WW 761: 1.4 Billion Served

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

A quick comment on 09:55, when @Leo implicitly asks whether he should recommend “normal people” to upgrade to Windows 11:

Paul explains around 10:55 something to the effect of “since normal people don’t notice anything or maybe notice that it is slightly prettier, then there is no harm to it”. Then, MaryJo, who considers herself a “normal person”, notices the browser change limitations. Paul agrees that “it’s dumb what Microsoft has done, and user-unfriendly”. And so on and so forth - interesting elaboration.

HOWEVER, if you as a tech journalist diagnose that a software provider is acting dumb and user-unfriendly, then why gloss over that and recommend a product simply since the user might not notice. In my book, that is enabling and encouraging dark patterns, if not giving a pass to suppliers misleading their customers. That’s the perfect antithesis to what a tech journalist should do.

Now I know how critical and clearly spoken PT and MJ are and I applaud them for that - Microsoft deserves every bit of criticism to get better (and not just richer) at what they do. But especially here, the critical tone should have prevailed.

Also, what Leo and Paul added a little later: especially for those customers who think “it’s just a launcher for my apps - why should I care?”: if you use it, Windows is critical IT infrastructure on your device. You should care what it does, what the company providing it thinks of you, what the company considers your role to be in their business plan and you should be painfully aware of dark patterns that remain hidden.

That’s the same for Microsoft as Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and so on, and so forth.

That’s also why I do not agree with the often-recurring (and slightly self-deprecating-to-self-aggrandise) normal people and broken/tech people trope for anything but complexity. If wrong doing of suppliers harms tech people, the more tech literate cannot throw the less tech literate under the bus and feed them to the suppliers because they might not notice.

Supplier wrongdoing >> Biggest bell in the biggest bell-tower >> Loud, continuous tolling by journalists, as long as the problem persists >> Let the least technical person learn about it

At least in my book, society (and not just the literate) depends on journalists to do that.

That’s where @Leo’s radio show is so much more than entertainment or “mere tech guy friendliness” - it provides a sense of what is right and what is wrong in tech land. It provides perspective “from people you trust” to be critical if it needs to be seen that way. From clogged up printer cartridges, to shady ISPs, to Microsoft, to all tech things that people have problems with.

Otherwise, it just opens every door to every possible dark pattern there is.

Just because people are less tech literate does not mean that they should be encouraged to endure a product that’s less consumer friendly. There are products that serve a less tech literate market, Apple or Google Chromebooks, so recommend them, as Leo does. Even if one might think that “for their usage pattern, they won’t notice”. ESPECIALLY if “for their usage pattern, they won’t notice”. Wrong doing remains hidden, encouraged, and increased due to it not being noticed.


Epilogue: When I read my own stuff here I almost hear my inner Jeff Jarvis yell “MORAL PANIC!” at myself. (Must be the right path. :wink: )


Quite simply because no amount of not recommending it is going to stop the tide, and thus not recommending it to people who can get it will leave them stuck in the past with those that can’t get it. Eventually they’ll probably be forced to upgrade anyway, so in some sense, as long as it’s not absolutely faulty, then you might as well take the pain early and get used to it now as it continues to change (leading to less shock in the future.)

Alternatively, you could recommend them away from Windows completely. ChromeBook/Boxes are cheaper and more reliably (by many accounts) anyway.

In this situation - the dumb behavior is limited to a specific limitation of the browser, not a major limitation of the operating system itself. I happen to enjoy using WIndows 11, but I also agree that it’s dumb how hard they’ve made changing the default browser. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend Windows 11 - it just means I might make someone aware of this particular issue (while also making them aware that it’s in the process of being corrected).

Anecdotally - I will say that for typical home usage, I have been perfectly fine using Edge and haven’t yet found any need where I had to change browsers to accomplish something. But I recognize that I could be an outlier in this case.

nah tl;dr

Microsoft has made it easy for us and developed a simple pattern:

Windows 95 > good!
Windows 98 > skip
Windows 98 SE > good!
Windows ME > skip
Windows XP > good!
Windows Vista > skip
Windows 7 > good!
Windows 8 > skip
Windows 10 > good!
Windows 11 > skip

So yea, Win 11 is a hard skip for me right now. Let’s see what they do with a service pack in a year (or whatever they’re calling the release fixes now). Performance regressions with AMD, suspect hardware requirements, lost UI functionality, all in the name of round corners.


