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The joy of hierarchical menus

You wouldn’t believe the happiness of a hierarchical menu in an office package capable of competing with #Office!!!

Sure, it takes  awhile to learn where the commands are, but they are  alwaysthere. I don’t have to constantly fight the interface,  creating custom tabs, nor giving up my valuable screen real-estate to a useless ribbon,  different from app to app. 

Thank you  #Libre-Office. For a $10.00  donation a download it is cheap. They will even let you have for free. 

Now if the would only add a #OneNote app with macros, and a #Visio  compatible app. 

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@microsoft Windows Updates

Guys i’m really getting M A D at the new cycle sof updates. Not only are my systems rebooting almost on a daily basis, ok maybe I exaggerate, but you get the point, but changes to the registry I make are reversed, my settings changed to the pitifully space interface and my gadgets removed. 

Let me tell you something, I like my gadgets, even if you’ve  managedto  exterminate thurouly experienced the heart-ache of the Spartan Universal apps, and I will no longer waste any time on them. 

So, where are you taking #Windows?

If you are trying to dumb it down, there are !Cr devices. And if so does that mean there will only be three real DOS’s left?  #Linux and #BSD?

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@timcook and the iphone JIS model

Tim, #apple, I am very disappointed. I’ve always been able to update our iPhones by ordering by 07:00 on the pre-release morning. One year I slept late, but was able to call Best Buy and Reserve our phones then pick them up after work that same evening. 

This year is a dud. It is October 8th, and the closest date I get is eight weeks. Let me help with the math, that’s December 8th, maybe. For cash on the barrel. 

It sure does not say much for Apple’s famous JIT manufacprocessprocess. 

So @timcook are you telling me I should wait for the iPhone 8, or iphone X?  Or you think there is a chance for other rmanufactures finally. 

Yours truly

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IT #Agile, #Flexible, #Multi-Discipline, #DevOps

All of the above pseudo-embelishments have one thing in common:  M E D I O C R I T Y ! ! !

Don’t be fooled by the pundits of mediocrity.   One person, one machine, one chip cannot excell in multiple disciplines at the same time. That is what these pundits espouse by telling management they can pay one person to handle systems, databases, development and operations, in addition to web development.

As a result we can find a plethora of confusing web applications, which cause us to expand time in figuring out how to make them work, or adapt them to what they were never designed to do.

That is not productivity;  it isn’t financial savings; it isn’t smart strategy or tactics. It is only M E D I O C R I T Y ! ! !

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?

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@Apple_Pay

Dear Tim, @tim_cook

I am frustrated by the fact that Apple appears to be neglecting the Pay sector of your business. It was very exciting but I have some issues with it, probably vendor issues, but one which I think Apple should pursue. 

  1. Some McD’s don’t even know they have it. I have to tell them to pick up the reader and bring it close to me so I can pay. I’ve seen one case where it was attached to the table and they couldn’t bring it closer
  2. Some HomeD’s have it and I’ve used it to pay thousands of dollars in transactions. The store close to me, even though e-Pay is on the terminal, doesn’t know what e-Pay is and when I tried it, it didn’t work. 
  3. And there are some retailers terminals, who after using Apple Pay, require my Debit card pin, and here is the best part, wait for it… Print out a receipt for me to sign, for a ten dollar purchase. 

Please help these lost souls…

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Canon, for shame on you

I’ve been eagerly waiting for a pocket sized #Canon high end camera with raw abilities. So Canon releases the G1 X Mark II. I think it is a little large but so be it. I would have been ready to get one but for two issues:

1. Battery life is atrociously low
2. Unbelievably they left it with a 5X optical zoom

So they have non-raw cameras with up to 50X optical zoom but they couldn’t provide a better zoom on their highest end Powershot?

And what did they do as a follow-on to the S120? They have us the dud is the S200.

Perhaps they are waiting for a mobile phone to bring the feature to market first. Or perhaps they don’t want to cannibalize their lens business.

I don’t care either way, I’m not buying another bulky SLR. My next buy will be slightly larger than an S120 but smaller than a Gx. I want full features, including a usable Wifi with my devices, a minimum 10X optical zoom, if not more, a C size sensor, wide angle and full raw capabilities, a la the G1 X Mark II.

So #Canon, do you want to end up in the history books? Look around you, many of the historical Giants are struggling to survive.

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Unbelievable service from HP… have they finally rounded the corner?

So here is a story you may find hard to believe.  Two years ago, I ordered a custom laptop from the HP store.  It was as custom as can be and the fastest in the 2K range I could get.

