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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: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.

Comment Re:No show? (Score 1) 313

Me, several times. I'd fly out to a customer site to do some work, and usually the return flight was booked the day I expected to be finished, with the expectation I'd drive from the customer site directly to the airport. If the work ran long, and I wasn't where I could call my employer to have them rebook, the seat went unclaimed. My employer would much rather eat the cost of a ticket than have an unhappy customer that's just paid half a million dollars for a new machine + installation.

It happens a lot in legal work, too. Depositions get cancelled or rescheduled at the last minute, client meetings get moved, etc. Lawyers will routinely book refundable tickets, then call the airline to cancel hours before the flight leaves. Without overbooking, the seat would be empty.

For that matter, Southwest Airlines allows anyone to cancel and then "bank" the refunded ticket price on the day of the flight.

Comment Re:They forgot... (Score 4, Insightful) 212

Yes, but you never see MacBook [Pro] computers fail because their power cords have been tugged on. I fixed a couple of Toshiba laptops by simply re-soldering the power connector back onto the motherboard.

This failure mechanism is so common that there are small companies that specialize in selling different power jacks for laptop motherboards, just so people can replace the broken ones.

The removal of MagSafe from the new MacBook Pro, even more so than the removal of all ports except USB-C, tells me that the people who are designing Apple laptops aren't actually using them anymore. Appearance has completely trumped functionality. I've replaced a lot of broken power jacks on other laptop brands, and I'm not going to buy a MacBook Pro with the same potential failure mechanism.

Comment Re:What benefit are we missing? (Score 4, Insightful) 277

Can someone tell us what the benefit of these solar "roadways" is that isn't apparent and justifies the absurd expenditure vs. installation on roofs and open fields?

The "benefit" (and I use that word loosely) is that it sounds like a wonderful idea to innumerate, scientifically illiterate people who say to themselves, "It's such a waste, having all those roads take up so much space. If only we could put them to better use!" And then those people decide to "invest" money in a company that promises to build solar roadways, or else that company persuades some politicians to spend money to demonstrate the technology, and make all those roads "better".

Case in point: Solar Roadways, who collected $2M in crowdsourced funding through the use of a clever video ("Solar Freakin' Roadways!"). Now more companies are joining the gravy train. When people with more money than sense are willing to spend millions to create a system that will produce a few thousand dollars of electricity over its lifetime, there are plenty of companies that are quite willing to build useless prototypes.

The interesting part is that the lay people who want to believe in solar roads will actually get defensive when you point out that it would make far more sense (and be far cheaper) to put solars panels on every rooftop, instead of imbedding them into roadways. They want those "useless" roads to be put to better use; logic and expense be damned.

Comment Re:you know... (Score 0) 230

Or you just release XCode for Windows/Linux. You don't maintain a whole operating system in order to publish an IDE! I mean it's not like it would be very hard to port the compilers.

I could see possibly see Apple releasing Xcode for Linux, but never for Windows. If Microsoft has proven one thing over the years, it's that they will not hesitate to fiddle with Windows in order to mess with their competition.

Can you imagine the gloating that would take place in Redmond if Apple suddenly became wholly dependent on Windows to create iOS applications? Imagine W10 updates being routinely pushed out that keep breaking Xcode. Microsoft management wouldn't be able to resist. It would be a dream come true to have that much power over Apple's money cow.

Keeping MacOS alive would keep Xcode insulated from Apple's most ruthless competitor. Apple could make a deal with some Chinese vendor to create an "approved" developer platform, and remain completely independent of Microsoft.

Comment Re:you know... (Score 4, Insightful) 230

I would be a lot less annoyed by the lack of Mac attention at Apple if OS X would run on non-Apple hardware.

You know, five years ago I would have scoffed at that. Why would Apple kill their cash cow by allowing race-to-the-bottom hardware manufacturers to screw up the OS X experience running it on junky hardware?

But now? I wonder. If the goal is to create a best-of-breed laptop, then Apple would be crazy to allow MacOS on anything but their own hardware. On the other hand, if the goal is only to create a development environment for iOS applications (because you need MacOS and Xcode to write them), then you don't care what hardware it runs on.

Everyone says, "Apple will never kill the Mac. How would you write iOS apps?" Simple. You kill the Mac and then release MacOS as part of the iOS development kit. If companies stick MacOS on junk hardware that falls apart in a year and has constant driver issues, why would Apple care? It won't be their market anymore. All they will care about are iPads and iPhones. They'll recommend a particular set of hardware to iOS developers, and ignore everything else.

Comment Re:Colour me suprised (Score 1) 255

There are simply too many conditions in which a self-driving car could occasionally need a human pilot, and the vast majority of those are when a quick decision that is not safety related is required, and the rest are when the vehicle is operating on something other than conventional roads.

The problem is that every one of them assumes the person in the vehicle is able to drive, licensed to drive, or willing to drive. This is becoming less and less true as times goes on. Today, about a third of all 19-year-olds are not licensed to drive, and the trend is heading downward. Twenty years from now, the majority of people under the age of 30 may be unlicensed, with many more over the age of 70 unable to drive because of physical infirmity. In that scenario, how will having a steering wheel matter?

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