13. Technology: Setup question?

Alienware

Which setup should I go for?

I decided which setup to go with but it was tricky; my choices were a thin and light Laptop with a EGPU, Desktop computer, thicker laptop and should I get an external monitor with that?

In the end I went with a desktop PC and a wide screen monitor how did I come to this decision?

Prior to this my sole computer was a Surface pro 4 and before that I only used a Surface Pro 1 and had no complaints, why the switch to big and bulky? POWEEEERRRRRR!!!!

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12. Technology: Are smartphones boring?

Are smartphones getting boring? Yes

The last smartphones I got proper excited for was probably the HTC hero and the Iphone 4 but since then I got to admit; these days honestly most phones do the same, look the same and feel the same so it don’t matter if I get an Asus, Samsung or Apple so when did it all get so boring?

Parts of the reasons are the Apple biased media who kissed ass for everything Apple did even if the technology was being used prior by competitors, competitors then slowly started to adopt I’ll let them blink first mind set, carriers and manufacturers also threw spanners in the works by wrecking software updates, meaning rather than get it seamlessly as you do with Apple (Steve deserves a lot of props for this), it was staged roll outs and in some cases you didn’t even get the update; a lot went the safer route with skins keeping the OS’s closer to stock Android OS, which limited differentiating factors, they also plain ran out of new design ideas making designs all seem very similar.

So what’s there really to look for too?

Better camera, better battery life, better screen, new emoji’s… because everyone loves emoji’s and oh yeah, how could I forget; it’s thinner wohoo yay *rolls eyes*, new authentication methods and some new colours.

Truth is when they harper on about the camera all I’m thinking is; can I get a clean picture regardless of lighting without have to fiddle about with a trillion settings? Yes, well that’s great; all that other stuff your rambling on about means nothing to me, now what’s this thing going to cost?

Links:
Brainthrough!

11. Technology: Want a chip?

My answer? No
I’ve been hearing about people wanting chips for a number of reasons but one from a fellow accountant I was not expecting.

If we don’t get the chip we won’t be able to compete with robots
 

When it comes to cost cutting which is always on the agenda, people will opt for the robots and here’s just a few reasons why:
The machine can work longer, there’s no need for sleep, sick leave, lateness, annual leave, recruitment time/costs, no flexible time and that’s before you look at Salaries, cost of living increases, NI contributions and pension contributions.

I’m not picking up chippie when I can capex the robots and pay maintenance and software upgrade costs, if our current method for payment for large items remains true, it will probably be a lease agreement with an upgrade every xyz amount of years.

Another reason why I was not expecting it is as accountants we’ve been seeing outsourcing and automation happen gradually for years, but it has not hit full aggression yet, Accounts payable, Accounts receivable and banking were the first to have the torch pointed at it and in some companies you have 1 person locally and several outsourced, as the software gets better (still some way off) the pure data entry parts of accounts will shrink, basically we’re heading towards this collision anyway.

Why would I not want a chip which would have me all knowing; simple I don’t want to feel like a machine, I am happy with not knowing everything finding out little titbits as I go along, I am happy to switch off my electronics for a couple days and read books and write, I am happy to see two people debate and listen to how well they present their arguments from memory, last but not least people are people never expect too much from them, at some point someone will find a way to abuse it.

Links:
eletimes.com

Brainthrough!

5. Technology: Smart glasses?

Where are the smart glasses?

Let’s get straight to it; Google glasses were a good idea but from the wrong company, Google’s creepy peeping tom vibe is off putting, you can just see faces being tagged, privacy being invaded, weirdo’s filming ‘attractive’ women, conversations being recorded and idiots recording themselves assaulting people (think happy slap 2.0).

Plus the whole “if you are searching something on the internet you don’t want people to know you probably should not be searching it” just makes Google a company I personally want to deal with as little as possible.

That Google shade to one side: HTC, Samsung, GoPro, TomTom, Garmin, Fibbit, Specialized, Cube, Giant and BMC I’m looking at you guys we need smart glasses guys.