Early this year, a dearly loved one who thinks a keyboard is a place to store things, placed a pen on the keyboard, precisely because it would not roll.  Later that morning, a utility crew was cleaning the carpets, and, I presume, in order to protect the laptop, slammed the top clamshell down to the keyboard to close it.  When I came back that evening I grabbed my laptop to work.  First thin I noticed is how weird it felt, eve thought the clamshell was closed.  As I opened it, a pen fell out.  As the screen came to full open, I saw a crack in the glass from the bottom left to the top right, with a plethora of bright colors surrounding the crack.

What to do, I called HP repair and was first told they could offer me a rebuilt machine, but not with the capabilities of the machine I had.  Then they said they could fix it for a fixed price.  I gave them my credit card, and they FedEx’ed a box in which I sent back the laptop to an address in Houston TX, (I presume the old COMPAQ campus).  They guaranteed a turn-around time of six days to my door after receipt of the device.  Five days later, my laptop was back in all its splended glory, with a brand new LCD.

Skip forward to mid October 2013.  Said loved one, decried that I could no longer use the end tables in the living room to put my coffee, laptop, iPhone and iPad on, because I scratched them.  She bought a beatiful marble top table which she placed next to my easy chair for my use.  Unfortunately the surface area of the table was the size of the 16″ notebook.

So here I am, trying to juggle my bottle of water, my cup of coffee, my iPhone, my iPad and my notebook on that little surface.  I had just refilled my coffee and gotten a fresh bottle of water and settled in to my chair to start working.  I grabbed the notebook, half hanging off the table to pull it to my lap;  as I did, the power cable, which unseen by me had wrapped around the coffee cup, pulled said coffee cup directly in to the keyboard.

I immediately grabbed towels, to protect our white carpet, and then tilted the notebook to drain the coffee off the keyboard and onto the towels.  Unfortunately, coffee seeped from every nook and cranny, and every port including the BD drive. About that time, the power went out.  After draining the coffee as best as I could, I placed the notebook in front of a large fan and turned it on high, hoping that once dry it would work again.  Twenty four hours later, I had no peep or blink when I plugged it in.  Forty eight hours later, same story…

So I called back HP repair, gave them my credit card (having been familiar with the procedure by now), they sent me a box and off the notebook went, minus battery to the same service center in Houston TX.  I surprisingly came back three days later, having had a motherboard replaced and some ribbon cables.  It worked, but I had some trouble with the Blu-Ray, keys which stuck or didn’t register, and a mousepad right click that always stuck.

I called HP again, they told me not to worry, I was covered by the repair warranty.  The sent another box and off the notebook goes to Houston again (imagine the frequent flyer miles it was amassing.)  I believe I sent it on a Monday.  It was received on Tuesday.  The following Tuesday I anxiously awaited FedEx to bring my baby back.  It didn’t happen;  I waited for Wednesday.  Nothing Wednesday either.  I called the Repair status line in India, they said it was on the way and I would have it Friday.

It didn’t arrive Friday either.  I called the Repair status line again, and they said they would have to inquire of its status from the Service Center in Houston;  they did that by email, and I had to wait 48-72 hours for a response.  Of course, I didn’t wait 72 hours, I waited exactly 24 hours and called again.  This time I was told no one had sent an inquiry but not to worry, they would send one right away and we would have an answer up to 72 hours later.  I asked why they couldn’t just call the Houston Service Center, but the said they didn’t have a telephone number to do that.  (A lot of use a Repair Status hotline is that can’t contact a Repair center by phone).

To make a long story short, three weeks later, India is still sending inquiries, but not receiving replies.  I pick up my trusted iPad, and look up the Super Pages app for HP headquarters in California.  The first time I called, I went through a phone maze and ended up back in India.  I called back during business hours, and actually spoke to someone, explained the situation and was transferred to an escalations Project Manager in Canada (I figured that out because the recording was in English then French).

To make it still a shorter story, a few weeks later, I found out from the escalations PM that my notebook was sent to Houston, as the Houston Center was being shut down.  (I guess HP finally shut down the old COMPAQ facilities).  It was sent to a new Repair Center in Tennessee.  But I could not find out what happened to it in Tennessee.  I asked repeatedly but the question was ignored.

Now here is the surprising part.  HP could have refunded my money and sent me on my way, but the didn’t.  The PM, configured a brand new custom machine for me.  Not only does it have the newer quad i7’s, but the same RAM, BD burner, a larger HDD, and an SDD cache.  Because HP no longer makes 16″ laptops, and they do not offer the 15″ notebooks with DVD/BD disks, they ordered me a 17″ machine, with two batteries to account for my extended battery on the original, which is no longer offered.

December 23rd, my new machine arrived via FedEx from China in its brand new packaging with a brand new two year warranty.  Wow!

This is service.  Perhaps HP has awakened once again, and is offering great service.  I had a similar service engagement with HP 3PAR enterprise storage, where the Engineer performed above and beyond the call to provide service.

