Having lost my 17″ Macbook Pro from 2011 to the ravages of time, in december I bought a Macbook Pro 16″, the larger standard config, the one with 2.3 GHz CPU, Radeon 5500M 4 GB, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD. It’s a fantastic machine, and I was very happy with it. So, naturally, I gave it to my wife and ordered another one for myself, but this time a litte more pimped out; 2.4 GHz CPU, Radeon 5500M 8 GB, 32 GB RAM, and 2 TB SSD. I think that was a mistake.Continue reading “Sad about MacBook Pro”
This is an interview in Wired with the principal deputy director of national intelligence (of the US). It’s all about how the tech industry should work closer with the goverment (US). It starts out in classic paranoid fashion:
“SUE GORDON, THE principal deputy director of national intelligence, wakes up every day at 3 am, jumps on a Peloton, and reads up on all the ways the world is trying to destroy the United States.1“
…and goes on to:
“I think there’s a lot of misconception about those of us who work in national security and intelligence,” she says. “We swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. That means we believe in and swear to uphold privacy and civil liberties.”
Not once is there a mention in the text that “the” government is actually just one government. Not once does Gordon or the reporter reflect on that working closely with the (US) government means taking sides against the rest of the world. There is less and less common interest between the US government and the rest of the western world, not to mention the non-western world, so any initiative the tech companies join in with the US government is a big red flag for the market outside the US. Think Huawei.
I’m pretty certain the major tech companies do realize that the majority of their customers are not US patriots, and that being too cozy with the US intelligence services may not be good for business. Increasingly so.
I’m amazed, though, that this wasn’t even considered when interviewing for and writing that article. Maybe it would be a good idea not to distribute arguments like this beyond the US. Why do they even let us read “patriotic” claptrap like this? I can’t imagine the tech companies liking it much.
Just watched the Apple computer event and it was really boring. All they presented were Macbook Pros. No Mac Pro, no iMac, no mini, nothing. Oh, and no Apple display.
The message I got from all this, and from the connectivity on the new Macbook Pro, is that Apple thinks that the Macbook Pro, in combination with the new LG 5k displays, actually can do the job of the iMac and the Mac Pro. That you don’t really need anything else. Or rather, that they can’t be bothered with it all anymore. Even during the ostentative computer event, they couldn’t keep from gushing about the iPhone instead. They’re simply bored with computers.
The Air is clearly on it’s last leg. The cheapest Macbook will cost substantially more than the Air when it’s gone, which to me means that schools won’t be able to afford them any longer. So that leaves, what? Lenovo and Dell?
It feels like the end of an era. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft is the new Apple. Just look at the Surface Studio.
So from last night sometime, I couldn’t get at my email server. Nobody here could. From another net it worked fine. So I figure I need to talk to Bluehost.com, the hoster. I had a chat earlier today that I had to cut short due to other things. And due to me being close to completely losing it. So this is act II. The only thing that kept me sane during this hour-long confrontation with inanity was the thought of publishing it here. So here you are. Bluehost support in all its glory.
I think the major problem is that buyers specify domain functionality, but not the huge list of “non-functional requirements”. So anyone fulfilling the functional requirements can sell their piece of crap as lowest bidder.
Looking at a modern application, non-functional requirements are stuff like resilience, redundancy, load management, the whole security thing, but also cut-and-paste in a myriad of formats, a number of import and export data formats, ability to quick switch between users, ability to save state and transfer user state from machine to machine, undo/redo, accessibility, error logging and fault management, adaptive user interface layouts, and on and on.
I’d estimate that all these non-functional requirements can easily be the largest part of the design and development of a modern application, but since medical apps are, apparantly, never specified with any of that, they’re artificially cheap, and, not to mince words, a huge pile of stinking crap.
It’s really easy to write an app that does one thing, but it’s much harder and more expensive to write an app that actually works in real environments and in conjunction with other applications. So, this is on the purchasers’ heads. Mainly.
This article is an excellent description of some of the serious problems related to IT security in healthcare.
Even though medical staff actively circumvent “security” in a myriad inventive ways, it’s pretty clear that 99% of the blame lies with IT staff and vendors being completely out of touch with the actual institutional mission. To be able to create working and useable systems, you *must* understand and be part of the medical work. So far, I’ve met very few technologists even remotely interested in learning more about the profession they’re ostensibly meant to be serving. It boggles the mind, but not in a good way.
“Unfortunately, all too often, with these tools, clinicians cannot do their job—and the medical mission trumps the security mission.”
“During a 14-hour day, the clinician estimated he spent almost 1.5 hours merely logging in.”
“…where clinicians view cyber security as an annoyance rather than as an essential part of patient safety and organizational mission.”
“A nurse reports that one hospital’s EMR prevented users from logging in if they were already logged in somewhere else, although it would not meaningfully identify where the offending session was.”
This one, I’ve personally experienced when visiting another clinic. Time and time again. You then have to call back to the office and ask someone to reboot or even unplug the office computer, since it’s locked to my account and noone at the office is trusted with an admin password… Yes, I could have logged out before leaving, assuming I even knew I was going to be called elsewhere then. Yes, I could log out every time I left the office, but logging in took 5-10 minutes. So screen lock was the only viable solution.
