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iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Shiny New Retina iMac

phillymjs Re:Mac Mini (109 comments)

> A complete nightmare, and even if you get it working, you wind up with an unstable system.

It's not as bad as that. I built 2 back back in 2008-2009, and they were rock stable-- kernel panics were extremely rare. They also didn't require much in the way of hackery. I put the EFI boot loader on a thumb drive and kept my OS X drive as free of hacked bits as possible. I wanted to be able to hook it up to a real Mac and boot it without issue, and I achieved this goal. Still, I would never recommend them in a business setting.

One of the machines was my daily driver, and dual booted Windows. The other ran OS X Server and was the fileserver in my house. The specs on the server were enough to get the job done, but my daily driver gave me top of the line Mac Pro performance for about $1200.

The only problem was OS updates-- they usually broke something. I maintained a bootable clone of both machines' boot drives, and waited a few days for other hackintoshers to find and figure out how to fix the issues before installing those updates. Both machines ran Snow Leopard for their entire term of service, which ended last year. They were replaced with refurb Mac minis. The hackintoshing was an interesting experiment, but I wanted a new OS without more hackery, supported hardware, and worry-free updating again. As a side effect, my electric bill fell off a cliff, which was nice.

about 3 months ago

Kids With Operators Manual Alert Bank Officials: "We Hacked Your ATM"

phillymjs If you don't change the default password... (378 comments)

...you deserve what you get, and any liability for a resulting "security breach" should be on you-- not on someone who can find a copy of a user's manual online.

Like previous commenters have said, these kids are damn lucky they're in Canada. In the US they'd have been fucking crucified.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

phillymjs Laser printers from the mid-late 90s (702 comments)

I had an Apple LaserWriter Select 360 (built around a Canon engine, IIRC) that I bought new in 1994 last me until mid 2011. HP was putting out some damned good printers back then, too, before Carly Fiorina came in and turned HP into peddlers of second-rate shit.

Honorable mention to the TV in my basement, an RCA F35751MB-- the biggest CRT TV I could find in 1994. I don't yet own a flatscreen, because I'm just letting them get better and cheaper until the RCA finally gives up the ghost.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Do You Run a Copy-Cat Installation At Home?

phillymjs Yup. (308 comments)

I've been doing it for years. I found that the best learning technique for me is to build something, blow it up, and then build it again, until the moving parts are second nature to me-- so it's handy to have a server/network I can blow up without getting fired.

A lot of the techniques and scripts I've developed on my network at home have ended up in use at client sites, and vice versa.

about a year ago

Apple To Discontinue Mac Pro In EU Over Safety Regulations

phillymjs Re:Yeah, so? (371 comments)

>The number of people who still "specifically need" the Mac Pro aren't very different since Apple hasn't upgraded the expansion capacity of their other headless Macs.

Yes, I know. I thought that in the context of my statement, "the abilities of a Mac Pro" pretty clearly referred to its greater expandability.

about 2 years ago

Apple To Discontinue Mac Pro In EU Over Safety Regulations

phillymjs Yeah, so? (371 comments)

IIRC, Tim Cook already publicly stated a redesigned Mac Pro would be released in 2013.

The other Macs in the lineup have grown more powerful over the years, so the number of people who still specifically need the abilities of a Mac Pro is relatively small. It would make no financial sense for Apple to address these regulations by changing the current Mac Pro design. The best move was what they did-- simply giving those people some warning so anyone who was planning future Mac Pro purchases could decide if they needed to buy the existing model or could afford to wait for the redesigned model to be announced.

about 2 years ago

Windows 8: a 'Christmas Gift For Someone You Hate'

phillymjs He's right. (740 comments)

On Black Friday, one of my coworkers bought a new laptop that came preloaded with Windows 8. Last week she brought it in and asked me to look at it because she couldn't get anything with Flash to work in IE.

