* Posts by Alex Johnson 1

20 posts • joined 8 Sep 2009

Apple to support reps: Don't confirm Mac infections

Alex Johnson 1


Have you even USED a Mac since 2001?

Alex Johnson 1
Jobs Halo

Usual nonsense.

The "tech savvy" but may have been true once: certaily Macs are sold on the basis of being easy to use. Even then, does it make you stupid to prefer something easy to use over something less easy to use?

More specifically and in more recent times, go somewhere like Silicon Valley. What is the most commonly seen brand of computer in use? Mac, by a country mile. Look at PC World ads, or places that sell cheap mass-market electronics. Or the refurbished stuff that Martha Lane Fox is trying to get retired peopel to use. What is that? Microsoft Windows-running PC's. This is all marketed at the most unsophisticated end of the market.

Not only is there no correlation between "savvy" and chossing a PC, I wouldn't be surprised if it were actually negative.

Alex Johnson 1
Thumb Down

Not the same.

In this case, the user has to click to download, on a screen with a Windows UI. OK, some users won't intuit the difference between Mac and PC look and feel, but most are used to it through pop-ups. Once downloaded, they have to enter their password. At this point it's all social engineering. It's not good, of course, but there's only so much Apple can do. They are also right to say that that Apple Care is a hardware warranty.

You can't compare that to the Microsoft experience in 2003, with Blaster and so on, which would infect users without routers. At the time, Microsoft disabled its firewall, and UK ISP's routinely inflicted USB modems on their customers. And so it went on for a couple of years, with worms and spyware in particular. Microsoft was caught utterly flat-footed, and destryoyed its U with Vista. Apple has shot itself in the foot with the PR here, but this is so far a trivial problem you have to try quite hard to get. The security problems Microsoft experienced were ones users could get doing nothing. That's the difference.

'Upgraded' Apple iMacs lock out hard drive replacement

Alex Johnson 1


Death? Since the iPod launch the stock troughed at $6.56 in April 2003. It's now almost $340 - a 5,100% gain - and is the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world. You can draw some conclusions about profiteering if you want (though I think you would find it more useful to analyse it on the basis of having a much better appreciation of what customers actually want than the competition), but they're clearly doing something right. Good luck with W7 and Microsoft's famous public service ethos.

By the way I've had four iPods and four iPhones, as well as two MacBook Airs with sealed batteries. None of the batteries has ever gone flat before I replaced the device. At no time have I ever felt that the hassle of carrying a spare battery was worth the gain of being able to change it. I never bought spare batteries for previous Mac laptops. The battery in the MacBook can be replaced by Apple. They charge the same for this as they used to charge for spare removable batteries: maybe they are more expensive than Dell's (don't know, don't care) but they are clealy not using this as a method to gouge. While yes, it may be an inconvenience to give up my laptop as if and when to get the battery replaced, this pales next to having the solid inflexible chassis and smooth thin lines that having a sealed unit allows. The only time I ever removed the battery in older phones was because some moronic engineer thought that the space underneath the battery was a good place for memory cards. I have not replaced the hard drive in a Mac since 1997, and haven't thought of doing so since 2001. It has always worked out as simply better to sell and buy something new. You may disagree and protest at how much you value the flexibility, but Apple's financial results suggest that people like me are in the vast majority.

Alex Johnson 1


It will be replaceable: it will be a servicable part by Apple and its service centres. The only thing is you may have to pay more for it than might otherwise have been the case. Maybe that's you "SOL" but you won't need to throw out the whole machine. If that time is less than "reasonable" you may have a claim under SOGA but I don't know where you get six years from: that's the statutory period, and I don't think anyone would expect that this was a reasonable period to expect every component of a computer to have to last. Price is relevant, but it is not determinative.

What sealed Nokia's fate?

Alex Johnson 1


Have a whinge if you want but the iPhone came out with an 18-month contract at £35 a month. Whinge accurately if you feel you have to.

