All posts by John Wagenvoort

You are but for the miles you travel and the people you meet.

Why I bought a Mac

Having used DOS/Windows based notebooks ever since there were notebooks I didn’t treat my next notebook purchase lightly. The year was 2013 and I decided to buy the last iteration of the MacBook 17. A refurbished one I might add.

Fast forward to November 2016.  My MacBook started to display some concerning green bands on the display and was stuck in a reboot loop.  Onto the Apple website, support etc and within minutes I’d secured myself a Genius Bar appointment.

The following Thursday saw my MacBook being diagnosed and it was determined that it was the system board.  Well, the graphics card most notably.  However, if the graphics card has to go then it entails a complete system board replacement. The Apple consultant asked me to wait while he consulted his manager. This being after he’d determined the issue by way of an error code on the screen.

While the consultant was out checking with his manager I googled the error code only to learn that the issue was a know/ documented one. The Apple consultant returned to confirm same. Not only that but that the system board ($927 AUD) would be replaced free of charge. Hmmm….. look of surprise etc

A refurbished machine, build year 2012, recognised by way of a replacement program some four years later.

That’s why you buy a Mac.

PS Replaced the HDD with a 1TB SSD two weeks ago and will now have a sensational notebook for some time to come.

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The Traffic Cop

Soaking up the local culture in small village in north east Thailand is most probably best achieved during local community events. One of the more notable of these would have to be Songkran.

What historically started out as well wishing ritual and a passing on of good luck has transformed into a nationwide, three to five day water fight.

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What is not always obvious is how this event calls on local community members to help maintain a certain order. Now, the demands placed on theses certain individuals can’t be too onerous so as to not enjoy the festivities. The local constabulary will don colorful “Songkran” shirts and infiltrate the throng of revellers.

One such individual was a definite standout though and had to juggle the functions he was prevailed upon to perform. Hmmmm…… What to do, do I squirt the passers by with my water cannon or do I direct on coming traffic?

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All I can report is that there were no traffic accidents and definitely a huge number of soaked locals.

Songkran Day 1

Yesterday’s trip to Thailand was predominantly uneventful. Thai Airways was sensational as always and as much as I don’t sleep on planes the time seemed to pass quite quickly.

We arrived in Bangkok 6 am and the first order of the day was to obtain a SIM card for my beloved’s iPhone. This process has been made relatively easy as True now have a SIM card shop in the arrivals terminal. This just requires the owner of said device to remember their Apple ID and password. And that’s when the fight started…….

With SIM card issues resolved all we had to do now was meet up with our enterprising niece so we could off-load the near 15KG of lanolin creams and other skin enhancing products. Do check out PotterShopDirectfromUSA on Facebook.

With the import export rites out of the way it was only now that my wife realised airport personnel had singled out her suitcase with a “Heavy” tag. She seemed to be put out by this at first. I did impress upon her though, how lucky she was that Thai Air managed to get it on the same flight as us. Containers spring to mind……. (I did see “All Is Lost” last night and in the opening scenes I did think, “Hey that’s my wife’s suitcase”) BTW good movie.

Three hours later we were on a plane bound for Khon Kaen. I guess I could say that I’m now somewhat used to, no, dare I say, some what insular to being picked up from Khon Kaen airport. The event never leaves one with a feeling of normalcy and this time I was again greeted with a somewhat memorable event.

The main mode of transport here in North East Thailand would have to be without a doubt the ubiquitous pick-up. Available in all shapes and sizes, this vehicle fills a void in every Isan household. Our’s happens to have one with troop carrier accessory.

I have to side bar the ever memorable organisational skills of my wife and sister in-law at this time as without them it would have had five people arrive in Khon Kaen all at the same time. What’s the fun in that. 😄.

So not only was there no one to meet us at the airport when my wife and I arrived, we now had to wait three hours for the rest of the family to make their appearance. The locals were more appraised of our travel times than yours truelly. Or so it would appear.

When the troop carrier arrived I had to smile as twelve people got out to welcome five more with open arms. OK, I made the last bit up. They don’t welcome you with open arms. A simple sawasdee krup/ka and a smile will do.

Welcome home Johno……..

Black Box

As it would currently seem, the powers at be can locate an individual’s mobile phone to within feet. So from one who’s seen the odd Aircrash Investigation episode, I have to wonder why we can’t find a plane’s CVR & FDR.

They say that the battery for the pinger is only good for a month. Sensational given that planes can obviously be missing for much longer that.

