Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The not-so-Evil Empire

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  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Guess everyone’s really stupid. Or maybe they’re just really good devices.

    I fully accept that Macs don’t meet your particular needs. But they work really well for ordinary folks.

    FYI this attitude is exactly why a lot of people are turned off Apple products.

    Do we really need to turn someone's personal choice of telephone / laptop / tablet / television / toaster into a dividing line between "ordinary folks" and the rest? Please.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I need every part of my screen plus some.

    Oh YES! I learned early on that being able to use the entire dining room floor and part of the lounge helped enormously while writing my thesis. The same principle applies to screens. The more space you have to spread things out the easier it is to work. I have two big screens at work and a 27 inch at home for play.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    Do we really need to turn someone’s personal choice of telephone / laptop / tablet / television / toaster into a dividing line between “ordinary folks” and the rest? Please.

    For as long as I’ve used computers (27 years) there has always been a vocal group that trashed Apple. They trashed Apple when it was bad and when it was good. It was pure ideology.

    Like it or not the folks who trashed Apple created that divide, routinely describing Macs as computers for people who don’t really understand computers. It was meant as an insult and surprisingly was often said with genuine hatred (which of course was stupid).

    You’re right of course. Creating such a divide is stupid and wrong. However, after my brother gave my mother a PC, which he upgrades yearly, she has spent a huge amount of money on with PC support folks who charge her ridiculous amounts of money to do the simplest things – I can’t help but think a computer for “ordinary folks” is not such a bad thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    If there was only one genuine complaint about Apple products, it’s the requirement to use proprietary components, which I’m not sure is still in effect. Where I work, we actually installed generic DDR3 laptop memory in a MacBook 2010 model, and it didn’t like it so we had to order in some Mac-specific RAM.

    Other than that, they’re quite robust machines, and they’re ideal for getting started on computing. Windows-based machines are far more flexible – but only after the learning curve is negotiated.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    The one thing that stands out with Photoshop is the instantness of everything. I use PS on both a PC (CS5) and a Mac (CS6) and the waiting time on the MS box just kills me - so mostly I don't.

    Photoshop 7 on a legacy 1 GHZ Win XP box will probably fulfill 99.9% of most needs at acceptable speeds. Shame about the splash screen. It really annoys me that it starts up in a fraction of the time that I've seen it do on any Mac, but there it is.

    Apart from the addition of layers and multiple levels of undo, Photoshop, like most flagship desktop apps, hasn't changed essentially in the 22 years that it's dominated its market. Depending on how tech-savvy he was prepared to be, iPad activist Brian could assemble a very serviceable desktop graphics setup for pocket money by scrounging TradeMe. He could put together a perfectly capable video editing facility, something that's far more demanding in terms of hardware than Photoshop, for less than a grand, based on the very capable under $NZ200 Premiere Elements.

    I don't know if Brian has a wider strategy with his consumer activism, but I'm sensing a vague issue about cost deterring the financially disadvantaged from accessing mobile computing. Because desktop technology has become generic - stagnated, even - the cost associated with basic internet access isn't a big issue. Once it becomes the only way to participate in such essentials as everyday banking, it needs to be safeguarded as a human right.

    I no longer want or need a mobile phone, but I've noticed an increasing demand to supply a mobile number as a form of backup ID. While there are still options, I do wonder whether Brian's activism is quite as frivolous as it might appear to be.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Meyer,

    I'm pretty sure that Russell is wrong about being wrong about Angry Birds (the update turns a great piece into a not very good one).

    Rovio's FAQ is easily found and it clearly explains the requirement for location data: Crysal (the social gaming network; widely used before Game Centre) needs this information (for fairly obvious reasons). If you don't use Crystal, then your location data is not used. You need to explicitly set up and enable a Crystal account, and iOS explicitly asks you whether you want to provide location data, and iOS lets you manage this (per application) in Settings, and iOS adds an icon to the status bar indicating whenever location data has been used, and iOS shows you which applications have recently accessed location data.

    iOS is extremely zealous about protecting location data - so much so that it's a bit annoying at the moment, because if an app wants access to the photo library, it also requires location access (because most photos have location data attached); iOS 6 is addressing this.

