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 Post subject: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:57 pm 
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Do you like Vista or 10? I'm on the Vista Side! I'm gonna get a Vista laptop sometime!

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:56 pm 
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:shock:

Uhm... Not many here are going to defend any version of Windows (or indeed any existing OS, period), and I am guessing that Vista (as opposed to, say, XP or 7 - you know, the ones which eventually were passably stable, at least by Windows standards) is going to be down somewhere between 8 and ME in terms of general esteem. Not that 10 is any good, either, but...

Well, anyway, you do you, I guess. I am certainly no one to talk in light of my own goals.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:39 am 
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Seriously? Trolling?

Vista is 12 years old and although it worked very well for me, was widely slated. 7 did seem to be a performance upgrade, although I never had the stability issues with Vista that others seemed to.

10 is a current OS and I find it very stable, but the comparison is largely irrelevent, especially as there are other MS OSes in between the two.

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:45 am 
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Hi,

Orb4848 wrote:
Do you like Vista or 10? I'm on the Vista Side! I'm gonna get a Vista laptop sometime!


Originally, Vista was a bit of a dog - Microsoft added a whole pile of performance stuff ("ReadyBoost", "SuperFetch", ...) that didn't work properly (until service pack 2) and also added UAC (which most software wasn't designed for at the time).

Windows 7 was relatively good.

Windows 8 sucked because of the "Metro" rubbish.

From what I've heard Windows 10 is like Windows 7 (relatively good); but there's enough reasons not to trust Microsoft here.

Note: Microsoft used to make good $$ selling upgrades, but once everyone has shifted to Windows 10 and its "rolling release" Microsoft won't be able to sell upgrades anymore, so how are they going to make up for that lost profit in the future? Advertising? Subscriptions? An "app store" walled garden to leach ~20% off of every third party application sold? You'd have to wonder how long it'll be before one or more of these tactics are unleashed on the "unsuspecting victims".


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:19 am 
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Brendan wrote:
Note: Microsoft used to make good $$ selling upgrades, but once everyone has shifted to Windows 10 and its "rolling release" Microsoft won't be able to sell upgrades anymore, so how are they going to make up for that lost profit in the future? Advertising? Subscriptions? An "app store" walled garden to leach ~20% off of every third party application sold? You'd have to wonder how long it'll be before one or more of these tactics are unleashed on the "unsuspecting victims".


Enterprise licensing, surprisingly, is a big grab for them now. In the age of entry-level servers being 10+ physical cores, and bigger ones being 16-32 cores per socket, often in dual socket blades, with two to eight blades per chassis, per-core licensing costs stack up. And yes, people do pay for the licensing.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:07 am 
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Kazinsal wrote:
Enterprise licensing, surprisingly, is a big grab for them now. In the age of entry-level servers being 10+ physical cores, and bigger ones being 16-32 cores per socket, often in dual socket blades, with two to eight blades per chassis, per-core licensing costs stack up. And yes, people do pay for the licensing.


This. Plus the fact that they still get fees for new PCs. I'm not sure of the numbers and am too lazy to google, but my anecdotal experience is that "regular users" used to get an OEM copy of Windows on their PC and didn't upgrade the OS until they changed their PC. This is perhaps not true for enthusiasts. I *nearly* said "gamers" as well, but the last time I read a gaming mag, they were still recommending Win7 due to driver availability and performance, so guess that gamers are perhaps slow on the uptake for upgrades (although I'm a gamer and this is not true for me).

Cheers,
Adam


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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:09 am 
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You have to see the other side of the medal as well: The market has changed.

Ever since XP -- being a rather stable one that you wanted to upgrade to, followed mostly by turds you didn't want to (pay to) upgrade to, Microsoft had a bit of a problem with supporting a quite large number of Windows main releases. This certainly was not cheap for them.

As others have pointed out, enterprise licensing and pay-per-use are the future, with desktop OS licensing being on the declining branch. Even more so as, on the hardware side, saturation has set in -- unless you are into state-of-the-art gaming (and with GPU updates, perhaps even then), your high-end desktop today will certainly be quite sufficient for what, ten years? People are more likely to buy three or four new smartphones over that time period instead of one new desktop. (Good thing M$ dropped the ball on the mobile market...)

I am still employing 10-year-old Core 2 hardware for my kids. Plenty enough to run Minecraft etc.; even if I weren't running Linux on those boxes, that would be 10 years no "new system tax" for Microsoft.

So they want to have one main release of Windows, with rolling updates -- so they get the "new system tax", but have only one main release to support in the forseeable future. Return-on-investment.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:50 am 
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In any case, the paid upgrades were mainly a way to offset the production costs of the CD distribution - contrary to what Brendan said, upgrades were always sold at a loss.

In fact, this applies to the off-the-shelf sales of Windows in general, which has always been less about sales figures than about mindshare. Most of Microsoft's money comes from paid support, especially for Office, with the actual sales of Office being the bulk of their sales-related profits, and OEM sales of Windows (that is, sales to Original Equipment Manufacturers, the turn-key system integrators such Dell, HP, or Asus) well below that. Store sales of Windows are a a loss leader rather than a profit center, priced high enough and provided in sufficient volume to discourage arbitrage (that is to say, scalping) but low enough to discourage casual piracy - they would have to price it above what the market would bear to get the cost back, for a number of reasons which simply don't occur with OEM sales.

Over the counter sales were always about discouraging people from going to Macs or something similar (not Linux or FreeBSD, of course - that was and remains a significant factor only for server admins, who wouldn't be messing around with OTS copies for Windows servers, anyway, if they could help it... though with some of the PHBs around making stupid mandates, it does happen from time to time).

IIUC, and they only really had upgrade versions in the first place to try to keep business users from buying a single full copy and installing that instead (a tactic which did not usually work, anyway, as there were always ways around the license keys). They weren't selling the software so much as the enterprise license packs, often with one CD and anywhere from 4 to 100 license keys. These aren't new; I seem to recall helping to install a 10-pack of Windows 3.11 license packs for a customer when I was working at a used computer store, just before Win95 came out.

