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Comment Re:How long before estates of dead entertainers su (Score 1) 120

Also, I think people are underestimating the creative input that a performer puts into a voice performance. They can put in a lot of subtle emphasis and emotion into speech. Even if AI can perfectly replicate someone's voice, will it know when to emphasize a word, when to change the pitch of its voice, and when to insert a dramatic pause?

Comment Re: AT&T (Score 2) 205

To offer a mild defense of Apple, there's a reason they make messages a different color if you're using a non-Apple phone:

Their iMessage app debuted at a time when carriers generally still charged for SMS messages. If a blue message came in, it meant that it was going over iMessage, which meant that it was a free message. If it was green, it was SMS, and therefore it would be charged as an SMS message according to your carrier's plan. You definitely wanted to have a way to know the difference.

It's less important now that carriers are generally offering unlimited SMS messages, so you could argue that they could drop the distinction. However, there still may be places or situations where people are charged for SMS, even if only when doing international texting, so it's not completely meaningless. Also, iMessage still provides some different features, such as providing read-receipts (if you allow that) and being encrypted, so someone might care about knowing which messages are going over which service.

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 1) 67

Well they charge you a rental fee for a router (including a Wifi), or they let you purchase it for $150. In abstract, I think that's totally reasonable.

The problem is, they won't let you just supply your own router or operate without a router. You have to rent or buy their router. If you just want the Internet (not phone or TV), you can replace their router with your own once service is installed, but they still force you to purchase their router.

Comment Re:Network-wide solution? (Score 1) 67

A lot of people seem to misunderstanding the nature of my question. I understand what a site-to-site VPN tunnel is, and I can set one up. The question is, is there a reputable service out there that provides some kind of proxy or site-to-site VPN that obscures the source of outgoing Internet traffic? The point here isn't to secure traffic between two endpoints that I control, but to make it so websites see all of my company's traffic as coming from an IP address other than my own, and where the service provider won't disclose the original source of the traffic without a subpoena.

The specific concern came out of the prospect that ISPs might start selling records of their Internet activity, and businesses with security concerns not wanting their ISP to be able to track that information in the first place.

Comment Re:Ya, it's called IPSec (Score 1) 67

My question wasn't whether it's technically possible to set up a VPN. It was more, is anyone providing that as a service? Specifically, one focussed on privacy (obscuring the source of the traffic and not logging), and also that is reputable security service (marketing to businesses rather than pirates).

Comment Network-wide solution? (Score 1) 67

With all this talk about using VPN for privacy, I've been wondering if there are any solutions that are designed to provide that kind of privacy across an entire LAN. If, for example, you wanted to make sure your company's web traffic was private, is anyone offering some kind of service that allows you to configure a common SMB firewall to route all outgoing traffic through a secure VPN/proxy?

I've had some clients request this, but I can't find anything that looks remotely reputable. Most of the services getting attention right now are designed to have software installed on every device.

Comment Re:Address the gap in the lineup... (Score 1) 163

I'm not saying that console games are making PC gaming obsolete. I'm saying people who are building fewer and fewer gaming PCs and generally people are buying fewer desktops.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to infer from this. You're not saying that consoles are killing the gaming PC, but you're saying people don't buy gaming PCs. Are you saying that nobody is gaming anymore? Or are you trying to imply that consoles are killing the gaming PC while refusing to say that, for some reason? Because I notice you're also not saying that consoles *aren't* killing the gaming PC.

Yes but how soon does that GPU become obsolete? I mean you can still use decade old CPU just fine for general computing but decades old GPUs are basically unusable by gaming.

So you're simultaneously implying that consoles are killing the gaming PC because people aren't building PCs anymore, and also arguing that people won't buy a non-upgradable gaming PC.

Comment Re:My suggestion... (Score 1) 240

is there any server management software you'd recommend for allowing not-very-knowledgeable technicians to successfully perform more mundane and routine server maintenance tasks on Linux servers?

Nope, we don't use Linux very often. On the server side, we're almost entirely Windows, largely because it's what our technicians are trained on and comfortable with. Some people here are have some experience as a Linux sysadmin, but not enough to provide adequate coverage.

