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If Apple keeps letting its software slip, the next big thing won’t matter (macworld.com)
358 points by RageoftheRobots 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 515 comments

While this article focused primarily on things being left unmaintained, etc. there is also a huge problem with things being touched for no reason and making them worse.

When handed what must be a mountain of bugs and unfinished items, why the hell did they prioritize things like breaking notifications and Safari tabs, for instance? They’re in a position where engineering resources desperately need to be closing gaps, not creating huge new ones.

There seems to be a prioritization problem at the very least. Which I get, on some level who wants to work on the broken things? But if they threw some money at this they could fix it.

The current UX of notifications is terrible. After months of using it I still don't understand the mental model. A notification comes up, I hover and wait for the cross to appear and click it. But then some time later I unlock my machine or something happens and apparantly all my notifications are still there for some reason and I have to clear them again, only this time they are in groups and I have to clear multiple groups.

Somehow Apple took a UX flow that was fine and made something that regularly makes me feel stupid because I don't understand what I'm supposed to do to make it behave in a way that makes sense.

Notifications are such a simple thing, but they somehow made them complex.

For me the issue is notifications that appear, then disappear, and I can’t find them again, or what they refer to. If it’s important enough to do a notification, it’s important enough to keep in a notification log that I can go through chronologically, search, group, sort, etc. I will high five the person who tells me how that feature exists and I’ve just missed it.

This happens to me a lot. Somehow I miss the initial notification but catch it as it animates away and I don't know how to find out what it was or what app caused it.

The notification history feature does exist, on Android (11 I'm using). It can show you both the recently dismissed notifications and the ones in the last 24 hours, grouping by apps.

> important enough to do a notification, it’s important enough to keep in a notification log that I can go through chronologically, search, group, sort, etc.

In light of a grandchild comment to this one about notification center on iPhone, I'll offer that on Mac you can do a two-finger swipe from the right side of the touch pad to get notification center. It doesn't have search, but they are grouped in stacks chronologically. There is no default hotkey, but you can set one in system settings.

> on Mac you can do a two-finger swipe from the right side of the touch pad to get notification center.

Or click the clock.

Which kind of goes back to the earlier point:

> I don't understand what I'm supposed to do to make it behave in a way that makes sense.

There used to be an actual icon for it to the right of the clock. Why would someone think to click on the clock to access their notifications? This apparently also led to the clock becoming mandatory instead of being able to hide it if you wanted to use different options.

> I will high five the person who tells me how that feature exists and I’ve just missed it.

Yeah, same here.

I'm probably missing context (skimmed comments quickly on phone after a long day), but just in case it helps: on iOS, swipe straight down from the very top to access Notification Center. IME, on iOS, it's a reliable way to access them.

Thanks --- I did know about that. For whatever reason, though, that doesn't appear to reliably bring back all notifications, only some of them. While I definitely could be wrong, I'm just about 100% certain that I've had notifications come and go that aren't to be found in the Notification Center afterward.

In the notifications settings/preferences, on a per-app basis, you can set whether notifications are displayed to allow banners, badges, and sounds. And you can turn on/off whether the notification posts to the lock screen, or stay in the notification center (swipe down on iOS, click the clock in the menu bar on OSX)

I'll have to look into this, but my experience has been that Notification Center: doesn't display everything; loses things on a whim; gives no way of recovering things, or displaying all things.

It definitely does. One reliable way I've noticed for this to happen is if you have the app that caused the notification open on another device. Presumably that app is then saying to the notifications system "don't worry, I've got this", but then that notification disappears on all devices.

Don't get me started on the new iOS podcast app. I used to know how to use it. Now I need to click five times at random to get anywhere, and still don't understand where I am. All the views look similar, but different. I just want to hear the oldest first and see if episodes are downloaded, that's it. Cue… "you had one job!"

Yes, been about six months.

Try Overcast. It’s one of the best pieces of software on my iPhone. Simple, well thought through and reliable. And the speed controls are the best I’ve seen in any program.

It’s the sort of software apple makes when they’re at their best. Much better than the built in podcast app.

The audio controls in Overcast are what made it must-have software for me. I had a few podcasts with audio so bad they were barely listenable that the voice boost function in Overcast was able to make them actually listenable. That and the shorten silence feature combined with the excellent audio processing if you listen at higher speed have allowed me to really optimize my podcast consumption. Highly recommended!

I like Overcast. Though neither it nor anything else really comes close to letting me play podcasts with some degree of reasonable selection when I'm driving. Maybe too difficult a problem and reflecting that voice assistants are pretty limited.

I'm still trying to figure out how to tell Podcasts not to play episodes I've heard before.

Play #27 of Show, then #26, and after playing #26, it will automatically choose to go on with #27 again.

I haven’t used it in a while but when I did, it was pretty bad.

One annoying bug: if you switch to a different podcast sometimes, even when the new podcast starts playing, it continues to show the cover art of the previous podcast for a while. Super annoying.

What’s even more frustrating is how buggy streaming music to a HomePod mini is.

Even though I’m the only person in my household using it, I frequently get errors that I can’t play something because someone else is playing something, which turns out to be something I played a while ago.

Things seemed better before the latest HomePod software upgrade…

Hmmm....I was just cursing out Amazon Music for the same podcast flaws. These people.

If there only were any other podcast apps out there, maintained by independent, non-apple developers...

If only there were a built-in podcast app that wasn't a mess, like there used to be for the previous ten years. That wasn't broken on purpose, and folks from Stockholm didn't feel a need to defend.

The new generation (some young employees/interns) are awesome about notifications. I arrive on their screen and tell them they have a notification pending. And then they showed me:

They ignore them. Red dot? Ignore. Blinking red dot jumping in the docker? They live with it. They say macOS is terrible because it has red dots, sometimes worse than Windows. One is colorblind which helps, but really, they got used to Windows nagging them, Youtube nagging them, websites where the cookie banner and the consent form. They try to deactivate as many notifications as they can, but they tend to avoid the cross itself, or they avoid clicking on the Slack icon to remove the dot. They just let it jump on the sidebar.

A whole generation damaged by data-abuse-consent banners.

As a new iOS user, this is the #1 thing that makes me want to sell my 12 Mini and go back to vanilla Android. Notifications are a total mess in iOS.

Unquestionably it's the biggest gap. Having also switched recently, notifications on iOS feel like stepping literally 10 years into the past.

I think it’s worse than that. IIRC I had the second model of Android phone ever released in the UK, and even that phone’s notification system was superior to iOS of 2021.

I’ve always assumed patents are to blame - I mean, surely no one at Apple uses their iOS notifications and thinks “yes, that system is perfect in every way”? There must be other factors at work?

Can you elaborate? I have an iPhone and notifications seem fine. But I’m probably missing something. I haven’t had an android phone in nearly a decade. What do android notifications do differently and better?

From memory (my last use of Android it was a long time ago!) it was a combination of two factors:

1) Android's system relied on icons appearing on the bar at the top of the screen (e.g. a mail icon for mail, or a message icon for a text, etc.) - which was both unintrusive, and very quick and practical to check. To check a message, you'd just pull down the menu from that bar, and you'd see your different notifications in more detail, most recent first, and a tap would take you to the app. It was a lovely holistic concept. In contrast, iOS has some aspects of this, but it's not holistic:

* Red dots on icons indicate waiting content, but don't reflect when the content is from (unless you're obsessed with clearing all of your red dots - which would be a problem in itself)

* The notification center offers a list of notifications, but it's not linked to a visual reminder - you have to remember to check it.

* The notification center is shown on the lock screen, but IME it's buggy, not always responsive, and sometimes disappears confusingly.

* There are also banners which pop up (and there used to be alerts?) but these aren't connected with the other approaches.

TL;DR: Android had a single holistic approach; iOS has a variety of apparently unrelated approaches.

2) When you're using your phone or computer (it happens on MacOS too) many of Apple's notifications distract you and demand your attention or action. This would include banners which hang around obstructing part of your screen and need a swipe to remove them, or alerts which must be interacted with before you can do anything else. I find this a fundamentally user-unfriendly paradigm.

i think lack of application open selection is worse. like there’s no way to get a 3rd party reddit app to open on a browser link

Apollo has a safari extension that will auto open Reddit links in Apollo.

oh interesting.. new in iOS 15

Also, while this isn't so much a macOS as an iOS thing, there are a huge number of apps that take advantage of wanting functional notifications turned on ("your food has arrived") to constantly spam the user with marketing notifications ("sign up for FoodPass, 50% off!").

I hate that! iOS 15 has a way to filter that — you can have a special “focus” that allows notifications for all those abusive companies, which you can enable when expecting a delivery or have made a restaurant reso.

Facepalm. I noticed that too and ranted about it: https://neil.computer/notes/apple-ux-ui-is-regressing/

You’ve nailed it. I upgraded from Mojave to Monterey, so I didn’t know when this change kicked in (or if there had been multiple iterations that made the new process more intuitive for users who had upgraded each year).

The only thing I’ve learned about dealing with these new notification types is that you can hover over them and swipe left to right to dismiss them. Unfortunately the notification will reappear sometimes. It seems like this happens for calendar notifications but not Messages notifications.

Anyone else have tips for how to deal with this? In ready to turn off notifications completely, which is unfortunate because I like to have calendar notifications (but only once).

I know it's minor, but managing virtual desktops is infuriating. There after I take the two steps necessary to manage virtual desktops (swipe four fingers up and move the mouse to the top of the screen). There are exactly 4 actions I want to take:

* Select a desktop (even this is questionable as an action) * Re-arrange a desktop * Add a desktop * Remove a desktop


Nearly all of the time, I want to remove a desktop because I have too many of them.

I would expect a sane UI where the X button is always shown _and_ deleting a desktop results in a new X in the exact same spot (so I can quickly close multiple desktops).

Instead, I have to hover to reveal the x, click it. Everything then shifts to a magic new location where I have to repeat hover, find X, click it.

Drives me up the wall.

Possibly this is the "Automatically rearrange Spaces..." setting in the Mission Control prefPane?