It was never too big a deal, though, as business users tend not to upgrade either the hardware or software until they have no choice, and even then often put it off long past the point where they needed to (larger institutional customers do this a lot; if you go into a bank, or a government office, you will probably see systems that are older than many of the members of this forum).

As a related aside: shockingly, a lot of ATMs appear to run Windows NT 4.0 or even Windows 98, which is insane; I mean, why would you use a stock OS for that at all, never mind one so old and insecure? But as I have said before, the cost of security is a lot higher than that of insecurity, so they just don't care.

Institutional users also tend to buy new hardware when they do, rather than doing an in-place upgrade (which is often more expensive that just buying new hardware and not having to worry about it, letting them focus on things like the training costs of the upgrade), so upgrades for the software were only a priority if they needed to support some program - often just a single specific one - that doesn't run on the older system. IT support is a cost center; leaving the upgrades to the system integrators is the only reasonable approach in most cases.

For consumer-grade systems, the assumption - which held pretty well until about ten years ago - was that a) there would be more first-time buyers than upgrades, and b) the rate of hardware improvements meant that existing customers would just buy a new system with Windows pre-loaded rather than upgrade their existing system.

Today it is different, but in a way that makes paid upgrades even less desirable to Microsoft.

First off, as Solar stated, the power of hardware is more than sufficient for most uses (the big exceptions being video editing, HPC, and high-end gaming), and the rate of hardware changes for CPUs has slowed to the point where the 3-5 year upgrade cycle is broken. Users do indeed keep upgrading systems today.

Second, the pervasive Internet means that upgrade CDs are as one with buggy whips; they can upgrade everyone on a regular basis, which sort of undermines the logic of making periodic major upgrades.

But the real reason is that Windows itself is falling by the wayside, at least in the consumer market. The majority of consumer users aren't running desktop systems - or even laptops - at all now; most of the things which people would want those for are now done on smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, even if they aren't suited to it, simply because they need a phone, want a TV, and want to be able to watch TV on a smaller screen when away from home, but they really don't see a need for a dedicate computer even if the lack of things like a mouse and physical keyboard is a hassle (which really only matters to writers, students, secretaries, and programmers). Most of the current Android and iOS users (especially in China, India, and Africa, which are the biggest markets for them, though it is also true to a lesser extent in established developed nations) have never owned a Windows system, and probably never will - in fact, quite a few have never even seen one in person.

TL;DR: Microsoft has no reason to worry about sales of Windows upgrades, and never really did. They have reason to worry, but not about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:29 pm 
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Hi,

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
In any case, the paid upgrades were mainly a way to offset the production costs of the CD distribution - contrary to what Brendan said, upgrades were always sold at a loss.


Currently the retail price for Windows 10 is $150 to $250 (depending on version). If you think that's "sold at a loss" then you're a fool.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
In fact....


You're all misunderstanding me.

Sometimes people upgrade the OS without changing their hardware at all. Sometimes people upgrade their hardware without changing the OS at all (e.g. just re-installing the OS they already paid for on a new computer). Sometimes people upgrade both at the same time.

With "rolling release" everyone can pay for Windows 10 once and then upgrade their hardware whenever they feel like it, and never pay Microsoft anything for any other OS ever again. That means existing customers will be paying $0 for "full OS", $0 for "upgrade only", $0 for OEM copies, and $0 for enterprise licences. It means the only people paying Microsoft for any OS are new customers, which is almost nobody.

Sure it's more convenient to have someone else install the OS when you buy a computer (unless you're "enterprise" and have admin/maintenance staff who will do it, most likely using a "slipstreamed from network" approach if they're large enough). Most local shops will do that for you already - you just ask when you buy the computer and give them your Windows licence key (unless you have the "locked to one specific computer" OEM version).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
As a related aside: shockingly, a lot of ATMs appear to run Windows NT 4.0 or even Windows 98, which is insane; I mean, why would you use a stock OS for that at all, never mind one so old and insecure? But as I have said before, the cost of security is a lot higher than that of insecurity, so they just don't care.


Sure, it's shocking that a sealed metal box connected via. a restricted network connection (with no ability to install software, nobody plugging in arbitrary devices, no web browser, nobody downloading pirated stuff from dubious sources and nobody clicking on "hot singles near you" adverts on porn sites) needs any of the security that Windows 98 provides. About the only security they do need (other than "physical security" - the tamper-proof enclosure needed to protected the physical cash that the machine dispenses) is a firewall that blocks everything that didn't come from one specific IP address combined with encryption to make sure packets can't be forged or interceded.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
But the real reason is that Windows itself is falling by the wayside, at least in the consumer market. The majority of consumer users aren't running desktop systems - or even laptops - at all now; most of the things which people would want those for are now done on smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, even if they aren't suited to it, simply because they need a phone, want a TV, and want to be able to watch TV on a smaller screen when away from home, but they really don't see a need for a dedicate computer even if the lack of things like a mouse and physical keyboard is a hassle (which really only matters to writers, students, secretaries, and programmers). Most of the current Android and iOS users (especially in China, India, and Africa, which are the biggest markets for them, though it is also true to a lesser extent in established developed nations) have never owned a Windows system, and probably never will - in fact, quite a few have never even seen one in person.


Everyone that never used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to never use desktop/laptop systems now (and just use smartphone/tablet); and everyone that used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to use desktop/laptop systems (in addition to smartphones/tablets). There's only 3 things that changed - people aren't upgrading hardware as often as they used to (and therefore sales are growing very slowly for desktop/laptop), fools started making incorrect "number of sales == number of users" assumptions, and fools started comparing "rarely replaced, saturated market" PC sales to "frequently replaced, unsaturated market" smartphone sales. Note: I'm using "Occam's razor" a little here - it's possible that ARM vendors encouraged this stupidity to increase "ARM vs. 80x86" publicity despite the fact that ARM and Intel are different relatively unrelated markets).

