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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3136 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
19. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Dec 27, 2015, 21:35 Scottish Martial Arts
harlock wrote on Dec 27, 2015, 21:19:
the basic point i would make to the author is: the world doesnt revolve around YOU, or ME

and once you take a step outside your oh so limited little worldview exclusive to your own teeny tiny little slice of life, THEN you can start to see a little more clearly

but not until then. of course, you can go ahead and argue about it until the end of fucking time.. because YOU YOU YOU, and so forth... fuck it, i dont give a shit at all, go ahead, waste your breath

ive wasted enough here

Aren't you making the author's, and my, argument here? For the overwhelming majority of the world, their personal computing needs are sufficiently met by the average smart phone. For the overwhelming majority of office workers who use a computer in their work, a laptop built within the last 5-7 years will sufficiently meet the hardware requirements of their computing needs. The only people who have the desperate need for advanced hardware that you claim is so universal are in fact the edge cases: people like YOU or people like ME. For everyone else? Their phone and the MacBook or Dell laptop they got in college 6 or 7 years ago is "good enough".
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
17. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Dec 27, 2015, 20:54 Scottish Martial Arts
harlock wrote on Dec 27, 2015, 19:56:
the argument is bullshit if you work in the entertainment industry, and to neglect to consider the ENTIRE SECTOR is totally out of context because it is an INDUSTRY designed to make money

just because YOU dont use productivity apps doesnt mean they arent in use widely

PCs have never ever had "killer apps" outside that anyways, its always been like this... so again, just a stupid argument

So I concede that video transcoding requires specialized hardware, while pointing out that most Photoshop use cases do not require anything more specialized than what's on a typical laptop made within the past 5-7 years... and you ignore the typical Photoshop use cases to hammer home on video transcoding which I've already conceded requires specialized hardware.

Sure, once we get into video and 3D modeling, we need cutting edge hardware, just like gaming. But here's the thing: video editing and 3D modeling are not huge fields within the industries of which they are a part. Try getting a job as a 3D animator: the competition is so fucking sharp for such a small number of jobs that you'll cut your finger just looking at job listings. This isn't to say that the hardware needs aren't there for certain fields, just that for most people who work on a computer, anything made within the past decade is "good enough".

And really that's the reality of where computing hardware is these days. For the overwhelming majority of use cases, the hardware that exists in your cell phone, let alone your laptop, and even further let alone your desktop, is "good enough". Meanwhile, Moore's Law is starting to hit it's upper limits. Let's face it, the PC Gaming Master Race isn't the typical computer user, nor is a 3D modeler/animator, nor is a feature film special effects artist.

And frankly, the article's argument isn't original; people who work in software have been murmuring about the fact that we're hitting hardware limits that MOST software hasn't even begun to catch up with. Here's an article on that very topic (with a pretty cool comparison to the rapid rise and sudden plateau of the aerospace industry in the 20th century as an analogy) that was making the rounds on Hacker News and similar sites last summer.
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
14. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Dec 27, 2015, 18:57 Scottish Martial Arts
DangerDog wrote on Dec 27, 2015, 17:55:

Those are specialized applications, might as well throw Maya or Autocad into the mix.

The everyday programs that "businesses" use don't amount to more than a web browser, word processing and spread sheet program.

Not to mention that in the case of Photoshop, for most use cases a "computer made within the last 7 years" will probably do just fine. Yes, a dedicated GPU, more RAM, and an SSD will improve PS performance dramatically, but for most run of the mill image creation, design mockups, and photo touchups, a half-way decent laptop will do the job just fine. Video rendering is obviously a whole different ball game, but like you say, that's pretty specialized stuff that is not at all relevant to the typical office worker.
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News Comments > Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X
39. Re: Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X Dec 26, 2015, 13:26 Scottish Martial Arts
aar0n wrote on Dec 26, 2015, 11:42:
Absolutely can dual boot. But what ended up happening to me is that I just stopped playing the games on my Windows installation to the point where I haven't booted into Windows in like two years because of the hassle of rebooting and waiting on patches etc etc. I ended up just playing the games that are available on Linux instead of complaining about what I don't have.

Obviously if this isn't good enough then you should run Windows, or dual boot. But for me I'm quite happy to get Linux versions of games like divinity even if they're delayed a bit.

Ditto. Dual-booting works, but it's annoying to have to stop everything you're doing in your primary OS, and reboot into another, just to play a game, particularly if you're only looking at playing for 30 minutes or so. I don't need to play every major release anymore, and even if I did, I certainly don't have the time to do it. Gaming, at this stage of life, is a fun, occasional diversion, and the more gaming is centered around having a dedicated custom-built desktop, running an OS I wouldn't otherwise use, then gaming is only going to become more occasional, and less and less a part of my recreation time. Sadly, I'm not 16 anymore.

