* Posts by andy 103

392 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

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Apple re-arms the iMac with 10th-gen Intel Core silicon

andy 103 Silver badge

Their older hardware is good enough (and that's the problem)

21" model with a decent second monitor would be a more than adequate set up for me.

I have one of the 2016 27-inchers and it's been a great value machine, still blazingly fast and with the 5k Retina display. But that's the problem: that machine is more than good enough and there's not much tempting me to upgrade. In the same way I have a 2015 Macbook Air which is still - IMO - better than the new models.

Basically I'm not seeing anything from Apple that's tempting me to upgrade. Even if these machines are better than my current setup, they are not *that* much better that I'd bother for a considerable time, at which point they'd probably be available second hand. Have we reached a point where hardware several years old is good enough for most people? See also: phones.

You wait ages for a mid-air collision spoofing attack and along come two at once: More boffins take a crack at hoodwinking TCAS

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Security

I would never advocate security through obscurity. But I also don't feel that on a system of this nature the details of how it works should be in the public domain. Personally I'd prefer it if these things were kept within closed circles rather than "hey everyone here's how this works, please can you try and break it?". Not for this application anyway. Opening everything up to the world for scrutiny doesn't automatically make it "secure".

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Security

It's more concerning how people who come up with these proofs of concept get the information required to simulate them in the first place.

From the way this article is written it suggests all they did was a bit of Googling, then bought a mid-to-high spec computer from their local PC World. Frightening that that's "all" it takes. The information needed to do something like this shouldn't be in the public domain, simple as.

It isn't security through obscurity because they clearly knew enough about how it worked to simulate an attack. Absolutely crazy.

One year ago, Apple promised breakthrough features to help iPhone, iPad, Mac owners with disabilities. It failed them

andy 103 Silver badge
Unhappy

What are the penalties for excluding disabled people?

It makes me cringe to write this, but it reminds me of published guidance on website accessibility with regards to those who have - for just one example - visual impairments up to and including blind people.

Unfortuantely it isn't particularly well enforced. So you can get a web developer who makes a "beautiful" looking website and then goes "meh, making this accessible for screen readers is too much work / makes my work look un-sexy". If they take this approach, there are very few consequences. Theoretically they could be fined. When was the last time you heard about someone being fined for that?

UK Gov are apparently very focused on making all of their own digital assets accessible to those with disabilities. But you get the impression they don't really want to do this, they're just doing it to make it look like they comply with guidance - guidance which they probably don't even understand, or care about.

If there were severe penalties for producing any technology that was seen as exclusive (as in excluding) towards disabled people some of these companies may think twice about where they put their efforts.

Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

andy 103 Silver badge
FAIL

the content is labelled by the creator

If our proposal is accepted, the content is labelled by the creator so it's easy to filter out inappropriate content from young children, using the lightweight filter.

Right so - just off the top of my head - several problems.

1. The content creator actually labels their content? To be fair this article acknowledges that might not happen. If this is the case how do consumers choose to set up devices which use a mixture of content that has these headers, and ones that don't? It seems all or nothing.

2. Who regulates how content creators use this? Can a smut company put material out there and simply label it as "safe" to gain viewers? Who enforces that and what are the penalties if they don't comply with the spirit of using it correctly? If they get "banned" from using it then surely we're back to square one?

3. "using the lightweight filter" - it's not that lightweight because the playback devices also then have to implement controls to toggle using it. Presumably behind some other layer of security that has nothing to do with this proposal.

4. As with DVD / Bluray, if you can play it back, you can distribute it. This problem has existed for years. Play the recording back using 1 authorised device, record it on another (smart phone camera will do, nobody cares about it being *that* HD). Distribute the decrypted content as much as you want on one of the many apps people of a young age use, i.e. Snapchat, Messenger, etc. Or if you want to go old-skool, a USB flash drive, or god forbid optical disk.

Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length: macOS shifts from x86 to homegrown common CPU arch, will run iOS apps

andy 103 Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: RIP Hackintosh

Apple is primarily a hardware company, and they actively oppose running their software on other hardware, as the software is mainly there to sell the hardware.

