The Northern Spy: Bugs and Bouquets
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: Bugs and Bouquets

By Rick Sutcliffe

Some trivial things that bug the Spy begin with the way the name of this month, and for that matter the name of the fourth day of the week are usually pronounced--as if in the one case there were no "r" and in the other there were no "d."

And there's the way the typical recycled Social Studies or English teacher handles the grade eight math courses he's been assigned while he awaits retirement from a job long redundant. No, a prime number is not "one that is divisible by itself and one" for that definition includes one itself. Second, anyone who uses the term "cross multiply" in a classroom ought to be put out to pasture before they do any more damage. Does "Law of Proportions" really have too many syllables to be properly taught? Third, an exponent on a number does not mean "a number multiplied by itself n times." It counts the number of factors, NOT the number of multiplications. Fourth, the sum of money put to work to earn interest is called the "principal" not the "principle". For more such items, see the mathematica page at opundo.com. Sigh.

More important on this topic, whatever was in the heads of the latest curriculum revision committee here in British Columbia? Removing conic sections from the High School curriculum when they are essential to calculus has to be one of the strangest moves in this arena for many years. Perhaps the committee members need to get out of their igloos more often.

For another modest step up from the trivial with which the Spy began, consider how the stock market has punished Apple for the crime of posting the best quarter in all of corporate history--anyone's corporation, anyone's quarter. Supposedly, iApple is now worth some thirty percent less than at its peak, and rates a P/E ratio just over ten. This for failing to grow in the double-digit percentages year over year? What's this all about? Looks like an emotional stampede to the Spy. Perhaps Apple should buy ... Apple shares as an investment.

Cupertino has just brought out a 128G iPad. But at this size storage, you'd think one could attach the thing to a computer with a simple interface cable and use it as an external backup disk--a more personal cloud, so to speak, for the people who go back and forth between home and office machines. Nah, not in the iSteve vision for the approved list of uses, so Apple won't allow it. Hey, folks. There is such a thing as being too proprietary.

On the other hand, perhaps the Cupertino folk have begun to realize that Samsung is prospering in part because of choice (many models), and this is a baby step in that direction. So, fill in the size gap with a five inch iPhone/iPad, offer more options, open up the architecture with a memory card slot, and let people to customize the things to death, why not? Nope, not in the vision. But in the end, thinking too narrowly is more likely to constrain the bottom line than thinking bigger and better different. Surely that has been part of Apple's past. Is it part of their future?

'Course, on the third hand (OTTH), there's something equally to be said against offering a bewildering array of near identical models of smartphone with only slightly differing names and model numbers -- one of RIM's problems, and a mark against the Android market. By contrast, Apple's simplicity is refreshing -- though perhaps overdone at times.

And, on the same topic as last month's rant, the Spy certainly agrees that acculturation into the irresponsible and anti-social world of first person shooters is a big part of the gun problem--as are TV and movies with the same negative valued. Psychopaths are made, not born, and our society is making them faster than Apple makes iPhones. Hey, the Spy observed thirty years ago that though he was agnostic on the question of whether there was "anyone else out there" (who really cares until they show up?), if they were, they'd be best advised to stay away from earth, because first contact would result in being shot out of the sky. Even then video games were training to that end, and were nothing worthwhile. Things are far worse now. But then, the Spy has never been able to understand the shooter game culture.

So, last month's "people with guns kill other people" should be expanded to "people with guns kill, just as they are programmed to do." Can this acculturation be changed? Not in the short term, for "freedom of expression" is just as much a problem when it becomes license as is freedom to bear arms. Alcohol and other mind-altering drugs still present the chief social problem in our Western world, but violence appears to be overtaking it. Gambling makes a troika, but that's a subject for another time, I betcha. Our culture needs an infusion of something else. They say that in the Welsh revivals of another century, most of the pubs closed for lack of business. Hmmm.

But this week's real corker on the negative side is the news that the presidential inauguration came with a price tag of $300 million. Huh? When the deficit and debt are threatening to turn the Excited States into a third world financial deadbeat nation? Why not charge the networks to bring a few cameras to the oval office for a swearing-in, then go out to dinner with a dozen or so people. Even at $100 a plate, Uncle Slush wouldn't be out ten grand. Better yet, afterwards, send the president or his party the bill. Thus was far beyond irresponsible.

And in the kudos department the Spy is constrained, now that some time has passed, to re-mention his bifurcated solution to the all-too-prone-to-die Apple Time Vault he once bought, but eventually decided was a bad apple, for having too many functions in an overly hot box. (Server quality drives need active cooling, and cannot prosper if confined in the same space as a router.)

