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Big Theatre and new strategy

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 One of the fun things we get every year is the production values of Apple Events. Originally these were presentations with Steve Jobs. Back in time, whether it was iPod or the first iPhone, it was just a series of slides and commentary from the CEO.  Jobs also had the "one more thing" moment. In an almost casual way, he would announce a significant product. There are compilations of these on YouTube. Central to the last few years has been the announcement of the latest iPhone. It was, for a long time, reassuringly expensive. Not at all affordable. However, Apple is unlike Android in a good way. The software updates mean that old iPhones keep going and going. In 2022, Chris Evans, the actor who played Captain America, said on social media that his iPhone 6 had died. That is a seven year old device.   iPhone is difficult to repair, is security locked that creates vast amounts of ewaste, but it is long living.  This means that "cheap" Android devices are now outnumber

Apple Sceptic

 For years I have been an "Apple sceptic". I have thought they produced good products and I was fully aware that the iPhone and associated services pulled people into a walled garden. All things Apple work together. The web page you are looking at can be sent to a Mac. The map you annotate on a Mac will also receive the same annotations when you open the maps application on the iPhone.  A couple of years back I bought an Apple Watch . At the time I had some vouchers and cash from birthday gifts, the pandemic was ongoing, face id on my iPhone didn't work with masks. As an almost angry purchase to fix the problem of constantly typing in codes, I bought an Apple Watch.  It kept good time, counted my steps and generally did a lot of basic stuff very well. This week I have been on holiday in Paris. If you watch YouTube then you will know that pickpockets work throughout the city. You have to keep you bags sealed, your money hidden and your iPhone out of eyesight. Despite the f

Apple E-Waste

 Apple no longer provide you with a charger when you buy an iPhone. According to Apple, this is to reduce E-Waste because everyone has multiple chargers. Few people are buying their first iPhone. Apple do make quite a bit of their environmental credentials. The problem is that chargers are not the biggest problem for e-waste and Apple products. The biggest issue is how Apple do security. For several years Apple devices have Activation Lock as default. Activation Lock ties your iPhone to an iCloud account. If you lose your iPhone or it gets stolen, then no one can use your device. Even if the device is reset the moment it connects to the Apple servers it will be locked. This is great for security. Your device keeps your data secure. If you set it as stolen, then there is a custom message on the lock screen. This is all good news for security but terrible news for e-waste. If you want to resell your device, you need to remove that lock first. If the device was given to you by a compan

Domainless

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 The organisation of networks in IT has been based around domains for the last 30 years. Before then we had informal, ad-hoc networking. In the Microsoft world this was primarily Windows PCs and workgroups. In Unix you had NIS. However, with Microsoft’s domain logins the IT department put a metaphorical barbed wire fence around devices and users. Microsoft’s dominance of enterprise computing means the domain is the central container and security boundary of the modern enterprise IT environment. Domain names have evolved over time. It all started with NetBIOS . The BIOS is the firmware that starts your PC. Its moved on a bit from the first PC, now it’s UEFI. Back in the 1980s you had the Basic Input Output System. It provided the controls for disks, keyboard, and screens. Just to get it all started before the computer loaded the operating system. Once someone started to connect a network to the PC then we got NetBIOS. A non-routable basic system for connecting machines. NetBIOS allow

Photos

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 If you have a mobile phone then you have a camera. Most are decent and can take better photos than the cameras we were buying 20 years ago. We have moved on from the world of showing people holiday slides or books of photos. Today we can instantly share the scene in front of us. We can also create videos. Higher resolution photos have become the norm and have forced the storage requirements of mobile phones to increase. In fact the “phone” part of a mobile phone is now just an app. Not so long ago we would connect our phones to a PC and sync the pictures to a PC photos application. To keep the memories safe we would attach a hard disk and make a backup. We would then buy a photos application to manage and curate the photos. This would take time and care. Then the cloud arrived. By flipping an option on your device your photos would be transferred to cloud storage. The cloud storage provider would read the metadata of the date, time and location, then categorise your photos for you.

Neural Processing

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 This week Microsoft held its build conference. Among all the announcements was one about the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) . Even those people who know little about technology have heard of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). This has been at the centre of computer power for decades. Microsoft would like you to get interested in the NPU. Way back in 1981, when the PC first came out of IBM, the power user of the PC wanted, quite literally, more power. One of the first ideas for financial analysis on spreadsheets was a numeric co-processor. A second chip specialising in maths. Calculations could be passed from the CPU to the co-processor for quick answers. This left the CPU doing all the other tasks. Over time, as graphics became more sophisticated, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), became part of the PC. You could have onboard, built-in graphics on the motherboard, however the fastest response came from a separate dedicated graphics processor. Taking the load off the CPU. The next i

Maps

 I have a lot of trouble with maps. Gone are the days when you had a book with pages and co-ordinates. The "A to Z" books of yesteryear are gone and now maps are interactive on the web. For drivers the idea of turn-by-turn navigation on a journey is central to getting where you need to go.  The Global Positioning System (GPS) is government investment, but maps are in the hands of private industry. What we know as "big tech". There are plenty of choices for maps but, as with many things, being caught in an ecosystem gets in the way. The "best" mapping solution may not be best for you.  The sort of mapping solutions available are; Apple Maps  Google Maps Waze Open Street Maps Here  Bing Maps When I used WindowsPhone, maps were easy. Bing Maps was available on my PC, my phone and everywhere. I could save frequently visited places on my PC then pickup my phone and it was all there. Mapping is both mobile, so you can keep directions with you, and static, so you