* Posts by Shane Sturrock

137 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Sep 2007


Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles

Shane Sturrock

Re: For the record...

Happy to reply to you because you’re being nice about it.

Yes, I have two keycards and carry one with me in my wallet but rarely use it. It is useful to have a card I can give to someone if they need to do work on my car such as when someone dented the door.

The phone itself opens the car up via Bluetooth. You don’t even have to open the app and this method wasn’t affected by the server outage because the phone is the key. I always have my phone with me so it’s by far the best way to open the car up. There’s also no on switch in the car. My LEAF has a fob but you still have to press the button on the door to unlock it and when you get in you have another button to ‘start’ the car. The Tesla doesn’t do this, you just walk up and the door is already unlocked. You get in and there’s no ‘on’ switch, it is already on. If you want to drive it there is an optional PIN that the owner can set which prevents someone driving off if they do get in with your phone or keycard as an added security measure.

The phone app has a lot of great features such as setting climate control, setting charge rate and turning charging on and off as well as summon where you can call the car out of a tight parking space. Had a few times where someone parked a big old car too close to mine so I couldn’t get in the door so I just summon the car out of the space and go on my way. With advanced summon I can even tell the car to come to me which I have done when it is raining heavily and I just call the car which pulls out of the space and drives up to where I am. The app is great but it relies on the Tesla API and that’s what failed.

The nice thing about the API (and I don’t get all the hate of a technology driven vehicle that runs Linux here on The Register but the media seems to have done a great job of pushing an awful lot of bull) is that you can access the car from other software. I have a Raspberry Pi hooked up to my wall connector which monitors solar production, Powerwall state of charge and house use and when there’s solar excess it puts that into the car rather than selling it to the grid. It can dial the amps up and down to soak up the excess and no more and when there’s no longer enough excess it can stop charging, then start again later when there is an excess again. I leave my car plugged in all the time so it is always ready to take this excess power and it covers most of my daily driving just from ‘free’ solar power. The API issue meant this stopped working and I couldn’t access the car via the app. Irritating but not the end of the world.

Shane Sturrock

Re: For the record...

Correct. I noticed this outage because my TWC Manager couldn’t access the car API to turn on charging and the app showed the 500 error. However, despite what the various claims are, I was always able to walk up to the car, unlock it and start it using the app. I was not locked out and the car was not useless. I just couldn’t access it from the phone app itself. No way would I go back to the Stone Age of having a key hole and worse, having to actually turn a key or press a button to start the car.

Real-time crowdsourced fact checking not really that effective, study says

Shane Sturrock

A person is smart, people are stupid

Look at a platform like Reddit where the limits on someone’s ability to upvote or downvote are very light and you’ll frequently see discussions which are not remotely accurate if you have any knowledge about the field. Worse, a knowledgeable person who says something the crowd doesn’t like will get downvoted to oblivion. Crowdsourced moderation cannot work if there’s no qualification step required for someone to have an opinion. I remember working with people in the past who would have an strong opinion on my work and my reaction was “you’re not qualified to have an opinion” and that’s the way it is. Complicated matters cannot be judged by an uneducated crowd because the more complicated the question, the lower the odds that a majority will produce the right answer. Worse, these groups will push ideas that are attractive to them if it avoids facing the reality of bad things happening due to making the wrong choices. The internet is many things, but a filter for dumb ideas is not one of them.

The future: Windows streaming through notched Apple screens

Shane Sturrock

Re: Hmm

I have an IT supplied Windows laptop and my daily use workstation is a Mac. One of these things keeps getting stuffed up by IT pushing out updates requiring reboots at the most inconvenient times, plus forcing expiring passwords (which is just bad practice but do you think these IT gurus will listen?) versus the ssh keys I use for my Linux and Apple boxes. IT loves Windows because they can mess with it, I won’t let them near my Mac and it is fully updated and maintained plus an Apple machine is by far the best tool for working with Linux servers in a corporate environment because it has all that Office stuff Linux lacks. No, LibreOffice is good but won’t do everything so I’m stuck with Office365 and the web version of that is terrible so native apps that are better than the Windows versions (where are my menus Microsoft??? Oh, there they are on my Mac, phew) plus Apple hasn’t stolen CTRL-C for copy which clashes with every Linux/Unix system out there so working with Linux from a Mac is joyous and Windows isn’t.

Shane Sturrock

Re: Which enterprise users?

I have personal experience of just this - I had (actually have because it still works after 15 years) a MacBook Pro Core Duo I bought in the UK and I moved halfway around the world about the time there was a battery recall. I took it to a local authorised service centre and there were no questions, just swapped the battery there and then. There aren’t any apple stores at all here, and if I buy anything it comes in from overseas but there are plenty of places that specialise in servicing although some are quite dodgy and can try to charge for repairs that are subject to a recall so you have to be on your guard. Given PC’s often have different components even within the same model it isn’t surprising they have such a short lifespan.

