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Chris Karson
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Attends school of hard knocks
Lives in Osgoode, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Chris Karson

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I plug my phone in probably twice a day to charge. I plug and unplug my headphones probably ten times a day. Who thinks a lightning connector is more mechanically reliable than the 3.5mm jack? Nobody, that's who.

This little $9 part is a cable, a DAC, and a headphone amplifier, all in one. Top quality? I think not.

You arrive at your hotel room, phone almost out of battery. Apple has decided you can't listen to music when you're charging that battery. Thanks Apple!

Your iPhone's battery will last all day, effortlessly. Your "Airpods" are only good for five hours, so you'll be stuffing the charging case for the Airpods into your back pocket, next to your phone. Or you can carry a lightning-to-3.5 adapter in your pocket, along with an extra pair of headphones.

This adapter lets you connect devices that use a 3.5 mm audio plug to your Lightning devices.
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Dan Ramos's profile photoChris Karson's profile photo
Seems like the logical move...
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Chris Karson

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Coleco Chameleon Kickstart - A Sham

it's a shame that they had to resort to faking it... I'm sure designing a gaming system is no easy feat, but I have been eagerly following this from day one. I guess the system just isn't ready to be shown.

Probably doomed to fail from the start.

In my opinion what they should have built is a game console that you insert a RaspBerry Pi into. Real controllers, maybe a NES or SNES cartridge slot that works and ability to customize. I'd buy that.

But when you fake it you are going to get caught. instant death to the project. Poof!
One of the biggest controversies in the gaming world right now is the Coleco Chameleon. The Chameleon has faced its fair share of criticism after the prototype on display at the New York Toy Fair wa...
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Chris Karson

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Paradoxically this focus by Apple to limit security issues by having something to address the potential vulnerability of non approved repairers using in appropriate hardware in such a key area makes me more inclined to use Apple for more secure things like payments etc. Would be good to know whether Google have followed suit in closing this route.
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Chris Karson

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Google to End Chrome Support for Vista, XP

So I still have an old Vista machine and tonight I logged into it and used the web browser... Chrome let me know that support for Vista (and XP) ends in April. What I find interesting is that they say its because the operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft--however Vista is still supported by Microsoft, at least until April 2017. I guess nobody should be surprised they dropped Vista, but they could be honest about it. Oh well Firefox still seems to work...

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Chris Karson

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The Problem With Benchmarks

I like benchmark results as much as the next tech enthusiast (maybe more than most), but there is something that tech media does that is unethical.  The thing is that it's a pervasive practice... I know, because I worked for a couple of traditional editorial firms and it happens all the time.

Basically when it comes to benchmarking you can make results look better than they actually might be.  Sex up the accompanying article and you have a nice piece of hype.  The problem is that it's bullshit.

So the Apple A9X processor has been getting impressive benchmark results.  They aren't world beating but very good for the relative battery life, etc.  But if you are a trashy reporter who is trying to show the iPad Pro as crushing the competition you write it up.

It's garbage reporting though.  The scores where the A9X does best are in single core processing and off-screen rendering.

So first of all the A9X is a dual core part.  Many other devices (or processors I should say) are quad- or octa-core.  The author seems to infer that the only score that matters is the single core score.  Hmm... suspicious.  Now granted that there is a diminishing return for each core (think PS3), but there is considerable value to having many cores nonetheless.

Then there is the issue of off-screen rendering... this is most useless as on-screen rendering is what is important.  For a test to be valid, it would have to be at the same resolution as well.  If you compare using native resolution of the device, a device with a higher native resolution will perform worse (if the CPU/GPU were the same),  Likewise a lower resolution device would perform better.

So don't believe everything about benchmarks.

I generally like the overall benchmark synthetics provided--they are unbiased and give some form of relative performance index.  You have to keep in mind resolution as well...

