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Submission + - Apple removes ESC key new Macbook "Pro" (theverge.com) 2

fyngyrz writes: The Mac "Pro's" ESC key, used by many at the console / shell level, has apparently succumbed to overwhelming... courage. Er, design intent. Yeah, that's it. You have to admit, Apple is brave. No console-friendly person will be happy with this. I suspect that will be true to a degree where they'll be happy with... something other than a Macbook "Pro." BTW, those aren't "scare" quotes. Those are "no, wrong word" quotes. I could have gone with "pro[sic]", but... oy. Oh. And hey. You didn't want function keys, did you? Of course not... Okay, one hopes these missing features will at least sometimes, possibly, appear on the new touch bar, there to blunt the ends of your fingers as they use a key-striking habit to stomp on a touch surface.

Comment Re:Hardware is so much better? (Score 1) 78

I wish my experience were similar, because I'm also the kind of person who doesn't buy cheap tat and does do his research. I only buy from reputable sources. I typically buy mid-range products at minimum, and often towards the higher end. And I have still encountered dramatically more failures generally but also dramatically more deliberate crippling of products in recent years.

I do agree that there is some element of modern technology simply being more complex and/or working on smaller scales and so inherently having less margin for error. Whether I really need a more vulnerable 4TB hard drive instead of a more robust 1TB drive if I only have a few hundred GB of data to store anyway is a different question, of course, but bigger numbers presumably shift more boxes so that's what everyone supplies.

There is probably also an element of dumb luck in my personal anecdotes. I had an amazing lack of failures for many years, with not so much as a hard drive giving out on me during its working lifetime across many different machines. Statistically, I was well into the long tail for that period, and what I've seen more recently may in part just be reverting to the mean.

But that doesn't excuse things like printers that decide your ink/toner has run out after a fixed number of pages when you can see there's plenty of supply left, or tablets that get security patches for barely a year or two before some OS update designed for newer hardware leaves them barely able to run any more, or cars where diagnosing a warning light on the dash means an expensive visit to a dealer but adding a simple report of the underlying fault code to the already pathetically bad onboard UI would mean owners could fix the problem and the clear the error in five minutes themselves without paying. These kinds of trends are rampant in their respective industries, even among big name brands and high-end products, and they are nothing but customer-hostile cash grabs.

Comment Re:Something's fishy (Score 1) 212

I don't really understand that sort of generalisation, though I've certainly seen it a lot lately. About 16 million people voted to remain and about 17 million to leave. That's a lot of people, the majority of the adult population of the UK, so no doubt there were some delusional extremists and some just plain nasty people in there, but I imagine most of those millions of people probably weren't like that, on either side. Certainly I've talked to plenty of people from both camps who have been reasonable and quite well informed, even if they came down on opposite sides of the debate in the end. I guess I must be living in a different country to the one I keep reading about.

Comment Re:Something's fishy (Score 1) 212

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say there. Did you reply to the wrong comment?

My previous comment was agreeing with someone else's view that Brexit will almost certainly reduce GDP in the short and possibly medium term, and then noting that there are various ways it might work out better in the longer term but no-one really knows what will happen that far ahead. I didn't say anything about subsidies, nor express any other opinion on Brexit.

Comment Re:Hardware is so much better? (Score 2) 78

I'm afraid we might just have to agree to disagree on some of this.

Certainly you're right that modern cars are more reliable, and the better built-in diagnostics are a part of that. But the flip side is that you used to be able to buy a repair manual for any major model of car and take care of it yourself, and if you did then many popular models could last almost forever. Today it's barely possible to change a light bulb or diagnose the cause of a simple warning light in many new models without going to see your dealer, a term for the official representatives of the car manufacturers with other connotations that also seem all too appropriate these days.

As for the modern electronics you speak of, I fear you're suffering from much the same perception bias you think I have. A lot of devices made the best part of a decade ago were pretty reliable, but standards have dropped sharply even as recently as the past 5 years. My previous washing machine also lasted about a decade with a couple of minor repairs along the way. Talking to a surprisingly honest salesman when buying the new one, he said only certain prestige brands would expect that sort of longevity today, and with most of the mid-range models you'd be doing well if it was still economic to maintain them beyond 5 years. I never had a PC fail on me before being retired after many years of use until about 2010. I haven't had a single PC, at home or work, of any spec, last beyond about 3-4 years without at least one serious hardware failure since then. My previous DVD player lasted many years. My current Blu-Ray player, a relatively expensive model at purchase, is already starting to fail after maybe three years. Printers. Phones and tablets. TVs. PVRs. Headphones. Networking gear. Almost no technology is built to last these days, except perhaps for some of the high-end prestige brands, and many of the electronic devices in my home and office come with some element of built-in obsolescence that is entirely artificial, often due to legal controls on replacement parts and interoperability, or to dependencies on software or online services that aren't supported for very long.

I'm certainly not saying that everything we made yesterday was better made in every way than what we produce today, but junk that fails after what used to be considered a very short lifetime, often for entirely deliberate and artificial reasons, and with limited or no prospect of servicing or repair to restore it to use, is mostly a very modern and very unwelcome trend.

