296 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009
No melting apples
Apple, of course, did not have this problem having decided to opt-out of Black Friday in the UK. But in the US punters still get iTunes gift cards with their purchases.
Given they've done something the past few years, I'd be interested to know why they decided to give this year a miss.
People who have tablets don't replace them every year shock etc... I'm reminded about the TV situation when virtually everyone has a HD flatscreen that talks to things over HDMI, so are in no need to buy another one. This, of course, concerns the manufacturers and analysts who then try and make up some bollocks or push some un-wanted functionality to try and kickstart things.
I agree with Charlie above. Win RT was DoA, but the Surface Pro is a bit more of a go-er. Though that it hamstrung by being very expensive.
WD TV Live, same price, probably better
I picked up a WD TV Live not so long ago for the same price. I was so impressed having a play with one at my brother's I went out to get one shortly after (I too also upgraded from Netgear ReadyNAS to a Synology). It also has WiFi, Ethernet, HDMI and optical, but will allow you to use the USB slot to pick up media. So far it's played everything I've thrown at it from NAS and Mac streaming via DLNA and NFS. It also has a few built-in apps like BBC iPlayer and YouTube, though I'm pretty sure Spotify requires you to have a subscription.
Re: Cut-price console?
I too ditched Amazon Prime when my last yearly subscription ran out. I didn't mind paying £50 for the zippy delivery etc, but I did mind paying an extra £30 for something that I was never going to use. I had a brief look at what TV/Film was available, the selection was pretty dire and anything vaguely interesting required you to pay even more money.
Amazon manged to further annoy me by cancelling their BoA/MBNA Mastercard, which gave you an Amazon voucher in a sort-of cachback way (more spending = bigger voucher). It was nice to get a few quid off just to go about my normal spending.
From my brief research into the latest Mini, Intel classify the the CPU options (I5-4260U, I5-4278U, I5-4308U, I7-4578U) as "Mobile" opposed to "Desktop".
Given the latest 15" rMBP comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M and potentially a zippier CPU (when fully spec'd), it does have some sub-laptop looks about it. Annoying, as I'm thinking of buying a new Mini.
My 2008 Mac Pro is getting slightly long in the tooth, and OS X 10.9 has already started to move beyond the capabilities of the hardware, so I doubt 10.10 will be better. So I'm on the lookout for a replacement. The new Mac Pro is out for more than 2500 reasons and I'm not a huge fan of iMacs.
So am seriously thinking of getting one if these (fully spec'd up i7, 16GB RAM). To be honest I really want to be able to run Elite Dangerous (Bootcamp or native), and I should just be able to get away with this I think. My biggest concern is storage, going from a box with 4 internal disks down to 1. So I'm going to have to have various other Thunderbolt/USB3 disks hanging about to get close to the same as I have now. It's not so much the space, but ensuring that a disk failure doesn't completely wipe me out. I really wish Apple would make something that at least took 2 disks, but that's obviously not going to happen...
I've only just got Mac Office 2011 as we had some sort of deal at work to get it for £8.95. Though have also got Mac Office 2008 and Libre Office lurking about somewhere too.
I don'e use it too much. but the main difference I've noticed so far is that Excel 2011 takes an ice-age to open compared to it's predecessor.
Am currently giving my company's remote setup a good testing as I'm housebound for a few weeks whilst allowing various bones to fix themselves. Plus it means I keep away from any nasty germs at work. So various VM/Citrix solutions to use plus IP Phone and mobile. Sometimes people don't even realise I'm not in the office. Though I'm not sure how the infrastructure would all cope if > 50% were trying to do the same thing!
I didn't register, but did download and throw onto a VM for a look. To be honest I've only spent a few minutes having a look round (ooh look, a start menu!) but not done anything in anger. Must get round to firing up the XP/7/8 VMs for latest updates sometime too. Actually, probably need to update all the Linux VMs too. All that lot running under Parallels on the Mac, as I like to keep my eye in on what's going on in the world of desktops, more so when I get hit up for support.
I feel old now!
Wow, so it is 20 years. I recall downloading 0.9 and running it on various NT and Win 3.11 boxes. I've pretty much stuck with Netscape/Firefox since then (though there was a large period of IE in the early 2000s, and some stuff now is much better on Chrome).
So thanks to Netscape for opening up the WWW!
Not without problems
iOS8 seems to be OK on the 4S (though I mostly use it as a dumbphone/iPod), but on the iPad Air WiFi keeps crapping out. A (fairly) quick toggle of WFi sorts it, but it's very annoying... and didn't appen with iOS6 or 7.
Re: Original iPad 2 updated fine.
Switching on Bluetooth post-upgrade has been default behaviour for iOS upgrades for a while now. A bit annoying, but at least I now remember to switch it off.
