Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Recent Articles about Ongoing Crapification of Personal Computing

Recent Articles about Ongoing Crapification of Personal Computing

While browsing the intertubes in past few weeks, I came across a few articles about ongoing crapification of personal computing. As you know, this is interesting to me since I am also writing a short series about the computing “revolution of past two decades has been a showy failure. Hope to finish the next part in that series sometime soon. But till then, have a look at these posts by other people making similar observations.

Bring back the ease of 80s and 90s personal computing

Back in time when things were easy: You could opt into purchasing major (feature) upgrades every 2–3 years, and got minor (quality) updates for free very infrequently (say, 1–2 times a year). You made a conscious decision whether and when to apply upgrades or updates, and to which applications. You usually applied updates only if there was a specific reason (e.g., a feature you wanted or a bug you were running into and needed to be fixed). Systems typically ran on the exact same software configuration for months if not years.

Contrast this with today: Systems increasingly become “moving targets” because both the operating system and the applications change by updating themselves at will, without conscious decisions by the user. The absolute perversion of this are “forced automatic updates” as are common in some organizations, where users have no choice but to accept that updates are installed on the machine (even requiring reboots of the machine) whenever some central system administrator decides that it is time to do so.

Computer latency: 1977-2017

It’s a bit absurd that a modern gaming machine running at 4,000x the speed of an apple 2, with a CPU that has 500,000x as many transistors (with a GPU that has 2,000,000x as many transistors) can maybe manage the same latency as an apple 2 in very carefully coded applications if we have a monitor with nearly 3x the refresh rate. It’s perhaps even more absurd that the default configuration of the powerspec g405, which had the fastest single-threaded performance you could get until October 2017, had more latency from keyboard-to-screen (approximately 3 feet, maybe 10 feet of actual cabling) than sending a packet around the world (16187 mi from NYC to Tokyo to London back to NYC, more due to the cost of running the shortest possible length of fiber).

On the bright side, we’re arguably emerging from the latency dark ages and it’s now possible to assemble a computer or buy a tablet with latency that’s in the same range as you could get off-the-shelf in the 70s and 80s. This reminds me a bit of the screen resolution & density dark ages, where CRTs from the 90s offered better resolution and higher pixel density than affordable non-laptop LCDs until relatively recently. 4k displays have now become normal and affordable 8k displays are on the horizon, blowing past anything we saw on consumer CRTs. I don’t know that we’ll see the same kind improvement with respect to latency, but one can hope.

Things are so bad that a google search for ‘why is windows 10 so bad‘ yields hundreds of results, including long discussions threads on multiple subreddits and official Microsoft support newsgroups. You can get almost the same number of hits for asking ‘why is office 365 so bad. And it is not just Microsoft as you can find similar opinions past few iterations of Mac OS X and iOS. In case you are wondering, Android has always been a shitshow, though it is a little better than the older versions. Did I mention that even widely used google services such as Google Maps and web version of Gmail has become significantly worse and inconsistent over past few years. And then there are the numerous poorly executed design updates by Amazon, FakeBook, Twatter, InstaCrack etc. My point is that is an industry-wide phenomena.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    December 3, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Well, as a quick observation, even the journalists can be cited for misrepresentation, because they are acting as if computers now have a single fastest chip when the realities are:
    1)different architectures have a fastest chip in their class,
    2)no one CPU is good at everything
    3)production CPUs are a blend of features and compromises
    4)different CPUs support different operating systems
    5)and are available only for a short time until the next batch is cooked up

    … but again, these are the people who think you can always get something when you want it, their brains are wired differently to that of computing professionals who understand that processors are special goods that have a production window and no more will be made after that

  2. Ryu
    December 3, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    which one of you, which one of you filthy hindu muffins shat all over my bathhouse erm, blog…

    https://archive.vn/jxaUq

    • GAY NIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE
      December 6, 2020 at 10:39 am

      • doldrom
        December 6, 2020 at 1:05 pm

        It might surprise you to know that many African countries are very hard to migrate to. I know people who married there and had the hardest time getting papers, even though finances played no role.

        Asian countries can also be surprisingly difficult. It used to be (maybe still is for all I know) that to marry a Korean woman you needed special permission from a national ministry.

      • RYU
        December 7, 2020 at 7:00 pm

        Ah, yes, one of our goys…

        This is the “secret” pic posted at the wolves of vineland. Our bath house is full stop during the china flu holla hoax….

  3. President Not Sure
    December 3, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    If you’re dissatisfied with your computing experience today, it’s strictly your fault and you deserve to remain miserable until you get off your ass and fix it. All the tools you need for it are readily available and free.

