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'[OT] Microsoft'
1998\05\19@070145 by alex_holden

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MEvans1027 wrote:
>
>     Not that Microsoft needs my help, but I keep thinking of that question
> someone raised:  Should Coca Cola be required to put one can of Pepsi in each
> of their six-packs of Coke?
> -- Mel Evans

That was a bad analogy. How about:
If Ford released a new car which, unless difficult conversion work was
carried out, would only run on fuel bought from it's franchised fuel
stations, would anyone buy it?

--
--------------- Linux- the choice of a GNU generation. --------------
: Alex Holden (M1CJD)- Caver, Programmer, Land Rover nut, Radio Ham :
---------- http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/1532/ ---------

1998\05\20@073634 by Caisson

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> Van: Alex Holden <spam_OUTalex_holdenTakeThisOuTspamgeocities.com>
> Aan: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Onderwerp: Re: [OT] Microsoft
> Datum: dinsdag 19 mei 1998 21:15
>
> MEvans1027 wrote:
[Cut]

> That was a bad analogy. How about:

Not really, just seen from the MicroSoft viewpoint. (No reference to Mel
evans ! ).

> If Ford released a new car which, unless difficult conversion work was
> carried out, would only run on fuel bought from it's franchised fuel
> stations, would anyone buy it?

And this (above) is the viewpoint of the opposing party ...


The answer would be Yes.  Because (by analogy) they would be the _only_
company building cars.  You are not left with any option :-(((  I think i
wil keep holding on to DOS for some time ... It could get _valuable_ :-)

Greetz,
 Rudy Wieser

1998\05\21@044535 by Dr. Imre Bartfai

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Another opinion:

would you get a HUGE truck, having a faulty brake and has a special
quality that the steering wheel can be turned only one direction (it is
unclear at a moment, which direction), consuming 100 ltr fuel for 100 km
(about 40 gallons for 100 miles), only to transport a matchbox?

I don't and won't.

That's why (PIC again) I plan to develop a software driving the Microchip
PICSTART+ programmer from DOS. I think, DOS may be buggy, but it is open,
and - because of its limited size - it is manageable for a man.
At a moment, I suffer under the lack of time, and - on the other hand - I
hope to get some support from Microchip. They ought to recognize such
software I plan is a MUST. If you plan to support me:

please send a letter to Microchip asking for a DOS-based programming
software using the PICSTART+. I appreciate your action and I think it
could motivate Microchip to deliver me the needed information. May be, I'm
naive. I hope I ain't.

Imre

1998\05\21@061606 by Keith Howell

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In a professional environment I am already running Windows.
I need to use my PC to write to my project journal, keep in touch
with my local workmates using Office Talk, and distant subcontractors
using Netscape e-mail, move files around with Explorer, browse web
sites for chip data (and read my daily Dilbert), assemble PIC code,
and run my application model software in a DOS box.

I really do NOT want to have to learn some obscure app-specific
command line interface, or some home-brewed antique-Borland-C style
User Interface which I doubt will have had as much development time
spent on it as Windows.

Re-inventing user interface software is a utter waste of time.
Learn Visual C++ and MFC. It'll take a lot of hard work,
but at least you'll have a marketable skill at the end of it.

> At a moment, I suffer under the lack of time,

Human time is finite and precious. Don't waste it writing code
that will be obsolete by the time you finish it.

1998\05\21@093253 by Andy Kunz

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>Human time is finite and precious. Don't waste it writing code
>that will be obsolete by the time you finish it.

DOS is _already_ obsolete.

Andy


==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Statistical Research, Inc. - Westfield, New Jersey USA
==================================================================

1998\05\21@174327 by William Chops Westfield

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Originally, there was BATCH.

Early timesharing wasn't much more than the ability to edit and submit
your batch jobs "interactively" from a terminal.  Later, friendlier systems
allow true interaction with a running program, providing data based on
previous output, even playing games.

Now, I think, we finally have true interactive computers.  Point and
click.  The computer for the rest of us.  Etc.  But we've LOST something
too.  We've lost the computer as a slave.  It now needs constant
attention and encouragement; we can't just give it a job to do and go
away to do something else.  Batch is history, even if it's still a
useful sort of thing to have.  In Microsoft's hurry to duplicate and
surpass the "Apple" GUI, they paid no attention to the people who had
been complaining about the things MISSING in that sort of environment.