While porting isn't an easy task by any stretch, it's also not as hard as building the game from scratch, particularly if you, as the developer, make library and tool chain choices with an eye towards eventual ports. And frankly, for me personally, I'm probably more likely to buy a game at this point if it's available on OS X and Linux, then not, because only then do I have the flexibility to run it on the platforms where I'm most likely to actually play it. And clearly, that must apply to a lot more people than just me, otherwise large numbers of developers wouldn't be spending the money to port to OS X and Linux.

There are so many games available these days, and available so cheaply at that, that developers need to work a bit harder to get their game out there, and available on multiple platforms, than in the days in which Windows gaming was dominant, we all had a custom built desktop with bleeding edge hardware (because laptops were crap at the time), and buying a game meant actually driving to Best Buy or Fry's and spending $50 to get a set of disks and a printed manual in a cardboard box.
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News Comments > Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X
33. Re: Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X Dec 25, 2015, 20:14 Scottish Martial Arts
Santa Claus wrote on Dec 25, 2015, 14:17:
Many people don't buy traditional PCs at all anymore. My new girlfriend has a Macbook Pro and shes never going back to a desktop. That's a bunch of market share they can't chase unless they get into OSX and Linux ports.

This is basically where I'm at at this point. I got issued a MacBook Pro for my last job, and ended up really liking it, so when my personal laptop, a Lenovo ThinkPad, had reached the end of its useful life, I bought a 15" MBP of my own earlier this year. As life, career, and my computing needs have evolved, that MBP gets the overwhelming majority of my usage time, while the custom gaming desktop mostly just gathers dust. I still fire up the desktop from time to time, but that gets less frequent simply as a function of their being different demands, with different priority, on my time than when I was a high school or college student and thought of myself as a hardcore gamer and absolutely had to play every major new release. As a result of its infrequent use, I keep going back and forth on whether or not to just get rid of the desktop, particularly given the hassle of moving the thing when I change apartments and the associated desk, peripherals, and miscellaneous crap (all of which take up space and impose fixed requirements on how I choose to furnish at least one room of my home). I'd still like the option to play a game, but the days when I needed to play every major release and I needed to do so with bleeding edge hardware are long over and will never be coming back. With that in mind, I'm very happy to see that more and more developers release on OS X and Linux, and not just Windows.
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News Comments > Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X
9. Re: Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition for Linux & OS X Dec 24, 2015, 21:41 Scottish Martial Arts
As you get older and career and family become more important, gaming necessarily takes a back seat to the better uses for your time. For some professions/fields, Windows really isn't the ideal OS -- or at least Windows takes more setup for it to be ideal and meanwhile none of your colleagues are running Windows machines -- and to run a Windows machine for gaming, when your computer(s) are primarily used for other purposes, can end up being a real nuisance. Certainly from the perspective of performance per dollar -- when building your own desktop -- and from game availability, Windows can't be beat, but that assumes that those are the things that are most important to you in your computer. When you reach a point in life when gaming is a secondary interest at best, rather than your core hobby and a source of identity, then having that ridiculously powerful desktop that runs all the latest games at 4k resolution and 60+ frames per second stops making a whole lot of sense. And when that happens, when you still like to play the occasional game but are no longer concerned about doing so with maximum performance, then you really start to appreciate having the option of playing new(ish) games on OS X and Linux. And clearly for the companies doing the ports, the revenue from having their games on other platforms clearly must outweigh the cost of porting, otherwise they wouldn't bother.  
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News Comments > Bethesda Softworks Sale
14. Re: Bethesda Softworks Sale Dec 22, 2015, 23:51 Scottish Martial Arts
Daggerfall is definitely a game which you can't binge on. Well, you can, but if you do it will drive you insane as you get lost in a massive, labyrinthine dungeon where the quest item is no where to be found. But if, when you reach that point, you save and call it a day, and come back later with fresh eyes, typically you find that quest item, and gradually make your way back to the dungeon exit, feeling a pretty huge sense of accomplishment.

