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Chris Karson
Works at Undisclosed Employer
Attends school of hard knocks
Lives in Osgoode, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Chris Karson

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Andrew Manning's profile photoDan Ramos's profile photo
 
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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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...

http://chrome.blogspot.ca/2015/11/updates-to-chrome-platform-support.html

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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.

http://www.redmondpie.com/ipad-pro-vs-ms-surface-pro-4-benchmarks-comparison/
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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awesome 
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Plex on Apple TV

Wonderful news that Plex is coming to Apple TV.

If Kodi is ever approved (and keep in mind Plex is based on XBMC, the predecessor of Kodi), the Apple TV might be a useful device.

http://www.appletvhacks.net/2015/09/12/official-plex-app-for-the-new-apple-tv/#.VfSAQ_lVhBc
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Apple Streaming via Microsoft Edge

Apple normally restricts live streaming of their events to Apple devices... this time around they are adding Windows 10's Edge browser... I find this interesting and strange...

See for yourself:

http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2015/

Requirements: Live streaming uses Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology. HLS requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.
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Windows 10 Experiment: Operation NetBook

Well I decided to embark on a little test for my vacation this summer.  I decided to only take my daughter's abandoned NetBook as my primary computer.  It's a Windows 7 based Netbook (actually a Samsung N150) and it is basically identical to most of the Atom-based Netbooks of it's era.  It's a slow machine... as far as NetBooks go I think this one is only slightly better than average due to the 2GB of DDR2 RAM installed.  It's got a 1.6GHZ N450 processor.

So I upgraded the existing Windows installation to Windows 10.  The upgrade completed but I started getting blue screens... yet another failed upgrade (I do not recommend the upgrade for long term use)  I found it very slow and full of obsolete Samsung bloatware, so I decided to format the HDD and reinstall completely.  After the installation, I found that 100% of the hardware was detected by Windows 10, and the only driver I could update was the Realtek sound driver (Realtek published a new Win 10 driver in July).
Cortana had to go.  Tried it but it was too slow and a drain on resources.

It's not fast, but it's usable.  The memory footprint is considerably higher than the previous Windows 7 Starter Edition.  I would definitely not recommend using less than 2GB (which I believe to be the maximum for this particular system).  If I reduce the amount of pagefile available, I immediately get out of memory warnings doing nothing but browsing.
I tried running some of the games from the app store.  Minesweeper, mahjong and solitaire collection ran okay, however load times were very long, especially when signing in to Xbox Live.  Candy Crush will not run at all... I suspect the system doesn't meet it's requirements.  No error message at all though--I just get an orange screen and that's it.

As for browsing, everything is fine although slow.  There is a big difference between browsers... I did some benchmarking along with non-scioentific tests.  Edge is considerably faster than IE Chrome or Firefox.

The problem I have with Edge is that it's a very limited browser--it lacks features that I use extensively (mostly with Chrome).  But on this limited computing power device it's definitely the fastest--fastest in terms of javascript and 2nd best memory utilization.  Firefox was slightly better for memory use, but it was close.  No surprise here but Chrome was the worst--then again I had some extensions loaded so that probably hurt the numbers a bit.  Even if I dump the extensions Edge is faster.  Too bad it's so basic--I guess the codename of Spartan still fits.

One thing I did with Edge is that I completely turned of Flash (which is built-in).  I think Flash is a performance killer and I don't miss it.
As for Windows, I turned of transparency and most of the graphical enhancements for the desktop.  I don't miss any of the enhancements and I'm sure it provides a small boost.
I also removed the tray components for a number of applications and I set Skype not to boot with the computer.  I think it makes a difference too... especially on the bootup times.  I installed the free OneNote 2013 app, but disabled the tray icon.

Overall, I'd say that Windows 10 on the old NetBook has been a success!  It's fast enough to use regularly... so long as expectations are reasonable.  I expected things to be much much worse.  Most netbooks have only 1GB of RAM--I expect Win 10 to install and run, but I'd be surprised if it was viable for browsing the web.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/windows-10-faq
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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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There's a more informative description on http://imaxrepairs.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/error-53.html?m=1.

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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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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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...
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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?
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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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iPhone 6 Announcement: No 32GB Entry model

Well the 16GB model is still the base model (that people shouldnt buy).  There's no 32GB model and 64GB is an extra $100.  Hmm...
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  • school of hard knocks
    present
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Tech News | IT Security | Computer Hardware | Linux | Phones and Tablets | Microsoft
Introduction
Technology guy who likes the geeky stuff.  Also likes guitars and tube amps and little pluggy things with shiny lights.
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4 Kids
Work
Occupation
IT Guy
Employment
  • Undisclosed Employer
    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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