In my mind I am seeing it like this, imagine going on holiday or being at a family birthday party, the biggest drag is holding the camera phone up, why? It takes one hand off you for starts but even worse than that because you’re filming you are not really in the moment, think going down a water slide, or riding a quad bike rather than have one hand filing you have the smart glasses on and you say the command “snap’ for pictures “clip” for video and it just does it; this allows you to be in the action and capture what your eyes see, it could be a great holiday/birthday companion.

As a cyclist, you already know why I would want this, GPS, record the run, average MPH, Average Cadence, video footage for safety (or to give to the police), group rides etc, I can almost see it now!

Specs: It has a loop so if they fall off your face they don’t go into the road/floor, water proof, sweat resistant, changeable lens types (i.e. cycling frames and casual frames, HD camera, 32gb storage, 12 hour battery life, and a soft red light to let people know it is recording.

Links:

Brainthrough!

4. Technology: Mac Mini?

What the Mac!!! Apple?

Now whilst technology blogs and magazines still continues to kiss this company where the sun don’t shine, I have a simple question; are you taking the mick with the Mac Mini?

This is ridiculous; no one with a sane mind can tell me there is a valid reason for Apple not updating the Mac Mini but yet they still shamelessly charge an insane amount for the tech that it is. No one going to say nothing? No one? Really?
 

Oh don’t get me wrong, we got a lovely email from Tim Cook in October telling us how ‘important’ the Mac Mini is, to which I smirk, that a billion-dollar tech company could not at least update the Mini’s internals, hey I guess the one guy doing all the work has been signed off on long term sick due to stress resulting from the Mac Pro’s he cocked up.

You’re probably thinking why am I whinging about this? Simple because the Mac Mini has potential to be a great computer, it’s sleek profile and timeless design makes it look the part, plus this is where people should be going who don’t want/need an all in one and don’t need the Super Saiyan power of a Mac Pro, it has potential to be a good mid level PC (if they stop being cheap and get Nvidia processors), heck even a half decent gaming rig once bootcamped into windows not to mention VR and video editing potential.

However we get none of the above, instead as per Macrumors buyers guide as at 18/Nov/17 we get a turd that’s not been updated since 20 FRIGGIN 14, yes that’s right 2014! And nothing, instead I see people trying to defend this non-sense, the same numb nuts who will say something like ‘ideally you want a PC to last 5 years as technology moves on at quite a rapid pace’.

Don’t worry I don’t expect Apple to change anytime soon nor do I expect the customer to say anything, I mean after all some are still buying this product…. Which says it all. 

Links:
https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#Mac_Mini

Brainthrough!

3. Technology: Apple WWDC was it good?

Has Apple got its groove back? Heck yeah!

(In old Rock WWE voice) Finally the Tim has delivered… an exciting press conference.

WWDC June 2017 brought that old Apple magic feeling to it; we can move on from that garbage conference towards the end of last year, this WWDC was the best Keynote since Tim took over, applauds to him.

My criticisms were only with Phil’s bit as he was regurgitating what was on written on the screen and it seemed as though he forgot his lines when doing his segment for the wacky named homepod; that name sucks, it double sucks; it triply sucks, but I will look into buying one when finances allow (my gripe with the name is homepod suggests you can control a good portion of the home with this device and that’s it primary function; whereas this device’s primary function is speaker playback).

Aside from that, not many gripes they even gave us the gift of cutting down on Pokémon time.

Apple took some shots at the competition with: Tim wasted no time laughing at ‘the fragmented ones’ (Android), Sonos and amazon speaker couldn’t slip Apple’s punches neither, I was impressed with the passive aggressive hits.

Politics

Privacy, let’s face it under Tim Apple is more political, most fans would prefer they stuck to products but for the foreseeable future Liberal Tim will continue to be political. On that note Privacy was on the Apple political agenda, Apple made it clear as usual, privacy is what they will be associated with.

Competition

Google, Tom tom and Garmin definitely need to keep their eye on Apple maps, especially now it will come with has lane changing notification which is a feature I would usually associated with purpose made SatNav, I can see this eating into sales over time but Apple maps still has a way to go before it is as good as those rivals.

