Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 08:45 UTC
Editorial This article describes some of my annoyances in computing. If you had any problems reading this article, then skip this one. It will only be a waste of your time. There are a lot of annoying things in the wonderful world of computing. Of course, nothing is perfect, but that doesn't mean we are not allowed to complain and scream and throw our keyboards at our monitors when yet another irritation pops up.
Order by: Score:
gentoo vs. XP
by jotux on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:01 UTC

2.720 seconds!? that's outrageous. Gentoo boots at least 2.875 seconds faster than windows xp on my system!

Maybe you should try a Mac
by Wolfgang Schreurs on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:05 UTC

The would fix some of your issues:
- No bootloader anymore (MacOS X is a good substitute for both Windows & Linux)
- Just put your computer in sleep mode whenever you go away and when your back it wil awake in about 1 second, ready for use.
- All extra functions on the keyboard are actually useful (I use these functions a lot). Included functions are: sound loudness and monitor contrast, also eject disc (AFAIK it's not possible to eject the disc without using this key, so you will use it)
- You might become a Mac fanatiscist yourself, in which case you will be less bothered by other Mac fanaticy

RE: Wolfgang Schreurs
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:08 UTC

I'm actually gonna buy an iBook at the end of this summer. But, trust me, it won't make a difference; a Mac will also work on my nerves, I'm sure of it. ;) I'm nitpicky.

Comments
by PG on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:10 UTC

1) Bootloaders
Not many users have to deal with bootloaders. Those that do know how to handle them. Windows screwed your MBR and removed LILO/grub? Boot into Linux rescue mode and fix it. Don't use Linux but only Windows? Either learn to boot into rescue mode and call those *few* commands, or you can fork out money to get someone to do it for you. Think about a puncture on a bike. Most people who ride bikes may not have the know how to fix punctures, but its a simple process. They can either bring it to the shop to get it fixed, or they can learn how to do it themselves.

2) Boot time
Operating systems are getting more complex and they need to load various drivers, set up network interfaces, start various services at startup. 0 second boot time is impractical. However, for day to day use, something similar to instant on functionality can be achieved. Its called sleepmode. Most people don't need to shutdown their machines, they can easily put it to sleep. Apple has managed to do it so that Macs instantly recover from sleep. Linux falls way short in this areas, especially on notebooks. Windows better, but no way near the speed of OS X.

3)Multi function keyboards.
Just ignore the keys if you don't like them. No one is forcing you to use those keys....

4)Mice
Well, you've solved your problem by buying a track ball. Most people don't have problems with mice, and I disagree when you say that using a trackball produces less strain than using a mouse. A good posture and one of those mouse pads that has the added gel 'hump' for you to rest your wrists on helps.

All in all, an article with some interesting points raised. However, its more of an opinion piece and many of the gripes aren't really gripes. Maybe you need to chill out, and not get so annoyed by these things ;-)

v RE: PG
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:13 UTC
Booting from the BIOS
by Mihai Limbasan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:14 UTC
RE: RE: Wolfgang Schreurs
by Devon on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:17 UTC

"...a Mac will also work on my nerves, I'm sure of it. ;) ..."

Especially an iBook. The Mac way of doing things doesn't translate to portables quite as well as the Linux and Windows ways. Don't get me wrong though, its still BETTER then the Windows and Linux ways. ;) (In my most humble opinion of course.)

I do disagree with your comments on bootloaders though... in my experience they have virtually no effect on boot time at all, and as long as you don't use LILO, they are generally trouble free. (God LILO sucks. I deal with alot of different Linux installs regularly on alot of boxes, and LILO fails to boot properly on SEVERAL of them, sometimes quite randomly. GRUB on the other hand works flawlessly first time and every time, every single damn time.)

v Dear Thom Holwerda,
by #grasshopper on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:27 UTC
Trackballs
by Blah, I can only type 30 chars on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:30 UTC

>> Trackballs! Yes, everyone, get out, go to your shop, and
>> buy a trackball! They produce less strain on your arm and
>> shoulder, they're easier to use, use less desk space, don't
>> require a mousepad, and they're sexier.

For you, as an 'ordinary' user, that might be easier (and sexier).

But I'd rather say: go and buy Wacom tablets! They're even sexier and a lot more fun (and usable, especially when you're a 2D/3D artist).

(hopefully they'd get somewhat cheaper as well if everyone would buy them)

v hun ?
by joking on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:38 UTC
RE:Maybe you should try a Mac
by quickie on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:44 UTC

>AFAIK it's not possible to eject the disc without using this key, so you will use it

try dragging the cd to the trash icon. it will change into an "eject" symbol.


flo

Boot time
by Jongo on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:47 UTC

In today's society it's almost an embarrassment to spend the time to draw a breath of air. Gosh, the waste of time!

If it took your system 10 minutes to boot I would understand the frustration. But my cold-started Mac will maybe take about 2, maybe 3 minutes to boot. The few times it happens. I leave the thing on all the time. Besides my Mac, there's little else that I use constantly so I'm not wasting that much energy on a yearly basis.

You don't want to wait for your machine. I appreciate the hardship this must be causing you, however, there are some steps you can take to avoid this daily ordeal.
Here's a friendly piece of advice:
- get up in the morning
- walk to your machine and turn it on
- go to the loo and take a piss, indulge in a yawn or two
by the time you get back your machine is waiting for you
if it takes longer than that [heavens!]
introduce: put the kettle on for some coffee/tea into the procedure.
If your machine isn't booted after all that, it's time to get yourself something that's newer than whatever it was they sold in 1995.

These are just the basics. If you want more sytems and techniques to help you bridge the time between turning on your machine and being able to open your spam-infested mailer, I'm here for you.

@Thom
by John Blink on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:47 UTC

Very entertaining.

I agree about bootloaders. Imagine if you set partitions on a HDD, then a standard is developed for BIOS that detect these partitions. There would be no user concept as an MBR.

The bios would not display a OS/partition loader unless it detects two or more OS loader code bytes.

Each OS would follow this specification so that the BIOS (or whatever it is called in the future) would no that a certain partition does not only contain data, but also an OS.

Each OS would install its OS loader in its root partion not the MBR.

Therefore if you have multiple partition but only windows, you get no OS loader menu from the bios.

If Linux is on the third partition, the bios would detect that an OS exists on the first partition "WindowsXP", and on the third partition "Linux".

I wonder what MS and Intel are cooking up for legacy free PCs. Are they tackling these issues

Boot time.
by John Blink on Mon 12th Jul 2004 09:50 UTC

I am happy using hibernation. If XP begins to feel buggy, then I reboot.

I hope Linux can improve in this area. What is so hard about hibernation?

re:Boot time.
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:05 UTC

"What is so hard about hibernation?"

That Windows breaks ACPI and thus "forces" manufacturers to produce broken bioses?

Re: Boot time (John Blink)
by Isak on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:10 UTC

I think there is (experimental?) support for 'hibernation' as it is called in the MS world. Haven't tried it though, only saw it on a webpage somewhere, sometime :-)

@ Thom
by dpi on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:15 UTC

"This irritation lies in the same path as my hate against bootloaders. Some people who might in fact remember my two "Hell & Bliss" articles from last summer (part I and part II), might also remember that one of my problems concerning Linux (not the kernel, the OS) was it's relative slow boot time. That comment triggered a lot of silly remarks ("My Gentoo boots 2.720 seconds faster than your Windows XP!" and "So what, my DOS boots in 1 second!"), but fact is that operating systems take too much time to load. Whether it be Linux, Windows, BeOS or whatever other obscure OS: they require so much time to load."

Blaat. Do yourself a favor:
1) Cut off irrelevant services enabled at boot time. Use an OS which does this by default.
2) Keep the OS running and go to the toilet after you did that 1 per month reboot.
3) Get yourself a faster HDD, architecture.
4) Get yourself a nice CF to boot off.

Regarding bootloaders, they have to be specific then. It seems like a trend to put everything on the BIOS including networking. But DEC and Sun have already done similar with ARC and Openfirmware. ARC wasn't particulary good since it had dependancies on Windows NT. I suggest something similar for x86 as done before: putting the bootloader in a PROM and give it the abilities of: networking, telnet/ssh, RS232/RS432 support and get the damn ball rollin' for workstations, desktops AND servers in both corporate, NGO, gov and home user envs.

RE: dpi
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:30 UTC

1) Cut off irrelevant services enabled at boot time. Use an OS which does this by default.

My XP box is tweaked to the max. All services are reviewed and checked for usefullness and activated/deactivated accordingly.

You didn't get my point though. Seeing the development in computing, booting shoudln't be nescesary at all. One hundred years ago, we used levers in front of cars to start them, now we use a key or chip. That's a huge improvement, I want that in my PC as well.

2) Keep the OS running and go to the toilet after you did that 1 per month reboot.

Mmmm, I turn my computer off when I go to bed at night. And as I said, I don't want to keep them running all the time. Waste of energy, and computers are noisy.

3) Get yourself a faster HDD, architecture.

7200rpm. I doubt that going to 10000rpm will change a thing.

4) Get yourself a nice CF to boot off.

Yeah right.

bootloaders
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:45 UTC

I believe on i386 a bootloader mustn't be larger than 512K - the size of the first sector. You can't quite do something exactly marvellous in 512K of space.

