Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/22/letters_2210/
Safer Apple-lifting is new Reg reader pastime
We've seen the future, and it has a writ on it
Letters Apple's kind-hearted advice to owners of its shiny new iMac has gone down a storm with Reg readers this week. Guidelines for moving the computer included a reminder to Apple owners to "make sure all cables and cords are disconnected". Useful, indeed.
One, rather pedantic, reader wrote to chastise us for including the phrase "critical alert" to describe this advisory, suggesting that we might be overstating the case a little. Well, Jeff, if this isn't critical information, we'd like to know what is.
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Safety Office used to issue information on how to sit in chairs and to get up from sitting in chairs. Alas, I don't have this advice any more.
Apple obviously accommodating all the thousand of ex-PC users flooding over after buying an iPod.
while the article on apple's technote instructing people on how to move the imac g5 was amusing, there is more of a point to it than you gave apple credit for. Apple just wants to make sure everyone knows that you shouldn't grab onto the base to move imac g5's- hence the part where they say 'grasp it from the sides'. apparently the base can be broken if you use that as a handhold while moving the thing. and i can believe it, too- we just got a 20" model at my office, and it's a heavy little beastie . . . .
They could have just written - "don't pick it up by the base", then, couldn't they?
Actually, Apple manual writers have a history of writing such nonsense. The Jargn File has them as an example...
drool-proof paper - Documentation that has been obsessively dumbed down, to the point where only a cretin could bear to read it, is said to have succumbed to the "drool-proof paper syndrome" or to have been "written on drool-proof paper".
For example, this is an actual quote from Apple Computer's LaserWriter manual: "Do not expose your LaserWriter to open fire or flame."
If Mac users are "more intelligent than the average computer user," why do they need an operating system designed for complete idiots?
So, it appears this advice is perfectly workable when moving any G5, whether or not it's rightfully yours. Does that mean the publication of this KB article represents a security issue for Mac users? =)
A good point there, A. Byrne. We should be told...
Let us hop operating systems now, from Apple, to Linux. Specifically, Linux in schools:
This whole Linux in schools thing raises all sorts of additional issues, the first being that they might actually have to pay their IT technical staff a decent wage, as a whole different set of technical expertise would be required to run a Linux network when compared to a Windows network.
Speaking generally based on my own experience as an IT Techncian at a secondary school - our partner school technicians just don't have a clue about Linux, and come to think of it, they don't know that much more about Windows either.
Anyway, that's one reason it won't happen any time soon.
The other is the issue of "policies". I haven't looked into it, because I am primarily a Windows techie with a bit of Linux "dabbling" on the side, but I suspect there's nothing for Linux that rivals Microsoft's group policy for Active Directory environments. The schools I know of make heavy use of this facility in order to greatly control what the students (and the staff) can see and do in various applications. I assume this sort of thing isn't available in Linux because the whole thing revolves around the Windows registry, and Linux doesn't have one of those.
Couple all this this the fact that Microsoft don't rip schools off in quite the same way as they rip businesses off. £4.40 for a client access licence and £100 or so for a Windows Server lience as opposed to however many hundreds of pounds businesses have to pay is quite easily affordable at the school where I work.
Maybe someone like RM would like to set up a Linux support system with people proficient in Linux travelling around the country helping schools out. I don't think you can rely on schools to take up Linux by themselves, and based on our LEA's opinion of Linux (another vast source of cluelessness there), you probably can't rely on the local authorities either.
A reaction to the tasering of a granny:
See, if the officer had followed normal procedure and just shot her the force could have avoided a lawsuit. Lucky she was old, white and female otherwise they just might have.
E.g. Just in the states of Oregon & Washington over the past couple of years there have been the following fatal shootings by US police officers:
- Vietnamese male wielding knife (with noone in immediate danger) shot over 10 times by 2 police officers who were 20 feet away
- Hispanic male mental patient with iron bar (with no-one else in vicinity) shot over ten times by three police officers for not complying with their instructions to put down the iron bar
- Black woman shot during traffic stop because the officer thought she was "about to drive away and might hit him" even though it turned out that he was standing at the side of the car at the time and witnesses said the car never moved
- Black male shot during traffic stop because the officer thought that he was "reaching for something" even though witnesses claimed that he had his hands on the steering wheel
All of these cases were decided by Grand Jury and found nothing wrong with the officers' actions.
I think it would be hilarious to see the same officers policing England with just a 12 inch piece of wood.
