Why it could be a smart move to avoid Black Friday this year.

Black Friday is November 27, and I’m giving it a miss. In part because I don’t need anything right now. There are a lot of things I would like, but what I need is shoes and shirts. Since I am just that little bit too tall to fit the standard kiwi sizes, and I need flat shoes I can walk in, that involves the interwebs.

In need to sort out Christmas in countries where sending things by mail either means (a) they get lost or (b) customs charges the person you are sending gifts to duty and VAT.

But we are in a time of flux, and that is not when you want to acquire new things. Wait. Let the early adopters sort out the bugs.

Laptops

This is where things get messy. My main laptop is slowly dying, and the current situation with Pine64 Pros — the most cost effective machine — is one of delay. COVID problems — and difficulty with the Pine people sorting out quality. Because I do process photos, I need something that can run that stack (Rapid Photo Downloader >> DigiKam or Darktable >> Gimp) and has an accurate screen that is big enough to do the job. In my view, that is 15 inch.

Right now the issue of Ryzen processors versus Intel versus the new ARM systems is a challenge, for there are differences in what is available for each architecture.

At present I don’t use the laptops for this, but the desktop. Eventually we will get two laptops — and they will be sufficient to run Adobe Photoshop, because that is what Kea uses.

In doing this, remember the wisdom of Willem.

The thing with modern hardware is that far too often people look for fancy features. Things to brag about, things to show off. “I’m better than you” and “look what I can do?!” Flagship devices, including smartphones, are introduced like rock stars on main stages. But chances are that you are not a groupie nor a fanboy.

Like living with a rock star is probably not without practical difficulties, ultra high end devices often have their hidden flaws. They may overheat, behave unpredictably or demand a high price for their presence. If you’re looking for an everyday companion, then you may prefer a little less “rock starrieness”.

Apple

Apple has released new ARM computers using their proprietary M1 Chip. Looking at Photo Processing, (Affinity has a benchmark), it looks fast. But I’m not that sure. The MacOS update has managed to break authentication, including the older versions of the OS.

This “security” system does break privacy.

The data that’s being sent as part of this phone home procedure is sent unencrypted, passes through third parties like Akamai, and since Apple is part of the US intelligence program PRISM, the US government has unfettered access to without the need for warrants.

I’ve been warning about the consequences of handing over control of our software and computers to corporations and governments for well over a decade now here on OSNews, and every year, we seem to slide a little farther down the slippery slope, and every time, people wave it away. Yet yesterday, Mac users all over the world were confronted with the reality of being an Apple user today.

Macs are not yours. They are controlled, owned, and operated by Apple, and are an absolute privacy and security nightmare. Exactly as the Free and open source software movement has been warning about for 40 years now.

The problem that I have is that a fair number of the people I work with require that you use Office. Which works well on Windows, and OK on Apple. It does not work in Open Source easily. As an aside, composing things in OFfice is not that great. Simpler word processors such as Abiword are better — or Libreoffice with Zotero for technical documents. But you then have to access a machine using Word for final formatting for editors. Macs are noxious, but Windows is worse.

As someone who does look once a month or so at the statistics, I can easily find out what OS people are using, and it expect the OS to know what I’m doing. I prefer that it does not phone home. A robust linux rollout in corporations won’t help the second you log onto google. So live as if everything you do is on a postcard. The leader of the ilk has wisdom for us here.

Now, there is only so much you can do to avoid this sort of thing. I prefer to operate under the full knowledge that my every online activity – and probably the greater part of my real world activities – are being watched, recorded, and processed for analysis, although at this point that’s completely redundant given the fact that I am a confirmed badthinker and thought criminal.

The thing is, living in a digital panopticon is really not a problem for any student of philosophy, much less any Christian. We are perfectly aware that all our secrets and our sins are known.

When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?

– Epictetus, Book I

But it is still good to know who the Watchers are, and Apple is now confirmed to be among them.

Smart Objects

Just don’t. They connect to your phone and/or laptop, which means that people know where you are and what you are doing. Analogue watches are cooler and cheap. Leave your cellphone at home unless you need it. Don’t count your steps, schedule walks. If you cannot point it at a SD card or hard drive you own, don’t use it.

Now that google is limiting the number of photos saved in google photos unless you pay, get into the habit of downloading your photos and putting them through proper photo software. (Hint, Rapid Photo Downloader is cross platform).

I have used, over the years, a fair amount of Apple gear. The only utility for them is that they are generally better made than most office PCs. My ideal machine, however, is still a ThinkPad. Because they are indestructible. Unfortunately, most corporations have worked out that you can get in bulk windows 10 machines, and mid range Android devices, which will work for most corporate jobs.

But life is not corporate. Yes, the software I use is more efficient than Adobes. One option is going obscure… but if things break you are then in difficulty. I recall once having an early Android Tablet bork out as i was trying to edit slides, jet lagged, the night before a talk — and going to a 24/7 best buy and getting the cheapest generic laptop I could find to finish the job (I then gave it to my daughter). You need things that will just work.

But that is now a solved problem, unless you go for things on the bleeding edge. And for apple?

Brother Beau has some words.

Hey Apple,

Jesus is Lord. He is coming back to receive his own to Himself and to execute judgment upon the Earth of all peoples and nations and tongues and tribes, and yes, even combinations and associations. It is said, The kings of the Earth take their stand, and their rulers take council together, against the Lord and his annointed.” Do you think your corporation escapes His notice?

Repent. Set aside your own unholy objectives or be smashed into pieces like a potter’s vessel by the hand of God. Do you really want Him as your enemy? Assist true, not social, justice to flow like a mighty flowing stream, or stand in judgment.

Take the time now, today, to present yourself humble before the Throne of Grace. The alternative is exposure to the wrath of the Almighty, do you want that? That’s not recommended. Would you rather not profit spiritually, ethically, and fiscally embracing the Good, Beautiful, and True?

Apple, you are in the valley of decision. Make a good one. Honor Jesus.

UPDATE.

The IT people at work have emailed. I have edited this a bit, but the gist is clear.

Description: macOS Big Sur 11.0 was released to end users on 12 November 2020 as a free upgrade for compatible Macs. Compatible Macs will display an “Upgrade Now” button in Software Update.

IT do not recommend upgrading to any new operating system until it is at least three months old, allowing any problems to be resolved.

The following problems have been identified after an update to Big Sur 11.0:

o Difficulties connecting to Shared drives.

o Issues updating virus definitions for Sophos Anti-virus, this can leave a device open to security vulnerabilities.

o Reduced speed for file sharing and transfer.

o Issues with remote/centralised administration .

IT Support Services supported versions of macOS are:

o macOS Mojave 10.14

o macOS Catalina 10.15

Macs with older versions of macOS should be upgraded to an Apple (and ITSS) supported version, preferably macOS Catalina 10.15

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Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago

It is easy to spend money – the hard part is spending it where and when needed, and NOT otherwise.
It is disappointing to see how many companies are completely ignoring security in their online activities – especially in those activities which snoop on others. Is there a hidden motivation to NOT use encryption or security?

I don’t like the new version of Word, or Office in general. I have to use it on my work computer, and it is hard to do things that used to be easy and obvious – like inserting pictures, graphs, charts, even page breaks are hard to find anymore!

John Wilder
11 months ago

I’ve consciously tried to be behind the curve as far as mobile tech. Regardless, it is the best surveillance tech ever invented, in more ways than one.