Intelligent tracking prevention, this one hits Google; as you know Google is the king of online stalking and people accept it as it’s free and they provide a good service, I’m one of those people who get creeped out by it and thus this is a welcomed addition, the impact this will have is against target ads as this will make it more difficult to do this.

Auto mute, this should of never been a thing in the flipping first place, honestly sick to death of hearing this and glad that Apple is stepping up and freeing us from this non-sense, I would say this effects the advertisers but everyone I know has the same reaction, find which page it is on, then try to find where the heck it is and mute that crap.

Apple notes vs Ms OneNote

I was wondering how long it would take Apple to see the threat of MS OneNote, which is a Microsoft software done right.

I use OneNote all the time and whenever I introduce it to people they are impressed, however far too many people are just unaware of the software which gives Apple the advantage, notes is already on people’s ‘I’ devices and most would be using it without even thinking about it. Microsoft has a disadvantage as an account is needed to get the best use out of it, Microsoft need to keep pushing Onenote until people are as familiar with it as they are MS Word.

10 inches or bigger!

The new Ipad pro is “10.5” inches, which puts Microsoft in a funny position, as they have said if a device is over 10 inches then they will have to buy/subscribe to MS office. With the Ipad being10.5 inches and will no doubt be the default buy for consumers will Microsoft have to cave?  If Microsoft does cave and continue to give office away to the new Ipad then this will put them in hot water with their own hardware partners who will request the same treatment and rightly so, if they don’t they risk losing users who will just use Apple productivity Apps which could bite them long term especially in university where they really want that demographic to be used to Microsoft as they will decide the future work place.

On that note let’s end this on an applause to wonder kid and wonder grandma, the youngest and oldest App makers in Apple’s history I believe.

Brainthrough

2. Technology: Are we really comparing Rolex’s to Apple Watches?

Is it Rolex vs Apple?

No, I found it odd when Apple even bothered mentioning Rolex in their press conference; if anything only the first gen ‘Edition’ watches (the precious metal ones) could be compared Rolex’s due to their price point; but that would not be good marketing nor would it make tech headlines.

Let’s start off by saying both Rolex and Apple hide their watch sales numbers and all sales numbers are guesses.

As Apple canned the 1st generation 18ct gold Edition watches; it suggests; the market is just not there yet for precious metal smart watches whereas Rolex has been flogging high quality watches in precious metals for a significant period.

With Apple hiding sales (as do Rolex) we can’t see how badly the precious metal edition watches held up again Rolex’s in the same price bracket; a problem Apple may have had with those models is it could not target watch collectors who often appreciate the complexity, mechanical workings, craftsmanship and prestige of high end watches, often resulting in older watches holding their values well overtime with naturally some models doing better than others.

Rolex ticks off the above requirement for many watch collectors especially the submariner models; for example at the time of writing; June 2017 a 1978 steel Rolex Submariner can still set you back 5k which is impressive! More impressive is the sheer fact that the watch is still ticking over so smoothly after 39 years!; a challenge Apple’s precious metal watches would have is 39 years from now, will it still function smoothly?; will all the original parts still be functioning? (i.e. battery, software), will V1 of WatchOS still be able to be paired with an iPhone 39 years from now? We all know how painfully slow software feels and how terrible the batteries become over time which would explain a lack of attraction from watch collectors.

So back to the loop is it Rolex vs Apple? No, besides Rolex have bigger problems; ironically as corruption decreases in some of their lucrative markets, the sales of their watches are declining as a direct result.

Links:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/26/swiss-watch-sales-fall-10-per-cent-china-corruption-crackdown

http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-rolex-became-the-king-of-watches-2016-4?r=US&IR=T

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=swiss+watch+industry+decline&spf=1494754774633

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolbesler/2016/09/16/swiss-watch-industry-woes/#4b6485ba53a1

https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/08/the-swiss-watch-industry-is-doomed/

http://bgr.com/2016/04/26/apple-watch-sales-vs-rolex/

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/03/13/-you-want-rolex-or-10k-apple-watch.html

http://www.watchfinder.co.uk/Rolex/Submariner/5513/12929/item/84699

1. Technology: What’s it like being a Microsoft fan?

Are Microsoft making it difficult to support them?

