There was much good advice in your “Reinstalling Windows” feature, but I differ on the idea of doing a disk image. When I upgrade or reinstall, I take the occasion to replace the hard drive/ SSD with a newer or bigger model. The old drive becomes my safety net. If the reinstall or upgrade goes awry, I simply put the old drive back and can get work done. It’s also there in case I missed transferring a file I need later. Alternatively, I can reformat the old drive and use it for data backup once I'm sure the new install works. –Rick Thompson
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: I do the same, which explains why I’ve got piles of old hard drives sitting around (I rarely make it to the final stage). Such a routine doesn’t protect you if your new drive crashes—any work on there is gone for good—but it does mean you can have a transition period.
Minecraft on Pi
I just read the article on running Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi, and I have a question: I run the Java version on Windows 10—the most current version and recommended version is 1.12.2, with most people in my opinion scattered between 1.7.10, or 1.10- plus. Why would you recommend installing a less popular version that is no longer supported or updated? Is there something I’m missing, or was that a copy/ paste from an older article? Thank you for many years of great articles and hardware reviews. – Kyle Kroeker
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: I’ve just looked through the article, and can’t spot a reference to installing an outdated version of Java. The closest thing was where we talked about installing SpigotMC, where we suggested installing version 1.11.2, because that was the most recent version at the time of writing, although we did state that you should install the latest version (which is indeed 1.12.2). Regardless, we always recommend that you run the latest version of all software, unless we specifically state a version for a particular feature.
I’ve been reading your July issue, Vol. 22 No. 8, page 95: “Bottleneck Highlight.” For a long time, I wondered the exact same thing. How would you pair a CPU and GPU without physically having the parts on hand? The solution is http:// thebottlenecker. com. I recently wanted to upgrade my old Core i7- 870 and GeForce GTX 650 Ti, but did not know what would be the best GPU for it. Being as old as it is, I didn’t want to overdo it, particularly in price. Then I found this site, and paired my CPU with a GeForce GTX 1060 3GB. Now, even this old dog of an 870 can run Doom on medium settings, and my GF is happy we can play more games together, having something a lot better than her everaging non- gaming laptop.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: That’s a nice find, because it isn’t a website we’ve visited before. The advice you get when entering your system details is fairly broad, and the problem still remains that some applicationspecific bottlenecks won’t be picked up, but it’s a good enough guide to help you spot whether your graphics card or your processor is holding you back. Some of the recommendations seem a bit off, though: If you enter the details of your upgraded system, it rightly highlights that your CPU is now holding you back, but then goes on to recommend upgrading to a Xeon E3-1270 V2—a workstation chip is a little overkill for a spot of light gaming in our books. Still, it’s a good place to start.
Years ago, when I was in vocational school, I played around with CorelDRAW and Adobe Photoshop. I
always really liked working with the vector art in Corel, and it’s gotten me thinking: Why doesn’t Microsoft migrate the Windows desktop to a vector- based layout? Obviously, years ago, the computational power required for such a thing would have been impractical. Today, we have more than enough horsepower in even the most modest new systems to support a full vector desktop. It would eliminate most of the scaling problems that plague Windows, and raster images could be layered over the top to maintain backward compatibility. Plus, you would no longer need multiple copies of icons and fonts at different resolutions. I can’t see a downside, other than the work involved in rewriting so much of Windows code. I was wondering if you had any opinions, and whether you could maybe even see what Microsoft had to say.
– James Lloyd
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: This isn’t an awful idea by any means, and it could make for some very different- looking OSes. The truth is, though, that modern operating systems already have a lot of scalable elements baked in, although vector- based icons don’t seem to have taken off. There’s a couple of reasons why this last step hasn’t been taken: one is that creating icons and interfaces would suddenly become a whole lot trickier; another is that a lot of what we do deals with raster images (movies, websites, documents, photography). There’s also the fact that it isn’t really perceived as a problem. Raster graphics may not be the most efficient way of building a scalable UI, but they’ve got us where we are today (with our sometimes clunky interfaces, font issues, and multiple- resolution icons).
I’ve written this so many times, and always stopped short of sending. I don’t want to be ripped apart in your magazine. Then, in the October issue, I read the “Security Concerns” letter (Mark Van Noy), and two things hit home. First, Mark’s comment regarding opinion and news. Then, I read that Linux users tend to be more clued up about vulnerability than Windows users. That’s absolutely opinion, not fact, and false, in my opinion. In one broad stroke, Windows users are less educated. That really bothered me. The letter I deleted over and over dealt with a similar issue, different companies: Intel and AMD. Editorials and opinion pieces aside, even in news and reviews, the bias is staggering. I love the magazine, but enjoy the escape from our everyday climate of “better” when I read about new tech. Just my opinion. – Anonymous
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: We don’t rip our readers apart, that would be foolish, and far too messy. Besides, you’re absolutely right: When I responded to Mark’s letter, I was, indeed, voicing my opinion. I’m sure you could find someone who’s running a version of Linux who has no idea what they are doing (or, in fact, any operating system), but I still think it would be much easier to find a Windows user who is truly clueless. We share a room with the company’s IT department, and the team assures me such a task would take seconds.
Essentially, not everyone is as knowledgeable about their PCs as we are. And it’s nothing to do with being less- educated, more the fact that lots of Windows users are not interested in the systems they use. According to NetMarketshare, the various versions of Windows account for over 90 percent of the market, with Apple’s OSes at just under 6 percent, and Linux just over 3 percent. Statistically, there are simply more clueless people using Windows.
As for bias, we can and do add opinion where we think it’s needed, but we’re not biased. When it comes to reviews and recommendations, we pride ourselves on being objective (well, as much as anyone truly can be, although that’s a different conversation). Opinions are important; they give the world color. We could have a magazine that has no commentary at all, but it would be so bland that no one would want to read it, or write for it.
Money for Nothing
As a long-time subscriber, I wanted to express my gratitude for the ongoing coverage of cryptocurrency. I am not sure if many other readers keep older parts around, as I do, and it seems like no time has been better than now to put some of that unused equipment to use mining some ( virtual) coins.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: We have covered cryptocurrencies in the past, and some of us have mined (and lost) coins over the years, too. Given that there’s something of a renewed interest in the subject at the moment, we will keep an eye on it, but we find it hard to recommend seriously investing in it, because it’s so volatile. Using your old hardware for the job isn’t a bad idea, although such parts are lacking in terms of modern hash rates.
Running Minecraft on a tiny computer is as easy as Pi.