    There is no way that this is improper use. If you don't want to share your location data, then either don't use Crystal, or say 'no' when iOS prompts you. If Rovio are outright lying in their FAQ and are using the location data for something else, then that's another matter entirely, but you are still protected via iOS's privacy features.

    As for tracking who you've called, I believe this is simply untrue. As far as I can tell, Russell is basing this on a single, extremely vague, web page (and if you go to the (Fox News) source of that article, it doesn't mention Angry Birds at all). The second-to-last paragraph in that article is almost certainly about Android only (the "list of permissions" gives it away).

    Apple does not provide any official API to get access to call history. In various versions of iOS, there have been bugs that meant that a database containing call history information has been accessible inside the app sandbox; I think (but it's not simple to tell) that this isn't the case in the latest version. If Rovio is collecting this information, they are doing so in a way that would likely get them kicked out of the App Store, and are doing things that their privacy policy says that they don't. If there is any evidence of this, I would be very interested to see it.

    Apple is far from perfect, but they try pretty hard with privacy (watch Jobs talk about it at D8, and you can see why), and they do a pretty good job. (It's a contrast to Android, since Google wants better advertising, which necessitates weaker privacy - and some people are happy to make this trade).

    Ahuroa • Since Jul 2012 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    The Two Marketeers...

    Do we really need to turn someone’s personal choice of telephone / laptop / tablet / television / toaster into a dividing line between “ordinary folks” and the rest? Please.

    It's the American Way©,
    they need a duopoly:
    Good / Evil;
    Rich / Poor;
    McDonald's / Burger King;
    Democrat / Republican;
    Nike / Reebok;
    Coke / Pepsi;
    Mac / PC...
    Dangerous extremists,
    who seemingly can't abide the middle,
    but can't survive without it...

    ...bring on the singularity!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    Do we really need to turn someone’s personal choice of telephone / laptop / tablet / television / toaster into a dividing line between “ordinary folks” and the rest? Please.

    I was responding to Rich's complaints -- and my point was just that the fact that he can't just write new device drivers on a Mac is not and shouldn't be a showstopper for people who have all kinds of other personal and professional uses for them. I dunno -- is there a better short way of putting that?

    FYI this attitude is exactly why a lot of people are turned off Apple products.

    Really?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Mac / PC...
    Dangerous extremists,
    who seemingly can't abide the middle,
    but can't survive without it...

    ...bring on the singularity!

    Mac / PC, bah humbug, they'll have to pry my singularity from my cold dead hands.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tony Meyer,

    As for tracking who you’ve called, I believe this is simply untrue.

    Fair enough. I felt bad because I'd mocked the whole idea and then saw some evidence that it might not be a completely misguided belief.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • mike.riversdale, in reply to Tony Meyer,

    "(It’s a contrast to Android, since Google wants better advertising, which necessitates weaker privacy – and some people are happy to make this trade)."
    citation required!

    Each and every Android app before installing (or if they change permission requirements) tells me what they required - I choose if I want to continue.

    Here's the list of what they are asking me to allow: http://techpp.com/2010/07/30/android-apps-permissions-secure-private-data/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the fact that he can't just write new device drivers on a Mac

    That's not my issue, really,

    My problem is Apple's prominence in gradually turning programming and distributing software into a privileged activity.

    They could step back from this - for instance, they could enable iOS devices to run open source applications (which have never been a significant source of trojans) - but it's part of their model not to.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They were compiling a datavase ...

    While I realise this is merely the result of a deflected downward digital thrust, the concept resonated with a pet interest of mine - Acoustic Vases - the secrets of which are almost lost in the 21st century (Masons aside...) The Greeks and Romans understood them well, Vitruvius particularly...
    The British of course called them Jars.
    Some of it has stuck around in speaker design, and I guess a lot has been rendered unusable by the amount of quotidian ambient noise nowadays...
    But if you ever wanted to experiment with a quiet place, it sounds like a lot of fun, and no power needed!!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Acoustic Vases

    Ian, thank you for that. Do you think some of them go to 11?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to kiwicmc,

    The 12 year old still hasn't forgiven me for paying for a Bruno Mars Piano Tribute

    heh. seems fair

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Apart from the addition of layers and multiple levels of undo, Photoshop, like most flagship desktop apps, hasn't changed essentially in the 22 years that it's dominated its market.

