Windows

10 things I've learned from using Windows

Longtime Linux user Jack Wallen shares a few Windows-inspired revelations.

Every once in a while I have to drop out of open source land and use Windows for a period. When I do, I tend to keep notes of my experiences. Some of these experiences are positive; some are not. So I finally decided to list 10 things I have learned from my work with the Windows operating system. Just remember, these come from a Linux user of nearly 15 years. With that being said, let's dig into the lessons brought to me by Microsoft.

1: Printing still has a long way to go

I don't care if you're using the easiest operating system on the planet, printing stinks. It breaks, it lacks anything close to universal support, print spoolers are flaky, and when a driver goes bad on you, you sometimes have to dig around within the Windows registry to resolve the issue. If printing is flaky in Windows (which most consider to be the most user-friendly platform), imagine how bad it can be in other environments. Someone needs to kick printing in the pants.

2: Locking down the average user isn't a bad thing

Most average users are button pushers. When things go wrong, they just start pushing buttons hoping they'll magically push the right one and correct their problem. Thing is -- that never works. This is why it's smart to have certain areas of the operating system locked down. Sure, I love the freedom Linux gives me. But some of the desktops in Linux-land (think Enlightenment) offer way too much freedom for the average user. Windows, on the other hand, doesn't have nearly that level of freedom and can, in some cases, keep average users from fubar'ing their desktop.

3: Windows can quickly devolve into chaos

How many times have you had to support an end user, only to encounter a mass of icons and files on the desktop? I see that too often. Click on the Start menu and you'll see a hierarchy that is just a step away from chaos. Windows is a bit too loose with its structure and enables users to quickly make a mess of their desktop.

4: The UAC was broken out of the box

I get it. I know what Microsoft was attempting to do with the UAC, but it simply doesn't work. What it wants to do is block users from doing stupid things. But when a feature can be easily disabled or just clicked through, it's not really security -- it's just a frustration. Microsoft was never (and is not presently) known for security and shouldn't pretend to be experts in the field. It should really take a lesson from UNIX/Linux in the area of security.

5: The Windows command line is horrible

This is one area UNIX and Linux win hands down. Having a system of global commands (and the ability to easily add new commands) along with the number of global commands included, makes UNIX and Linux light years ahead of the Windows command line. Although Windows does have a system of global commands, it's limited in scope compared to UNIX and Linux. (But take this bias with a grain of salt, as I am a heavy command-line user in Linux.)

6: I understand why Windows is so prone to attacks

Many people say the main reason Linux hasn't suffered the scale of attacks that Windows has is that it has less exposure. They contend that there just aren't that many Linux users out there. Well, that's not necessarily an argument that can be proved. But since Linux is king in certain server circles and is growing exponentially worldwide, that train of thought is derailed. The main reason Windows is so vulnerable to viruses and attacks is simply that the platform itself is vulnerable. Users can run anything, applications can open third-party software behind the scenes, and most users don't understand the dangers that await them under the surface.

7: Everything easy is not a good thing

Making everything incredibly easy for users isn't always the best idea. When users can easily access administrative tools, they can easily create problems. I understand making the UI user friendly. But when curious users dig deeper than the standard issue interface, they are begging for problems -- and they'll get them. Once end users get to a certain level of administrative tasks, they should be challenged by more than a simple click of an OK button.

8: Windows and hardware sure do like each other

Thanks to the marriage between Intel and Microsoft, the Windows platform certainly performs well on modern hardware. This is not speaking just to compatibility but also to performance. Yes, Windows 7 has fairly significant requirements, but hardware is cheap these days -- so the average PC is far more powerful than it used to be. Out of the box, Windows 7 can outperform most other platforms on similar hardware. Of course, other platforms can easily be tweaked to blow past Windows, but most users aren't tweaking that much.

9: Virtual Shadow Copy is a great tool

This is one of the most valuable tools Microsoft has ever created. With the ability to easily roll back a file or folder to a previous version, VSC makes Windows an amazing platform for end users. The Virtual Shadow Copy server is a lifesaver of a tool when backups have failed or you just need to restore a local file/folder quickly.

