Linux, Windows and Bluetooth

What do these three have in common, you’re wondering? Well, the third worked on the second, but not on the first, on my laptop. The answer just rolls off your tongue, I know.

My Dell Inspiron showed zero interest in allowing me to use Bluetooth under Linux. I never use Bluetooth, to be honest, but it bugged me that it works flawlessly under Windows.

And then IT happened. I booted into Windows months later (really never use them, just wanted to update the antiviral applications) and was playing around with bluetooth and LEFT IT TURNED ON before rebooting back to Linux (my occasional OCD usually makes me turn it off because… well, because!). To my surprise, Bluetooth was now working in Linux as well.

I’m not sure what exactly Windows do to Bluetooth when you turn the adaptor off, but it survives rebooting and also interferes with other operating systems.

There are many posts about this online so I won’t go into technical details, I just wanted to tell you my story because FUCK YOU WINDOWS. And yeah, maybe it helps someone who is desperate like me to prove that everything works just as well under Linux, although it’s never ever being used. Seriously, Bluetooth?

How Pocket changed my life

I spend a lot of time online. A LOT. But, at the same time, I don’t read many articles. My surfing is active and totally deficient of any orderly attention. I scroll through dozens and dozens of article titles and read none of them. It’s boring, I’d have to stop my random clicking and read? No wai!

This is where Pocket comes in. Formerly known as “Read it later”, Pocket is a small application for the Android platform (maybe for the iOS as well, but I don’t care for them so check it out yourselves), also available for the Firefox browser and it’s integrated into some other applications such as Lightread.

What does it do, you wonder? It’s simple, all it does is save pages of your choosing for reading later (thus the former name, duh!) and it presents them in an easy to read article mode.

So now I can browse through the articles like a maniac I usually am and casually mark the ones I actually would like to read if my scattered mind would allow it, then they get synced (not only synced, but DOWNLOADED so you can read offline if no interwebz are available) with my phone and are available for reading wherever and whenever I feel concentrated and smart.

But to be honest, that’s usually the toilet.

I give Pocket 5/5 generic rating measurements for allowing me to read again.

Windows 8: Insert clever pun here

Much like the title of this post, Windows 8 is an attempt to come off as revolutionary and edgy, but it fails miserably. I’ve been using Windows 8 in a virtual machine so I won’t comment on their performance, assuming that it suffered greatly from RAM and CPU limitations.

But, from a usability perspective, it’s one of the worst user experiences I’ve.. well, experienced. Let’s consider messaging for a bit. Messaging is a full screen application where you can chat with people from whichever account you’ve set up. Nice. But if you want to, I don’t know, watch YouTube while chatting with someone, you can’t. Because it’s full screen. And you have to use it as such. So, basically, Metro apps force you to run them full screen and force you to disregard the fact that you maybe have a huge monitor that could simultaneously display a shitload of stuff. You also get two versions of Internet Explorer, one for metro and one for the old school desktop. Because one IE just wasn’t enough. Of course, one is locked to full screen, and the other is resizeable like application windows SHOULD BE.

Windows explorer is actually pretty nice and allows the placement of most used actions on the quick actions bar.

But sure, there is a “desktop mode”. Without the start button. Because the “metro home screen” is the start menu. But you have to press the WinKey (aka Super) to get to it. They could have easily left the start button where it was, but give it a new function (launch metro screen). That would make too much sense, probably. There are more than a couple user experiences available online showing that people who are less skilled in using computers have absolutely NO IDEA how to get back to the home screen.

Also, metro applications insist on horizontal scrolling. It’s great on a touch screen, I assume. But it’s really unintuitive on the desktop. But that is actually consistent with the rest of the UX, which is also pretty unintuitive. So, points for being consistent!

I have nothing else to say, it’s a huge step back in productivity and usability and I really really hope they’ll implement an option to turn metro off because otherwise I can’t see this as a desktop OS. And I’m not the only one. So, wake up Microsoft!

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