Shane Sturrock

Re: Which enterprise users?

Oddly enough, the bean counters at a company I worked for a few years back looked at the costs of hardware and came to the conclusion that Apple hardware lasted longer and so was cheaper. They mandated all laptop purchases would be MacBook Pros and we were free to install Windows or Linux if we didn’t want to stick with MacOS.

Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands

Shane Sturrock

My 2 cents

OK, so a little background on this driver. He had complained about the car's behaviour multiple times at this exact spot and yet didn't appear to have learned that the software wasn't able to cope. The particular location had previously been hit by another car so the attenuator was already crushed which made this much worse. CalTrans hadn't fixed it after the previous crash. 101 is also quite a light road surface based on when I used to drive along it and the markings are often faint to non-existent so for a human driver it can be tricky as others have noticed. Add to that the speed of the traffic along there, how close together people drive leaving very little room to actually see the road and react. Basically, we have a driver who wasn't paying attention (observed by other road users to be looking in his lap and not looking at the road), had experienced problems at this point in the road previously, and on a road with poor markings, an already crushed attenuator and driving at speed close to other cars. Just an accident waiting to happen and it could just as easily have been someone in any car running on cruise control and not properly paying attention. But lets place the blame on autopilot rather than the driver who was actually responsible here. Autopilot is known to be twitchy under tricky conditions and just is a driver assistance package but while it gets better with each release it isn't self driving so the meat sack at the wheel needs to pay attention.

Intel outside: Apple 'prepping' non-Chipzilla Macs by 2020 (stop us if you're having deja vu)

Shane Sturrock

VMs make BootCamp largely obsolete

For the majority of use cases, a Windows or Linux VM does all that is needed with having to reboot into it natively. Even a fair bit of GPU stuff runs pretty well in VMWare these days so unless you're gaming there's little reason to use BootCamp. I did back in the early days but once Parallels and VMWare got their act together it didn't make sense to do so any more. More to the point, I use the VMs less and less now too as there's so little software I need now that isn't native to the Mac anyway. I keep the VMs around for testing mostly just in case one of my clients has a specific problem on Windows or Linux. Nice to be able to boot up whatever OS version they're on the reproduce the problem and even OS X runs in VMWare happily on a Mac so I can have a single machine cover all my development and testing needs.

Apple iOS 11.3 adds health records for battery, people too

Shane Sturrock

Re: IPhone only

Coconut Battery on a Mac will read the battery state of a connected iOS device. That's how I found out my 6+ battery is fine (98% capacity) and my wife's 6 wasn't (67% capacity and slow as hell so I replaced the battery.) When I plug in my old iPad mini 1st gen it shows 76% capacity. Generally I've been impressed with the batteries in my Apple gear although my rMacBook battery failed early and Apple replaced it out of warranty for free because it should have held 80% capacity after 1000 cycles and it was down to 70% after less than 300.

Arm Inside: Is Apple ready for the next big switch?

Shane Sturrock

Re: I hope...

Why would Apple (a hardware company) let other hardware companies install the software they develop to sell their own hardware? Seriously, this comes up many times. Apple is not a software company. They sell integrated solutions with hardware and software designed to work together. Microsoft is trying to get into this game but the two companies come from very different backgrounds with Microsoft originally being all about software and Apple originally being all about hardware. Apple sells very little of their software, they just bundle it with their hardware so they're simply not going to be motivated to sell macOS to run on competing hardware. They tried it back in the 90's and it nearly killed them because there was the usual race to make cheaper and cheaper macOS compatibles. If you want a Mac, buy a Mac. Otherwise there's Windows or if you prefer to OS to be unrestricted Linux is very good these days.

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Shane Sturrock

Re: Statistically....

The name is fine as it is being used in the same way as it is with aircraft. A limited tool that can allow the pilot to pay attention to other things while the aircraft maintains altitude and airspeed. Autopilot on a Tesla maintains position in lane and speed while adding adaptive cruise control where it slows down in response to other traffic. It isn't self-driving and the term autopilot is simply being misunderstood by people to think it does mean self-driving. When Tesla can do self-driving, they'll call it autonomous driving or similar. That said, I don't care if they drop the name because I care about the feature as I drive long distances regularly and even something as simple as adaptive cruise control and lane control is a huge step up, but is also far more limited in scope compared with what the next generation includes which really will be self-driving capable.

