Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Steve, 1999

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    Now disused but somehow we can't discard our floral iMac. But I cannot get too sentimental about Apple these days as they have become a bit of a monster--for a brief period a couple of weeks back, they passed Eron as the world's richest company.
    I do pine for my Mac at work, replaced recently by a cod PC (our faculty arguing that they can't continue to support Macs). Still can't figure why you have to press three tabs to start the bastard.

    The best joke at the Edinburgh festival this year; "I had to choose a password with 8 characters, so I chose Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs".

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2327 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to HORansome,

    Not according to the research

    Bring a gun to a knife fight why don't you.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Eron

    not to be confused with iRon :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    The best joke at the Edinburgh festival this year; "I had to choose a password with 8 characters, so I chose Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs".

    According to XKCD, you wouldn't be far off the pace if you did choose that as your password.

    There's some nice quotes from Jobs on the WSJ. One that rings a bell for me, who was starting work (and then going to Uni) on the cusp of the DOS/GUI change was this:

    “Some people are saying that we ought to put an IBM PC on every desk in America to improve productivity. It won’t work. The special incantations you have to learn this time are the “slash q-zs” and things like that. The manual for WordStar, the most popular word-processing program, is 400 pages thick. To write a novel, you have to read a novel––one that reads like a mystery to most people. They’re not going to learn slash q-z any more than they’re going to learn Morse code. That is what Macintosh is all about.” [Playboy, Feb. 1, 1985]

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Now, smartphones are basically variations on the iPhone.

    HTC had the finger touch screen Gene and Touch both out before the iPhone. In this part of the world at least they were the groover's choice and pretty much everywhere before the iPhone arrived. They caused quite a fuss.

    From memory the interface we now see on android smartphones hasn't changed that much since those early HTCs.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but the idea that that Apple succeeds because it puts form before function simply isn’t true.

    Word. I resisted the move to Mac for years - just because I was being a curmudgeon - but when I finally made the jump, it was the function that made it worthwhile. I'm no fanboi - I prefer Android to iOS and hate iTunes - but, simply put, Apple's computing devices make getting it done so much more intuitive, reliable, stable and easier.

    I'll never go back to a Win PC. E̶v̶e̶r̶.

    ETA: Ever is a big word

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    And my (recently deceased after 8 years of sterling service) Sony Ericsson P800 - with touch interface and Opera browser - was apparently much admired by Jobs back in 2003.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Off at a tangent: since we're not feeling the iTunes love, which legal download sites are worth the effort?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    From CNBC 7 Aug 2011.


    Part 2.

    My feeling is we will be talking about him in a different way soon enough, so I'll let others fly the flag for now.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Off at a tangent: since we're not feeling the iTunes love, which legal download sites are worth the effort?

    I was a fan of eMusic until they arbitrarily disconnected me a couple of years back. Perhaps an Indonesian IP at the time didn't help.

    Beatport, Boomkat and Juno are fine for electronic music but their interfaces leave something be desired.

    I really liked Amazon until they, too, decided that non-US addresses (that Beverley Hills 90210 address had a short life) were verboten.

    Bandcamp works for me, as does Amplifier for NZ tuneage. As often as not, though, I'll buy off an artist's own site if possible, or the label's.

    They get the full wack and I'm sure they appreciate the extra few cents.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    I tried listing my Mac machines, and was shocked to realise I still have ten of them. (Almost all were second-hand; I'm a late adopter.)
    There's the SE I started writing my thesis on, and the Centris I finished it on, both still in working order (for decades-old definitions of "working");
    a black PowerBook running System 7.5 - the last surviving of three (the software was OK, but the hardware was quite another thing -- one of its forerunners went through 3 screens in as many months, and the case on this one cracks when looked at in the wrong way);
    two Wall Street model G3 laptops, which do not appreciate the yearly temperature range in Tokyo -- it's a lottery whether or not the OS will be found on startup. (They're only a year and one OS9 version apart but, irritatingly, nothing is interchangeable except the power trains);
    a G4 desktop (which shipped, in 1999, with OS9.0 and only 64MB RAM);
    a G3 iBook (ca. 2003) -- still my favourite laptop, despite mild hard-drive damage that has impaired some functions and threatens to curtail future use (the drive cannot be reformatted, the OS cannot be reinstalled, so any further damage will be fatal);
    a G4 iBook (ca.2005) -- too big and heavy to be a truly convenient portable;
    an iMac desktop in my office;
    and finally, a MacBook I got last year (solely for conference presentations, where I have to pretend to be technologically up-to-date).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 925 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    My thoughts pretty much exactly – and frankly, even though eMusic didn’t kill my account (although no new accounts are available), its value has really become questionable. The major-label catalogues aren’t available here, and the Beggars Group catalogue disappearing altogether was a serious downer.

    Beggars is the most alert music company of any real size in the world. They’re smart and reasonable and they have an incredible roster. If eMusic couldn’t keep them in the tent, I think eMusic was getting it wrong.

    And I regard Bandcamp as nearly equivalent to buying direct from the band. It adds a lot of value for its commission – including the ability to send redemption codes to people you want to hear your record for free, so they can tell other people.

    I’m sort of torn between wanting a jazzier storefront on Bandcamp and liking the fact that it’s presented as a service, not a player.