I know Flash in the "metro" IE is supposed to be severely limited in what it can do, but even the desktop mode IE refused to run Flash. This despite the add-on being present and showing as enabled. After googling around and fucking with it for about 45 minutes, trying to get something to work that should have just worked right out of the box, I gave up and just installed Chrome for her so she'd have something that could run Flash stuff.

She later managed to find a Windows 7 laptop somewhere, bought it, and returned the Windows 8 laptop. When she returned it, the clerk asked her why, and she told him it was because Windows 8 was awful. He told her that Windows 8 machines were being returned to that store in droves, and every person he asked gave him the same reason.

Messing with her laptop was my first experience with Windows 8, and if I can help it, it will be my last. I found it to be a jumbled mishmash of confusing crap, and I've been doing IT for 20 years-- I can only imagine how hard non-techies are going to reject it. I am going to cling to Windows 7 for as long as I can.

more than 2 years ago

Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

phillymjs Re:The reason why is obvious! (738 comments)

Apple doesn't have a problem with competition, where other companies make original stuff and pit it against Apple's products. They have a problem with "copytition," where other companies just stamp out slavish knockoffs of Apple products and ride on their coattails.

I suggest you look at the 130+ page Samsung-produced document comparing features and appearance of elements of the iPhone to what Samsung was working on at the time. On pretty much every page, the suggestion is made to change the Samsung phone to make it more like the iPhone.

I'd say it's pretty damning evidence.

more than 2 years ago

Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

phillymjs Re:Ok.. (738 comments)

Here's the thing. Appearance designs are not copyrightable or patentable in ANY other industry.

Oh yeah? Form a soft drink company and sell your product in a bottle shaped like this, and see how long it takes a cease and desist letter to arrive.

Trade dress is applicable in more than just the computer industry.

more than 2 years ago

Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

phillymjs Re:Apple has seen this scenario play out before.. (738 comments)

A software platform vendor enableing a rich ecosystem of hardware vendors eating the lunch of Apple's combined OS+Hardware approach. Apple knows how it ended last time

Yeah-- last time, the company that copied Apple's stuff got away with it.

Which is why this time, they patented everything about the iPhone that they could, and why they are suing the shit out of the companies who still attempt to copy it.

more than 2 years ago

Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight

phillymjs Re:Why should we care? (738 comments)

Why do you think cell phone plans are so fucking expensive in the US?

Because the cell service providers are fucking greedy pigs-- which has been true since before the iPhone ever existed.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Simple Way To Backup 24TB of Data Onto USB HDDs ?

phillymjs Re:USB is not for backup (405 comments)

I think he might mean that a HDD sitting in a server and running 24/7 will likely last longer than a HDD that's in an external enclosure and gets physically moved around and powered on/off frequently.

more than 2 years ago

The Surprises In the Latest Apple V. Samsung Court Documents

phillymjs Re:Apple is the white looter (257 comments)

> Is there any evidence that anyone has *ever* bought a Galaxy Tab when they meant to buy an iPad? Any?

Just this article. Excerpt:

"Samsung was forced to release a bunch of documents it had been keeping under seal that show the likeness between its products and Apple's. Examples outlined in the documents include comments from Samsung workers discussing similarities with Apple's products, and reports Samsung got from retailer Best Buy that Samsung tablets were being returned because customers thought they were getting iPads."


more than 2 years ago

Microsoft's Lost Decade

phillymjs Re:Terrible article (407 comments)

What idiot modded this troll? It was right on point.

Windows and Office are cash cows, yes, but other than Ballmer's incompetence they're the biggest part of the problem-- everyone at Microsoft is afraid of doing something that might threaten Windows or Office. That's why Microsoft spent years trying to stuff bloated desktop Windows into tablets and phones-- and why they were made to like complete asses by Apple.

And XBox? Pfft. They bought their way into the video game market, plain and simple. IIRC they haven't yet reached the break-even point because of the billions they pissed away at the start. XBox is the last time you'll ever see them be able to pull that move, too. No more showing up late with a mediocre product and coming out on top only because they can outspend their competitors.