Comment Re:Something's fishy (Score 1) 212

Those predictions are certainly consistent with what the more informed people I know have been saying. In the short term, it seems almost certain that the UK economy will drop significantly in GDP terms. It's possible that this effect will continue for several years, depending on what if any post-Brexit deal with the EU gets worked out. But the worst of the doom-and-gloom predictions probably aren't realistic, because there are also areas such as those we were discussing before where the EU has been a negative influence even if it's a net benefit overall, and there are some effects like the devaluation of Sterling that may provide some cushioning effect for the economy.

In the longer term, it seems the jury's out. The UK already trades more with non-EU partners than EU ones, and trade with non-EU partners is growing faster so the gap has been widening. It will surely widen even faster in future if the remaining EU leaders follow through on their scorched earth rhetoric, though at some point it's likely that the adults will step in and prevent that. Meanwhile, the EU has serious economic problems of its own still bubbling under the surface, particularly within the Eurozone. As we've been seeing with TTIP and CETA, claims that the EU is somehow better placed to negotiate new trade deals with foreign partners than an independent UK may be exaggerated. And if the coming elections in places like France and Germany go in favour of eurosceptic/nationalist parties, which is certainly a possibility at the moment, the EU may not exist in its current form within a few years anyway.

For any of these factors to mean Brexit leaves the UK economically better off, it seems we're talking about 5-10 years at a minimum, though, unless something catastrophic happens within the EU sooner than that. And even a decade from now, if events turn the other way with the EU stabilising but wider global trade suffering for some reason, maybe Brexit will prove to be unhelpful economically even in the longer term. In reality, I doubt anyone has enough information and foresight to make useful predictions that far out.

Comment Re:Something's fishy (Score 1) 212

I run a small business, but I'm already way worse off because everything I import costs a fuck-ton more and I can't afford to just bump prices up accordingly when my larger competitors already have huge warehouses of stock and have the power of scale to have negotiated pricing agreements. All the OMG RED TAPE that supposedly comes from Brussels is a myth, and what few anti-small-business legislation exists is hardly likely to be removed by the prevent government, whose ear is deaf to all but the largest enterprises.

Just as a counterpoint, as someone who also runs small businesses, but in my case tech-based ones that import very little but export information products and services, I have almost exactly the opposite experience.

The pound had been propped up for a long time and a lot of economists were saying it was overvalued long before Brexit was on the radar. Dropping it back to a more realistic level has already caused a big boost for our sales to customers over in continental Europe and beyond. It's dropped further than the necessary correction because of Brexit, but pinning the entire drop on that is unrealistic.

As for that EU red tape, it has been a significant burden on several occasions over the past few years, from consumer "protection" rules that don't really protect anyone but have substantial compliance costs through to the whole VAT mess where the EU seems to have done exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to do by making us suddenly have to deal with 28 different systems instead of one.

EU membership has its pros and cons, but in this specific area, it's very clearly not an advantage.

Comment Hardware is so much better? (Score 2) 78

When I was a kid and turned on a BBC Micro, it was ready to use instantly. Same with the old TV I had. And I could watch anything I wanted to watch on that TV, whether it was from the aerial or the computer or the VCR. And on that VCR, I could just fast forward through any initial stuff on the tape I wanted to skip. And some of those devices worked for a decade.

Today's world of hardware that costs hundreds or thousands but fails within a few years, if it even gets that far, is not an improvement. Today's world where hardware can't be serviced or repaired is not an improvement. Today's world where it takes a minute for my PVR to show me a picture, and seconds to switch to the next TV channel, is not an improvement. Today's world where I can't watch content I've paid for on a device I've paid for, or can't run software I've paid for on a computer I've paid for, or can't listen to music from my iPhone because the headphones don't fit any more, because of artificial barriers to connectivity, is not an improvement.

Hardware got faster and bigger, but thinking that makes it better when all this other stuff is getting needlessly broken is spectacularly missing the point. And the user who buys these devices doesn't much care whether it's the hardware or the protocol on the wire between two devices or the firmware that is causing the problem. They just want the stuff they bought to do what they bought it for, and in many respects today's equipment is very much worse at that than the equipment we made a decade or two ago.

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 1) 169

If you don't want to be homeless, build a house.

Homeless generally means both "not a landowner" and "has no money" which prevents the former even if they wanted to go there.

If you don't want to be hungry, go fishing.

Buy a license, buy a pole, collect bait somehow, weather considerations, legal locations, seasons, specific game fish, prepping, finding wood to cook with...

If you want to survive, get your ass moving instead of wasting the day pseudo-intellectualizing or lamenting about the unfairness of nature that has always existed since the beginning of time when it blew the first human village up with a volcano and the laws of the universe didn't even blink, let alone give a shit.

No, the universe doesn't, for sure. But people who are worth a shit, do give a shit.

WRT "get moving", to quote a fine summary of just one aspect of the problem, "I'm pretty sure McDonald's has an underwear inside the pants policy" (Source here at 3:31 but by all means, check out the whole performance, it's pretty much spot on from beginning to end.)

Comment Re:If the point was ... (Score 4, Insightful) 333

There's no proof that it has anything to do with Wikileaks, but in a world of IoT devices with no thought toward security, anyone who cares to do so can mount DDOS with the power of a national entity.

What's the point of doing what Assange and Wikileaks have been doing without any moral position? He isn't helping his own case.

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He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.