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Comment Re:They might but not as a gift. (Score 1) 294

If they do this, it wouldn't be to "curry favor" with Trump, it would be a move to further destabilize the US.

The most insightful statement in this discussion.

Snowden is not an "asset", as he was never a spy for Russia. By now Russian intelligence has long since squeezed any information of value out of Snowden. There's hardly any need for Putin to keep him in Russia, and his value as a propaganda asset is fading.

But the impact of the protests over Trump are not lost on Putin. Returning Snowden without asking for the lifting of sanctions will feed the "Trump is in cahoots with Russia" meme, and make things that much more difficult for the U.S. government.

It would be a smart move, and Putin is no fool.

Comment Re:Last sentence is (almost) BS. (Score 1) 267

Apple already has several ARM powered laptops drifting around internally. I've seen several of them with my own eyes. ..... From what I was told, there's a huge push to get this stuff out the door as soon as they think the market will accept it. That might be in a year, or two years, or three or four, but that's where Apple is inevitably heading. Custom hardware, custom software, total vendor and user lock in.

So ... you've basically just described an iPad Pro with a keyboard and trackpad attached. Plus, it's a laptop that would be useless for software development by Apple's own internal R&D.

My hat is off to you for crafting a scenario that so perfectly matches the "MacOS is becoming iOS!" paranoid meme, and for tapping into the "Apple sucks!" mindset so prevalent in Slashdot, but I'd sooner expect Apple to port Xcode to Windows 10 than turn its entire line of laptops into de facto iPads that are absolutely worthless to the people who have to write the software for Apple products.

I'll be the first to say that I am completely put off by Apple's latest line of so-called "professional" laptops, but there's a big difference between designing a laptop that is ill-suited for professional work versus designing one that is impossible to use at all.

Comment Re:Comparing it to a Rolex? (Score 1) 406

I have to admit a certain amount of ignorance here, but is it possible to get a Rolex for $400?

$400 (or more) is what you'll pay just to have your Rolex cleaned and serviced every few years. Buy the cheapest Apple Watch, buy a good third-party band instead of buying Apple's overpriced band, and your total cost of ownership will be comparable to the cost of maintaining your Rolex, assuming you upgrade your Apple Watch every two or three generations.

Rolexes and Apple Watches are apples and oranges. I own them both, and neither replaces the other. A Rolex may have long-term value, but only if you pay to maintain that value.

Comment It's a great watch, if a watch is what you want (Score 3, Interesting) 406

The Apple Watch is only a "flop" in the sense that people don't need them the same way they need a smartphone. Compared to any other wearable, it's a runaway success, but people don't think about it in those terms, because it is an Apple product.

Personally, I love my Apple Watch, but I'm old enough to be part of a generation that wore watches. I'll still put on my Rolex for dress-up occasions, but my Apple Watch is my go-to daily wearable.

For people who didn't grow up wearing watches, the Apple Watch may elicit nothing but "meh" from them. So be it ... it is not a device for everyone, but it is an excellent device for people who want to wear a watch that does more than tell the time.

Comment Re:No surprises here (Score 1) 61

The last cab I took, the driver asked for my credit card and skimmed my card. That's why it was the last cab I took.

It happened to me too, on a business trip to Toronto. They were clever about it, too .... the second charge came from a different cab company name just a couple of days after my trip, for an amount of money that, at first glance, would seem legitimate. Fortunately I only used that particular credit card for business expenses, so it stuck out like a sore thumb. But I could see where a lot of people would pay the charge and never think about it.

Anyway, that's just one of my bad experiences with taxis; I've got plenty more. :-)

Comment No surprises here (Score 4, Insightful) 61

Despite all the Uber-hate on Slashdot, the fact remains that the average business traveler doesn't care about labor controversies where Uber is concerned. All they care about is getting from point A to point B with a minimum of expense and hassle.

With Uber, I know when a car is going to show up after I press the button on my phone. I know in advance approximately how much the ride will cost. I won't have the driver take me on the "scenic route" just to pump up the fare. The car will be clean and in good shape. The driver and I can view the same route on our smartphones. And if I have any issues with the driver or the ride, I will have a name and an electronic record of the trip.

And best of all, I don't have a driver tell me, "Cash only, credit card machine is broken." I get a real receipt by email, not a blank piece of paper handed to me so that I can put in whatever amount I please, and thereby cheat on my expenses.

So, yes, I use Uber (and Lyft) and will continue to do so whenever I can. I can tell you a dozen different stories of bad experiences I've had with taxis on business trips. Uber and Lyft have never been anything but a pleasure to use.

Comment Doing all the wrong things (Score 4, Interesting) 377

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.

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