Same for me. Notifications on macOS weren’t great before but they are way worse now.

Before they were an annoyance; but now they’re just utterly baffling to me. I have no idea what I’m supposed to click half the time and they seem to come back randomly for me too.

The notifications come back in just about the same way the Algorithm scrambles timelines on the social media apps--its just like they're trying to keep you engaged in using the phone.

Ideally, the notifications should have two very simple views: a linear list by time, a grouped-by-application list and the ability to mark and sweep them away.

Or maybe at the most, an archive all notifications sweep that you can re-open if you remember that you wanted to see an old notification.

It's even better that in some cases (calendar invites?) you have to mouse over the notification "x" to see the dropdown to "accept" but if you move your mouse off the "x" then the dropdown disappears!

> I hover and wait for the cross to appear and click it.

If you’re manually dismissing every notification, consider going to your System Preferences and changing the notification type for those apps.

> all my notifications are still there for some reason and I have to clear them again, only this time they are in groups and I have to clear multiple groups.

Last I checked notifications over a week old are auto-cleared, so ignore the cleanup and only open Notification Centre when you need to check on a previous notification.

I wish there was some way to look at the last N notifications, see what apps generated them, etc.

My biggest pet peeve right now is that my iPhone bongs when charging. Not when the charger is plugged or unplugged (its a different sound). It seems to happen when the charge passes 20% and then again when it passes 80%. But there is never a notification on screen, just a sound. Googling for this is impossible, since you wind up with a million questions about the sound the phone makes when a charger is plugged in.

I feel like users don't actually want notifications; they want Kafka with a nice UI.

On the other hand, developers (and specifically, ones with engagement KPIs) want as disposable notifications as possible.

At 20% iOS deactivates the powersaving mode, I think.

At 80% iOS notifies that it is charged enough, so you can unplug if you want to avoid supercharging it.

Sure, but do you know how can I disable these bings? Or even where to find them in the settings? This is what's impossible to google for...

They're incredibly annoying and prevent me from charging my phone when I sleep.

As far as I'm aware there's nothing in the OS that should do that, at least by default. Perhaps an accessibility option. Or your charger is finnicky and somehow disconnects during charging a few times, but you say the sound is different. If you record it, and post it on reddit, they might be able to identify it.

The silent mode switch? I’ve never heard them.

As much as i am with you on this, i must say it‘s pretty good for someone like me.

I usually swipe notifications away. Then forget about them. Lock the screen and go „ah, damn.“

But obviously, this shouldn‘t be forced on normal people.

Apple has lost what they had.

> there is also a huge problem with things being touched for no reason and making them worse.

I have never been a big fan of Apple's software, but I must say that this is not just an Apple problem, it's a software industry problem.

The amount of software I use daily that has actually improved in the last 5 years as opposed to getting worse is getting frustratingly low as the years go on.

I have just upgraded to the latest version of Android and pretty much every UX change is worse than what it used to be, and I've felt the same way since 3 or 4 versions ago. Same with Windows, Spotify, YouTube, FB, Twitter, even Google search has gone downhill (not being able to get to the source image from an image search; although apparently that was due to a legal compliance reason).

We have come to a point where we have large companies employing thousands of people who need a purpose. Engineers re-writing the app in the most fashionable language/framework, designers deciding the UI isn't "fresh" anymore, PMs on a crusade to "simplify" the experience by removing features. These changes happen so frequently that the software barely has a chance to live up to its prior version before the next change happens.

We have come to a point where we have large companies employing thousands of people who need a purpose.

Fix your bugs. There are plenty. It’s not that they have no purpose. They want to add things to their resume so the next place will give them a pay bump or get that promotion.

If your strategy was to hop around between jobs every 12+ months or climb the ladder, would you bother making things better? You’ll be gone soon and it will be the next persons problem.

It's a good point, management and execs always take the blame for that kind of behavior but engineers are guilty too.

The problem is that engineers don’t get promotions based on bug fixes or refactors, and they get rewarded for building features, even if they introduce lots of new bugs.

Also, if getting a promotion was just as easy as a pay bump for transferring jobs, maybe engineers would stay longer. These are all ultimately management problems.

Sadly there is much truth to this.

This is something so many big companies do, and I hate it. Every 6 months it seems Spotify has to change their UI and make it harder to find what I want. Just make a decent UI and stick to it. I don't understand why there are redesigns over and over and over. My assumption is that it keeps people employed, even if they aren't necessarily needed. It at least takes away from more important issues being taken care of.

> why there are redesigns over and over and over

Because they aren't building UIs to be useful for pleasant for users anymore. Once these data-driven companies have enough users locked in, they begin optimizing the user interface to manipulate user behavior for profit. They shift from helping you do what you want to manipulating you into doing what they want you to do.

It's actually gotten so bad that open source software with it's notoriously unpolished interfaces is actually starting to be the better, more useful and more aesthetic option, without having improved much at all.

Spotify is an ever-evolving trash fire. It's become very difficult or impossible to get it to display a list of albums created by a given artist, and then play album X. "Oh no" Spotify says. "I think what you really want to do is play <random popular song Y by that artist> and then a whole bunch of random songs by other artists you've never heard of, right? That's what I'm going to do for you."

I realize it's still actually possible to get Spotify to do what I want, but that stuff is increasingly buried beneath dark patterns.

Yeah it’s weird to me - spotify has basically all of the world’s music. Why does it insist on playing the same 12 songs on repeat when I listen to anything? I enjoyed those songs the first hundred times they were played. How do I get out of this recommendation engine jail and get some variety? Here’s a feature I’d love in spotify: no repeat workday. Once activated, unless I explicitly play a song again, spotify is banned from repeating any song within a 24 hour - 2 week period. You know what has this feature? The radio.

Is Apple Music any better?

YouTube has the same problem. It seems to insist on recommending the same 3 rabbit holes every time I visit the site. I know there’s more stuff out there I’d love that I’m not seeing, that I don’t think to search for. But I have no idea how to get YouTube to show me any of it.

Spotify pays a discounted royalty rate when they can kick you over to random plays. Business over user experience, for sure, although they might say you wouldn't pay them a higher monthly subscription to compensate if they didn't do this.

Can't say why or how they arrive at such a tight list of random options; perhaps it's an attempt to give you something predictable while fulfilling royalty obligations. Maybe it's just broken.

My guess is that attempting to diversify what they play for you leads to much worse results, at least for the modal user. I don't think that music recommendation services actually work that well except by identifying very popular stuff.

"Jeannie Becomes a Mom" by Caroline Rose plays first every single time Spotify tries to generate radio for my Indie Mix playlist. This has been happening for months. You can click "Don't play this again", but since the contents of the *Mix playlists change every day, the don't play list is wiped every day.

I wish I could universally blacklist a song (at least for a couple of months), but that only works for entire artists. I've seen the exact same complaint for the exact same song on reddit, which makes me wonder if it has something to do with their program that lets artists jump ahead in the algorithm (https://newsroom.spotify.com/2020-11-02/amplifying-artist-in...).

My wife has been complaining about the random feature playing the same songs over and over again. It's been about ten years now. I stopped using the trash fire because of it.

Reading your comment reminded me of the blog by Jeff Atwood https://blog.codinghorror.com/our-programs-are-fun-to-use/

Surely if some company focussed on making software that puts the user at the centre they'd be able to carve out a pretty decent niche for them.

Sadly if they we're a public company their investors would probably be unhappy because they'd be sacrificing the all important "growth", but a private company might be able to get away with it.

GNOME begs to differ though.

Is GNOME a data-driven, for-profit company?

Apparently all the decisions that everyone hates much on GNOME design decisions are based on data driven analysis.

Not everyone uses feature X? It gets cut.

> Just make a decent UI and stick to it. I don't understand why there are redesigns over and over and over.

It gets people (in your example, designers, but the same organizational disease affects engineers and product managers too) promoted. Perhaps somebody got promoted this cycle for "making a decent UI", but you're not gonna get promoted next cycle for "sticking to it".

And managers get promoted by "growing" teams to build stuff.

When performance and promotion criteria incentivize "having impact", which is understood to mean "launching stuff", this is what results. It's a analog of "teaching to the test" [0], or a special case of "gaming the metrics" [1] or "you are what you measure" [2]. I don't know if there's a term for the general phenomenon.

I agree it sucks, but while I'm invoking cliches, I should remind myself: don't hate the player(s), hate the game.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaching_to_the_test

[1] https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/gaming-metrics

[2] https://hbr.org/2010/06/column-you-are-what-you-measure

Compensation driven development

> My assumption is that it keeps people employed, even if they aren't necessarily needed.

I'd say more that they keep people relevant, particularly architects and CTOs. You can't go in front of the board and say "Everything is great and we're keeping it just the same!" You can't say that in front of the CEO, you can't say that in front of the investors. You have to keep selling the idea that Big Changes Are Coming and Our Userbase Will Increase.

So you add bloat that nobody wanted and credit anything good that happens to it.

I work for a company based in a foreign land and while there are downsides, one of my biggest reliefs was to find that there is very little interest in 'change for the sake of change'.

Twitter has been so bad with this lately. It feels like the app is different in some irritating and pointless way every time I open it.

When I did use twitter the only way that was even remotely tolerable was with a third party client (tweetbot was my client of choice; twitteriffic is quite good too).

The biggest benefit is you get a literal timeline that's unmanipulated by promoted tweets. I have no idea how anyone does anything remotely useful with the native twitter UI.

Yet every time the UI is still horrific. It’s like they’re trying the Edison way and trying to find the 99 ways not to do it.

This is why I only browse twitter from my notifications panel.

Twitter is great when it serves its purpose of being a 140 char log of people that matter.

They're running A/B tests... You like variant A, the majority picked variant B. Otherwise, someone new was hired and needed a project.

Nobody liked A or B, just some weird engagement metric chose B.

Maybe making it harder to find what you want makes you more likely to find what they want.

I used to enjoy using Spotify before they added podcasts; now it’s kinda a UX/UI mess.