10: LDAP could learn a thing or two from Active Directory

If LDAP ever wants to compete in the world of business, it needs to do two things: Make it as easy to set up as Active Directory and make it easier for machines to join an LDAP network. As it stands, Active Directory is easier to use for both administrators and end users. LDAP, on the other hand, is a nightmare on both ends. If the developers of LDAP could start focusing on ease of use, that particular open source tool could give AD a serious run for its money. As it stands, no way will that happen.

Windows lessons

I've learned a lot more than what's included here, but the above list gives you an idea of what it's like being a longtime Linux user who has had to, now and again, dip his toes into the murky waters that is Windows. I often bash Windows, but I can accept the fact that there are some things that Microsoft has certainly done right.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

92 comments
Dave Keays
Dave Keays

1: "Printing still has a long way to go" I was and am impressed by how easy printing is with CUPS 2: "Locking down the average user isn’t a bad thing" The average user is locked out of certain tasks in Linux and that happened automatically without my intervention. 4: "The UAC was broken out of the box" I was struggling to do the same thing in XP so I can't call it a bad thing. 5: "The Windows command line is horrible" When I'm writing a business letter or corresponding via email I use the GUI, when I'm developing I use the CLI with VIM. 6: "I understand why Windows is so prone to attacks" A Linux server is a juicier target than a Windows desktop so it should be more prone to an attack but it requires at least mediocre skills. 7: "Everything easy is not a good thing" I learned that with a phone answering machine. It had one button but you had to hit that one button at the right time in the right way to get it to do the right thing. 8: "Windows and hardware sure do like each other" HW has only been a problem with my GPS. SW support made using a video device difficult. All standard HW (printers, monitors, keyboards, mice, sound boards) went in without any extra effort.

bmclain
bmclain

As a Linux user I do have to admit that #9 on this list has saved my a$$ more than a few times. That's about all I am willing to give windoze.

martosurf
martosurf

You say: "But some of the desktops in Linux-land (think Enlightenment) offer way too much freedom for the average user. Windows, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly that level of freedom and can, in some cases, keep average users from fubar’ing their desktop." DON'T AGREE. My own experience of using both Wincrap and different GNU/Linux flavors over the years is that users tend to bork more easily -and often- Wincrap than any GNU/Linux distro out there. In fact Wincrap has a rare devotion to hang and to bork itself without user intervention. For the record, the Win7HP install that came with my laptop was fully working yesterday and today it refuses to boot asking for the recovery partition to recover the system - a partition that is gone long ago, lol. RIP Wincrap! I now have 80 extra gigas on my HD and I never plan to install you again :D

hleveque
hleveque

What is the key combo for the Win key? I am using an old IBM clicky keyboard with no Win key. I used to know this, but I am getting too old to remember. Thanks and sorry to bother.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Jack: #1: Last time I had a porint spooler problem? 10 years ago or so. #3: That's a user issue. It's like blaming Windows after the user opened up a piece of malware. I generally group my Start menu apps together [if given the option during the install - otherwise after a clean up]. For example I have a Start Menu folder for anything Multimedia related such as WinAmp, PowerDVD, etc.],one for basic applications [Calibre, EditPad, software that comes with drivers, etc.], etc. #4: "What it wants to do is block users from doing stupid things. But when a feature can be easily disabled or just clicked through, its not really security" - Hello? Stupid users install things they should have [think malware]. A typical user doesn't know where to disable the UAC. It's not like there is an application to do so. As well, after the initially setup, aside from a few minor things, I don't see a UAC prompt. #5: Try PowerShell. #8: Well thsty's what happns when an OS capturesaround 90% of the OS market instead of 1.2% [Linux].

MattPV
MattPV

Cause Windows has so much to learn with Linux on desktop, right? After all, Linux on desktop is a proven success with a huge marketshare, even being completely free. Funny how arrogant someone can be to say Windows on desktop has anything to learn with Linux...

myangeldust
myangeldust

I click on Print and voila! It goes to the printer. Most apps will go straight there though a few will ask me to choose a printer or preview it first. For graphics I tend to go to Print Preview first, check it, then send to print. I read things like it's hard or amatuerish and I am confused. What are these other users trying to do? Maybe I can start a business where I properly set up people's printers so they don't have issues other than that annoying low ink warning. If anything is a problem it's mechanical issues on printers themselves. I guess it's easier to blame the OS though.

