Cloud, IT & IT Professionals, My Rants, Operating Systems and Software, UX-LX-FreeBSD, Windows

#Linux, #Unix, #Windows, #Apple

Read my last post to see my frustration with where our malevolent computing dictators are taking us.

So is it time to switch from Windows, to Linux or Unix, or Apple?

I do want an alternative to Windows 10;  I want my Xerox PARC graphics interface back;  anyone who want to use the ever changing ribbon, may do so, but give me back my original metaphor.  And they can keep the rented, cloud apps.

#Apple still has the original metaphor they used from PARC.  It has not changed much, but since they are using more homogeneous apps, they are bringing cloud apps to the MAC’s.

#Unix, (the BSD’s) appear to have totally given up on a desktop;  too bad because I feel the FreeBSD line is a better OS, and the driver/application metaphor still conforms to the original Unix ideal of Keep It Simple Stupid.  (KISS is relative, and with today’s command lines, and complex applications, this is not for the faint hearted).  That is why I regret they have not gone after  the desktop.  They are the only follower of the Public Domain model (FreeBSD) model of software.  Anyone can take software from anyone, and create a new free software app, or a commercial app.

#Linux has forgotten their Unix roots. No more KISS principle for them, no sireee.  But they are still the champion of Open Source Software, in that you can take a free piece of software (source), develop it in to a new piece of software, as long as it is free.  (there are exceptions, but I’m not sure how they get around the licensing).

#Microsoft is the behemoth of the lot, and they think, and do as they please.  Customers are there to skin for profits.  Soon Windows will be a cloud desktop only;  don’t believe them when they tell you it will not.

So which way forward for the independent minded person?

The MS model is going Azzure, no doubt.  Even development tools are headed that way.  You want you kids to learn computing?  Sure, they’ll learn the framework way;  they will be the legions of the Azzure gods, not able to use an off-network computer, because, it won’t be connected.

Unix, unfortunately is still foundering and trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up.  I’ve tried volunteering to help, but each time I brought up an idea, I was viciously attacked for suggesting…  …anything.

Apple is too expensive.  I use iPhones and iPads, but I do not want a pre-configured, proprietary hardware to run my desktop on, even if it still is PARC compliant.

Linux seems to be the best alternative.  I’ve played with may versions of Linux, from the red fedora, perhaps now it will be a blue fedora and others.  I still found SuSE to be the best for a Windows replacement.  It is still terse to configure, however the YAST configuration tool gives me a menu or GUI driven way to configure most user level constructs.  It offers every Desktop you may want, my preference is #MateDesktop, with the original Novell-like menu.  It maintains a traditional START metaphor.
But it is still missing software that should be mainstream, and there are so many Desktops to make your head spin.  (Use #MATE).

Well, that’s it for now.  Talk to you hopefully sooner than a year from now.

Cloud, My Rants, Operating Systems and Software, Windows

Is it the end of the Desktop, maybe…

Followers, it has been a while since my last post, although I have not sinned.

I’ve been a Windows devotee, since #Windows 2.11, don’t ask how long that was.  You’ve heard of the old adage that sometimes, we must drag users kicking and screaming in to the future and a better place.  #Windows10 with its Universal whats’am-a call it, UWP, and its trashing of the #PARC metaphor is not it.

What I see is that the new apps are spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) in users minds about the (1) ole’ desktop.  New applications have their own menus, most context sensitive, and NO PARC metaphor.  Go ahead, try to find File or Edit on the top menu bar;  oh, there is no menu bar.  The same is true of application data;  you can’t get to it, you can’t read it outside of the app, and you can’t back it up;  wait, I mis-spoke, you can back it up but you can’t restore it, because DRM render’s it unusable.

(2)nd direction they seem to be guiding us to, is to the cloud.  And I don’t mean storing our data there, but running applications on the cloud via a souped up browser interface, and storing the data on the cloud.  And what do you think MS, Google and the like our doing as they are parsing the data prior to saving it to the ubiquitous cloud?  Yes, they parse it;  I’ve had many experiences, when not five minutes after posting a document, I get SPAM about a service applicable to something mentioned in my document.  Yes, I know, the malevolent dictator would never have any-one read my documents directly;  Just like they wouldn’t listen in on our Alexa / Siri conversations;  Wait that was yesterday’s news, we’ve all gotten over that one, haven’t we.  Who cares if they listen in?  Well don’t complain if the read your documents either.