Meanwhile I have a sneaky feeling my 4S battery is draining a bit faster since iOS8 was installed...
Take my money! Oh, you're too busy...
Not a huge fan of NFC, but if it gives the option of walking into an Apple store, picking something up off the shelf, paying for it, then walking out without interacting with a member of staff, then that would be great.
On the recent few occasions I've had to buy something from an Apple store trying to flag down a salesdroid to pay for something has been a most infuriating and time-consuming operation. I've even complained to Apple and pointed out that having a till may not be aesthetically pleasing to them, but it will allow them to close a sale, unlike the punter getting pissed off and walking out the shop to buy elsewhere (or not at all).
Re: wiser to wait?
I think he'd be waiting a very long time in that case. HP are still trying to get their act together in finding some allegations that may stick and then there's the small matter of what exactly Deloitte were up to.
HP are trying to find anyone to blame but themselves.
Flash, saviour of Apple's profit
I first had a 16GB iPad2, but ran out of space. So last year I flogged that and acquired a 128GB Air. For my sainity (and bank balance) I obtained it from USofA so it was a rip-off rather then extortion. It does annoy me how much Apple charge us consumers for flash, when they're paying pennies. Anyway I don't intend on buying a new slab for a while, as I still have a suitable amount of space. I wouldn't mind a 128GB iPhone 6, but I'm not sure Apple will oblige.
Re: No googling?
I'm a (lapsed) RHCE and the good thing about RedHat certification is that you have to sit an all-day practical test to prove you can actually do stuff. Also you have to sign an NDA to say that you won't tell other people what's in the test.
From what I know of MCSE (not much admittedly), it's all still a multichoice memory test without having to prove you can actually do stuff. I seem to recal the Sun Solaris exams from several years back were also similar. They would sometimes ask some rather obscure questions which only seemed to test if you could recall various command options.
Those puck mice were horrible! Everytime I had to use one for more than a few mins my hand would cramp up. Thankfully didn't have to use one very often.
Drat and double drat!
Oh dear. I posted the missus' Tab 3 on Saturday as it won't power on (a common fault rectified by a battery pull I hear). Though I can't quite remember the address it went to, so it may have gone elsewhere. I'll have to check the Post Office reciept and also check Sammy's own online tracking for repairs. Fingers crossed on this one...
Re: Seems depressingly common with NAS vendors
Fortunately I don't require remote access to my NAS, so when I first powered on my new Syno a few weeks back and it asked me if I wanted to connect to t'interwebs I politely declined. OK I probably said something along the lines of "fuck no!".
Though you hit the nail on the head in that such devices are now seen as appliances and they will quite happily run off and do strange things to your router via UPnP if you let them. We IT pros know this sort of thing, but Joe Public doesn't. It does worry me that with all the hype about The Internet Of Things and a bit of IPv6 then it's only a matter of time before fridges, toasters and the like are subverted...
Do some maths!
Wrong! Back in April I was in Las Vegas on holiday, so before I went I did some research on MacBook prices. Below is my workings for US price + 8.1% sales tax then thrown through the exchange rate of the day. I think the difference in the region of £200 or more in each case speaks for itself...
MBA 11" (1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
$999 + $81 (8.1%) = $1079 = £654
MBA 13" (1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$1299 + $105 (8.1%) = $1404 = £851
MBP 13" (2.4GHz Retina, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$1499 + $121 (8.1%) = $1620 = £982
Being a Linux guy and not taking too much notice of anything MCSE, that sort of revaltion does shock me! You would like to think that for some sort of certification you might have to demonstrate your knowledge, rather then recall it for a multi-choice.
Many years ago I became an RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) in which the exam was in 2 parts. The first was you were plonked in front of a PC with a deliberately-borked setup of RHEL and told to fix it so that various end user functions could be accomplished. In the second part you were given a config/feature list and told to rebuild the PC so that it conformed to the config/list.
All the above was done without notes. Also it was open-ended enough so that if, for example, an email server was required it was your choice if you wanted to use sendmail, postfix or anything else you could get your hands on. And to top it all off you had to sign an NDA as not to make it easy for anyone else!
My certificatoin has now lapsed (and then some), so I guess I should get it renewed at some point. If only I could get the company to pay for it and give me the time off...
Funnily enough Mark Kermode did one of his video blog thingies on this subject (see linky below). There's apparently an unwritten rule where journos see films whenever, but hold off publishing their reviews until the official opening.
All well and good, but "The Man" (for it is he), has now started showing films as previews to the public up to a week or so before the official opening. The reasoning behind that is so that by the time the critics publish their scathing reviews more punters would have already handed over the green stuff. The flip side of this, is that anyone who goes to one of these previews can just as easilly then bang out some vitriol on Twitter/FB...
