Yo, Microsoft – one more giant Windows 8 blunder

April 18, 2013

After the post yesterday, a friend (hey, Sandy) asked me how to close the “app” or “tile” or whatever the hell the official term is now for one of the Metro, er, excuse me, touch-enabled apps on the tiled interface that Windows 8 opens when you turn on the PC. You know, you hit Music, find you can stream some interesting bands, start one, and then the phone rings (per Sandy). How do you close the “app” that took over your screen to play the music? You can Control-Tab away from it to your other open applications or desktop, but the music continues.

So Sandy hit Escape. Nothing. Right-click on the mouse. Something (a status bar on steroids?) opened up on the bottom, but no “quit” button. Pause key stopped the music for the phone call, but nothing to close the “window” or “app” or “touch-enabled monstrosity” whatever you prefer to call this Windows h8 mess.

How I close those? Alt-F4, an old Windows trick from back as far as Windows 3.1 if I remember correctly. Really, an obscure keystroke combination from decades ago. Sandy gave up and rebooted, cursing the entire time.

Those with touch screens let me know if you can pinch or swipe or tap or wiggle the screen closed. Those with desktops practice the awkward Alt-F4 key combo.


Yo, Microsoft – two simple changes could have saved Windows 8

April 17, 2013

Nothing like being ravaged as the reason for a hockey-stick drop in PC sales, is there, Steve Ballmer. As CEO of Microsoft, you have to take the ultimate blame for making two small wrong choices that had a major impact on Windows 8 acceptance.

First, why in hell do you force everyone to start with the touch-friendly tile interface formerly called Metro? When I spoke to groups before Windows 8 shipped and showed them screen shots of the release candidates, everyone groaned. Today, when I sit at my own Windows 8 desktop, groans have changed to curses.

Second, why can’t I get a list of application like the reliable pop-up menu on the bottom left of my screen? Now I have to drag tiles around into groups, and they don’t stay still. How hard is it to give me a button or icon to open up an application listing?

Shame that two stupid decisions will cost the PC industry millions and millions and millions of dollars. Even bigger shame that you, Ballmer, made those decisions willingly and against all good advice.


Reunion time

May 11, 2012

It’s that time of year – reunion time. I’m helping with mine, and wrote 7 Good Excuses to Skip Our Reunion and One Great Reason to Come. Feel free to use any of these jokes for your reunion.

And yes, Facebook has clobbered reunion attendance. Shame that people think Facebook is a viable alternative to meeting with old friends face to face.


Fun posts at ITworld.com

December 17, 2011

Yes, I’ve been doing quite a few short “curation” stories at ITworld.com, like this one on Louis CK and his new video. If you go there and search for my name and sort by recent entries, most will show up. I hope you enjoy reading ┬áthem, because I like writing them.


Dear Mark Zuckerberg: Grow a Pair

February 17, 2010

Will people ever stop running to lawyers when they get their feelings hurt? And will the people they file these nuisance suits against ever grow a pair and tell the whiners to shut up? Apparently not, if the recent lawsuit over privacy issues on Facebook is any indication. Yo, Mark, tell the whiners to stuff it.

Let’s see if I understand this: a free (repeat FREE) Web service, Facebook, exists solely to share information about what a person is doing or thinking with every friend and friend of a friend they can reach. Most of the information, at least the last six months, has been annoying as hell Farmville nonsense. No, I will not help you buy a cow.

Those who share information now want to hide some information, and they think Facebook is making it awkward or difficult or confusing in some way. So they call a lawyer. Surprise, surprise, the lawyer thinks they should file a lawsuit.

Advice to Mark: take care of those privacy issues the easy way: Throw the whiny idiots out of Facebook. Want more privacy? You got it. Afraid someone might see what an idiot you are from your Facebook drivel? Taken care of, quickly and easily.

Now let’s see if Mark can grow a pair with hair: block whiners from any direct Facebook activity, and block all mentions of the whiners in all other user comments and photo galleries. You want privacy, whiners? Here’s your privacy: you are persona non grata on Facebook, period.

Is Facebook wonderful? No. Do I use it? Sometimes. Do I get tired of Farmville and Mafia Wars and other nonsense? Absolutely. When Facebook annoys me, do I call a lawyer? Hell no, I go to another Web site, or go play tennis.

Facebook is a free service. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. Problem solved. Go whine about something else.


Printer jokes, anyone?

January 7, 2010

Are printers funny? I’m doing a printer-specific blog sponsored by HP over at ITWorld, and the editor wanted me to find some funny printer jokes. I found six, and they were pretty lame.

So I wrote my own jokes here. Let me know what you think.


Worst Web Host in the World: HostDepartment.com

November 3, 2009

How bad is this Web host, the host I have eight sites on? Trouble started on October 16th, when my Web sites and e-mail were down for the entire afternoon. Starting 10/21, service has been absolutely abysmal. E-mail down for days at a time. Web sites went down then, and are still down. E-mail up and down, but mostly down, every day since the 21st.

Do yourself a favor: always search for comments about any product or service you are considering buying before you put your money down. If you do that, you’ll see HostDepartment.com has an enormous number of negative comments. Add this one to the list.

You want broken technology? HostDepartment.com is the most broken technology since cassette drives as data storage devices on personal computers.


Pussy Cat Blamed for Child Porn

August 7, 2009

Just when you thought the summer heat had already revved up all the crazies, here comes Keith Griffin, who blames his cat for child porn found on his computer. Thank goodness Griffin and his porn-mongering cat live in Florida and not Texas. We have enough colorful characters who made strange news headlines.

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Time Warner Cable Turns Back the VoIP Clock

August 5, 2009

I use Time Warner Cable for my cable Internet access because I have no better high speed option. For testing purposes, I also have basic DSL broadband from AT&T, which is all I can get because I’m too far from their powered connection points. Thus I get pitches from both companies to add new services at least once a week.

Cable companies love to sell Voice Over Internet Protocol phone service, but they have always priced it far too high. While Vonage advertises $25 per month, cable companies jack it up to $40 per month even though they own the connections to each home. Why? Greed, I guess, but I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from a cable executive.

Recently, a flyer came from Time Warner Cable offering residential VoIP service for $20 per month, for 12 months. At first I was thrilled about the price reduction, figuring it would be tough on Vonage but good for consumers. But the fine print said the price was only good on a service plan that offered unlimited calling only in Texas.

This is a disgusting trend, and Time Warner Cable executives should be ashamed of themselves. The Internet eliminates distance for domestic calls, and to charge long distance rates outside an artificial barrier like a state line makes no technical sense whatsoever. This is the type of stupid phone pricing I expect from AT&T as they struggle to keep their landline business profitable. To see a cable company use this type of pricing only shows their contempt for customers and a perversion of the values of using the Internet for telephone calls.

Time Warner Cable officially sucks.


I Am NOT a Content Creator, I Am A Writer

July 31, 2009

Let me explain this as politely as I can: I do not “create content.” I take knowledge and wisdom from one source and translate, explain, clarify, and humanize that information for better understanding by readers. Read the rest of this entry »