Nokia's great lost smartwatch? #SavedYouALandfill

Shane Sturrock

I like my smart watch

I know it is the vogue to hate on smart watches but in the year I've had my Apple Watch it has proven to be a useful gadget. I can read e-mail on it so I don't have to dig out my phone or laptop, calendar events pop up, it actually works really nicely as a GPS so I don't have to walk around the streets holding my phone looking like a tourist, and I can tell the time on it too. Most of all though, I use the fitness tracking features and it has certainly made me get up and move about more. Could it be better? Maybe, but given the form factor I think Apple did a pretty good job and WatchOS improves with each iteration. I don't think it is necessarily something everyone should have or even want, but there's definitely a market for those of us who can't get away from work as we need to be contactable all the time but just glancing at my watch allows me to know what just came in and react accordingly. Works for me.

Microsoft’s Continuum: Game changer or novelty?

Shane Sturrock

I don't get it

I have a phone, tablet and laptop and thanks to cloud storage I have all my docs wherever I need them. Sure, there's some apps that work well on a laptop and don't have equivalents for the tablet or phone, and some which work well on a tablet and not the phone or tablet, and finally there are phone apps. It all works, and best of all I have days of battery by carrying three devices all of which can communicate. I don't want everything in one device. Heck, in this case you have a phone and then a dumb laptop style display and keyboard. Why not just have a laptop which can do so much more? I could probably live without my tablet and just have a phone and a laptop, but living only with my phone? Nope, no thanks MS.

Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Shane Sturrock

Give it up, I'm not buying fuel any more

Since I got an EV (Nissan LEAF) and solar, I have totally got used to making my own fuel. I'm not about to go back to buying fuel just for increased range when I so rarely go near the limits of my current car and if I was to want to go further than that, there are plenty of charging stations around at regular intervals or the nice people down at Avis or wherever who will lend me a petrol car in return for some money.

Hydrogen is just another scheme by the fuel companies to keep us paying them to run our cars. Don't be taken in. Get a pure EV and either charge from the mains (you'll barely notice the increased power bill) or go the whole hog, get solar and charge for free.

Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Shane Sturrock

Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

The LEAF is not slow by any stretch (take it from an ex-Alfa driver) but if you have the car in Eco mode (or potato mode as we call it because it feels like there's a potato under the throttle pedal stopping you from getting the full power of the car) then it will be sluggish. This mode is intended for wafting around gently in traffic and saves a fair bit of power, but take it out of Eco mode and the throttle response is instant compared with any petrol car I've ever driven and while 0-60 in 9ish seconds doesn't sound that quick, it is the fact that it does it without any gear changes that make the thing feel swift and it can easily surprise the usual go boys away from the lights. Not the fastest EV on the block but certainly not slow. Range is an issue for some but for us it is plenty for our use as we don't do cross country drives very often and the charging network is getting better all the time. I like to stop regularly for a top up of coffee and give the car a fast charge anyway.

That all said, yes, I put a deposit down for a model 3. I'll probably never buy it because I doubt I'll be able to afford it but I wanted to at least have the option when they do become available.

Steve Ballmer: Get the Facts. I 'love' SQL Server on Linux

Shane Sturrock

MS going backwards

The only way MS could be looking at Linux in the rear view is if they're reversing which seems about right. Windows is no longer threatened because it is a dying platform. MS is moving their software stack to a platform that has a future and they will eventually be like any other software provider without the power to control the operating system we all use.

Trend Micro AV gave any website command-line access to Windows PCs

Shane Sturrock

Re: Good point - but not really the point

Non-admins can install software on a Mac and that software will only get the rights of the user who installed it. This is due to how the packages are bundled because everything the application needs is in the app bundle and can be removed as easily as deleting that bundle once installed. Compared to the setup.exe and remove programs way on Windows, the Mac is light years ahead. Enforce signed packages and you're unlikely to get all that additional crap that the installers for Windows packages love to bundle by default. There are some packages (MacKeeper for instance) which I would define as malware and which are horrendously difficult by design to remove because it insists on having admin rights to install and then uses those rights to spread itself around the system like a hydra and when you try and remove it, it reinstalls the parts you removed. Getting that off my father-in-law's machine required booting the Mac into single user mode and then going through all the directories that it was spread through and removing them but it isn't common to have something as nasty as this and as I said, normal users are able to install packages without admin rights and use them just fine (each user has their own Applications folder) and those packages can't go making changes to the system. Unfortunately, implementing anything like this on Windows would result in the breaking of many older packages and MS lives and dies by backwards compatibility. My solution is to run Windows in a VM (snapshotted so I can roll back in case it screws up) and I can do whatever I need to and then close it back down. I don't run security software on it outside the basic MS supplied stuff because I don't use it much and I don't install much. Windows is the new classic environment, simply there for compatibility but never used for serious stuff.

