go to contents of current issue contents.jpg - 1911 Bytes Digit-ali, a column of computer life by Ali Kayn

December, 1998

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pcshow03.jpg - 14412 Bytes If you've seen our cover story on Interact IT PC Show, you'll realise that the annual show(s) are more of a social event than work. The picture at left is a group of exhibitors playing football in the foyer.

Movie Reviews Index
This year I left with a web camera which I've installed and not tested at all. Plus Internet CommSuite. What I have been playing with is an external zip drive. It only backs up 100 Mb of files, but that's enough to keep my website and writing backed up. I miss the pre-windows security of being able to restore my machine from tape in a couple of hours. Nowadays when Windows falls over (as it does) it's three or four DAYS to recover because of all the release media and patches to reinstall, and then there are all the stupid cookies and other things that dump (literally) into the c: drive and need to be reset. We use IMDb regularly in the film section of Festivale, and I've had enormous problems working out why I'd lost various rights and privileges -- only to find out it was bloody cookies.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it -- GET THE HELL OUT OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM LOCATION. The operating system is not the place for all the bits and pieces that make individual applications and memberships work. It's for the operating system. Users should be able to reinstall the operating system at any time and still have functioning programs.

For all the noise you hear about the usability of the GUI systems, frankly, people were more productive with character-based, menu-based systems which offered more power and less mastabatory, self-indulgent, bells-and-whistles. Why don't they stop trying to work to the lowest denominator and satisfy the needs of the marketplace. If Microsoft think that end-users are so chronically stupid that they can't learn a few basic rules-of-thumb, then why don't they either stop trying to gobble up the companies that serve the serious business users or have two sets of products -- operating systems and software for people with IQs over 90 and a willingness to apply themselves to their work, and operating systems for the intransigently stupid and lazy -- which from their current designs they seem to thing we all are (or deserve).

Gee, do I get frustrated when a 15-20 minute job on my 386 actually cannot be properly completed after 8 hours with a pentium!!!!!

Commiserations click here.

Some of the products that Microsoft offers watered-down freebie versions of with their operating system, but which are done better by others include networking and communications products. Anyone who's used Lantastic will tell you that Windows for Workgroups is free, end of advantages. I MISS Lantastic. I hear they are still out there somewhere, but I haven't had Lantastic since Windows 95, and you can tell I'm a lady in severe functionality-withdrawal can't you?

Travelling Software are still going, and they have an extra product in their range now, Laplink Technical. I loves this. I recommends this. If you are serious about using your machine(s) effectively, you needs this. Buys this. Reads the review. Report back to me with your results.

Movie Reviews Index Previous Digit-ali Next Digit-ali We are capable of developing systems that can serve us efficiently and effectively, but instead we are fighting our way through myriad dialog boxes and clicky-clicky points. Gates also said that voice-control is the way of the future. I'm pretty concerned about how limited our options are going to be then, because the more human-interface is built into a system, the less powerful it becomes underneath. Can you believe people have to buy a Pentium 2 to type their letters?

We don't need more, we need better. We need Microsoft and others to stop finding it humourous that we are continually forced to buy more powerful equipment to satisfy their applications, when what is really needed is a serious overhaul of the systems analysis, design and architecture of personal computing.

go to contents of current issue contents.jpg - 1911 Bytes Well, if I can't find something not to bitch about next month, I'm just going to put up cat photos. Anyone got photos of cyber-cats?

by Ali Kayn,


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Filed: Dec-1998 : Last updated: Apr-1999 : Last tested: 16-Jul-2014: Last compiled: 08-Aug-2014
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