So look at the numbers here (using Geekbench).  It shows that the A9X does very well stacked against other processors overall, but not the crushing win some fanboy articles will make you believe.  Unless you think that single core numbers mean everything.  Oh and the Ipad Pro is faster than the low end Surface Pro 4 (but not the high end).  That's significant given the price-point.
The benchmarks result for the battle between the iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4 is in, and it seems Apple's offering beats its Microsoft counterpart in both speed and price comparison.
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Chris Karson

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Windows updates

I've been testing the new build of Windows (which will be out officially at the end of August I think) and it has a little nasty thing... there 's a peer-to-peer capability to update other computers on your network... this is great because if you have more than one Windows 10 system it will reduce bandwidth required for system updates.

The catch is that BY DEFAULT it's set to update other computers on the internet! Trust me you do not want to do this. easily turned off...
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Retro Atari users unite!!!
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Windows 10 - Six Months In

So I've been running Windows 10 all over the place for 6 months and I just wanted to share some thoughts,

Now my experience with Windows 10 has been mostly positive. I like it and I think the transformation from the quirky Windows 8 has been remarkably successful in spite of Windows 8's shortcomings (too numerous to list). It's clean, modern and provides the broad compatibility demanded by Windows users. And its free for Windows 7 and 8 users.

My advice?

1. Upgrading inplace from Windows 7 or Windows 8 is risky. It can fail and even when successful you are left with messy old apps from your previous install. Don't do it. Clean install if you must.

2. Don't bother with Windows 10 on older hardware. I suggest a Core i3 (released 6 or seven years ago) or better. Got an old Core2Duo? Keep it on Windows 7 or use Linux.

3. Drivers remain an issue--if your machine didn't come with Win 10, you may have to hunt down the best drivers for your system, and install them via device manager if they are legacy non-win10 drivers (as opposed to running a setup.exe wrapper). Compatibility is very good, but don't place absolute trust in Windows Update selecting the best and most compatible drivers for your hardware.

4. Tweak the configuration to turn off unneeded features and to improve your privacy. Windows 10 is fine, but requires some configuration for most users' sensibilities. For the most part iof there is something you don't like you can change it.

5. Learn how to customise the tiles. It's worthwhile and convenient. Most people seem to leave the crappy defaults.

6. Leverage the cloud. Windows 10 is best if you are leveraging cloud resources like OneDrive,, etc. If you are comfortable with this its worthwhile.

7. Learn how to set compatibility settings for older applications using shortcut properties. Compatibility is near 100% if you know how to make the app think it's running on an older system.

8. Change program defaults to your liking. Windows sets defaults to microsoft programs but in some cases you are going to be better served by selecting a default program for various functions. This takes soem trial and error (I still use many Microsoft defaults, but critical things like Video and Music now default to my favorite players)

9. Unless you have a buggy Surface Pro 4, the Sleep and hibernate functions work better than ever. Take advantage of them... the newest hardware has a deep sleep mode which is very worthwhile.

10. This is not just a Windows 10 thing, but please avoid "free" software. Even important free software like Java or Acrobat Reader now include crapware that you have to carefully manually deselect. It gets much worse with malware and toolbars that effectively infect your system. This is the biggest problem with Windows today, and Microsoft can't do much about it.
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Chris Karson

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Apple, you suck.
What does Error 53 tell us about the arrogance of Apple, how it works, how it perceives its customers, and how it relates to the general public? #ios   #iphone   #error53   #bricking  
It's rare that you see a company highlighting its flaws when everything is going perfectly. Once you apply some pressure, you reveal the frayed edges, the blurred lines, and both the real and the perceived faults. Apple's Error 53 offers a crucial look at what drives Apple.
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A Manning's profile photo
There's a more informative description on

I'm glad to see how seriously Apple takes security. Allowing inappropriate hardware from unapproved suppliers in such a key area is something that I'd hope Google would also prevent (though it tends to take longer for Google to close loopholes because of delays by manufacturers in rolling out fixes).
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Chris Karson

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The New Google Plus -- I Like It!