BT eases iPad hotspot hop-ons

Alex Johnson 1

FON: Argh

I am not a BT customer and have no desire to become one, but I do get access to BT Openzone through the Cloud on my iPhone. I do not get access to FON. I'm fine with that: I'm not a customer so why should I. But, by using the same SSID, almost every time I walk past someone with a Home Hub I join that network, which of course I can't use, even while showing ome supposedly great connection. There's no way for me to tell the difference between "business" BT Openzone, and FON. While that may be great for BT it's really annoying for me, and does not make me thing warm and fuzzy thoughts about how they manage their network.

Most smartphone users breach employers’ security, says survey

Alex Johnson 1

@George 24

...If employees could see that IT behaved as they ask others to, it might help us take your concerns a little more seriously. Funnily enough, IT's computers all have admin rights. I'm not talking about developers. I'm talking about the people who check the printer toner. And, I think you can assume that if I'm posting on the Reg, I may not have your level of expertise, but I probably do. IT uses Chrome. I have to beg for IE8, with IE6 as standard until very recently. Locking people down is 5% real security, 5% perfectly justifiable operational consistency, and 90% laziness. I know, and you know it.

Alex Johnson 1


You mean the people generating the revenue? Idiot.

BA slams stupid security checks

Alex Johnson 1
IT Angle

Ironic - do you eat your own dog food?

Couldn't agree more with BA - an airline better than most, and saying what should be said.

But this site is chock-full of IT professionals. The same people who in many cases lock down anything and everything (except their own PC's of course, as they are the experts...) in the name of "security" threats and a Gilt-edged approach to compliance. I hope that the common sense being suggested for the goose is also good for the gander. Not holding my breath though.

Mac sales tripled since 2005

Alex Johnson 1
Jobs Halo

@obviously - Broken clock argument

One day, you will be right, the Mac will fall victim to some clever hack. Sadly, I have no doubt that this is true. Equally though, we've been hearting this since the low-point of Windows XP's security problems: let's say that's 2004 which is oddly coincidental with the graph shown at the top of this page. Six years later and an increase in profile and success beyond the wildest fanboi-ish dreams and it still hasn't happened. As a market, Mac users skew wealthier than PC users. They don't run anti-virus software. They don't need to know whether their firewall is running as, in 2010, it won't make any real difference. BlackHat claims that Macs can be hacked into in seconds. If that isn't a juicy "market" I don't know what is. But it doesn't happen. In 2004 maybe it was security through obscurity. That seems like a weak argument now. I'm left concluding that despite all the claims, maybe it just is a more secure system.

Apple in the workplace

Alex Johnson 1

@Ragarth: Yes.

Yes, I do know. Because it makes your lives easy, and because Microsoft has given you tools, so you use them - while of course not inflicting them upon yourselves. So font smoothing, no, they don't care. But they do want me to have the corporate logo on the desktop, which means that the tab in the Displays control panel is locked down. Which is assinine. They could just say, "please use the corporate desktop and screensaver: it's there because we want to create a professional image when you're away from the desk and clients come round. This is part of our mandatory branding, and you should think of the impression we're trying to create along the same lines as the stationery we ask to use for client-facing documents. Thanks for your help." And then you (being management) have a word if someone doesn't comply, in much the same way you would with any other transgression from office policies. It's not that big of a deal, as Steve would say. But they don't, they just lock it.

The thing is, my previous employers who manage literally trillions of dollars of other people's money (and so, I think, understand risk) invested more in front office IT than anyone else in their sector. They know what they're doing, and they can manage PC's with a common platform, core apps, and still to manage security that is a discreet yet comprehensive so that if users want to install Google Desktop, they can. (And why would I want to? Because it is the only way to live with Outlook, which is incapable of searching through its own mail.) They've also found that it tends not to be a good of their tech staffs' time to come up and change minor settings, and yes, it is a growing irritant like an ingrowing toenail which people hate out of all proportion to its importance, so why do it? And no, I'm not a teenager and I don't need player XYZ. But I work in finance and actually yes, it is important to be able to update the crappy WMP if I need to without asking permission, if that's what Bloomberg is expecting.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not hostile to security. I'm not hostile to policies being put in place to save the stupid from themselves. I woudn't be hostile to differential permissions based on experience, tenure, seniority, etc. But the pendulum has swung so far in the typical corporate environment that these policies have become ends in themselves, just because they can be set that way. Maybe my office is unusual (but I don't think it is) but I am nagged by IE (and they want me to use 6!) every time I see a page which has both open and secure content. That happens to include virtually every work-related site I go to. And I am not trusted to manage my own security settings such that I make this pointless verbiage go away once and for all. Add to that purchasing decisions made by people who won't have to use the stuff (and it's amazing to mw how many IT support workers who never see clients seem to have the newest BlackBerries and thinnest laptops), and is it any wonder that users are sick of it, and will just buy their own stuff? No, it isn't. And people like you, Ragarth, perversely incentivise us to do it.