Comment Re:My suggestion... (Score 1) 240

Servers don't seem Apple-esque to me as the cost to performance ratio plays a much bigger part in the purchasing decision.

You're right that servers are *more* of a commodity, but on the other hand, the decision-making for purchasing servers isn't made purely on the coast : performance ratio.

It depends on the particulars of the market you're going after, but I'm speaking as someone who buys servers on a regular basis. We're not buying the cheapest thing we can get for particular quantitative performance metrics. One of the substantial aspects of the decision is ease of management. It's worth it to spend an extra thousand dollars now if it saves us time and aggravation later.

And there are multiple reasons why a Mac server could be useful. For one, I'd like to see a server-version of Mac OS that can be set up to be a bare-bones hypervisor, so I can set up a virtual Mac lab. It'd be useful for me. Or, in cases where I have an all-Mac client, it'd be nice to be able to run Apple Remote Desktop from the server. Sometimes it'd just be nice to have an easy-to-use and supported Unix-based server OS.

Now on that last one, I'm sure that there are people who will jump down my throat and say, "Why would you want an easy-to-use GUI for a server OS? Anyone using the server should know what they're doing!" Well, to be honest, I service small businesses with modest IT needs. Not all of our technicians are very advanced and knowledgeable, and it's nice when we can let the not-very-knowledgeable technicians do *some* limited server work, both to give them exposure, and because if we're short-handed and something easy needs to be done quickly, it's nice if one of our less experienced technicians can handle it. The easier the GUI, the more I can ask them to do without providing a complete tutorial.

And I know, when someone is setting up a huge datacenter, the price : performance ratio is very important. However, not all IT is done in huge server datacenters. There's still a market for easy-to-manage small business servers.

Comment Re:Address the gap in the lineup... (Score 1) 163

I don't know if gaming has been a priority of Apple. Sure you can play some games on one but don't expect the latest AAA one that requires the newest video cards to be on those lists.

Yeah... that was kind of my point. Apple has practically been going out of their way to make sure their computers aren't good for gamers. I'm suggesting that if they just made one model that had hardware appropriate for gaming, they might see an uptick in people using it for that, and then developers would have more incentive to port games to it.

PC Gaming desktops are starting to become niche PCs themselves.

Do you have some market research to support that? I feel like I've been hearing for decades that consoles would kill PC gaming, but it hasn't happened. If anything, I feel like consoles are showing some weakness recently.

The only people that might be interested in a consumer Mac Pro would be gamers.

I can tell you right now that that isn't true. I've done professional IT for a lot of companies that use Macs, and I've gotten a fair number of requests for that kind of thing. Basically, the Mac mini can be a bit underpowered for a lot of people's needs, and the Mac Pro is way too expensive. Businesses have to instead buy iMacs, but a lot of companies are annoyed by that because it also means you have to purchase a brand new high-quality screen with every new computer you buy. Home users sometimes have the same complaint of wanting to buy a new computer more powerful than a Mac mini, but don't want to buy a $1k screen to get it.

Or to give another use-case, some small businesses want a Mac server. Again, the Mac mini is underpowered, and the Mac Pro is too expensive for their needs. They don't really want to pay for the monitor, and cramming an iMac into an It closet doesn't always work.

I can see an argument that they don't want to release a consumer-grade Mac Pro because it would cannibalize iMac sales, but I'm very sure it would sell.

The whole point of a Mac Mini is that it isn't upgradeable. Making it more upgradeable goes against the entire design.

That's debatable, but also beside the point. I didn't say that they should make the Mac mini upgradable, just that they could sell a higher-end model with a decent GPU.

Comment Re:My suggestion... (Score 1) 240

Being the first would be the worst thing. Either way, my goal wasn't so much to focus on the specifics of each model, but the point out the *kind* of differentiation between products that I think they should be making. For each product, make a "mini" version that's sleek, small, but cutting out some features to make it small. Make a version without a label that's their normal version, which should be vaguely appropriate for most consumers. Then make a "Pro" version that might be bigger and a bit clunkier, but is decked out with all the features people might want doing high-end work in a professional environment.