One of my few PCs that is Windows 11 eligible got the Windows 11 offer last night. I decided to let it go ahead so I could do some experimenting. It upgraded without any difficulty, and booted fine. I hate the shell, as I knew I would from my experiments in a VM (back before they stopped allowing it to boot in a VM.)

The biggest “deal” with Windows 11 is the Secure Boot and TPM requirements. I disabled each (and both) and unsurprisingly Windows 11 still booted just fine, with nary a complaint. This truly reinforces that Windows 11 is JUST Windows 10 with stupid half-assed (and unused) “requirements” and a bad UI. It was only ever about expiring older machines so MS could help its hardware OEMs keep selling new PCs.

I will be reverting the machine back to Windows 10 and filling out the questionnaire that accompanies the process with my opinions on their bad decisions. I am sticking with my decision that Windows 10 is the last version of Windows for me.


I run Windows 11 in Parallels on My mac and honestly I have to say that I do prefer the look and feel of Windows 11 to Windows 10. Partially because it does look a little closer to the Mac. Honestly the UI is one of the first things I notice and when things start to look long in the tooth I like to experiment with a little change.


Not quite.

Windows 1 > skip
Windows 2 > okay
Windows 286 > skip
Windows 386 > skip
Windows 3 > good
Windows 3.11 for workgroups > better
Windows NT 3.11 → skip
Windows NT 3.5 → good
Windows NT 4.0 > good
Windows 95 > good
Windows 98 > good
Windows 98 SE > better
Windows NT 2000 > best
Windows ME → SKIP
Windows XP → SKIP, for God’s sake, SKIP!
Windows XP SP2 → Acceptable
Windows Vista → A step forward from XP SP2, but not good.
Windows 7 → Good
Windows 8 → Skip
Windows 8.1 → Better than 7
Windows 10 → Good
Windows 11 → Regression.

It is the lost functionality that worries me. Most of our users aren’t Windows users, they have no idea what Windows is or really does. They just know which icons to click and if they right click here, this menu will appear etc. Not only moving those menus, but actually removing the menu options they use on a daily basis (Jumplists being the biggest one), will only confuse them or make them hostile.

When Microsoft moved the search box in Outlook from the top of the emails list to put it in the window title bar, we were inundated with users claiming that Outlook was broken and they couldn’t search any more.

Most Windows users just don’t know or care about Windows, they just know, click here, then here, then here and this happens.

I’ve been doing Teams training over the last year, it was scary how many people had never used Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Signal or Telegram. Some had even received the webcams and headsets, but couldn’t work out how to attach them to their PCs, no, I’m not kidding or exagerating. I’ve had to go out to users to simply plug in the USB webcam into the only remaining free USB port on their PC, because “there are too many cables”, to be able to see what they are supposed to do.

The same when they get a docking station and monitors for their new laptops, due to COVID, we aren’t supposed to make desk-side visits, unless it is an emergency. But we’ve had users who couldn’t work out where the HDMI or DP cables should go, or how to plug the USB-C port on the dock into their laptop…

I agree, I like it when there are refreshes, generally. But, while I like the look of Windows 11, I don’t like that they have castrated the functionality in the process.

But you, as I, are lucky, in that we use multiple platforms, so we adapt quickly. A lot of users I deal with haven’t a clue how Windows works, they just know a button in this position on the screen does this action. Move the button or change how it looks and they are lost.

I’ve been doing Teams training since the beginning of the pandemic. One of the biggest problems is, that the UI changes between most courses. Every month, Microsoft seems to move UI elements or add new things, so I’ll be going through a menu and, suddenly, there is a new option that wasn’t there “yesterday” or something has disappeared.

That causes some users to “get lost”, when trying to do things they regularly do. They don’t read the menu option names, they go, “…” menu, 3rd item. Constantly moving things around confuses people or they end up doing things they didn’t mean to do.

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