Category: Windows

No more MacPro’s…

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Video pros moving from Mac to Windows for high-end gpus

A very sad post from Daring Fireball, something that Apple-based pro’s have known for a long time, but daren’t say it out loud.

Apple is moving away from the pro market and giving it to Microsoft and their OEM’s.

Thing is it would be so easy for Apple to own this market end to end, they certainly have the cash resources, but they obviously can’t be bothered.

Apple just isn’t an answer for the pro market anymore, the battle isn’t even being fought.

I always thought that Apple would go down fighting, I never thought they’d just give it up.

Within 5 years or so there won’t be any more MacPro’s and there also won’t be Mac professionals either.

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So I need a product that Apple doesn’t sell anymore…

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Advice on building a home server.

A great article concerning a common issue in home computing.

We all have a lot of data, so the question arises, should we store this locally, in the cloud or on a server like device on the network.

Running a small studio with 5-6 designers, opening huge files all day, a simple networked Mac file server has been my solution.

But it’s never been an easy set-up, and Apple, to their discredit have never helped me get to a simple solution.

For years I survived by sharing files on an old G4 Quicksilver MacPro with the rest of the Mac users.

Slow, but simple to set up and very reliable.

But then an Apple reseller convinced me to buy Apple’s then server solution, a MacPro RAID 5 with Snow Leopard Server.

It promised a lot, but it never delivered.

Not at least, until I gutted it, and set it up for my needs.

Firstly it was set up with the OSX Server software. I never figured out its quirks and eccentricities.

It flat out didn’t work reliably until I restarted the server software several times, in as many weeks.

Files would fall out of sync or disappear.

The network time machine backups failed regularly.

Error messages galore, impenetrable help documents.

After months of trying, I decided to simplify everything.

I copied everything off it, installed a PCIE SSD card, installed the client OS on it, erased and reformatted the RAID, rebooted and copied the work back.

I then had a Mac that serves files reliably and quickly, and I backup the bejeezus out of it.

But even though I have good backup (even off site), sooner or later it’s going to fail, so the paranoid design studio manager in me is searching for an alternative.

So what’s currently out there?

Well nothing from Apple, that’s for sure. Apple left the server market a long time ago, and never really got back into it.

After the XServe, came MacPro server, then Mac mini server, then nothing.

Other than the atrocious macOS server software.  

Apple track record with the server market, at least in terms of servicing that market to the ‘it just works’ crowd, is zero out of ten.

So what’s left?

  • Networked attached storage.
  • A big SSD or RAID drive connected to a spare Mac.
  • Rely on macOS’s SMB stack to connect to the Windows network.

None of these are a suitable solution for me.

The problem is I need as few points of failure as possible along the curve to my files.

By that I mean the setup had to be as straightforward as possible so that no software update or system malfunction stops the users getting to their files.

This is why the current set up works.

No arcane server software (like MacOSServer) to go wrong, it’s just the client OS.

No weird hardware that runs its own proprietary middleware that one day decided not to work, like networked attached storage.

No relying on separate departments who may update something or decide to change a setting which has the side effect of blocking access.

Apple’s track record on the server front is bad, but their SMB implementation is even worse, I can’t rely on it.

So I’m at an impasse – my only options are to upgrade the SSD to 1 terabyte in an old Mac Mini (the same one that was sold as the Server version, it just came with the client OS), and purchase some old MacPro SAS drives as spares, if I can find someone who sells them.

That way I have some sort of solution, but Apple – you are really trying my patience and you’re leaving me with more and more reasons to jump ship entirely to Windows.

 

 

Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet

Have a nice day...

Apple Will Murder Microsoft and Bury It With BlackBerrys Corpse – Rocco Riffs – TheStreet.

This is a significant article.

I’ve written at length for my distrust of Microsoft, representing in my view, a road that personal and business computing should have never gone down.

Microsoft got lucky with DOS – everything else, Windows, Office, Sharepoint, .Net, Exchange – it’s all momentum from that huge mistake that IBM made all those years ago, letting Bill Gates provide a disk operating system he didn’t even own at that point.

It allowed ‘computing for the rest of us’ to be a ridiculed statement made by a company that didn’t understand what ‘business’ needed.

Over the years, Apple has struggled on, sometimes lacking any direction, sometimes having the odd big success, but even that was dismissed as transitory – the mantra being that Apple needs a hit every year or two, otherwise it would just fade away.

Meanwhile Microsoft soldiered on, knowing that their army of IT people whose jobs depended on Microsoft staying in pole position, would keep them healthy.

An almost parasitic dependancy on each other developed, Microsoft need those IT managers to keep fooling company’s into believing there is no alternative, and those IT managers need Microsoft to keep the technology just opaque enough so that their jobs are safe, the rest of us suffered, or worse, carried on, not even knowing there was an alternative.