(3) Additionally, our new malevolent desktop dictator / MS, is moving away from GUI tools, to esoteric and convoluted command lines which very few people can use.  The constant upgrades have rendered many of my Windows10 systems broken or unusable.  I’ve paid MS a couple of times, early on to be told to to a clean install;  what?  Are they serious?

I’ve found answers after reading countless posts via search, but most of them involve complicated commands (yes CLI) that are not documented, and which I have no hope or yearning to learn;  they’ve repaired my systems.  In some cases I’ve repaired by re-installing Windows and keeping applications and data.

Desktops in 2019, should not be this difficult.

Now, to be fair, MS is not the only malevolent dictator (yes I stole that from Python).  So is Google, Amazon, and every other big concern which can comb through our data for profit.  I leave it to you to decide, but I’m afraid you already have.  (and so have I, I use cloud file services like the next person).  But I refuse to rent software.  So, #Microsoft, #Adobe, and others, take heed:  If you can’t give me a permanent license, then I’ll look elsewhere.

 

Apple Hardware, iOS, iPads, Microsoft Hardware

Are #Apple and #Microsoft in collusion to kill the high-end #tablet?

I will refer you to My iPad Pro Wish List. This was a wish list we in the professional community had been putting together for a couple of years before I published my summary. So let’s see how I did:

My iPAD Pro Wish List:

1. I expect 14″ or so
2. QHD
3. True background processing on apps I designate
4. Remote access from my PC/Mac/BSD/Linux
5. Active stylus
6. USB 3 port capable of cow line hub
7. OSX with shell
8. Either provide better on screen keyboard options, or open it up to third parties, NOW

What Apple released in the iPAD Pro:

  1. Check
  2. Check
  3. Nada
  4. Nada
  5. Check
  6. Nada
  7. Nada
  8. Nada

While we’re at it, let’s see what Microsoft released in their Surface Pro 4:

  1. Check
  2. Check
  3. Check/Windows 10
  4. Check
  5. Check
  6. Check
  7. Check – CMD/PowerShell/Bash
  8. Nada

Microsoft appears to be the winner of the Professional Tablet.  Yes I know that MS is providing a souped up version of MS-Office for the iPAD Pro, but the Surface will run Office 365.

So does Microsoft win this race?

No, neither Microsoft, nor Apple wins.  From my perspective, and three years after the above wish list, a Professional tablet at the high end, should have 1TB storage, and 16GB’s of RAM, and be capable of running VMware Workstation or such virtualization. Today it should also have fifteen hours, true battery life.   Apple fails.  Microsoft will work, albeit not with the battery life.  At least Apple doesn’t play games with battery life, when they say ten hours, they mean ten hours of active use.

So Microsoft wins, right.  NO!!!

Both Mr. Cook and Mr. Nadella have priced both devices out of the reach of the ordinary professional.  My current laptop is an HP Envy 15 with a 3200 x 1800 touch screen, 1TB of HDD and 16GB’s of RAM, stock from HP.  I added a 512GB SSD card for less than $300.  The total package cost me about $1,300.

  • Mr. Cook would like me to buy an iPAD Pro for $2,000 that can not run a VM, nor OSX.
  • Mr. Nadella would like me to buy a Surface Pro 4 for over $2,000, with a quarter of the power of my current laptop, to the same specs.

(But here is a secret;  they both have low-end devices with very low RAM and storage, for Corporate use;  you see corporations aren’t interested in power, and the would rather you store and run your data from the cloud than locally;  just in case you thought the low end tablets were for ordinary users).

So either the success of the iPhone and iPAD has gone to their heads, and they believe the can now rip-us off big time by marking up a $100 memory module for $900.00,, or they have both decided and colluded to kill the tablet market.

Which is it?  You tell me.

iOS, iPhone, Laptops and Two-in-ones, Uncategorized

#Apple’s #TouchID implementation misguided

Whoever is guiding Apple’s TouchID implementation is severely misguiding Apple and the public who uses it. 

The idea behind biometric security is that it is infinitely more difficult to crack than a PIN or Password. Where a password or passphrase in today’s marketing techno-lingo may be composed of eight or more ASCII characters, a biometric signature may have tens of thousands of combinations. Even a 30 character password cannot compete with such a combination. Not that it can’t be broken, but it would be more difficult and time consuming. And on a device that can lock and/or wipe itself after a number of incorrect tries, it should be IRRELEVANT.