I can understand Safari tabs. I assume that it all came about because they decided to change the location bar on iOS Safari, moving it to the bottom of the screen.

This is a good change -- it makes Safari much easier to use on iPhones with current screen sizes. But then they said "okay, we're making one big change to Safari... let's see if there's any other changes we can roll in, since we're making people learn new UI anyway". So they made all those other changes to how tabs behave in iOS Safari. And then kept on going and updated iPadOS Safari and MacOS Safari -- gets them a whole "we're improving Safari this year" slide in the keynote, etc etc etc.

...and then, to their credit, they listened to beta feedback and rolled back most of the poorly considered UI changes.

This seems the problem of every big company. Eventually they become slow and their priority becomes puzzling to people outside of the companies. Complexity aside, my theory is that as a company grows, the headcount always grows faster than the quantity of work, and more people become obsessed with visibility and promotion, which leads to promotion-oriented and visibility-oriented project planning. Consequently, product quality deteriorates over time, first slowly and then suddenly.

As soon as the company starts collecting metrics and sets up A/B testing infrastructure people can just implement whatever they want, as long as they keep improving these metrics. Very often there's no one who can take a look at the resulting mess and decide enough is enough. It's all just self-congratulatory meetings with extremely optimistic charts and an occassional employee complaining about the product being utterly broken and unusable.

I'm convinced A/B testing done wrong is what brought us step sisters stuck in washing machines.

Because someone needs to able to point at Thing and say they took iniative in implementing it, for career reasons

I worked with a developer at <household ecommerce company> whose main claim to fame was that she'd deleted more features than she'd added. We need more people like her.

eBay has deleted a lot of features that made my life better. There was no replacement -- things just suck more, now.

Delete code yes, features only if obnoxious.

What? No. Not if people used those features and found them valuable.

You're right. Dead or dying features that were bloating up the rest of the codebase, I should say.

I made a career of fixing broken things.

> who wants to work on the broken things?

So much of whats wrong with modern SWE right here in this sentence

I LOVE fixing bugs and improving existing software...hence, everyone thinks I'm a douche and I never get to do what I love.

I don't use my iphone for email because I get 200-300 emails per day, and there's no way to mass delete the inbox. I have to select-delete for every email.

You can drag down with two fingers held apart to select the messages. I use that fairly often, especially with search results. It's still not as fast as having a select-all button but does give you a chance to notice that not all of the messages are the same.

Well now I feel like an idiot because I have had an iPhone since the 4S and never knew this

How am I supposed to learn "tricks" like this? They seem to be basic stuff.

Neat! I was in the other sub-thread suggesting the slow one-finger version. Hopefully a few other apps use the same paradigm.

Walter Bright, is it possible you run an older version of iOS or that you use a different app than Mail? I completely believe what you’re experiencing; just trying to think why it’s happening to you…

It doesn't work when I try it. It just scrolls the screen.

It might be the tap-then-drag delay — I've been using this process for a few years so I know it works but I haven't seen it documented anywhere by Apple so I'm probably using different terminology.


That didn't work, either :-(

The whole screen just scrolls.

What works for me is to not attempt to time it at all. Simply place two fingers directly on a message. Leave them there. Wait a second, then start sliding down. The message list should immediately shift to the right, exposing selection "circles" at the left edge of each message. As you continue sliding downward, each circle you "pass" will become selected. You can continue holding as you reach the bottom of the screen to keep the selection going. If you overshoot the end of the area you want to delete, you can slide back up to unselect a few rows before releasing. This works in both Mail and Messages.

Ha - on the iPad there is an edit button that exposes the selection circles; never occurred to me there would be a way to do the same thing on the iPhone. Nice!

I put two fingers on a message. The message shades slightly. I slide down. The shading goes away, and the screen slides down. It does not slide right, it does not collect $200.

When I put two fingers at the same time on a message, the checkboxes immediately appear. If I'm even slightly off, the checkboxes never appear and instead I get to see the contents of the message when I let go.

I tried this again and again.

Wow. I didn’t know this. Thank you for sharing!

You’re welcome — I had the same reaction seeing a video a couple of years ago. Best kept secret…

In the Mail app, tap Edit, then select the empty checkbox to the left of the top email, then drag from the second email down to the bottom of the view (it'll autoscroll.) Then you can move or trash the emails all at once.

I tried this many times, it scrolls the whole screen down but does not select the emails.

Are you tapping and swiping down on the unchecked circles on the left? It scrolls the screen down if you swipe on the preview of the emails, but not the circles you see after you tap Edit int he upper right.

I tried that, too. It just scrolls the screen down, whether in the Edit mode or not.

Why would you delete emails? I still do not get people's email habits. I used to maintain my inbox back in the days before all the normies came online. Now I just scan, read the things that interest me, and move on. Same for every email...work, school, and personal.

Why would you use a phone for email. Plenty of desktop web clients work excellent and support the click1, shift-click2 or click1, shift-downArrow selection flows that are way faster than what the phone UIs can pull off.

10GB mailbox for work

> Which I get, on some level who wants to work on the broken things?

I love working on broken things just as much as working on new things. Sometimes the reason something is broken is because it was a difficult problem. I love those difficult problems.

When a product is good enough the UI/UX folks don't have anything left to do, so UI's keep being rebooted due to job safety.

As an anecdotal example that may be relevant, I wanted to upgrade to Monterey and my Mac Mini said there wasn't enough room.

Hooked up a Western Digital external drive that I had used on previous Macs and launched Time Machine. And that's when it started. Time Machine presented what seemed like a stack of Finder windows in the middle, a timeline with hash marks on the right-side and the only button highlighted was the "Cancel".

No menu, no other actionable buttons, no right-click menu. Nothing. So after hitting various key combos and mouse buttons, I decided that my 30+ minutes trying to use Apple's built-in backup software to backup a few folders was better spent finding 3rd party software.

And that was another user experience fail in my opinion for Apple and any "total quality" experience.

And that's not even talking about Safari or XCode or Pages or Numbers or iBooks not syncing and so many others.

Time Machine's insane UI isn't an example of Apple's software quality slipping; it's basically unchanged since it first shipped 14 years ago. It's more of just an example of how Apple's software never was as good as some people would like to pretend.

When I was at apple, we did this thing people called "keybote-driven development" where everything was made to look great in and keynote presentation to an exec. If it looked great you got the go ahead to finish it and ship it, and if not it got skipped. There are a lot of things to like about this approach. However, Time machine's UI to me feels like a quintessential blind spot of this incentive structure, where it looks visually striking and cool but actually using it for real use cases it often falls flat quickly. To update it you would need to fit the motivation and payoff in a keynote presentation and it's hard to do so.

Big yikes.

Remember that the 2007 iPhone demo had showed AT&T reception at full strength? That was hardcoded for the purpose of the Keynote. I recall iPhones having iffy phone reception for at least the first couple of years.

> Remember that the 2007 iPhone demo had showed AT&T reception at full strength?

With the help of therapy and psilocybin I got over that in 2016.

Not AT&T, but Cingular. Although I believe that Cingular was gone by the time the iPhone actually launched.

> Although I believe that Cingular was gone by the time the iPhone actually launched.

It was “gone” in the sense that it was renamed “AT&T Mobility”. (Cingular Wireless bought AT&T Wireless before the iPhone deal, but its parent company [SBC] later bought AT&T, adopted the AT&T name, and rebranded Cingular as AT&T Mobility.)

> When I was at apple, we did this thing people called "key[n]ote-driven development"...

> Big yikes.

If Apple's products are essentially sold via a "keynote", it makes sense to have a keynote presentation as the internal hurdle as well. If it can't be presented in way that looks like something people want to buy, there's no point in moving forward with the project.

Yeah but this is the classic type of bureaucratic effort-justification hurdle that leads to tech debt or just general crappiness never getting improved.

What do you hate about Time Machine?

I've used it since 2013. Every time I've bought a new MBP, I simply use time machine to restore and my new one looks exactly like my old one. Never had an issue.

I find it far easier to use than Duplicity, Iron Mountain ConnectedBackup, or Carbonite, all of which I've used at other jobs. (All of those require fine-grained backup tweaking that requires a lot of diligence to check boxes and set policies, and then fuss with awkward dialogs when trying to recover... duplicity is so effing weird... Time Machine just works and the time scroll seems very clever compared to the other three.)

I'd be interested to hear your problem(s) with it?

The specific complaint was "the insane UI," if I read the comment correctly. Time Machine's UI is possibly the last holdover from Apple's peak sizzle-and-flash design days, the era of brushed metal and skeuomorph-all-the-things even when there isn't exactly a real-world analogue to emulate.

To be fair, it's less insane in Monterey than it used to be. No wooshy space background, faster to launch, easier to scroll. But do we really need the "stacked window" view, for instance? Was that chosen originally because it's clearer than choosing a backup date from a dropdown menu, or was it chosen originally because we wanna look like we're using a sci-fi machine to GO BACK IN TIME woooo? I mean, we know the answer here, right?

Ah that's fair. The "Space Rolodex" theme is a bit motion-sickness inducing.

I find that useful because I can navigate to a folder where it used to live, and then flip back until the file I was looking for appears.

Compared to the alternatives: Connected Backup and Carbonite require me to manually enter dates until I find the file, and for a while Carbonite would keep closing the folder tree requiring me to re-expand every branch each time the date changed. However, duplicity requires me to dump the entire log and grep, which is a power user solution one could argue.

I think duplicity wins here because I can grep for the filename. But barfing Mac Rolodex can be helpful if I don't know the filename.

If you rotate your wallpaper every week or so it actually ends up being a pretty cool visual indicator that's probably more memorable for some people than a drop-down menu would be.

Ideally we'd have both obviously. The big issue with it for me is that it has a timeline on the right with each backup by date so you don't have to do the stacked windows, but there's no labels to indicate the span of dates. It only has a label on dates when you had backups but there are no labels to orient yourself in time when you start rolling back.