One thing they didn’t bank on was BYOD – bring your own device. Even in my little corner of the world, away from the US and even London, I’ve seen the effect. More people are choosing ‘anything but Microsoft’ for their personal computer and phone needs.

It’s still early days, and I don’t see a Mac on every desk anytime soon, but the article puts it perfectly:

“These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you’re not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you’re going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That’s why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they’ll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.”

Apple’s joint enterprise with IBM is very significant, as is this article. I’ve never seen any commentator dare even mention this as an option. I’ve also never seen anything like this from Apple either.

The enterprise doesn’t mention Macs, but I can understand that. In the eyes of business, the Mac brand is tainted (even though it’s a world away from the Mac of 1984).

However it doesn’t matter – the juggernaut that is iOS is the Mac OS underneath. Everyone knows that, Microsoft knows that, IBM knows that. What they don’t know is what iOS devices Apple will release in the coming years, which will be automatically part of the agreement.

If you consider that iOS and Mac OS will merge at some point and what the device Apple will merge them on will look like, you can start to see a future where we will all be using devices that run iOS.

Any IT manager still clinging on to Windows will use it in the server room where it belongs – just don’t let any normal person near it.

And I haven’t even mentioned the software services that Apple offers as part of this agreement – why would you choose Office when (an admittedly enhanced) iWork is free?

 

 

Ballmer – “we’ll beat Google, someday”…

Their glorious leader comments on Google – ‘we’ll beat them, someday’.

Way back in Apple’s past, when money was tight, market share was none-existent, mind-share even less, the Apple-faithful and the wider tech-press looked to Apple for a solution to their woes.

Just what was Steve Jobs and Apple going to do to stop the downward spiral?

Steve’s answer surprised everyone, and in hindsight it’s the approach that has, in part, turned the company around, and secured their future – Steve Jobs said:

“For Apple to win, Microsoft doesn’t have to lose.”

Most of the Apple faithful balked at this comment, did they here that right? What was Steve Jobs on? Did he really know what he was doing? Surely Microsoft has to be crushed, stamped upon and erased from history so that Apple can ‘win’.

But Steve was right. One of the problems with Apple, was that they were obsessed with Microsoft, and it damaged everything they did, every effort, every promotion was measured against the impossible goal of toppling a giant.

What Steve Jobs did is refocused the company, allowed them to say to themselves, “it’s perfectly OK to have a small market share, there is room in this industry for everyone.” With that approach Apple could concentrate on what they were good at, and measure their success against their own watermark, not somebody elses.

Which brings us back to Ballmer. Wouldn’t it just be a breath of fresh air if Ballmer said:

“We don’t worry about Google – we relish competition, and there’s room in this industry for everyone. We don’t have to win all the time.”

I think the whole tech industry would breath a sigh of relief that at last, Microsoft was happy with it’s lot and concentrated on creating great products for us all.

Gruber nails it… iPad & Mac

Apple II

Continuing the trend of leeching borrowing off Gruber’s ideas, his assessment of the iPad chimed with my thoughts as well.

Computers. Gruber thinks he’s seen the future of computers, and it is the iPad. “It’s really, really good,” he gushed. If you are sitting on a couch and you need a computer, most people are going to reach for the iPad, not the MacBook Pro. And that puts Apple into uncharted territory. For the first time since the original Mac replaced the Apple II, it has two overlapping computer products. And although it took a few years for the corpse to grow cold, the Apple II basically died the day the Mac arrived.

A very insighful observation which I think speaks of the future, not the present.

As Gruber points out, this is the same situation all those years ago when the Mac and the Apple II were side by side. The Apple II back then was the serious workhorse computer and the Mac was the novelty, the weird computer people didn’t take seriously.

The big difference now however is the iPad rides on the back of the success and investment of the iPhone. The AppStore and all its developers are primed and ready to launch the iPad with apps that just weren’t there when the Mac was released.

The Mac was an eventual success, the iPad with its thousands of apps? you get the idea.

I firmly believe that my children will be using the descendants of the iPad in their Graphic Design jobs, with fully envisaged multi-touch environments, instead of the mouse-driven Mac we all use now.

The big question for me is, what will Windows look like then?

Can’t cut off their air-supply this time…

Aw, doesn't look harmless?

Aw, doesn't look harmless? Big bad Google hurting his itty-bitty software company...

Microsoft accuses Google of unfair business practices – yes you read that right.

“In a blog post entitled ‘Competition Authorities and Search,’ Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner said part of the motivation for Microsoft and Yahoo’s search deal was ‘we are concerned about Google business practices that tend to lock in publishers and advertisers and make it harder for Microsoft to gain search volume,'”

And here’s the killer line:

“according to court documents, Ballmer pledged to ‘f***ing kill Google’ after learning of Google’s plan to hire a key Microsoft engineer in 2005.”