( Now let me state for the record that a PIN in and of itself, does NOT constitute a password or passphrase in my opinion. If a vendor such as Apple or other security providers allow their users to consume PINs, I would allow for dual authentication on every boot. )

I also understand the reasoning behind dual token authentication.   “I go to work and I can use dual tokens to sign in in the morning, and work all day. In a multi-tenant managed environment dual token is a great authentication method when managing different tenant infrastructures.”  

I can also think of the following industries which can benefit:

  • Nuclear plants
  • Munitions depots
  • Utility distribution grids
  • Aircraft cockpits
  • Banks

I can also understand use of the dual token as implemented by Apple in the following circumstances:

  • When booting, in a ‘motion-less‘ profile;  that means NOT while in a moving vehicle, and not during physical movement such as walking. Those are dangerous activities to be engaged in while trying to enter a passphrase. Legislatures are passing law after law to curb such activities, while Apple is actively opposing the legislation.  

If Apple wants to implement a dual authentication on boot then allow the user to set the elapsed time, say one to four weeks. 

  • Under no circumstances should dual authentication be required after a boot when using biometric authentication:
  1. Not when I’m shopping
  2. Not when I’m driving
  3. Not when I’m walking or jogging (not that I jog)
  4. And certainly not when I’m in line waiting to pay, unless the transaction is over a limit, I, the user has set

Lest anyone thinks I’m beating on Apple, I’m not. This applies to all security implementors in any company and product. 

What do you think?

Apple Hardware, iOS

Apple no longer has trust in Touch Id

It appears #Apple no longer has any trust in #TouchID. Mr. @tim_cook, I must admit when it was first released I was excited about the technology. I saw it as a solution to only having a short four digit pin as protection for my iPhone and iPad and it’s contents. So I began using a 26 digit passphrase for my security knowing i wouldn’t have to constantly type it in.

Boy was I wrong. With every update of iOS Apple has made it more difficult to continue using TouchId with a long passphrase. 

First, I had to type the pass phrase after every reboot. Apparently the safety focus groups believe in making you type while you are driving. Damn the statistics, they know better.  (Did they come from MS?) 

After another update, they made me enter my pass phrase after 48 hours of non- use. 

Now with iOS 9, they want my pass phrase after 48 hours of iPhone/iPad non-use or use.  So her I was trying to check my morning mail today, and it wants my pin. I was using my phone all day and evening yesterday. 

Of course, they have changed the pin length requirements to six digits. Wow, now that is more secure than a long pass phrase.

So what would you do?  Probably what I’ve done. Stop using a long pass phrase and go back to a pin.  Was that Apple’ intent all along?

Because I don’t want to keep re-entering a 26 digit pass phrase every two days, nor every time my phone acts up on the road and I have to reboot when driving. Which, honestly, does not happen often. But when it does, it sucks. 

I can live with the long pass phrases but the idea of having TouchId was to have trust of a biometric Id.  Does Apple no longer T R U S T.  It?

iOS, Windows

A note to #Apple, #Microsoft, etc…

Dear @tim_cook and @satya_nadella:  just wanted to let you know how much of a turn-off it is towards your companies’ reputation, when you change application and/or system interfaces for the sake of someone’s un-bright idea.   This time my ire is with the iOS podcast app. I used to have a hierarchical view of my podcasts and could then drill in to each branch to see individual podcasts by date and status. iOS 9 changed that. I can now see the latest podcast of each branch and their status or the top level podcast branches but not the individual episodes, unless I stand on my head and whisper incantations. 

But, I’m sure this was voted on by a client focus group, like the one we, complainers are in. 

Ladies and gentlemen wake up. It is okay to add features, and change interfaces;  but do not presume to take functionality or views away. 

Apple Hardware, iOS

iPad Air 2, truly nothing but Air, @tim_cook

Well if that wasn’t a sleepy announcement I don’t know what would be. Excuse me while I nap…

So now we know how much Apple listens to their customers; as much as Microsoft. Way to go Tim. We’ be only been asking for a larger size iPad, the Pro for three years. We said we’d rather not have to lug around a hard keyboard if the soft keyboard was of full size and functionality. We said we wanted more memory. And OS X running under a windowed iOS and we said we wanted 256GB and 512GB flash options. We also asked to leave the form factor alone while increasing size and resolution. And more battery life.

Did Tim Cook et al take heed? Of course not, they’re too busy copying Microsoft’s frolicking.

So it appears the only one who had listened to our whispering was Steve Balmer. Well, just…