I think your difficulties may stem from thinking of Time Machine as a backup application, when the UI is designed around treating it as a core system component. The configuration is all handled through System Preferences, and the UI you entered was solely for viewing and restoring files from your backup archive. You probably also missed a prompt to use the drive for Time Machine backups when you first plugged it in.

Also, Time Machine is intended for full system backups, and using it for just a handful of folders not as easy as using it for everything.

Yea, the mistake encountered by the OP is that they were approaching the Time Machine UI with the intent of "I want to back up some folders".

The TM UI is solely about recovery. It backs up "everything" not on the "skip list". And out of the box it defaults to just the system drive (vs the system and external drives).

And that's an interesting facet here. This is a case of going in to a bookstore and scanning up and down the shelves and not finding what you want, and being frustrated, because you don't realize that you're simply in the wrong section. The TM UI in this case was frustrating because it had no options to do what the person wanted to do. And by design, it would not do what they wanted to do.

It's not a UI fault of TM per se, specifically this aspect of the TM experience. TM excels at full drive recovery, and recovering "a few, select" files. In the middle, it's not so good.

It's worked great for me. I've recovered from it several times, both entire systems and a few files. I use it solely on my main drive, and I use BackBlaze for the entirety of it all as a hat tip to offsite DR.

Over the years, I've lost a couple of TM volumes to strange corruption. Not that much of a crisis, I just reset it and start over.

Time Machine has been neglected for so long. The UI was never great for power users, but at least it worked. For a novice computer user it was a pretty good "set it and forget it" experience. In the last 3 years it has become so unreliable (every time it tries to backup it claims the backup is corrupted and needs to be re-created) that I've given up and switched to Carbon Copy Cloner.

Ever since they stopped building wireless routers, Apple has forgotten Time Machine in favor of pushing iCloud backups for separate services.

But there’s still no good alternative to Apple’s old routers. I tried to buy a new router for gigabit internet last year, and the interfaces are so piss-poor and the performance so pathetic across the board that I ended up getting the last generation of Airport Extreme instead. I get 800ish down, 500ish up on wifi, so as far as I can tell I’m not missing out on anything aside from 6E, which my devices don’t support anyway.

I really hope Apple starts making routers with Apple Silicon soon. With incorporated Time Capsule backups, too. That’s the only way that they’ll stop neglecting the software.

I can highly recommend Eero. They Just Work, and they work much better than Apple's networking ever equipment did.

I just replaced the previous generation of equipment in my partner's house (1920's plaster and lath construction) with a set of eero6s. A set of four gives full strength signal throughout the entire place (including the basement)s and all of the outside areas. (Not really that impressive though because it's a small lot.)

There's no drop at all as you wander from zone to zone.

The home networking scene is so bad. I had a Time Machine and and Airport Extreme, but it was not capable of PPPoE login to Centurylink's network, and I wanted to get rid of the Zyxel router that Centurylink provided.

I ended up getting a Linksys Velop MX8400C 2 pack from Costco for $230, since that was the lowest price I could find for something that did PPPoE login and could be hardwired together. I wanted the ability to do multiple VLANs via wireless like Meraki, but I could not find anything. Even the Meraki Go stuff does not do it.

Most people will just bridge mode the modem from the ISP to their router so that the router itself doesn't have to authenticate, which is probably why most home routers don't have PPPoE.

Actually, I miswrote, it is PPPoE login with VLAN tagging that you need to login to Centurylink’s fiber network.

I guess the apple time capsule and airports were too old to get that VLAN capability, since they stopped being made 5+ years ago.

A lot of the new home routers have the ability to PPPoE with VLAN tagging though.

> In the last 3 years it has become so unreliable (every time it tries to backup it claims the backup is corrupted and needs to be re-created)

This bit me and I've not fully recovered yet. I had some stuff backed up manually, but some stuff I just trusted to the time machine backups. Now that some of the backups are unrecoverable I only have easy access to the stuff I backed up manually. I'm interested in trying CCC, but part of the reason things went south for me was apparently due to closing my laptop mid backup to a network TM volume and I'm curious if CCC can handle that any better. Do you use CCC for network backups and have you ever had issues with it?

My condolences. It is an absolute nightmare trying to find any documentation for dealing with time machine issues. I ran into that once and will never do it again if I can avoid it.

I have been super happy with CCC. I use it to back up my Macbooks to my NAS. Sometimes wired, sometimes wireless. And yes, it doesn't break when it gets interrupted. And their documentation is amazing. All the use cases and error cases are documented with solutions and everything.

I think I had two or three recoveries so far and have been happy with it. Even when it didn't work for some reason their documentation had workarounds.

Keyword here: Neglected.

At this point, my decision to use a particular piece of software or a specific feature within an OS/App/Website/etc based on perceived risk of that software being neglected.

Usually you can make this call based on features being added, but most of the time it's a gamble.

Many years ago I worked at a place where we all had external drives plugged into cinema displays that acted as Time Machine drives for our laptops. The backups regularly failed, OSX would suddenly decide it didn't like it and you'd have to clear it and start again. I don't believe Time Machine could reliably cope with drives that were periodically disconnected perhaps. I had the same problem with a NAS device and my personal mac, it would periodically just decide the backups were screwed.

Same here. CCC is several orders of magnitude faster than Time Machine and it just works.

I stopped using Time Machine years ago when they started using hidden permissions on Time Machine backups that made it impossible to "garden" my family's backups on the network backup drive. Even as root, you couldn't delete old backups -- you had to log in to the particular user's computer to delete old backups.

And then they came out with APFS which didn't support the directory hardlinks which Apple invented and Time Machine depended on. WTF Apple?

> I stopped using Time Machine years ago when they started using hidden permissions on Time Machine backups that made it impossible to "garden" my family's backups on the network backup drive. Even as root, you couldn't delete old backups -- you had to log in to the particular user's computer to delete old backups.

You can no longer do that, AFAIK. Not even from the same user account or from root, since TM volumes are set by APFS as read-only except to Time Machine itself.

> every time it tries to backup it claims the backup is corrupted and needs to be re-created

I had that problem repeatedly, but used the same backup drive with Monterey and it worked flawlessly, with better feedback (TM's menu gave a percentage on the pre-copy, "counting file changes" stage), so I was pleasantly surprised.

It's too bad, because it could be a set-it-and-forget-it solution if it were more reliable.

I gave up and wrote a Python script that calls Borg Backup. At least it's more customisable.

Yesterday I prepared a few years old Windows laptop for my daughter to use in school.

It took me a few hours just to install updates, remove bloatware (my oh my, the amount is staggering!) and fix privacy settings. And this was for Windows 10 which I hear is a mild version of a mess that Windows 11 is.

I was instantly reminded why I appreciate Apple software more.

1. Yes first thing I run if I ever have to use a Windows PC is this little gem called Shutup 10 (1).

2. Then there is another software called 10AppsManager (2) to remove further bloatware like Onedrive, Skype, etc.

3. After that I visit ninite.com (3) to get the usual software without toolbars and spyware.

4. For other software like ffmpeg I use choco or chocolatey (4).

I am now a full time linux user but this was the least painful way to get my PC running before that. I'm sure things have changed or improved since, but this really worked for me 2 years ago.. hope this helps someone.

(1) https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

(2) https://www.thewindowsclub.com/10appsmanager-windows-10

(3) https://www.ninite.com

(4) https://chocolatey.org/

This is great! Thanks!

I am forced to use a Windows machine sometimes for work, and to me the unpardonable sin is that Windows seems to randomly reboot _without asking me_! I come to my office and all my open sessions are gone. How do you turn this off?! I try turning off the setting but it randomly turns itself back on.

Also, how do people set up a reasonable dev environment not built around Visual Studio? On my Mac I just use Terminal + MacVim (with my plugins), so I don't have particularly demanding needs. I tried WSL, but its just Linux side-by-side with Windows, not integrated with windows. If that's what I wanted I would just use Linux, but I need a command-line where I can still build Windows apps. Currently I use bash-for-git (so I can run `cmake --build ...`) but its so non-standard in lots of ways that it drives me a little nutty.

> I am forced to use a Windows machine sometimes for work, and to me the unpardonable sin is that Windows seems to randomly reboot _without asking me_! I come to my office and all my open sessions are gone. How do you turn this off?!

That's the neat part, you don't! Windows loves to revert those settings after every major update, even if you dig into the registry and scheduler and change the settings at the source. It is one of my biggest gripes.

One of the best things Apple added to macOS a while back was the reopen all windows on startup. I don't even think twice about rebooting my Mac any more. Windows could sorely use the equivalent.

One way I dramatically reduce the amount of random reboots is I have a thing that looks like a USB flash drive but it has a few switches on the side - one of them, when activated, randomly moves the mouse every 1-5 minutes (there is also a hardware wheel knob that lets you customize the duration). It was meant to be a practical joke thing - slip it onto the back of a friends PC and drive them nuts, but it works great at tricking Windows to think the computer is being actively used. It doesn't stop all reboots caused by Windows updates, but it dramatically reduces them.

I also use it to keep my work PC awake when attending online meetings, or especially when I'm presenting. We have mandatory screen saver timeouts and for some reason I can't convince the IT overlords to tweak group policy to allow non-admins the ability to enable presentation mode. Oh well. At least they haven't resorted to only allowing whitelisted USB devices to run so my little joke USB fob still does its thing. I got it from Think Geek in their heyday but there are tons of similar devices on Amazon.

Tell your browser to reopen the tabs it had when it exits. Try looking into these settings as well: https://www.windowsdigitals.com/windows-10-reopen-applicatio...

I moved from Linux to Windows for less hassle with hardware and sleep. I stopped using windows because of the reboot issue (and hassle with sleep...laptops kept waking and burning out in my bag). I went to ridiculous lengths to avoid it rebooting when I had a bunch of VMs running doing long-running computations and it just kept biting me. Sometimes the VM disk would get corrupted from this.

Eventually I realized it hated me and wanted me to fail in life, or perhaps click on all the crappy games or whatever it insisted on installing from time to time.

