It's hard to believe that MS, Intel and ARPA both thought we would all be
one big happy family of computer users and security wasn't really necessary.
Hence the net and PCs have been insecure from the ground up for a long time.
The 'net was initially an elitist tool. Effectively "invitation only";
you counted on someone ELSE to get you *onto* it so "behaved responsibly".
You always had someone who was effectively your benefactor (remember "bang"
routing for mail??)
The PC's problem was that it was underpowered to start with. It
was just a fancy CP/M machine -- single user, etc. Security was
commonplace in bigger systems (MULTICS, etc.) but too troublesome to
implement on a tiny dog like a PC (XT).
And, of course, MS was never an innovator. So, they just looked at
CP/M and figured "good enough"...
I never owned a genuine IBM PC and didn't have compatibility problems.
Some were hotter than PCs, in more ways than one.
I'm always amused when people I consider to be toward the left end of
the political spectrum favor Apple products. I guess they like the 'my
way or the highway' approach Apple has always used.
It really depended on the clone and what you were doing with it. I have
seen compatibility issues and have worked through some of them, mostly with
high-end graphics and with HW manufacturers deciding to cleverly make use of
areas of memory IBM had marked as "resevered" in their tech manuals.
Remember the days of EMS and expanded memory and programs like 386 to the
I've purchased and seen some pretty wild looking CPU coolers. Big copper
pad coolers that look like the Guggenheim museum. Coolers with thin fins
spread out like a card-sharp's show-off deal. Never did get into
overclocking in a big way so I never got into water-cooled rigs. Although I
never saw much point in overclocking, a PC design engineer I talked to said
that overclockers provided excellent feedback about PC designs and
limitations because they were right on the bleeding edge.
Hey, even I am considering getting an iPhone because I was unimpressed by
the Android "industry's" reaction to the StageFright bug. It also torques
me up to see that every damn version of Android is slightly different.
Apple controls their whole eco-system and generally delivers a more uniform
experience. When the StageFright bug was found, Google, Samsung and others
appeared to stall, pointing fingers at others while trying to decide who
should fix what. Apple just mostly fixes the stuff without the corporate
I've read a number of case studies that ask why Apple makes virtually all
the profit in the cell phone industry. (Really, only Samsung makes a
profit - the rest operate at a loss).
The reason is partly snob appeal but it's also because Apples seem to be
very well-liked by the people that use them. Far more so than Android users
like their phones.
As for politics, my wife, a retired Army colonel somewhere to the right of
Atilla the Hun, loves her iPhone. I've always been on the PC/clone side of
the Apple/Wintel war, but I will probably end up getting an iPhone. If it's
going to become the hub of my computer operations, I want it to come from a
company that's on the ball.
I use an I6 *(the previous smaller I4GS was just as good and an easier
fit in your pocket) and will say its a nice
But then again I am still working.
When I retire a *much less expensive*
'phone/tablet/clock/radio/gamer/whatever gadget' will be my choice.
We had a few with the old AT form factor that had a few embellishments.
You definitely didn't want to put the tin back on.
Vapor phase cooling, that's where it's at. It wasn't a computer but the
first company I worked for made industrial dielectric preheaters for the
plastics industry. The largest model was 15KW. Then there was the chief
engineer's pet project. He wanted to squeeze 50KW out of a big Eimac
triode and figured vapor phase was the way to go. The condenser had a
striking resemblance to a Falcon radiator. What could go wrong with a
50KW Colpitts oscillator / steam kettle?
I wasn't even thinking about the iPhones, just the Apple
desktop/laptops. My phone technology is stuck at the $19.95 LG flip
I did get an Android tablet when the company decided we needed a tablet
product. As a developer I can attest Google throws a few curves with
every new release. Fortunately I can still build and run the app on my
old 4.0 and it mostly works. From our viewpoint, Android is much handier
since we can just load up the apk and never go anywhere near the Google
That definitely helps.
They do have a dedicated customer base. The only Apple product I've ever
owned is an iShuffle my boss gave out on Christmas. I didn't really
appreciate the iTunes part of it. I have nothing against Apple but
nobody ever wanted to pay me to develop Apple software. The closest I
ever got was one DoD project where there were some of the 1st gen Macs.
They were crap but they did meet the TEMPEST requirements.\
I pretty much hate phones in general. I guess an iPhone could be okay if
I never had to talk on it.
Apple products remind me too much of B&O. Too much emphasis on "glitz"
over function. My iPods are tedious to use -- a *mechanical* wheel
(or even a four way navigation bar) would be far more reliable as
an input device than the capacitive "dial" that it employs. Try
using it without WATCHING what you are doing! Ditto for every other
Ditto for hating phones. I don't think I would use an iPhone for
anything that I can't already do with a PDA -- just more horses under
The iShuffle is so simple it isn't difficult to use. However the MP3
players I use most often are Sansas. Plug them into the USB port and
they look like any other mass storage device. iirc I had to use iTunes
to load the iShuffle and iTunes has to be the most complicated,
counter-intuitive software I've ever used.
Yes, the iShuffle is the one that looks like a glorified "tie tack"?
(no display, USB connection is made through the *earphone* connector?)