Re: I for one
My main beef with the Mail app on iOS and MacOS is the lack of an advanced "just let me get on with it" option with regard to setting up an email account. Both insist on trying to guess the various settings based on your email address, which never works when you have your own domain. And then there is significant faffing about when trying to set up authenticated SMTP. On that point I never got it to work on MacOS and just gave up and installed Thunderbird. I believe the trick with iOS is to try and set it up, let it fail, then try to set it up again to which is then decides to work.
Re: "Disney and Lucasfilm are, of course, saying nothing about the plot"
Given that JJ Abrams is involved, you forgot there will be some crappy deus ex machina time-travelling concept.
Having had a very quick play with RHEL 7 to see what it was all about, I'll be grabbing this next week as the bulk of our servers are CentOS 5.x/6.x. Mind you, not looking forward to all those potential upgrades at some point!
Great little box
I hope this new functionality is pushed out via firmware update as I purchased a WD TV Live about three weeks ago!
It's a great little box and indeed plays almost everything I've managed to throw at it so far.
Re: It'll not work in the real world
@Jason, have you ever had your bags wrapped in plastic to try and prevent such occurances? Or does that incite the light-fingered ones to more baggage damage? Just wondering as I had mine wrapped done flying into Jo'burg and out of Cape Town and everything seemed to survive.
Re: I still want my 1TB iPod "Classic"
The good thing about the iPod "Classic" etc al is the storage space, namely > 100GB. For ages I wished Apple would have made a 128GB iPod Touch. but they didn't. So eventually I went from my 160GB Classic to a 64GB iPhone 4S. Annoyingly I have ~62GB of music/audiobooks/etc so I have to use a smart playlist to strip things down to fit onto the iPhone.
Now there is a 128GB iPad (insane flash price mark-up, but at least I got mine from the US), which can hold all above media as well as various apps and has enough space for video. So I'm hoping the iPhone 6 (or whatever it's called) comes in a (stupidly overpriced) 128GB flavour, but I'm not holding my breath...
WooHoo go cloud!
“Office365 is beginning to look like a very poor choice for mission critical services.”
Strange that! Surely there must be at least one person in such an organisation that points out the obvious (to most of us) eggs-in-in-one-basket situation? I guess they're not shouting loud enough or have nice enough PowerPoint (ahem) presentations to spell it out.
Other cloning tools are available
Interesting from a corporate and incremental Parallels point of view. But they seem to have deliberately forgotten tools like SuperDuper! (which is what I use) and Carbon Copy Cloner exist. In fact I'm also pretty sure you can use the built-in Disk Utility to clone a disk, but I don't believe that does incremental copies.
A cynic would say this is just a puff piece for Acronis, esp as El Reg hasn't added a bit of journo stating that other cloning tools are freely or cheaply available (albeit with a slightly lower feature set).
I was working for AT&T at the time and found that strip to be very close to home and therefore extremely funny. With that new logo we referred to Lucent as dog turd technologies.
User: Is server X down?
Me: Are you asking me, or telling me?
Re: 3 changes not mentioned...
Thanks for the quick synopsis! Haven't been paying too much attention, but I knew that grub2 was on the cards.
After having a (very) quick shufty at docs for grub2 and systemd I agree that someone has decided to replace something quite straightforward, with something a bit more complex, for no real gain.
I've got a few RHEL 5 boxes about, but the bulk is CentOS 5/6, so just installing RHEL 7 now to see what I'll have to get to grips with!
Re: Solaris clone
Interesting, as I recall when Solaris went from 9 to 10 out (mostly) went the init scripts and in came all that svcs/milestone stuff which to me seemed like some overcomplicated version of (RHEL) services.
We never really made it to Solaris 10 here and by that time had already started mesing with RHEL 2.1.
I think a lot of people's concept of Apple does have a wiff of style over substance. Though to me Beats really are style over substance!
X-15 checklist, nice! I have a bit of a soft spot for the X-15 after building a model of it as a kid. I've also seen the one hanging from the ceiling in the Smithsonian.
Hmm, I wonder if my 2008 MacPro will make the cut for supported hardware? Time to cross my fingers...
Re: When BYOD works for me
I'm a Linux Sys Admin who has to put up with what the company provides. Hence I prefer to use my own kit...
When BYOD works for me
On the subject of BYOD(ish) for my remote needs I can use Citrix Receiver or VMware View to connect into a Windows desktop env from my Mac or iPad. Both are very useful for weekend/out-of-hours support that being a sys admin usually incurs. Because I'm an owner of fruity tech I also have become the unofficial Apple support bod when it comes to linking BYOD kit to the office.