    Tbh, if I was making music and wanted to sell it independently, I'd use Bandcamp.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    My bugbear with iTMS is that music can only be purchased at 256kbps. Not good enough for serious listening IMHO.

    I'll download an album as an audition, and if I really like it, I'll still buy the CD for the richer sound. But I'm a dinosaur.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to James Butler,

    But the core PC getting-stuff-done market still exists, and is still a significant (and, I suspect, increasing) percentage of the population; and I think it will be some time before we see a better input device than a keyboard for those uses.

    Smartphones still can't play MMOs or edit videos yet. It's probably only a matter of time though.

    And holographic UI's à la Johnny Mnemonic are already here... they're just not very practical yet.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to DeepRed,

    Smartphones still can't play MMOs or edit videos yet. It's probably only a matter of time though

    You can edit a video on your iPhone. Don't know about other phones though.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DeepRed,

    Smartphones still can’t play MMOs or edit videos yet. It’s probably only a matter of time though.

    And yet, one of the great things about PC gaming is its hackability. It's hard to see that happening in a mobile application.

    And the iPhone 4 can edit video to some degree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    I filmed an awful lot of video on the iPad at the last party. The only thing stopping me from editing it on the iPad is how awful my singing is. Video editing on iOS is delightfully easy, though.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    If it matters (or even if it doesn’t, and the fact that it doesn’t, but people act as if it does, which is often the point of their satire, but I digress…), The Onion has something to say about it. Apple will survive or not based on the culture that it has engendered.

    I’m not an early adopter myself, and often think of computers as ‘bureaucracy in a box’: No. Not today. We’re closed. Someone’s on sick leave. You submitted a form that was the wrong shade of green (this happened to me for real at Massey McUniversity), we lost the paperwork. You have not followed the correct procedure and all of the information has been lost – was it important?… and so on.

    PCs, Windoze? Bah, I’d rather have HAL 9000. For all rather rigid methods of Apple’s interfaces, their devotion to making things work more or less how actual people might want to use things and even the haptics of their keyboards make them the choice for me.

    Again, I hope that the culture that does that endures.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 980 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I've just got home from TechEd (drinking the microsoft kool aid). I was twittering in the front row of a demo of Win7 slates, tablets & skinny lappies when the news about Jobs hit the wires.

    About 25 mins later, the two Microsofters doing the demo showed some device off by bringing up a live news feed - big headline "Steve Jobs Retires". The demo stopped absolutely dead for seconds on end as they processed that, then they said something to the effect of they hoped he was alright and wished him the best. Then they carried on comparing their hardware to iPads and macbooks without mentioning ipads and macbooks.

    The samsung skinny lappie was nice though, and the rugged tablet was impressive as the bloke threw it roughly to the floor.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 842 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Andrew E,

    According to XKCD, you wouldn't be far off the pace if you did choose that as your password.

    That meme has been going around for a while now. It sounds attractive, but it's not actually true - if you think of the individual words as units (which dictionary attacks allow) then the security of a string of words is pretty low, especially considering most people's active vocabulary (well under 40,000 words, and picking words that aren't part of your vocabulary defeats the purpose.)

    A much safer tactic is something like picking the first letter of every word in the verse of a song you know well - it produces what is essentially a random* string of letters up to 30-40 characters long, and it's easily memorable. Chuck in a couple of numbers and capitals, and you're good.

    All that said, it depends what you're using the password for; your bank account is a lot more of a concern than a news website, as long as you're not reusing the same password everywhere, which is probably the real main password security concern.

    *Not actually random, because fewer letters start words, and languages have recognisable word patterns, but not the sort of non-random that's easy to discern.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    That meme has been going around for a while now. It sounds attractive, but it's not actually true

    I'll take your word for it. I use a different method myself.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    A polyglot's question: If the words in the 'random' string were each from a different language, with preferably each language unrelated, would that beat, or at least delay, the dictionary attacks?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2167 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    A polyglot's question: If the words in the 'random' string were each from a different language, with preferably each language unrelated, would that beat, or at least delay, the dictionary attacks?

    Oh, sure. The more languages you use, the more difficult it gets. English has a large enough vocab that if you picked from the entire available vocabulary - which is more like 100,000 words - it'd be much more secure. If you picked, say, one word from Tagalog, Fijian, Swahili, and Russian, it wouldn't be cracked quickly. (And quick cracking does require a guess that this is the method you're using.)

    But the whole premise behind the method is that it creates passwords that are easy to remember while still being secure. Using multiple languages or really obscure words, unless you're a polyglot and/or have an excellent memory, takes you right back to the original problem - secure password, hell to remember.

    In all honesty, there are multiple methods of creating secure passwords and the trick is to pick the one that works for *your* memory. This one is just not as secure as presented, for the method presented.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Simon Bennett,

    I’ll still buy the CD for the richer sound.

    There's this nifty device if you have an outboard DAC as part of your music setup. To listen to other music stored on your computer.
    I hope your not using the headphone out to connect to a stereo. At least buy a usb adapter.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1234 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett, in reply to andin,

    I'm using an Apple TV synced with my laptop to play music through the stereo via RCA leads. Therein probably lies part of the problem - the DAC in the Apple TV is probably pretty rudimentary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 143 posts Report Reply

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