LorinRicker
LorinRicker

+1 on the critique of win-desktop chaos, too. The reasons that Windows users' desktops are such a cluttered and crowded mess: 1) 99% of Win users cannot find, much less actually use, Windows Explorer (or other file browser), and thus cannot find their own data files. 2) The narcissistic default file organization paradigm, based on "My Desktop", "My Documents", "My This", "My That", etc. is seriously brain-dead; thus, users have no responsibility or motivation for self-organization, even if they could conceive of it. 3) Application programs aggressively hide certain vital files from users, so they've no clue where things of value really are stashed. 4) Users can neither navigate nor discover favorite applications in the Start Menu, which is a disaster/mess itself as apps are installed willy-nilly. Thus, users resort to the only thing that they seem to have some semblance of control over themselves: Putting app icons and file shortcuts on the desktop -- they know it's a cluttered mess, but they've got no alternative! At least Ubuntu's Unity -- like it or not -- is attempting to build a whole 'nuther paradigm... in addressing the clutter issue, this at least makes some sense and progress. Doubt if M$ will ever bother to learn from -- or swipe -- this new approach; their own design philosophy is actively anti-user... and pro-marketing glitz.

LorinRicker
LorinRicker

+1 for your critique on the state-of-art of Printing. On *any* OS, it still acts like the patched-together-years-ago kludge that it is. Guess most FOSS developers think there's no payoff for a full redesign... if it ain't broke, don't fix it? CUPS mostly "works" -- that is, paper with ink on it comes out the slot -- but who the heck knows what's going on in there, between icon/print-command and the printer itself?

pjboyles
pjboyles

The windows command line is just as extensible as Linux. It comes with a base set of built in command and add-on utilities. There are many additional utilities available on-line. Or you can write your own. Microsoft even has the basic version of Visual Studio available for free or there are any number of compilers available. You can use the SysInternal tools, WMIC command line tool, VBScript, PERL and PowerShell among others to extend your command line capabilities to configure almost everything in Windows. With Windows 7 there are some items moved into PowerShell which I wish the simple command line tool was still available but it gets the job done. And don't through all those Server 2003 tools away yet as a couple are still useful even in Widows 7. And for those asking why use the command line it comes down to automation. There are no good methods to automate GUI tasks, validate installation and push them to 50,000+ systems. I can create a script which automates the task which can be sent to every system (that is connected and online ;-) ) to manage the system. I have deployed fully unattended scripted installations of NT 4, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

speterson
speterson

One thing that tends to get forgotten (although I saw it referenced here in the comments) is that MANY users are their own sys admins -- all those users at home. Do they mess up? Yup. Do they then have to pay somebody to come in and fix it? Probably. The thing that most annoys me about PCs and Macs is that they required that I became my own system engineer. That's not something that I enjoy.

douglas.gernat
douglas.gernat

#4 vs. #6 points completely counter each other. Half the reason of UAC was to prevent the end user from executing items that would harm the system (be it malware, or system file interaction). Sure when EVERY end user is given administrative access, UAC can easily be disabled, but if the box is properly configured from the get go, either locally, in a work group, or a domain environment, UAC keeps the end user from doing anything they shouldn't, while allowing the admin to do what they need to do. Other commentary: I agree with the printing bits (#1), though Windows 7 rarely has issues with printer drivers, hell the built in ones work for standard printing tasks the majority of the time. Cross platfrom support and advanced features, sure, issues still persist, glad it was acknowledged across the board. #5: slowly being transistion to powshell, where commands again become more universal, at least within the Microsoft world, and heavily borrows from the common UNIX/ Linux land. #3 is hilarious and so true. Not being able to find what it takes to do ones job is the users fault (most of the time), but we get called upon to solve it, then catch grief for removing their 83 shortcuts to "My Computer". #7: See my previous points. End users should never be exposed to the ability to perform these tasks. In XP and Vista, it was difficult to prevent. Now though, pretty easy to prevent. The last sentence in #8 is very true. If a power user wants to max out performance, they most often will turn to something more configurable, but most users have more than they need in a standard package, though I think Windows often mismanages base level performance like paging file, and a more universal or fluid method of controlling process priority and affinity sure would be nice. What's interesting about #10 is that AD to me is simply LDAP on steriods, and universal interface. I must say that I have limited experience in plain LDAP, but even most Windows admins seldom understand that AD is more than just user authentication and file permissions, but rather the complete user experience feeding into some of my other more sinister comments. Overall, very good article and pretty damn objective. Interesting read!