The fact is that (for PC in general) the only significant change (that can't be attributed to reaching "product maturity") is that a lot more servers are being sold to datacenters/"cloud" than ever before; partly because smartphones are too weak to do any real processing and need to offload work elsewhere, partly because of all the server consolidation/virtualisation hype, and partly because of the increase in marketing companies tracking and analysing users ("big data").


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:38 am 
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Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
In any case, the paid upgrades were mainly a way to offset the production costs of the CD distribution - contrary to what Brendan said, upgrades were always sold at a loss.


Currently the retail price for Windows 10 is $150 to $250 (depending on version). If you think that's "sold at a loss" then you're a fool.


I suspect I am not the one being a fool here. Seriously, it isn't as if retail sales of Windows presents a significant part of their market (less than 2%, if memory serves, which is comparable to Linux's desktop market penetration - that is to say, negligible). Having it available for sale at retail at all is mostly a matter of PR. The price is just high enough to keep people from buying up large numbers of copies and reselling it at, say $150-250 (the arbitrage I mentioned earlier).

Brendan wrote:
You're all misunderstanding me.

Sometimes people upgrade the OS without changing their hardware at all. Sometimes people upgrade their hardware without changing the OS at all (e.g. just re-installing the OS they already paid for on a new computer). Sometimes people upgrade both at the same time.

With "rolling release" everyone can pay for Windows 10 once and then upgrade their hardware whenever they feel like it, and never pay Microsoft anything for any other OS ever again. That means existing customers will be paying $0 for "full OS", $0 for "upgrade only", $0 for OEM copies, and $0 for enterprise licences. It means the only people paying Microsoft for any OS are new customers, which is almost nobody.

Sure it's more convenient to have someone else install the OS when you buy a computer (unless you're "enterprise" and have admin/maintenance staff who will do it, most likely using a "slipstreamed from network" approach if they're large enough). Most local shops will do that for you already - you just ask when you buy the computer and give them your Windows licence key (unless you have the "locked to one specific computer" OEM version).


Brendan... seriously? 'Local shops' represent a tiny fraction of actual retail computer sales. So do custom integrators and self-builds, at least outside of the gaming community. Something like 95% of all computers sold in the retail market are from major vendors such as Dell or HP. I doubt that Microsoft is really hurting to go after the other 5%, especially since those will almost invariable buy Windows anyway - even Mac and Linux users often end up using a dual-boot setup, or running Windows virtualized under their primary OS, though again, the perception of how common that is gets distorted by the number of articles and forum posts about it.

In fact, the retail market in general is only about a quarter of the total PC market. The majority of PCs are sold for business, something which I am sure that you realize, given your target market. Of those, most are on the desks of some 9-to-5 worker who can't even install their own software (as in, even if they were allowed to, they wouldn't know how to). A small handful are in kiosks and such, but that's not really a notable market. The remainder are servers, which in the past usually meant a regular Windows box (which might or might not be running a server version of the OS) sitting in a closet somewhere, overheating and collecting dust; today, more often than not it is a rack mounted 'cloud' server which isn't even the property of those using it, with the stakeholders not realizing that this basically amounts to some company such as ShillFarce holding their data and software for ransom.

/me re-reads what I just wrote Man, I need to calm down. Talking about that particular company is still pretty triggering for me, though if you've ever had to work with that mess of a CRM you probably understand why.

Anyway, the point is that the x86 market is like an iceberg. The things that people talk about most are the small, visible part of something much larger, something that is a lot more matter-of-fact and pedestrian but far more profitable.

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
As a related aside: shockingly, a lot of ATMs appear to run Windows NT 4.0 or even Windows 98, which is insane; I mean, why would you use a stock OS for that at all, never mind one so old and insecure? But as I have said before, the cost of security is a lot higher than that of insecurity, so they just don't care.


Sure, it's shocking that a sealed metal box connected via. a restricted network connection (with no ability to install software, nobody plugging in arbitrary devices, no web browser, nobody downloading pirated stuff from dubious sources and nobody clicking on "hot singles near you" adverts on porn sites) needs any of the security that Windows 98 provides. About the only security they do need (other than "physical security" - the tamper-proof enclosure needed to protected the physical cash that the machine dispenses) is a firewall that blocks everything that didn't come from one specific IP address combined with encryption to make sure packets can't be forged or interceded.


OK, point taken.

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
But the real reason is that Windows itself is falling by the wayside, at least in the consumer market. The majority of consumer users aren't running desktop systems - or even laptops - at all now; most of the things which people would want those for are now done on smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs, even if they aren't suited to it, simply because they need a phone, want a TV, and want to be able to watch TV on a smaller screen when away from home, but they really don't see a need for a dedicate computer even if the lack of things like a mouse and physical keyboard is a hassle (which really only matters to writers, students, secretaries, and programmers). Most of the current Android and iOS users (especially in China, India, and Africa, which are the biggest markets for them, though it is also true to a lesser extent in established developed nations) have never owned a Windows system, and probably never will - in fact, quite a few have never even seen one in person.


Everyone that never used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to never use desktop/laptop systems now (and just use smartphone/tablet); and everyone that used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to use desktop/laptop systems (in addition to smartphones/tablets).


I think you'd be surprised by how many consumer users who had PCs in the past have stopped using PCs. Though as I have said, it isn't as if the retail consumer market was a major factor to begin with - it never really was one for PCs, actually, as prior to around 1988 or so most home users were still using 8-bit machines (or 32-bit home systems like the Amiga or the ST, though unlike in the UK, Europe, Japan, and presumably Australia, that wasn't especially common in the US), which also was around the time when small businesses in general started to take to the idea of using computers.