As to the openness the article was referring to, I got that. I just thought it was ironic . But I think your perceptions about Apple are ten years out of date on the desktop which is more "open" in every way than Windows, which let's face it is the corporate alternative. On the phone, it's a canard: I mean, it's on GSM, supports HTML, and all the major mail protocols. What more does it need to do? What Apple allows app developers to do has absolutely no relevance whatever to 99% of users, and support for those users.

Alex Johnson 1
Jobs Halo

Openness? Inter-operability?

"...arguably stimulating the reversal of a 20 year old trend towards openness and interoperability."

As defined by whom? One of the problems I have, as a savvy but nonetheless locked down mere user, is that my experience with corporate IT is that if it can be locked down, it is. I can't even turn on font smoothing on my Windows box because it is not "policy." And inter-operability? With what? Other similarly locked-down PC's? I know many of your readers are going to be IT pros who are not running under the restrictions they force on everyone else (in the name of security, but largely because they can), but Apple products to me represent something pleasing to use, well-thought out, and yes, it's a cliche but it does "just work." In fairness to my IT colleagues (who largely implement other people's assinine policies) they do let me run an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry. And why would I want to? Because I am perfectly happy - indeed, I _like_ - the idea that if I lose it I can hone them up and have them wipe it for me. But if they want me to carry the thing around 24/7, I want my music, my personal email - my stuff basically. If I got a firm-issued BlackBerry to access the same email with, on a real-world basis, the same level of mail security (I do not work for MI5), all of this would be locked. Why? Largely, because it can be. Apple products represent a triumph of design and of the user experience (and you may believe marketing), but they also represent freedom from this suffocating nonense.

Queuing for an iPad? Why?

Alex Johnson 1
Jobs Halo

You Miss The Point

@Eponymous Cowherd: No, there's nothing you can't do with a phone and laptop. But this is such a stupid argument. Why buy an umbrella if you have a coat with a hood? Why buy a BMW when you could buy a Kia? And so on. The answer is the user experience. Once you start dealign with web pages with your hands - which seems like it will be just the same as the iPhone and now other smartphones but really isn't - to have that experience intermediated by a keyboard seems like the backwards step. It seems so obvious that this is how we will consume media in future I can't realy understand why there is a debate, but perhaps you have to play with one to appreciate this.

Alex Johnson 1
Jobs Halo

Tedious Nay-Sayers

@ Geoff: Whether you "believe" the iPhone moved out of a niche you have defined - which is nonsense, by the way - that isn't borne out by the sales figures, unless by "significant fashion" you mean, "as ubiquitous as Mao's Little Red Book in the Cultural Revolution." The iPhone beat all sales expectations and has continued to do so relentlessly. This is not an opinion. You're also right - something newer and better than the iPad could come along. However, right now this is a wildly successful product launch by any possible metric, other than yours of course. We all get that you don't want one. Me, I am "cash rich" and I can afford one. It is really the perfect size to read: not just the canard of books, but magazines, newspapers, regular websites, and email. It, and devices like it, are clearly the future of how many people will consume media, particularly the written word, in the leisure and travelling time. They will get thinner, lighter, and presumably screen sizes will vary. But the hoopla about the launches around the world suggests very strongly that they won't be going away anytime soon.