I'd also like to see them make a comeback in the server arena. They'd have to invest in both rack-mountable hardware and modernizing their server-side applications/protocols, but there are circumstances where it'd be nice if there were an updated version of the Xserve. Though if they do attempt another entry into the server market, I think they need to be ready to tackle that. The last attempt was fairly half-assed.

Comment My suggestion... (Score 4, Insightful) 240

My personal view is (and has been for a few years now) that Apple needs to rejigger their entire lineup. I'm not saying that they need to make drastically different products, but their current marketing is out of whack, which is weird for Apple. My general suggestion would be to make three levels across most of their product line, and name them similarly.

For example, make 3 different phones:

  • * iPhone mini: Basically the iPhone SE line. Small. Lacking some features.
  • * iPhone: the current normal iPhone.
  • * iPhone Pro: the iPhone Plus, decked out with features

Make 3 different Mac models:

  • * Mac mini: the current Mac mini
  • * Mac: Take the current Mac pro, swap out all the workstation-grade hardware (Xeon, Fire Pro, ECC RAM) for consumer grade (Core i5/i7, Nvidia gaming card, non-ECC RAM). Drop the price $1200. Or something like that
  • * Mac Pro: Make a new upgradable/expandable machine.

Then 3 laptop models:

  • * MacBook mini: the current Macbook
  • * MacBook: the current Macbook Pro 13"
  • * MacBook Pro: a 15" MacBook, perhaps a little thicker to include more battery and some legacy ports, more akin to the old tower Mac pro.

and 3 iPads:

  • * iPad mini: The current iPad mini
  • * iPad: The current iPad Pro 9.7"
  • * iPad Pro: The current 12.9" iPad, perhaps with some additional ports and features to bring it closer to feature-parity with the Macbook Mini.

and finally, if I had to figure out 3 iMac models to keep the trend (which I'm not sure makes sense):

  • * iMac mini: The sleekest 21" iMac they can make using Intel GPUs and notebook-grade processors. Cheaper, fairly weak performance, but good enough for normal office work.
  • * iMac: A 24" iMac using Core i5/i7 processors and discrete Nvidia GPUs
  • * iMac Pro: a 27" iMac with Core i7 (optional Xeon) processor and workstation-grade GPU.

And to be clear, it's not that I'm specifically fixated on particular features going into particular models, but I think apple would be smart to do something like this. Having a breakdown like this would provide more consistency among their product lines and a clearer differentiation between the tiers within each product line. I also think it would also fill in some of the gaps in their lineup, while still providing reasons to spring for the more expensive pro models.

Comment Address the gap in the lineup... (Score 1) 163

In my opinion, the real gap in Apple's lineup isn't "an iMac with more professional features," but instead "a consumer-grade headless Mac that can be used for gaming." I really don't understand why they won't make one.

They could release a small upgradable tower, which I'm sure a lot of people would like. They're not going to, though. That's not Apple's style. However, they could make a more consumer-grade Mac Pro, running a single Core i5/i7 processors instead of Xeon processors and a single Nvidia 1060/1070/1080 instead of dual AMD Fire Pro cards. Drop all the hardware down a peg from workstation-grade to consumer-grade, and drop the price to reflect that. I think you'd have a system a lot of people would buy.

Or if you don't want to do that, just make bigger version of a Mac mini that can hold a laptop-grade Nvidia CPU instead of using Intel's chips. Maybe something vaguely in the class of an Alienware Alpha. Hell, just cram a discrete GPU into one of the existing Mac mini lineups. They used to do that, and I suspect they could overcome any technical challenges if they wanted to. They put discrete GPUs into the 15" Macbook Pros.

Some people may point out that there aren't as many games for macOS as there are for Windows, which is true. However developers might be more inclined to create Mac ports if there were gamers using Macs, which might be more likely if there were Macs with appropriate gaming hardware. And even ignoring that idea, you could always set up a dual boot into Windows for gaming on a Mac, if you had hardware appropriate for gaming.

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