Brendan wrote:
There's only 3 things that changed - people aren't upgrading hardware as often as they used to (and therefore sales are growing very slowly for desktop/laptop), fools started making incorrect "number of sales == number of users" assumptions, and fools started comparing "rarely replaced, saturated market" PC sales to "frequently replaced, unsaturated market" smartphone sales. Note: I'm using "Occam's razor" a little here - it's possible that ARM vendors encouraged this stupidity to increase "ARM vs. 80x86" publicity despite the fact that ARM and Intel are different relatively unrelated markets).


I think you are missing just how big this shift actually is. It isn't really about numbers at all; the fact is, they aren't related markets, as you said yourself. The difference is that the retail PC market isn't just slowing, it is declining - because most of the people who were using PCs in their homes didn't really want PCs, they had them because they were the only reasonable way to do certain things. The only reason things like 'WebTV' didn't pick up before was because they were so terribly implemented, and because trying to surf the web on an NTSC, PAL, or SECAM television made your eyes hurt.

Things like smartphones, tablets and smart TVs give consumer users what they actually wanted from PCs all along - and frankly, they don't really want all that much. Most people want just three things out of these devices: to buy stuff from places like Amazon, Alibaba, Wish, and eBay, watch streaming video from YouTube and Netflix, and play casual games like Candy Crush. That's about it, sad to say. The truth is, most mobile devices are vastly overpowered for the purposes they are put to.

Brendan wrote:
The fact is that (for PC in general) the only significant change (that can't be attributed to reaching "product maturity") is that a lot more servers are being sold to datacenters/"cloud" than ever before; partly because smartphones are too weak to do any real processing and need to offload work elsewhere, partly because of all the server consolidation/virtualisation hype, and partly because of the increase in marketing companies tracking and analysing users ("big data").


I would be inclined to blame that on things like Node.js instead, though the volume of easier-to-use frameworks probably is related to the demand for webapps aimed at the phone market, so.. meh. Oh, and on spyware, which isn't quite the same as what you were describing about tracking (being more of a source for the data than the processing of it, and yes servers do get infected with malware often enough for it to be significant), though the line between them is a very fine one indeed, and one often crossed.

As for the processing power of smartphones and tablets, that's pretty much inevitable - the main limiting factors there are heat dissipation and battery life. Neither the software nor the CPU architecture being used for them can really do much about those - the main reason ARM came to prominence there is because it is somewhat easier to tune for that than most other ISAs, but even that is relative. An ARM implementation that could match the desktop x86 chips would draw about the same amount of power as the x86s would, perhaps a bit less but not significantly so, and have about the same heat dissipation requirements.

The same applies to laptops to a lesser extent, but that, too, is a different market - and contrary to the general impression people might have, not an especially large one, being primarily 'people who would be happy with a tablet except they need to type a lot more than would be comfortable on a virtual keyboard or a portable tablet keyboard'. Any hardware market where IT consultants (particularly of the office-free hipster variety, like I had been at times, as more conventional consulting developers generally use their client's office hardware or the desktops in their own offices) represent a significant part of the user base is by definition tiny.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:11 am 
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Hi,

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
In any case, the paid upgrades were mainly a way to offset the production costs of the CD distribution - contrary to what Brendan said, upgrades were always sold at a loss.


Currently the retail price for Windows 10 is $150 to $250 (depending on version). If you think that's "sold at a loss" then you're a fool.


I suspect I am not the one being a fool here. Seriously, it isn't as if retail sales of Windows presents a significant part of their market (less than 2%, if memory serves, which is comparable to Linux's desktop market penetration - that is to say, negligible). Having it available for sale at retail at all is mostly a matter of PR. The price is just high enough to keep people from buying up large numbers of copies and reselling it at, say $150-250 (the arbitrage I mentioned earlier).


Sure; after Microsoft tried their hardest to convince everyone to upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10 for free; for some "unknown" reason they're not selling many retail copies of Windows 10.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
You're all misunderstanding me.

Sometimes people upgrade the OS without changing their hardware at all. Sometimes people upgrade their hardware without changing the OS at all (e.g. just re-installing the OS they already paid for on a new computer). Sometimes people upgrade both at the same time.

With "rolling release" everyone can pay for Windows 10 once and then upgrade their hardware whenever they feel like it, and never pay Microsoft anything for any other OS ever again. That means existing customers will be paying $0 for "full OS", $0 for "upgrade only", $0 for OEM copies, and $0 for enterprise licences. It means the only people paying Microsoft for any OS are new customers, which is almost nobody.

Sure it's more convenient to have someone else install the OS when you buy a computer (unless you're "enterprise" and have admin/maintenance staff who will do it, most likely using a "slipstreamed from network" approach if they're large enough). Most local shops will do that for you already - you just ask when you buy the computer and give them your Windows licence key (unless you have the "locked to one specific computer" OEM version).


Brendan... seriously? 'Local shops' represent a tiny fraction of actual retail computer sales. So do custom integrators and self-builds, at least outside of the gaming community. Something like 95% of all computers sold in the retail market are from major vendors such as Dell or HP. I doubt that Microsoft is really hurting to go after the other 5%, especially since those will almost invariable buy Windows anyway - even Mac and Linux users often end up using a dual-boot setup, or running Windows virtualized under their primary OS, though again, the perception of how common that is gets distorted by the number of articles and forum posts about it.


Currently, people like Dell and HP don't provide the same level of service and don't provide the same "new computer with your existing copy of Windows on it" option (and currently companies like Dell have bizarre licencing deals with Microsoft that border on anti-competitive practices). However, Windows 10 is only 2 years old and the number of people upgrading from "old Windows 10" to "new Windows 10" is zero. It'll take another 5+ years before the effect of rolling release (number of people upgrading from "old Windows 10" to "new Windows 10" is permanently zero forever) becomes significant.