And Sharepoint is just another product designed to increase corporate IT inertia and maintain Windows' dominance on enterprise desktops.


more than 2 years ago

Steve Ballmer: We Won't Be Out-Innovated By Apple Anymore

phillymjs Re:Meanwhile.. (610 comments)

> Selecting the device has not been a standard operation for universal remotes for over 15-20 years.

Every remote I've ever owned that was capable of controlling more than one device required you to first press the button for the device you want to control, and then press the button(s) to issue commands to that device.

The TV in my basement dates to 1994, and that's how its remote works. So did that of the since-replaced TV in my master bedroom that was bought on the same day. I've got another universal remote on the desk beside me right now that works the same way and dates to about 1997 or so.

So, yes, IME selecting the device has been pretty standard for almost 20 years. I don't know why dude had to be so insulting about it, but he is technically correct. And we all know that's the best kind of correct.


more than 2 years ago

Steve Ballmer: We Won't Be Out-Innovated By Apple Anymore

phillymjs Re:Full of Logic Fail (610 comments)

It was innovative, and while the first one was not great, Apple kept at it. The Newton 2000 and 2100 were great machines.

more than 2 years ago

History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author

phillymjs Re:This guy is full of shit (679 comments)

I'm sorry, where in my post did I say anything about Linux? Oh, that's right, nowhere-- because I wasn't fucking talking about Linux.

Microsoft set computing progress back by decades because they destroyed many fledgling companies that developed or were developing an advanced product or technology that was perceived as a possible threat to the Windows monopoly. I'll let your apparent ignorance of this slide, since based on your childish name calling you must not have been born when it was going on.

Oh, and Mr. Anonymous Coward says I'm the cowardly one. Classic!


more than 2 years ago

History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author

phillymjs This guy is full of shit (679 comments)

The Gates Foundation exists solely to whitewash his reputation for the history books. Gates is nothing more than a latter-day robber-baron. The ruthless tactics he used to line his pockets and squelch any perceived threat to Windows set computing progress back decades.

It sickens me how everyone seems to conveniently forget that, and lines up to kiss his ass because he decided to take the ill-gotten gains amassed via twenty years of unscrupulous business practices and buy respectability for himself.


more than 2 years ago

Wozniak Calls For Open Apple

phillymjs Re:Apple clones? (330 comments)

It didn't work out well then because the Mac was Apple's primary source of revenue. Not so anymore.

Specifically, what happened back then was that the cloners were supposed to take the low end of the market that Apple didn't want. Instead, at least one of them went balls-to-the-wall and made some machines that were faster than Apple's fastest. They began to hit Apple right in the bottom line, which is why almost immediately upon his return Jobs used a contract loophole to kill the clone program.

Personally, I would love to see Apple open up for at least some things. I can understand to a degree that they don't want consumers running OS X on non-Apple hardware, but since they don't sell enterprise-class servers anymore I think they should officially allow, certify, and fully support installation and virtualization of OS X Server on at least a limited selection of non-Apple hardware.

more than 2 years ago



phillymjs phillymjs writes  |  more than 7 years ago

phillymjs writes "PC Pro is reporting on another juicy e-mail nugget from the Sent Items of Jim Allchin, (nyud link, PDF) courtesy of Iowa's Comes v. Microsoft trial. It's a lengthy e-mail conversation from late June, 2004 — in which several Microsofties ooh and ahh over features of the yet-unreleased Mac OS X 10.4. IMHO the award for best quote goes to Lenn Pryor, who said, 'It is like I just got a free pass to Longhorn land today.'"



Why Apple Won't Sell OS X for Generic PCs

phillymjs phillymjs writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Okay, I'm getting tired of explaining this over and over in every discussion where someone whines that Apple could take over the world if only they'd sell OS X for generic PCs. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I found another blog that mentions this. Having nothing better to do, I responded to that posting and decided to really flesh out my argument and put it here (slightly edited from the version posted there) so I can just link to it in the future. So, without further ado, here it is:

"Release OS X for beige boxes... Your company could be the next Microsoft."