Shane Sturrock

'Security' software is a scam

Seriously, why are people still living with this junk. Well, MS in their wisdom let everyone run as admin and let them get used to it, and when Vista came out and they tried to fix it, everyone complained so they relaxed it for 7 and so on and so it is still just a simple click from a normal admin user to accept whatever the heck some piece of software is wanting to do. No password or anything, just click OK. If you ever look at the installers for Windows packages (and don't just accept the defaults) once you give it permission it will often want to install all sorts of other nasties and many are really sneaky about it too making it quite unclear to the typical user just what they're clicking OK to. Security in Windows is still very borked. So, with that in mind, we have 'security' software that tries to clean up the mess after the fact when the mess should never have happened in the first place if Windows had some decent security settings in the first place and a proper packaging system but that would be too hard for the delicate users who might actually have to think about what they're clicking on. Funny how the 'stupid' 'noob' 'more money than sense' Mac users manage to cope with settings which require administrator passwords when installing software, and signed packages from known vendors because a Mac comes out of the box with reasonable security. Yes yes, trojans etc and you can turn this stuff off if you want to but really, there's still a culture issue on Windows which can't be fixed by security software because trusting any tool that has the ability to make significant changes to your environment automatically is beyond foolish.

5,4,3,2,1....hate hate hate panic mode down votes incoming......

Dick limps towards inglorious end: Gadget retailer on the brink

Shane Sturrock

Re: It's a sad end

DSNZ are in receivership too and are not honouring gift cards for instance. The whole show is coming to an end. As others have said, JB Hifi is a better bet for consumer goods and if I need bits of wire etc I can go to Jaycar which has all the stuff I used to get at DS.

Surface Pro 4: Will you go the F**K to SLEEP?

Shane Sturrock

Re: They aren't popular

I've seen a few Surface Pro tablets in the wild but they always had their keyboard attached and some executive was carefully typing while the thing teetered on their lap. Personally, I'll stick with my MacBook/iPad mini combo which gives me a real laptop which is incredibly small and light and a tablet that actually has apps. MS is stuck between two worlds with the surface and it really doesn't work well in either. It isn't a good laptop and as a tablet the lack of apps makes it pretty useless unless you want to poke at desktop apps with your finger. Frankly, with Splashtop Remote installed on my desktop PC I can access Windows apps pretty well from my iPad even when I'm on the road not that there's a great deal of software on Windows I ever have to use these days and since work it switching to Office 360 there's even less reason (I would have preferred Google Docs but some users couldn't get to grips with it unfortunately)

Mozilla confirms its Firefox OS phones are dead

Shane Sturrock

Firefox OS on Smart TV is fast

I tested a bunch of smart TVs when shopping and they all had really laggy interfaces, especially the LG sets. Ended up with a Panasonic running Firefox OS and it is smooth and responsive. The built in browser is actually usable for instance. It would be a shame if more TVs didn't get this.

Decoding Microsoft: Cloud, Azure and dodging the PC death spiral

Shane Sturrock

Re: What PC death spiral?

How many people bought a PC just to get on the internet and do some e-mail? Those people are usually perfectly well served by a tablet or even a phone. Better even because those devices are far cheaper and don't require the level of maintenance that a PC has and that's the attraction. Those of us who make our living programming for instance will still need a desktop but what about those people who just work in Office docs? This is why MS is pushing so hard in the cloud space with 365 and put Office on platforms other than Windows/Mac including iOS and Android. They need people to keep creating and editing documents in Office formats otherwise they really will become irrelevant. The fact that they're making phones which can be a desktop too just reinforces this but my personal opinion is I don't like the one device/OS fits all approach and have a phone, tablet, laptop and desktop and they're all for different needs despite there being significant crossover.

The money in the market is being divided beyond microsoft's grasp where they used to be the only game in town and the PC the only tool. Neither of those are the case now and that's why the PC is a shrinking market with lower turnover rates. There's still plenty of money to be made but MS doesn't control the software world any more. Windows isn't the only platform choice and that's better for everyone.

We snubbed Microsoft's Surface Pro wooing, says Lenovo exec

Shane Sturrock

Lenovo wisely ignores the wibbly wobbly category

Every time I see some suit struggling with one of these things on a plane I feel like they're a solution looking for a problem. I've got a laptop which will sit on my lap (unlike Surface Pro) and I can actually use it. I've got a tablet which has epic battery life and a variety of useful tools that can mean I don't have to fire up my laptop to use them but I've never felt the need to bolt a keyboard or mouse to it because a tablet is what it is and if I need a keyboard and mouse I'm pulling out my laptop. Maybe the new Surface book will fix the deficiencies but I doubt it and the price of the inconvenience of having both devices in one box is a definite no-go.

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

Shane Sturrock

The Settings panel for instance, it takes up almost all of my screen and has huge amounts of white space. This is pretty much par for the course on Windows 10 where even a large monitor just gets abused with windows which look like they would be fine on a tablet or phone but on a large monitor they're horrible.