There's also a bigger reason. Consider all of the variants of Android, running on a huge number of different devices comprising of hardware from different manufacturers.

There's a reason people talk about Apple's offerings saying they "just work". Because in terms of iOS, it's literally 1 OS with no variations (aside from version releases) running on hardware which doesn't vary much. They know their software works on their hardware. So supporting it isn't as expensive as if you throw in a load of variations.

That's why it "just works". That's why it sells. The last part is what Apple (a business) care about.

not everyone can afford to buy their expensive hardware - but there are plenty who can, and these are Apple's target market. They don't care about people who won't give them money. Because they are, you know, a business.

andy 103 Silver badge
Thumb Up

No different to changing ports

This whole thing reminds me of the debates that have gone on about Apple dropping certain ports from their hardware. Whether it's a 3.5mm jack on a phone, or a USB 3 port on a Macbook.

Things move on.

Years ago I had an AMD based laptop that had a parallel port, serial port, infrared (yes, infrared) and CD drive. Is any of that something I miss now? No, not at all. Same goes with the 3.5mm jack on my previous iPhone compared to the one I have now. Or that I can't plug in that 13 year old USB 2 printer to my Macbook.

The clear reason they've done this is because they feel it's a genuine improvement over any of the Intel offerings. Particularly the fact they have little control over production and design of those chips. Given Apple's propensity to make money, they must be pretty confident consumers and end-users won't miss an Intel processor. Whatever your view, it's not a step backwards, even though at the time it might seem that way. In the same way that nobody will care that their phone doesn't have a 3.5mm jack, once they've got in their mind that things naturally progress and you don't carry on doing things in a certain way because "it's what we know".

Also remember that ~80% of users of their hardware are non-tech people who don't even know - or care - what processor their device has, as long as it works, and works well. Their target market isn't "person who gives a shit what architecture the CPU is". It's, "person who will spend money on this device". Interestingly, Apple has a very good track record at the latter.

'Boringly reliable': Red Hat architect thinks Kubernetes is 'mostly done' – but there are still plenty of bugs

andy 103 Silver badge
Thumb Down

Still don't understand the use-case

A lot of these technologies (including Docker) are supposedly to simplify managing infrastructure.

In my experience all they do is take a lot of previous manual work and create a huge burden elsewhere.

I'm not convinced the learning curve and management of a K8s cluster really has as many advantages as people who use it like to think. I mean it involves a metric fuckton of work, months of learning how to use it, and nowhere to hide when it all goes wrong.

At least some of the manual management methods used previously were more tried and tested. They need to focus on usability, rather than telling the 1% who think it's amazing about how great it is - they are already the converted.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

andy 103 Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: wow

When people use it in an offensive context, it becomes offensive.

Yes exactly, which the term "master" is not when used in the context of git/GitHub!

andy 103 Silver badge
Stop

Re: wow

what's the problem? Why all the anger?

Because we're getting to a point where everyone is offended by everything and the "solutions" add no value to human life or the betterment of society.

Take the word "manhunt". What if the suspect is a woman? Well, anyone with an ounce of education knows this might be the case. How does changing the word to something that doesn't include "man" really improve anything for anyone? Does it mean the suspect will be caught more quickly? After all, that's usually the aim. Whether they're male or female is a moot point if for example they've committed a murder.

In terms of this article the word "master" has a specific meaning in git (and therefore GitHub) which means "master branch" cf. a "master copy" of a tape in a recording studio. If you want to make connotations towards slavery or black people over that term, then frankly you're just looking for arguments and something to moan about. How would changing it improve code quality or deployment processes, in the nature of using git to benefit software development? What value does doing that actually add to society? Oh, it doesn't, at all.

Watching a video of a cop standing on a guy's neck until he dies... that I can understand people being outraged about.

Rightly so. However, there is more to that particular incident than skin colour. Police brutality, using excessive force, thinking you'll get away with something for being in a position of power? All wrong. It's quite right people stand up and try to change this type of thing. But changing words - which already have perfectly valid meanings and no real connotation - is a bandwagon upon which too many people are now jumping.

andy 103 Silver badge
Thumb Down

Should white be the default background colour in a browser?