Please note that there is about 5 years difference between "currently" (what you're talking about) and "in about 5 years time" (what I'm talking about).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
In fact, the retail market in general is only about a quarter of the total PC market. The majority of PCs are sold for business, something which I am sure that you realize, given your target market. Of those, most are on the desks of some 9-to-5 worker who can't even install their own software (as in, even if they were allowed to, they wouldn't know how to). A small handful are in kiosks and such, but that's not really a notable market. The remainder are servers, which in the past usually meant a regular Windows box (which might or might not be running a server version of the OS) sitting in a closet somewhere, overheating and collecting dust; today, more often than not it is a rack mounted 'cloud' server which isn't even the property of those using it, with the stakeholders not realizing that this basically amounts to some company such as ShillFarce holding their data and software for ransom.


Yes; for almost all "medium and larger" businesses there's some kind of admin behind the scenes who is perfectly capable of installing an "already paid for" Windows 10 on whatever new hardware gets purchased. It's small business and home users (those more likely to rely on local computer shops for repairs, maintenance, upgrades) who don't have some kind of admin behind the scenes.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Everyone that never used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to never use desktop/laptop systems now (and just use smartphone/tablet); and everyone that used desktop/laptop systems before smartphones/tablets existed continues to use desktop/laptop systems (in addition to smartphones/tablets).


I think you'd be surprised by how many consumer users who had PCs in the past have stopped using PCs. Though as I have said, it isn't as if the retail consumer market was a major factor to begin with - it never really was one for PCs, actually, as prior to around 1988 or so most home users were still using 8-bit machines (or 32-bit home systems like the Amiga or the ST, though unlike in the UK, Europe, Japan, and presumably Australia, that wasn't especially common in the US), which also was around the time when small businesses in general started to take to the idea of using computers.


In the late 1980s about half of all homes/families had one and only one 8-bit machine. Now (at least around here) students are required to buy laptop/notebook PCs by their school and the average home/family has 2 or more PCs (in addition to games consoles and a bunch of smartphones and tablets).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
There's only 3 things that changed - people aren't upgrading hardware as often as they used to (and therefore sales are growing very slowly for desktop/laptop), fools started making incorrect "number of sales == number of users" assumptions, and fools started comparing "rarely replaced, saturated market" PC sales to "frequently replaced, unsaturated market" smartphone sales. Note: I'm using "Occam's razor" a little here - it's possible that ARM vendors encouraged this stupidity to increase "ARM vs. 80x86" publicity despite the fact that ARM and Intel are different relatively unrelated markets).


I think you are missing just how big this shift actually is. It isn't really about numbers at all; the fact is, they aren't related markets, as you said yourself. The difference is that the retail PC market isn't just slowing, it is declining - because most of the people who were using PCs in their homes didn't really want PCs, they had them because they were the only reasonable way to do certain things. The only reason things like 'WebTV' didn't pick up before was because they were so terribly implemented, and because trying to surf the web on an NTSC, PAL, or SECAM television made your eyes hurt.


The fact is that the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by sales figures and not usage, might or might not be declining (depending on who you believe - see note); and the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by usage and not sales, is increasing. In other words, people are using existing computers for a lot longer and not replacing them every few years like they used to.

Note: there were (and probably still are) a few major companies that gather statistics (IDC) who do not count a lot of PCs in their statistics (e.g. "entirely PC hardware in every possible way" Chromebooks used by a lot of schools/students), and a lot of "news" is based on this standardised misinformation.

The other fact is that "server PC market", measured by both sales and usage, is increasing.


Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Things like smartphones, tablets and smart TVs give consumer users what they actually wanted from PCs all along - and frankly, they don't really want all that much. Most people want just three things out of these devices: to buy stuff from places like Amazon, Alibaba, Wish, and eBay, watch streaming video from YouTube and Netflix, and play casual games like Candy Crush. That's about it, sad to say. The truth is, most mobile devices are vastly overpowered for the purposes they are put to.


While that's a plausible myth, there's no evidence. For larger businesses smartphones hardly made a scratch in PC usage. For small business and home use PCs continue to be used for "officework". For home use only; smartphones probably had less effect on PC usage than game consoles did.


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:26 am 
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I don't fault you for not understanding the industry as well as you think you do; I don't either. No one does. The Emperor isn't just naked, everyone is, because clothes haven't been invented yet - we are an entire industry trapped in the depths of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Brendan wrote:
In the late 1980s about half of all homes/families had one and only one 8-bit machine. Now (at least around here) students are required to buy laptop/notebook PCs by their school and the average home/family has 2 or more PCs (in addition to games consoles and a bunch of smartphones and tablets).


If there was any country on Earth in the 1989 where half of all homes - or even a quarter - had even a single microprocessor in it that wasn't part of a microwave oven, television, or some similar appliance, I haven't heard of it. Today, the average home has smartphones and maybe a game console, because they never had PCs in the first place.

University students often have a laptop or a dorm-room desktop, yes, but most people don't go to a university or college (again, people who get a higher education tend to assume everyone does, which is simply not true even in countries where it is provided gratis by the government); students in earlier parts of schooling tend to use the school computers, or a tablet (which these days may be provided by the school), or just do it all on paper and pencil as in the past (you don't hear about that because no one pays attention to people and districts which are that poor - and no, this is not just a US phenomenon - but it is still quite common).

People in the IT industry tend to massively overestimate the penetration of home computers, and of business computers for that matter. Oh, well, everyone wants to feel important, I guess. (PROTIP: No H. sapiens is important. No. One. The concept of 'importance' is itself flawed, an artifact of human neurobiology.)

Brendan wrote:
Currently, people like Dell and HP don't provide the same level of service and don't provide the same "new computer with your existing copy of Windows on it" option (and currently companies like Dell have bizarre licencing deals with Microsoft that border on anti-competitive practices).


And what does that have to do with anything? The average user doesn't take their PC to get it upgraded; they either just replace it (not upgrade, they usually end up getting a model similar to the one they had, just one which isn't full of year's worth of malware), or, more often than not, just live with it as long as they can because everyone knows PCs get slower over time and the idea of maintaining a PC is crazy talk.