myangeldust
myangeldust

I always thought that Windows was targeted because a lot of people hate Microsoft. I don't know why - the company has given away software and included us in their betas. But I do know that Windows is easy to "break". They left the box mostly unlocked and didn't tape up the corners and stable down the pull tabs, metaphorically speaking. It's just like politics, the guy who gives you the most freedom is the guy you want to criticize all the time... maybe even blame your own problems on. Whilst the guy who quietly but tightly controls us is looked upon as a saint.

a.portman
a.portman

2: Locking down the average user isn’t a bad thing 4: The UAC was broken out of the box These points are the opposite of each other. For that matter, UAC is a direct rip of Linux Sudo or root access. If UAC had even the remotest consistency, it would go a long way. Locking down the user would be much easier if SOFTWARE MANUFACTURERS STOPPED REQUIRING ADMINISTRATOR ACCESS to run your stupid stuff. This would include Microsoft Office where you need to be the administrator to install updates. What a pain. While I am on this, SOFTWARE MANUFACTURERS let an administrator install stuff not just THE ADMINISTRATOR. Earth shattering concept, I know. 1. Let me print. Let my Linux machine print. Let my buddies Mac print. After all, the more I print the more ink I buy. You remember people buying stuff? 3: Windows can quickly devolve into chaos My desktop, my choices. Yes I have had to clean 500 files off of the desktop because user "I like it this way" saved so much stuff they could not see it all any more. But they have to work with/use the computer not me. It is a user thing, not a desktop or OS thing.

Jeff_D_Programmer
Jeff_D_Programmer

I have for several years wondered why, in this day and age, so many otherwise intelligent and knowledgable users insist on the wonderfulness of a technology that is 40+ years old. Command line access is legacy from Mainframes and, later DOS (and its brethren). It's time it went "bye-bye". I'm not arguing the value of the capabilities currently available via text commands, I'm questioning the lack of progress in the interface itself. Why, in God's name, hasn't someone with at least half a brain suggested that OS's, written specifically to provide users with a GUI, should NOT have to rely on a complex, cryptic-languaged, text-based, user UNfriendly interface to do "powerful" stuff!?! Yet the hangers-on are so adamant in their dedication to it that several versions of multiple operating systems have written artificial overlays to their GUI-based systems to provide a false sense of a "Command Window" just to provide this ridiculous legacy interface (can you say "Powershell"?) rather than to create a up-to-date user interface. It just boggles my mind...

thegreenwizard1
thegreenwizard1

The day Linux could be use out of the box by my mom, then it 's would be a real competitor to the other OS. My mom as the majority of users do not want to learn a system to be able to read and send email. Actually the majority of my people I wanted to put on Linux, wanted better to buy a new computer instate of changing the way they used their pc. For the common of the mortals, the command line is like if you ask them to speak Chinese.

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

Glad you put printing as number one on the list. I thought I was the only one who was frustrated by the amateurish way Windows prints things.

kbrindle2002
kbrindle2002

Been a Windows "GUI" girl since Dos 6.2 and Windows 3.1, I agree, UAC does nothing for me, in fact it's one of the many things I "turn off" when I setup a new PC. I rather control an AD environment through GP and non ad networks I really could care less to control. Hey, if they want to install Kaza still, be my guest. They'll end up getting frustrated with all the garbage and buy a new machine. As far as the command line, yeah, it sucks, but I've been playing with Windows Powershell 2.0 for about a 9 months and with powergui tools and the AD modules, I find it much better! That's my .02 worth.. Kelly Brindle "GUI" SysGoddess

hleveque
hleveque

With your idea of the perfect desktop, what use do you get from the 99% blank area? I can get to any one of 220 items I use regularly with 1 click. Your turn.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

No discussion of a single OS is safe from someone advocating another one, usually at the expense of the one originally under discussion.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Buy a new keyboard. Twenty bucks at Dell. Windows Key included free. Fourty bucks with a new mouse (they have two buttons now).