Where are we going to end with this?

25 years of PHP: The personal web tools that ended up everywhere

andy 103 Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Don't know PHP, but, woudl probably take it over client-side JavaScript hell any day

Absolutely. One thing which hasn't changed is the fact that HTTP is a stateless protocol. There's no harm in actually reloading a page, or having a separate (server side rendered) page for a given request/response cycle. The JS AJAX based approach basterdises that even further.

BoJo looks to jumpstart UK economy with £6k taxpayer-funded incentive for Brits to buy electric cars – report

andy 103 Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Free parking for electric cars

EV purchases are mostly made by the wealthiest

I don't have the exact numbers but if you consider people who drive and fall into one of these 2 groups:

1. People who pay for cars on HP/PCP monthly. In the bracket of small-mini cars that cost (including running costs) under £150/month.

2. People who drive "runaround" cars that are worth under £2k that they buy outright.

That's a huge number of drivers. Neither of these groups can afford electric vehicles. Their petrol or diesel equivalents cost them far less, and often they need them to get to work as public transport isn't viable.

Unless someone is going to...

* tax groups 1 and 2 off the road - won't happen because these people then couldn't work (increasing the burden on welfare).

* give them a free electric vehicle (never going to happen) to essentially remove non-electric vehicles from society

...the vehicles and buying patterns in groups 1 & 2 will be around for a long time.

andy 103 Silver badge
Stop

Free parking for electric cars

I work at an educational institution where staff have to buy parking permits which are several hundred pounds per year.

They offer heavily discounted - to the point of virtually being free of charge - permits for anyone driving in electric car. This is supposed to incentivise people to want to ditch their non-electric vehicle.

Some quick maths:

* Cost of a new electric car

* Minus money obtained from selling my petrol car

* Factor in relative difference in running costs, including this permit price difference...

...does not equal a "saving" of any description. Or anything else beneficial to me.

Public transport? Not viable for my journey, or any other journeys I make routinely.

So, I simply carry on driving my petrol car. Nobody (including Bojo and this scheme) has ever provided any incentive that makes doing this worthwhile for the average person.

UK.gov dangles £400k over makers of IoT Things: Go on, let's see how you'd make a security cert scheme

andy 103 Silver badge
Stop

Educate consumers

In a sector where consumers overwhelmingly assume that devices are secure because they are for sale, these assurance schemes are vital in enabling consumers to make security-conscious purchasing decisions.

How about you educate consumers that this isn't the case?

The irony hasn't been lost on me when it comes to people buying smart home tech to make their house "more secure", whilst simultaneously introducing a new set of security problems.

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

andy 103 Silver badge
FAIL

the most secure phone on the planet

Escobar said he even directly called Apple support staff, who confirmed that the iPhone X was indeed the most secure phone on the planet

I highly doubt anyone would claim that. It's a mass produced phone, sold to millions of people.

That's a bit like saying The Bank of England use a safe from Argos.

It's very likely that intelligence agencies and government organisations have hardware that isn't available - or known to - the general public. Which of course makes any claim about a consumer-grade phone being "the most secure" total bullshit.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Trust Office

If you're doing anything for publishing you'd be better using PDF.

andy 103 Silver badge
Facepalm

Trust Office

"there is still no guarantee that a word processed file will display and print properly across different machines"

Yes, and it's exactly that reason why companies "trust Office" and therefore buy it - and nothing else. It's not an accident.

Even the place I work at which is pretty forward-thinking has Office in case any clients send us files and we have trouble opening them. We ourselves don't particularly use it. But if you're a business there's a notion that you "need" it, for this exact reason.

Nobody wants to be the one making a phone call "sorry, I couldn't open your file because (insert anti-Microsoft rant arguments) we run LibreOffice and, well, it just won't convert your file. Hello? Hello??"