I also have a 2005/6 vintage work HP laptop which is still running XP (recently rebuilt) and that can use VPN to get in. But it runs like a dog nowadays, so I prefer to use my own kit.
There's no choice for BYOD when it comes to phone, so I still have a work Blackberry and my own iPhone.
I can't stand the conversation view. After a few replies I find it almost impossible to find (and respond to) what I'm lookign for. At least on the web front end you can turn the damn thing off, unlike the phone apps...
Similarly I had to fudge a filter to turn of that damn important email stuff. I just want a plain old inbox where the newest messages are at the top. I don't want some algorithm moving email about where I won't see it because it seems to think it knows what I'm thinking.
Still, bit of a shock that it's been 10 years!
I started with a Psion Siena (the 3 series was a bit too expensive for me at the time, as was the 5): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Siena It was OK, though kept falling out of my top pocket. It allowed me to to keep track of my overtime in the run up to Y2K and the dot com boom!
After that I went to a Palm V, which I quite liked and in the end turned out to be a bit more useful than the Psion. Strangely I had sort-of dismissed my mate's Palm III (or soem varient) to get the Psion, so I could have saved myself money/grief.
The Palm was replaced by a Dell Axim X3i or X30 (I forget which). Whilst on the up side it had such nice things as a colour screen, WiFi and Bluetooth, it also had the nastiness that was Windows CE (or whatever it had been rebranded as at the time). To be honest it was a nightmare to configure as you were never really sure if settings had taken or not given the "not-quite-Windows" look/feel. Not helped by 3rd party software that was thrown on top. I recall that sorting WiFi out was a particular hassle.
Then that went, and I must have moved to phones I could sync with PC, so that would be S-E T610, Nokia N70 then N73, a work Blackberry 8900 Curve, an iPad2 and finally an iPhone 4S. And for a small device to do stuff I had an Asus EEE 701 for a while, which was great!
My wife has asked me to upgrade her 2007 MacBook. It's currently on 10.6 and it looks like it will only go to 10.7 (and some software she wants to run requires 10.8, but that's another story). So this evening I'll run some backups and clones and probably try and upgrade tomorrow. Hopefully it will still work after!
Meanwhile my 2008 MacPro is running 10.9, but I'm now a bit wary that the next OS X point release will not support the hardware. That will be a pity as it's still going strong (the odd hard drive and DIMM aside). I don't really like the new MacPro (or how much it will cost to more-or-less replicate what I have now), so it looks like I'll end up with a Mac Mini and loads of daisychained devices with the need for more power sockets...
I note that quite a few Sony shops in the UK (most of which were franchises I seem to recall) have also closed in the last few months.
Though to be honest even as a bit of a Sony fanboy I found their stores to be lacking in products on display. It's almost as if they didn't make AV amps or more than one BR player....
I finally saw a new Mac Pro the other day. Whilst it's an interesting concept, the fact that it starts at £2500 and will require external storage counts me out. So my 2008 Mac Pro will soldier on, but it's only a matter of time until the next release of Mac OS X decides not to support it.
Annoyed that I'll probably have to replace it with a Mac Mini and some sort of external storage that will no doubt require more cables everywhere and yet another plug socket.
Knowledgeable/experienced volunteers a must!
Some years ago I visted Vulcan XH558 at Bruntingthorpe whilst it was still being rebuilt. My friend and I were in the separate cockpit display that they had and ended up having a chat with an ex-RAF bod who used to do some of the electronic/comms on various Vulcan flights. Very enlightening it was too. It made the experience of seeing a Vulcan a lot more entertaining.
AT&T in Europe
AT&T (or at least the original AT&T, opposed to at&t of now) didn't seem to do very well on this side of the pond. Having worked for them twice in various guises I have found this out the hard way.
Quite a bit of Dell kit here, though it's been a long time since we had to speak to Dell themselves. Usually we figure out what we're after, use the website to get a full config and then send it to a few VARs for quotes. And usually the lowest quote wins, and it's usually a lower than what Dell can offer.
Some VARs are better than others of course. Once I was after a server with 2 disks mirrored for boot/apps and a single SSD for some RRD files. That option wasn't on the Dell config, so I asked 3 VARs if what I was after was possible. Only 1 VAR managed to tell me it was possible to do what I wanted and then provide the solution.
When I didn't get any mail on Saturday morning I figured something was up. The support/config website took a while to load and was a bit useless (and it said all was well).
I figured that Twitter would probably know what was going on, and it did.
I have to agree with other commentards, in this day an age a hosting company having such an outage is a pretty poor show.
"to ensure that an open-source firmware for the new router will be available for download"
Given the amount of time it took Linksys to bring out newer firmware for my X3500, I wouldn't hold my breath.
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