gechurch
gechurch

I thought I was the only one that doesn't find printing to be cumbersome or trouble-free. I always install just the driver though, and don't run the setup CD with all it's 'helper' programs.

hleveque
hleveque

to your 1) I use X1. I dare say I can find more data files quicker than you can. 2) A computer is a tool - a TOOL- and it must learn to serve the master. In case you've forgotten, that is the user/customer. 4) Nah, I use the Start Menu as a last resort, np. Your condescension is unappreciated. Where is your OS that fixes such simple apparent problems? hmm? How long have you had since DOS?

myangeldust
myangeldust

Hardy-har-har! All that ended with a shout-out to Linux (which copies its desktop from Windows). Every selling point is embellished with "narcissistic", "aggressively", "willy-nilly". But the facts are: 1) every window (not box) is an explorer window, each with a Search box; 2) users still recreate My Documents or something like it to locate their files; and 4) applications in the Start Menu are displayed in alphabetical order with most used in front and fav apps on top of those. All of which can be customized. Even though it works for me and I've shown users how it works and how they can use the ubiquitous search box to find things even faster I believe the Start Menu has run it's course. Mac's app dock and Windows 8 Metro screen I think are way better for the majority of computer users. Of course, haters who use the tired "M$" symbol will call Metro a waste and won't even mention the app dock for some reason. But the clutter on desktops are usually equal to the clutter on desk tops. Lazy users will simply save files or place icons there for "ease of use". They're too lazy to realize they spend a lot of time trynig to spot icons and filenames. My desktop is a transmat. It's the resting spot for shortcuts and files going to and from my Libraries and flashdrives. If an operating system doesn't allow its user to clutter the desktop it would be too restrictive for most of us. Imagine an OS that doesn't let us do whatever we want. Evil!

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

Windows command line scripting is very powerful. Far beyond the DOS days. It's an elementary programming language. It has... IF THEN ELSE statements and each can be a block of statements FOR loops String operations: compare, parse, conditional replace etc Simple arithmetic in decimal, hex, octal Bitwise operators A get user input command Subroutines with parameter passing It's a skill to be a proficient script writer. It's programming. One has to learn and practice and with experience improve. Think about really becoming proficient in Excel. It's a steep learning curve but the end result is a powerful skill. Complex spreadsheets which include conditional expressions... that's programming

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Anyone claiming otherwise is using their computers in a very limited fashion.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but you need a command line to write scripts that will process multiple items or run repeatedly.

the_tech_mule
the_tech_mule

A very simple command line command I ran yesterday was "find d:\ -type f -exec wc -l ;" to list all of the files on the D: drive with the number of lines in each file. I was trying to find all of the files that had been corrupted by a specific process and this was the best way to do it. The command line isn't for everyone but it is very powerful for those that know how to use it. BTW, these are unix commands that have been ported to Windows.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Yes. The command line access is an excuse not to add a GUI app for that function. I imagine the OS is soooo complicated, finding a spot to squeeze a "ping" or "netstat" or whatever is a pain in the End of File. Perhaps software designers can make their jobs easier by not trying to make their GUI so "graphical". Designing all those graphics take a long time. Just make an app that pops up as a textbox or window and performs its function. An elaborate animation isn't required. Maybe they can add all those command line features to the search box in every window: "ping this ip" or "network status" and the results show up in that window... like it does for file searches.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Isn't there an "app dock" for Windows users? The same utility Mac users enjoy.

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

Assign hotkeys to everything. With just a single keystroke I can instantly initiate or switch to all my apps I have arranged the hotkeys in a logical order and after some time I don't even have to think about them it just becomes automatic muscle memory. I run up to 3 instances of my file commander utility up to 9 instances of a Windows 7 command prompt up to 8 instances of my programming editor So typing ctrl-alt-f starts or switches to already running instance "F" of my file commander ctrl-alt-g and ctrl-alt-h are for instances "G" and "H" ctrl-alt-1 ctrl-alt-2 thru ctrl-alt-9 are for the 9 command prompts ctrl-alt-j ctrl-alt-k and 6 more are for my editor I can start or switch to a desired app instantly. It would take longer just to move my hand to the mouse. How one chooses to work is a personal preference. I have used this system since the last millennium... I love it What about for apps like Word and Excel? See AutoHotKey and/or alt-tab for those occasions.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