IBM to GTS staff: Not volunteering to leave with a redundo cheque? We'll give you a helping hand

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: my proudest moment

"I don't solely measure my self worth by the work I do but how I live my life"

@Roger Kynaston - since work represents quite a big portion of most people's life I'd suggest you'd do better at finding a career that makes you happy. Since that's part of how you live your life.

It is possible to both enjoy your work and go sailing... That was my point really.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: my proudest moment

With all due respect if that's your proudest moment your career doesn't seem to have been one you particularly liked. My proudest moment has been finding a position that makes me happy to do what I do every day.

Proof-of-concept open-source app can cut'n'paste from reality straight into Photoshop using a neural network

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Impressive

Doesn't that make your commentary superfluous, by your own logic?

No. The point I'm making is that people often jump in with comments which are critical about something that's far more impressive than anything they have produced themselves. As you can see from my comments I'm saying it's both impressive and I haven't done anything better, therefore won't be criticising it.

andy 103 Silver badge
Thumb Up

Impressive

That's actually incredible and well done them for producing it.

If you are going to slate it please give an example of something you've produced which is better. I certainly haven't.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

andy 103 Silver badge
FAIL

My 15 mins of shame

Years ago I was working as a web application developer. I'd been given a legacy (read: poorly coded) application and was tasked with investigating why certain requests were taking so long to respond.

I enabled MySQL's slow query log and had set the threshold for logging as 2 seconds. This means any query that takes longer than 2 seconds to execute gets logged to a file. The application was being used by tens of thousand of users per day. The queries were big and the log files were in the order of GB.

I then went on holiday.

Whilst sat on a beach I got an alert by SMS saying the server's main disk was full. That's odd, I thought, as the disk was about 250 GB.

Not only had I made the error of leaving the query log enabled. Another developer had also written a script which was copying log files to another destination *on the same disk*. The combination of these things filled up the disk very quickly, and the application fell over.

When I returned from my "relaxing" break I was asked why our test plan hadn't worked out. Unfortuantely tests don't always catch things, especially when they weren't reasonably foreseen circumstances at the beginning. But what makes it more interesting is when you combine the sum of those mistakes. On their own these 2 mistakes wouldn't have caused the application to fail. But when combined the result was somewhat different.

Lars Ulrich makes veiled threats of another Metallica album during web chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

andy 103 Silver badge
Mushroom

Most bands are in it for the money

It feels like a shitty thing to say, but one thing most professional musicians can't get enough of is money.

When Lars appeared in court arguing about Napster (years ago) he was essentially saying - "people are taking money off me. Money I could otherwise have, and want". A lot of fans said, wow that's very against the philosophy of being in a metal band.

Get this into your head: professional bands are businesses. They make a lot of money. Like (successful) businesses.

You don't think the Red Hot Chili Peppers have recently re-signed John Frusciante out of love for music, do you? He's broke, and the rest of them like making money. They know fans will turn out in their millions for this. It really is that simple.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

andy 103 Silver badge

I do a lot of coding and terminal work. These are situations where characters you enter matter - your code won't run if there's a typo. Although nothing can make your code "more accurate" I have had situations where I've used cheaper, non-mechanical keyboards which have registered what I intended as a single keypress as multiple keypresses, or vice versa.

There's something about the feedback of a mechanical keyboard which means you know when you've pressed a key, it's registered.

I've already posted about build quality earlier. Yes, they are worth the money, IMO.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: A decent keyboard is a decent investment

" I wouldn't dare to try that with my preciousssss, 120 quid a pop, cherry."

I see it differently. My time is valuable. The Cherry keyboard I bought never needed "servicing". It worked flawlessly throughout it's nearly 25 year life.

Conversely if I spent £7 - £12 on a keyboard, it's not even worth my time to "service" it, even if that was possible.

As the article says you can get keyboards in Tesco for not much more than this. Ironically, that justifies buying a mechanical one even more.

andy 103 Silver badge
Thumb Up

A decent keyboard is a decent investment

About 25 years ago - when I was still in high school - a friend of mine suggested I buy a Cherry "Click" mechanical keyboard. They were about £80 (then).

"Why on earth would I spend that on a keyboard?" I asked.

