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Google Should Not Have Fired Their Engineer over Sexist Memo

A pig.

Anyone who knows me personally knows my politics are generally liberal sprinkled with a strong respect for tradition. I also am willing to label myself a feminist in the traditional sense of the word – an advocate for the equality of women in all aspects of society. The reason I mention this is to provide context for my contention that Google was wrong to fire an employee for his wrongheaded remarks about women in tech. And also, to head off arguments that I am some right-wing, women bashing, pig. Like many in the tech community, I have been following the story of Google engineer James Damore’s internal memo entitled “Google’s

Why is The Internet Losing Their Minds Over MS Paint

A picture of the sadness that is MS Paint.

Yesterday, July 24, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would be deprecating MS Paint for the Fall Creators Release of Windows 10. Immediately the Internet went crazy with grief. There were even petitions! The reaction to the rather nonchalant announcement that MS Paint would no longer be part of Windows was so strong that Microsoft had to announce today that Paint wasn’t going away at all. Instead, MS Paint would still be available from the Windows Store, though it would no longer ship with Windows 10. Why?! MS Paint has been around over 30 years. That’s four centuries in computer time. It hasn’t changed much in that time and is, let’s

Microsoft Edge Quick Update

For the past week I’ve been trying to use Microsoft Edge almost exclusively. Despite it’s charms, I simply can’t. The inability to automatically open new links in a new tab is irritating. I end up opening a new tab and then loading the bookmark I want or having to middle click on a link. On top of that, the bookmark import from FireFox didn’t bring over all of my bookmarks. It’s not like it refused to bring over any – it just didn’t bring them all over. For example, a folder with ten bookmarks in Firefox might only yield four entries in Edge. That’s both weird and annoying. So, at

The Windows 10 Creators Update is Meh.

The Windows 10 Creators Update just rolled out to customers and, frankly, it’s kind of boring. That’s probably not fair. I’m guessing there are plenty of people excited by these changes and there are likely many new features lurking under the covers. Still, for the average customer there’s not much to excite. For example, there are a set of new 3D image creation features. A new app called 3D Paint allows a customer to create 3D images easily. “Easily” is pretty subjective; I found it just as hard as most other 3D image creation tools to create something meaningful. Microsoft has also created an online community of people, called Remix

Microsoft Edge is Nearly Good Enough

Microsoft Edge, the successor to the now antediluvian Internet Explorer, first shipped 2 years ago as part of Windows 10. In its first iteration, Edge was bare boned compared to Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. It lacked features that most customers had come to expect from a modern browser, not the least of which was extensions or plugins. Since then, Microsoft has continued to update Edge and advance the feature set. It is now almost good enough to be the browser of choice for the average user. But, as the old saying goes, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Let’s get one thing out of the way: Edge

Microsoft Edge Quick Update

For the past week I’ve been trying to use Microsoft Edge almost exclusively. Despite it’s charms, I simply can’t. The inability to automatically open new links in a new tab is irritating. I end up opening a new tab and then loading the bookmark I want or having to middle click on a link.

On top of that, the bookmark import from FireFox didn’t bring over all of my bookmarks. It’s not like it refused to bring over any – it just didn’t bring them all over. For example, a folder with ten bookmarks in Firefox might only yield four entries in Edge. That’s both weird and annoying.

So, at the moment, Edge is my go-to for incidental Internet browsing but FireFox for my morning news reading and similar structured Internet use.

Or as Santa says in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer “What a pity. He had a nice takeoff, too.”

The Windows 10 Creators Update is Meh.

The Windows 10 Creators Update just rolled out to customers and, frankly, it’s kind of boring. That’s probably not fair. I’m guessing there are plenty of people excited by these changes and there are likely many new features lurking under the covers. Still, for the average customer there’s not much to excite.

For example, there are a set of new 3D image creation features. A new app called 3D Paint allows a customer to create 3D images easily. “Easily” is pretty subjective; I found it just as hard as most other 3D image creation tools to create something meaningful. Microsoft has also created an online community of people, called Remix 3D, who want to share these images. This is clearly a stab at Apple and Adobe. Both of these companies have worked hard to bring animation and other creative tools to the masses. Still, this is not something that the average consumer will care about. Most will play around with it but it won’t have much impact on their computing experience.

The same is true for the Linux subsystem and BASH upgrades. As an aside, it’s never BASH Shell. BASH is an acronym for “Bourne-again shell” shell. BASH Shell, like NIC Card, is redundant. But I digress… The BASH upgrades are extensive and bring new, under-the-covers support for programming languages such node.js, python, and a host of less common ones such as Rust. The upgraded shell also brings an upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04. That’s not the latest Ubuntu distribution (Ubuntu 17.04 is the most up-to-date) but is quite common. There are other improvements across the board including better Linux – Window integration. All of this is lovely but only if you are a programmer or other form of computer professional. For the average individual who just wants to access the Internet, this won’t matter a bit. For most people, the BASH capability will never even be enabled. It takes a somewhat complicated process to activate the Linux subsystem on Windows 10 and most customers won’t even know it exists.

Speaking of the Internet, Windows 10 Creators Edition does come with a lot of upgrades to the Microsoft Edge browser. Edge is not yet ready to be the browser of choice for power users (read about that in my previous blog Microsoft Edge is Nearly Good). It is, however, fast and has improved enough that the average individual may consider it for everyday use. This is especially the case if they are currently using the ancient Internet Explorer. That piece of… software should have been buried long ago with the other dinosaurs of the early Internet era.

Everything else is small or plain ridiculous. Microsoft has added display changes that are supposed to excite us but (let’s be honest) don’t. Dark mode and Nightlight are just two examples of new feature that scream “seriously, who cares?” Dark mode changes the theme from a light one to a dark one. What this means is that the normally white background turns black and the normally colored text goes white. It’s supposed to be good for low light situations but how often is this a problem. Even more strange is the Nightlight mode. It reduces the blue light in the display for people who sleep with their computers. Yeah… That sounds like something in the movie “Her” that was edited out because it sounded too creepy. This has been in Linux desktops for some time where it is equally useless.

There have been some updates to Cortana that are interesting if not earth shattering. You can now write a sticky note with instructions for reminders for Cortana. That means it is now possible to write a note that reminds you to pick up something at the store and then have Cortana yell it at you. The basic purpose of a personal computer was to get away from having people shout reminders at us but it is suddenly better when it’s the computer doing the shouting.. Cortana can also spew more notifications into the Action Center. That’s probably something…

Microsoft has also added broadcast gaming features to Windows such as integration with Beam. Beam is a livestreaming platform for gamers who need to brag online. It’s been renamed Mixer because Beam is obviously not nearly as cool a name as Mixer. Yep. That’s it.

At its core Windows 10 Creators Update is a bunch of tweaks and small features for specific constituents. It is for developers, artists, and gamers but not the masses. The Edge updates are about the most useful to the vast majority of customers but those could have been rolled out on their own. This is a nice update but few will be truly excited by it. Considering the last major update was the Anniversary Update a year ago, everyone was expecting more.