It used to be that I could have a computer go through all my files and
(for example) convert parallax mnemonics to microchip mnemonics for me,
and I didn't have to be there.  Except for a few scattered utilities
(like backup), I don't think there are many applications these days that
I'd trust to work unattended, even if they allowed it...

BillW

1998\05\22@052631 by paulb

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William Chops Westfield wrote:

> Originally, there was BATCH.

> It used to be that I could have a computer go through all my files and
> (for example) convert parallax mnemonics to microchip mnemonics for
> me, and I didn't have to be there.

 It seems to me that what you refer to is actually "programming".  The
concept espoused by M$ is that you don«t need to do this anymore,
because no-one does anything on a computer apart from write letters
(e-mail?), browse the internet, and maybe tot up their accounts.  All
this is performed by pro-forma programs as purchased.

 What *you* do, and a lot of what I do, is *by far* a minority vocation
nowadays and being a minority function, is simply not provided for where
bulk and profit margins are the driving factors.

 Yes, I noticed this last evening when I needed to reload my website
which mysteriously vanished Wednesday (not a personal matter, a "few"
others apparently vanished also).

 I haven«t yet tried any of thse Windoze-based FTP programs that can
"point and click" transfer a whole directory in one go, performing case
conversion and extension expansion (.htm to .html) on the fly, so I did
a "dir" of the directory, used my macro editor (EDWIN) to convert cases
and transform this listing into a stream of "put" commands, then used
WORDPAD to enter this file into the Clipboard and finally "pasted" it
into the DOS FTP session.

 I had some trouble doing this, but finally woke up to the fact that
(as has been mentioned before on this list), in a DOS window, programs
become event-driven and "paste" does not generate events.  In order to
drive "paste" therefore, you need either keyboard events, interrupt
events (timeouts?) such as net socket activity or in fact *mouse*
events, so to get it to work, you have to continuously sweep the mouse
over the DOS window!  (FTP has no mouse interface).

 It«s nice to know you can still patch things, at least using DOS!

 Cheers,
       Paul B.

1998\05\31@144900 by Martin McCormick

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       Several have touched on the main thing that is wrong with
present-day computing.  We have lost flexibility which is why some of us got
in this racket in the first place.:-)

       As for flexibility, Windows is garbage.  I know exactly of what I
speak so don't call me an idiot just yet.  Those of us who are either totally
blind or who don't have enough usable vision to see the monitor have been
doing battle with Microsoft (Mostly talking and not being heard), for several
years.  Their position is that access by people who use speech or Braille
output is not Microsoft's problem and should be left to third parties who
can develop speech output software and hardware.  People who live in the
United States or who see United States Television may have seen a gentleman
on CBS's Sixty Minutes program who was blinded in an accident and who runs
a small company that writes one of the half-dozen or so access programs that
allows a blind person to use Windows and to read any text being printed
on the screen, at least in theory.

       In fact, it is a no-win proposition.  The theory behind screen readers
as such interface programs are commonly called is pretty simple.  Any text
that is to be printed in a window should go through some standard mechanism
that allows one to intercept the characters and send them to the speech
driver while letting them continue to the screen.  At Microsoft, anarchy
reigns supreme and developers are allowed to cobble together any old screen
output routine they want if they whine loud enough.  A screen reader program
is no more capable of intercepting these odd-ball interfaces than I am
of knowing each of your thoughts as you read this unless you speak up and
say something.

       One of the worst offenders in slash-and-burn software development
is Microsoft, itself so they call it creativity, of course.

       The result is that when one runs one of the screen readers with
Windows, one can list directories, set the clock, copy and delete files
all day long.  It's just when you want to do some useful work that the trouble
starts.

       Some programs do work pretty well.  Others like Microsoft word
kind of work, but the user of the program may not get error indications or
other important (essential) messages because they bypassed the output hook.

       Other common business and academic programs like Lotus Notes are
utterly useless in their present form.

       I want to be perfectly clear that this is not a problem that is
actually caused by the graphical nature of Windows and how certain concepts
are difficult for blind people, bla bla bla, etc.  Anybody who doesn't
understand such concepts as above, below, right, and left, probably needs
to be doing something else and should have all sharp objects removed from the
area.  This is simply a problem of poor technical design and the enormous
expense and frustration of trying to retrofit sanity in to something that
has none to begin with.

