Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mac to Windows Part 4

Blender Tests:

Classroom 18:20 1100 s
BMW 27 (CPU) 6:17 377 s
Pavillion 20:00 1200 s

Classroom 11:54 714 s
BMW 27 (CPU) 3:52 232 s
Pavillion 13:08 788 s

Comparison ratios:
1100/714 = 1.54
377/232 = 1.625
1200/788 = 1.522

Thus the new machine is comfortably faster by about 1.56 X in Blender renders. I take this as being a better measure than the previous comparison.
You can get the test files from the Blender website (along with Blender itself) all free.


Folder items and organising things

On a Mac a folder typically contains files and these can be organised according to various sort orders but also, you can move them around with the mouse into any order you want.
This alone has been so useful to me for organising my projects that I really do not want to go without it.
Typically for my projects I have dozens of images that need to be sorted and remade until they form a series that then gets converted into a comic. I repeatedly go through these images checking for accuracy, consistency and various other details – and I shuffle them around in the folder window as I do this. The nearest I can think of in Windows is to have more folders and shuffle items between them – but there is no quick way to change their order so I would need to rename them if I wanted to do that. I also tag them with Apple’s simple coloured dots to identify the ones I will use or the ones I will need to remake, for example. This is NOT like tagging as used on the net or Linux - no words are used – but simple as it is, I find it very useful.

I remember looking at image editing software wondering why they included some sort of image handling thingo with it – well, now I realise why: Windows just doesn’t let you play with your files the same way Mac OS does.

Multiple desktops

On the Mac I have five desktops, each with its own background (to prevent confusion) and applications that stay in those desktops when assigned there.
This apparently cannot be done in Windows 10 – although you can have multiple desktops, it is hard to tell them apart. I tried a small addon that might have provided something similar to the Mac desktops but it only worked with Win 8.


When I start my Mac up it re-opens the same programs and files I had open when I shut it down. I have yet to find the feature in Windows (or a system addon) that will do that.
Yes, you can have Windows start up programs at boot time with a script, but that is not quite the same as returning to the same state as of shutdown.


Apple’s Mail program presents all mail to all email addresses in one list. The other mail programs I have tried do not do this. Okay, I admit this is probably a matter of personal taste rather than a truly essential feature but there it is.

Image Previews

Apple’s Preview operates when you have selected an item in a folder and if it is a text or image file, Preview shows it in a new window pretty much full size or scaled to fit the screen.
In Windows there is a “preview” function but it stays within the folder window you are looking at – not as grovy as the Apple method but still perfectly usable.

I would miss the interface if I sold off my Mac. Just the way it looks and operates – so I have been working on a compromise of sorts, I think maybe I will try and have both: I managed to link the two with an ethernet cable and the setup was not too hard to figure out – except that it was almost exactly the opposite of what someone on the net told me . . . but never mind, it works now.


Tags and Tagging

In Mac OSX, there are what Apple calls “tags” - ten coloured dots you can add to anything (documents and folders) to provide basic sorting inside a folder. I have become so accustomed to them that I went looking for something similar in Windows land.
First, on careful consideration, the Mac tag system is awful in that it only provides limited choices – only seven colours - but then you can now create your own tags - except that you can’t see them in folder views anyway, you still get the same seven colour dots so why bother? - but at least you can sort files in a folder by their tags. This seems so eleentary to me, yet there is nothing in Windows that will let me do this. WTF is going on here?

Tags as defined in the web world or Linux are something else: text definers that can be added to almost anything and searched.
I looked around for an addon for windows that would do the following:
- Should be usable in Explorer ideally, as in not needing a separate app to read or edit tags
- Should have simple tags easy to identify in a group of icons
- Should have coloured tags.

My main use for tags is sorting images when I am in production mode: simple coloured tags are useful to identify the “ins” from the “outs” from the “remakes”. Also, since I am expecting eventually not to have a Mac, I want to use them to sort multiple subgroups from the item in one folder – sub-groups , but without having to make lots of folders.

Here are my attempts to get something like the Mac tags in Windows using wares:

TagSpaces – This has a lot of options for tagging things but so far it has not “Found” the items I tagged when I search by tag, a bit of a deal breaker I think.
This is a discrete program that has its own file explorer and has a lot of options . . . . . and that brings me to two matters: First, on a Mac any new window is by default a Finder window.
From there, any file double clicked on will open it’s designated editor by filetype. 
What is infuriating about this ware is that it does not have a “List” view of files so you can’t organise them according to the tags you allocate (looks like it WAS there but got pulled), nor can you sort the images in the “Grid” view based on the tags you set . . . . . . which makes the whole thing useless to me.

Tagged Frog- this did not work at all. Supposedly it worked with Explorer in Win7, which would be the ideal, adding tags to the existing Windows Tag space but it just doesn’t seem to work in Win10.

Tabbles - This is the worst thing ever: I cannot download the software from the Tabbles site and they don’t seem to want to help me either. I am amazed.

So in short, I have had no joy finding a tag system in Windows 10 that actually works: well, at least well enough for me. You can’t tag folders, and the items that can be tagged have their tags hidden away so that editing them is a nightmare. You can actually see them in a folder view called “ Details“ but only after you make them visible for each folder. AFAIK there is no way to make them appear for all items automatically in that view. . . . . . and as for searching for files based on tags, forget it. 

This raises another matter that Windows is surprisingly bad at: Where can I set the default folder views in Win 10? 
Why are there no key commands to change the folder views?
Is this something where software companies have had their asses sued if they make anything that infringes on a fundamental patent? It looks like that to me, why else would it be so useless?



I tried out Filefort which although it cost, it was not expensive: but then I realised that I needed incremental backups – the main drive I want to back up is 2 TB and if the software is going to blindly copy even 1 TB every time it backs up I am not going to be happy: it takes a long time . . . . . so I found FreeFileSync which (if it lives up to its name) will do what I need.
Buuuut things keep crashing on me. All I have tried to do so far is create a backup for my Content files, something you would think is as simple as plugging in an external HD and pressing a button but somehow it just hasn’t turned out that way yet. Said content has probably cost me about ten grand by now cumulatively speaking so it makes perfect sense to me to be keeping a backup copy of it . . . . if possible. This is a perfect example of what annoys me about the Windows world.


Last Words

If there is an overall theme to this it is that in the Mac world I have experienced for the last 20+ years, software pretty much just works – but over in the Windows world you never know what you are getting. It would be nice if there was some neat repository of wisdom that told you wether that ware you are getting is good or at least reviews, but that doesn’t exist. Okay, it sounds like I’m being soft on Mac developers so here’s a rejoinder.
Once upon a time the Apple Store had reliable reviews and was organised so that you could find what you needed by category, but those days are long gone: now it’s a nightmare of undefined “stuff” where some wares don’t even tell you what their wares do (or are supposed to do). Sure, the bigger well known wares work just fine, and OSX is still damn good, but Apple still insists on keeping a firm grip on the hardware side and probably won't be making any Nvidia supporting Mac Pro units in future.   As you can tell I am still not happy about the whole thing. Neither option  - Mac or Windows - is all that good overall for me, but I will keep on chippingaway at the mountain and maybe somewhere I will find Win wares that can make it usable. Maybe.
Will there be a Part 5? Not for a while , if ever.
Thanks for reading!


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