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Morning Tech Bits

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35. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 21:17 rkone
 
If you have a HTPC, movie/tv/music collection, and you don't use WMC with the media browser ( http://www.mediabrowser.tv/ ) free add-on, you're really missing out.  
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34. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 20:46 noman
 
Windows Media Center is a great application for an HTPC. I have it on my gaming HTPC with media browser plugin and the only alternative that comes close is XBMC (and its derivatives) and even that doesn't compare when considering WMC's live TV recording features.

I have links within WMC to start XBMC (for TV shows), and PowerDVD for Blu-Ray playback. DVDs play best in WMC, because of the excellent MPC remote integration. The PowerDVD I have doesn't have full functionality exposed through remote, but for blu-ray playback I don't have any other choice (well, I do have a PS3 but......)

I'd understand if WMC was available for a small price on Windows 8 non-pro versions, and even then I'd expect a reduced price for base windows, or an enhanced WMC. To get the same WMC that we have had with Vista and Win7 (it's there in Win8 preview), and to have Win8 pro upgrade to get this is quite disappointing.

And apparently Windows 8 will not natively support DVD playback.

Up to now, I was looking forward to have Windows 8 on the HTPC, since the new start screen (and the metro interface) looked quite MPC remote friendly. However to pay for "Win 8 pro pack" for the standard edition is something I'd not do unless there are compelling reasons.

I might have to stick with Windows 7 then.
 
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33. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 20:42 ventry
 
MediaPortal.
FTW.
 
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32. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 20:32 wallace321
 
remember when they made Halo 2 vista exclusive? lawl! everybody was mad at the time because it didnt even require directx 10, also vista exclusive. microsoft probably set pc gaming back 4 years with that one  
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31. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 20:10 Julio
 
Skipping Win 8, happy with Win 7 for a very long time. Games that require Win 8 will be an automatic no purchase.

Every other version of windows sucks, Win 7 is decent, so Win 8 will be a flop for desktops. Its a tablet OS.
 
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30. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 19:27 Prez
 
Personally I see myself holding onto Win7 for at least as long as I did with XP (I only just upgraded 9 months ago). Not until games that I really care about begin requiring it will I consider upgrading again.

On the business side, every PC where I work still has Windows XP on it, and I expect when we finally do upgrade it will be to an earlier iteration of Windows than Win8. Generally I think most people generally need a reason to upgrade other than because it's the new thing. Typically it's because what they were using no longer does what they need it to.
 
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29. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 18:48 theyarecomingforyou
 
Verno wrote on May 4, 2012, 15:50:
I think you're soft selling it quite a bit there, Metro has major usability problems on the desktop that people aren't likely to adjust to. With the ribbon the problem was moving common shortcuts people used, that's a much more simple concept. I've made many adjustments personally but it regularly disrupts my workflow. Maybe in the future Microsoft can improve it but I highly doubt we'll be deploying this at all in its current form.
Don't get me wrong, there are certainly issues with Metro in the Consumer Preview. The hot-corners work poorly on multi-monitor systems and there are quite a few quirks that seems counter-intuitive but it also adds a lot. People love customising their workspace, as evidenced by the variety of wallpapers (and back in the day screensavers) - with Metro people can drag tiles around, resize them, group them, change the background colour and shapes, see dynamic information, etc. And the majority of time is still spent on the desktop, which is virtually unchanged.

The real test will be next month when the Release Preview is released. That will feature the tutorial, new cursors / sounds, new background colours / shapes, a redesigned Aero (flat colours rather than gradients) and presumably plenty of tweaks to Metro and the hot-corners. It will also be interesting to see if the removal of DVD/Blu-ray support leads to a cheaper price, especially given how radical the change is.

pnag wrote on May 4, 2012, 15:51:
Except for someone like me, blu-ray (although still compressed) doesn't look like the shit you can download. The level of compression is awful for most of the digital distribution I've tried, but then I'd have a 35mm projector if my wife would let me.
Most movies and TV series have decent 720p/1080p rips. And streaming services are finally starting to make some progress, though few even come close to Blu-ray quality. I agree that Blu-ray is better quality but not enough to justify the inconvenience. I got fed up of hundreds of game cases clogging up my room and it's the same with DVDs and Blu-rays. Digital distribution really is the only sensible solution and it's shocking that content producers have been so ridiculously slow at adapting. I can redownload games on Steam infinitely, yet for some reason most media websites have only allowed you to download the once.

