downloaded) from my smartphone or ipad anywhere in the world, and all I know how to do is to turn the temperature up or down manually.

However, we had an issue with the heatpump and the tech showed my wife how to program automatic daily variations, so we have that dialled in now. Neither of us are sure that we could alter it again without the tech coming by.

How difficult would it have been to:

a) label the model number in a readily visible, readable manner
b) have a discrete manual for that model available on line, rather than having a single manual for dozens or scores of devices, with no good index
c) make the display legible by using a higher-contrast between the symbols and the background...even if space constraints prohibited a larger font.....for that matter, making the panel an extra inch wider and deeper wouldn't have cost an arm and a leg, given how much they charge for the system.

But this is a breeze compared to the tiny wall-mounted controller for our outside lights. I literally cannot read the font on the screen. Again, pale green background with pale grey symbols, but a tiny screen and even tinier font. Apparently we can program these as well, but neither of us can read the screen so even if we could find the manual online it wouldn't do us any good. So all we can do is manually turn them on and off.

I know: I am definitely becoming an irascible old git.
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