I don't love everything about macOS, but it's the least bad option and to my mind and for my needs, it's not even close.

The idea to regularly update "Active Hours", so that Windows can never update, implemented as a simple script https://github.com/marcosbozzani/Win10ActiveHours still works for me to this day.

I used the debugger method[0] to control Windows Update. It redirects the call to the reboot scheduler that is called by Windows Update.

This has worked flawlessly for almost two years and multiple Windows feature updates.

0: https://lazyadmin.nl/it/how-to-stop-automatic-restart-win-10...

> Windows seems to randomly reboot _without asking me_! I come to my office and all my open sessions are gone.

You’re not safe from reboots even if you’re actively using the machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReHafyiDTR0

Reboots should be configurable via Windows Update settings if these aren't taken over by a group policy. Last time I've dealt with random reboots turned out to be a hardware issue (bluescreen->autoreboot).

Note that Windows now has an official package manager called WinGet (https://github.com/microsoft/winget-cli), which worked very well when I tried it a few months ago; Skype and OneDrive can now be uninstalled without an external tool; and disabling all telemetry also seems to weaken antivirus protection.

Is it named after apt-get ? (loved Debian and always will)

I guess? :) There’s also NuGet in Visual Studio.

Just a quick shoutout to Ruckzuck (https://ruckzuck.tools/)

I like it far more than Ninite and it is a good way to find some open source software that you may not have heard about or used before, quickly install the programs, and keep them up to date with only a few clicks.

Omg...Skype for business has been dead forever but the app lives on. Can't be removed...I have deleted it manually and it still starts up. Wtf?

Perhaps I should spend more time figuring this out. Meh.

From (1)

> Some services … share your WLAN access data with your facebook contacts

Is that true? There’s no citation but seems a lot more flagrant a violation than I’d expected from Windows.

This is some great stuff. Thank you! I'm definitely going to lean into chocolatey. My daily driver is Linux but I still need a Windows machine around.

They haven't changed. That's nearly the exact process I still use for for work and home PCs.

Why use ninite instead of chocolatey ? what's the difference?

Late, but in looking at things it looks like there are a significant number of things that Ninite will install and Chocolatey does not. While one can re-run the Ninite installer later for updates I do prefer the less all-or-nothing model of Chocolatey.

In reality, you just don't realise how much bloatware osx has. Install a firewall and watch as studentd or 100 other services you never use contacts apple.

Edit: List of most recent and trying not to include things that may be useful to me syncdefaultsd, nsurlsessiond, apsd, cloudd, transparencyd, mapspushd, cloudphotod, akd, parsec-fbf, appstoreagent, AddressBookSourceSync, com.apple.iCloudHelper.xpc, familycircled, trustd, AssetCacheLocatorService.xpc, imagent, indentyservicesd, com.apple.sbd, studentd, airportd, configd, parsecd, com.apple.geod.xpc, com.apple.geod.xpc, avconferenced, rapportd, trustd, remindd, helpd, syspolicyd

Long list right.... that's from the previous 3 hours.

So basically in that list you’re suggesting disabling the ability to download web content, syncing of address books, getting updated security signatures, connecting to iCloud, downloading dynamic assets that many apps use to reduce initial size and provide non-binary updates, Siri keyword suggestions in Safari, Airdrop, Maps integration, push notifications for Messages, etc.

Most Apple users will definitively want those on, and will break your system in subtle ways if you disable them. I wouldn’t make such assumptions about whatever you use the service or not. If you don’t use a service, it typically will have very little traffic if any at all.

>If you don’t use a service, it typically will have very little traffic if any at all.

Like I said this was all from the last 3 hours and I haven't used any of those services listed. It's also missing the point a bit, I'm not bandwidth poor on a 3G connection trying to save my datacap.

I don't want apple turning my laptop into a thinclient for their cloud systems. I don't want telemetry and meta data going to them every ~30 seconds (the little snitch icon flashes a red X every time something is blocked, it's on a per minute basis).

Of all those services I use calendarsync. I miss having airdrop a little bit but everything else I don't need.

Also, the way you've phrased some of those, especially the notarisation

> getting updated security signatures

is a bit disingenuous when there's a massive privacy implication in that it allows apple to know every single application I run on my computer.

Most Apple users wouldn't agree to that if you stuck it in their face and the fact that it breaks the OS in subtle ways is a user hostile position to argue from. Hence why I'm giving up my Apple addicition.

> getting updated security signatures

AKA phoning-home to Apple what apps you launch in realtime, in an unencrypted manner visible to your ISP/hotel/government too.

It also connects to all of that crap even if you have LS off, analytics off, iCloud/FaceTime/iMessage/AppStore off, et c.

Press F8 and your serial number gets transmitted to Apple.

I guarantee you there are no unencrypted communications going to Apple.

Hostname: ocsp.apple.com

IP Addresses: 2600:1402:e::b833:965b




  + 17  more
TCP Port: http (80)

Protocol: TCP

Connected: no

Connects: 0 allowed, 7,359 denied

First Activity: 2/11/21, 22:20

Last Activity: 5h 29m ago

Yea sorry, sneak's right, it's still going port 80.

Perhaps I'm wrong. I thought encrypted checks came out with Monterey?

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202491 (bottom)

What data is actually going over OCSP? I thought it was only ever checking for revocation and not actually sending app data, and I believe only ever happens when you want to take an app out of quarantine versus every app launch. You can always disable gatekeeper if you so please.

It does check for revocation. Using the developer's unique certificate ID, which, for the vast majority of developers, uniquely identifies an app. Over unencrypted HTTP.

OCSP over unencrypted http has not yet been replaced. I believe that the constellation of apps (identified by proxy by their developer IDs which are transmitted) can in a lot of cases uniquely identify a system, given a sufficient number of apps installed/used.

Wanna bet? Apple still hasn't yet made good on their promise of encrypting OCSP (the making of which I would like to believe is my fault).

the making of which I would like to believe is my fault

How so?

> Most Apple users will definitively want those on, and will break your system in subtle ways if you disable them.

What happened to the good old days of "ask for user consent before phoning home"?

I mean, Apple is miles ahead of Windows in that regard, but your average Linux or BSD setup won't phone home outside of repository downloads unless requested.

I think you have your target demographics mixed up for MacOS and Linux. Once you reframe it in that light, you've answered your question. One is a poweruser who wants complete control of their environment, the other is a much broader user who wants a convenience of experience and safe environment. Trade offs to both of them.

The only happy medium I would consider to your approach is that if MacOS had two set up routes, one defaulting as a power user turning everything off and then initiating things are you want and another as a general user. Maybe that would solve it (though would be a heavy lift I am sure).

This is the Little Snitch[0] problem. If you have ever used Little Snitch, you will soon realize that 1) there is so much crap phoning home and 2) most people do not want to deal with giving permission to each and every one of these services.

I have tried giving permission and at the end of the day, it's just not worth the time. For me, Little Snitch is great as a reporting tool but it's just too much work as a firewall.


> most people do not want to deal with giving permission to each and every one of these services.

It’s far worse than just annoying: if people have to give permission to a bunch of things they don’t understand, they will absolutely give permission to something they shouldn’t.

You want the user to make a few decisions as possible, and every single one should be an actual decision: where the user knows what the options are, has an actual stake, and might legitimately choose either option depending on their preferences and circumstance.

The more times they have to click “yes” without thinking, the more susceptible to malware they become.

I think this is a bit of an odd take, given that the alternative is that the computer just silently allows you to download content from anywhere. I don't think this makes someone any more susceptible to malware than they already were. Little Snitch is the sort of software that the average person wouldn't install, anyway.

I understand the point, though. Going to just about any major website you will be pummeled with prompts to allow for a dozen different domains just to view one page, and it doesn't really give any indication of what those are used for. They have a what seems to be infinitesimally small list of connections that they do recognize and explain their use, but ultimately it's pretty useless for the vast majority of prompts.

I'd like there to be a better way to deal with this, but I'm not really sure what the solution to it would look like. You can download blocklists and just silently allow other connections, but I don't think that's significantly better than just using a hosts file.

The most useful thing Little Snitch does is alert me when individual applications try to phone home. For browsing the web it feels more like a chore.

> the computer just silently allows you to download content from anywhere

How many times have you been asked to approve a download? How many of those times have you said "no"?

If the answer is "hundreds" and "zero," what's the point? If the answer "hundreds" and "ten just in the past week," then that's exactly the point, and it serves a valuable purpose.

My response was mostly to your last sentence, "The more times they have to click 'yes' without thinking, the more susceptible to malware they become." There exists a dichotomy of you click on a link, it loads the page or begins the download or alternatively, you click the link, Little Snitch checks its filters and if it doesn't have a rule set, it'll prompt you to set one. In no case is the second one going to make someone more susceptible to malware, because the worst case scenario, where someone approves every single download, results in exactly identical outcomes as the person who does not have Little Snitch installed.

I agree broadly with your point that prompt fatigue or decision fatigue is problematic and should be avoided when possible. I think this is a problem in particular with Little Snitch even, which doesn't do enough to provide. However, the point of Little Snitch is to allow someone to monitor and control the traffic at a granular level and the consequence of providing that utility is the frequent prompts whenever you're visiting a new site. To Obdev's credit, silent mode exists and you can set it to deny or allow all traffic without a prompt (and evaluate the traffic at your leisure).

Yep. I have a system tray CPU monitor running on both my Linux mint and mac computers. On mint when I don’t touch the computer it just sits at 0% basically all the time. On macos there’s always some junk flitting around doing who knows what. photoanalysisd, or sending telemetry for 3rd party apps, or iCloud syncing or something. It’s like the 2 E cores are there just to run apple’s bloaty crap. Shame those processes don’t limit themselves to E cores.

Is there any way to turn all this stuff off?

Jesus Christ, thank you. People act as if bullshit like TV and FaceTime are perfectly innocuous binaries without 6478 daemons molesting your memory irrespective of deliberate use & permissions.