I have two Sansa's. IIRC, one of them needed a "music converter"
to get the tunes into the correct format (?). They also have an
entertaining animation when they power up/down (?)
Look into Floola (free) to maintain your iPod(s). iTunes is more of
the "everything Apple" mentality -- make you feel like you are ALWAYS in a
store! MS did something similar with the Zune -- which *could* have
been an interesting device (but for being locked into MS's little world).
Dunno if you ever watch "Robot Chicken" but they spoofed Zune in a segment
about how Steve Jobs made so much preceding technology obsolete. In the
end, the Zune Man begs Steve to make his execution quick but Jobs replies "I
wouldn't waste a bullet on you."
The Zune lingered on for an embarrassing long time. At least when Amazon's
"Fire Phone" tanked, they dragged the corpse off the battlefield pretty
Amazon was selling a whole busload of refurbed Sansa Clips. What a great
deal and they do flawless voice recording, too. I think they top out with a
32Gb TF card (some have 4 some have 8GB of internal memory). Great audio
quality, built-in FM radio, good search and sort capabilities and only one
fatal flaw. The batteries are soldered in and HELL to replace when they
day. All but one of the refurbs have performed as well as new and I was
paying only $20 each for them.
While lots of people piss and moan about how "bad" things are, when I look
at my wall of CDs and realize that it all fits on one little Sansa Clip I
think "wow" - what a brave new world we live in. Same with phones and
tablets that take instant movies and photos, some with amazing quality (new
iPhones do 4K video). For a guy that ran a color darkroom for decades, it's
an unbelievable leap forward.
Same with TVs where you can now get resolution that looks just like a
projected Kodachrome 25 slide. We've lived through some amazing times and
progress. My old LTD with a 429 got 7 miles to the gallon but it was worth
every drop when you floored it.
I really can't remember the world before Google and the Internet. Where did
we look things up? I know I used to go to the library at least once a week
before the Internet and I haven't been back in years.
Today I bought a little body cam. It's a clip on camera that records in HD
to a 32Gb micro SD card that makes very professional looking videos and it's
no bigger than my thumb. I remember the summer I interned for WABC TV that
the cameras we used were the size of cinder blocks and weighed nearly as
much and they couldn't even record in HD.
That's progress in my book!
I still hit the library regularly to pick up mind rot but I haven't done
any serious researching there in years unless I was bumming the wifi.
I take that back. Last week I was looking for a book by Celine. I was
having a senior moment and couldn't come up with a first name. A search
of the catalog turned up about 40 pages of Celine Dion who I was pretty
sure wasn't who I was looking for. So I wandered over to the reference
section and eventually found an encyclopedia of literature that soon
informed me I was looking for Louis-Ferdinand, the pen name of Louis
Destouches. Back to the catalog search. No Louis-Ferdinand in the entire
system so I bought the damn thing from Amazon. They only had the one I
wanted in paperback, not Kindle, so I had to wait two days for it.
It's not only looking things up, it's getting things. I try to buy local
but this town isn't a huge market and the merchants can't afford to have
every odd gadget in stock. I've even had people tell me 'No we don't
have so and so but we can order it. Or you probably can use your
computer just as well as we can.' In one case, I was trying to buy a car
radio for a new model. They couldn't come up with a dash kit even after
I gave them the part number. Back to Amazon, and I had the dash kit and
radio in a couple of days. Then there was the web site with photos and
detailed instructions on how to rip apart a Toyota dash to install the
I use the public library:
- as a source for "free" rental DVD's
(we don't watch broadcast/CATV; just "movies" or "series" off DVD)
- reference city/county data
(researching property taxes, etc.)
- reference texts available via ILL
(some titles: _Pai Gow Poker_, _From text to speech: The MITalk System_)
- research papers usually only available through "subscription" services
("A Simple Method of Computing the Input Quantization and Multiplication
Roundoff Errors in a Digital Filter")
- scant few titles that I'd never want to have to keep on my own shelves
(we've been actively ridding ourselves of books/paper for the past 20
years -- let the *library* keep a copy of the latest NEC, CRC, etc.)
Reminds me of a few years ago if you ran a search for "soprano" you'd get
Tony and not any singers.
Even in places with lots of brick and mortar stores AND things in stock I
still prefer Amazon for lots of reasons. I've never had anyone rear-end me
on the way to the mailbox to pick up a package from Amazon but it did happen
in the Home Depot parking lot. Let UPS take the risk.
Kinda sad, in a way. They know their days are probably numbered. What I
have found is that local merchants see slowing sales and then reduce the
inventory they are holding. That's a classic death spiral.
I always look at the ratings and read them in detail (lots of idiots who
give it 5 stars and then write "I haven't actually used the product yet."
However, I see some bad consequences for all this in the not-to-distant
future. Who could really be a competitor to Amazon? Wal-mart is faced with
the dilemma of their on-line business cannibalizing their retail stores so
they treat on-line sales as a poor relation. Other big general-item
merchants have died like flies. What happens when only Amazon remains?
Yet those concerns haven't stopped me from running up quite a tab there.
(-: Now they offer same-day delivery on many items. What's not to like?
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