Go HP!!!

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My next Desktop: Windows 8x or else, #1

Ok so Blue, aka Windows 8.1 gave us a START button. But not a start menu. MS still appears bent on getting rid of the desktop, and replacing it with a single full screen App window, a la MS-DOS with multi-tasking. I can see rotating through sixty full screen apps on my 27″ screen to find the app I want to work on. This should be good for Doctors, a new specialty to treat touch screen syndromes.

Forget about customizing your themes; and don’t even try finding settings, they are all over the place, either in a
Charm or in an obfuscated new structure which does nothing for functionality.

Do you have a lot of applications? Get ready to scroll horizontally to the right, while trying to find your app; yeah, I know, I can search, but that is dependent on me remembering the exact name of the shortcut I am looking for. Oh and don’t pause too long while scrolling, the scroll bars disappear. Same with the App Store, get ready to scroll horizontally for infinity…

Oh sure, there are third party apps I can get to restore the functionality I had in Windows/XP/7. Why should I have to get a third party app to restore functionality I have today?

And as for the desktop corners… Let’s see, app switcher top left, start menu bottom left, charms, bottom right… Why not Control Panel top two inches from the left, Display setting two inches to the right of that, hey task manager all four corners simultaneously!

Can you see if automotive companies adopt this metaphor? No more buttons and labels, top left windscreen corner for lights, once for running, once for low beam, once for high beam. You want windshield wipers, swipe from left to right in three inch increments for each intermittent setting. You want continuous operation, swipe all the way to the right side of the windscreen. Oh, want to activate the horn? Press and hold with your middle finger in the center of the windscreen two seconds and as long as you want the horn to sound. Oh By the way, may as well bend over and kiss your tush goodbye.

And what happens in MS-Window v10 when there is no more desktop? Fun…

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Evaluating Windows 8.1 cont’d

Okay, so I managed to get rid of the modeless popup, not quite sure how, but it is gone. So I when I installed Windows 8.1, I used a local account.
I tried to go to the Windows Store to check out some apps. More frustration:

  1. First, I searched for “Microsoft Corporation” to list MS apps
  2. I found some I wanted to install, so I clicked on the first one, and selected Install.
  3. It told me I had to switch user accounts; What??? I have to switch user accounts, why? So it appears that the former Metro/Modern UI, requires an Outlook address to access the store. The question is, Is my Modern UI now logged in as the Outlook address or did it just login to the store as the Outlook address. I ran ‘whoami’ on the desktop, and I am still logged in as the local Windows account, but those messages in the Modern UI said I had to SWITCH accounts.  I can’t figure out how to check the Modern UI’s account, yet.
  4. Next, I saw Studio Express and tried to install it. Guess what, you can’t install that from the store because it is a Desktop application. In place of the Install icon, you get a note to install it from the vendor’s web site.
  5. And finally the horizontal scrolling, really has to go, or at least needs some modifications:
    1. On a full HD  screen, I only got two lines of icons
    2. In order to scroll, I have to hover my mouse at the bottom of the screen to make the scrollbar appear;  if I dawdle too long, the scrollbar disappears, and I have to move my mouse up and back down again to make the scroll back appear
    3. Then if I click on the scrollbar to scroll right or left, the Modern UI is not smart enough to stop the scroll on the boundary between icons;  instead I end up on a partial icon, and then have to fine scroll to see the entire icon.  That is totally unacceptable.

Wonderful…

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Evaluating Windows 8.1

So I just installed Windows 8.1 RTM. First thing it did was pop up a modeless tip telling me to swipe from left to right from outside the screen in order to switch app windows.

I’ve spent the last hour, getting very frustrated, trying to get rid of this thing. It is on the new interface, and also on the Desktop. Swiping with the mouse does not appear to work.

There is nothing I can find in the different control settings apps to get rid of this clutter.

So much for intuitive UI’s.

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My feedback on iOS 7

The Podium by 70tas

I have an iPad 3, and an iPhone 5.  I’ve installed iOS 7 on both.

Generally I like the improvements that iOS 7 has brought.  There are some items, I am not happy with however, especially on my iPhone 5 (I also have an iPad 3):

 1. Bright background colors on home menu icons The bright colors make it very difficult to distinguish the application thumbnails Perhaps next version, Apple could allow changing the menu icon background colors manually  

2. Really thin fonts The thin fonts make my eyes hurt;  I have trouble trying to read the home menu icon text;  the same for the time on the lock screen Perhaps next version, Apple will allow changing of fonts or at least font sizes/boldness so we can read the screen without squinting

3. Stick symbol icons, i.e. in Safari, Mail and other apps Not as bad as the my…

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