I'd love to support my favourite TV shows like I do with games on Steam but Blu-rays are expensive and impractical, while DVDs are impractical and shit quality.
 
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28. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 18:09 jimnms
 
Agent.X7 wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:50:
pnag wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:37:
I use Media Center (not Media player, there is a difference) for watching all my media (blu-ray, Avi's, Mkv's, live satellite tv etc)

Tried all the alternatives (MythTV, XBMC etc) and in terms of overall functionality? Nothing came close.

I think it's a mistake to remove it, as I doubt the codec licensing savings will be passed on to the end user.

Surprised at blue to hear him say he'd pay to *not* have it?!?

You're only surprised because you are one of the minority that like Media Center. It's intrusive and it starts itself at the most annoying times. I'll take any media software over that.

You know you can uninstall Media Center if you don't like it. It doesn't auto start, and the only files it's associated with are .wtv and .dvr-ms which are recorded shows in Media Center. I have an HTPC build on Win7 using Media Center. I record shows OTA HD and basic cable, and watch DVD and Blu-ray movies. Microsoft is basically giving people another reason not to upgrade to Win8.
 
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27. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:51 pnag
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:32:
WMC is terrible... The problem is that DVDs and Blu-rays are horrible to use - it's honestly a lot more practical for me to just download everything. What they need is a Steam-like client for media. I'm kinda surprised that Valve hasn't already moved into media distribution, as it would be awesome to have sales on TV series and movies.

Except for someone like me, blu-ray (although still compressed) doesn't look like the shit you can download. The level of compression is awful for most of the digital distribution I've tried, but then I'd have a 35mm projector if my wife would let me.

As for a Steam like client? There's a Netflix plugin?

You also never actually said why it's horrible to use?
 
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26. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:50 Verno
 
It's the biggest UI change in nearly 20yrs, so obviously it's going to take some getting used to. People had the same reaction to the Office ribbon but it was fine when people got used to it. Don't forget that Microsoft will be including a tutorial explaining the new interface, which will take away most of the shock factor that exists at the moment.

I think you're soft selling it quite a bit there, Metro has major usability problems on the desktop that people aren't likely to adjust to. With the ribbon the problem was moving common shortcuts people used, that's a much more simple concept. I've made many adjustments personally but it regularly disrupts my workflow. Maybe in the future Microsoft can improve it but I highly doubt we'll be deploying this at all in its current form.

I'm not really sure why we needed a unified interface anyway, desktop and tablet/mobile interfaces are quite literally at odds in what they are trying to accomplish so it's an awkward shoehorn at its best moments.
 
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25. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:45 pnag
 
Agent.X7 wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:50:
You're only surprised because you are one of the minority that like Media Center. It's intrusive and it starts itself at the most annoying times. I'll take any media software over that.

Media Center? Are you sure you're not thinking of Media Player? There is a difference. I love VLC on desktop machines or laptops, but on my 60" plasma, in the sitting room, for all the things I mentioned, Media Center is the best. (10ft menu, live tv etc.)

If Media Center (and not Media Player) is auto starting, you've messed up somewhere.
 
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24. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:39 theyarecomingforyou
 
Verno wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:34:
We've started focus testing Windows 8 at the office here on regular users and none of can stand it for more than 10 minutes. One sales guy threw a fit even, it was kind of hilarious to watch him struggle with Metro. I have no idea what the fuck Microsoft is thinking, people are so incredibly dependent on the traditional Start Menu that I can see the potential for this to be a disaster on the scale of Windows ME.
It's the biggest UI change in nearly 20yrs, so obviously it's going to take some getting used to. People had the same reaction to the Office ribbon but it was fine when people got used to it. Don't forget that Microsoft will be including a tutorial explaining the new interface, which will take away most of the shock factor that exists at the moment.

I've been using it since the Consumer Preview - I also tried the Developer Preview but the compatibility was terrible - and although I felt completely lost for the first few days you very quickly get used to it. Personally I'm a big fan and some of the new functionality is superb (Task Manager, file transfers, Storage Spaces, Microsoft account integration, etc).