Revo Heritage DAB/FM radio and iPod dock

Alex Johnson 1
Thumb Down

Lack of Detail in Review; 2007-era Features

1. "Internet Radio." Is the reviewer aware that this is not nearly detailed enough? Which standards does it support? Does it support BBC Listen Again? Reciva? If you listen to "internet radio" this matters. In the past, Revo didn't support Listen Again (and Real). I guess that hasn't changed? You are writing for the Reg, not a lifestyle magazine. This is so imprecise as to be shoddy.

2. For £230 to release a radio with an iPod dock which is not iPhone compatible and which doesn't support 802.11n is frankly ludicrous. (Yes I know 802.11g is plenty for the stream, but it also drags down other devices on the network.) I think Revo could have stumped up the £5 for more modern chipsets.

So, an imprecise review for a nicely featured radio which seems to demonstrate a pennywise, pound-foolish approach to procurement.

Orange gets UK iPhone deal

Alex Johnson 1

Makes July All The Weirder

I agree this is good news for everyone. I think all things being equal O2 will keep me as I will switch to SIMplicity at £20/mo. when my contract is up in January using the PAYG iPhone 3GS I bought on launch day (yes it works out as cheaper, if you don't care about visual voicemail), and I also have their broadband; it'd be £60pa more expensive if I didn't have a phone.

But it keeps O2 on their toes, and reinforces to me their stupidity in not locking in all those would-be upgraders for the 3GS; the 3G people's contracts will roll off in January, and they'll drop nicely into a competitive market. I can only assume they've been busy negotiating and hoped in the summer that they would retain exclusivity, as otherwise it's remarkably stupid.

People did point this out in June, of course, when the contract nazis were going on about how unreasonable it was for iPhone owners to expect some deal: they could have locked in their most price-insensitive customers for at least 18 months. Some will have done it anyway, through clenched teeth. Some will have done what I did and split out the phone from the contract, counting the days. And some will have just been p'd off, and will now be delighted. Well, congratulations O2, you won that battle. Pity about the war though.

Cyclists give TV chef a Wikikicking

Alex Johnson 1

Oh shut up.

1. I note the non-cyclists are the ones who can't spell or capitalise properly. I guess that's because you're stupid. Or lazy. Or both.

2. Red lights - seriously, what crap. And why does it bother you? Is it the thought that someone might get there faster than you? Or is it because you fear hitting a cyclist running a light and being blamed for it? Newsflash - most cyclist know they are basically floating along on a couple of tubes of tin foil and are not so stupid as to cycle across the path of moving traffic. When cyclists cross a red light, 99/100 it is because there is no oncoming traffic or pedestrians. (Yes, some are stupid. And some stupid people manage to get onto the motorway driving in the wrong direction. Stupidity is the constant here, not cycling.) Red lights are there for two reasons - to improve traffic flow, and for safety. They are not a holy commandment. It is important that we do not second-guess them because travelling in two tonnes of metal at high speed, reaction times aren't quick enough and we need to obey simple clear rules. This does not apply when you are on a bike. That said, do I think cyclists should stop at MOST red lights? Yes - it's important that drivers view us as predictable, and those reasons do also apply to reaction times vis-a-vis other road users and in particular pedestrians. But sometimes, it's safer to go through a red light. The light as you approach the Embankment from Northumberland Street (from Trafalgar Square) is one - the red is aimed at cars as there is no left filter, although traffic is moving in the opposite direction from the Embankment onto Northumberland Street. Not allowing a filter left is idiotic. And when the light turns green there is no space at the corner. I prioritise being well in front of the cars to maximise my visibility over your anally retentive view about what traffic signals are there for. Given that 99/100 drivers immediately put their foot down when a light turns green with tunnel vision, if you don't want to hit me and get points or a scratch on your car, believe me, you want that too. No doubt cabbies behind me are enraged. They would be even more enraged if they were to knock me off my bike, damage their cars, and get sued. Admit it, what you hate is the idea that someone is "getting ahead", like you hate it when someone tries to "cut in" on a motorway queue, and you'd rather risk hitting the car in front than let him or her in. You pathetic small-dicked little child - grow up. With a bike it is not a zero-sum game - your journey is in no way affected. You should be delighted that the person isn't in a car, adding to the congestion that so aggravates you.