Uh huh. And look at Microsoft now: They may be a huge, rich company with tremendous marketshare, but it was proven in a court of law that they achieved those things through no small use of illegal means. Currently, they're the laughing stock of the industry, struggling to get Vista out the door (years-late and gutted of all its compelling features), and with their employees burned out, demoralized, updating their resumes and one step shy of open revolt (if you believe what you read on minimsft). I much prefer Apple just the way it is, thanks.

Have you even considered what would go into selling OS X for generic PCs? Everyone who advocates this seems to harbor the illusion that they could cobble together a PC from any old spare parts they had lying around, and by putting OS X on it magically end up with something that works as well as a real Mac. Not bloody likely.

First, tight integration of the hardware and software is what makes a Mac a Mac. The OS X developers know exactly what hardware they're writing for, and can take full advantage of its capabilities. The limited pool of hardware also makes testing a much less onerous proposition. The Windows developers have to code to "lowest common denominator,"-- the alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations representing the hardware standards Windows supports. All they can do is hope that all the commodity hardware implements those standards correctly, because they have no hope of testing all the possible hardware combinations that can be (and probably have been, somewhere in the world) assembled into a functioning PC. Microsoft has spent twenty years and untold billions trying to approximate the "It just works" aspect of the Mac, and the best they've been able to come up with is "It usually works, but quite often it doesn't and we don't know why. Maybe if you reboot..." I'm a field tech, and the most common Windows problem I hear is "[Feature/application] worked fine all day yesterday, but when I came in this morning it didn't."

Second, where would all the Mac drivers come from for all those commodity components? Jobs can't snap his fingers and suddenly have driver support in OS X for all the cheap, generic hardware pouring out of the factories in Asia. Even when NeXTStep was available for x86, it only came with a short list of supported generic hardware. If you wanted to install and run NeXTStep on something that wasn't on that list, you were SOL. So then the drivers would have to be produced by the companies making the hardware. Crappy hardware drivers are a big part of what makes the Windows experience miserable, and those companies have been putting out Windows drivers for years. What makes you think they'd do a better job of producing Mac drivers without any prior experience at it? Furthermore, multiple components from multiple vendors mean support becomes a nightmare. Right now if you have a Mac problem, it falls to Apple to solve it because they make the hardware and software. I don't know how many times I've heard of and experienced finger pointing matches between Microsoft support people and the hardware vendor support people, each blaming the other for some random problem instead of trying to address it. I've even had that happen with Dell, and they make the whole damn box! It's not a problem for techies who are able to troubleshoot their own problems, but OS X is supposed to be the savior from that sort of thing. It won't be if it runs on generics.

Third, it would not be profitable for Apple to sell OS X for generics because they'd have to price it to make up for at least some of the revenue loss due to the resulting lost Mac sales. The people who currently bitch about the price of a Mac will not buy an OS from Apple that costs as much as their cheap PC did (if not more). And don't even tell me Apple could price it lower and make it up in volume, because a stroll through the dot-com boneyard proves that the "we'll make it up in volume" business model flat out doesn't work. Most of Apple's revenue comes from their computer sales, not iPods. They have to maintain that revenue somehow to fund R&D, or you'll see OS X stagnate like Netscape Navigator did when Microsoft killed Netscape's revenue by making IE free.

Fourth, even if Apple did sell it for generic PCs, many, many, many people would still download it illegally, anyway-- particularly if Apple priced it to try to compensate for lost hardware sales. That means more lost revenue, because now people stealing the OS haven't even purchased a Mac on which to run it. So sooner or later Apple would be adding activation to OS X out of necessity. Honestly, considering how hard the "we want everything for nothing" crowd has already worked to crack the developer copies of OS X Intel and subsequent updates, I wouldn't be surprised to see OS X 10.5 ship with installation keys and/or activation.