His Synology DS211+ NAS has performed like a trooper ever since installation. Set up a service like a photo, music, web, cloud, or a backup (time machine) server, and it just works, never needs attention, always comes back up after a power outage without any issues. You can configure the thing to death, use it with anything Apple (and plenty not, such as networked TVs), and just let 'er rip. Rock solid reliable. The Spy installed two 2T Hitachi drives in a Raid-2 configuration, and these, like all the drives of that brand he's owned, have performed without a hitch. Oh, and as he just proved while writing this column, upgrading the software, firmware, and manager packages (or adding the latter) is well-interfaced, dead simple, and works like a charm. This is the NAS everyone should have. Synology is a company others should emulate.

Meanwhile his Cisco Linksys E4200 wired/Wi-Fi firewall and router is faster, more reliable, and has a longer range than the Apple router that struggled inside the Time Vault. Once more, set it up and forget it. The latter can be done either "manually" with the web interface or with a utility program called "Cisco Connect." One caveat: Cisco Connect is incompatible with Mountain Lion except for the E4200 V2 and a couple of other new models. The Spy has V1. No release date for the utility for E4200 was given on the web site.

So, the Spy engaged the chat feature on said site and actually got a rep who, though she had to look up answers, was able to converse intelligently--a refreshing change from the usual run of technical support people. However, she could only say their engineers were working on it, but with no specific date in sight--not an unexpected answer for a product line that has never been known for strong Mac support.

The Spy notes that Cisco has apparently decided to concentrate on enterprise products and has sold Linksys to Belkin. Hope the hardware remains the same high quality, and Belkin's greater presence in the Mac market can rub off on the Linksys software offerings.

All in all it comes down to "situation satisfactory." The Spy would buy from Synology again without the slightest hesitation, and from Linksys if the software were available.

BTW, in looking up some of that information, he came across an old column wherein he recommended Apple buy Samsung if they planned to be in the TV business. Might not have been a bad idea then, but a little late now. Besides, Apple would never be able to get a really big purchase past anti-trust regulators. No, that's going to have to be a roll-your-own business. The biggest problem isn't the technology, but content and distribution. Given deals with content providers, the Spy still thinks an Apple-owned communications network makes sense.
On the RIM

The Spy, being a Canajan, eh? by birth and predilection, has some interest in home grown companies. He has never been a fan of Research In Motion or its products, but confesses to some admiration at the way the Blackberry 10 introduction is being handled--controlled unveilings, teasing the public, reaching out to developers for apps, careful testing--in short, creating a buzz, or as much of one as this niche will bear.

Only time will tell whether RIM (now renamed Blackberry) has learned anything more than to engage a clever marketing team. The actual intro met with mixed reviews, but the proof of the pudding will be actual sales. Should the BB10 app universe expand reasonably, should the browser be useable, should the prices be reasonable, should the technical difficulties with the network prove a thing of the past, should the hardware quality control hold up, and should the negative press against Apple continue, then maybe, just maybe, Blackberry will survive. The company has managed to create itself a chance. Be nice if they succeeded. The Spy raises his forecast for survival from under 10% to over 35%, but has no plans to buy shares.

Well, TTFN as the Spy, under another hat, has to get ready for auditors coming over tonight. Old Church treasurers never retire, they just GOTO $9.99. Thus, this column is a mere thunk.

-- The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several organizations, including in the corporate sector, and participated in industry standards at the national and international level. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and six novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon's Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:


The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com
opundo : http://opundo.com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http://sheaves.org
WebNameHost : http://www.WebNameHost.net
WebNameSource : http://www.WebNameSource.net
nameman : http://nameman.net

General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:

Author Site: http://www.arjay.ca
Publisher's Site: http://www.writers-exchange.com/Richard-Sutcliffe.html

URLs for items mentioned in this column

Synology: http://www.synology.com/

Linksys: http://home.cisco.com/en-ca/wireless/linksys?icid=CAen-Homepage-Linksys

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Fantastical 2.3.6 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
Creative Kit 1.1 - $149.99
Creative Kit 2016--made exclusively for Mac users--is your ticket to the most amazing images you've ever created. With a variety of powerful tools at your fingertips, you'll not only repair and fine-... Read more
iMazing 2.2.3 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
Apple Configurator 2.4 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy to deploy iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices in your school or business. Use Apple Configurator to quickly configure large numbers of devices connected to... Read more
WhatRoute 2.0.18 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the router... Read more
Posterino 3.3.5 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Skim 1.4.28 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.4 - The latest...
With Apple macOS Sierra, Siri makes its debut on Mac, with new features designed just for the desktop. Your Mac works with iCloud and your Apple devices in smart new ways, and intelligent... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.1 - Apple's spreads...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Xcode 8.3 - Integrated development envir...
Xcode includes everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing... Read more