I agree with the previous person that Windows has more bloat. I don't want the 3-5 3rd party games it pre-installs and several other things. I also agree with you though. For me, All the Apple software is stuff I don't use so when I get a new Mac the first thing is removing Mail, Maps, Contacts, Pages, Photos, Calendar, Facetime, Reminders, AppleTV, Music, Keynote, and more and then removing the bloat widgets like News, Stocks, etc...

> removing Mail, Maps, Contacts, Pages, Photos, Calendar, Facetime, Reminders, AppleTV, Music, Keynote, and more and then removing the bloat widgets like News, Stocks, etc

All of the things in your list are just apps that can be removed with one click. My partner’s PC comes pre-installed with masses of hidden spyware. I know the kneejerk reaction is to bash Apple for everything - but the two are totally not comparable.

Many of those are useful to me even if you don’t care about them…which proves your point: there’s no reasonable (and sometimes none at all) way to pick and choose.

Opt-in is no longer seen as a reasonable solution?

You’re automatically “opting in” whether you want to or not, so it’s hard to see what’s optional here.

Does it make a difference if you disable all of the iCloud stuff in settings? I let it sync most of my stuff so it moves between platforms, but I always assumed it wouldn't phone home for services where syncing is disabled. If it does this anyway, seems like a mistake.

Hey so I’ll be getting my first MacBook Pro in a couple weeks, so I’m still learning the details about OS X. I’m coming from a windows / Linux background.

I thought the OS shipped with its own firewall? Would you recommend using a third party firewall despite having its own?

Get little snitch. This is a firewall that dosen't care what apple thinks is useful.

There was some controversy in the previous year because apple tried to deprecate the firewall hooks and allow their junk passed the replacement they offered.

I'm leaving apple for linux as we speak for two reasons, privacy and they can't help but mess with shit every time they release an update.

The most recent, this week they released an update and now their airport service listens on port 5000 making a conflict with running a dev flask service locally.

> I'm leaving apple for linux as we speak for two reasons, privacy and they can't help but mess with shit every time they release an update.

"Mess with shit" was what drove me to Linux by around 2015. It seemed like every major MacOS upgrade torched my Eclipse-based Java dev environment, generally requiring a reinstall.

I mean, you can turn that off. Is changing a port such a showstopper?

I’ve flip flopped for years, (I was using freebsd more than 20 years ago, genuinely ran Solaris 10 with my own build of kde4 on a hp probook, etc) but last time I tried to use Linux for work I got defeated by a conference suite projector at a client and it cost us a big contract. The happy path (for me anyway) is doing all actual dev work on Linux vms and using macOS as your browser/im/terminal client — which it’s great at.

And it works with those stupid little projector dongles at clients when you’re trying to pitch them 6 figures of consulting ;)

> I’ve flip flopped for years, (I was using freebsd more than 20 years ago, genuinely ran Solaris 10 with my own build of kde4 on a hp probook, etc) but last time I tried to use Linux for work I got defeated by a conference suite projector at a client and it cost us a big contract. The happy path (for me anyway) is doing all actual dev work on Linux vms and using macOS as your browser/im/terminal client — which it’s great at.

It takes about one time of "this didn't work and it's your fault for using Linux" in a business context to break one of using Desktop Linux (or BSD, et c.), I think. I doubt similar stories are uncommon. I've got one, certainly.

At least if MacOS or Windows breaks, you're not the asshole. And it doesn't hurt that they in fact do break less often (well, Win10 with its abrupt, unexpected, and slow forced updates was a real problem for a while, but otherwise)

>There was some controversy in the previous year because apple tried to deprecate the firewall hooks and allow their junk passed the replacement they offered.

Funny how framing something that's true (allowing apple software to bypass firewalls) is seen as a controversy. See previous discussion on hn: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24838816

Lulu is as good as Little Snitch and free. It's by Objective-See. https://objective-see.com/products/lulu.html


Windows and Linux user for 25 years [EDIT Windows for 25, Linux for 20, to be more precise], heavy macOS user (in addition to those) for the last 10 or so.

If it has a firewall of any kind, I've never noticed nor interacted with it. I've also never installed a third party firewall.

Firewalls can do two things, mainly. Block inbound connections, block outbound connections. The macOS firewall is mainly intended for the former. Many folks want to prevent the latter (e.g. blocking phone home connections).

The OS firewall can only block incoming traffic (but not Apple's I believe) and has almost no configuration options.

Some popular third party solutions that are actually useful are Little Snitch [0], LuLu [1], and AdGuard [2].

[0] https://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

[1] https://objective-see.com/products/lulu.html

[2] https://adguard.com/en/adguard-mac/overview.html

Mac OS comes with pf installed. This can block inbound and outbound traffic. There is a utility called Murus that manages this with a GUI, https://www.murusfirewall.com

Thanks, forgot about pf! Murus seems the perfect middle-ground for when day-to-day management through commandline tools is too much (I lasted for about a week!), but GUI tools sometimes too restrictive.

Apple ships the pf fireball by default. It's a powerful firewall (same as OpenBSD AFAIK) but the way Apple configures it is very permissive. You can use a utility like Murus to configure it to your liking, although the configuration is rather complicated. It's also a network-level firewall, not an application-level firewall.

If you'd like an application-level firewall, you can check out Lulu or Little Snitch. Back when Little Snitch still(?) installed kernel extensions, it was found to be quite insecure—there were talks at DEFCON about it. Lulu is a lesser-known alternative.


There are multiple firewall options, but it's worth noting that Apple can circumvent them at a kernel-level if they want to phone home. You should think long and hard about how much you trust Apple before switching everything over.

The pf firewall is unaffected and can stop any calls to Apple.

But that's 1st party vs. 3rd party, big difference!

I can't tell if this is a defense or outrage? 1st party seems worse as, depending on the purpose, it might be harder to remove.

Yeah that sucks, but on OSX side I have to restart my computer every week or so because of forced updates.

Restarting really is a big deal for me as my workspace consists of several dozen open windows, some of them I have to login, navigate to a particular place, etc... also you lose your train of thought. It has gotten that bad for me, that I have to take screenshots before restarting every time, so I don't lose track of where I was.

I understand not everybody has my same use case but for me it truly is a PITA.

Of course, the alternative is to just click on "Install Later" every 8 hours for the rest of your life, and then the one time you miss that button for a few pixels and click on "Install Now" everything gets closed and obliterated in an instant. But yeah, at least now I have the latest version of Safari which I haven't used in 10 years.

> Yeah that sucks, but on OSX side I have to restart my computer every week or so because of forced updates.

Huh? I think I restart my Mac for updates perhaps quarterly, and I can't recall it ever being forced.

Perhaps we live in different realities that happen to be connected through Hacker News.

In my timeline, Apple users have to deal with this -> https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201222

But you don't have to update. The consequence is that every day you have to choose "Ask me later" on the notification that pops up once a day, but that's a lot easier than restoring everything I have open. I only update when I have to reboot for some reason.

This nagging is currently my #1 reason for considering switching away from OS X.

The really weird thing is that I have an older iMac that seems to be powered on constantly (albeit with the screen off - I don't understand why) and also an M1 Macbook Air which does genuinely go to sleep with the lid closed. I seldom use either of them more than once every week or two. The iMac sporadically reboots itself without my consent, presumably to install updates. The Macbook Air has been running since the day it was delivered to my door without ever rebooting (100+ days uptime).

Sure, read the last paragraph of my original comment.

Of course its better to have a system which will not install the updates automatically and will just be stuck at restart (windows 10 wink).

If i disable apple updates on a macbook, it will show the notification but will never update without my permission, good luck doing that on windows.

You are not forced to update on windows pro, only in the home edition

MacOS Monterey added an option to disable automatic updates. It's been the biggest annoyance for years, now it's just a checkbox in settings.

> MacOS Monterey added an option to disable automatic updates. It's been the biggest annoyance for years, now it's just a checkbox in settings

The ability to disable automatic updates goes back far more years than I can remember - possibly even a decade.

You could disable the auto install, but not the nag.

Thank you, I didn't know that. That's actually a big incentive for me to update.

I get updates every two weeks, and I’m on the developer builds of macOS. There’s no way you’re getting weekly, mandatory macOS updates.

Definitely not defending windows here, but don't you find that macs come with bloatware as well? Safari, apple music, maps, etc - some of which you cannot uninstall as well.

The difference is that none of that stuff is running in the background when you aren't using it. Maps doesn't take up a global menu slot. Apple Music doesn't open unless you explicitly open it (unless you happen to hit an Apple Music URL on the web). You can ignore it and it doesn't bother you. Whereas on Windows, bloatware tends to add a Start menu icon, tray icon, background process, startup item, etc.

And Apple's built-in apps aren't harmful, they're just unnecessary. In the early 2000s, my parents got me a Mac that came with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. :-)

I never found a way of disabling the automatic starting of iTunes when you press the play/pause button on the keyboard. How do I choose my own music player app?

And my new Mac has things like (can't remember exactly) 'musiccreationd'.

These count as 'startup items' to me.

If you're running a non-iTunes music app (including web pages, on newer versions of macOS), the play/pause button goes to whichever one last grabbed the audio. So if you start VLC (or whatever) first thing (or add it to the auto-start items), then the play/pause button will always go there.

It always worked as a pause/play for already playing media, my complaint was about its use as a launcher. Made muscle memory tricky as its behaviour depended on what was running at the time.

There's a great little utility called BetterTouchTool that will customize the default play button app. It can do a bunch of other little things, too. https://folivora.ai

You can use software like this to customize media keys: http://beardedspice.github.io/

I believe it’s just in System Preferences -> Keyboard, but may be mistaken.

I had a another look in "Keyboard Shortcuts". Lots of shortcuts, including a category called 'App shortcuts'. No mention of iTunes / Apple Music. I think it's just hard-coded in the OS.

Last time I got a fresh Mac, the bloatware all had an icon on the dock - so that is a combination of a start menu entry AND a tray icon.

Grab it with your mouse, drag it off the dock, done.