3. Road tax. That is, Vehicle Excise Duty. Please. Actually, I do pay it. But I generate virtually no congestion, absolutely no pollution, and don't need land set aside so I can park my bike. I also do not need motorways built for me as a cyclist, or bypasses, or roundabouts. I use them because the roads are designed for cars. While cycle lanes are not free to build, I do pay VAT on the bike and its servicing. So, STFU.

4. Insurance. I do have some insurance, but as I am not driving 2 tonnes of metal and any damage is most likely to be to myself, why should it be compulsory? Because I might scratch your car? Well that's unfortunate, but why is that different to a pedestrian stepping into the road? I really couldn't give a flying f*** about your no claims bonus. Insurance is to INSURE YOU against things happening. Which are by the way very improbable. Again, STFU.

5. I cycle to work, and I run some errands on my bike. It's healthy, faster than the tube, and going through the parks is actually very pleasant. But I have a car too. It's probably a much nicer car than most of you cycle haters have, being a famous German sports car. It must suck to be you.

6. Many people in cars have no idea how loud a car horn is. It needs to be that loud so it can be heard over engine noise, road noise, a radio, and through sealed insulated glass. It is very loud to anyone outside the car, which is why car alarms are so aggravating. Add that to cycling and yes, the fright can cause you to lose balance and if you're lucky fall into a hedge; if unlucky into the path of the car. It is INCREDIBLY dangerous and stupid. Which is why this non-entity chef is every bit the c*nt he's made out to be.

7. I don't have the statistics but I would guess that around 99% of all cycle deaths are caused by collisions with motorised vehicles. (1% may hit a tree etc.) And I'd bet that close to 0% of vehicle occupant deaths are caused by cyclists. Perhaps there's some freak case of a cyclist being catapulted through a windscreen, hence not absolutely zero. Why, pea-brained cycle haters, do you think this makes us equal on the road? Faced with such dramatic inequality of outcome, why would any sane person expect cyclists and drivers to act the same way? In an accident with a bike, you won't die. The cyclist quite probably will. So don't be a dick. Make space. Be predictable. Don't overtake me only to get a 5 second advantage when you turn left right across me. And so on.

So stop being bitter, and stop being a fat whinging slob and get out there and work some of the pies off, you bitter little lardo. You might find you even enjoy it, and view other people getting some air and improving their health with a smile. Yes, pigs might fly, but glasses half full, eh?

T-Mobile daddy mulls US merger

Alex Johnson 1


I'm not sure it would be anticompetitive - it's too simplistic to say that it's four national carriers being condensed down to three. Currently, pricing on AT&T and Verizon is higher than in many other countries because, in effect, their competition is too weak. A hypothetical third player with a truly national footprint could give the duopoly a run for their money in the way that Sprint and T-Mobile cannot. Second, yes the only way you could imagine this would work would be not dissimilar to the AT&T mess earlier in this decade - largely "sandboxed" legacy networks dual-mode with LTE. That shouldn't be impossible - such phones will need to be produced for Verizon anyway, making a similar transition, and while the frequencies are non-standard, T-Mobile already gets carriers to make WCDMA phones for it and other manufacturers will supply WCDMA-LTE phones for the rest of the world's carriers. It's messy and expensive but quite obviously possible: how this saves T-Mobile money is the question. Verizon - Sprint seems to make more sense but antitrust would be a nightmare.

As to WiMax (CDMA) - LTE (GSM) competition, I think that's a red herring, not least because LTE and WiMax aren't competing standards in the same way CDMA and GSM are. There's also little evidence that the GSM standard has stifled competition and US carriers have been notably slower to adopt newer GSM-family technologies than other parts of the world, despite the spur of apparent competition between standards. What GSM standardisation has done is lower costs, and barriers to entry. In the PC world, the real competition hasn't been Mac - Windows, but between different PC vendors using in effect the same technology, but mobile telephony is a much more open field even than this - Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens etc.

Labour calls for free Wi-Fi on trains

Alex Johnson 1

@AC Re: Sighhh... #

So of course your own personal circumstances mean that any expenditure on public transport is a complete waste of money. I look forward to your input on what my supermarket should sell, and of course what you would like to watch on TV.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019