Besides, they can always take it to the national equivalent of the Best Buy and have "Geek Squad" fix it for about the cost of a new one.

Data? Uhm, OK, too bad about that, but you can't really do anything about that once a computer is stuffed, can you? (Answer: yes, you can, but most people don't know that, because they've been told by the 'experts' that it isn't possible, by which they meant they wanted more money to do than you could pay.)

I can't speak for Australia, but in the US, you will regularly find PCs, printers and other equipment left for trash pick-up, not because they were broken but because the owners couldn't be bothered to fix them or get them fixed. In the case of cheap inkjet printers, it is usually because the half-size ink cartridge that came with it is empty, and replacing the whole printer is cheaper than a full-size cartridge (I am absolutely serious on this, the economics of this is amazing). I have friends living in college towns like Berkeley and Athens who have never had to buy a PC - they just pick up the ones thrown away outside the frat houses (often less than a year old), clean them up a bit, reinstall Windows or install Linux, and once all the malware (and the shovelware they came with) is gone, they are as good or better than when they were purchased.

But again: the home market isn't a significant one. Microsoft only wanted it in the first place - well, once small computers got past the kitbashing stage, circa 1980 or so - because they wanted people to forget that alternatives existed, and despite the continued existence of Apple, they mostly succeeded in that between 1990 and 2007 - in the late 1990s I knew of several people who were convinced that Microsoft Windows was created for the Macs and then moved to PCs, because history doesn't exist for most people (but enough about US national politics...). As far as Microsoft are concerned, the existence of home PCs is entirely a platform for controlling mindshare.

Brendan wrote:
The fact is that the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by sales figures and not usage, might or might not be declining (depending on who you believe - see note); and the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by usage and not sales, is increasing. In other words, people are using existing computers for a lot longer and not replacing them every few years like they used to.


I would need to see figures, but since I didn't provide any either and can't be bother to... meh. But even then, the figures wouldn't be convincing anyway - Putin's physically-impossible nuclear-powered super-missile is more plausible to me than the idea that the 'traditional PC market' is relevant to the average consumer any more, or ever really was to begin with (long story short: Putin's explanation of how it supposedly works and what it can do is BS, though this is likely to be because he and his scriptwriters didn't understand what the techs told them, so they made up some sound-bite-worthy nonsense for the speech - just like the IT industry PR flaks who pass out the figures in question).

Brendan wrote:
The other fact is that "server PC market", measured by both sales and usage, is increasing.


I'm not sure of the relevance here; just because they often use the same CPUs as desktop workstations doesn't make them the same thing. When you are talking about servers, for big companies you are talking rackmounted hardware, running Xeon processors or the equivalent. Most of those have a hypervisor as the primary OS - some use HyperV, rather more use Xen with Docker or something similar - and spin up containerized sub-servers as needed. While server hosts such as Lunarpages may give you a ControlPanel-based interface with access to an ext4 or NTFS file system, or even what appears to be a full Windows or Linux system to work with, the actual HTTP server can and these days often does run in a Docker container - the ControlPanel interfaces run in a container pool that is separate from the server software they control.

For small companies, you are talking about a Windows XP (or if your lucky, Windows Server 2008) or Ubuntu 8.04 box that has been sitting in a closet for a decade, and won't get replaced until the dust accumulation kills it. I used to do a lot of the work on those kinds of things, and trust me, the managers would rather not touch them if they don't have to - and even then will fight tooth and nail not to, often just ignoring it until it becomes impossible to do so and then doing the cheapest and easiest thing they can to get it out of the way, even if they know they will end up paying a lot more in the long run. Comparing that to the rack-mounted systems is like comparing apples to accounting ledgers.

As for the real Big Iron of this era - the HPC and Big Data systems - for current ones they general only have a few front-end units running Unix or Linux (because by the time they wrote a custom OS for that the system would be obsolete), a handful of server-class CPUs (by which I mean between 64 to 256 of them; the brand is irrelevant, and the clock cycle is usually around 1.2 Ghz because throughput and cycles/watt are the crucial factors) running some trimmed down OS in firmware (again, usually something Linux-ish, to avoid a lot of programming), and huge banks of DSPs and GPGPUs backed up by even larger arrays of data storage systems. The software they run isn't really much like anything seen elsewhere, save for that ubiquitous (and heavily stripped down) Linux kernel. The real Big Data systems are built and run by specialist firms (or specialist branches of companies like Google and Amazon), with most of the details being trade secrets, while HPC is strictly the province of universities and research labs - people talk as if they were similar, but they really aren't at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Hi,

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
In the late 1980s about half of all homes/families had one and only one 8-bit machine. Now (at least around here) students are required to buy laptop/notebook PCs by their school and the average home/family has 2 or more PCs (in addition to games consoles and a bunch of smartphones and tablets).


If there was any country on Earth in the 1989 where half of all homes - or even a quarter - had even a single microprocessor in it that wasn't part of a microwave oven, television, or some similar appliance, I haven't heard of it. Today, the average home has smartphones and maybe a game console, because they never had PCs in the first place.


Most of the people I knew back then had VIC 20, Commodore 64, Tandy, Amstrad, etc. All little 8-bit machines.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
University students often have a laptop or a dorm-room desktop, yes, but most people don't go to a university or college (again, people who get a higher education tend to assume everyone does, which is simply not true even in countries where it is provided gratis by the government); students in earlier parts of schooling tend to use the school computers, or a tablet (which these days may be provided by the school), or just do it all on paper and pencil as in the past (you don't hear about that because no one pays attention to people and districts which are that poor - and no, this is not just a US phenomenon - but it is still quite common).

People in the IT industry tend to massively overestimate the penetration of home computers, and of business computers for that matter. Oh, well, everyone wants to feel important, I guess. (PROTIP: No H. sapiens is important. No. One. The concept of 'importance' is itself flawed, an artifact of human neurobiology.)