I guess I’m not really seeing what I’m supposed to be outraged about, here. Modifying the stuff in the dock on OSX isn’t difficult or unintuitive at all? Just grab the stuff you don’t want on there and drag it out, and grab the stuff you do want on there and drag it in? It’s just using the standard desktop metaphor and interface, and you’re in no danger of breaking fragile uninstall scripts like you would be if you manually removed a program’s entry from the start menu on Windows. It really isn’t comparable at all.

> Grab it with your mouse, drag it off the dock, done.

Same thing with Windows too.

Really? That doesn't seem to work for system tray icons for me. Are you certain?

Little Snitch says otherwise.

Sure, but Win 10/11 have had stuff like candy crush and other 3rd party apps installed by default for a bit. MacOS only has 1st party bloat, which may be a big difference for some.

Fair point, I agree there's a difference.

First party bloat is arguably worse.

Definitely a difference between first and third party bloatware though

Sounds like your PC vendor installed a whole bunch of crap. I put W10 on a fresh PC just a couple of months back and it was a painless process. It was a W10 Pro ISO from Microsoft.

I deploy windows 10 pro.

Loaded down with crap.

What businesses want Xbox companion and xbox game bar running on all their work computers - seriously -> if you are on Microsoft search for xbox on your work computer.

Does Candy Crush Saga still come on the business pro ISO installs? That used to make the office laugh - who is paying $200/machine to get candy crush saga pre-installed.

In fact, the trick was they also had a separate app called app updater that would reload these things even if you uninstalled Candy Crush.

Too funny! The only way to get candy crush to go away was to uninstall it, then uninstall app updater - though people didn't date do that biz side because they didn't know what else app updater supported.


Every business should enable & demo Xbox Game bar. The video capture is awesome for helping debug things. Just record what's happening & send it over with your Help Desk ticket.

It's free, easy to use & comes with Windows.

Microsoft could & should also just load that as a stand alone tool like the snipping tool. But they haven't, so I encourage Xbox Game bar.

yeah, the xbox game bar was useful to do some video capture as a one-off.

I don't have the same experience as you, sorry I am not sure why you're facing so many issues with an OS install. What does your IT department say? Any troubleshooting steps?

Installed W10 Pro last summer, no candy crush in sight, no tricks done.


This is the way.

The last time I looked at Windows computers at Best Buy a year ago, anything mid-level and below was almost unusable because McAfee was using all the CPU.

I bought a Windows laptop (wanted to game with a modern-ish GPU). Step 1 was uninstall McAfee, and turn on Windows Defender for some modicum of protection. There are error popups for software I haven't installed when it boots. My parents have a new Windows computer which was showing popups advertising an extended warranty when I visited this weekend.

A fresh install of Win10 from the Microsoft ISO is very different from the typical factory configuration found on new hardware.

I did the same. I disagree. It required two rounds of reboots even though it was the latest iso and the Ethernet didn’t work (i219). Then whenever the thing goes to sleep all the windows move to the top left of the screen when it wakes up.

Sorry to hear you're facing issues with the install! I simply presented my own experience, I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, so I am not sure what you're disagreeing with!

Just that it represents a roll of the dice and hardware configuration.

I put the boy on an old Dell Vostro running Fedora.

Installation and updates took about 30 minutes.

Updating the machine is a `sudo dnf update` and done.

Though I did get in trouble when I shelled into his machine did and update and rebooted without checking he was using it first - killing his call to his (not)girlfriend in the process.

He's just start secondary (high) school and they are using Google Classroom so all he really needs is a browser and a webcam/mic.

I am thinking of starting the young man with Ubuntu, rather than Windows or OSX. Since his (not) gf only uses iPhone tech, I won't be able to accidentally interrupt any calls.

I wonder if FaceTime web [1] actually will work on Firefox or Chromium on Linux.

[1]: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212619

Take a look at neon. Probably a good distribution for a kid. I still run my kids computers so they run arch.

Was that a few year old installation of Fedora?

Windows is horrible in this regard. And what's worse is that the users seem not to care such that this behavior proliferates. I have a windows machine that I take it offline and want it running at all times. No updates possible, Wi-Fi is turned of right? Wrong, windows does restart machine and enables Wi-Fi. It pisses me to no end how little control I have of this machine

Sounds like you're just using the basic toggle switch to "disable" Wi-Fi when that's not really the purpose of the switch. If you actually want the Wi-Fi disabled, you have to do it right. Do it in the UEFI menu, or disable it in Device Manager if that option isn't available. It won't get re-enabled if you do it right.

You're absolutely right if I wanted to disable Wi-Fi permanently. The problem is that I want it enabled at times without rebooting the system.

So that rules out the UEFI method, but you can enable and disable in Device Manager without a reboot.

I'm no fan of Microsoft, but a vanilla Windows 10 install isn't very bloated imo. Did you perhaps start with an image provided by the laptop vendor? It's not Microsoft's fault that they're usually full of trash.

I think perhaps you are in the EU and were using the "N" version of windows 10. I realized that the normal windows 10 installs a LOT of bloatware (Like I don't need candy crush), while the N version did not do that.

Oh that's a good point.

I'm in the US, but yes whenever I select the image to download I do pick the N version.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really matter who’s fault it is from the perspective of the user.

All the windows computers at the computer shop ship with bloated 3rd party crap. Except the apple computers. It’s also not Google’s fault that most android vendors don’t support old devices for long. Or Linux’s fault that hardware vendors make linux drivers an afterthought.

As a consumer, I don’t care why any of this happens. I just want the things I buy to work properly.

Who decides what's bloat? macOS ships with Apple News, Podcasts, the App Store, Books, Garageband, Stocks, iMovie, Keynote, etc. A lot of their stuff is even pinned to the taskbar by default. Should be consider that bloat? I don't need any of those programs (or prefer alternatives), so it seems like it's bloat for me.

Yes it is bloat. But there is a difference in easy to get rid bloat (just delete them in Apple) vs needing to change registry settings, etc and jump over several hoops to remove the bloat that comes with windows

I’m not sure. The bloat meter in my mind certainly goes up when these programs start phoning home to update stocks or whatever. (Despite me never even opening that program).

I should definitely have the option to turn this crap off if I want to - without needing a 3rd party program like little snitch to do so.

Is this not true on Mac? Updates in particular take forever on MacOS. I find Windows updates take like 5 minutes usually. MacOS has been a half hour or more for some of the point updates I've done.

Bloatware is still there, iMovie, Garageband, iWork is IMO bloat. Slightly more quality bloat maybe but I don't need 20GB taken up by stuff I'll literally never use.

IMovie, GarageBand and iWork are not installed by default and you can remove them at any time.

Recent Mac OS updates are monolithic signed binaries that load into the protected disk partitions reserved for the OS. This is security feature to limit which processes can modify the OS. The downside is that it can’t do differential updates. I hope that, at some point, Apple will work out how to securely do differential updates and speed this up, but I’m satisfied with slower updates if it maintains security.

I just got a brand new Macbook Air M1 a few days ago. It probably took an hour to update to Monterey out of the box. It failed and I had to reboot a few times and re-install again.

Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Garage Band, and iMovie are pre-installed. I don't use these apps and they are easy to uninstall, but they definitely came pre-loaded.

When did they stop including them because they were absolutely included on both the Macs I bought a few years ago...

The are still included and installed by default.

Windows in the Ballmer Era, Vista to Windows 8, was a disaster. Windows 10 was released a year after Satya Nadella took over and was an improvement. Windows 11 of the Nadella era is a big improvement. It seems like Microsoft decided to spend the money to get it right to create something stable and pleasing. I've been running it for a month and highly recommend it. I think a big attraction to Mac OS is that the UI hasn't changed much over the years. Time will tell if Microsoft is on board with that. I don't listen to the Microsoft or Apple haters who are always on here telling me one or the other sucks.

Win11 UI is noticeably bad. Harder to read, harder to notice buttons. Useful functionality is hidden behind more clicks, etc...

It might have some aesthetic value, but it's not necessarily nicer, just different and more trendy. Which quickly wears off.

I believe Windows 11 is that last desktop machine UI we'll see for awhile from Microsoft as they intend to refine and improve this one and stop irritating people with changes. I'm happy finding work arounds for things that don't work for me. For example, I can no longer read the time from the task bar from a distance, so I have a browser tab loaded with a time service that I like better. https://www.clocktab.com/

> I believe Windows 11 is that last desktop machine UI we'll see for awhile from Microsoft as they intend to refine and improve this one and stop irritating people with changes.

Wasn't Windows 10 supposed to be that?

Yes, I believe that was their intent, but they said it too soon. 10 still had a lot of ugly artifacts that appear to be cleaned up in 11. Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm right. I think it's what they should do.

Common refrain from the fanboys: You’re enjoying the things you like wrong.

Seriously, I am using Windows 11 since official release and I am getting to a point where things are just the way I like them. I was lucky enough to have a machine that just met the TPM/processor requirements cutoff.

There are a few annoyances: I would like to use the dashboard/widgets for weather, etc but they force their newsfeed on you.

Windows 7 was a disaster?! macOS UI doesn't change over the years?! I feel you are living in some alternative universe compared to me.

There was a time when a fresh install of Windows required over a day to bring up to current, if you didn't have install media with the latest service pack already applied.

MacOS updates are fairly slow, though, so I don't know if it's a clear win. But I also don't think anything has gotten significantly worse in recent years; there have always been good parts & bad parts.

For a fair comparison you have to use an equivalent priced device sold by Microsoft itself (so a premium Surface), and that has none of the problems you described.

I wish we had more options though. Between Windows and Apple there's no other real competition. Linux is cool and all... but not user friendly (not even Ubuntu)

I don't understand this attitude. I spend countless hours trying to keep my wife's work computers working. Getting windows to connect to a printer is a frequent ordeal and fixes seem to always be ephemeral, things soon breaking again. Her Macs are not as bad but still have lots of hiccups.