Poor Microsoft are upset that Google isn’t just rolling over and letting them dominate search, just like every other company has let them take over their business-niche before them.

Maybe Microsoft are angry because:

a) they can’t ‘cut off their air supply‘ like they did with Netscape in order to create an abusive monopoly in the internet browser business

b) they can’t blatantly steal code from Google, like they did with Apple’s Quicktime, in order to have a product that got even close to what Apple had

Still, while Microsoft and Google are at loggerheads, it keeps them occupied whilst everyone’s favourite fruit company can stroll past them.

More fun with Gates & Ballmer…

The Zeus Trojan – the God of botnets.

NetWitness found a botnet with control of 74,126 Windows systems spread around 196 countries. These systems are found at medical companies, insurance companies, educational institutions, energy firms, financial companies, Internet providers, and government agencies.

And here:

Prevx came upon a cache with logon credentials for 74,000 FTP accounts. These accounts were for companies such as NASA, Cisco, Kaspersky, McAfee, Symantec, Amazon, Bank of America, Oracle, ABC, BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, Disney, Monster, and the Queensland government.

You know, you start to become jaded concerning the security of the most popular OS on planet Earth.

The OS that 90% of the people viewing this blog use.

The OS that your company runs on.

The OS that your government runs on.

The OS your school, college or university runs on.

The OS that your bank probably uses.

The OS that despite being quite clearly not fit for use, somehow continues to be used, because so many people’s lives dependent on it.

What people? Well you, me, the IT department that won’t even let you change your desktop pattern wallpaper at work, your parents, your friends, the guy you overheard talking in the bus queue this morning about how his computer has become unusable again, or the other guy he was talking to who said that all he had to do was:

a) pay for more security software

b) visit this site that tells you how to solve your latest Windows problem in 38 easy steps

c) buy a new computer

d) don’t do anything on your computer to do with online banking or payments of any kind.

And, yes that last group of people who benefit from the crap that Gates & Ballmer peddle every day – the criminals and ne’r-do-wells that use the money they generate from hacking your computer to buy & supply drugs to your kids, fund terrorism, and various other nasties.

Lots of fun for all concerned.

Thank you Mr Gates and Mr Ballmer for all this, and thank you Apple for allowing me to write this blog on a computer that is not affected by any of this.

Sorry for being so jaded, but I don’t see anyone, anytime soon kicking Windows technology out of the door.

More innovation from Microsoft…

Cockroach

Amongst Microsoft’s many, many accomplishments, is this lovely little gem:

Rixstep: There is no patch.

There are bugs that Microsoft patch pretty quickly, there are bugs that take a little more testing and take longer, there are bugs that they take ages to patch for some reason.

And now, from your trustworthy business OS supplier comes a first in long history of innovation – a bug that cannot be patched.

At all.

It can’t be fixed.

Why this isn’t more widely reported is beyond me. Microsoft’s solution is to run IE8 in a restricted mode which seems a band-aid solution to me.

Sure, Vista solves this little hiccup, but just about every Windows box that I can see from my happy little Mac studio, is still running XP.

What galls me the most is that this little feature has been present in every version of Windows up until Vista, they’ve only just discovered it as far as I can tell.

A few years from now, will there be another ‘unpatchable’ flaw in Vista, Windows 7, 8, 9 etc that they discover?

Why do people not question them? Why do they just accept this? Why is the news full of Apple releasing another device that everyone fails to understand, because it just happens to do something different, and not full of Microsoft’s unbelievable, amateurish and downright dangerous coding?

No other web browser on the Windows platform is affected. Does that not say something about this company?

Steve (allegedly) speaks…

Town Hall Meeting

Employee meeting at Apple reveals some juicy info.

It’s rare that we see past Steve’s RDF and get a taste of what his real motivations are, to-wit: comments concerning Adobe:

They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

In my view this is the real reason why we don’t see Flash on the iPhone and iPad, Steve’s angry that they haven’t embraced Apple’s development environment fully, if at all.

It’s common knowledge that Adobe use their own cross-platform development software so that they can create software for Apple and Windows in tandem. As far as I know, Apple’s development kits allow you to do just that as well.

Steve’s bottom line – don’t use Carbon, we won’t use Flash.

The Real Work…

Getting the work done

Absolutely spot-on observation.

Future Shock – Fraser Spiers

The tech industry will be in paroxysms of future shock for some time to come. Many will cling to their January-26th notions of what it takes to get “real work” done; cling to the idea that the computer-based part of it is the “real work”.

It’s not. The Real Work is not formatting the margins, installing the printer driver, uploading the document, finishing the PowerPoint slides, running the software update or reinstalling the OS.

The Real Work is teaching the child, healing the patient, selling the house, logging the road defects, fixing the car at the roadside, capturing the table’s order, designing the house and organising the party.