My personal objection to desktop shortcuts is that I have to minimize whatever I'm doing to get to them. Sure, you can start any of those 220 with one click, but how many clicks does it take to clear what's running in the foreground so you can see them? I count at least one in W7 - the 'Show Desktop' button on the far right of the Taskbar. In XP, it's at least two - right-clicking the Taskbar, then single-clicking 'Show Desktop'. If a desktop full of icons suits the way you work, great. It doesn't work for some of us.

hleveque
hleveque

are magnificent. Just like your grandpa used. Dare you to try one :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Well, since the subject is Windows computers, I disagree with you. While Windows can be manipulated from the command line, it's designed for users to interact with the GUI. That provides the capabilities they need to operate their computers and applications. On a Windows desktop, the CLI isn't necessary for routine operations, just troubleshooting. I'd go so far as to say is isn't needed for most Linux users either, at least on a day-to-day basis. Certainly not for those users that Linux fans say would benefit from switching from Windows. Server and support operations are a different critter. Even there, I'd rarely say sticking to the GUI was limited. I'd agree with 'inefficient'.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Imagine if you can ask that of your OS! No command line or special program. All built into the interface: "List files on D with total line number." and the system opens a window with the results. Now I feel like we're all getting incomplete operating systems from all the OS makers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'll ask: exactly what is an app dock? How does it differ from the Windows Taskbar? I've not run across an explanation yet that makes it clear to me what an app dock does. Oh, and yes, there are third-party app dock plug-ins available to Windows users. To me, they just look like floating versions of the Task Bar. I haven't seen anything worth even testing, but I'm open to enlightenment.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Egad! Flashes of WordPerfect hell just swept over me! The only reason we still use a keyboard is becuase we don't want noisy offices filled with people dictating all day long to their computers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That is, my brain doesn't. On the other hand, I start seven or eight apps at the start of the week and leave them open until Friday. I probably don't start more than four or five others during the week, so the Start Menu works for me.

hleveque
hleveque

But at least the Show Desktop button in always on top, never covered over, and always in the same location. About as easy as it gets.....

myangeldust
myangeldust

LOL Gosh, you're older than "irony".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd rather do my root canal with a cordless drill and bottle of NyQuil.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Great tactile feedback. When you pressed a key, you knew it.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

And I won't even suggest that desktop use is very limited :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

vapor than steam to start with... ;)

myangeldust
myangeldust

You're right. I meant to write "verb"... "I used YouTube as a verb." Thanks. (Though after that correction the joke has lost its steam.)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And orendon pointed out that myangeldust was incorrect, that he actually used it as a verb. I'm getting too old for this stuff.

cfdnecr82
cfdnecr82

If you look at myangeldust's comment (which is the one that the comment is replying to), the last line says "I used YouTube as a noun". I believe that is the misused noun.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

was for obscurity. Care to tell us what noun you feel is being misused?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but that sounds like the W7 Taskbar, other than the floating part. I may be missing out on a great feature, but I've gotten along okay so far.

myangeldust
myangeldust

The Dock is like a floating Start menu but you can see all the programs across the screen all at once. It's a ribbon of icons that enlarge when you hover over them and they expand with more icons if you have documents open. It was created so that Mac users can actually say "OSX is easier to use" without making themselves into liars. Youtube "mac osx dock". Did you see that? I used YouTube as a noun. Take that Google!

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

Did a quick test using voice input to compose in Gmail. Said them both and both went in as New Orleans.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Voice-activated. Works fine, except that it makes certain assumptions about pronunciation that are [u]not[/u] intuitive to a native English-speaker. But the system has trained me properly. If I want it to play Steely Dan's album "Aja", I now know to ask it to "Play album 'Aya'". But it still won't play "Ummagumma" when I ask for it by voice.

myangeldust
myangeldust

That's just a regional or slang add-in, right? Not so hard to add more words. No need to throw the whole thing out. We're going to need it when more computers go into places where keyboards aren't allowed (like cars and public restrooms).

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's because voice recognition software is, so far, incapable of recognizing that "New Orleans" and "N'awlins" are the same place.

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