You can do something that XOSL does, but that requires an extra partition.

Re: Boot time (what to do with it)
by interDist on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:52 UTC

Excellent points Jongo !
At first I was pretty annoyed by the fact that I had to wait for something to load. But afterwise I realized that this boot/load time was created for my own good! ;) Instead of sitting in front of this machine all day long, getting myself an RSI and eye-sight problems, the computer makes me take a break, move around, breath some air and do something completely unrelated. That is one of the best inventions in computing!

Thom: instead of getting on nerves because of boot times, follow Jongo's suggestions and "have some life" during it. That's your chance to make the arrangements you have to do anyway (or don't do/forget about them because of the computer). You know, the best thing that makes you remember you have to actually eat is outpower or disconnection from the internet on the ISP side ;)

v Re: Boot time (what to do with it)
by interDist on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:56 UTC
Re: Boot time (what to do with it)
by Mahz on Mon 12th Jul 2004 10:58 UTC

Make up your mind on what you want to do with the system (office work/development) then use an embedded OS in RAM/ROM/whatever. Should start fast enough.

And BeOS starts in 18s or so.. damn you can't wait for that? I've had times where I'd switched on the PC, and by the time I realized the monitor was still switched off and switched that on, the BeOS desktop would already be up. I admit I'm not the fastest thinker in the morning, but you probably aren't either ;)

But hey, there's always something to complain about, right?

Ex-Amiga user?
by Mahz on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:05 UTC

Hey Thom something just occurred to me: were you an Amiga-user or similar home computer (Atari ST, early Mac) user in the past? Because then I could see where the annoyances are coming from. I know I've had my doubts on the difference in responsiveness and boot time between PC's (any OS really) and home computers. How much did we really gain in the last years, speed-wise? The faster a system, the less efficient it runs, apparently.

I see a bootloader as two main things.
- A menu to choose your partitions
- A small program to start your system

A cool solution would be to include the first part in the bios. Btw some bioses allready give you a boot menu (F8 key), but only for devices.
This menu would scan for the bootable partitions and build a menu from it. There would also be reverse boot informations from the partitions in case you have more than one boot option per partitions (different kernels or windows versions)

What do you think ?

Trackballs, Mice and Eagles
by chemicalscum on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:14 UTC

"But for me, the choice is easy: trackball! It was probably the best thing that entered my household after the Complete Greatest Hits, by The Eagles."

Well thats one damn good arguement in favour of mice :-)

@ Thom
by dpi on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:34 UTC

"You didn't get my point though. Seeing the development in computing, booting shoudln't be nescesary at all. One hundred years ago, we used levers in front of cars to start them, now we use a key or chip. That's a huge improvement, I want that in my PC as well."

Those run a specific OS named TRON. Microkernel, made for a specific purpose. PC's like you have aren't made for a specific purpose (to say, a much more broader purpose), but yes, with a CF one could easily make a specific computer for a specific purpose. A firewall, fileserver, or something like that. Exactly what happens in the embedded markets. Or you buy it as complete solution instead of toying it yourself. Costs you more though.

Noise is fairly easy to circumvent. It depends per fan and HDD. There are silent fans, the computer could be put in a better case or different area. I, for one, only use silent fans and/or heatsinks. Together with good cases the problem isn't there, and i don't hear a computer when i'm sleeping. If you have a computer in your bedroom you might re-evaluate the place of the computer as alternative of the above.

"Yeah right."

Yep, very right indeed.
It is simple dude. It is NOT a fact OSes take long to boot. First of all its a subjective meassure: "slow" or "fast" in relation to what? Go build yourself a satelite receiver, Soekris or Openbrick wie OpenBSD / Linux and a CF, fast HDD and you'll see these boot up FAST (relatively to PC's). And please, do some research on what runs on those "faster" computers to see WHY they're so fast.

I stated a number of possibilities. There are a few other ones which are simple and straightforward. If none of those satisfy you, i'm afraid its time to chose one of the lesser evils, accept the truth, or start working towards a better alternative. Frankly, i don't see you're doing the latter here and beyond that i think it is actually YOUR shortcomming that you don't like to wait 1 or 2 minutes per day after you put your computer on.

PS: I read you are a Mandrake fan somewhere. Try Openbrick, it comes with Mandrake and support.

RE: chemicalsum
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:36 UTC

@ chemicalsum:
Watch your mouth, dude ;)

@ Mahz:
No, I haven't used either of those. Maybe I'm just stuck in the good ol' DOS days...? ;)

@ zimba:
That's kinda what I'm proposing, indeed. But, what's really important, is to understand that an OS should install a bootloader on their root partition as a backup-option, in case the BIOS screws up.

@ everyone else:
Why isn't anyone telling their anoyences in computing?

Boot UP Speed.
by Harald on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:39 UTC

I suggest RiscOS - The OS is stored in a ROM module on the Motherboard. (Module based upgrades are possible by storing modules on the HardDrive)

OS is manly loaded from ROM wich is VERY fast. I belive at least less than 5 secounds from Power ON until you are redy to go on a RiscPC with 233 Mhz StrongARM...

Other than this I totally aggree with you on the boot loader issue.. You get answers like "Boot into Linux Rescue mode and fix it.. " As the author writes, for someone experienced this is no problem. BUT.. I work in a Support Department with people that know stuff about computers but never used anything but Windows. They will not be able to fix that boot loader.. (Maby after some extra google.com action they would make it)

I do not have a lot of confidence in my coworkers do I? ;)

Boot time
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:41 UTC

S3 suspend is a decent way to avoid boot time... just make sure you save in case the power goes out ;)

Lindows bootloader
by Luke Plant on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:44 UTC

It's not just Windows that overwrites your MBR. Lindows (now Linspire) replaced my GRUB bootloader with it's own incorrectly autodetected LILO setup without asking. I kind of expected this, as Lindows is geared towards Linux newbies, who are unlikely to have several Linux partitions already.

I rebooted in my normal Linux system and restored the GRUB bootloader, only to find that Lindows re-clobbers the MBR *every time* it boots up! This is presumably part of the reason for the huge boot time on Lindows. Microsoft have nothing on Lindows!

@ Thom Holwerda
by Darkelve on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:44 UTC

It annoys me there is not more keyboard support in most OS'es and applications. My wrist hurts. I also wonder why these two things are the best input devices we have come up with yet. Now maybe voice recognition will be my blessing, but even then I would want to use a combination of these input devices. Navigation by keyboard can still be greatly improved. I am glad at least in XFCE this is kind of doable. And Opera is great in this aspect. Spatial navigation (keyboard) for the desktop (KDE, Gnome, you fav. here), perhaps a good idea?

you're crazy
by seaslug on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:46 UTC

trackballs are demonstrably more inefficient than mice. (and optical mice don't NEED mousepads, I don't use one)
bootloaders are necessary, but if you want an alternative, look to multiboot, which would give all the advantages and none of the disadvantages of the schemes you've listed.
boottime does suck, but that's obvious.
multifunction keyboards are nice sometimes. volume up and down and audio controls can be really useful if they're at your fingertips instead of having to hunt down winamp/xmms/whatever.
and I can think of about 1000 things more annoying than any of these.
and, in the end, it doesn't come down to 0's and 1's. it comes down to whether or not the abstractions we build on our computers are meaningful and useful to humans.

Boottime is not annoyance in Linux
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 11:53 UTC

When you leave your computer, use xscreensaver's lock function. When you quit day's work and go to sleep, log out but leave the computer humming. Only reboot after kernel upgrade. Never turn your computer off. This is the Linux way.

Cry me a river.
by xenix on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:07 UTC

I'm actually surpriced you have opinions like that when you started out with computer in 1991(think I remember right). If you've used computers for that long, you should have the knowledge to see why computers and OS's are as they are.

You remember me of a friend that I have, and I've said to him thousand of times: "Stop complaining, you will only get happy if your computer had one button(on/off) and everything else was automated.".

And as I say to people who just keep on complaining. Sell your computer, or do as Woz and Jobs did, build your own computer and OS.

RE: chemicalsum
by xenix on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:15 UTC

Why we aren't telling about our anoyences in computing?

Maybe we are happy with our choices and we understand the functions of why things are made as they are.

It is known that, you can complain all you can, but nothing happens untill you take action yourself.

well...here's my 0.02 ISK.
by Hassy on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:26 UTC

I just live with LILO as my bootloader but I might try grub out since some of you guys have pointed out that LILO is slow.

The boot time. I just live with at and does as Jongo and InterDist suggests. Doing other stuff. Most of the time I wander in and power up the PC then going about other business. As I'm somewhat of a gamer I experience the load times there as well. Those are welcomed breaks for a quick bathroom visit, for fectching a bottle of cola or beer (I like beer ;) )

Now for those awful multimedia keys...Yes most of them are plain stupid. Who needs a key to open a browser (In windows that is, in Linux i do use a shortcut key to open up Mozilla) when you need that mouse device to surf the web anyway, unless of course you're hardcore and use Lynx...But as seaslug points out the audio control keys are just great ;) While I do have a speaker set with external volume control at home I don't have it when draging the box to LAN-parties. There I use earphones where I really really don't wanna hunt down the volume control either in-game or in windows all the time. Nah..it's much easier to press those buttons on top of the keyboard to increase the volume a tad.