Meanwhile I've been on Ubuntu for more than a decade and as far as I can remember, for example, printing consists of printer just magically appearing in my apps without me ever having to install anything and I press print and it prints. That's user friendliness to me. At least for my workflows (mostly web browsing, software dev and office stuff), there is vastly less fiddling and head scratching to keep things working on Ubuntu.

I too have had quite an awesome experience with Linux on older devices, everything just works, Many things are actually better than Windows, Unfortunately I feel like there is still a lack of software available on linux. Yes there are alternatives for everything usually, but things like microsoft office would make a great addition.

I would say in some instances driver support is actually better, I had this old logitech wireless keyboard and mouse lying around which worked quite well, unfortunately they came with this older version of unifying receiver which the current version of their official software refused to recognize (on windows, no official linux support). I was having trouble finding a older version of the software too. Somehow I ended up trying to use Solarr [1] (which is made for Linux) and it worked first try.

[1] https://github.com/pwr-Solaar/Solaar

My work Linux laptop frequently (several times daily) breaks Bluetooth, breaks audio, does not wake from sleep, wakes from sleep but only shows the mouse pointer on a black screen, stops throttling the CPU down, resets the DHCP-specified DNS server to, sends stuff to printers that cause them to just spit out endless blank sheets of paper. The "solutions" to all of these are multi-step manual disasters... uninstall pulse audio, restart cinnamon, reinstall blueman, upgrade Jack, manually create config files from copying some file on a GitHub repo, downgrade to some specific version of CUPS, mess about with apt-get repos to not get the latest version of whatever...wtf?! That is not user friendly.

My personal Windows laptop has never had a single one of those problems. It has been faultless from day 1 without a single issue.

Sounds like a truly broken install. What's the maintenance history of the machine? Have you been patching it from third party repos? Why are you running Jack on a work computer anyway?

Back up your documents and do a fresh install. It'll take you an hour and you'll regain stability.

I mean, I admit you do have to start with known supported hardware. I have no patience for having to install drivers but like I said, for the last decade, it has been easy to find a computer where most everything worked out of the box (Bluetooth maybe the exception but it doesn't seem to work half of the time on any pair of devices/cars regardless or software being open source or not). System76 laptops are great when you want something specifically designed and tested for Linux. Before that, I used to bring a live Ubuntu CD to Bestbuy, pop it in computers to see which one would run everything out of the box. I would say success rate was higher than 50%.

Corporate centrally managed install. Dell hardware.

Jack is apparently needed to get Bluetooth to emit audio reliably... but I would not put much trust in that since it didn't fix Bluetooth not working.

That's annoying. Honestly it sounds like your IT dept is missing some expertise, and maybe tried to be too clever by installing some hacky add-ons, which destabilized things. It seems like something of a ridiculous stretch on their part, for example, to think that Jack would be required for bluetooth.

That said, as long as they're willing to be hacky: bluetooth audio worked reasonably well for me _until_ I got a headset with its own dongle. At that point the original bluetooth dongle stopped pairing reliably with the speakers I was using. That prompted me to switch to pipewire and it's been rock solid since. You might suggest to IT that they experiment with pipewire (since it's the new hotness, they may actually take you up on it.)

It's been 4-5 years since i last used it.

I remember feeling like it was a full time job - always some issue or inconvenience. Struggled with basic multimedia stuff and of course the biggest issue, almost no apps.

You could say the real issue is not Ubuntu itself but the ecosystem.

Frankly if the drivers didn’t suck hot shit I think many of us would.

I set up Ubuntu with KDE (Kubuntu?) on an old laptop for my wife. Win 10 on the laptop was so slow that the machine was unusable. She uses Firefox, Google Docs, and she uses a printer. She's had zero problems in two years and I've updated the machine twice for her. Of course how usable the machine is will be dependent on what software you need.

At least one can remove the bloatware from Windows!

Yesterday I finally made the decision to ditch Windows 10 and move to Elementary OS on my desktop computer (my laptop is a Pixelbook).

I was attempting to edit videos. I plug in an external hard drive with my footage, and... nothing. Well, not nothing. It's there in Devices & Printers. It's able to be ejected safely. Troubleshooter has no problems.

But nothing in Explorer or any other obvious place you'd think. Panicking, I plugged the same drive into Chrome OS. Literally three seconds later I was browsing my footage.

That's the point I got up from my desk and said, "I'm done." I'm so over Windows.

They spend how much time and effort shoving a Linux environment into things when they apparently can't even support widely-used filesystems. The fact my external drive is mountable by both Chrome OS (where the code for mounting is open source) and macOS (a closed-source OS used by a minority of the populace) but not Windows is an utter joke. I shouldn't have to spend all this time trying to access my files in 2021. This is something that should Just Work.

This was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I've had several minor and major annoyances with Microsoft's treatment of Windows ever since Windows 8, and none of them have gotten better.

- WTF is "3D Objects" and why does it always bubble up from the pits of hell even when I delete it? Microsoft is very opinionated about the User folder in general, while I think they should be as hands-off as possible. Stop adding folders I didn't ask for and stop resurrecting them after they're deleted. Why is this so hard?

- Ditto the last point for OneDrive.

- Windows 11-specific, but adding ads to the taskbar? In a paid OS that the OEMs are already footing the bill for and bundling whatever extra crapware they want? https://betanews.com/2021/09/04/microsoft-crowbars-ads-into-...

- Obscuring local account creation to a ridiculous degree in Windows 10 (you need to literally disable Wi-Fi or unplug Ethernet to even see the option) has gotten even WORSE in Windows 11. Now you can't even set up a local account at all unless you shell out extra for Windows 11 Pro! They've learned nothing from the Xbox One always-online debacle, and honestly looking back, this should have been the dealbreaker. But I thought, "hey, I don't create accounts that often, this is something I can live with." No longer.

- The amount of analytics and data-gathering in Windows is the worst it's ever been, and worse than any comparable OS. "You can turn it off though." Well, maybe. Until Windows Update decides it knows better and turns it back on.

- This is purely aesthetic, but Windows 8 and 10 looked utterly horrible if you did anything more than look at the desktop and open the Start Menu. Clashing styles and UX edicts from decades of past releases, in very visible places. It gives the impression Microsoft just doesn't give a shit. And don't tell me "it's too hard to update everything in time for release." It's not everything, and Microsoft is a big boy with lots of money and developers. They decided they just don't care.

And today, I read this:

"Microsoft to Block Windows 11 Browser Workarounds" https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-11/259208/windows-1...

It's not getting better or even staying the same. Microsoft is actively making Windows worse for their own ends. Thankfully I have the choice and ability to install an alternative, but my heart goes out to those with no choice. It's Orwellian.

You should probably just toss Fedora on it if she only intends to browse the web and edit documents.

why do you people bother with windows? just use linux

Most people pick the operating system that best runs the software they need.

Not only that but a huge portion of people will simply not swap away from the OS they know under any circumstances.

Windows 12 could require all users to get punched in the face to log in and most people would say, "Yeah, it sucks but it's better than spending $1,800 on a Mac. Plus my video games..."

Windows and linux don't overlap much in use cases. I think macos and linux are more interchangeable

What are the Windows use cases that Linux doesn’t do?

General web browsing type tasks are solid, text editing/note taking works. Videos and audio (including Spotify) work. Steam and games generally work (even most windows games through Proton).

What else does ones daughter need for school? She’s not video editing or creating music (two use cases where you may need windows or OSX; art is more or less covered through blender/Inkscape/krita)

Mint or Manjaro are easy to install and setup and come with good defaults that should be pretty easy to navigate for someone new to Linux.

> She’s not video editing or creating music

In my experience, kids do these things all the time for school projects.

Gaming; general office stuff ; peripherals

Dunno what you mean by peripherals, at least ones that don't work on Linux, but the other two categories work just fine. Gaming has come a long way thanks to Valve and their work on Proton.

I'm guessing you're not someone who would describe themselves as a "gamer"?

EDIT: (I don't mean this in a mean way, just to say that people who care a lot about being able to play specific games probably still won't be satisfied without a Windows box).

I play plenty of games and have a Steam library of ~400 or so games. I haven't had a Windows install in a few years. The only issues I've had with Windows games on Linux, using Proton on Steam, is that it doesn't work in Wayland (but every game I've tried works fine under X, of course I do check ProtonDB.com before buying games that don't have official Linux support).

Oh nice, I clearly need to read up on Proton, there’re some Windows-only games I’ve been missing.

Would you say it’d satisfy for twitch shooters?

I personally don’t play many, but generally you won’t see any performance difference. Do check ProtonDB to see if the ones you have in mind work as expected. Typically games that are rated platinum work as well as on Windows, Gold typically works well but some people had some issues (Check the comments, sometimes the issues are unrelated things like the launcher not working but the game works fine) while anything else expect headaches. Some multiplayer shooters have issues with anti cheat for example.

Yeah, I don't either, mostly just curious since that seems like it'd be the most demanding category. I've actually mostly been missing Battle Brothers which is... not latency sensitive. And it looks like ProtonDB gives it a platinum! Thanks for the pointer to that.

Sadly looks like a lot of the top 10 are in "Borked" status, though.

> Sadly looks like a lot of the top 10 are in "Borked" status, though.

50% of them, but 2 of the 5 broken games are known to be buggy in general (New Worlds anyway, PUBG was years ago, no idea how it fares nowadays so maybe I'm wrong) so dunno how much of that is Proton's fault. The two gold ones seem hit or miss: many people report they work, but some people have issues.

Still, a lot of AAA games work perfectly (eg Sekiro) and many games I play even have native Linux versions (Crusader Kings 3 being the main one, I'm hoping with the steam deck more devs will release Linux versions but maybe that's too optimistic) and most of the indie games I play work well, so for me, I've been pretty happy and haven't looked back.

Linux Mint looks and feels exactly like Windows 7

There are lots of hardware configs that don't fully work, or are very unstable, under Linux.

I feel like running linux is like voting for a 3rd party candidate in the US. FWIW linux is great I just can't convert all the people who aren't developers to linux without an unnecessarily steep learning curve.

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