So here’s an idea. If the FDR is recording the flight data as the plane is plummeting into an ocean, it should eject itself seconds before the crash. Same for a ground crash. Prior to hitting the ground the FDR transmits a localized coordinate to a global satellite system that in turn makes the airline and Emergency Services aware of the crash. The FDR can then proceed to upload the data immediately. It’s sadly obvious that the pilots are much too engrossed in crashing the plane to carry out the latter.

Or, airlines should be made to own data centers so that FDR devices can communicate in real time. Every flight is logged and recorded in real-time.

All planes should be low-jacked so as to overcome the ident squawk disabling factor. If we can do it with cars why not planes? Treat them like Yellow Cabs and nothing more.

Excel or not.

My job demands a certain amount of keeping up with the Jones’ or in this case the Gates’

My latest foray into the world of software upgrades has left me aghast at what one company can achieve in no time flat with what was an OK system.

I’m talking of course about Office 2013. I mean what the hell? Did you even know what you were doing?

This whole Windows 8 thing has got MS thinking that everyone will be better off if all their software looked like it. Office 2013 is testimony to that.

Even on a descent monitor Excel looks like a 3rd grade startup. What was MS thinking this time? You got us with Windows 8 and now you’ll give us a double whammy with this load of tripe.

Any wonder people are falling over themselves to get away.

Who’s in charge there? Give us some sign that someone still has some sense.

Windows hate point one.

I was one of the first kids on the block with the whole Win 8 preview install. The inducement being that you’d then be able to upgrade to the real thing for a mere penny’s worth of the real investment.

Well, twelve months on leaves to me to believe the price should have stayed the same. What Microsoft fail to realize is that it’s only an operating system. Meaning that if all your installed software is working within expected parameters you should never see the OS.

Windows 7 made a pretty good show of that. In fact on my Mac, installed as a virtual machine, it’s sensational. The virtualization software hides the OS so you can get on with just using the apps. Reality kicks in though as work demands us using legacy programs, Excel with VBA and industry specific design software. The latter being able to handle all that. (Just one file to back up, Compelling)

Now for windows hate point one. The latter being a bit harsh if it wasn’t for the fact that someone in MS land believes we’ll all be using touch screens soon or lose our fingers trying. The silly big bald man (x CEO) has everyone believing this is the way of the future. Hmmmm……. Just a few years behind of themselves when it comes to that.

I’ve been using Excel since version 1d. Access was first introduced as a mediocre database starter. Now that I’m using both in their 2010 iterations, I can’t possibly conceive of using them on the only tablet offer that MS has availed themselves of. In fact, I defy anyone to seriously use a legacy app on a MS surface.

Now back to Windoze hate point one. On a PC it is quite simple. Download Start8. It immediately reminds you of how the MS OS should operate.

For an even better MS Windoze hate experience, install it as a mere VM machine on a Mac and denigrate the bloat ware to the place it deserves.

You deserve better………

iOS 7, When Art meets function.

Who amongst us loves a particular keyboard or mouse? Usability right? Would one not be able to be coerced into believing that a mobile OS could be the same?

Of course I’m talking about iOS 7. The previous iteration, adopted by hundreds of millions around the world, was thrown overboard in one fell swoop without consultation. Security flaws included.

First impression is that this is Apple’s first foray into the whole world of iOS.

The control centre comes up on the lock screen enabling a would-be thief to invoke airplane mode without unlocking the device. Convenient right? Thereby disabling “find my iPhone, iPad” etc. all without unlocking said device. Sensational. Ney, magical.

Spotlight. Ruined. Drag down on the home screen and type say calculator the app will appear and a single tap doesn’t launch it.

Double tap the home key. Yep, I like the fact I can kill the apps by sweeping up. Tap outside of the active apps though and it should take the user back to the home screen. There should really be a kill-all function.

The backgrounds and icons no longer have the stable confident Apple look. Feigning the whole translucent look gives iOS 7 a feeling of weakness. What happened to the dock? Now a solid semi-translucent band across the bottom of the screen. Horrible.

iTunes. Play spot the search button game. What the?

Overall the symbology in IOS 7 is lame. Users of iOS 6 won’t have much of a problem migrating and will immediately get a feeling of having been robbed. New users will take longer to identify with this limp wristed approach to a mobile OS.

It’s the positiveness that’s lacking. If one was comparing iOS 7 to competition on an esthetic basis only, then this version would lose. 64 bit and all.

Sorry.