    What it has added in CS5 and vastly improved on in CS6 is the magical Content Aware. How it works I don't know, but it's freaking amazing - and it chews resources as it does so. Mostly I have to accept that Windows simply won't do it unless I head down to the pub, have a couple and wander back hoping that the box hasn't just frozen. Mac does it in a flash.

    The other recent toy is the Adaptive Wide Angle - another CS6 wunder moment. It's ridiculously clever in working out what curves are natural and what are not. Never tried it on a PC.

    Where I work, we actually installed generic DDR3 laptop memory in a MacBook 2010 model, and it didn’t like it so we had to order in some Mac-specific RAM.

    The 17" MBP has six gigs of ram. It came with two (yikes) and I threw in a generic 2gb and a 4gb stick, which is 2 over the supposed maximum. It's run perfectly on that for 2 years (until Lion, but that's the graphics issue that has spread over 120 pages in the Apple communities thread on it last time I looked, plus acres of non-Apple web forums - they seem not to care).

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    the magical Content Aware.

    As you might have sensed, I've become a tad meh about Pshop's added features. That one just might be worth a look, thanks for the heads up.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I've become a tad meh about Pshop's added features.

    Given that most of the suite is mostly CS2 tweaked over and over, the price Adobe charges for it is simply outrageous. Still, as long as people pay.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    the price Adobe charges for it is simply outrageous

    though for what is one of the most well-made and successful digital tools ever?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    It's worth pointing out that the increased malware on Android is primarily due to the ability for users to use marketplaces other than the Google Play store to obtain apps. With more freedom comes more potential for things to screw up if the user chooses to play outside the box. There's also malware available for jailbroken iOS devices, should you choose to look for it, but ofcourse only a small proportion go to the effort of jailbreaking to begin with, just like only a small proportion of Android users go looking outside the Google Play store, as most users have all they need available to them.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Sacha,

    though for what is one of the most well-made and successful digital tools ever?

    Sure.

    However the full suite is close to NZ$4k and incremental upgrades (you can now only upgrade from the last version - that's a pricey change this year) are over a grand each.

    Much of what is in the box (or download) is merely an interface update each time.

    I suspect they have long since recovered any costs, made a voluminous profit and are in the black until Cs25 - and mostly the pricing now is simply that they can get away with it.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    In other sort-of-evil-empire builders news -Gina Rinehart has sold down most of her stake, to remain with 15%...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And other news, Apple loses to HTC in the we-invented-it-first courts.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    The iPad is entirely useless when first purchased (or at least mine was) without iTunes. So immediately to even use the device I have to install that software and accept any terms it requires.

    The original iPad stated on the back of the box that it required iTunes 9.1 or later and an iTunes account (for some features). If you had concerns about the terms and conditions for either of those you could have checked them out before you bought the device. It was also stated on Apple's website.

    The latest iPad doesn't require iTunes but does require an Apple ID. Again this requirement is stated on the back of the box.

    I think the onus is on the purchaser to ensure that they are comfortable with the T&C before they buy the thing. It's not like they can't find out in advance.

    To continue using the product in the way it's intended I also have to continue accepting any changes in those terms that Apple chooses to make.

    Yes, subsequent changes could put you in the position of having to accept T&C you don't agree with or stop using the device. I agree that's not particularly fair or reasonable.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I suspect they have long since recovered any costs, made a voluminous profit and are in the black until Cs25 - and mostly the pricing now is simply that they can get away with it.t

    That's pretty much borne out by the pricing of Photoshop Elements. If you don't need CMYK and can deal with the 'different' interface, it's around 87.5% of regular Photoshop's capabilities for approx. 12.5% of the price. Same for Premiere Pro & Elements.

    A curious case of marketing products to appear dumber than they really are, because it would be too much bother to strip out features while retaining basic functionality.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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