Hearthstone celebrates the upcoming Jour...
Hearthstone gets a new expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, in a little over a week, and they'll be welcoming the Year of the Mammoth, the next season, at the same time. There's a lot to be excited about, so Blizzard is celebrating in kind. Players will... | Read more »
4 smart and stylish puzzle games like Ty...
TypeShift launched a little over a week ago, offering some puzzling new challenges for word nerds equipped with an iOS device. Created by Zach Gage, the mind behind Spelltower, TypeShift boasts, like its predecessor, a sleak design and some very... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Deals, deals, deals. We're all about a good bargain here on 148Apps, and luckily this was another fine week in App Store discounts. There's a big board game sale happening right now, and a few fine indies are still discounted through the weekend.... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
It's been quite the week, but now that all of that business is out of the way, it's time to hunker down with some of the excellent games that were released over the past few days. There's a fair few to help you relax in your down time or if you're... | Read more »
Orphan Black: The Game (Games)
Orphan Black: The Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dive into a dark and twisted puzzle-adventure that retells the pivotal events of Orphan Black. | Read more »
The Elder Scrolls: Legends is now availa...
| Read more »
Ticket to Earth beginner's guide: H...
Robot Circus launched Ticket to Earth as part of the App Store's indie games event last week. If you're not quite digging the space operatics Mass Effect: Andromeda is serving up, you'll be pleased to know that there's a surprising alternative on... | Read more »
Leap to victory in Nexx Studios new plat...
You’re always a hop, skip, and a jump away from a fiery death in Temple Jump, a new platformer-cum-endless runner from Nexx Studio. It’s out now on both iOS and Android if you’re an adventurer seeking treasure in a crumbling, pixel-laden temple. | Read more »
Failbetter Games details changes coming...
Sunless Sea, Failbetter Games' dark and gloomy sea explorer, sets sail for the iPad tomorrow. Ahead of the game's launch, Failbetter took to Twitter to discuss what will be different in the mobile version of the game. Many of the changes make... | Read more »
Splish, splash! The Pokémon GO Water Fes...
Niantic is back with a new festival for dedicated Pokémon GO collectors. The Water Festival officially kicks off today at 1 P.M. PDT and runs through March 29. Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, and their assorted evolved forms will be appearing at... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Is A New 10.5-inch iPad Still Coming In April...
There was no sign or mention of a long-rumored and much anticipated 10.5-inch iPad Pro in Apple’s product announcements last week. The exciting iPad news was release of an upgraded iPad Air with a... Read more
T-Mobile’s Premium Device Protection Now Incl...
Good news for T-Mobile customers who love their iPhones and iPads. The “Un-carrier” has become the first national wireless company to give customers AppleCare Services at zero additional cost as part... Read more
FileWave Ensures Support for Latest Apple OS...
FileWave multi-platform device management providers announced support for Apple’s release yesterday of iOS 10.3, macOS Sierra 10.12.4, and tvOS 11.2. FileWave has a history of providing zero-day... Read more
Use Apple’s Education discount to save up to...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple Watches available sta...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches for 14-16% off MSRP, starting at $229. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each watch. Shipping is free: Series... Read more
9-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for $...
B&H Photo has the 9.7″ 32GB Space Gray Apple iPad Pro on sale for $549 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100-$150 of...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $899 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple refurbished, in s...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for $1199, sa...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Save up to $260 with Apple refurbished 12-inc...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more

Jobs Board

Fulltime aan de slag als shopmanager in een h...
Ben jij helemaal gek van Apple -producten en vind je het helemaal super om fulltime shopmanager te zijn in een jonge en hippe elektronicazaak? Wil jij werken in Read more
Desktop Analyst - *Apple* Products - Montef...
…technology to improve patient care. JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: Provide day-to-day support for Apple Hardware and Software in the environment based on the team's support Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**493168BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000827-Denton-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** At Read more
Fulltime aan de slag als shopmanager in een h...
Ben jij helemaal gek van Apple -producten en vind je het helemaal super om fulltime shopmanager te zijn in een jonge en hippe elektronicazaak? Wil jij werken in Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**492889BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000886-Norwalk-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do?** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.