Daggerfall is broken in so many ways, but what it does well is that it challenges you, gives you a real sense of character progression, and constantly surprises you with little details that you never notice the first, or second, or third time, through. It is not a modern game however, and you have to be willing to put up with design and interface conventions that were just shy of the maturity that began to be achieved in the late 90s. Still, solving the main quest of Daggerfall, with it's twisting branches, dead ends, and truly intricate plot, is one of those gaming feats that ranks up there with slaying the Spider Mastermind (Doom) or retrieving the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom and becoming the Avatar of Virtue (Ultima 4).
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News Comments > Bethesda Softworks Sale
2. Re: Bethesda Softworks Sale Dec 21, 2015, 23:04 Scottish Martial Arts
Although in fairness those two free games have been freeware distributed by Bethesda itself for over a decade now. Still, Daggerfall is pretty darn cool if you can get past the bugs.  
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News Comments > Game Reviews
4. Re: Game Reviews Dec 21, 2015, 12:40 Scottish Martial Arts
JohnBirshire wrote on Dec 21, 2015, 11:16:
I tried to play Tie Fighter again recently, but I can't find any joysticks like the Kraft KC-3 for modern day systems. Everything is ultra complicated, this game just needed a simple stick.

Try this stick from Logitech. It's got more than two buttons but it's probably the simplest stick on the market, is inexpensive, relatively decent build quality for just a piece of plastic, and will satisfy all joystick needs but for the most serious flight simming, i.e. you'll need to upgrade if you want to play DCS A-10C but that doesn't sound like an interest for you. The one downside is that the self calibration mechanism tends to give out after 12-18 months, but for a $30 joystick it's kinda hard to complain.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
53. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 19:03 Scottish Martial Arts
Creston wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 18:38:
You're both aware that Volume Shadow Copy has in fact existed since Windows 7, right? (Or even Vista, IIRC) It's not new to Windows 10...

Did Shadow Copy have that degree of functionality though? Now that you mentioned it, I do remember reading about it back when I still worked in IT, but as I recall it was fairly limited in its version history, wasn't it? Like the most recently saved version and the one immediately preceding it? Like I said, it's been a while since I read about the feature, and I never actually used it or supported it.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
52. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 19:00 Scottish Martial Arts
Creston wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 18:31:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 00:36:
Good luck fitting all of that on a single laptop desktop without going insane.

To each their own, obviously, but who on earth still uses a single laptop screen in an enterprise environment? Even the freaking mail room guy has three monitors at my PoE.

I've got two at my desk, but my office is one of those open floor plan places that are all the rage, so frequently I just take my laptop and charger and go find a quiet corner someplace so I can do actual work.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
44. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 11:36 Scottish Martial Arts
HorrorScope wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 11:10:

File Histroy - I use Search Everything, I assume it is somewhat similar but something tells me Search Everything blows File History away still. MS artificially slows certain tasks down. No factor.

It's a backup system which creates a versioned timeline of all of your files. It's like version control but for your user files as a whole rather than just git or svn repositories. It's very easy to use too: just put a cheap NAS on your home network and point File History to the NAS drive. If you tend to work on particular files over an extended period of time, it allows you to refer back to earlier revisions, see how things changed over time, etc. It doesn't support branches sadly, but the bottom line is that it takes backups from being a necessary evil to guard against drive failure, to also being a version control system for your work integrated directly into the file system.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
42. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 11:27 Scottish Martial Arts
PHJF wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 11:01:
And it seems like we just have different ideas of what Windows is for. I expect windows to be minimal and fast, with just enough ease-of-use functionality as is strictly necessary. I like to get all the rest of my functionality from independent programs; if I wanted my OS to be a catch-all I'd use an Apple. Windows extensibility is a selling point, not a bother.

This. For what you've described, there's no reason to upgrade at least not until long term support ends and 0-days start going unpatched. In the end, while you can be objective about which OS is best for a given use-case, which use-case applies to you or me is ultimately subjective. Windows 7 is still and will be for several more years a near perfect OS for a broad variety of use-cases.

For me, in the years since Windows 7 came out, I've used at various times the following OSes as my "primary OS", where primary just means the OS where I'm spending the majority of my computing time for at least a few months: WinXP, Win7, Win8.1, Win10 Preview, Mac OS X 10.9-10.11, Ubuntu, and Fedora. This is after having only been using Windows machines since the mid 90s when my family first bought a PC. The extensive use of other OSes has changed my subjectively defined use needs, and with that change in use needs, Windows 7 is no longer a particularly usable OS. For example, I can get bash and the Unix utilities through Cygwin, but why would I want to when other OSes have that natively, and don't have the library portability issues that Cygwin implies?
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
34. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 10:32 Scottish Martial Arts
PHJF wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 10:11:
With Mission Control, I effectively have different workflow modes, and when I've reached the limit of what I can do in one "mode", I switch "modes", i.e. desktops, to continue the task in the adjacent "mode"

I doubt the average employee is going to so much as think of this concept let alone utilize it.

