Updates breaking things seems curious; To me at least.
I've almost never had things broken by updates of Ubuntu. Actually, I'm not sure the word 'almost' needs be in that sentence.
If most of your applications are Windows-only, are you using Wine extensively? Wine is definitely much less stable than the OS itself, if only because they're always having to catch up with the oddities within Windows (I don't mean that disrespectfully, it's just that some stuff is not publicly documanted and Wine is effectively reverse engineered). Mostly when I run Windows applications, I switch to Win7 (Win8 is ghastly, IHMO).
Hm, another possibility occurs to me. I almost always use their 'LTS' (long term support) versions, rather than the newest version, as almost be definition the latter will be less robust. I'm always cautious of new versions of software.
It's my "continuing education" project; no specific projects yet. I got the FP2 because it supports single stepping and edit while running functionality (unlike the FP Sigma PLC I've had for a while) and the price was right (~$60).
I've been eyeing an ACS CM-xxx system for a while: I've been interested in motion controllers with kinematics support ever since I did a couple robot projects, and I've always thought ACS's SPii products looked really neat. So when one popped up on eBay with the right price, I just had to get it.
Although you can download the software for both for free, it does help that I know the local distributors for both companies pretty well. (Note: FPWin Pro V6 free does support the FP2, but is size limited; ACS's software is free, but you have to register, and possibly beg your local distributor).
No gadgets from my wife, which is fine. My recent purchases have included some fun ones, such as:
-- Seeeduino V3 + Grove shield (to match what I gave my nephew, so I can help him out a bit)
-- DVT 542C color machine vision smart camera (very cheap off eBay)
-- Panasonic FP2 PLC with 64 DI, 64 DO, 16 AI, 4 AO, and 16 axes of step/dir motion control
-- ACS CM-3-B-E-M3-H4 motion controller with 3 10A/20A servo drives. I really want to find time to play with this puppy; it supports kinematics, and has a simulator. OTOH, the fan is really loud.
A few years ago when KDFC (the SF classical station) wasn't available on the air at our home, I bought my wife a Grace Digital Bravada internet radio (she's a concert pianist by training); it's in the living room and has seen a lot of use. Grace often has refurbs available on eBay & their web site. For example, the receiver is available for $129 refurbished. Sometime I plan on getting their micro system for myself.
On tablets: I don't agree that Apple has the content consumption market cornered. I know more people with Kindles than iPads. For myself, I've become a bit frustrated with tablets for getting work done, and am very interested in hearing more about the Venue 8 Pro.
After using 7" & 10" tablets plus 10" & 12" laptops, I've decided I want a 10" class mobile device, most likely the Venue 11 Pro (which also has the active digitizer and keyboard with battery), but I won't be getting anything for a while. My guess is that Windows 8.x is fine on a tablet, but doesn't make sense for a desktop. My setup is a fast desktop (Samsung 840 Pro SSD, which is fast!!!!!) plus laptop/tablet (currently Thinkpad X61t, eventually a Win8 device).
I'm not normally a heavy Office user, except when updating tech manuals, but I hate the ribbon! I think it hides what's available, and I don't like the Word defaults. Besides, Word is horrible for handling large documents, especially if you're trying to merge 4 different documents into one coherent document -- in fact, it was so bad, I switched to LibreOffice, which isn't perfect, but sure beat Word.
I am an odd one in that I became an engineer because I figured it I should get paid ot do what I would already be doing. I do engineering as much for work as I do for fun. I really love it.
As to non technical gifts, the best thing that I got this year was to be able to spend a week back with my wife and son. I have recently changed jobs, and had to move out ahead of the rest of the family. So for me being with them was the best thng to get.
Travel in general is not my favorite thing. I do not like to travel to see places, but to see people. My ideal vacation is a staycation there with my family and close access to my tools.
Sure. There are at least three on the market. Note that these are stereo tuners, which means they need to be plugged into a sound system. You can also buy small WiFi table radios too, but that's not what I wanted. I wanted something to replace the traditional AM/FM stereo tuner, and to also function as a shortwave radio functional replacement (and then some, i.e. able to receive stations from all over the world, including local stations from all over that you could never find on SW), but to do so with high fidelity and consistently great sound quality.
These also receive at least some traditional broadcast terrestrial radio. The NAD includes analog AM and FM, and the European Digital Audio Broadcasting standard as well, but not the US HD Radio variety of DAB. The Sangean has analog FM. The Grace includes also Pandora and Sirius, aside from Internet and FM terrestrial.
Note that you can also use a PC to receive these Internet radio stations. The tuner just makes the job really a snap, as easy as turning on your old tuner was.
A Wi-Fi radio tuner? I would be interested in seeing a link to the device if you can scrounge one up.
As to the changes in office, I have to say that to me Office 2007 could not have fome fast enough. Especially for Excel. The default formatting for the charts was so much better. This combined with the methods for handling pasting items into a word document made the upgrade worth it in the time that was saved. Other things like being able to have more than 2^16 cells in a row are also nice things. Lastly, I as I have said, I love the ribbon interface. I hate it when I have to go back to the standard interface.
There are two areas that I did not like, but they are small. In Excel, it used to be that you could automatically create the chart into a new tab/sheet. This feature was lost (if it is still there and someone knows where it is, I would be happy to be proven wrong). The other is that when placing a flag note in PowerPoint, it used to be that you could move the text box with the arrow head staying in place. No longer, now the entire thing moves, you cannot anchor the arrow head. This is a real pain for engineering presentations.
Hi Bert and happy new year (it is in Australia already!)
It's horses for courses....I was really comfortable with O2003, it did everything I wanted, and all fairly easily. They could have got the DOC>PDF feature working properly without changing the interface.
And I'd remind you that one of MS's selling points at one stage, when they got all the Office components working more or less the same, was "the same familiar interface for everything". Yeah right, then go and change the same familiar interface....
Printing in 2003 was - click File, then print. In 2010 it's.....click File...print.... though in both versions as I recall you could have a print button on the taskbar.
Good point about starting off with 2007/2010 - you wouldn't know anything different. But MS had a huge customer base who DID know something different, and (mostly) liked it.
What would have been really good would have been the ability to select the old menu OR the ribbon.
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