The great iOS maps disaster
By Alex KIDMAN
So, the iPhone 5 launched last week. Yeah, I know, nobody wrote about it and you didn't know, right? Here's a quick refresher that I shot in just about as long as it'll take you to watch it.
(yes, I know -- it shows. Work in progress and all that.)
Anyway, that aside, people have had their hands on them for a little while now, and the most singular common complaint that's been levelled at the new phone are the appalling maps that Apple's opted to throw in with the latest version of iOS. Make no mistake -- they're pretty awful in some places, and merely adequate in others, no matter how many pretty three dimensional fly-bys they might offer. In pure replacement terms, they're a terrible alternative -- but then again, they are largely an alternative.
There's the germ of a product that could be good in there in some time with a lot of data manipulation, but why Apple didn't just slap the "beta" tag on Maps the way it did with Siri last year eludes me -- it would have neatly deflected a lot of the criticism.
Maps is part of the iPhone 5 package, but it arguably says something about the maturity of the platform that this seems to be the key issue that's being disputed; it's not as though an iPhone 3GS/4/4S updated to iOS 6 has different maps. They're still bad, but it's a software function, not a hardware one. So far, the hardware's pretty good, but that seems to be a begrudging admittance on the part of some, rather than a potential selling point. Lest I be accused (for roughly the billionth time) of being on Apple's payroll, it's by no means the only phone you should assess; the Galaxy S III is pretty sweet (as long as it doesn't get remotely wiped on you), as is the HTC One XL, and I hear nice things about Nokia's new Windows Phone 8 handsets… but then, they won't give me any hands-on time to actually assess them!
I suspect Maps being bad is a meme that will fade relatively quickly; it certainly didn't stop Apple from (by their own release) flogging off 5 million phones over the weekend. That's potentially five million more Maps users (on top of anyone who upgraded to iOS 6 on older devices) delivering corrections and updates, along with whatever business relationships and update data Apple can source itself.
It's also a really odd instance where the usual standpoint of "Apple's forcing users to" doesn't quite apply; it's not like you can't create a quick weblink to Google Maps and use those, or pick up any of the numerous GPS apps available. Yes, you've got to pay for them upfront, but then you've got them offline, meaning they don't cost you data and, rather unlike Apple's current maps solution, they do indeed just work.
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We don't say 'Mathematic' so it's 'Maths' NOT 'Math'!
By David HAGUE
Bear with me here. It may seem I have gone a little bit loopy on the ‘produce’ subject, but there is a point to this I promise.
Top Gear’s James May has produced a series of books and a TV show called ‘Man Lab’. With these, he aims to rekindle skills in the male of the species he claims have been lost in the annals of time. The last 10 years to be precise. You know, how to change a tyre, replace a door handle, saw a piece of wood or bang in a nail, that sort of thing.
I have seen this myself in the last 12 months, with men I know not able to even begin contemplating how to replace a flywire door closer, and one didn’t know how to wash a car – I kid you not! Another had no idea where to start to replace the seat on a bicycle, so asked his 16 year old son, who also had no idea.
In other words, they were not able to break a task down to its basic components and then retrace those steps.
Here’s another. How many men can cook anything beyond a hard boiled egg?
This is my point; basic skills are being lost in all aspects of life, and so it appears to me that a major loss is in the basic three ‘R’s. Reading, writing and arithmetic if you are under 30.
Without these basic skills, our whole art form of filmmaking I fear will deteriorate and we’ll rely on CGI and other computerised tricks to make our entertainment. I see even those in their mid 20s who cannot form a sentence, whose writing is unreadable (and full of grammatical and spelling errors) and mathematics (that they call ‘math’ – how can that be right as we don’t say ‘mathematic’) is appalling. Just the other day a late teen needed to use a calculator to work out the change for $2.60 from a $2 and $1 coin.
A teacher once told me that you can only teach to the ‘level of the cattle’ given to you. I don’t believe that for a moment. Therefore any attempt to throttle our education system at a government level must be thwarted. It is the education system that will bring out our future Kubricks, Spielbergs, Welles’ and so on. And of course the Einsteins, Edisons, Stephensons and von Brauns
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Where does recycling sit on your to-do list?