    Today in 2020 you’ve got 3 main operating systems for the desktop:

    1. Microsoft Windows: A spying operating system that barely works and annoys you in every possible way.

    2. Mac OS: A spying operating system which at least works well and has a nice consistent design. A bit overpriced not only when you buy it, but also all the usefull apps need to be paid.

    3. Countless Linux distributions: Far more secure non-spying operating systems (distros actually), which only fools do not use today in 2020. The only case where you legitimately cannot be on Linux is if you’re a gamer (Microsoft has a stranglehold in this field), or if you rely on Photoshop or a few more apps not available on Linux. If you’re in the other 90+% of computer users and are still not on Linux, then you DESERVE to be miserable.

    Mobile operating systems in 2020:

    1. IOS: A heavily overpriced spying and insecure operating system/phone, that only idiots pay for today in 2020. Only allowed to use software from a walled garden controlled by Apple.

    2. Android: A spying and even more insecure operating system that is still effectively a walled garden controlled by Google. Yeah you can sideload APKs, but for most people this is a black magic ritual, so if your app is intended for ordinary users either you’re allowed by Google or you do not exist.

    3. AOSP (Android Open Source Platform): A non-spying operating system (doesn’t mean fully secure, the hardware still has backdoors for governmental agencies), which combined with independent app stores like FDroid represents at least what mobile phones should’ve been from the very beginning. Doesn’t work well on all devices however, mostly due to non-cooperation by manufacturers to release drivers for it.

    4. Pure Linux phones: Examples are Pinephone and Librem 5, but they’re still in alpha phase development, these are based on open source & open platform principles like the desktop Linux distributions and should solve all the problems and everything that annoys us about today’s phones.

    Cloud services in 2020 (Gmail, Maps, Facebook, Twitter, etc):

    Most of them are garbage, some are still necessary like email, but better (decentralized) technologies are in the works, they’re gonna take a few years till they’re ready and usable, in the meanwhile you suck it up and live with what’s available today.

    • P Ray
      December 3, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      You left out the bit about how many different versions of Linux there are, and not all of them have drivers for the hardware, plus how much hardware is Linux-compatible officially?

      Linux is also devolving in its own way, with people claiming to be IT experts just because they installed in on their home computers.

      Having all the versions of Windows OS-es readily available opens up so much free gaming and applications too, at least for the older versions.

    • P Ray
      December 4, 2020 at 4:04 am

      Oh ya, and in case it isn’t clear … Android is also a form of Linux.

      So a lot of misery you encounter using it, can easily be explained and possibly ameliorated if you understand that key fact.

    • P Ray
      December 4, 2020 at 6:03 am

      Oh ya, even MacOS and IOS are based on Linux …

      so with that out of the way,

      The real fight is now between Windows and Linux (and Linux-derivatives).

      And of course, one important thing that Linux conveniently leaves out, is whether and where it’s backward compatible.

      And of course, in their storied superiority, compatibility information is hard to find or even hidden when it comes to all the varieties of Linux and their different free programs (that themselves only work with specific distributions of Linux).

      For a free OS, that is a lot of work that people have to put in … which is why the popularity is still low.

      • President Not Sure
        December 4, 2020 at 6:21 pm

        “Oh ya, even MacOS and IOS are based on Linux …”

        This proves you have no clue what you’re talking about.

        Go read a bit about the difference between “Unix compatible” and “forked software”.

      • P Ray
        December 4, 2020 at 7:13 pm

        Lel, getting all snippy indeed.

        If you haven’t done any programming that kind of uber-pettiness is really quite mystifying.

        P.S. I notice like a lot of Internet keyboard warriors, you don’t provide links. Usual modus operandi for you guys.

        Here, have a link to read:

        https://old.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/41elcx/what_does_it_mean_when_people_say_mac_os_is_linux/

        And for a guy you say “has no clue”, you haven’t disproved what I’ve talked about Linux having very poor compatibility.

    • hiveguys
      December 4, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      Have OpenOffice or LibreOffice gotten any better in recent years? I tried LibreOffice a few years ago, and it was clunky as hell. Adjusting things as simple as page margins was cumbersome, and the built in font and image selection was abysmal. I know, you’re quite welcome to track down font/art libraries and add them on your own, but that’s a lot of extra work.

      (However the latter point was a plus when I was making a presentation for an academic subject I didn’t particularly care for and wanted to make ugly as possible – slide background was a light/dark purple gradient. When marking, the teacher left a comment, “Very pretty design work”, which I hope for her sake was a little joke.)

      At the moment I’m running MS Office 2013. Loads lightning fast, is easy to use, suits my needs just fine. Not to say Microsoft can’t go fuck themselves on Office 365, I’m not paying a subscription for a program I already own.

