[Nottingham] *TONIGHT* 05/02/2009 Thursday Meeting

Martin martin at ml1.co.uk
Sat Mar 7 23:00:18 UTC 2009

>> So let's make it a Beers and "User Experiences" discussion:
>> What do you like and dislike about computer systems?

And a good session it was too with a good variety of discussion.

I think the night was completely stolen by the demonstration of Debian 
Linux running on an Android *phone* (warranty, what warranty?!). What 
was even more surreal was that the GPS was still working even though 
/inside/ the building! Excellent stuff but I consider the screen on my 
9" netbook to be as small as I'm comfortable with.

The general discussion surprisingly did actually stay on the issue of 
whether computers work well or not. One aspect for Linux now is that 
perhaps Linux is too easy and so there is no longer any need for Linux 
groups. Another aspect is that most people just simply wish to /simply/ 
/use/ computers and care nothing for the innards or the complexity. 
Also, are computers unnecessarily /too/ complicated to use and to 
maintain. (After all, would they be too cheap if they were simpler?)

There is also the overbearing influence of Microsoft and the debate 
whether that is good or bad. My view is that certain business practices 
of Microsoft have very expensively stifled computer and software 
development. A recent typical example regarding Microsoft is listed here:


What is interesting about that article are the comments that it has 
generated. There's a lot of the angst of Microsoft is a 'victim of its 
own success'. The great majority of the public are likely completely 
unaware of the (negative) underlying technical and market issues.

An interesting example is that a friend of mine has moved over to using 
an Apple Mac. Some Windows-only consultancies(!) that he works with were 
horrified and tried to insist that he install anti-virus software on the 
Mac for /their/ protection on Windows!! What was more surprising was 
that there were also a few "pop-press" links emailed over to show how 
Macs are somehow bad and not secure. So... If you are not in with the 
Windows world, does that make you something 'strange' and not to be 

And our schools and universities are Microsoft Windows only or are 
moving over to being so...

So what?

And what next?

And there was a mini-cluster of Netbooks there as to be expected :-)

(The Nav has a problem for the WiFi internet access for the moment. 
Hopefully to be fixed.)

All good fun,


Martin Lomas
martin at ml1.co.uk

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