December 22, 2016

Link: How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists ☍

Mark Gurman:

Mac upgrades, once a frequent ritual, are few and far between. The Mac Pro, Apple’s marquee computer, hasn’t been refreshed since 2013. The affordable and flexible Mac mini was last upgraded in 2014. And when a new machine does roll out, the results are sometimes underwhelming, if not infuriating, to devotees.

In October, after more than 500 days without an update, Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro with a slimmer design and louder speakers. The laptop garnered mostly favorable reviews from the technology press but grumbles from creative types, a key constituency, who said the device under-performed rival products.

Things aren’t the greatest in Mac Town these days, and even as someone who uses a Mac much less than a few years ago, it’s insulting how Apple has been handling upgrades and maintenance. I had a conversation with a friend who thinks that Mac and iPhone users will simply by anything with an Apple logo, and I had a hard time explaining that, no, there are factions that are frustrated and looking elsewhere. Although the picture painted isn’t all doom and gloom, it does feel more like the Mac is becoming like other legacy products, like the iPods or AirPorts.

December 12, 2016

Link: US-CERT: Stop Using Your Remotely Exploitable Netgear Routers ☍

Ms. Smith for Network World (via Ben Brooks):

Netgear router owners, I hope you have a spare router—at least those of you with remotely exploitable models—since US-CERT recommended discontinuing use of router models that are vulnerable to arbitrary command injection.

Which models? Right now it looks like Netgear R7000, R6400 and R8000 routers, but there may be more. Should you really take this seriously and unplug your router? You betcha, since US-CERT said it is “trivial” to exploit this vulnerability. Visit a booby-trapped page, and whammo! An attacker would be saying hello to root privileges on your router.

Most of these are the higher-end models, but certainly concerning and leads me to wonder what other exploits might exist for other routers with sloppy code out there.

December 9, 2016

Link: Carriers Killing Galaxy Note 7 Soon ☍

Shara Tibken for CNET:

The wireless carriers on Friday said they will issue software updates from Samsung that will prevent Note 7 devices from charging and will “eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.” Samsung earlier in the day announced plans for the update to make sure the remaining seven percent of Note 7 owners turn in their phones.

T-Mobile’s update will come December 27, while AT&T will release the update on January 5. Sprint will push out the new software to its users on January 8.

“We always want to do the right thing and make sure our customers are safe, so on December 27 we will roll out Samsung’s latest software update, which is designed to stop all remaining Note 7 devices from charging,” T-Mobile said in a statement provided to CNET. “T-Mobile customers who still have a Note 7 should immediately power down and stop using the device, and bring it back to a T-Mobile store for a full refund and a replacement device.”

It’s disappointing that Verizon is not participating, as it may force the last of people hanging on to their Galaxy Note 7s to finally turn them in. At this point, if you’re still using one, you deserve to have it bricked.

December 8, 2016

Link: An Oral History of ‘Get a Mac’ ☍

Douglas Quenqua for Campaign US:

In September 2005, Steve Jobs gave his advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, an assignment: Come up with a campaign that clearly demonstrates the Mac’s superiority to the PC. There was no deadline.

Seven months, dozens of tense meetings and countless discarded ideas later, the agency produced “Get a Mac.” It would go on to become one of the most succesful [sic] and admired ad campaigns in Apple’s history, no small feat when “1984,” “Think Different” and “Silhouette” are the competition. Among those legendary ads, “Get a Mac” stands out as the most overtly comedic and one of the most expansive: The team shot 323 spots over three years just to get the 66 that made it on air.

This is a fascinating read and was also a good look back at some notable ads in the series. In the years since, it was easy to forget how many different ads ran and for how long the campaign was on the air.

Part 2 has also been posted.

December 1, 2016

Article: Early Thoughts on DirecTV Now

I was on a pretty nice promotional rate with DirecTV, taking advantage of AT&T’s love of bundling when the “All Included” plans were introduced last spring. Unfortunately, a move later, and I was dish-less due to not having a southern exposure to mount the dish at my new apartment. Rather than switch to AT&T’s U-verse product or Comcast (Xfinity is still a stupid brand), I decided to sit a month or two out, dust off my over-the-air TiVo from 2008, and see what developments happened in the world of streaming. Sony’s PlayStation Vue was already on my radar, as was Sling TV. I wanted to see what AT&T was going to offer with DirecTV Now, especially considering that they’ve already done an IP-based TV service before with U-verse and had some strong programming agreements in place through DirecTV…