      Despite the fact I’m not big on Apple, it makes me understand why people who do a lot of video and music creation/editing favour them, since their programs for those are very user friendly.

      • President Not Sure
        December 4, 2020 at 6:18 pm

        “Have OpenOffice or LibreOffice gotten any better in recent years? I tried LibreOffice a few years ago, and it was clunky as hell. Adjusting things as simple as page margins was cumbersome…”

        I’ve been using it for all my needs for more than 2 years now and have non of the problems you’re describing.

        “… and the built in font and image selection was abysmal. I know, you’re quite welcome to track down font/art libraries and add them on your own, but that’s a lot of extra work.”

        That’s not LibreOffice’s fault. Microsoft has been very aggressive pushing proprietary or restricted technologies onto the masses, and sadly most people don’t care, so they get easily locked into all kinds of proprietary jails and walled gardens.

        Now different distributions have different selections of fonts, but they cannot include Microsoft’s fonts because they’re not under a free licence, so be happy that at least they’re available for you to find and add them on your own.

      • P Ray
        December 4, 2020 at 7:15 pm

        Actually, Microsoft has free versions of their software – both on Windows and Android.

        When I was editing the article for Office 2010 on wikipedia, I mentioned that, and got banned for 1 month.

        Seems you are not supposed to mention that part of their history and present.

        People enjoy spreading misinformation.

  4. President Not Sure
    December 3, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    “Back in time when things were easy: You could opt into purchasing major (feature) upgrades every 2–3 years, and got minor (quality) updates for free very infrequently (say, 1–2 times a year). You made a conscious decision whether and when to apply upgrades or updates, and to which applications. You usually applied updates only if there was a specific reason (e.g., a feature you wanted or a bug you were running into and needed to be fixed). Systems typically ran on the exact same software configuration for months if not years.”

    Today we’re all online all the time, so vulnerabilities need to be fixed immediately.

    “Contrast this with today: Systems increasingly become “moving targets” because both the operating system and the applications change by updating themselves at will, without conscious decisions by the user. The absolute perversion of this are “forced automatic updates” as are common in some organizations, where users have no choice but to accept that updates are installed on the machine (even requiring reboots of the machine) whenever some central system administrator decides that it is time to do so.”

    Such a problem does not exist on Linux, no update starts on my machine untill I order it to start. Only a notification shows me there are new updates available, but I can also turn off the notification if I want to.

    Like I said everybody who still uses Windows for office work today in 2020 deserves to be miserable.

  5. President Not Sure
    December 3, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    “It’s a bit absurd that a modern gaming machine running at 4,000x the speed of an apple 2, with a CPU that has 500,000x as many transistors (with a GPU that has 2,000,000x as many transistors) can maybe manage the same latency as an apple 2 in very carefully coded applications if we have a monitor with nearly 3x the refresh rate. It’s perhaps even more absurd that the default configuration of the powerspec g405, which had the fastest single-threaded performance you could get until October 2017, had more latency from keyboard-to-screen (approximately 3 feet, maybe 10 feet of actual cabling) than sending a packet around the world (16187 mi from NYC to Tokyo to London back to NYC, more due to the cost of running the shortest possible length of fiber).”

    That’s why on Linux we’ve got many choices of desktop environments, if you want overbloated environments with plenty eye candy effects you install KDE or GNOME, if you want something lightweight and snappy you install XFCE or LXQT.

    If you’re on Windows it’s 3 times slower than the slowest Linux desktop (and you don’t get the eye candy), so enjoy your misery.

    • P Ray
      December 3, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      As usual, that journalist is an idiot.

      The Powerspec G405 is a commercial-quantity-available computer.

      System with faster single- and multi-threaded ability than that exist.

      But they are not in the same machine.

      (And even modern systems that are “faster” may only be faster via Turbo Boost, which is not the base speed, and may require exotic, expensive cooling).

      Not to mention, ignores the underlying OS and device keep-alive overhead.

      A real benchmark of what a “faster” computer actually is – with all the fat trimmed off … will require special hardware that is now not easy to find

  6. Just A Programmer
    December 4, 2020 at 11:22 am

    I’ve only used Win 10 on company issued laptops. The business version of the OS doesn’t have the 100s of garbage apps that have been added by computer manufacturers, and which has been standard practice for the last 15 or 20 years.

    That said, you can get used to it but I find the older Windows desktop easier to use.

  7. President Not Sure
    December 4, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    AD can you please add either a formatting toolbox here at the comment box, or if not possible then at least a link to simple instructions how to use tags for bold, italics, font size, etc.

  1. December 10, 2020 at 11:50 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: