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* Posts by Joe Gurman

93 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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Apple has THREE TIMES as much cash as US govt, TWICE the UK

Joe Gurman

Re: Ought to point out

That's true, but not relevant. The comparison was of cash on hand, not he issuance of paper (bonds). Apple can't print money, but they can issue bonds (with the help of a bank) if they want to, though I can't see why they'd want to other than taking advantage of near-zero interest rates. Governments, on the other hand, almost all issue bonds both to cover deficit spending (if they need it) and help pay interest on earlier bond issues.

And no, the US Treasury does not have the same amount of cash on hand all year round. The cash total includes the Federal Reserve Account (and remember, they get to print money if they want) and "tax and loan note" accounts.... which vary radically from month to month during the year. There are other categories of liquid assets, as well, but they tend to be smaller.

All these numbers are pretty small beer compared with the ~ $3.65T (as in trillion) total outlays planned for the next US fiscal year.

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Joe Gurman

Ought to point out

....that the deadline for filing US tax returns is April 15, and a lot of people who owe taxes wait until the last minute to file, or even request extensions (which are usually grants automatically), so early is April is probably the time of year when the US Treasury has the lowest cash reserves of the year. Just sayin'.

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UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

Joe Gurman

Aliens over Alabama?

"[A] UFO fleet flying over Alabama?" I know a lot of folks dis 'bama, but calling it flyover country even for aliens is pretty low. Don't think I'd believe anything from that Website.

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Selfies are OVER: Welcome to the age of 'Sleeveface'

Joe Gurman

Re: Sleeveface at the MOMA?

And that's why this doesn't translate to the US.... we called 'em "album covers." But does anyone other than hipsters and grannies actually have 33 1/3 LPs any more?

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Putin and pals dump Apple's iPads for Samsung slabs... over security concerns

Joe Gurman

Re: Proprietary loose canon code is all accidental?

Could it possibly be because of all the malware available for Android?

Even if the Russian governments own coders build their own Androidski, given the large number of excellent Russian programmers working for botnet purveyors, who _doesn't_ expect Kremlin mobe traffic to appear on the (BitCoin?) market for sale to the highest bidder?

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ZOMBIE iPAD PERIL? Cyberbadness slinger touts tool for iOS

Joe Gurman

Really?

Given the fraction of jailbroken iPads (a few thousand? ten thousand tops?) compared with the zillions[TM] sold, why would a serious botnetter bother? The only possible reasons I can come up with are: users of jailbroken Apple kit are simultaneously more likely to download crapware and more likely to have bank accounts worth lifting, and this is only a trial run for a version that breaks into the Walled Garden [also TM]. And the obligatory third explanation now required pro forma: the NSA/GCHQ is trying to keep tabs on those wascally jailbreakers. Erm, actually that one does make more sense.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Joe Gurman

Re: Here's more sensible analysis...

Occam's razor is always so much less pub-chat-worthy than a loony conspiracy theory involving stealing bullion.

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Tony Benn, daddy of Brit IT biz ICL and pro-tech politician, dies at 88

Joe Gurman

All the wrong decisions for all the right reasons?

Did the UK need a computing industry giant unheard of outside the UK? Did it need the other enterprises Benn championed? Or was it just more outlay of taxpayer's money that would have been better spent in other ways? More admirable for his principles than his policies, but as many have said here, he's missed already.

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Does Apple's iOS 7 make you physically SICK? Try swallowing version 7.1

Joe Gurman

Re: "If you want security-upgrade details, you'll need to wait."

*Cough* Apple started banning non-approved cables after people were seriously injured or had house fires thanks to dodgy charging cables. Are you saying that was a bad idea? Try Amazon Basics cables. They're Apple-approved, and cheaper than Apple's versions.

As for the details, they're at: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6162 .

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Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

Joe Gurman

Depends on the side of the Atlantic?

I guess you get the news media you deserve if you let your science stories be written by arts graduates. Whatever our other, manifold failings, the US at least still gets the occasional science reporting by people with technical educations, and the mainstream US media have been at pains for some years to report National Weather Service statements that the frequency and tracks of hurricanes do not appear to have changed much with global climate change, but that the intensity of at least some fraction of the storms appears to be increasing. Anecdotally at least, that appears to coincide with the storms the US has had over the last decade.

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Apple plans to waggle iNormous 4½-incher in fanbois' faces

Joe Gurman

Cheapo?

When did polycarbonate become "cheap?" And why wouldn't someone want to avoid having to buy an aftermarket polycarbonate case for a phone because their life/work/play was likely to include dropping or smashing the phone from time to time? (Or just because they were a klutz?)

So let me get this straight: Apple is evil when it only sells expensive bling, but also evil when it sells a mire durable, lower-cost product? Not like you lot are biased or anything....

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Brit boffin tests LETTUCE as wire for future computers

Joe Gurman

Serious research, but....

....I can't help feeling they're trying for an Ignobel award.

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Seagate's LaCie whips out bonkers posh silver-plated storage ball

Joe Gurman

Give me a break

The author's just having us on, right? Anyone who can see or feel a computer knows the difference between industrial design and just design for art's sake. La Cie's design buys me nothing in terms of storage performance or ease of use (except perhaps for throwing if the thing goes south because sit has a typical La Cie power supply embedded in it), whereas Apple's, like them or hate them, are at least nominally aimed at improving user performance (as well as cash-flow-inducing sexiness). Aluminum (as we spell it here) makes for a more rigid and less frangible laptop than plastic, even the first-yen iPad was thin enough to hold (vs. the first gen version of almost all other tablets) while using, and since the c. 1996 Power Macs, Apple's larger desktop boxes were always easier to work on than basic PC XT kit, particularly as measured by hand lacerations. Cost, of course, is an entirely different issue.

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Cheeky LOHAN chaps in gutsy snatch at El Reg's paper spaceplane crown

Joe Gurman

A record which shall stand....

....until the blokes on the Space Station chuck a paper plane overboard.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Joe Gurman

I suspect Apple's solution will be....

....to stick one of these in the box: http://store.apple.com/us/search/MD820ZM#!. Probably end up trimming their profit margin by a Euro or two, but will mean their IStuff will continue to be compatible with all the kit usable everywhere else in the world.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Give some credit where it is deue [sic]

You have a strange – to me – idea of what the coercive powers of government are for. No doubt living in the US has led to my being bombarded by laissez-faire, capitalist propaganda, but I reckon governments have more important things to think about: clean air and water, safe pharmaceuticals and groceries, law enforcement, figuring out whom to kill by drone next, or figuring out when to shut down the government. Since there is no EU constitution, as in the UK, I suppose the regulators can regulate, and the legislators legislate, whatever comes into their collective heads. It just seems strange to this liberal (by US standards) that a government thinks its citizens can't be trusted to buy what they want — and note this is an economic issue (presumably less expensive micro-USB vs. more expensive proprietary connectors), not a safety one, as there's ample anecdotal evidence of people being incinerated by using cheap knockoff copies of either proprietary or "standard" connector chargers.

The US government is clearly not a role model for anyone, but at least they don't try to micromanage what should be an easy consumer decision: do I want to buy a phone with yet another proprietary connector, or do I want to pay more in return for some features/bling/whatever?

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Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

Joe Gurman

The real laugh here

....as evidenced on most Mac online tech forums, is that even when led by the hand or other appendage, most Mac users won't open a terminal window and enter a shell command if their lives depend on it, so ironically, they're almost all safe from this wheeze.

Jokes told in Linux just don't have the same punchlines when told to a native OS X-speaker.

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Old Apple Safaris leave IDs and passwords for scavengers to peck

Joe Gurman

Fortunately....

....until the fruit company comes up with a patch for this issue, it's possible to go to full-disk encryption on OS X 10.7 and 10.8 systems:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4790?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US .

This is yet another good reason to do so.

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Joe Gurman

Can anyone tell my why

....so many PC laptops have the touchpad offset to the left?

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Apple sends in the bulldozers as Fruit Loop construction begins

Joe Gurman

Re: Will Apple still be around to see it's completion?

http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2013/12/comScore_Reports_October_2013_US_Smartphone_Subscriber_Market_Share

but more to the point:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2013/10/29/apple-can-ignore-android-market-share-stats-all-the-way-to-the-bank/

You can bank on Apple's being around then; Wall Street certainly is.

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A private Dell makes sense. Doesn't mean it'll work, though

Joe Gurman

YMMV

My experience with Dell has been almost exclusively from working at a US government agency, and purchasing from Dell's federal Website. Unfortunately, that is an experience known to make grown men weep, and grown women want to throw their keyboards at their monitors.

Rather than list a litany of shortcomings of the site, or compare it to admirably simpler ones, such as Apple's federal site, I can summarize the repeated experience of not being able to configure what I needed (but knew they offered, somewhere), contacting a variety of sales personnel who were way for indeterminate periods and might or might not offer a substitute's phone number on their voicemail, dealing with sales personnel whose most frequent response was to shift my call to someone else, and finally getting to a sympathetic ear that was unable to help me, either, after several days for a simple server config as "You really don't seem to want our business, do you?" "[Sighs] It seems that way, doesn't it?"

I really hope they treat SMEs better than that; there's nothing wrong with their kit (other than a lack of USB 3 ports on their servers and an insistence on forcing more expensive SAS drives when cheaper SATA devices would be just fine).

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Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Joe Gurman

Enjoyed the review, BUT....

.... no matter how much you want to trash Apple, the 5c is an LTE device. Don't know if that's not a selling point in the UK, but here in the States, you can't really sell much else and call it a "smartphone." All the carriers have or rent well built out 4G LTE networks now. Worth the difference in price? (Note that "no contract" is not that big a deal here.) No idea. The buyers will decide.

Another thing I didn't see mentioned was the case material. Having two kids who've dropped and mangled their phones, I appreciate that the 5c case material (polycarbonate) is decidedly more durable than some plastics I've had the misfortune deal with after dropping older phones. I can't find anything online that says what the case and optional shells for the G are made of – can you?

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Joe Gurman

Re: The VERY definition of Android Landfill

@Andy Prough "I don't give a shit about how "popular" they are - there's absolutely no reason under the sun not to allow the user to easily replace a battery or increase storage."

And that's your honest opinion as a user, and not as a corporate exec who has to decide whether the extra cash to produce a phone with a removable battery – and maybe some slight extra bulk, which might mean smaller sales – affects the bottom line. The preceding comment that the great majority of users never replace their battery is correct. They throw that thing away before (or when) the battery fails to hold a charge. You would obviously not buy this phone; based on the review, I'm willing to bet that many others will.

I did replace the battery on a Motorola V3c some years ago.... with a larger capacity one, but the battery was in effect the back of the phone. Smartphones look and feel different from the "feature" phones of ten years ago.

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Cow FLATULENCE, gas emissions MUCH WORSE than thought - boffins

Joe Gurman

Right....

....tell that to the Venusians, who've had a bit of an issue with greenhouse heat retention these last couple of billion years.

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Joe Gurman

Re: if only...

Personally, I blame the consumption of Hot Pockets™ in the US and bratwurst in Germany.

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Joe Gurman

Ah, so you're an expert, are you?

People with Ph.D.s in atmospheric chemistry disagree with you, overwhelmingly. Let me think a moment, whom should I believe....?

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You DON'T need a new MacBook! Reg man fiddles with Fusion, pimps out vintage Pro

Joe Gurman

Nice work

....preserving your investment in an older machine. The one serious advantage of the new generation of MacBook Pros (other than a Retina display, if you go that way) is the PCIe flash storage. It really is startlingly faster than the SATA SSD I stuffed into an earlier 13-inch MB Pro, at least on the MacBook Air I've been using lately. Now all we need is a competitive, third-party mPCIe storage market to bring down the prices.

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That time when an NSA bloke's son borked the ENTIRE INTERNET...

Joe Gurman

Well, not all old sys admins....

We were running exclusively VMS machines at the time, and even those with TCP/IP were unaffected because the stack had different implementations of all those things than BSD did. We literally didn't know it was happening until we went home and watched TV news.

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Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

Joe Gurman

Privacy concerns are valid; spying ones are crocodile tears

Every nation with the wherewithal spies on every other one in which they have an interest, friendly or unfriendly. If Brazil hasn't caught up, it will.

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Pimp my office: 10 cubicle comforts

Joe Gurman

Can't see the need for dictation software for the Mac

....as OS X comes with it built-in.

Using the online dictation in Mavericks, here's how Pages + dictation recognized my reading of the lyrics, no training involved:

"Pardon me boy is that the Chattanooga choo-choo track 29 boy you can give me shine I can afford to board a Chattanooga choo-choo I've got my fair and just a trifle to spare

"You leave the Pennsylvania station about a 3:45 read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore dinner in the diner nothing could be finer than to have your ham and eggs and Carolina

"When you hear the whistleblowing to the bar then you know the 10 that Tennessee is not very far shovel all the coal and got to keep it rolling in Chattanooga there you are

There's going to be a certain party at the station satin and lace I used to call funny face she's going to cry until I tell her that I'll never roam so Chattanooga choo-choo choo-choo me home Chattanooga choo-choo choo-choo me home"

Gotta love that "3:45" when I spoke, "a quarter to four."

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Lumia 2520: Our Vulture gets his claws on Nokia's first Windows RT slab

Joe Gurman

Re: Windows RT

"Windows RT is to iOS...."

How very sad for Windows RT.

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Diamonds are forever POURING down on Jupiter, Saturn - boffins

Joe Gurman

Erm, not the 45th meeting of the AAS

The American Astronomical Society has been around for over a hundred years, and nowadays holds two general meetings a year. The 45th AAS meeting was in New Haven, Connecticut in 1930.

I believe the press release being reworded here refers to results presented at the 45th meeting of the AAS's Division for Planetary Sciences, held last week in Denver, Colorado.

Obsessive-compulsive nitpicking, I know, but it makes the reader wonder what other details are not quite right.... or off by a Jovian diameter.

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Dear Apple: Want to stay in business? Make an iPhone people can afford

Joe Gurman

Mebbe

And mebbe not. There are undoubtedly people who buy iPhones because they like being seen with ones – thus the "champagne" color option on the 5S, but there are also people who like a phone that's part of Apple's software infrastructure (sorry, I forgot, this The Reg: "walled garden") and how seamlessly it hangs together across different classes of devices. As far as I can tell, they don't pay significantly more for that experience (in the US, at least) than people who buy top-end Android phones and deal with a different interface from every manufacturer that uses a different Android release.

And this discussion, and the original article, both appear to be missing something obvious: Apple still offers a smartphone so cheap it costs "nothing," except, of course, with most US carriers, two years of monthly bills. The phone, though, costs nothing (or US$0.99 from Verizon).

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Apple iMac 27-inch 2013: An extra hundred quid for what exactly?

Joe Gurman

Re: Ah the original iMacs...

Erm, when did you borrow one? Obviously you never used one for much time. They were reliable, sturdy, virtually never crashed or hung. They banished serial ports and introduced USB and digital movie making to the masses. The only thing bad one could justifiably say about them was that replacing the CD drive was worse than pulling apart a 2013 model.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Joe Gurman

Sorry to sound like a Yank

But I prefer the marketplace to figure out the best charger connector, not overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels.

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Oracle sued over $33,000 bill for SaaS: STRIPPERS as a SERVICE

Joe Gurman

Sigh

You know, this never happens for the annual Fall American Geophysical Union meeting, held during the first week in December in San Francisco. No discounts for anything. Wrong career choice?

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EE still has fastest, fattest 4G pipe in London's M25 ring

Joe Gurman

Erm

Your WiFi is slower than 79.9 Mbps? Really? Haven't you lot heard about 802.11ac?

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

Joe Gurman

This will likely not be a unique event

The heliosphere "breathes;" that is, its extent varies in size with the pressure exerted by the solar wind, which varies over the roughly 11-eyar solar activity cycle. The boundary could conceivably catch up with Voyager again.

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Joe Gurman

Re: The subheading is also erroneous

NASA's p.r. apparatus respects the "embargoes" imposed by stuck-up journals such as Science and Nature: "Thou shalt not release the results [paid for with taxpayer dollars] until our print edition hits the mailroom." It's anachronistic, it's arguably unfair to the taxpayers, but otherwise the fancy journals (beloved of faculty promotion committee coup-counters) won't publish the papers. The paper was probably submitted a couple of months ago.

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Enterprise storage: A history of paper, rust and flash silicon

Joe Gurman

And the size of the Hollerith card....

....is the key to its date of origin: While the original was smaller, the IBM card of the 1920's was arbitrarily set to the same size as US banknotes of the day.... which were changed in 1929 to a smaller size.

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Microsoft's Nokia plan: WHACK APPLE AND GOOGLE

Joe Gurman

Re: RIP Nokia

Erm, 15 billion Euro _revenue_ maybe, but on target to run out of cash by sometime next year. That's the whole "profit" thing business talks about, and makes it worth getting out of bed.

Whooza muppet now?

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Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA

Joe Gurman

Maybe not Tor

"The trick, in El Reg's opinion, is to get the data transferred before the spooks put a crack team on you and your mole to swipe the keys or otherwise prevent the leak."

I'm going to guess that the NSA has a pretty fair idea of all the exit nodes on all the Tor networks on the Net, and that's precisely what they're storing in a good part of the humungous bitbucket in Utah. Of course, YMMV.

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Web ad giant (Google) pops Adwords into Maps for iOS and Android

Joe Gurman

Re: copying IOS yet again!

Sorry, what IOS are you talking about? Cisco's operating system? Or Apple's iOS?

My iPad is perfectly happy downloading all the information it needs for a trip in maps before I leave the house, and after that, with LTE off. You don't need the network to use Maps in iOS. And despite all the supposed gaffs, it's always been right in the part of the US where I live. YMMV.

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Joe Gurman

Apple's certainly not a software company

They only write software to get you to buy hardware or content. And you're never "locked in" to any vendor's garden, because no one is forcing you to buy it.

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Publishers stand behind Apple in ebook price-fixing fight

Joe Gurman

Let's see....

Which is worse: "colluding" with publishers to keep their profit margins high enough that they can keep publishing books, or letting Amazon corner the market by loss leading and forcing publishers out of business, so it can achieve vertical integration, and do the whole job, from Walmartizing author royalties to setting whatever price they want, whenever they want?

Both models restrain trade, but one keeps the authors and publishers independent of the booksellers. Choose your poison.

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Tax dodging? It's harder to do - and rarer - than you think

Joe Gurman

Sorry, but....

I have to call bollocks. Let's see the evidence that any individual desists from any economic activity that would make them more net income, regardless of tax rate.

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China Labor Watch gumshoes uncover TOP SECRET PLASTIC IPHONE

Joe Gurman

I know it doesn't toe the company line...

....but I wonder if the Reg is going to cover this report:

http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/news-articles/Apple-rebounds-as-iPhone-4-pulls-in-smartphone-first-timers-

as well as ballyhooing all the earlier reports of doom for the iPhone.

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Chromecast: We get our SWEATY PAWS on Google's tiny telly pipe

Joe Gurman

Re: $35 + Cost of a tablet remote

Come again? You've got three hookers and you're going to watch TV?

This really is a site for hopeless geeks.

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Sammy had Sweet Fanny Adams to do with Swiss Fanny madam's blast

Joe Gurman

So perhaps....

Apple's insistence on not letting punters put their own cheap knockoff batteries in their phones isn't such a bad idea, after all?

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No more Crapbook Air: Apple issues update for spotty Wi-Fi

Joe Gurman

Anecdotal experience: the problem wasn't that bad

....for this one happy 2013 Air user, anyway, even before the patch. Score: WiFi access points 4, Air 3. My year-old Apple AirPort Express (naturally), the WiFi at a uni where I was at a conference all last week, and the free "high-speed Internet" WiFi at the hotel where I stayed were all fine. Spent two days at my sister's place in Maine (the US one) with an ancient DSL modem/router combo, and not so happy: leases would be dropped after 2 - 5 minutes.

Obviously that sample isn't large enough to yield any insight into the technical issue(s). The default log entries were spectacularly unhelpful, and I wasn't going to be in range of the suspect router long enough to warrant taking time away from a pitifully short holiday to get more detailed logs.

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