Almost certainly true. But if you do approach computer use that way, then Windows 7 is feeling pretty old these days, which is my larger point. For many, perhaps most, use cases Windows 7 is fine. If you've been keeping track of, learning to use, and have incorporated into your work, the features of newer OSes however, Windows 7 doesn't feel like something you can go back to.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
33. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 10:23 Scottish Martial Arts
NetHead wrote on Dec 3, 2015, 09:13:

We're clearly coming at this from very different perspectives in terms of what we need from our OS. Installing 3rd party software to extend functionality is not a great evil, and you rightly point out is part of how computing has always and is supposed to work. But here's the thing: when we select software, we're typically choosing between several competing products with different feature sets, and selecting the one that best suit our use cases. And an operating system is nothing if not a piece of software.

Here's an example. On my work computer, the included note taking application is bare bones and doesn't have any sort of tagging system; I get an Office 360 subscription through work, which gives me access to OneNote, but I find its near Word-level formatting functionality to be overkill, and I don't have an easy way to make use of its stylus based input, nor do I care to. In contrast, Evernote provides the tagging and organization functions I want without the extra crap I don't need. So I use Evernote to take and organize my research and meeting notes.

In 2015, Windows 7 is the barebones note taking program. It's still highly extensible (through 3rd party software) and it still offers stability advantages in comparison to Win10. Now for you and your use cases, the feature set offered by Windows 7 is "good enough". Since this is a gaming site, most people here use their PC primarily for gaming, and in that use domain Windows 7 isn't just "good enough" it's still "pretty great". But if you do use the features of modern OSes, Windows 7 feels pretty painful to use, and, yes, dated.

For example, searching, which you poo poo. You call using search horribly inefficient. In Windows 7 it is, absolutely. Both Windows 8+ and Mac OS X use a hash selection (search). Do you know what the average case time complexity is on hash selections? O(1). Constant time. Even worst case is only O(n). For nearly every user on the planet, this translates to the file being found before you've even typed its full name. And the searching logic is such that you don't have to get the name right. If you need more power, both Win 8+ and Mac OS X have syntaxes to refine your search by any of 100+ meta attributes each OS supports for its files. And to top it off, both OSes DON'T JUST SEARCH FOR FILES; what this translates into is that search is the fastest way to launch your programs, offering the speed of the tab-completion command line but with the flexibility of you being able to get the name slightly wrong and the program is still found. On my Mac, opening the mail client is as simple as Command-space, m, return: three keystrokes, all comfortably executed from where my hands naturally rest on the keyboard. You call that inefficient and stupid; I call it evidence that you aren't that familiar with what modern OSes have to offer.

And for OS automation, if you're using macros for that purpose, apparently you're not up to speed on PowerShell. Or Windows Management Instrumentation. On the Mac, you've got good ol' bash if you're comfortable with scripting, and Automator, if you'd prefer a GUI to "avoid repetitive tasks from moving files, opening often used folders, to renaming thousands of files appropriately to what I'm doing/or their location/or their parent folder, or just triggering one of those apparently complex schedules backup tasks to run now as I walk away to make some coffee." Personally I use bash scripts to do the sorts of tasks you just described.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
21. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 3, 2015, 00:36 Scottish Martial Arts
Nuhauser wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 23:11:
Frijoles wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 22:22:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 21:51:
Yeah, a Desktop Manager, it's like the Task Switcher (alt-tab), only more useful, and Linux and Mac have had it for years.

Been using this since I switched to 10 and I'm not sure I can go back to an OS without it. I use it at work all the time to hide my games.

Using it for what?

Here's an example of how I use Mission Control (i.e. the Mac desktop manager) on my work computer:

I usually have 4 desktops going at any one time. The left most desktop has my team's Slack channel, my email client, and my calendar, i.e. it's the meeting/communication desktop. The second from the left desktop has two browser windows side by side, each with API documentation. The second from the right most desktop has my IDE or text editor plus terminal windows. The right most desktop has the test application/web page that I'm developing.

Most of my work is in the second from the right most window, i.e. where I'm writing code. If I need to reference the API docs, I go one desktop to the left (a three finger swipe on a Mac trackpad), look up how to use the function or whatever, then swipe back to my text editor to continue writing code. When I'm ready to test what I've written, I compile or npm start or whatever in the terminal window, then swipe right and refresh the web page or application to see if what I wrote is doing what I intended it to. If not, then I swipe left again and figure out what went wrong. If it seems to be working, then perhaps I run the test script in the terminal window, and if it passes, then commit the changes to our repository. If my team members start talking on Slack, I'll get notifications in the upper right corner of my screen; if it looks important, I swipe all the way to the left to join the conversation, if it doesn't look important, then I stay where I am and keep working.