Only got rid of it a couple of years ago. That's why.

Facebook defers $3bn of infrastructure spend because it's hard to build bit barns when you're working from home

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Colour me surprised...

Because in 2019 they still had 2.5 billion active users.

They also own Whatsapp, even though many people don't seem to think there's any relationship between that and Facebook. How many people use Whatsapp? I don't have a figure for that, but it's a lot.

Snapchat domain squatter loses comedy £1m URL sellback attempt

andy 103 Silver badge
Joke

Jog on chancer

That last quote should just read "I didn't realise the law applied to me"

Isn't it interesting how these people are apparently capable of setting up and running a business... Yet, when it comes to something that doesn't work out how they wanted, they're completely oblivious?

It's almost like he's talking out of his arse.

FTP is crusty and mostly dead, right? AWS just started supporting it anyway

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: It's used because it works

@Sgt_Oddball absolutely right. I should have said this was years ago and it was literally a couple of developers in a small office. I wouldn't advocate using FTP for web development now even in that scenario. But...

Although "proper" deployment processes have their advantages they often just create work elsewhere. Then try to claim that they are extremely efficient. The point that the FTP loving dev was making was that he could get something live pretty quickly because he didn't have to faff around with steps X, Y and Z that his opponent was suggesting. In my opinion that's one of the reasons FTP is still widely used.

andy 103 Silver badge

It's used because it works

The reason people still use it is simple. Because it just works. Without any fannying around.

When I was working as a web developer I frequently heard this argument between developers who were for/against it in terms of deploying sites or even using it in a development environment to get their files from their local machine to a web server.

One classic was when there was a really heated argument and one dev said to another, "FTP is outdated bullshit, you should have your files on GitHub then do X, Y, Z and deploy them over ssh". The other dev replied "yeah, but we have to get this live immediately and I've just done it in the time you've been ranting". Both had a valid point.

Stripe is absolutely logging your mouse movements on websites' payment pages – for your own good, says CEO

andy 103 Silver badge
Boffin

You can see any requests your browser makes, and this is a load of nonsense

I really wish before people came out with this "all JavaScript is evil" nonsense they would actually understand how it works.

It's possible for anyone to see HTTP requests in their browser by using the Developer tools (F12 in Chrome) and then opening the Network tab. Any data which is being sent is shown in the Request section. This is the case for any website and any request including ajax requests which are commonly made through JS libraries.

So, all these people moaning have tried it on a site where Stripe.js is present on every page? What did you see in the Request data that "logs all your activity"? Oh, you haven't, and it doesn't. I know this because I've done it myself.

It does send some data aside from for the payment, including a timestamp of how long you were on the site. But that is legitimately useful in combatting fraud as it could identify a bot submitting card data, amongst other things such as geolocation details.

I've already replied on a previous comment where someone was trying to describe how they thought JS was to blame for the BA attack. A total lack of understanding of how that actually worked (I've explained it in my reply).

andy 103 Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Client side anti-fraud measures?

If you want evidence, take a look at the BA breach.

With all due respect this shows a lack of understanding of how that attack worked. The Reg even posted a screenshot of the malicious script:

https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/09/11/ba_suspicious_script.jpg

As much as this is a .js (client-side JavaScript) file, modifying it required access to BA's web server which is proven by the fact it's hosted on britishairways.com which is clear on the screenshot. If someone has access to modify files on your web server then even server-side validation code could be modified.

It's true that the attacker in that case set up a fake domain (baways.com, also shown on the screenshot) to post form data to. But the actual script where that was occurring (modernizr-2.6.2.min.js) was hosted within BA's own legitimate webspace. So someone had access to be able to modify that, which at that point is a server-side breach.

The issue you're describing is when people serve JS from untrusted third party domains. But that isn't what happened in the case of BA.

Google pre-pandemic: User-Agent strings are so 1990s. Time for a total makeover. Google mid-pandemic: Ah, we'll reschedule to 2021

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: User-Agent strings are kinda useless these days...

good luck figuring out what standards that means...