In the 1980s, I wasn't in the IT industry and wasn't a Uni student either (I was a teenager in high school).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Currently, people like Dell and HP don't provide the same level of service and don't provide the same "new computer with your existing copy of Windows on it" option (and currently companies like Dell have bizarre licencing deals with Microsoft that border on anti-competitive practices).


And what does that have to do with anything? The average user doesn't take their PC to get it upgraded; they either just replace it (not upgrade, they usually end up getting a model similar to the one they had, just one which isn't full of year's worth of malware), or, more often than not, just live with it as long as they can because everyone knows PCs get slower over time and the idea of maintaining a PC is crazy talk.

Besides, they can always take it to the national equivalent of the Best Buy and have "Geek Squad" fix it for about the cost of a new one.


Um, what? Why would anyone need to take their PC anywhere? Someone like Dell could pre-install Windows without putting any licence key into it; so that when the consumer boots their new computer it asks for their (existing, already paid for) licence key.

For "computers get slower", a lot of people reformat file systems and re-install everything. It's not like it takes an engineering degree to tell the Windows installer what time zone you're in.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Data? Uhm, OK, too bad about that, but you can't really do anything about that once a computer is stuffed, can you? (Answer: yes, you can, but most people don't know that, because they've been told by the 'experts' that it isn't possible, by which they meant they wanted more money to do than you could pay.)


That's an unrelated problem. I always have separate partitions (one for "OS and apps" and another for "data") and that's how I always setup Windows for family and friends; because this makes it easy to wipe the OS/software and keep all of the data (and makes it easier to backup the data). Unfortunately this isn't standard practice.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
I can't speak for Australia, but in the US, you will regularly find PCs, printers and other equipment left for trash pick-up, not because they were broken but because the owners couldn't be bothered to fix them or get them fixed. In the case of cheap inkjet printers, it is usually because the half-size ink cartridge that came with it is empty, and replacing the whole printer is cheaper than a full-size cartridge (I am absolutely serious on this, the economics of this is amazing). I have friends living in college towns like Berkeley and Athens who have never had to buy a PC - they just pick up the ones thrown away outside the frat houses (often less than a year old), clean them up a bit, reinstall Windows or install Linux, and once all the malware (and the shovelware they came with) is gone, they are as good or better than when they were purchased.


Here people only throw away old junk - 10+ year old computers, printers where the heads are clogged with dried ink, laptops with busted keyboards where the battery won't charge, ...

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
But again: the home market isn't a significant one. Microsoft only wanted it in the first place - well, once small computers got past the kitbashing stage, circa 1980 or so - because they wanted people to forget that alternatives existed, and despite the continued existence of Apple, they mostly succeeded in that between 1990 and 2007 - in the late 1990s I knew of several people who were convinced that Microsoft Windows was created for the Macs and then moved to PCs, because history doesn't exist for most people (but enough about US national politics...). As far as Microsoft are concerned, the existence of home PCs is entirely a platform for controlling mindshare.


There are less home PC users, but each home user buys more software at a "less discounted" price. For a simple example; in one year, home PC users spent $30 billion on games alone; while most businesses buy the OS and Office (or just buy the OS and nothing else because they have an internal "web app") and keep using that for a decade.

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
The fact is that the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by sales figures and not usage, might or might not be declining (depending on who you believe - see note); and the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by usage and not sales, is increasing. In other words, people are using existing computers for a lot longer and not replacing them every few years like they used to.


I would need to see figures, but since I didn't provide any either and can't be bother to... meh. But even then, the figures wouldn't be convincing anyway - Putin's physically-impossible nuclear-powered super-missile is more plausible to me than the idea that the 'traditional PC market' is relevant to the average consumer any more, or ever really was to begin with (long story short: Putin's explanation of how it supposedly works and what it can do is BS, though this is likely to be because he and his scriptwriters didn't understand what the techs told them, so they made up some sound-bite-worthy nonsense for the speech - just like the IT industry PR flaks who pass out the figures in question).


I couldn't be bothered to find statistics either; mostly because it's irrelevant anyway - Microsoft doesn't have much of the smartphone market so they're mostly stuck with PC and Xbox (which is made from PC hardware anyway).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
The other fact is that "server PC market", measured by both sales and usage, is increasing.


I'm not sure of the relevance here; just because they often use the same CPUs as desktop workstations doesn't make them the same thing. When you are talking about servers, for big companies you are talking rackmounted hardware, running Xeon processors or the equivalent. Most of those have a hypervisor as the primary OS - some use HyperV, rather more use Xen with Docker or something similar - and spin up containerized sub-servers as needed. While server hosts such as Lunarpages may give you a ControlPanel-based interface with access to an ext4 or NTFS file system, or even what appears to be a full Windows or Linux system to work with, the actual HTTP server can and these days often does run in a Docker container - the ControlPanel interfaces run in a container pool that is separate from the server software they control.


I'm only saying that if you add "traditional PC sales" to "server PC sales" you end up with "PC sales are increasing and not declining".


Cheers,

Brendan

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:44 pm 
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Brendan wrote:
Most of the people I knew back then had VIC 20, Commodore 64, Tandy, Amstrad, etc. All little 8-bit machines.


And how many people did you know when you were a teenager who were below the poverty line, exactly? Or maybe more to the point, how many kids did you know whose parents didn't want any of the 'nerd stuff' in their house?

I knew a couple of kids whose parents wouldn't left them have video game consoles because they thought they would turn into [s]intelligent and productive members of society who didn't have to work as a janitor or construction worker[/s] pencil-necked geeks with their noses in books, rather than doing a real job like being a janitor or construction worker.