“Many workarounds occur because the health IT itself can undermine the central mission of the clinician: serving patients.”
“As in other domains, clinicians would also create shadow systems operating in parallel to the health IT.”
Over here, patients are given full access to medical records over the ‘net, which leads physicians to write down less in the records. Think this through to its logical conclusion…
Just wasted several hours trying to find out why home sharing stopped working on my Apple TV. I’ve got the one with optical audio output, can’t remember if that is called the gen 2 or 3, but you know which one I mean.
Duck-ducked it thoroughly, finding a truckload of similar complaints over the last two years, which in itself wasn’t too encouraging. Most recommended logging out and in from home sharing, changing the computer name in system settings, and so on. Nothing helped.
Finally I changed the wireless from my very current tower Airport Extreme to a slightly older, flat square, Airport Extreme, and lo, all the misery resolved itself. Which reminded me that the Extreme did an update maybe two days ago.
I’m getting increasingly bad vibes about Apple quality, or lack thereof.
John Oliver did a segment on the IRS, calling it the “anus of the nation”, something you don’t like, but can’t live without.
Now, I know you guys (USA) hate when we point out how far behind you are, but I really can’t help myself.
In this segment we have IRS people complaining of the ugly state of checks they receive. Checks… really? What is this, the middle ages?
People also complain about waiting lines to get in to get IRS assistance. Really? You don’t have phones? Ah, yes, they don’t work. Over here, the IRS actually answer the phones, or they call you back. They really do. They’re polite and very thorough. The few times I needed to ask about anything, I got so much information and advice there was no way I could misunderstand. An hour on the phone with two advisers is nothing out of the ordinary. On the other hand, I’ve only ever needed to ask for anything twice the last fifteen years, since the tax code here is actually very simple. At least in comparison.
Your forms are complicated, the tax code changes all the time, and regular people can’t handle it. Really? Over here they’re one page, with a second page if you have a registered company. That second page is replaced by a two page form if you own a limited partnership (as I do).
The form itself is already filled in with your income according to their information, your withholdings, and your regular and interest deductions. If you own stock, all the capital gains and losses are also already filled in. The “owner of a partnership” form has some complicated calculations, but those are done for you in a webbased form after you fill in how many shares you have. It carries the totals over from year to year automatically.
Oh, and BTW, you can do the whole thing over the internet. It requires that you have a full two factor authentication, but most people here have that already from the bank. And that authentication works most anywhere. Someone without a company normally only needs to sign the form without filling out anything at all.
The end result is that even for a company owner, the personal tax return takes something like ten or 20 minutes to do, is totally painless, and actually almost fun. This also causes very few people here to hate the IRS, or even much complain about it. At least compared to the US. That’s the way to run a tax system.
Payza must earn some kind of prize for this… got this email today:
Dear Martin Wehlou,
Since you haven’t logged in for 18 months, your account is now dormant and a monthly inactivity fee of $10 USD is being applied.
For more information on dormant accounts, please review Section 12.1 of our User Agreement.
To avoid the dormant account fee, all you need to do is log in to your account. So come on by and see what we’ve got for you!• Personalize your account and make it even safer by setting up your customizable avatar and welcome message.• It’s a small world after all – send money to loved ones in over 200 countries. Always free, always fast.• Our fresh account design makes for easy account navigation – find what you need, when you want it.
Thanks for choosing Payza,
I’ve received an email from you that I initially was certain was a phish, but actually seems to be real. You’re starting to charge me for *not* using my account… Oh, man, this is so sleazy I can’t believe it.Additionally, there seems to be no way to cancel my account either. What I did was remove my credit card. If you so much as attempt to charge me, I’ll file a complaint through the bank.
I think you may have earned the epithet of most sleazy, not to say borderline criminal, internet company yet.
So, just remove that account pronto.
A few months after Comey’s remarks, Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, also appeared at Brookings. “One of the many ways in which Snowden’s leaks have damaged our national security is by driving a wedge between the government and providers and technology companies, so that some companies that formerly recognized that protecting our nation was a valuable and important public service now feel compelled to stand in opposition,” Litt said. He appealed to corporations to embrace “a solution that does not compromise the integrity of encryption technology but that enables both encryption to protect privacy and decryption under lawful authority to protect national security.”
(Via The Intercept)
The official line seems to be that it’s ok for the US government to break any law or constitution it pleases as long as the public doesn’t know. It’s not the governments fault for breaking the law, it’s Snowden’s fault for letting us know.
The governments (all of them) tried to drive a wedge between the tech companies and the users but failed, at least a little bit. Litt turns this narrative around and claims that Snowden’s revelations are driving a wedge between the tech companies and the government. No, it’s the act of the governments that is driving a wedge between themselves and the rest of us, tech companies, providers, and the public alike.
The pure gall is breathtaking.
Do read the article. There’s a lot of worrying stuff in there, including the attempt to subvert the XCode tool chain in order to build in malware into other developer’s executables.