Well you say that but it's actually pretty trivial. It's possible to parse that string for known browser names (e.g. "Chrome", "Safari" etc) and then extract the version by looking at what appears after /

In your case you're using Chrome v80.

Let's say I want to write some code that relies on knowing whether your browser supports the Battery Status API.

Yes, it does: https://caniuse.com/#feat=battery-status. Chrome v80 fully supports it.

It's not very difficult to build a table of that information, parse the User Agent string, and look up whatever features I want to check your browser supports. Indeed, this is happening now for a lot of websites you use whether you're aware of it or not.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: "One thing I did notice that seems to be specifically missing is anything related"

There may well be valid reasons for asking for the browser name and version at times, but to me those should be in the optional section, with only the basic browser capabilities being in the mandatory section, (i.e. HTML version supported), with other capability checks being optional.

Yes, you've just stated what the reason is in your first paragraph. If the list of browser capabilities is stored on a web server, how would the server identify which browser the user had without an identifier being passed? That's what the user agent string does.

Your comment about "HTML version supported" suggests you think this is a case of "yes" or "no" to a question like "does the browser support HTML 5?". What you actually need to know is that these specifications encompass lots of different features, and it's whether a browser supports individual features that you often need to know. If you take a look at https://caniuse.com/ you'll understand this more. Some browsers on there technically support CSS 3, but if it comes to using a particular feature you'll see that there is huge variation in browser support.

If you read my post on Feature Detection you'll see that this is entirely possible to do already using a client-side library like Modernizr for example. The issue is that it cannot be done (easily) server-side. The current method relies on maintaining a list of capabilities on a server - as you've suggested in paragraph 1. But you of course have to pass something from the client to the server to match the two things. That's the user agent string. The reason it's been done like this is because passing a relatively tiny User-agent string within the request data is much more favourable than passing a huge object - on every single request - of all the features a browser has.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: "One thing I did notice that seems to be specifically missing is anything related"

I would expect a browser declare what it does support, not what browser is.

Take a look at my post on Feature Detection. This is already possible - but it only works client-side (with a library like Modernizr). There's no way a browser is going to send a list of capabilities with every single request. That means detecting features on the server-side is hard. Which is why the user agent string has been used as a means to send a browser identifier to the server, and then the server can generate a response it thinks is appropriate. The problem with this is that maintaining a list of browser features on a server is far from ideal. It's prone to problems if browsers get updated and the corresponding code that generates the server side response isn't updated inline with it.

andy 103 Silver badge

Feature detection is already possible

Libraries like Modernizr (https://modernizr.com/) already have a halfway solution to this. They work by testing what features a browser has, and then a developer can provide a fallback if it doesn't have a feature they checked for. For example you can ask the browser if it supports geolocation, and the code for doing this is the same for every browser.

Coding - (if browser == 'Internet Explorer 7') is a lot less desirable than coding (if browser.supports('geolocation')). Because if IE 7 receives an update and geolocation (hypothetical example) capabilities get added then that first code is broken.

The issue is Modernizr is a client-side library and relies on JS. That's why I call it a "halfway" solution because it doesn't work if you want to detect features server-side and then have the server render a particular response.

But that idea has been a pipe dream for years. Nobody is going to make browsers that send a list of supported features with every request. Essentially the sending of a user agent string means you could have that list of browser features on your server and then use the UA string as an identifier to look up the capabilities. It's not ideal, but to some extent it does work. And it's been done in so many applications that the legacy of "un-doing" this will be a nightmare in itself.

UK government to take equity in struggling startups with £250m 'Future fund'

andy 103 Silver badge
Meh

Well if they would collect tax of larger corporations...

I don't want to be one of those people but if the government did more about large corporations and dodgy tax strategies then they could do more to help smaller companies and startups.

Sorry but you can't have it both ways. If the government are saying we're a nation of talented people and want to see startups flourish then this sort of "offer" is at best insulting and at worst one nobody would want to take up. Yes startups are risky, but the alternative of - nobody ever trying anything innovative - isn't exactly desirable either.