On the quality keyboard thing. I haven't got an expensive MS or Logitech keyboard. I use the Zippy WK-711 slimline keyboard which cost about 40$ (I have no clue if that is expensive since that is what it cost in Denmark, guess where I'm from, and the MS and Logitech usually cost twice that amount). The Zippy keyboard is relly great in my oppinion ;)

On mice and fanatism. Well, I use a mouse and I'm not particular fanatic about it ;)

A final note on a thing that bugs me. I guess we all have tried to have some program crash at some point in time. It might have been an application or it could have been some game. The thing that really annoys me is when they crash and doesn't leave some sort of error. A while ago I was at a LAN-party where a game did this and I just sat there thinking. OK! Let's try to start it again and hopefully this time it'll let me play some more. It did and I'm still puzzled as to what triggered the crash.

Another thing is when a crashed program leaves a useless error message like. An error has occured in address: <some hex numbers here>. Well this can be usefull if youre debuging some application. But when it comes from something like MS Media Player it just plain sucks. I can't use that information to anything but: AHA! Indeed there is an error!.

So long and thanks for all the fish ;)

Too much hating
by Victor on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:27 UTC

Dude, i suggest you go out a little, see the sun, feel the wind. Just chill out, you know.

Victor.

Great
by Krizalid on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:28 UTC

I found your article realy great and amusing.
Don't mind about this Xtrems geeks that will insult you about a difference of 0.1 seconds between a winXP and Gentoo boot time.
Critics about how stupid informatic improvements can become sometimes are realy welcome. They show that sometime people take too much time trying to improve useless things and finally turn them into something too complicate.

Well, at least, this is my advice (in bad english I know...).
I hope we'll see more humoristic and orginal articles like this one in the futur.

RE: Boot UP Speed.
by Me on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:29 UTC

"I suggest RiscOS - The OS is stored in a ROM module on the Motherboard. (Module based upgrades are possible by storing modules on the HardDrive)"

I agree. RISC OS is the nearest desktop OS you get to being an on/off appliance. It takes about as long to start up as a PC does to do its bios checks. And having the OS in flash rom means it is nice and safe from hard disk crashes and virus attack.

I wish PC manufacturers/OS vendors would allow Linux/BSDs, Windows et al to be flashed into rom to get similiar performance and security.

The nearest I can think of was the Corel Netwinder, which I believe had Linux running out of battery-backed ram, so didn't need to boot the kernel each time.


Greatest annoyances...
by Manik on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:40 UTC

People who tell me, when I complain, to build my own machine and write my own OS: when I complain about the Underground in my city, nobody tells me to dig my own tunnel and make my own train! I am a user, damn it!

People who tell me that if I'm not happy with my computer, I should just stop using computers.

Keyboards. Not only multifunction keyboards, but any keyboard that come with your computer. I think keyboard should be different. TypeMatrix ( http://www.typematrix.com/ ) is on the good way.

Great Article
by Richard Spindler on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:49 UTC

Thanks Thom for this article, I totally agree ;)

BTW. here are some links to pages where people tried to fix this boot-time issue a little bit.

* http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS9566960946.html
* http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=25326
* http://www.fbunet.de/minit.shtml
* http://www.fastboot.org/
* http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=3331

Re: Boottime is not annoyance in Linux
by Futt Bucker on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:53 UTC

"Only reboot after kernel upgrade. Never turn your computer off. This is the Linux way."

Great! I'll send my electrical bill to the GNU/FSF then.

The frickin' keypad
by Pete Leong on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:54 UTC

What a waste of space....

I work on a computer all day and because of my recent back problems, that extra distance you have to reach (to the mouse) past the keypad complicates things. I've taken to using my left hand instead.

Did you know you can use a single keyboard gel pad when using this technique? (no separate mouse gel pad required) And there is cut,copy,paste on the right hand too!

Alternatively, I'm still looking for a descent laptop style keyboard. Got any suggestions?

Trackballs and the myth
by pixelmonkey on Mon 12th Jul 2004 12:56 UTC

Trackballs do not produce less strain on your arm and shoulder. Using a trackball can actually cause more strain, because strain on your thumb gets multiplied onto your wrist and arm.

For a real ergonomic solution to mousing, you are better off going with vertical mice. They are manufactured by Designer Appliances (The Quill) and Evoluent (Evoluent VerticalMouse 2, which is coming out in July).

http://www.quillmouse.com
http:?/www.evoluent.com

re: trackballs and the myth
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jul 2004 13:26 UTC

Trackballs do not produce less strain on your arm and shoulder. Using a trackball can actually cause more strain, because strain on your thumb gets multiplied onto your wrist and arm.

Solution: don't use a thumb-ball. Despite the recent popularity in thumb-balls, other options are still available in trackballs. Personally, I use this one: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/productdetails.a...

In any case, results vary per individual. I have never been able to use a mouse without resulting in some strain in my elbow in addition to a significant degradation in accuracy (not as bad as the degradation from using a thumb-ball, though). This also addresses the second myth of trackballs, re-iterated in this article:

Trackballs are not good for gaming. Contrary to popular belief, even among avid (which almost seems like an understatement for the people I'm talking about) gamers, trackballs are just as good for gaming as any mouse, so long as the particular gamer is accustomed to using trackballs. For the longest time the biggest shortcomings to using trackballs as a gamer were a reduced number of buttons (compared to mice) and a lack of optical solutions. Despite these drawbacks (which have been solved for the most part), I still managed to play games at a fairly competetive level (top level clan matches in TFC for instance) with a 2-button non-optical trackball. The only major concern was making sure to clean the trackball before any major gaming event, whereas most of the time it was a simple matter to clean the trackball when I noticed it needed to be done. With my current trackball, I have to clean it roughly once a month, though my use isn't as heavy as it once was (since I'm no longer playing competetively, partially due to having a wife and a daughter on the way). Still, people that I played online with/against on a near-daily basis were consistently surprised to see a split keyboard and trackball rather than the rash of optical mice and cheap keyboards that dominate the gaming scene when I showed up for a LAN party.

In the end, though, the "ergonomic" solution is highly dependent on your computer-using environment as well as individual factors. For instance, a person with a very small frame will have much fewer problems with a straight keyboard than someone like myself (as my shoulders nearly fill many doorways, making the angle at which I must hold my hands to use a straight keyboard worse than for many others). I spent a number of years gaming from a futon in front of the computer, with the keyboard on my lap and the trackball on a pair of pillows next to me (and another behind me for lumbar support), and in the end that's the most comfortable and ergonomically-sound situation in which I have ever used a computer.

-PainKilleR-[CE]

@Thom
by JK on Mon 12th Jul 2004 13:43 UTC

Boot time:

Turn on hibernation. You can boot in seconds and all the apps you were using when you hibernated will reopen. I can't imagine how booting can get much faster than that with current technology, it's always going to take a little time to load large amounts of data from a hard disk.

Multifunction keyboards:

I really can't understand why this is a big deal, if you don't use the extra keys why not just ignore them? If you were complaining about laptop keyboards I could see your point, some make the keyboard quite cramped by adding unnecessary keys. But on a desktop keyboard they're usually out of the way of the main keys, so this seems like nitpicking about something totally trivial.

Mice:

Trackballs are significantly slower than mice. Your trackball probably slows you down more than waiting a minute for your computer to boot. They aren't even used on laptops any more, although the problem of keeping them clean is probably the main reason for that.

@PainKilleR
by Futt Bucker on Mon 12th Jul 2004 13:47 UTC

I can't see how a trackball could be good for gamming, especially for first person shooters, i've been playing MOHAA online and you just can't turn fast enough with a trackball, perhaps not that bad for sniping, but little else.

come on this is stupid.
by peragirn on Mon 12th Jul 2004 13:50 UTC

Your computer should boot in 5 seconds, sure if all ou boot is dos. Fact When your computer boots in either windows or Linux, or Mac OS X it needs to load up a gig of crap nowadays.

Beos was cool that it could do it so fast, my only probelm with Beos, was drivers, and some extra software.

Use OS X or Windows. and don't turn off the comptuer, put it to sleep or hibernate. Linux is working on this. Your computer doesn't use a lot of power, and you get back up to where you were in a few seconds.

Trackballs aren't popular because they are harder to use, though some people like them. Fact is a good interface system has yet to be designed. Keyboards are good for lot's of text but are slow for large GUI's. pointers work well on large GUI's but suck for heavy inputting.

Your probelms is that you are still thinking that Hollywood computers are here. Fact is todays machines aren't very effeicent. There are to many bottlenecks, and the fact that nobody wants to drop old standards is part of the probelm. Macs have dropped propertiery connections now. They dropped floppy discs years ago. Intel motherboards still need PS2. most stil require parallel and Serial ports, though USB is far faster and easier to use and Firewire is even better. You want the next generation of stuff you have to pay for it, and be prepared to accept the change.

@Futt Bucker
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:02 UTC

I can't see how a trackball could be good for gamming, especially for first person shooters, i've been playing MOHAA online and you just can't turn fast enough with a trackball, perhaps not that bad for sniping, but little else.