       I will use DOS and UNIX until something better comes along.  Grant
it, people who are blind make up a small percentage of computer users, but
we know why you can't run your good old batch scripts and automated processes.
The richest man in America simply has learned how to package two tiny left
shoes and sell this package to everybody and tell them that it fits.

       The GUI is not the problem. Windows is.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Data Communications Group


'[OT] Microsoft'
1998\06\01@054330 by Catch-It
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-----Original Message-----
From: Martin McCormick <martinspamKILLspamDC.CIS.OKSTATE.EDU>


>        The GUI is not the problem. Windows is.

Nope. Any gui which allows a flexible raster oriented output system is going
to be a problem. Doesn't matter if it is written for windows, java, mac or
unix, firstly you are putting some kind of restraint to the application
writer, then you need reasonably intelligent speech generation software.
(take for example grayed text i.e. drark gray, offset by white. Don't say
the word twice!).

Actually there are better ways to get around the problems. With the office
products (and a lot of other stuff) , OLE is the best way forward. Your
speaker app can place an advise sink on the document change and request the
data in plain text format. No problem. Some windows help generation packages
do the same thing with DDE, they show an updated help style window from your
word file.

Dialogs are generally easy to deal with as they pretty much conform to a
standard. You can query the controls for their text and class and handle
them appropriately.

Even if you don't want to do it that way, they new API for remote windows
(like the citrix enviorment) could be of some benefit. (don't forget, that
is trapping the device context calls and sending them over a data link, like
the way that X works).

>        Some programs do work pretty well.  Others like Microsoft word
>kind of work, but the user of the program may not get error indications or
>other important (essential) messages because they bypassed the output hook.

If an error box appears, you can see that being created by placing a CBT
hook into your app (don't forget of course you will have to inject the win32
dll into the process of word or whatever to get the callbacks).

What other important (essential) messages are you talking about? If these
are things which don't pop up an error, i.e. are there to give us a clue if
required, not interrupt our workflow, then that again is something which
placing a hook on the text output routines will not solve. What you need is
for the software to just play a .wav file when something like that happens..
easy enough to code, yet nobody has done it.

>        Other common business and academic programs like Lotus Notes are
>utterly useless in their present form.

Surely they can deal with the speech generation people and come up with an
interface between them and blow MS out of the water? nope? It can't be
important to them either, so why pick on MS?


>        Several have touched on the main thing that is wrong with
>present-day computing.  We have lost flexibility which is why some of us
got
>in this racket in the first place.:-)

Try having the flexibilty of mind to work around the problems. All the above
is just what I have come up with in the past ten minutes. I have not given
it much thought, unlike you.


And I would just like to bring to you attention that 3 years ago I worked
with a guy who was blind who had a reader system of some sort. He supported
one of the office products. So not only could he use the product but also
the reader helped him read the KB. And he was still better than most of the
(L)users out there <G>. Yep, I worked for the 'evil empire' in the capacity
of developer support. But believe me, I was never (and still am not) an 'MS'
person. I asked to not turn up to any more meetings there, as I would always
end up in a row whilst trying to change things for the better (not a
corporate man myself. That was knocked out of me whilst I was at Marconi :-)

As a finishing note, if people think that monopolies are so bad, then why is
there only one monopolies commision :-)

Well, this discussion will run and run, but I'm going away tomorrow :-))

Regards on a nice warm and sunny day,
Catchy

1998\06\01@093030 by Martin McCormick

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       Actually, I think things will eventually be forced to get better
with regards to nonstandard output from Windows because the same things that
break screen readers also break automated testing procedures.  It is much
easier to have a script that sends commands and waits for responses than
it is to try to automate raster-based tasks.  It, of course, is feasible,
but most folks would probably rather do the former.

       The question was raised as to what other kinds of information gets
missed.  Well, a perfect example occurs in Microsoft Word.  When somebody
misspells a word, the automated spell checker draws a wavy red line under
it.  No text is generated, but that's not bad.  What's bad is the fact that
no standard alarm type routine seemed to exist to allow for the screen reader
to detect that something had happened so that it could hoot
or laugh or trigger a whip to crack over the typist head.  I have heard
other reports that certain applications may silently display errors so that
the operator who can't see the screen doesn't know that anything is wrong
until the document gets ruined or something else bad happens.