I'm very interested to see how people respond to it. I imagine it won't be long until we see a majority of computers shipping with touchscreens (laptops likely leading the way, desktops a bit behind). I imagine there will be plenty of complaints and moaning - we've already seen quite a lot - but that it will die down after a while. At least Win8 has some genuinely compelling functionality (as well as performing better and booting faster), whereas Vista really didn't. We'll likely see a Vista/7 relationship - 8 will push the new interface / design and 9 will refine it and everyone will love it.
 
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23. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:38 DangerDog
 
Bhruic wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:34:
Not even just having to pay for WMC, but they won't natively have the ability to play DVDs or Blu-Ray any more in Windows 8. You'll have to get codecs from a 3rd party.

For real? I thought that dolby deal was just over not having the "sound" codec in place.
 
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22. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 15:13 Bhruic
 
DG wrote on May 4, 2012, 13:55:
Eh, don't you have to anyway?

I've not been able to play a DVD without having PowerDVD installed in at least WinXP, Vista and 7.

Well, no, you shouldn't have to. In Vista and 7, you should be able to just throw in a DVD and have it work. Can't remember if it was the case with XP, but I don't think so - XP was a little too old for integrated DVD/Blu-Ray support.
 
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21. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 14:17 Verno
 
That quote pyramid is out of control Yeah Vista was a combo of things. Users trying to use it on hardware that was "Vista certified" but had no business running it. The manufacturers really dropped the ball on drivers and Microsoft totally failed to respond on a marketing level too. Apple ran several marketing campaigns that were absolutely savage and genius. People still parrot how bad Vista is and that includes a lot of people who never actually used it.

Nvidia driver hell was pretty common back then, I can't find the chart GIF at the moment but someone at Microsoft said their internal reports showed them responsible for like 28% of all Vista blue screens.
 
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20. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 14:09 MattyC
 
Agent.X7 wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:51:
Beamer wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:47:
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:07:
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 10:10:
Well, seems it's becoming official though we knew it all along, Windows 8 is terrible. And having to pay for Media Center? Holy shit, the DLC concept finally hit Windows itself.

Think I'll stick with Win7 for a long, long time by the looks of it.

Didn't they do this with Win95 or 98 or Me or whichever? I'm pretty sure one of those had some kind of add-on pack that allowed DVD playback, which makes some degree of sense - DVD playback costs them money but isn't used by too many people. It wasn't used by too many back in the day and it's falling back to not being used by too many again now.


As for that review, take it with a grain of salt as it's from a huge Linux nut, but I don't think this surprises anyone:

Oh yes the Linux bias there is very strong, still some of the stuff he says makes sense to what I've been hearing from other people testing Win8, that it's a disaster for a desktop or laptop PC, it seems to have been made with a focus more on mobile and tablet experience rather than desktop.

I expect Win8 to be the new Vista and to follow the usual pattern of Microsoft Windows releases, good, bad, good, bad. Win7 was the Good one, Windows8 seems to be on target to be again one of the Bad Windows.

Vista wasn't that bad. Intel was the one dropping the ball there.
But yeah, for a strong Linux bias it was a pretty fair analysis, or seemed to me. I haven't used Windows 8 and am not planning to anytime soon, outside of a phone and tablet, where I think the OS not only makes sense but could be great.

Vista wasn't bad if you compare it to ME. If you compare it to 98, XP, or 7? It's pretty bad.

Vista was fine if you ran it on newer hardware. Most of the people that 'hated it' just read something on the internet about it and then repeated it. The same complaints (drivers, RAM, using more resources) fit their precious XP on its release. And UAC was a good thing, it just needed to be tuned.
 
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19. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 13:55 DG
 
Bhruic wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:34:
Not even just having to pay for WMC, but they won't natively have the ability to play DVDs or Blu-Ray any more in Windows 8. You'll have to get codecs from a 3rd party.
Eh, don't you have to anyway?

I've not been able to play a DVD without having PowerDVD installed in at least WinXP, Vista and 7.

BR is the bloody farce though. Even WITH a licenced codec installed I have to play it through that specific program. This also doesn't work because my version of PowerDVD can't handle the audio encryption.