Trackballs have all the same settings available to them that mice do. I always have my Windows settings set so that I do not have to remove my finger from the ball to move the cursor from one side of the screen to the other, and it's generally much less than the full distance across the ball to do so. Additionally, the majority of FPS games have sensitivity settings for the mouse as well, and I adjust these accordingly. In TFC I generally played scout and medic, which are among the fastest (if not the fastest, as the scout is) classes in the game, and being able to accurately hit a target even completely behind me was never a problem.

Even one friend of mine that uses a thumb-ball has no problem whatsoever with the speed, though I must say that his computer is almost completely unusable to me because my thumb is only accurate enough to press a button or use a scroll wheel, not move a cursor.

There is one instance in which I could see a problem, and that would be a game that doesn't have a console or script-based sensitivity setting and a fairly limited range of settings available. I have seen a few cases where I've needed to use sensitivity settings beyond the range allowed in the game's GUI, but in all cases I've been able to type in a decent setting (and I've seen similar complaints from mouse users for the same games, in the cases where people actually bothered ever looking at the GUI settings).

More boot time comments
by Phil on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:08 UTC

I agree about wanting fast boot time. I really can't leave my PC on all the time; the three fans to keep the athlon XP and all the drives cool sound ridiculously loud when I'm trying to get to sleep.

Sadly, S3 suspend won't wake up on even my newest PC, which should be as ACPI compliant as any around. This might be a Linux issue, but I'm not sure as S1 works fine. Anyway, what I will try, and have some hope for, is Linux's own suspend to disk. I'm led to believe this is entirely OS code, so there shouldn't be any legacy issues. Unfortunately I have a useless hard disk in said PC, but it should be a reasonable test bed, then, if it works, the longest part of booting should be the POST.

RE: Trackballs and the myth
by rain on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:08 UTC

I dislike the trackballs you control with your thumb. I have an old Logitech Marble FX and all I know is that it's such a relief to come back to it after spending a lot of time with a mouse. It's just so comfortable. However, if the table is not the right height then it will put a lot of strain on your wrist, but then again, so will a mouse.

It is however slower than a mouse for most operations, but I prefer the comfort I get from it. I also have a mouse and a tablet connected to the computer since they are good for different tasks.

re: come on this is stupid
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:14 UTC

There are to many bottlenecks, and the fact that nobody wants to drop old standards is part of the probelm. Macs have dropped propertiery connections now. They dropped floppy discs years ago. Intel motherboards still need PS2. most stil require parallel and Serial ports, though USB is far faster and easier to use and Firewire is even better. You want the next generation of stuff you have to pay for it, and be prepared to accept the change.

The standards for x86-based computers dropped floppy drives and most of the connections you mentioned a long time ago as well. The problem is that many different people are producing x86 motherboards and they still perceive some need, on the part of the users, for those connections. Intel motherboards do not need or require PS2, parallel, and serial ports, nor do they need floppy connectors. They simply have them because the manufacturers fear that they might lose customers without them.

Still, if these were an issue in the bootup time, disabling them and using an OS that is willing to ignore them would solve the problem. In fact, some of the improvement in boot speeds for Windows XP and Me came from ignoring devices connected to these ports until they were needed (especially serial and parallel). All of them can be disabled in BIOS on most recent (anything with BIOS-level support for USB keyboards, say in the last 3-5 years) computers.

As for USB and firewire, the first has been standard (and shipped) on x86 motherboards longer than it's been supported by any operating system, and the latter is only of any real use if you're going to connect to high speed devices that won't be faster on IDE (or that must be external for some reason). If the device is slow enough that USB won't be a bottleneck for it, then firewire shouldn't even be considered. Then again, I've got a handful of firewire ports on my system anyway (including the one on the sound card that may be some derivative for all I know), and simply have no devices to plug into them.

BeOS Boot Time Illusion
by Zan Lynx on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:15 UTC

BeOS seemed to boot fast, but it was an illusion. All it did was get the graphics system running first. Try to actually do something, and you had to wait.

You can get the same effect in Linux if you arrange your boot scripts to start X first.

Windows XP also does this sort of thing. Services are still starting up in the background while the login screen is displayed.

Build your own.
by xenix on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:23 UTC

I don't think people should take it to serious when some one tells them to buld their own computer and/or OS. But they should think about what they complain about and why, and even what THEY can contribute.

ofcourse, if you don't like the subway, you don't go out build your own. Same as for computers and OS's. It's not something you do over a weekend. If a person has tried almost everything, and still isn't satisfied, then he/she should give it a extra thought why he/she is still complaining.

It's like those customers that complain everytime even if you give them better service each time.

RE: RE: RE: Wolfgang Schreurs
by Kevin C. on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:23 UTC

"...a Mac will also work on my nerves, I'm sure of it. ;) ..."

Especially an iBook. The Mac way of doing things doesn't translate to portables quite as well as the Linux and Windows ways. Don't get me wrong though, its still BETTER then the Windows and Linux ways. ;) (In my most humble opinion of course.)


As someone who's recently bought an iBook, which is both my first laptop and my first Apple computer, I'm interested in hearing what advantages I'm missing out on by not having a desktop Mac. Care to enlighten me?

RE: BeOS Boot Time Illusion
by rain on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:25 UTC

BeOS seemed to boot fast, but it was an illusion. All it did was get the graphics system running first. Try to actually do something, and you had to wait.

You have never used BeOS right?
The GUI is the last thing that will appear in the boot process. There is no illusion there.

It is however an illusion that BeOS is a lot faster than other OSs. That has to do with the responsiveness which is a whole lot better than on the other systems.

And no, you can't really get the same effect on linux by just editing the bootscripts.
Btw, KDE takes longer to start than what BeOS takes to boot on this box. Now that is annoying.

Keypad
by dpi on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:32 UTC

"I work on a computer all day and because of my recent back problems, that extra distance you have to reach (to the mouse) past the keypad complicates things. I've taken to using my left hand instead."

Basically, it is very good when you have to type a lot of numbers. For example in the field of dataentry or accounting this is pretty common, and you'd prefer to use the keypad then, because it is simply faster and more RSI-friendly.

On trackballs: how about the "spaceball" variant?

RE: BeOS Boot Time Illusion
by Zan Lynx on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:36 UTC

It's been a while since I used BeOS, but I have used it. It was a P166 with TNT2 video in 1998. So, I may be misremembering.

But, the way I remember it, I couldn't use the net for 10-20 seconds after the desktop came up. So _something_, maybe DHCP, was still running in the background.

Responses
by Adam Geitgey on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:38 UTC

I think it's pretty funny that articles like this mostly get responses like the below:

"And as I say to people who just keep on complaining. Sell your computer, or do as Woz and Jobs did, build your own computer and OS."

I think the poster is expressing what bothers them on a day to day basis. There is nothing wrong with that. But there are reasons (good or bad) for most of the things being the way they are.

Bootloaders

Bootloaders on PCs are pretty horrible. But it is due to the history and backwards compatibility of still using a system roughly based on a design from 1980. This is the same reason we have things like text based bootup, no standard high-res modes without special drivers, silly 1980's looking BIOS screens, etc. For example, a lot of unix workstations not based on legacy IBM concepts aren't tied to this. Check out the bootloader stuff on a Sun or Mac sometime. Since it wasn't designed in 1980 and restricted by backwards compatibility, it's much nicer and more modern.

Boot time

Eventually, I think that it is unlikely that we will "boot" machines everyday. Think of a PocketPC or Palm device. You only boot them rarely when there is a catastrophic failure. Otherwise, they just suspend. Having to shut down a machine is a pretty archaic way to deal with it. Any new Mac laptop is already there. Just close it and it instantly goes to sleep. Open it back up and quickly (like 1 second), it is back and ready to use right where you left it. This will become standard. Then boot time will be mostly a memory, except when you add new hardware or something.

Multifunction keyboards

This is where the article starts to veer into plain whining ;) But whatever. I think this falls under "user preferences" and thus is hard to argue. There isn't a "correct" answer. But you can blaim (if you don't like them) the proliferation of extra bottoms on keyboard manufactorers. They have to compete in the market. If company X has lots of cool buttons and you have a plain keyboard to sell, you will want to add buttons to appeal to consumers. Since comsumers buy them, the process continues.

Mice

If you dislike mice, do as you do now and use a trackball. Most people can't stand trackballs. Again, user preference. However, it seems about 98% of the population prefers a mouse. If you do not, just use what you prefer. Neither are very expensive. Seems like a moot point since no one is preventing anyone for choosing what they want to use.

Fanaticism

Agreed. I think fanaticism is a very revealing indicator of inexperience or immaturity. But computers are hardly the only place you will have to deal with fanatics.

re: keypad
by PainKilleR on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:40 UTC

Basically, it is very good when you have to type a lot of numbers. For example in the field of dataentry or accounting this is pretty common, and you'd prefer to use the keypad then, because it is simply faster and more RSI-friendly.

My wife works in a bank, all of their keyboards have separated keypads, and needless to say this is primarily because they have to replace the keypads more often than the keyboards. I prefer them myself whenever I'm inputting a decent amount of numbers (more than 3 for instance), but I would really prefer that keyboards were made without the row of number keys and fixing the number pad to have the same shift operations that the number keys on the main keyboard body have. It would slow mixed typing a bit, but would help me when dealing with currency and percentages in my typing ;)

On trackballs: how about the "spaceball" variant?