Complexity is the enemy of reliability. Having the ability to detach a large portion of your computer from the display so it can function as a tablet is asking for trouble. I have travelled all over and abused my machines a lot and I've never once had a Mac fail. Before I switched to Macs I would buy a new PC laptop every year just because they were trashed. Now, MS is charging real money for this so I would expect it to be better made than a run of the mill Toshiba Satellite Pro or something but even so the complication of the detachable section bothers me and I prefer my devices to be more focussed so I have a laptop and a tablet. One fails, I'm still able to use the other. Sticking everything into a single piece of kit is asking for trouble.

Shane Sturrock

Nice hardware, but Windows 10..... I just 'upgraded' my desktop Windows 7 box to Win 10 and even after installing Classic Shell to get rid of the horror that is the new start thing, the OS is still terrible. Big fat controls to be finger friendly, and I'm not on a touch screen machine so yuck, and the whole interface colour scheme style is painfully flat and ugly no matter how I set it. I can't believe I actually miss aero but at least it had some depth.

I don't think Apple needs to worry too much as MS isn't making a dent in the high price device market that Apple sits in and I bet that this machine will turn out to be fragile compared with a MacBook Pro which can take a serious beating and still keep on trucking. The ability to turn a laptop into a tablet isn't worth the danger of it turning permanently into a tablet because the connector fails.

iPhone 6S, 6S Plus: Apple SHAFTS eager fans with STRAPPING VIBRATOR

Shane Sturrock

Re: Well that's just grand!

My 6 Plus uses about 20% battery a day and can go a full work week without a recharge. Sure, my old 4 would be lucky to have 20% left at the end of the day but the 6 Plus has excellent battery life and if the 6S can do the same with less then all the better.

Personally, I'm not going to upgrade because the 6S isn't much different from my current phone and worse, the price went up by $350 here not that I replace my phone each year anyway - I buy outright and run for four years.

No, Microsoft: Your one-billion Windows 10 goal is just sad ... really sad

Shane Sturrock

Re: Beg to differ

The cost of entry into Mac OS X may be higher in the short term but it pays off in the longer term. I used to run nothing but Linux and every year I would trot down to PC World and hand over another chunk of cash to replace the smashed laptop from the previous year. Gradually I bumped the money up hoping to get a longer life, first starting with a Samsung for £600, then a Compaq at £1000 and finally a Toshiba for £1500. Like the previous machines that Toshiba was dead after 12 months of lugging it around the world. The keys would fly off when I typed, the case had a large crack down the back of the screen and the backlight was intermittent so I would have to bang it to get it on some times, and the corner of the body broke off early in the life. Plus it looked like hell because the silver finish on the palm rest rubbed off leaving two black hand prints. £1500. Think about that for a moment, and then look at the G4 iBook I replaced it with for £1000 in 2003 which still works to this day having served as my primary machine for three years and then another three with my wife and then until just a couple of years back as my iTunes server. I replaced it with a MacBook Pro in 2006 which I ran for 6 years. I fell off my motorcycle with that in my backpack and it got dented but still works.

When I look at the money I spent on regular PC laptops versus the Macs I've had over the years the cost of a Mac looks like a very good investment. I don't think Apple's pricing is disagreeable at all when I need a machine which can take a beating and still come back kicking. Sure, there are PCs that can take the same treatment but they also cost a lot and I don't get a fully supported UNIX like I do with a Mac. Where I work they stopped buying PCs and get everyone Macs now because they last longer. People can choose whatever OS they want but everyone gets a Mac. It just makes financial sense and we had the numbers to prove it which won the finance guy over.

Apple Watch sales in death dive after mega launch, claims study

Shane Sturrock

Can't buy one even though I want to

I would like to buy one but I can't because out here in the middle of nowhere the Apple Store is still showing it as coming in 2015. My feeling is that the first edition is going to be like my Gen 1 iPad which will be well made but unsupported after only a couple of years so I'll likely be better waiting for the Watch 2 to make sure I get a device which has had the kinks ironed out.

'iPhone 6S' to push fanbois around with 'Force Touch display'

Shane Sturrock

Idiot Tax?

So, I work as a sysadmin and have for a long time. Most of the people I know who also work in this field choose iPhones. We're not idiots, we buy them because they work well and they have a good life expectancy. My previous iPhone lasted about twice as long as the typical Android user is getting from theirs (four years versus two) and it still has some resale value as well since it is still in pristine condition and still works well.

I know people like to rag on Apple for their expensive and shiny gear but seriously, many professionals choose their stuff because it is well made and lasts. It may cost more initially but it is worth it for a quality device. Getting the same quality from an Android phone puts you in the same ballpark cash wise anyway.