       If I sound harsh or sarcastic, it is because people who know a lot
more than I do say that it is totally possible to have a GUI for those who
need or want it and also have ways to allow other types of input and output
to peacefully coexist with the GUI.  Smart design isn't usually an
either/or proposition.  It is usually a "and" proposition in that you can
do it one way and you can also do it the other way if the first way doesn't
work.  If I write an improvement to something I have already done and someone
in my group says that he or she can no longer do XYZ, I feel bad and try
to fix it.  Microsoft has been told repeatedly about these problems for
five or six years by now and they are doing far too little.  They are
Vic tomes of their own success.  Otherwise, we would go somewhere else and
do something else.:-(

       I will not waist any more of this group's time since this is so far
off-topic, but I wish those who want to create UNIX or DOS tools that use
the PicStart Plus all the best.  If you want to put a GUI in it, fine as
long as we can also use the command-line for automation, speech, etc.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Data Communications Group

1998\06\01@124721 by Catch-It

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I am only copying this back to the list as the ergonomics of product design
is a concern for us all.


>        The question was raised as to what other kinds of information gets
>missed.  Well, a perfect example occurs in Microsoft Word.  When somebody
>misspells a word, the automated spell checker draws a wavy red line under
>it.  No text is generated, but that's not bad.  What's bad is the fact that
>no standard alarm type routine seemed to exist to allow for the screen
reader
>to detect that something had happened so that it could hoot
>or laugh or trigger a whip to crack over the typist head.

Nope, I think you should think about this one. The wavey lines (grammer
checker as well) is there because it is unobtrusive. You can choose to
correct the word there or then, or leave it till later and go back and
correct it in one big batch. Also it shows exactly which word is misspelt,
which is often through mistyping rather than bad spelling. A constant
'bing'ing sound in the background is going to p*ss people off, as well as
breaking the flow of concentration. Also the text reader will have to speak
the surrounding words, plus the misspelt words, thus creating a cacophony of
intrusive noise whilst 'creating'. Not something that any of my blind
friends would appreciate.

>        If I sound harsh or sarcastic, it is because people who know a lot
>more than I do say that it is totally possible to have a GUI for those who
>need or want it and also have ways to allow other types of input and output
>to peacefully coexist with the GUI.

Not wishing to sound harsh or sarcastic, in the previous mail I told you how
to do it now. The thing is in lot of applications which implement their own
drawing, it is done because their is a specific need to do so. What is word
without print styles or WYSIWYG? It's notepad with a spell checker. The
layout is very important in producing a document that can work effectivly
(sad, but true).

>Microsoft has been told repeatedly about these problems for
>five or six years by now and they are doing far too little.

Why just blame Microsoft? If the next best thing to come out is Java (ha!),
why aren't the features built into there as well, if it is possible?
Certainly, some of the concepts inside may help with the description of
dialogs, but applications where layout is important will always end up doing
raster output and having the same problems.

This is the perfect oppertunity for a third party to come in and design some
standards. If other software manufacturers like the idea they will
incorporate it into their office products and put MS on the backstep. Then
MS have to buy the company for huge money. Technology gets incoporated into
windows. Everybody uses it. Everybody wins. Is anybody doing this? Nope.
Perfect oppertunity for people with their big mouths to practice what they
preach and implement it. Maybe somebody should stop trying to implement the
30th shell for linux or their arcade emulator and do this. It is not very
difficult.

Why is nobody doing this?  Because they either believe the size of the
market is too small to warrent the attention and that the development effort
could be more profitable by picking a bigger market. Unfortunately companies
want to earn money. Maybe the charities should fund the research? Perhaps we
should get a lottery grant to research this. Maybe I would have a go if I
was not so bloody bored with computing thesedays :-)

BTW, if anybody does do this there is an automatic 10% fee for the business
plan :-)

>  They are
>Vic tomes of their own success.  Otherwise, we would go somewhere else and
>do something else.:-(
Yep. Finding solutions is what we are supposed to do isn't it? Standing
around whinging about it and expecting other people to do it never has any
effect does it?