I haven't used it myself, but looking at the list of supported applications, I'd guess that either it's not going to function much differently from a normal trackball elsewhere, or it's not going to function at all in non-supporting applications. In any case, I don't usually find myself working in those environments (CAD, 3D modelling, etc), but when I do I get around fine with the keyboard and trackball (at least in the better environments with good keyboard interaction).

RE: come on this is stupid.
by Harald on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:44 UTC

QUOTE: "Your computer should boot in 5 seconds, sure if all ou boot is dos. Fact When your computer boots in either windows or Linux, or Mac OS X it needs to load up a gig of crap nowadays. "

How expensive is 1 GIG of fast Compact Flash Memory today?

Store and Load the OS on a CF card. And boot time would be A LOT faster..

The sat story is that we still store the OS on slow memory like a HardDrive..

RE: BeOS Boot Time Illusion
by rain on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:47 UTC

I've never experienced that. I've always been able to use everything instantly in BeOS after the Tracker has started.
But it's possible that it was some trouble in the DHCP client/server communication. Either way, I prefer if such issues doesn't slow down the boot process.

Point is, that it's still not an illusion. BeOS wasn't designed like that. It's very much a "WYSIWYG"-OS in that sense. It was obviously an issue with your setup.

@Adam Geitgey
by rain on Mon 12th Jul 2004 14:58 UTC

However, it seems about 98% of the population prefers a mouse.

If a trackball was shipped with every computer then 98% of the population would probably "prefer" a trackball.
You can't say that people prefer one thing to another if they have never been presented with the alternatives.
That's like saying that the QWERTY keymap is superior to the Dvorak keymap because 99,99% of the population use QWERTY. And you know that's not true. Practically no-one is aware of the alternative and they have been trained to use QWERTY, also Dvorak keyboards are pretty hard to find in general computer shops.
The same goes for Windows.

So stop using that stupid statistics argument.

Not Good
by Smartpatrol on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:03 UTC

Probably the most useless invention since some scientists came up with the idea to split atoms inside a bomb.

Why would you ruin an otherwise mildly entertaining rant with such an inane statement?

RE: The frickin' keypad
by Richard Spindler on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:05 UTC

> Alternatively, I'm still looking for a descent laptop style
> keyboard. Got any suggestions?

http://www.cherrycorp.com/deutsch/slim-line/tastatur-ultraflach-g84...

@ Painkiller
by dpi on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:13 UTC

"My wife works in a bank, all of their keyboards have separated keypads, and needless to say this is primarily because they have to replace the keypads more often than the keyboards. I prefer them myself whenever I'm inputting a decent amount of numbers (more than 3 for instance), but I would really prefer that keyboards were made without the row of number keys and fixing the number pad to have the same shift operations that the number keys on the main keyboard body have. It would slow mixed typing a bit, but would help me when dealing with currency and percentages in my typing ;) "

Point taken. Nice one. I didn't knew these existed. Some people also argue AZERTY is more user-friendy than QWERTY. I've never used an AZERTY though. They are hard to get. I don't even know if they're still produced. Yet, we stay with the QWERTY system, leaving alternatives which might be better unavailable. Then there are multimedia keyboards which ought to add functionality, but the basic of QWERTY remains whereas other alternatives *might* be better; frankly i don't think the current keyboards have a good layout, and different people have different needs. It might even depend per language typed! As a result of this all, i found the pages which described AZERTY's usefullness interesting in such way that i'd like to test one out.

Spaceballs aren't ofcourse used in the gaming world. That's not what they were meant for either. Has anyone here actually used a Spaceball to get serious work done and if so what was the advantage?

Judging on the pictures i've seen of some Spaceballs versus the Trackball i used on the Amiga, the Spaceballs should be more RSI friendly because you have your hand actually straight, not over the trackball itself. You still use your handpalm (middle of hand) to move the pointer around, but the buttons are on the backside of the device so that you can push multiple buttons with your hand straight. My Trackball OTOH (or my friends Trackball actually) had all the buttons besides the ball so i had to lay my hand around the ball and move my fingers in rather strange directions. I never used it "24/7" or something near that though. Not all Spaceballs work like this because i've also seen some which are more like the Trackball _however_ you can lay your hand more around the ball because the ball is more round than the Trackball which had the ball more inside the device. More theoretic though, and i've forgot some details probably.

For those interested, here are some products:
http://www.3dconnexion.com/spaceball5000.htm
http://www.alsos.com/Products/Devices/SpaceBall.html
http://www.mindflux.com.au/products/spacetec/3003flx.html

3dconnection has some claims about better performance. I just read one independant review which claimed that it is more efficient when you have to scroll a lot.

Minus gaming, the supported software list is rather impressive: http://www.3dconnexion.com/applicationlist.htm

Has anyone here actually used a Spaceball? I'm interested in hearing detailed experiences.

...
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:19 UTC

Mmmm, again, the boottime issue seems to stirr things up quite a bit...

What I'm trying to say, basically, is that we make so much progress on a lot of things in computing, but we neglect other things. Everyone focusses on raw processor and GPU power, leaving grannies with beasts of machines they don't need. It are the small things that get neglected, such as booting.

Let''s imagine that each time you start your car, you had to wait two to three minutes before you could drive off. How would you like that?

I just find it stupid that hardware manufacturers keep on "improving" stuff non-gamers/graphic designers don't even need: processor power and GPU power. I'd gladly give in on those things in order to improve on others.

And of course I realize the x86 architecture was designed over 20 years ago, but that's no excuse. Intel and AMD have missed a great opportunity by not altering the architecture around their 64 bit processors. Now we have to wait another 5? 10? years before another chance comes up.

Too bad. Companies are so afraid of changing things... It's actually quite sad that an industry that triggered one of the most important revolutions in world history, now is afraid to move on.

v Seti at home
by Smartpatrol on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:28 UTC
a quick one while he's away
by mobb on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:29 UTC

i stopped reading after he mentionned the eagles...

The reason? 90% of the developers are tasteless.
Maybe creating some tastes things start to improve.

@Smartpatrol
by rain on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:32 UTC

Or you could just save the energy and money and try to shape up this world until the aliens arrive.

I run XP at work and OS X at home.

Both sleep very nicely.

I reboot the OS X box about once a week just on general principles, but then again, I have boot times under 90 seconds, so no biggie.



Annoying
by Daan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:45 UTC

Many of the comments are very very annoying, especially those concerning boot times.

"1) Cut off irrelevant services enabled at boot time. Use an OS which does this by default.
2) Keep the OS running and go to the toilet after you did that 1 per month reboot.
3) Get yourself a faster HDD, architecture.
4) Get yourself a nice CF to boot off."


Complete nonsense. Just get yourself a Macintosh SE/30 (16 Mhz 68030) and see how it boots within 30 seconds. If a faster PC were the solution, my 350 Mhz PC would boot in 1,4 seconds to boot. Yet it doesn't, the BIOS already takes 20 seconds. And Longhorn is waiting to bring the next-gen PC to a crawl.

Then you have hibernation.

- First, it wastes disk space. Disks have become larger though, with the average 386, physical memory was about 1/10 of the hard drive, today it is about 1/240.

- Second, sometimes you need to reboot your PC. Not everything is hot-pluggable yet, so that you have to reboot for the kernel to recognise a device.

- Furthermore we all know that Windows loves reboots. Either because you have done something that requires a reboot, or simply because your PC crashes. Yes, the cause is probably el-cheapo hardware with crappy drivers, yet not everyone only buys state-of-the-art devices and checks the internet every day for new driver revisions. That's a fact.

- Hibernation still costs time. Even with hibernation, starting my PC takes twice as long as the SE/30 booting cold.

Then you have the "do something else while your PC boots" people. Well, you can't. If you use Linux, you probably dual-boot between Windows and Linux, so if the BIOS is ready after 20 seconds, you need to choose the OS. You have to wait for this as otherwise you are likely too late and the (wrong) default OS has started. Then, halfway during the startup you have to log in, no matter whether you use Windows or Linux. So no, you can't push the button, walk away and find your PC started afterwards. And if you do, your system isn't properly secured.

So let it be clear: A faster PC doesn't help, neither does hibernation, nor doing something else during startup.

Then the bootloader: the whole idea of the bootsector, the bootloader, LILO, GRUB and MBR is just a hack. It worked to boot MS-DOS off a 20 MB harddisk with only one partition, yet if you have ever used OpenBoot or OpenFirmware (no, not OF 1.x or 2.0, those are really buggy) you really don't want to go back to the PC BIOS.

And if you don't know what Open* is, just imagine that you would throw away the BIOS and put GRUB into its place.

Photoshop memory usage
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:51 UTC

Nice rant, I hope you feel better now. Oh by the way, Photoshop has a FREAKING SETTING for how much RAM it uses. It defaults to 50%. Is it all coming together now, speedy?

Edit -> Preferences -> Memory & Image Cache

re: .... @thom
by rockwell on Mon 12th Jul 2004 15:56 UTC

//Let''s imagine that each time you start your car, you had to wait two to three minutes before you could drive off. How would you like that?//

Let's imagine that we try not to compare a device that typically costs US $1,000.00 with one that typically costs US $10,000.00

I'd expect quite a bit of "user experience" difference in my car, vs. my computer.