Most of you won’t have the foggiest why some of us support companies, after all they are just heartless corporations here to make money… blah blah blah.

Some of us support corporations as others support sports team; for example I’m an F1 fan and a Lewis Hamilton fan but I am not naïve to know that when Lewis wins a WDC, he wins it for himself, I don’t profit from his race/season wins, heck I don’t even get to share the podium champagne with him, but you know what; I am still fist bumping the air when he wins a race as that’s my driver.
A similar mentality is applied to those who just have an interest in tech companies, the main difference is, what tech companies do often directly affects you; as you use their products and based on this, hence a tendency to lean towards a specific company.

That gives you a bit of a background, now back to the question, are Microsoft making it hard to support them? No

In the past Microsoft suffered from the follow up jinx, one thing good then one thing bad, this damn rule would follow them for years, xbox meh, xbox 360 wohoo!!, xbox one meh, Windows xp wohoo! Windows Vista meh, Surface products wohoo, windows phone meh, MS OneNote wohoo, OneDrive 5gb limit meh.
This was always the toughest part of being a Microsoft fan, because you was pretty much waiting for them to do something wrong, it was as if Microsoft was two different companies at times.

Microsoft gradually shook that off but there was always one side that made routing for Microsoft a challenge; it is a company that attracts negativity like no other, there was a period of time when tech sites would post nothing but Micro-hate, anything Microsoft did was crap and everything rivals did was wonderful; thankfully sites like WindowsCentral (thank goodness) came along and pretty much forced the industry to be more neutral (IMO), then the OneNote and the Surface teams did the rest.

However, the dislike for Microsoft in the consumer mind is still there and this was not more present than the recent NHS hack, where somehow people managed to find a way to blame Microsoft….. UNBELIVABLE!!!

It is beyond ridiculous that an organisation caught with its pants down, is being excused by blaming Microsoft; Microsoft told everyone and their dog, XP was on its way out and the irony was, security improvement was one of the reasons why!!!

Microsoft did nothing wrong; they even had an option allowing companies to still pay to get support but the NHS did not go with that option; let me put this another way: Apple does not support all versions of IOS nor every Iphone and they have recently stopped providing support for the graphics chips issue that was plaguing Macbooks; why because you can’t support something forever. 

Some insight; I once worked for the public sector in finance and I can tell you, despite the garbage that’s being spewed, the blame for this lies squarely at NHS.
The NHS had an options: upgrade, pay a fee to Microsoft for security updates or continue as is. All finance departments (I’ve yet to work in one that does not do this) should do several things:

  • Prepare an annual Opex budget
  • Prepare an annual Capex budget
  • Prepare a cashflow forecast
  • Prepare quarterly re-forecast
  • Prepare a five year forecast

Without going all ACCA on you; in at least 4/5 of those processes Windows would have been discussed and the final decision made; challenge what happened here and you will find out who is at fault. I can also add from personal experience that IT budgets are usually first on the chopping block when budgets are tight.

I was even more surprised that the NSA’s part in all of this was also somehow exonerated and big M was hung out to dry; so what’s it like being a Microsoft fan? when you ignore the almost natural negative reflex action of Micro-haters; its been pretty dam good!

Links:

http://www.superbrands.uk.com/b2c-results/

https://www.thememo.com/2015/06/05/james-bond-microsoft-and-the-dark-web-are-this-weeks-winners-losers/

https://www.thememo.com/2015/10/23/google-alphabet-results-microsoft-results-amazon-results/

https://www.thememo.com/2016/01/04/should-and-could-you-ditch-apple-google-and-microsoft/

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201624 

https://arstechnica.co.uk/apple/2016/06/ios-10-ends-support-for-iphone-4s-ipad-2-a5-soc/