Category Archives: Technology or lack there of.

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.

I bought a MacBook Pro

So, here I was two months ago complaining to everyone and sundry about my Acer notebook locking up when it chose to. I pinned it down to a heat issue and the notebook now resides in a much cooler place, though I might state also under a substantially greater amount of pressure. (You work it out).

My line of work requires a computer to provide 3D renderings without too much of an ask. Now after finally having had quite a few years of putting up, with…….PC ……oh sorry…. Where am I going with this…….? Finally, reality check,……..after 20 years, BB quote here, “I see the light”.

It’s not even the latest, as I had to have the one with a 17″ screen. Which, by the way, is sensational even though it doesn’t have double the pixel density. A colleague has a later model and is green with envy because of the bigger display.

Have to say even though this purchase was related to an article that had been off range for nearly 12 months I was made to feel the same as a current model purchaser.

The follow up from the sales department was sensational. Their product was delivered with the care and grace as if it had been the latest. The latter being a 17″ MacBook Pro. Good on you Apple.

Dare I say, I’m a convert. Sensational product, sensational service and a human answers the phone when you ring them.

Almost, “Magical”.

Automatic Updates

It had been a while since having set up a PC from scratch and I had to do so two days ago. You know, given my now quite a few years of dealing with these blessed devices, I too would have to admit, that the install process, has come a long way.

Let me take you back to one of my first PC OS installs, DOS 3.1 as perpetrated by the then still selling PCs, Epson. There were at least six 5″1/4 floppy disks involved and one was definitely used about three times. The reference disk is what it was called. Formatting a hard disk was about as onerous as usurping a failing African dictatorship. These days we probably have a revised definition for the term, “F disk”.

Fast forward to 2013. Windows 7 64bit to be installed on a six month old Asus mini tower. All the usual specs and the like. Insert the DVD and provided the BIOS boot order is set correctly and you remember to hit any key to boot from the DVD, you’re in business. User friendly or what?

That aside, I’d have to say that the process of installing an OS for a PC has definitely come along. It was all over in about 20 minutes or so. This included repartitioning and formatting etc.

Now of course, by now you know, it doesn’t stop there. Nobody on this planet uses just the PC with just the OS. No, you first have to wade through the OEM driver installs and then printer drivers untill finally you can settle in to installing the penultimate software that you want to make use of. This of course includes the now mandatory anti-virus software as well of course.

Having established the also now mandatory Internet connection, we already start getting nagged that the OS is not up to date. Then of course, definition updates jump on the bandwagon. Which all amounts to reboot upon reboot etc. Don’t even get me started on Flash…… Moving right along.

Well, by the time it was all over it was 2am. That’s right, five hours of sitting there shuffling CDs, DVDs, memory sticks and interspersed with my wife beckoning me to come to bed already. With all of the bits and pieces installed and thinking this machine would be ready to take to work in the morning I decided to go to bed.

07:00 the same morning, computer left on, whilst having enjoyed five hours of peaceful slumber etc. I got up and showered, dressed and came in to power-down the PC in preparation for departure to the place of use. This is where this whole Windows saga gets me. As if MS, Balmer & Gates knew I was now in a rush and upon selecting Start (hmm…) and Shutdown, the bloody thing decides it was going to install not one, ney, not even two but one hundred and twenty five updates.

……………😱 Forty five minutes later (having abided by the whole “don’t unplug or power down or else” message), I was finally able to pack this thing of to it’s place of use. By the way, over the last two days there have been at least another fifty or so additional updates. Most annoyingly installed when you want to power down. Why then? Like most, I power the PC down only, when I want to go home. Even better for us notebook owners? Why the hell don’t they install their never ending tirade of soon to be redundant updates when you switch the bloody thing on? No, no, no, they want to, need to, remind you who’s controlling who.

That of course led me to ponder, what if other suppliers of goods and services were to take the route of MS. Imagine coming out of your new car showroom having made a substantial purchase (paid in full), driving nothing more than a chassis with an engine. The salesman yells out as you drive off into the sunset, “Don’t forget to register for our automatic updates”. You yell back, “Thanks, it drives great”.

Come on….. You wouldn’t cop it. I now only use Windows not as a matter of preference and only because certain applications force it upon me. At home it survives purely as virtual machine backed up as a single file and able to be restored at a moments notice when it cocks up.

Apple Time-machine is great for that………

Apple, Granny Smith or Macintosh?

Well, a year on from my spectacular iMac purchase and now where are we?

The just released iMac is thinner. Yep. Forsaking the optical drive. Deemed old technology.

More like, now go out and buy the add on drive. $$$$

Having had my share for twelve months I would love to have the forum for a rant. Well, this is neither the place or the time. Instead, I’ll bitch and moan and take it it up the tail pipe.

Seems I’ve been here before.

The most awe inspiring experience without a doubt has been Parallel Desktop. Sensational. To be able to run Windows without ever really seeing it is just brilliant.

The biggest jaw dropper was having to download a third party app to rename multiple files at once. Come on……

And what’s with the whole Energizer/Duracell deal. If I was to suggest that my keyboard and mouse were never likely to be more than two meters from the screen why would they need to be wireless. Oh yeh, I know, so they can both (respectively) consume batteries like there was no tomorrow.

Full screen apps? Where’s the clock?

To know your OS you need to know your users.

Time to get with it Apple.