Honor MagicBook 14: Nice keyboard and ports aplenty – but with a webcam forever fixed on all of your chins

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

I might have confused things with the last point. What I meant was I bought a Windows laptop in 2003 and another in 2008. The upgrade after 5 years was very noticeable all round. The upgrade was worth the money.

If I bought a new Macbook Air (5 years after buying my last one) - or even the laptop here - it wouldn't give me an upgrade which was worth the money. I find that quite fascinating.

Most Macbook Air's now - aside from the Retina Display - aren't even that much higher spec than what I already have, and then lack ports which I still find useful. On the other hand Mac's do hold their value since mine is still worth ~35% of what I paid for it all those years ago. I can't see that being the case with any non-Apple laptop especially one like in this article.

andy 103 Silver badge
Meh

Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

I have a 2015 MacBook Air and it's by far the best laptop I've ever owned. I still use it daily and it's worked flawlessly since I bought it.

Here's my issue - this laptop cost me about £800 five years ago. The current Apple Macbook Air (and non-Air) offerings are either: (1) not much better in Spec than what I've got, other than perhaps the Retina display, and (2) would still cost me at least £700 assuming I flogged mine for somewhere in the region of £300 which looks about right according to eBay.

Then there's the issue that my Air has ports I actually use. The only adaptor I've ever bought is a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor to hook it up to an external monitor and occasionally a TV. I have a (very old but perfectly good) printer that's USB 2.0. That wouldn't be the case with any new Apple laptop.

So if I take that ~£700 Windows laptops like this look tempting. This MagicBook looks like a decent contender. It's got the right screen size, useful ports, more RAM and SSD than my Air. The only thing I don't really like is that webcam.

But here's the question. In 5 years time, will this still work as well as my Air is? Will it still be worth about £300 for a trade-in? Probably not and Definitely not - are the answers to those.

Essentially this isn't as good as something I bought 5 years ago. I remember getting a laptop in 2003 and another in 2008 and they were worlds apart in terms of build quality, performance and everything else. That doesn't seem the case with a lot of things I'm seeing released now.

So...I'm still looking...

We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82

andy 103 Silver badge
Unhappy

Makes me sad

I'd never heard of him, which makes me sad.

As I write this (in lockdown whilst taking a coffee break from work) I hear an episode of The Kardashians on the TV, being watched by someone else I might add. I was lucky enough to be born in a time** when social media and "celeb culture" wasn't such a thing.

It amazes me how people who make real contributions to the world and betterment of society are sometimes never really heard of, and in some cases get no recognition at all. But then I also greatly admire that as it reminds me of a time when nobody gave a shit about the sort of thing that's now being presented on my TV. This has actually been a big thought of mine during lockdown.

Can we have more people like this, and teach people that this is a better way of contributing to life than Instagram posts of cocktails in a throwaway fashion outfit?

RIP

(** I'm mid 30s.)

Tribunal halts all Information Commissioner's Office cases because UK data watchdog can't print or organise PDFs

andy 103 Silver badge

Anything involving the law is the last to catch up with technology

10 years ago I was buying a house and my solicitor advised me to buy a box file because "you're going to end up with a lot of paper". How right he was. PDF, email and not needing to print documents were very much possible then. Fast forward to buying another house only a few years back and nothing had really changed.

There was a story on The Reg a few months ago about courtrooms and Windows XP laptops. My main thought behind all this is - if you're talking about anything involving the law, and there is a heavily tried and tested system of doing things, people will be reluctant to change because of the gravity of what might happen if there's a cock-up.

I'm not suggesting I think this is the way forward. But if the ICO tried to do what the average person here thinks is simple (organising PDF's for example) - and cocked it up - they'd be labelled incompetent. That's the least of their concerns though as there could be larger implications for themselves or other people. So they can't win in this case (no pun intended).

Amazon says it fired a guy for breaking pandemic rules. Same guy who organized a staff protest over a lack of coronavirus protection

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Bit of a non-story

But I see no reason this guy would have wanted to come to a workplace he thought was unsafe when he wouldn't get anything for doing so.