Hey I was offered to preview the new google plus tonight and I think I like the new look. I like the navigation bar at the top for sure... it looks nice. I winder what else has changed?
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Chris Karson

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Windows 10 Annoyance: The 512 Shortcut Bug

As if you didn't need another reason to clean install Windows 10, there is a very serious bug that microsoft has known for some time now and just won't fix.  If you have more than 512 shortcuts some will not display in the start menu or search.  It's mind-blowing that they haven't fixed it... and the bug has been there since the preview builds.

I have 857 shortcuts, so going on a program diet is not really an option either.  The programs are there and work fine too...
A Manning's profile photoChris Karson's profile photo
Yes but some programs add a bunch... I installed threshold 2 and the problem seems fixed. 
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Windows 10: The Stuff I Don't Like

I'm looking for feedback on this..

So while I was never really all in on Windows 8, Windows 10 feels like a winner to me for the most part.  However that's not to say there aren't some things I don't like.  Here's a list of stuff (my top ten) they need to deal with:

1. The mail apps stinks.  Yes, i still use an old school mail app and I don't like the crummy app included.  it's embarassing.  I liked the old Live Essentials app... I might end up installing Outlook 2016 just to try it out as my permanent mail app.  If this is Microsoft's way of forcing folks to use webmail it just might work.  hey is there a new version of Eudora?

2. Edge might be edgy, but it sure is Spartan.  It lacks modern day features... oh sure it's fast but I'd like some plug-ins and cloud-sync among other niceties.  I'll stick with memory-sucking Chrome for now.  But I do like Edge's general performance and reasonable stability.

3. In place upgrade still sucks.  I've seen a number of failures (and some reasonably successful upgrades).  As always I recommend a complete bare metal nuke before installation.

4. Shortcuts... where did you go?  I seem to be missing shortcuts of programs I have installed... and the programs aren't getting indexed.  Weird.  If I run the .exe they run fine.  I'm not sure what is going on here but i need a complete list of shortcuts, not soem curated list.  With Win 8 I was used to searching for everything... now that doesn't always work!  I'm probably doing something wrong.

5. Updates... I sure wish I had more control over them... especially the store updates.  This is screaming for a third party tool.

6. I wish some of the new style menus offered me a classic view... this tablet interface just feels dumbed down.  It's weird how some panels still look like Win 7 and others are tablet UI.  I wish there was both for everything.  Less isn't always more.

7. XP Mode was nice and it doesn't work anymore (for me).  I tried Hyper-V but resorted for VirtualBox... I admit I need to invest some time into better understand Hyper-V, but the networking part if driving me crazy.  This should be easier to set up for end users.

8. Media Center... well I'm glad that some folks have reintroduced WMC by hacking the Win 7 media center.  Media Center is great and it's a darn shame it can't be bought for Win 10.  I don't get it--Microsoft could charge $20/year and they's get many takers and it would be a great revenue stream for them... but they choose to eliminate it altogether.  Kodi doesn't do soem of the things WMC can either... this should be available in the store for sure.

9. Games for Windows.  I happen to own a bunch of games in Games for Windows, but I have no means to transfer these licenses to the new store (I was able to claim a Minecraft license).  This is a shame... eventually those games will no longer be available.  Microsoft should make good on this for their customers who they abandoned.

10.  Why are there programs in the app store that promote piracy?  There are numerous "free" streaming apps that let you stream current movies (often with Chinese sub-titles or poor quality).  These apps should not have made it through screening, but they did.  It's one thing to have fart apps, but to promote illegal activities?  Microsoft you should be ashamed.  Time to fix it.

What are your gripes?
Chris Karson's profile photo
FYI the Eudora crack was a joke... haven't used it since the early 90's... but maybe Thunderbird it worth looking at in addition to Outlook 2016 (which was just released yesterday!)
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IT Guy
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    Government Mule, 1995 - present
  • Reset Magazine
    Managing Editor, 1986 - 1988
  • Ottawa Sun
    Editorial Assistant, 1989 - 1989
  • Self Employed
    Consultant, 1992 - 1994
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Osgoode, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Technology guy who likes the geeky stuff.  Also likes guitars and tube amps and little pluggy things with shiny lights.
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