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Comment Doing all the wrong things (Score 4, Interesting) 355

The owner of the laptop missed his opportunity to recover his property by trying to publicly shame the woman into returning it. That was a counterproductive waste of time. She could just claim she bought it from someone, and how could he, or the police, prove otherwise?

Anti-theft software should be designed to allow the thief to use the laptop on a guest account, while password protecting your personal account. You want the thief to use the laptop. Locking it remotely will only ensure that it is immediately disposed of, or sold for parts.

So, assume your laptop is stolen and you've activated the remote tracking software: immediately call the police and file a report. The police won't do a thing unless you take that first step. Next, start collecting data on the thief: home address, work/school address, phone numbers, images of the thief using it, etc. Organize all of that data into a folder and take it, along with a copy of your police report, to the local police station. Show them that you know exactly who has the laptop, that person's address, the location of the laptop, etc. Also point out that if this person was the thief, there is an excellent chance that additional stolen property will be found at their residence.

The police now have the justification they need to go knock on that person's door, or possibly get a search warrant. Granted, the person who has it may still claim it was purchased from some third party, but when police are standing in someone's home, showing them pictures of their own faces taken through the laptop camera, and saying, "Give us the laptop now, or we'll come back with a search warrant", the chances are excellent that it will be handed over.

No one may be prosecuted, but you'll at least have your property back. Of course, this scenario presumes that the police care enough to follow through with the information you provide. In larger cities, they may not bother, but in smaller towns and rural areas, they may be very happy to assist when you present all the evidence they need on a silver platter.

Comment Re:We deserve what we get. (Score 2) 81

A Meitu spokesman actually replied to the ArsTechnica article on this:

Since they're a Chinese company, they have to collect their own user data since they don't have access to user data from the Apple / Google stores. So they likely have less info about you than most Western app devs.

I installed Meitu on an Android 7.1 device yesterday. It only asks for device permissions as it needs them. I denied giving it access to my phone functions and the app works fine without that telemetry. But if you're really paranoid, go ahead and play with it in Andyroid or something.

Comment Re:As someone that had used a Palm for many years (Score 1) 168

Palm OS and Windows CE were clumsy, trying devices that you didn't trust with anything because they weren't all that stable, they were deeply, closely tethered to desktops with finicky sync systems that would break down often and whose connectivity to existing apps tended to last about 10 minutes beyond version releases, they had the capacity of a thimble, and anything you put into them was basically trapped there unless you mounted heroic and time-consuming efforts to get it back out again.

And to add to that ... the iPhone was a game changer because Apple supported it directly with updates, instead of pushing off support onto the carriers. I remember futilely waiting for Sprint to issue an update for my Palm Treo, and realizing that to Sprint, "update" meant "buy a new phone from us". Apple forced the carriers into the role of data providers only. It was a huge improvement.

Direct manufacturer support is the main reason why I still prefer my iPhone over any Samsung device. In fact, the only Android phone I would ever consider is the Google Pixel. I absolutely refuse to allow my carrier to dictate when and how my phone gets updated.

Comment Re:Not news until his salary is $0 (Score 1) 336

Things got so bad this time that OWC is in the planning stages for a product called DEC that adds back most of the stuff that Apple has removed over the past four years.

I have to say that the concept intrigues me, but it can't work the way the mockup shows. The DEC would have to connect to at least one of the USB-C ports. I wonder how they intend to address that.

Regardless, it is an accessory that I would purchase in a heartbeat if I was forced to buy a 2016 model. Better that than carry around a bunch of dongles.

Comment Re:Not news until his salary is $0 (Score 3, Insightful) 336

Thin will be in until he's removed as CEO. HP made their laptop 1.8mm thicker for a third more battery life in order to drive their 17" 4K monitor. Apple needs to do the same.

The fact that Apple significantly reduced the capacity of the batteries in the 2016 models just to make them thinner says volumes about the design choices going on behind the scenes. It's all part and parcel with the removal of the MagSafe connectors, the removal of all ports except USB-C. The people who are deciding how a "professional" laptop should be designed are clearly not using a laptop in a professional capacity.

Comment Re:Obligatory Cixin Liu (Score 1) 293

In the face of all that reaction the next release will be thinner still, even to the point of compromising structural integrity (iPhone Plus, iPad) and ports (MacBook Pro) and hardware features (iMac).

I predict Apple won't be satisfied until users start slicing off their fingers by picking up a MacBook the wrong way. Either that, or until a MacBook Pro is thin enough to shave with.

Comment Re:how often are Mac Pro's upgraded? (Score 4, Insightful) 293

Pithy example, but my company switched to iPhones (back in the day) because of me, our sole Mac user; Apple no longer makes a computer well suited for my personal needs. This leads to erosion in core markets over time, and is hard to recover from.

Exactly. I switched my entire family, and all my in-laws, from PCs to Macs years ago. There are thousands of stories like yours, where one or two people on the upper end of the user bell curve led an entire community or company to switch by proselytizing the Apple experience. If Apple stops manufacturing laptops and desktops that those power users want to buy, the drop in Apple's marketshare will be increased by orders of magnitude.

Comment There's an opportunity here for Google (Score 5, Interesting) 293

Right now I'm using a mid-2012 MacBook Pro that I've just upgraded with a Samsung SSD. The reason I chose to upgrade the storage instead of buying a new MacBook Pro was that I couldn't justify spending $3000+ for a laptop that was unrepairable and unexpandable, and would have to be sent to the recycle bin if it broke after the AppleCare warranty expired. I'm hoping this upgrade will get me through the next couple of years, but what happens after that?

At some point I will need to buy a new laptop. So what are my choices, if not another MacBook? A Windows 10 machine? Absolutely no way in hell. Put Linux on a PC laptop? Maybe, but avoiding the time and effort of supporting a Linux installation is the entire reason I use a Mac.

But what if (for example) Google decided to take a page from Apple's playbook? What if Google were to develop its own laptop with a real Linux / UNIX / BSD OS with a nice GUI, and support it the way Apple does? Not just a Chromebook, but a laptop with a new OS to complete with MacOS? And what if that laptop had a sane upgradeable / repairable premium design, without Apple's obsession for thinness and appearance over functionality?

If such a laptop existed, I would buy it in a heartbeat. And when I did, I would almost certainly switch from an iPhone to a Pixel, and from the Apple to the Google ecosystem. Everyone says "Google is the new Apple", so why shouldn't that be true? Google has the culture and the resources to play the game by Apple's rules, and take a huge chunk of mindshare away from Apple. Not to mention the fact that Google apps like Assistant and Maps already leave Siri and Apple Maps in the dust.

There needs to be a new option for laptop and desktop machines. Apple and Microsoft have both gone off the deep end, pursuing development paths that are leaving power users in the cold. Google could step in and become the new king of the mountain in very short order - if it has the will to do so.

Comment Re:I don't see why they would change (Score 1) 268

The previous iteration of their proprietary SSD had encrypted communications. It took OWC over a year to reverse-engineer it and offer compatible SSD upgrades. I guess Apple took that as a sign that they needed to eliminate any possibility of a third party upgrade. After all, you can't have customers modifying their hardware to their liking.

Not to mention forcing customers to pay for SSD storage at a rate of $800 / TB, more than twice what it would cost if purchased as a removable module from a vendor like Samsung. Apple's ridiculous prices for RAM and HD upgrades could be avoided in the past, but no more.

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