By Ian GRAYSON
Remember back to when recycling IT kit in the workplace was the thing to be doing? Companies everywhere were keen to tell the world how much attention they were giving to the process of ensuring their old gear avoided becoming landfill.
But fast forward a few years and how things have evolved. Are many companies still actively pushing a recycling bandwagon? You'd hope, but the evidence doesn't seem to support it.
According to a new report from research company IDC, recycling of IT equipment has slipped off the radar for many US firms. It's likely the same has happened in Australia.
The research doesn't make for good reading. Are we really dropping the ball in this important area? Where is your organisation when it comes to responsibly disposing of its unwanted IT equipment?
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iPhone 5 - one for the movie buffs
By Adam TURNER
The iPhone 5's wider screen and improved colours should certainly catch the eye of movie lovers.
There's a lot to like about Apple's new iPhone 5 and a few things to be really annoyed about. It's great to hold in your hand but annoying when you turn to do anything with it. The bigger screen and changed connector breaks backwards compatibility with the iGadget ecosystem and adaptors won't always be able to come to your rescue.
To be perfectly honest if Apple offered an iPhone 5 model which retained the size and connector of the iPhone 4 then I'd go for that model, but there is something to be said for the extra screen real estate. Check out this photo of the Men in Black III trailer playing on my iPhone 4 and an iPhone 5 loaner from Vodafone.
It looks like the photo is not doing the iPhone 4 at the top justice, but I can vouch the difference really is that striking. Both phones at set at full brightness. It's a scene that really shows off the iPhone 5's white whites and more vivid colours, plus you can see the benefit of that extra screen real estate. The widescreen picture fits the iPhone 5 almost exactly, with the slightest of letterboxing which you can't even notice in this shot, while in the iPhone 4 I've zoomed in to get rid of the large black bars and fill the screen.
Watching movies on your phone isn't for everyone, but if you're a fan of pocket cinema then the iPhone 5 certainly might appeal to you.
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BYOD Boot Camp alternative coming from Microsoft
By Stephen WITHERS
An alternative to Boot Camp may be on its way, but paradoxically it depends on an update to Boot Camp.
Windows To Go is a feature of Windows 8 Enterprise that allows the creation of a USB thumb drive that can be used to boot a computer into that copy of the operating system, logically disconnecting the internal hard drive. The idea is that instead of having to carry a notebook around with them, employees can carry a thumb drive that they can use with borrowed or personally-owned computers.
It seems you do need a certified USB drive, and Microsoft maintains a list here. The requirements are demanding, so it is currently a short list.
As for the host computer, Zvezdan Pavkovic, senior consultant at Microsoft Services, told the TechEd Australia 2012 conference that pretty much any computer capable of running Windows 7 or 8 can be used with Windows To Go, though a USB 3.0 port is needed for best performance.
And while the TechNet document referenced above says "Running a Windows To Go workspace on a Mac computer is not a supported scenario,", Microsoft Services architect Tanya Koval told that TechEd audience the problem was the current lack of Windows 8 drivers for Mac hardware.
But that's a here and now issue. It seems very unlikely that Apple won't update Boot Camp for Windows 8 and that should include a full set of drivers. In any case, people do claim to have successfully (or at least partly successfully) installed Windows 8 using the current version of Boot Camp.
So while Windows To Go won't replace Boot Camp for people who have to run a personally-licensed copy of Windows, or virtualisation for those who need to cut and paste data between Windows and OS X applications, Windows To Go seems an attractive alternative for those who work from home and need to use corporate-issued Windows software.
Talking of virtualisation, I recently mentioned The Mac Observer's benchmark report on the latest releases of Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. TMO has now published a similar report covering Parallels 7, Parallels 8, Fusion 4, Fusion 5, Oracle's Virtual Box, and Boot Camp. I'd encourage you to read the whole article, but the bottom line is "Parallels 8 wins in overall performance."
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