Ding! Thanks for playing.

v I hate
by Frank Rost on Mon 12th Jul 2004 16:11 UTC
...
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 16:13 UTC

Let's imagine that we try not to compare a device that typically costs US $1,000.00 with one that typically costs US $10,000.00

Even a 100 dollar car starts without having to wait minutes ;)

CF doesn't improve boottime, what are you smoking???
by dpi on Mon 12th Jul 2004 16:25 UTC

"1) Cut off irrelevant services enabled at boot time. Use an OS which does this by default.
2) Keep the OS running and go to the toilet after you did that 1 per month reboot.
3) Get yourself a faster HDD, architecture.
4) Get yourself a nice CF to boot off.

Complete nonsense."

Ofcourse a different architecture, as you said (my option 3), is also an option. So actually you say my 4 solutions are complete nonsense while just after that you argument what i say on point 3? For example an Amiga would boot much faster than Windows XP.

Anyway, according to you CF doesn't help. Well LOL because a CF uses the same technology as (E)(E)PROM -- also used in eg Amiga, Acorn. THOSE parts were important in the effort to lower boottime (ofcourse there are disadvantages as well). I challenge you to point out your benchmarks which proof point 4 is nonsense. My observations, theory certainly did not proof it is nonsense. Quite the contrary.

Yet another option on Linux-only is to put a LinuxBIOS or OpenBIOS as replacement of the proprietary BIOS. It improves the boottime between BIOS and bootloader from X seconds to 1 second. Finally, who in their "objective mind" is _directly_ comparing Longhorn (alpha-stage OS which comes out in 2006 or something) with an old OS, arch from the early 90's?

The conclusion is that there are both hard- and software based options available which improve the boottime.

well
by pete on Mon 12th Jul 2004 16:55 UTC

bootloaders dont bother me, ive never had a problem with them, and they do help keep multi-boot systems organized, somehow i feel implementing it into the mainboard would maybe "lock" boot procedures into whatever mainboard you are using, instead of having a choice of bootloaders

as for time, you can either wait for everything to start up before windows/linux/osx/etc loads up, or have windows load, then activate all your devices, either way, it seems you'll be waiting. i have an old pentium166 that takes up to 10 minutes to boot, a 500mhz laptop that takes 6 minutes to boot, and my new 3ghz boots in just over a minute. in time i suppose computers will boot instantly, but until then you can always standby or hibernate

I have a logitech itouch, and while some of the buttons are rather pointless (shopping, favorites, webcam, etc), i do use the media controls a lot! also, i have a little scroller on the side that i use when scrolling articles. i should also mention that my mouse is on a different level them my keyboard (my keyboard slides out, my mouse is on teh desktop), so its a bit more economical in my case

i hate trackballs ;) of course i also do a lot of gaming, but i like to have the pointer follow my hand motions (thus, i like the touchmouse on a laptop better then the little purple thing above the 'B' key)

just my thoughts

boot time
by arielb on Mon 12th Jul 2004 16:57 UTC

I think we have to move to solid state drives as mechanical hard drives are such a big bottleneck. Problem is they are too expensive but hopefully the use of flash ram in pda's will bring prices down. That's the future: enough flash to hold the OS and cache and index plus very fast hard drives for everything else

re: re: ...
by rockwell on Mon 12th Jul 2004 17:07 UTC

//Even a 100 dollar car starts without having to wait minutes ;) //

Sure, until you hit the accelerator, and the engine dies because of hideous air/fuel mixture due to a damaged PVC valve.

Not to mention the thousand other things that will make a $100 car completely unusuable: worn out brakes, leaking coolant systems, bald tires, etc. etc. etc.

Nice try.

printers
by naph on Mon 12th Jul 2004 17:09 UTC

one word. i don't know how many people will agree with me here (as i have seen some people using printers perfectly day after day (which only makes this more annoying)), but i hate printers. they just won't work for me, ever.

i'd like to consider myself a pretty technically compitent guy (though one who has trouble spelling), but printers never do what i tell them, then when they're halfway through doing something i never thought of telling them to do, they don't want to stop.

grrr. fricken printers...

RE: CF doesn't improve boottime
by Daan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 17:33 UTC

What I mean is that in most operating systems, people don't optimize their code to be fast. Thus if you use CF now, your PC will be fast indeed. But if in the future everyone boots from CF, OS designers will also boot from CF. Then they don't feel optimizing is important anymore, so that the whole startup procedure gets ten times as bloated as it is now, and in the end the system still needs minutes to boot.

There are exceptions, of course, like RiscOS and maybe the Amiga. But those are also systems that are not very popular, the systems that are not used by those people who think Windows Media Player version 9 looks better than version 6.

The "Help" key on Mac's keyboards
by elmimmo on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:00 UTC

Concerning keyboards...

WTF is the "Help" key on Macs for if it does not bring Help up? What's more "funny", applications' Help have a standard keyboard shortcut (apple+?)... So you need to press TWO keys, none of them the "Help" one, when you've got one single that should be doing just that!

v Nice
by Smartpatrol on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:04 UTC
RE: The "Help" key on Mac's keyboards
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:05 UTC

"Help" key? Am I missing something? I'm not sitting at a Mac right now, but I've used them plenty in the past, and I can't recall a "Help" key.

/maybe oblivious?

boottime and others
by Yamin on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:29 UTC

Well, I don't see any problem with boottime. I use hibernation all the time, with the occasional shutdown just to make sure. However, even a full restart goes pretty quickly.

There is one idea that I have not been able to find out there. Maybe I should code it up...This is the concept of a timed startup.

I have many applications that I would like to startup on each boot, but I don't really need them 0.01 seconds into a boot. These are things like MSN messenger, wallpaper changer...

Why don't any of the startup managers have like:
start program foo X seconds after boot
OR
start program foo at least X seconds after boot when CPU usage < 50%

I dunno, something for the future I guess.
Other than that, what qualms to I have with PCs.

Boot loader? I don't see it...it doesn't bother me

Mice? What's wrong with mice? My logitech optical runs fines even atop a ruffled up blanket.

Multi-funciton keyboards: Truth be told, I haven't ever used these. However, on the side of my laptop are "Mute, Volume up, and volume down" buttons. I don't think I could remove them. Its too convenient. Now if only there was a way to change their sensitivity?

Come to think of it, the state of computers is pretty good given the historical compatibility it has to carry along.

RE: ....@rockwell
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:29 UTC

'//Let''s imagine that each time you start your car, you had to wait two to three minutes before you could drive off. How would you like that?//

Let's imagine that we try not to compare a device that typically costs US $1,000.00 with one that typically costs US $10,000.00

I'd expect quite a bit of "user experience" difference in my car, vs. my computer.

Ding! Thanks for playing.
'

hmmmm... I see, the cheaper the product the harder it should be to use? If I buy a $30 shirt, it should have 7 holes in it, none of which are big enough to fit my head through? If I buy a 50 cent piece of candy, I should have to wait three hours between opening the wrapper and eating it? But if I spent $10k for a piece of candy, then I should be able to eat it immediately. If I bought a $10k computer, then it would boot instantaneosly and be as easy to use as a car?

I'm not saying his comparison of a car and computer necessarily means something, but I don't see how your statement of price has anything to do with anything.

In any event, I think his point was only that we seem to have acclimated ourselves to some low expectations when it comes computer operation (or something like that), and we are willing to accept shortcomings from computers that we would find intolerable in other products. Price has nothing to do with that.

RE: bootloaders
by Charles Childers on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:34 UTC

"I believe on i386 a bootloader mustn't be larger than 512K - the size of the first sector. You can't quite do something exactly marvellous in 512K of space."

A sector is 512 bytes, not 512 kilobytes, which is why most boot loaders are written as two (or sometimes three) stages. If you use the first track of the hard drive (15 MB in my computer), you have enough room for a small operating system, or at least a nice boot loader.

Re: not shutting things off
by Allen Ethan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:37 UTC

I got a question for you folks. Seems alot of people in here never shut their computers off. I've seen geeks ask, "Who shuts off their computer these days?" As far as I can tell, most non-geeks do. My question(s) is, do these same people also leave the tv on when they're not watching it, leave the light on when exiting a room...basically I am the only one in here who makes even a half hearted attempt at energy conservation? Were we not all raised to try and save energy, and even though the power a computer takes up is probably minimal, isn't it the principal of the thing that's the point?

v Re: smartpatrol
by Stefan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 18:57 UTC
I still hate
by Frank Rost on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:17 UTC

I still hate computers

v RE:
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:17 UTC
BeOS is slow to boot?
by Morgan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:25 UTC

How can you include BeOS in your commentary on slow boot times? It took BeOS r5 about 12 seconds to boot on my old PII/400 system, and now BeOSMAX 3.1 boots in about 8 seconds on my current system (AMD/1GHz). I can't think of another OS (other than DOS) that boots faster. These times are of course just the raw OS boot time and do not include the time the BIOS of the computer takes to start the OS (about 5-10 secs), but then you were complaining about OS boot times right? Have you ever used BeOS, or were you just throwing it in as another OS to trash?

LOL
by Smartpatrol on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:31 UTC

So mr "smart"patrol, you keep your pc up at night to search for aliens? Hehe. Very smart indeed.

Nope actually i would leave it on anyway. So i figured it might as well be productive by contributing to what i feel is valuable science. Oh and for the record i don't susbscribe to cable nor do i watch TV anymore. So try again midget mind.