There are people who must upgrade their stuff every year to stay on top but I see a lot of older iPhones still in use in the hands of professionals because they're still very good phones and the signs pointing to iOS9 supporting the A5 processor as seen the 4S indicates that there's still plenty of life in these old handsets.

Carry On Computing: Ten stylish laptop bags for him

Shane Sturrock

Soft bags? Really?

Having had multiple laptops crushed due to soft bags like these I bought a hard case 12 years back and it has protected various laptops since then very nicely. Every company I've worked for has issued these nasty soft bags and you end up stuffing all your cables and chargers in there along with the laptop and inevitably end up with it getting dents or cracks depending on the material. A hard case is where it is at.

Stubborn 'won't fix' Google U-turns on Chromecast vid judder twitching-eye blunder

Shane Sturrock

60 Hz judders too

Most film based material runs at 24fps and the standard in the US is to run that up to 60fps which doesn't fit exactly and results in judder. American TV has always had this even back in the day of NTSC since they used 3:2 pulldown to get 24fps into a 60 field display. For PAL countries, it was normal to bump 24fps up 4% to 25fps and then a 50Hz display (50 fields per second) could display that smoothly. Trouble is, if you run your device at 50Hz then 25fps will be smooth but 24fps won't. I've gone through this with my AppleTVs and ended up just sticking with 60Hz because the judder is lessened on 24fps material than it is at 50Hz and 25fps stuff will still judder but it isn't all that obnoxious. Would I prefer the ATV to switch between 50 and 60Hz appropriately, and also output 24fps which my TV can handle? Sure, my BD player does just that but it seems like we aren't going to get that from Apple or Google. At least on the ATV I can switch it to 50Hz but most of my material is actually 24fps so it makes little sense.

The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Shane Sturrock

Netflix doesn't want these regions

Netflix themselves have stated that they want to make their entire library available globally. They're getting bigger and bigger and at some point they'll be able to do to the movie industry what Apple did to the music industry and impose their plan (Apple didn't want DRM and when they got big enough they made the music industry let them take DRM off iTunes) so hopefully the whole regional thing will become a moot point.

TBH I signed up for Netflix in NZ and as an expat brit I've switched my Netflix region to the UK version. Not as big as the US one, but a better choice of documentaries without the hideous US style of short bursts of information followed by a recap and then another burst. The NZ selection is a little pitiful but still better than the competitors so with the combination of iTunes and Netflix (even if forced to use the NZ version only) I think I'm all set and probably won't be buying much in the way of Blu rays any more unless I'm really keen on the film or series.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde: Less fun than it should be

Shane Sturrock

Just get a Fiat 500

I've spent the last few weeks hammering around the country in a Fiat 500 manual and it has been a real hoot. Can't fault it other than having to drop a cog when going up hills in fifth. The dash mounted gearbox was really smooth and precise, as was the steering. Interior space wasn't a problem for this 6'2 individual and I found the handling quite neutral with a tendency for it to slightly understeer but not too much. As a former Alfa owner, I just wouldn't bother these days. You're still getting Fiat build quality (i.e. quote fragile and dodgy electrics) but you're paying a premium for it. Might as well just go to the source. Plus, I think the 500 is a cool little car whereas the Mito looks boss eyed and dumb.

Apple is picking off iOS antivirus apps one by one: Who'll be spared?

Shane Sturrock

Doesn't have to be 100%

It just needs to be better than the other guy. In the case of Android, there's a lot of potential targets due to the large number of old and vulnerable versions out there. Apple has been much better at supporting their OS, and the biggest danger comes from jailbreaking your phone. Don't do that and it is very difficult for malware to do very much of anything and as another poster pointed out, these anti-virus apps can't do anything inside iOS outside their own sandbox. That said, sure, there can be documents or e-mail on your phone which can have virus infected attachments but frankly, that stuff should be screened at the server end rather than wasting my phone's cycles doing it just to protect another platform. If your device or computer is vulnerable, you deal with protecting it.

Windows 10 build 10041: 99 bugs on the wall, fix a bug, add a feature, 114 bugs on the wall

Shane Sturrock

Re: Looks f-ing awful

The dock in 10.10 looks very like the one in Tiger (10.4) and earlier, losing the stupid perspective glass layer that just made no sense. The Yosemite dock is one of the best features. I've tried the last build of Windows 10 and by comparison, even the comparatively flat Yosemite has lots of subtle graphical niceness and depths that MS appears determined to eradicate from their OS. The icons on the latest Mac OS destroy these horrible efforts on Win 10.