Think of the millions of hours of human effort spent on preventing and recovering from the problems caused by completely open computer systems. Think of the lengths that people have gone to in order to acquire skills that are orthogonal to their core interests and their job, just so they can get their job done.

It’s strange how for years Apple’s computers have been portrayed as toys and not for real work.

After 20+ years of having to massage Windows into a semblance of usability by employing an army of IT experts, here we are today, the pro-iPad platform enthusiasts trying to make everyone realise that these ‘computers’ actually get in the way of the ‘real work’.

I want the computer to get out of my way and let me create something – I want an iPad.

$39.8 Billion…

Via MacDailyNews via Businessweek:

Way back in 1997, Apple was very nearly history.

I remember back then that I seriously thought of getting out of the graphic design business for good, I could not face a career having to use, what was then, Windows 95/NT.

I decided to hold on and hope for the best, but even I never thought that Apple could go this far.

If there’s one thing that defines Apple, since 1997, since Steve Jobs came back, it is that everything they do, and I mean everything they do, MAKES THEM MONEY.

A sh*tload of money.

Profit margins on their hardware that others can only dream of (around 40% for the Mac).

Software – since Steve Jobs returned, Apple makes the best software in their target markets (please Apple, take on Adobe!)

Content – the iTunes store makes profit on music, movies and apps.

Apple Stores – have the best profit per square foot of any retailer.

Next we have the tablet, and with the rumours of more content deals and that huge data centre built for some as yet unannounced reason, we can expect that to rake in even more cash.

But as the MacDailyNews/Businessweek articles states, what is it for?

Apple have spent a little here and there, acquiring one or two businesses that make strategic sense.

But there’s a lot of money left and it’s looking very unlikely that Apple are going to give that money to their shareholders (with a dividend), or it’s users (by reducing that profit margin).

So what’s it for?

Take a look at the graph at the top of the page – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Microsoft’s subtle trick…

The Devil

I remember a Christian once saying to me that the best day’s work that the Devil ever did, was to convince everyone that he didn’t exist.

A similar analogy, is that the socialists have convinced everyone that George Orwell’s book ‘1984’ was about fascism, when actually it’s about the dangers of unrestricted socialism (IngSoc, stands for Engligh Socialism).

These thoughts were piqued when I read a newspaper article in the UK’s DailyMail newspaper, outlining the experience the reporter had when they accidentally clicked on a spammer’s email.

The chaos that ensued, highlighted the dangers of clicking on these sorts of emails, and the article well worth a skim:

Courtesy of the UK’s DailyMail newspaper:

I always like to read articles like this because they show the computer experiences of your average Windows user; and I mean the really average Windows user.

The average Windows user makes up the majority of Microsoft customer base, and this article perfectly illustrates the clever trick that Microsoft has played upon them.

The article in question is basically about someone who received an email that asked for all sorts of personal information. This email was a spam email, but the user dumbly accepted it as legitimate, and duly got conned – malware was installed and all sorts of chaos ensued.

Now you can comment on the ineptness of the user, but this article isn’t about their stupidity, it’s about the person that they ultimately blamed.

It’s a big, long article that goes into great detail about what happened to them, but nowhere and I mean nowhere in the article is the word ‘Windows’ or the word ‘Microsoft’ mentioned. Not once.

Ultimately the person who they blamed was – Yahoo. They blamed the email service for failing to filter out the email.

Not themselves for being so inept, not Microsoft for selling them an OS with security holes, but Yahoo. Poor Yahoo.

From the article:

Finally on Monday, three days later, smooth-sounding Jessica from ‘the Yahoo concierge service’ called to help me get back into my account and reassure me that Yahoo took such violations very seriously.
She would not be drawn on who might be responsible at Yahoo for stopping hackers. I wanted to know why Yahoo’s own filter system hadn’t spotted a bogus email sent in their name and taken it out before I opened it.

And here lies the biggest trick that Microsoft has made – they’ve made themselves invisible.

They’ve subtly altered people’s perception of computing so that they are blameless.
They’ve convinced the average Windows user that security holes are a way of life, and it’s not their fault, but it’s the fault of:
  1. You for not constantly being on your guard to make up for the fact that an email link can allow remote software to be installed.
  2. The ‘bad guys’ who send out these emails and take advantage of the security holes in Microsoft software
  3. The email provider for not filtering out the ‘bad guy’s’ emails.
All this is very depressing, but even more depressing are the 30 or so comments to this article from more ‘average Windows users’.
They all comment on the dangers of email, how they had spam before, and how they ultimately accept it as a way of computing life.
To add insult to injury, a drone from Sophos gives 3 golden rules for online safety – not one of them states to give up Microsoft software and choose Linux or Apple.
I’m fully aware that phishing emails are a malware-vehicle that could be used on these platforms as well, but the security hole that this email exploited was for Windows – as most, if not all of them are.