Finally, do you think Microsoft would stand idly by while Apple made this incursion into "their" turf? Look what happened to Be, Inc. Hell, look what happened to Netscape and Go Corp, for that matter. The only thing that saved NeXT from the same fate was Apple purchasing them. No, Microsoft would quickly retaliate if Apple started selling OS X for any old PC. They'd probably discontinue Office for OS X, and lean on Dell and the other big-name PC makers to ensure they didn't ink any deals to sell PCs preloaded with OS X. In other words, Microsoft would just go back to their old, anticompetitive ways to the degree they could get away with it.


Reasoned replies and/or constructive comments are appreciated.


Judged by an Anonymous Coward

phillymjs phillymjs writes  |  more than 10 years ago

So I'm working late tonight, testing out some backup software. While I'm waiting for an OS update to download and install on my company's labserver before I install the backup software, I decide to hop onto /. to pass the time. I see this:

You have 1 new message waiting for you.

I click the link, and see that someone has replied to my post under "New iPod Firmware Locks Out RealNetworks' Music" article. Instead of an on-topic reply, I was greeted by this:

Just noticed your sig and read your journal entry on the junk faxes. Glad you nailed the jackass, but what you did with the "winnings" makes me sick. Did those junk faxes + your time fighting the case actually cost you $6,000?? I'd be willing to bet that hell no, they didn't. Then why the fuck did you get all greedy and spend that money, not rightfully yours, on yourself? Asshole.

You may have had a legitimate case, but these sorts of damages are exactly what's wrong with the legal system. They encourage frivolous bullshit lawsuits that tie up the system because people are looking for a big fat payday. Punitive damages should be kept to punish the wrongdoer, but the plaintiff should not get one red cent beyond reasonable, itemized compensation for actual damages. No emotional distress bullshit (you CAN NOT put a price on that, any attempt to do so is pointless - life sucks sometimes, deal with it; therapy is another story, and should be included in itemized damages), no $500 a freaking fax ($1000 actually with your lawyer). That probably cost you, what, 20 cents max? Probably much less?

Instead, punitive damages should go to a charity of the court's choosing. Preferably related in some way to the case. Or to some government fund to help reduce overall taxes. The bad guys get punished but the lameass "good" guys don't get all greedy and clog things up with bullshit.

I understand you settled out of court so in effect it was a private transaction, not subject to any hypothetical laws or judicial conventions I propose. But I still maintain that it was unethical for you to spend that money as you did, because it was not rightfully yours. The faxer did not do $6,000 worth of damage to YOU, so you are not morally entitled to $6,000 in compensation. The faxer did deserve the $12,000 penalty because he was surely doing it to others, plus it would deter him from doing it again.

You should have given that money to charity - maybe bought a few iMacs for an underfunded school computer class.

First of all, Mr. Anonymous Coward, you can kiss my ass. If you want to judge me and/or lecture me on what is and is not moral, at least have the balls to post using your /. nick.

Secondly, the money was and is rightfully mine because the law says so, period. Tell you what, Sparky-- if you don't like the law, then bitch to your elected representatives or run for office yourself to try to get it changed. Don't tear into me because I acted in accordance with it to claim what it says I can claim.


My Victory over a Junk Faxer

phillymjs phillymjs writes  |  more than 10 years ago

The Short Version
I fought back against a junk faxer and reached an out-of-court settlement in the neighborhood of $12,000, half of which went in my pocket. If you'd like some more detail, read on.

January - December, 2003
Through the course of the year I get about one junk fax per month, advertising services I don't need, from a company I never heard of. I don't know where or how they got my fax number, because I certainly didn't give it to them. This annoys me, and I know it's a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. I hang on to the faxes, since I may later decide to pursue the matter. I read of other people's victories suing junk faxers in small claims court. Toward the end of the year, with a decent pile of junk faxes, I start to seriously consider taking the TCPA for a spin, for fun and profit.

First week of January, 2004
After reading up still more on the TCPA and deciding I have a fairly airtight case, I find and contact a local attorney who handles junk fax cases. After brief consultation, I decide to pursue the matter. The case is taken on contingency, and I agree to a 50-50 split (after costs) of any recovery.