'Fry-OS 8' iPhone BLEW UP MY PANTS wails roasted Johnson

Shane Sturrock

Not a 5C in the picture

The phone pictured is clearly a black 5, not a 5C. You can see the black metal chamfered edge which the 5C doesn't have, and you can't get a 5C with a black back. Based on that, this is an older phone so who knows how much mistreatment it has had and it may not even be on the original battery.

Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Shane Sturrock

Nothing new here

The phone has 16GB of storage. You need an operating system and that takes up some of that space and this has been true even back to 8 bit computers like the Commodore 64 which didn't have 64K of space for programs but rather just 39K (although if you didn't need BASIC you could use more.)

Apple WINS iPod antitrust fight, jury nixes BILLION-dollar payout bid

Shane Sturrock

It was all the fault of the music industry

As I predicted while this case was going on, it all came down to the contract with the music labels who were insisting on the DRM. They required that Apple ensure the security of the system and since Real was able to reverse engineer it the software wasn't secure so that had to be fixed. Jobs specifically said he didn't like DRM and pressured the industry to drop it. He won, and we all won. You can buy music from iTunes and play it anywhere you please now, and they even improved the quality.

If only the movie and TV industry would figure this out and I wouldn't have to buy my Blu rays and rip them to get a version that plays on everything because they're pushing UltraViolet which sucks massively (have you seen the picture quality of their so called HD versions, let alone the SD ones?) It is good to get iTunes codes but even then I typically rip my own copy. I don't share these, I just want a version that is a decent resolution and bit rate. I don't play the Blu rays often despite having 4 players now simply because they take so long to start up when I can just go to my Apple TVs on one of the TVs in the house and fire up the movie or show I'm interested in and it knows where I got to, what I've watched and so on. Discs are a great way to purchase high quality versions though so I'm not too fussed about the current state of play but really, UV is appalling and the hoops necessary just to redeem the code are maddening.

Blu-ray region locks popped by hardware hacker

Shane Sturrock



I bought it, I own it, I rip it, I put it away and never use it again.

Dead Steve Jobs accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Shane Sturrock

Contracted DRM requirements

This all comes down to DRM. The music industry insisted on it or they wouldn't let Apple sell music through iTunes. They had similar deals with other companies such as Microsoft who also sold DRMed music for the Zune and that wouldn't play on an iPod.

Real tried to get a piece of the action by faking Apple's DRM scheme and there's little doubt that this hack would have needed fixing otherwise the music industry would pull their right to sell any music but we haven't seen the contracts so can't say for sure. Whatever the issue, stores selling non-DRM music never had a problem selling to iPod users.

In the end, the finger of blame points squarely at the music industry. Jobs didn't like DRM and wrote a long letter about just why he thought it was a bad thing. Eventually, we got DRM free and higher bit rate music from iTunes because Apple had the power to force it to happen. Those files play on anything that can handle AAC files. That's where we are today. This lawsuit was a symptom of what the music industry was doing rather than anything specific that Apple was doing other than meeting the terms of their contract with the music industry. Sure, Apple used the strength of the iPod and iTunes to their advantage but in the end we all got a better deal because DRM music is all but dead now.

Bought an iPhone 6 Plus? Odds are you've binned the iPad

Shane Sturrock

Phone apps are still phone apps

I've got an iPad mini and recently bought an iPhone 6+ to replace my old 4. I expected to drop the mini and just use the iPhone thus reducing my device list to my rMPR and a phone but as it happens, the iPhone 6+ still runs iPhone apps and not iPad apps and many of them don't handle landscape well. The built in Apple apps do and Mail is a revelation on the 6+ but I still prefer true iPad apps in many cases so I've kept the iPad and now just have a bigger phone than before. On the plus side (no pun!) the phone's battery life is way better than the iPhone 4.

I'll likely get another iPad in a year or so once this one hits three years old, so no, the 6+ doesn't make an iPad redundant but I think I'll go for a bigger one next time, maybe even the rumoured 'Pro'.

Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

Shane Sturrock


I was on the fence about it - I thought there might be some cool stuff and I liked the fitness features but I could just as easily get one of the many other fitness trackers for that. However, since I ride a motorcycle I had been hoping Google Glass would give me a working satnav solution for the road rather than a bulky phone case on my handlebars (which frankly don't have room for one, sport bike and all that) but then I found out the Apple Watch will allow you to navigate by tapping your wrist. OK, that's cool. Sold. Oh, and fishing my phone out to switch music tracks or struggling with the remote on the headphones (which I don't use because they're crap and I've got ATH-M50Xs instead), well the watch does that too.

Like the iPad I suspect this is one of those 'I don't get it so it must be crap' situations, and once we've got the gadget we'll find all sorts of uses for it. Except the Edition version. That's going to be bonkers expensive so I'll likely get the cheap one to test the waters like I did with my first Mac, iPhone, iPad and so on.

Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Shane Sturrock

Re: Good hardware... but

I stopped buying all Samsung gear after they dropped support for my almost new Blu ray player just because they had released a new version. The last firmware update they put out for mine knocked the audio out of sync and after months of waiting for a fix which never came, I returned the player (it was 6 months old at this point) to the store for a Panasonic - the consumer guarantees act in NZ gives you the right to reject a device as unfit for purpose if the manufacturer has failed to rectify the issue and I had returned my original one which was replaced and as soon as I tried to play a new Blu ray it needed the update and bam, the audio was out of sync again.

Samsung may make good hardware, but their software is appalling and I won't be caught dead with their kit again.

Got an iPhone or iPad? LOOK OUT for MASQUE-D INTRUDERS

Shane Sturrock

iOS 7.1.3?

I wonder if Apple will release an update to iOS 7 since my old iPhone 4 can't run iOS 8 or are they just going to say that's it and leave all those phones vulnerable? As another reader said, this is where a jailbreak kicks in nicely but realistically, Apple should at least patch such nasties as this since they were still selling the iPhone 4 just a year ago.

All but full-fat MS Office to be had on iPads, Droidenslabben for NOWT

Shane Sturrock

Re: I remember

I remember when schools taught computing rather than just IT and office. Of course, that was back in the 80's when the BBC micro was king. My son just expressed an interest in learning to program so I pulled out the Sinclair Spectrum and let him get on with it. Sir Clive would be proud, but I'm saving the BEEB for once he's more familiar with the language. Single keyword entry was such a nice feature.

Anyway, he is happily unaware of IT and just wants to know how computers work and how to program them. Microsoft getting such a stranglehold on schools has been a terrible detriment to those kids who were really interested. Thank goodness for Linux.

Windows XP market share fell off a cliff in October

Shane Sturrock

Re: The truth hurts

The desktop is slipping down the charts for how people access the internet. When most people use phones and tablets to access their e-mail, websites and so on, where does that leave poor microsoft? King of an ever shrinking sphere with limited influence.

PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Shane Sturrock

Re: Regrets

Wipe it and set it up as a new iPad. I did that with my iPad mini 1 (basically an iPad 2) because it was constantly stalling doing anything. After a fresh setup it is all smooth and a pleasure to use again. I've since wiped and re-setup all my other iOS devices right back to my iPad 1 which with a fresh install of 5.1.1 is like new, and even my old iPhone 4 appreciated a fresh install of iOS 7.1.2 and is responsive unlike after the upgrades.

Upgrading an iOS device works OK for a generation or two, but it is good to wipe and start fresh if only to get rid of all the crap apps you've installed over the years.

Big Retail's Apple Pay killer CurrentC HACKED, tester info nicked

Shane Sturrock

CurrentC dead on arrival

Apple in particular has a policy of not allowing apps in their store which compete with functionality provided by the phone. Apple Pay is in the phone so CurrentC won't be able to get their app into the Apple Store. Google would be well within their rights to do the same and block it. If no-one can install the app on iOS, or they have to side load it on Android, then the whole thing will fail.

Dumb idea anyway to let merchants have access to your bank account. Credit cards exist for a reason, and the one time use token systems that Apple and Google have are safer than a plastic card any day.

Fanboi-and-fanfare-free fondleslabs fail to fire imagination

Shane Sturrock

Evolution of the device

I still have an iPad 1 which I use daily because it happens to sit nicely on my cross trainer. I also have an iPad mini 1 which also suits my needs and while it was horrible upgraded to iOS 8, a full wipe and install and then putting back the apps I actually wanted fixed it right up. I've noticed a reticence to rotate the screen so I suspect this is an issue with iOS 8 rather than anything specific to any of the iPads.

I'll likely replace my current mini in another year or so once it reaches three years old which seems about right. The original iPad got so many things right, a giant change isn't needed, just a natural evolution of performance and additional features. The main difference is the software in the app store - when I got my iPad 1 there wasn't much about but it quickly appeared. Android is still behind the game and Windows tabs are miles back. The market is maturing and the iPad is still selling well because it is still the best choice.

Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

Shane Sturrock

Don't trust them

I got thrown out of Redmond for mentioning Linux a few years back with the person I was meeting declaring "we don't work with Linux companies, I'll get you a cab." This after I sat through his presentation on his XP laptop which kept blue screening every time he plugged it into the big screen but when I did the same with my Linux laptop (KDE themed to look like Windows 2000) it was all fine so he didn't realise I was running Linux until I said so. Boom, shown the door.

The fact is, MS has had to learn to put up with Linux, especially in clusters and cloud as they're nowhere near the behemoth they were on the desktop but you can guarantee that this change of heart will be very short lived if people trust them. Remember, embrace, extend, extinguish? Just where are we with this right now?