No, this isn't a joke. I knew one kid whose father basically threatened to disown him if he tried to get a college education (though in his case, there wasn't any real chance of it anyway) and demanded that his son hire with the same carpentry company he worked for as soon as he graduated high school (though again, it was a surprise to everyone that he graduated at all), because he didn't want any hint of unmanly thinking (which is to say, any at all) in his sons. And this was in a rather wealthy part of the country. It wasn't a common attitude there, but it was present, and in a lot of the US - even today - it is the rule rather than the exception. <sarcasm>#MAGA</sarcasm>

(And yes, I know that the strike-through tag isn't supported by this forum's software. I assume people can figure out what it is supposed to imply without it actually being struck out.)

Brendan wrote:
In the 1980s, I wasn't in the IT industry and wasn't a Uni student either (I was a teenager in high school).


From a family that I can only assume was middle class or higher right? (Yeah, I was too.) The sort of people who could afford that sort of luxury? The sort who would put themselves out to give their kids the best they could, and who had been told by all the people who they thought counted that a computer was a free ticket to a college education and a good job for you and your siblings (if you have any)?

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
The average user doesn't take their PC to get it upgraded; they either just replace it (not upgrade, they usually end up getting a model similar to the one they had, just one which isn't full of year's worth of malware), or, more often than not, just live with it as long as they can because everyone knows PCs get slower over time and the idea of maintaining a PC is crazy talk.

Besides, they can always take it to the national equivalent of the Best Buy and have "Geek Squad" fix it for about the cost of a new one.


Um, what? Why would anyone need to take their PC anywhere? Someone like Dell could pre-install Windows without putting any licence key into it; so that when the consumer boots their new computer it asks for their (existing, already paid for) licence key.


Uhm, around here, it is usually pre-loaded on the HDD (and may have a hidden recover partition), and they get the key but not a CD to (re)install from. I would assume the same applied elsewhere as well.

You seem to be thinking I an talking about them taking the new PC in to get Windows installed. What I am saying is that most people won't bring their existing one to get in the malware cleaned out of their disk after it has gunked up the registry and torpedoed performance; instead, they either replace it with another system that has Windows pre-loaded, or more likely, they simply assume that this is 'just how it is' and live with it. They certainly won't think to do something as wacky as, say, run a piece of anti-malware software, or not surf porn with an outdated AV scanner.

Brendan wrote:
For "computers get slower", a lot of people reformat file systems and re-install everything. It's not like it takes an engineering degree to tell the Windows installer what time zone you're in.


You might want to get your sarcasm detector checked; it's on the blink. Or maybe you need to talk to someone who isn't working with computers regularly. Again, perhaps it is a cultural difference, but in the US at least, people don't really get that. They don't want to get it. They would rather tune their own car engine, or do their own dental work, than do anything even remotely pro-active about keeping their PC running, because they think they understand cars and teeth, but believe computers are some sort of magic and if it slows down then you have obviously offended the computer gods, so the only thing to do is to perform a monetary sacrifice at the Temple of Best Buy, or else tough it out.

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Data? Uhm, OK, too bad about that, but you can't really do anything about that once a computer is stuffed, can you? (Answer: yes, you can, but most people don't know that, because they've been told by the 'experts' that it isn't possible, by which they meant they wanted more money to do than you could pay.)


That's an unrelated problem. I always have separate partitions (one for "OS and apps" and another for "data") and that's how I always setup Windows for family and friends; because this makes it easy to wipe the OS/software and keep all of the data (and makes it easier to backup the data). Unfortunately this isn't standard practice.


The average user doesn't know a partition from Parcheesi, and more to the point, would rather cut off an arm than learn. When the PC (or more likely, they themselves) do something that destroy their data, they just figure that computers do that sort of thing, better luck next time.

In case you have noticed, I have spent a lot of time in tech support. The rates of 'computer literacy' among the general populace don't impress me much. And truth to tell, the fact that ordinary users need to know as much as they do to speaks to a failure on the part of the IT industry. The attitude in the PC world boils down to either, "we need you to come to us", or else "Next time for sure! e can give you, I dunno, Natural Language interfaces or something, because that hasn't been a disaster any of the last googolplex times we've tried that!" (ProTip: It's been a disaster every time, and it's going to continue being a disaster. Voice assistants like Siri and Cortana are the most successful attempts to date, which just shows hard it really is. I know Brendan knows this, but apparently historical perspective is lacking in some of the others here.)

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
I can't speak for Australia, but in the US, you will regularly find PCs, printers and other equipment left for trash pick-up, not because they were broken but because the owners couldn't be bothered to fix them or get them fixed.


Here people only throw away old junk - 10+ year old computers, printers where the heads are clogged with dried ink, laptops with busted keyboards where the battery won't charge, ...


OK... well, if that's so (and it isn't just that you never noticed, and that they aren't stuffing them into attics or cellars instead), then that is a lot better than here. Congratulations on avoiding the most absurd aspects of consumer culture, Australia.

Brendan wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Brendan wrote:
The fact is that the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by sales figures and not usage, might or might not be declining (depending on who you believe - see note); and the "traditional PC market" (desktop/laptop/workstation only), as measured by usage and not sales, is increasing. In other words, people are using existing computers for a lot longer and not replacing them every few years like they used to.


I would need to see figures, but since I didn't provide any either and can't be bother to... meh. But even then, the figures wouldn't be convincing anyway


I couldn't be bothered to find statistics either; mostly because it's irrelevant anyway - Microsoft doesn't have much of the smartphone market so they're mostly stuck with PC and Xbox (which is made from PC hardware anyway).


Fair enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Vista or 10?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:39 am 
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Schol-R-LEA wrote:
I knew one kid whose father basically threatened to disown him if he tried to get a college education (though in his case, there wasn't any real chance of it anyway) and demanded that his son hire with the same carpentry company he worked for as soon as he graduated high school...


{Raising my hand.}

My father told me, in so many words (back in, oh, 1993 or 1994), that I shouldn't waste my time at university, and should venture for a job in "the real economy".

My father was a furniture salesman.

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