Either he came in, or he didn't. It's one or the other. It would take some serious balls on Amazon's part to fabricate that he had shown up when he hadn't, in a sacking case. Equally, him being given a warning not to come in, is presumably something Amazon would have evidence of - and on that basis used it to dismiss him.

It is plausible Amazon have neither of these things on him. But it seems highly unlikely in this case.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Bit of a non-story

There's a lot of people who are not taking on board the rules - and note that they are indeed rules - about not attending work especially when it comes to endangering others.

Do I believe Amazon gave this person a warning not to come in? Yes, because given the current situation, that's very commonplace. Do I believe the employee decided to ignore it? Again yes, because there's plenty of other people doing the same thing. It's a distinct possibility.

Granted they may not have liked the cut of his jib and decided this was a "convenient" way to let him go. But on balance of probabilities it sounds like what Amazon said happened is entirely plausible and that may be the whole story. Sorry that this doesn't make it interesting for people who like conspiracies and to try and come up with a different side to absolutely any set of circumstances.

andy 103 Silver badge
Stop

Bit of a non-story

All of the answers are in this paragraph:

"Kish said Smalls had received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines and had been asked to remain home with pay for two week because he had been in the proximity of another worker confirmed to have COVID-19. By ignoring that instruction and coming on-site, she said, he was putting colleagues at risk."

There are still some people who don't think the rules on this are clear. Despite the fact they are very clear, and rules.

Sounds like another jumped up twunt who thinks they can do whatever because of "my rights" regardless of whether it endangers others.

Microsoft picks up Your Phone – unless you're an Apple fan – in a fresh Windows 10 build

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: Unless....

Yeah try doing that with an android phone. Oh you can't without a 3rd party app? Well then, take your superiority to the corner and think about what you said.

That's my point. Using an iPhone and Mac is an ecosystem that just works.

Using an Android phone with a Mac, or to some extent an iPhone on Windows is nowhere near as elegant or seamless when it comes to doing such tasks as those I mentioned.

Then as a defence you always get someone coming out with unrelated crap like their phone has a 3.5mm jack, or they can replace a battery. That has literally nothing to do with what this article is about.

andy 103 Silver badge
FAIL

The Apple ecosystem had this covered years ago

This made me laugh

iPhone fans? Not so much.

Copy and paste of text and images between phone and PC is now possible...

There's a reason iPhone users don't care about stuff like this. Because in Apple World this sort of (very basic) task has been possible for ages with the likes of AirDrop.

If you use an iPhone and a Mac there's already a seamless equivalent of anything Your Phone does. Syncing screenshots, accessing photos, contacts, etc with iCloud all just works. Has done for years.

If you use an iPhone with Windows, well, more fool you. Most things are still possible but not always quite as seamless.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: No one goes to jail

@Loyal Commenter what an utterly bonkers analogy. If someone posts that kind of material then they fully deserve to be prosecuted!

And what the heck has that got to do with the original point about needing to re-train users due to UI/workflow or other application changes?

I believe @Francis Boyle's point was that a mistake in the general (i.e. not illegal) use of Facebook or some other such social/recreational application doesn't have as far damaging effects as if someone makes a mistake on a mission critical application because they haven't been made aware of changes.

andy 103 Silver badge

Re: What logic is this?

@Waseem Alkurdi

You've made a mistake here which has proven my point: considering any of this equal to a home or social user.

It's ok if people screw up doing something recreational because of a UI change when using Twitter/ Facebook/Instagram, or any other non-critical application.

When it's an application that could have serious consequences (life or death in certain cases) then yes, re-training users is often a requirement, and rightly so.

andy 103 Silver badge
Mushroom

What logic is this?

"the ministry was paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for a VPN to support 2,000 Windows XP laptop users – news that comes as the department admits that a critical court IT system is also running on XP boxen."

Please can we stop pretending the cost of...

1. Rigorously testing existing applications on a new OS

2. Redeveloping applications if they don't work

3. Re-training users regarding updates

... is £0?

On a critical system, that works.

I'm not advocating that they shouldn't be proactive with regards to upgrades and progress. But it really, really isn't this simple.

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