As far as I can tell, most non-geeks do. My question(s) is, do these same people also leave the tv on when they're not watching it, leave the light on when exiting a room...basically I am the only one in here who makes even a half hearted attempt at energy conservation?

Probably not but i bet alot of us here don't have an issue with long boot times!

weak
by noel coward on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:32 UTC

Weak article. Lame. But I guess you had to fill that blank page, didn't you?
Stay tuned for my articles on crap I find mildly irritating but do nothing to fix.

It's very easy...
by TenaciousOne on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:37 UTC

To keep pop-ups and spyware off your computer in the first place, but no one likes to report this, because if they do they won't have anything to talk about...

I set up PCs for all kinds of people and none of my clients have problems with pop-ups, spyware or even viruses.

I would love to explain how, but osnews.com always deletes these types of posts... Some wise guy always hits the report abuse button then the post disappears...

You can not do it in hardware
by thanOS on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:41 UTC

Sorry guys but what you suggest about moving the boot loader to the BIOS simply can not be done.

Allow me to give you a small example:
Every OS puts a small code at its partition which indicates its type. You can check that with Partition Magic for example.
Different OSs boot with different procedures, a quick read on the GRUB manual will convince you.

Lets put our selves to an age before BeOS (as an example)
All the computers have this special super BIOS autoconfiguration system that scans the partitions on the disk and build a menu for the poor monkey user to select from.
Suddenly BeOS comes out and because it uses BFS it has a different Partition code....So what do we do? Patch the BIOS everytime someone decides to produce a new OS?
Put a DISABLE function to this particular feature?

And even if the BIOS would have a means of magicaly updating its table of possible OSs, how much time would it take to scan the partitions? And how big should this BIOS subsystem be? How can it read all these different file systems?

So what will it be Thom? A flash memory BIOS running an OS of the company that builds the motherboard so that it is in a position to boot everything else? How about security on this OS?


I think your comments on the bootloaders issue were really out of target. Selecting and booting an OS is not about booting Windows and U*IX like systems ONLY.

As far as boot time is concerned, you have to leave with it as we all do. 10 to 15 years ago a motherboard could be manufactured by discrete electronic components. Today its filled with SMDs allover....So many peripherals and extra features that a user want to take advantage off...Its not about setting up a driver for your keyboard, mouse, CPU, disk and boot the system.
For example there is SMP today and extra features in a variety of chipsets... Lets not forget how different just the processors are today.
All these need a small program to drive them. This small program takes some time to be found on the disk, loaded and execute.......This takes some time so i have to agree taht the best solution is to leave your PC on....and if its too noisy because of the tweaking, consider a less tweaked machine or move the PC to the basement.

Multifunction Keyboards?
Well yes they are useless if you are not the average monkey user. But i know a lot of users who use multifunctional keyboards to launch their internet browsing software or operate their media playing software.
You have to admit that it is really convenient. You just dont take your hands of the keyboard.

Trackballs?
Now thats something that has been overlooked on the desktop. I certainly agree that such an input device is better than mouse.
It would be even better if someone would embed the monitor on the desktop providing a touch interface more like a touch pad and less like a touch screen. So that you could operate your computer like you would write on paper. Perhaps with a pen, or just using your gaze.

As far as fanaticism i believe that you put that paragraph in your article so that subconciously someone who wants to reply doesnt give you hell :-) :-)
Fanaticism is a way of life not a trend or opinion.


As far as annoyancies? Well yes there are a couple.....Restarting after software installation for example, Stupid Error Messages that leave you with no other option but OK (?). BRAIN DAMAGED COMPANIES THAT DONT AGREE ON STANDARDS and people who want to oversimplify things...

Tade efh thanOS

Can just anyone write a lame artical like this?
by slackjaw on Mon 12th Jul 2004 19:42 UTC

"BeOS or whatever other obscure OS: they require so much time to load."

Are kidding?! BeOS boots in less than 15 seconds. XP and Mandrake take about the same for me: around one minute. I my experience, as far as boot time goes BeOS beats them all. BeOS is much faster at a lot of other things too.

RE: various
by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:09 UTC

Have you ever used
BeOS, or were you just throwing it in as another OS to trash?


Guy, I am typing this very comment in Net+! I'm a huge fan of BeOS. Not very wise to scream something like that at me.

Are kidding?! BeOS boots in less than 15 seconds. XP and Mandrake take about the same for me: around one minute. I my
experience, as far as boot time goes BeOS beats them all. BeOS is much faster at a lot of other things too.


I just named the first couple of OSs that came to mind. This point isn't OS specific, its about OSs in general. No matter how fast my BeOS is, it's still not instant on.

instant on
by arielb on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:20 UTC

PalmOS my friend. but that's really about using flash ram instead of hard drives

RE: You can not do it in hardware
by DonQ on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:23 UTC

Sorry guys but what you suggest about moving the boot loader to the BIOS simply can not be done.

Sure it can. There's little agreement needed - common protocol to add/change/remove specific bootloader into (flashable) BIOS. It doesn't be limited to 512bytes - 64K would avoid some booting stages already.
Such BIOS could be flexibly programmed - if today you can turn your PC on using CtrlF1 for example, then using such BIOS you could use 'W' to turn PC on AND start Windows, 'M' for Mandrake, 'B' for BeOS etc.

Just nobody (manufacturers) aren't interested in this.

-----------------
BTW, I have solution to all your keyboard/mice problems - ANY KEY. Well, not exactly a key, rather combination of turnable knob, pressable key and smtg like mouse. There's currently only one part missing - driver for it, able to guess, what action you exactly wanted... Otherwise it's usage is simple - you want run smtg? Press KEY. You want louder sound? Turn KEY (knob). You want draw a circle? Make smooth move with this thingy - KEY. You want enter text? No, you don't, this is too complicated for you anyway;) (Of course it would be possible, in next driver version.)

RE: To DonQ
by thanOS on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:35 UTC

The concept is good i can not disagree with that, but just for a fraction of a second think about viruses or "malicious" software.
Some time ago some manufacturers introduced the feature of flasing the BIOS and it wasnt long before a virus could wipe your BIOS and let you with a bunch of useless electronic equipment.... (Ofcourse since then BIOS flashing has improved a lot) But the question remains....How can the BIOS know that the software that requests a change in its "Boot Table" is indeed an "innocent" OS and not an "innocent" Virus?

Re: You can not do it in hardware
by Daan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:41 UTC

"And even if the BIOS would have a means of magicaly updating its table of possible OSs, how much time would it take to scan the partitions? And how big should this BIOS subsystem be? How can it read all these different file systems?"

You can put a driver at the beginning of the partitions. Then the firmware can load it, on demand, when you access a partition. When a partition has no driver, the bootsector can be executed for backwards compatibility. Now so you can imagine it:

PC-Firmware v1.0
Memory: 256 MiB
Booting ide:0.0.2...interrupted
>>> devalias
fd, cd, ide, scsi, enet
>>> ls ide:0.0
0:NTFS, 1:[0:FFS, 1:swap, 2:FFS, 3:FFS], 2:ReiserFS, 3:GeekOS
>>> ls ide:0.0.0.1
bin, etc, usr, var, netbsd
>>> ls ide:0.0.2
Loading driver for ReiserFS...not found
>>> ls ide:0.0.3
Loading driver for GeekOS...ok
Applications, Documents, GKernel
>>> boot ide:0.0.3:/GKernel
Loading....................................ok
GeekOS Kernel v1.0 booting!
pci driver registered
soundblaster via pci
usb via pci
iomega-zip via usb
(...)

ide:0.0.0.1 doesn't exist, of course.
by Daan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:45 UTC

>>> ls ide:0.0.0.1
ide:0.0.0.1 not found
>>> ls ide:0.0.1.1
bin, etc, usr, var, netbsd

And because the code is loaded on-demand, virusses can't do anything except if you manually boot them.

ummmmm
by cptsimian on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:50 UTC

me laughs, humans are funny, it's all possible if you put yer mind to it, but then someone else puts their's to it and messes it up, why cant we just leave each other alone


try finding a really good AMD XP compatible mobo without built in sound other features that are not near as good as the seperate cards you can buy

how about custom ordered mobo's, kinda like the way they make cars, have all the options, but don't put them on all the boards, but wait that would mean a little more effort for somebody, can't do that


this is rhetorical, no response needed or wanted

boottime?
by escapenguin on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:52 UTC

I was amazed at how long Mandrake 10.0 takes to boot, but it basically boiled down to: if i want my system to boot faster, I have to build a kernel that loads exactly what hardware drivers I need...with no hotplugging.

As a result, my Gentoo 2004 install with the 2.4.20-gaming kernel boots in less than 30 seconds. It's not instant-on, but it's a start... I guess that's not too bad for a 650mhz Duron.

whatever
by mortee on Mon 12th Jul 2004 20:58 UTC

No matter what others do say, I think you're damn right on most points.

With a little bit of value-based development (as opposed to market-based), and some tendency to agree on clever standards, it would be trivial to make a much better and much more reliable BIOS loader.

Also, with more clever mixture of hardware (e.g. persistent caches where appropriate), and better use of persistence and on-demand loading in software, instant-on would also be possible. And I have to say, it should be also - there's something really wrong with computers while it takes more time to start my computer than my (theoretical) TV, or calculator.

