Windows

28. May, 2013

It’s time again for a rant.

There are people out there who believe that Windows is a “professional” OS.

Okaaaayyyy …

Let’s not bother to discuss what “professional” might mean but I can guarantee you, Windows is anything but “professional.” The reason is quite simple: It’s an OS for everyone. For the average computer user. Professionals use professional tools. They know their stuff, they don’t play with average stuff. You think anything about, say, a Formula One car is average? Even the finish is optimized for weight. Average cars clog the streets, professional cars can haul 400 tons and each tire costs $35’000 alone.

I have a friend who works in a garage. He has a set of tool that costs more than I ever spent on tools my whole life. One day, he had to get nut off. It was already in bad shape from previous attempts by “enthusiastic amateurs”. So he took one of his metric hexagon nut sockets that was one number too small and a hammer and hammered it on. Afterwards, he screwed it loose, forced the nut out of it’s too tight housing and the tool was still intact – barely a scratch. That’s the difference between what local DIY sells you and “professional.”

Windows is optimized to run without complaints. Errors are deliberately hidden from the user since the average computer user simply can’t deal with them anyway.

I turned away from Windows almost 20 years ago and never looked back. Sure, not something that everyone could or should do. Linux still isn’t an OS for the average user (even though we have come a long way – I can almost always set up my twin-monitor system without having to grab a text editor). But then, I need professional tools.

My fellow students wrote 100 page master theses with Word. I remember them cursing all the time. And we were studying computer science. I did mine in LaTeX: 400 pages, 0 problems. Oh, and I had everything under version control. Not that I would recommend it for everyone. But maybe, just maybe you feel like Windows and other M$ products are wasting your time: Have a look at professional tools.


Finally: M$ Improves File Operations

1. September, 2011

Good things need time. Even if they hurt you every day. File operations (copy, move, delete) on Windows are such a pain.

The damn thing takes half an hour to found out how many files to delete and then deletes them in a couple of seconds. Or the old joke “How long will it take?” Or copying two folders with the same name over each other (computer experts call that “merging”).

Well, M$ listened (they always do – they just rarely care) and after only … calculating … 29 years, they’re going to fix it! Yay ^_^

PS: Linux does it this way since a couple of years. Not sure about Mac. So another thing that M$ reluctantly “invented” after everyone else had it for years.


Major Security Flaw in Dropbox on Windows

20. April, 2011

During the installation, Dropbox saves the login credentials in %APPDATA%\Dropbox\config.db

The problem: The file can be copied to another computer or account and this simple operation gives an attacker the same credentials as the victim.

Even worse: Changing the password doesn’t help since the credentials don’t depend on the password. So even after a password change, the attacker can still access the Dropbox account!

Kudos go to Derek Newton for finding this gaping hole.

Original article: Dropbox authentication: insecure by design


Windows 7 Libraries Trigger Eclipse Builds

15. April, 2011

If you’re on Windows 7, you may know this odd behavior: For some reason, Eclipse goes into a build frenzy. Every few seconds, it will rebuild the workspace.

The reason: You added your workspace to a Windows 7 Library and you have “Refresh Automatically” enabled.

My guess is that indexing of Windows 7 Libraries creates temporary files which make Eclipse believe something changed in the Workspace. Which causes a rebuild. Which makes Windows re-index the workspace.

Workaround: Remove your workspace from the library or disable “Refresh Automatically”.

See also: Bug 342931 – Windows 7 Libraries trigger rebuilds


Ubunutu is safer than Windows

17. June, 2010

At least according to Dell.

See point 6 (“Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows®”). Let’s see how long the page will be available.

Update 21st of June 2010: The page is still there but it now just reads “Ubuntu is secure” and instead of “The vast majority of viruses and spyware written by hackers are not designed to target and attack Linux”, it just says “According to industry reports, Ubuntu is unaffected by the vast majority of viruses and spyware” 😉


Automatically fix computer problems

20. April, 2010

Microsoft announced the availability of a tool called “Fix-it“. The idea is that many computer users have similar problems and they can be fixed with a simple script (which downloads and installed a bugfix of a hardware driver, cleans a registry key, etc).

Right now, even if you find the issue in the knowledge base, you have to do this manually. So a program will help many people to solve the issues themselves. Also, the scripts can look for problems which the user didn’t even notice, yet.

I think this would be a great idea for Linux, too. For example, if you try to debug a network problem, the steps are always the same: Check the output of ifconfig, ping a couple of known servers, try to telnet somewhere. The script could ask for these values and save them. When you have network trouble again, it could run the tests automatically, examine the values and give suggestions.