The future of the world according to Bill Gates has us all glued to windows-based, interactive goggle/google boxes. Funnily enough, not everyone agrees, either that this will happen, or that it is a good idea:
The TV is the most successful electronic device ever invented. It has far more market penetration and influence than any other device, including the telephone. It is not a stand alone device; it is a terminal. It isn't interactive and it only delivers content from organizations which have lots of money and political influence.
The internet, since about 1994/5 is the first time that the public has had any ability to have any freedom to use a public network and to deliver content to it. It's not insiginificant that the content is interactive and that people using the internet are using their PCs as terminals.
The future, logically seen, is that the future will continue to be one where people use terminals, where the content will become richer and the interactivity will increase.
This 'content' will be a hybrid blending of what we call tv production, movie production and software. It will be interactive and personal, first and last. And the participants will continue to access this content via terminals that deliver them ever-richer interaction (touchscreens, voice, etc), ever-richer local graphics and content from ever-more-powerful/versatile remote aggregation/broadcast supercomputing clusters.
The PC is not in the equation. Microsoft, so far, is not a significant component of the equaton. Bill needs to be reminded that it's always easier to talk than it is to do. He's shown us that when it comes to security and to innovation. Fortunately for us all Bill is not capable of preventing the future from happening, a future in which he is an anachronism.
"Good TV isn't interactive, and on effective computer networks, users aren't passive. The two can happily co-exist. TV broadcasters seem to have learned this lesson, and for their part, need to fix the programming."
Probably my BIGGEST complaint about TV (apart from the fact it's switched on :-) is that it's usually somebody *else* that has their hands on the remote control.
Unless you happen to have a TV all to yourself (admittedly quite common, now), I can't think of anything more frustating to at least half the audience than having an interactive tv session ...
Re: split screen advertising.
I sometimes use VCD material in my English Listening Classes for Chinese students. To stop them reading the Chinese subtitles, I employ a very high-tech system that would likely also be useful in filtering split-screen advertising, namely taping a sheet of paper over the bottom of the screen.
Perversly though, I can see an advantage to this split screen nonsense. If one side of the screen was pumping out adverts, then I would assume the programs themselves would be presented add free (or mostly anyway). So all I have to do is tape something opaque over the adverts serving screen, and a huge percentage of my irritation would be assuaged.
One thing though. How would this split screen idea deal with the video recording issue? Would the contents of both screens be forced onto the vid? At which point any interactive content would be worthless.
The whole point of broadcasting is that the broadcaster is putting out something that audience is finding worthwhile (why else are the watching or listening?) and only being asked to sit back, relax and enjoy.
Very occasionally it's the ads that are interesting (ever seen the parody of the Guinness Surfing ad involving inflatable horse shaped kid's swimming rings, knitted trunks, waves two inches high and Brighton beach?), and the programme is the period during which the kettle is put on. It's what you need at the end of a long day. Some brain off time, some hard earnt down time.
Now if Bill Gates is expecting me (and calling me stupid if I don't? I'll sue I will) to start pressing buttons at the same time, well he's got another think coming. Interactivity? That's what tea breaks and the firm's internet connection is for. BBC's Ceefax is interactive enough.
Normally, people spend all their days telling and living tales. Our lives work like a story. Basic psychology.
When you switch to passive media such as TV, cinema, theater, you take a break from the exhaustive storytelling, and are told a story instead. To be entertained, to be informed, to be inspired.
Now if you are on a hefty ego-trip and your idea of appreciating other's ideas is to buy or steal them for profit, and you basically can't ever shut up because you are so full of sympathy for your own glorious story you simply lack the time to sit back and listen.
Now, we know that many of you read El Reg rather hurriedly in those rare quiet moments when you should be working but no one is around to see that you are not. Still, we would appreciate it if you took a little more time sometimes, as the letter below demonstrates:
Regarding the quote below in the article "Robbie Williams: crooning soon on a memory card near you":
"Some analysts believe the mobile phone with hard disc capacity could revolutionize the MP3 player market just as the camera phone did for the photography world."
Eh? In what way have camera phones "revolutionized" the photography world? Sure, the teeming legions of up-skirt-photographers are no doubt happier (and undoubtedly more satisfied) with the advent of camera phones, but if I recall correctly, the last time I remember a professional photographer whipping out a Nokia and snapping an award-winning picture was...uh, never.
Whilst mobile phones with hard disks are a bloody good idea, comparing their potential success to camera-phones is a bit like naming your new yacht "Titanic 2".
OK, so phone cameras haven't revolutionised professional photography, but then we never said they had, did we? Careful reading can eliminate the need for indignation, meaning that your day will be smoother, happier, and less stressful.
Which is how we want to end this week. So, sit back, relax and read a few stories as you get yourselves geared up for the weekend. ®