So I have to decrypt my legit BR to disk then either mount it as a virtual BR or open the individual m2ts video file using VideoLAN.

I swear these guys actually do not want my money.


BTW Vista was perfectly fine post-SP1. I never had any issues with it despite jumping into 64bit. Bit of a RAM hog if you look at the stats but the way it worked it never actually affected anything. The lauded W7 is Vista with a few tweaks, many aesthetic.

W8 is being panned for the UI. A UI that may be default but is optional and I'd bet nearly all of us will disable, so it's W7 with a few tweaks.
 
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18. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 12:51 Agent.X7
 
Beamer wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:47:
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:07:
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 10:10:
Well, seems it's becoming official though we knew it all along, Windows 8 is terrible. And having to pay for Media Center? Holy shit, the DLC concept finally hit Windows itself.

Think I'll stick with Win7 for a long, long time by the looks of it.

Didn't they do this with Win95 or 98 or Me or whichever? I'm pretty sure one of those had some kind of add-on pack that allowed DVD playback, which makes some degree of sense - DVD playback costs them money but isn't used by too many people. It wasn't used by too many back in the day and it's falling back to not being used by too many again now.


As for that review, take it with a grain of salt as it's from a huge Linux nut, but I don't think this surprises anyone:

Oh yes the Linux bias there is very strong, still some of the stuff he says makes sense to what I've been hearing from other people testing Win8, that it's a disaster for a desktop or laptop PC, it seems to have been made with a focus more on mobile and tablet experience rather than desktop.

I expect Win8 to be the new Vista and to follow the usual pattern of Microsoft Windows releases, good, bad, good, bad. Win7 was the Good one, Windows8 seems to be on target to be again one of the Bad Windows.

Vista wasn't that bad. Intel was the one dropping the ball there.
But yeah, for a strong Linux bias it was a pretty fair analysis, or seemed to me. I haven't used Windows 8 and am not planning to anytime soon, outside of a phone and tablet, where I think the OS not only makes sense but could be great.

Vista wasn't bad if you compare it to ME. If you compare it to 98, XP, or 7? It's pretty bad.
 
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17. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 12:50 Agent.X7
 
pnag wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:37:
I use Media Center (not Media player, there is a difference) for watching all my media (blu-ray, Avi's, Mkv's, live satellite tv etc)

Tried all the alternatives (MythTV, XBMC etc) and in terms of overall functionality? Nothing came close.

I think it's a mistake to remove it, as I doubt the codec licensing savings will be passed on to the end user.

Surprised at blue to hear him say he'd pay to *not* have it?!?

You're only surprised because you are one of the minority that like Media Center. It's intrusive and it starts itself at the most annoying times. I'll take any media software over that.
 
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16. Re: Morning Tech Bits May 4, 2012, 12:47 Beamer
 
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on May 4, 2012, 11:07:
ASeven wrote on May 4, 2012, 10:10:
Well, seems it's becoming official though we knew it all along, Windows 8 is terrible. And having to pay for Media Center? Holy shit, the DLC concept finally hit Windows itself.

Think I'll stick with Win7 for a long, long time by the looks of it.

Didn't they do this with Win95 or 98 or Me or whichever? I'm pretty sure one of those had some kind of add-on pack that allowed DVD playback, which makes some degree of sense - DVD playback costs them money but isn't used by too many people. It wasn't used by too many back in the day and it's falling back to not being used by too many again now.


As for that review, take it with a grain of salt as it's from a huge Linux nut, but I don't think this surprises anyone:

Oh yes the Linux bias there is very strong, still some of the stuff he says makes sense to what I've been hearing from other people testing Win8, that it's a disaster for a desktop or laptop PC, it seems to have been made with a focus more on mobile and tablet experience rather than desktop.

I expect Win8 to be the new Vista and to follow the usual pattern of Microsoft Windows releases, good, bad, good, bad. Win7 was the Good one, Windows8 seems to be on target to be again one of the Bad Windows.

Vista wasn't that bad. Intel was the one dropping the ball there.
But yeah, for a strong Linux bias it was a pretty fair analysis, or seemed to me. I haven't used Windows 8 and am not planning to anytime soon, outside of a phone and tablet, where I think the OS not only makes sense but could be great.
 
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