Regards
Catchy.

1998\06\02@081645 by Andy Kunz

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>intrusive noise whilst 'creating'. Not something that any of my blind
>friends would appreciate.

Give them the option!  Most blind folks tend to have enhanced perception in
other sensory inputs so as to be able to handle things that would mess up
"normal" folks.  They aren't stupid - let them make the choice, instead of
Billy's Boys doing it for them.

>layout is very important in producing a document that can work effectivly
>(sad, but true).

WordStar worked fine for me for years.  Shoot, it even ran my laser printer!

>Why just blame Microsoft? If the next best thing to come out is Java (ha!),

True, let's put the blame where it really belongs - XEROX.  PARC came up
with GUI's so let's nail them to the wall.  <Sarcasm off>

>This is the perfect oppertunity for a third party to come in and design some
>standards. If other software manufacturers like the idea they will

Geo-Works.

>windows. Everybody uses it. Everybody wins. Is anybody doing this? Nope.

Everybody except Bill Gates.

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Statistical Research, Inc. - Westfield, New Jersey USA
==================================================================

1998\06\03@031343 by Dr. Imre Bartfai

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I agree 100 pct. And once more argument against Microsoft philosophy:
the costs are huge and a benefit is practically none. I can write a letter
with a VDE or similar one (about 80k) in a flush and I don't need the
bells and whistles of Word. I do not want to replace my PC if a new
Windows come out. I have no Windows and I won't. I can't cope with such
messages: General Protection Fault
or
       There is something wrong with your program maybe your data...
This a big sh*t!
I remain also in DOS/Linux world and I feel here home. I think there is a
quality of software which counts: RELIABILITY - it means also the program
need to be armed against all possible situations. You as developer must
always ask yourself: what does my program if that and that happens, even
if this constellation seems for me very unrealistic (but technically
possible!). Never leave your program in an undeterminated state. I realize
to handle all possible exceptions as about four times more program code
than the function itself - but it is a price for a reliable program and I
am ready to pay this price. On the other hand the exception handling must
be as informative as possible; I'll never say "Syntax error" but at least
"Syntax error processing line xxx".
Of course, a PIC a bit more complicated. I learned to use at most an error
bit with a LED; some glitches can be informative. Or, if you have enough
code space, can use a serial output, where you send a code if you think
there is something worth to send. I built for this a small pocket terminal
with two digits display - it can help in most situation; of course this
terminal uses also a PIC.

Maybe it is not so OT as it seems?

Imre


'[OT] Microsoft'
1999\01\20@123758 by Andy Kunz
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*** Microsoft again delays Windows 2000

SEATTLE (AP) - Will Windows 2000 make it out in 1999? That's the
question at least one analyst is raising after Microsoft Corp. said
it had again pushed back the release of a new test version of its
Windows 2000 operating system for business computers. In a posting
Monday on its Web site, Microsoft said the third "beta" or test
version of Windows 2000 is now expected out "in the April 1999
timeframe" with the final version expected to ship in late 1999.
"Basically, the product's in great shape and we just want to take the
extra few days to put the last final touches on it," said Ed Muth,
Microsoft's group manager for enterprise marketing. Windows 2000 is
Microsoft's most important new product. See
http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2558098418-1de

*** Gov't confronts Microsoft witness

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government confronted an economist for
Microsoft Tuesday about what's widely seen as the weakest part of its
antitrust case: the debate over the company's choice to build
Internet browser software into its popular Windows operating system.
But the questioning of Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology largely broke down over semantics, as both
sides argued over the meaning of "browser," the software that lets
people view information on the Internet. The government charges
Microsoft Corp. illegally "tied" separate products by distributing
its browser free within Windows, a move that dramatically changed the
industry but was partially vindicated last year by a federal appeals
court. See
www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2558108163-8c6
*** Also: Microsoft beats earnings estimates, see
http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2558109789-d50


  \-----------------/
   \     /---\     /
    \    |   |    /          Andy Kunz
     \   /---\   /           Montana Design
/---------+   +---------\     http://www.montanadesign.com
| /  |----|___|----|  \ |
\/___|      *      |___\/     Go fast, turn right,
                              and keep the wet side down!

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