Also, I can only very enthusiastically support your opinion on keyboards. Either crappy quality, or bloat. I'm hunting for a decent keyboard for more than two years now, without real success. I'd be pleased if you'd share with me privately where you've found a good one. (I specified my email address for this comment. Thanks in advance.)

Regarding mice - well, I'm not happy with mice either, but I don't see trackballs as a real enhancement. Please wake me when the Minority Report stuff becomes real; or, even better, when I can control my cursor with my two pretty eyes! (: (I have to add, I don't find this latter all that impossible - one or two webcams, and some clever processing algorithms could make it happen, I'm quite sure.)

As for fanatism - I mostly just ignore it. It mostly works also - so far...

best regards
mortee

RE: To Daan
by thanOS on Mon 12th Jul 2004 21:05 UTC

The trick (firmware on the disk) is old...It was used on some large hard disks in the DOS era to access them and format them properly but the bottom line is that if it is in software, there will definetly be someone who will manage to use the feature against the machine...

There can certainly be a hardware workaround to this firmware solution but at the end of the day the problem is
not THAT big.....

Modern bootloaders are really easy to set up and work with...

RE: RE: To Daan
by Daan on Mon 12th Jul 2004 21:32 UTC

Under Mac OS Classic I have never seen any problems with the ROM loading drivers from the actual disk, well, other than disks without drivers not working ;-)

But the bootloader is indeed not the biggest problem. That is the Windows 2000 boot code, that breaks if the Windows boot partition comes after any partition or disk that was added or removed. And Windows 2000 as a whole, as it breaks terribly when you remove any NTFS partition using Partition Magic.

Boot Time
by PlatformAgnostic on Mon 12th Jul 2004 22:46 UTC

It seems like boot time can be made faster for most OSs by extending the bootcache idea to write all of the boot-time diskreads to the outside of the platter and pick it up in one continuous transfer. To handle data that gets paged out during boot there could be an image of the freshly-booted swap on the harddrive. Upon shutdown, this swap image could be copied to the system pagefile to be ready for the next boot. This solution may be naive, and you still won't achieve instant-on because it takes a bit of time to initialize hardware, but some of that can be done while waiting for the memory to fill up from the diskread. Basically, I want bootup to be like resuming from hibernation, except with everything in a fresh state.

trackballs
by seaslug on Tue 13th Jul 2004 03:43 UTC

Apparently I wasn't clear enough in my first post.
Trackballs are *demonstrably* inefficient in comparison to mice. This means hard empirical evidence. The constants in fitt's law are higher given a trackball than with a mouse. It takes longer to point accurately using a trackball. Period. Science has put its foot down on this question. Trackballs are only out there to satisfy the few nutjobs who have got it in their brains that they are somehow superior.
Granted, mice aren't perfect, but given the technology we have, they are the best indicators.
One day we will have monitors that display horizontally and diagonally, and on that day we'll use a pen for input and it will be much faster and more accurate than a mouse could hope for. Until then, there is no question.
cf http://www.asktog.com/readerMail/2001-03ReaderMail.html
"Many people like trackballs, too, although you can easily prove, objectively, that the trackball is far less productive than the mouse." -Bruce Tognazzini, designer of the macintosh interface

A big annoyance: Slots (=potential bad contact)
by HL on Tue 13th Jul 2004 04:05 UTC

IMO, any system that makes use of Slots is far from reliable.

Be it Slot 1, Slot A, ISA, EISA, VESA, PCI, PCI-E, PCI-X, AGP, memory slots or that Atari 2600's slot.

We are on the Bad Contact Age.

Comments
by drsmithy on Tue 13th Jul 2004 04:45 UTC

On bootloaders:

Why not make booting an OS simpler? Maybe integrate OS booting into the mainboard? It might really be a good idea to let the BIOS boot the OS. Just make sure the BIOS knows how to load the kernel, and the OS itself will take care of the rest. This way we don't need crappy bootloaders anymore (let's celebrate!).

This is already what happens. The "bootloader" is the part of the "OS" that the BIOS starts.

Yet, they have remained the same over ages. A misconfigured bootloader could mean hell for an average user. I mean, an average user will probably think his computer is broken, and he will send it back to the shop, in order to get it fixed.

The average user will never see a bootloader.

Complain about the archaic x86 boot process if you must, but don't try to pretend it's an issue for anything more than advanced users (and only a small minority of them, at that). Most people have one OS on their machine, that they didn't install themselves and will never see a "bootloader" or, indeed, with most new machines, even a single character-based screen as the machine starts.

You are complaining about how the system works, and then suggesting it should work in exactly the same way it already does. The "annoyance" isn't the bootloader as a principle, it's the poor execution and fragility of software like LILO and GRUB.

Another really annoying thing is that a MBR is not write-protected.

Most motherboards have an option in the BIOS that protects the MBR, although it may be rather cryptically named and is almost always turned off by default.

Boot time:

If you want the machine to start quickly, either don't turn it off, or hibernate it. Macs, in particular, hibernate and restart extremely quickly.

It's pretty hard to make a piece of multipurpose and extendable hardware like a computer start quickly. As for the comparison to a car, it is simply ridiculous - of *course* cars start quickly, they hardly have to *do* anything to start.

You aren't going to get a flexible, multipurpose device like a computer starting "from cold" instantaneously, *particularly* if you want to do it within the constraints of supporting existing hardware.

Multifunction keyboards:

If you get so worked up because the keyboard you'd like to buy comes with some extra keys that don't, in any way, negatively impact on how it works, then you've got serious issues.

Personally, I use a few of those extra keys - the volume controls in particular. I have also found the scroll wheel on the left of some newer keyboards quite useful, although unfortunately they often have a useless (and pointless) reconfiguration of the Home/End/Delete/Insert/PageUp/PageDown keys to go with it.

Re: The "Help" key on Mac's keyboards
by elmimmo on Tue 13th Jul 2004 08:35 UTC

Anonymous wrote:
> "Help" key? Am I missing something? I'm not sitting at a Mac right now, but I've used them plenty in the past, and I can't recall a "Help" key.

You are probably not recalling it because it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. (Well, in Safari it turns the cursor into a stupid question mark, which makes the OS rudely beep and nothing else when you click on something with it, and there are a few NON-APPLE apps such as Photoshop that do give it its hard earned function). In OS 9 it DID bring help up whatever app you where on.

In my Spanish keyboard it is just over the forward delete key, or left to the Home key (you know, in the subset of keys where Page up and Page down are).

RE:  Maybe you should try a Mac
by Sprocket on Thu 15th Jul 2004 13:00 UTC

Yes, I agree totally with 'Wolfgang'. Do yourself a favour -- give the OS X a go. By the way, these aren't the words of a "fanatic", but of a guy who deals with Win & Mac (sorry, not 'proof-of-concept' stuff like BeOS) every day, so is fully bilingual, so to say. Yup, seriously give the OS X a try.

The Not So Annoying World Of Computing
by Craig Oley on Thu 15th Jul 2004 22:57 UTC

The computing world to some does seem like a very daunting and annoying place. Thom Holwerda, in his article “The Annoying World of Computing” on OSNews.com, states his annoyances with what he considers useless technology. However, each portion of technology has its reason and importance. Unfortunately, some of the parts are annoying, but to try to change them to make them less annoying would be an impossible task. To change how BIOS and bootloaders work together, all computer companies across the globe would need to band together and come up with a better way to do it. However, if someone is having trouble with their individual bootloader, they can design their own or pay a few dollars and get a better one. However, the only person that would be having trouble with a bootloader that is not “newbie friendly” is a person who knows more than a newbie about computers. Patience is often a virtue in the world of technology a lot of times, especially if one does not have the top of the line products. For instance, it does take time to load operating systems because of the complexity of the processes running in the background. Also, webpages do not always load simultaneously unless one is willing to shovel out loads of money for very high speed internet. These issues are things we all have to deal with, unless we are willing to pay a great amount of money because we are impatient.
One of the many things that is nice about computing, especially for impatient or lazy people, are the devices that make common tasks easier. Multifunction keyboards are an example of this. I know for me personally, I can adjust the volume on my music, change tracks, or open up my Windows calculator while typing a paper without having to open up any other applications. For me and many other people I know this is a huge convenience. I do not have to take time and lose my train of thought. Also, if anyone is having trouble finding keyboards, I suggest they just search on the internet for the phrase “buy computer keyboards”. I found a search result of over a million resources, and yes, many non-multifunction keyboards.
Normal mice are another useless product on the market now, as listed by Mr. Holwerda. Most people use normal mice on their personal computers. In fact, the majority of computers bought from companies come with normal mice. Mr. Holwerda talks about the considerable amount of desk space that they take up. However, they take up approximately a quarter of a square foot. The majority of trackball mice I have seen are at least 3” x 6”, which is about half the space. Also, if one is having trouble with moving their arm or wrist too much, they can turn up their mouse sensitivity and the problem should be alleviated.
Being a person who knows a lot about computers myself, I resent the fact that anyone would consider me to be annoying just because I know more than the average person about this field. I personally have never “hated” anyone because they know more than me about a subject. I do not see the need to attack a group of people just because they may be smarter than you. However, with the great ideas of totally changing technology, I can see how someone would get annoyed with a person that like the old style of computing that currently works fine.