January 8, 2004
I formally retain the attorney, who begins to draft the lawsuit against the owner of the domain referenced in URLs on the junk faxes. I send her copies of the twelve junk faxes I received from them, and the signed retainer letter.

January 13, 2004
I receive a draft copy of the lawsuit and verify all the facts within it as correct. I sign a document to that effect and send it off in the mail.

January 15, 2004
I receive a copy of the demand letter going to the defendant. I've got more than ten faxes, each worth $1,500 in damages. The standard damages amount per fax is $500, but the TCPA allows for treble damages if the junk faxing is willfully done. Since the defendant repeatedly faxed me over the period of a year, that meets the "willful" criterion. That means almost $20,000 in potential damages, should the case go to court. The defendant is given until close of business on January 30 to settle out of court for 75% of the amount for which they are liable. They receive copies of all the faxes, and a copy of the unfiled lawsuit.

January 22, 2004
I receive a call from my attorney, who has heard from a staff attorney of the defendant. He wants proof that I own the phone number to which the junk faxes were sent. I fax my attorney pages from my phone bill showing my address and fax number, and she forwards them on to the other side. I don't ask my attorney what she thinks, but I regard the defendant's sniffing for a loophole in the case as a good sign that they realize they're nailed. The TCPA is a pretty straightforward law.

January 29, 2004
I receive a call from my attorney, who reports that the defendant is offering $10,000 to settle. Before I can say anything through my smile, she suggests a counteroffer that effectively splits the difference between what we demanded and what they have offered so far. I agree.

January 30, 2004
Just before 4PM, I receive the phone call I've been waiting for all day: the defendant has agreed to our compromise, which means about $6,000 of free money in my bank account.

February 4, 2004
The draft settlement agreement is ready. The defendant has tacked on a very restrictive confidentiality clause which bars me from telling anyone about the suit or the agreement. Unacceptable. I counter with an offer that both parties agree to not reveal each other's identity, any clues to the other's identity, and/or the total amount of the settlement (which is why I haven't named them or been specific about the monetary amounts involved in this tale).

February 5, 2004
My attorney drafts a revised confidentiality clause and sends it off to the defendant's attorney, after I approve her revisions.

February 11, 2004
I receive word that the defendant has signed off on the revised settlement agreement. I receive the final copy, review it, sign two copies of it, and send it off to my attorney, who will relay them to the defendant for the additional necessary signatures. The check is not far away now!

February 20, 2004
My attorney notifies me that she has received the check. After just under $20 in postage and photocopy expenses, we split about $12,000.

February 25, 2004
I receive and deposit The Check. All that's left to do now is to wait for Apple to announce the updated Power Mac G5s!

June 9, 2004
Apple announces the new Power Macs. I spec out a dual 2.5GHz machine with all the bells & whistles, and place my order.

August 10, 2004
Obsessively checking the order status finally pays off... my G5 has shipped from China!

August 13, 2004
FedEx has delivered my new toy. Thank you, junk faxer!


Simpsons Deja Vu, Anyone?

phillymjs phillymjs writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Simpsons Deja Vu is something that has happened to me all too often over the years, and I finally decided to record it here and see if anyone else is stricken by this affliction.

Basically, SDV is when you think of a Simpsons episode or particular scene therein during the course of your day, and within 24 hours after that thought, that particular Simpsons episode is broadcast (SDV assumes no foreknowledge of what episodes are scheduled to be shown, i.e., you haven't read the TV listings and had them affect which episode you're thinking about).

The most recent time this occurred to me was Wednesday, when while driving to work Wednesday morning, a Moody Blues song came on the radio. For some reason, I thought of the Simpsons episode guest starring the Moody Blues, where Homer dragged Flanders to Vegas and they ended up going on a bender and marrying two cocktail waitresses.

I got home that night, sat down to watch the two episodes my trusty TiVo picked up shortly before, and damned if one of them wasn't Viva Ned Flanders, guest starring the Moody Blues.

Are there any Slashgeeks out there reading this right now who are similarly afflicted?

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