Good luck fitting all of that on a single laptop desktop without going insane. With Mission Control, I effectively have different workflow modes, and when I've reached the limit of what I can do in one "mode", I switch "modes", i.e. desktops, to continue the task in the adjacent "mode". If I described this well enough, then you may have noticed that I arrange my desktops so that the "next step" at any given moment is one desktop away, except for team communications, which is effectively an interruption, so that desktop is arranged to be off to the side and outside the main task switching.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
19. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 2, 2015, 23:34 Scottish Martial Arts
Frijoles wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 22:22:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 21:51:
Yeah, a Desktop Manager, it's like the Task Switcher (alt-tab), only more useful, and Linux and Mac have had it for years.

Been using this since I switched to 10 and I'm not sure I can go back to an OS without it. I use it at work all the time to hide my games.

Yeah, likewise. It's just such an effective way to organize tasks, to separate your concerns, and maximize screen space. It's also a handy way to hide all evidence of goofing off when the boss walks in the room.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
18. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 2, 2015, 23:23 Scottish Martial Arts
CJ_Parker wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 22:31:
@SMA: OK, fair enough. There are some good points in favor of Win 10 in a professional, corporate environment but no real "killer argument" as far as I can tell, especially not for home use (remember we're on a gaming site here Wink ).

Likewise, fair enough. For a game machine, there really isn't much reason to use anything past 7, except for some marginal performance increases which are more than offset by Windows 10 still being essentially beta software. For actual work though? 7 is feeling long in the tooth.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
13. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 2, 2015, 21:53 Scottish Martial Arts
wtf_man wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 21:28:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Dec 2, 2015, 20:46:
but pretending that Windows 7 is anything but horribly dated at this point is kind of laughable.


It is way better looking than the "latest UI fad" of the "flat look".

But that is just personal preference... you can't really say one looks more dated than the other... just one is outright uglier.

Dated in terms of functionality. Although also dated in terms of look, but as you point out whether that is bad or good is entirely subjective.
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
12. Re: Evening Tech Bits Dec 2, 2015, 21:51 Scottish Martial Arts
Yeah, a Desktop Manager, it's like the Task Switcher (alt-tab), only more useful, and Linux and Mac have had it for years. Multiple desktops allow you to organize your work not by individual window, but by groups of related windows, each laid out where you need them, with easy, rapid switching between desktops. It's a huge productivity enhancer, particularly on laptops with their finite screen real estate, and if you don't see the value in it, then you're probably not doing particularly complex tasks on your computer.

Windows 7 's back up system is antiquated, working primarily with disk images and manually selected folder backups. That's a system that works, but it's also one that in practice a lot of people aren't going to do, particularly if they don't use Task Scheduler to automate the backup process. Further, the backup system does not provide an easy way to examine the history of a file's state and to restore selectively to different points in that state timeline. In Win7, without 3rd party software, you have to dig through each backup, perhaps unarchiving each one as you go, to find the version that you want to restore or even just refer back to. With something like Win8's File History or Mac's Time Machine, backups aren't just a protection against drive failure but they become a versioned historical timeline of a work in progress, not unlike a version control system for software development.

Further, Windows 7 was released when most people DIDN'T HAVE SMART PHONES. The notion of your phone being an extension of your desktop and vice-versa doesn't exist in Windows 7. The best you can hope for in this regard is relying upon 3rd party software that does its own cloud based synchronization, like Gmail, or having access to some sort of Enterprise level infrastructure that handles it. While Windows 10 lags behind the Mac in this regard, at least stuff like Continuum and Phone Companion is a step in the right direction.

I could keep going, but the point here is that Windows 7 requires significant quantities of 3rd party software and/or some serious Enterprise IT infrastructure to get the level of functionality you'd see on say the Mac. The movement in consumer desktop OSes over this decade has been to give average consumers the kind of features and capabilities which a decade ago required being part of a corporate or university network. Windows 7 still requires the corporate network, or an entirely piecemeal approach with 3rd party software and several different cloud accounts; the notion that your computer is just connected out of the box to your other devices and they all talk to each other is something that doesn't exist in Windows 7. There have also been significant user experience advances with things like, yes, desktop managers. And we haven't even discussed the under the hood improvements: do you have any idea how much faster file searching is on Win8/8.1/10 or Mac OS X as compared with Win7?

Windows 7 still works, and it still works well. In terms of stability and bugs, it still has advantages over Win10, although notably not in installation size or performance. But the fact that Windows 7 is still good enough to load up Fallout 4 or Starcraft 2 does not mean it isn't really starting to show its age.

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2015, 22:19.
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