Upgrade to High Sierra? NOT YET! Halt and Catch fire finale. Security Breaches and more!

MAC OS 13 – High Sierra.  Upgrade or no?  short answer NOT YET

I have been evaluating High Sierra the lastest Mac OSX – and there are a number of serious issues.  They fall into various categories.

Work arounds are available for some, but far from all.  For now STAY AWAY.  A number of customers have reported problems to me after they upgraded and I’ve seen several on a test laptop I’ve been playing with.

1 – HORRIBLE battery life on macbooks.  This is a killer all by itself.  they are aware and working on it!
2 – SLOW PERFORMANCE.  Usually some background task is not working right and its sucking up all the process power.  Need to disable things till you find the culprit and then see what can be done!
3 – SOFTWARE INCOMPATIBILITIES – ranging from smaller packages (gnucash) to biggies like Adobe CS4.  And if you use CS4 be aware Adobe has NOT committed to making it High Sierra Compatible.

All of these are AFTER its properly installed by the way.


Halt and Catch Fire  – Series Finale.
I’ve been watching this for the last 3 years and its been fascinating.  Its got some good stories, gives you a real ‘feel’ for what it was like in the early days of the Personal Computer.  A number of customers have asked me how ‘real’ it was and on the whole they did a very good job.  I knew many of the pioneers in the Personal Computer world – and they are reasonably well represented with some interesting omissions.

We have the Software Genius (Cameron) – girl coders were not particularly rare btw – and that was very true to life. Tempremental.  Hard to ‘focus’ on anything – but able to see the ‘big picture’.  In reality there are TWO kinds of programmers – the nuts and bolts programmers (like those at Rover) who can implement what they are asked to do – and the ‘big picture’ ones who can solve the problems and tell them WHAT they need to do! (I’m one of the latter by the way).

Hardware Genius (Gordon)  – left with the thankless task – believe me – of ‘making it work’  After all, no hardware means no great code to run on it!
Early in the series, dealing with the Giant (a PC Clone) they rather well portrayed the legal and ethical hurdles that faced competitors.  I assisted some folks in Colorado who were ‘breaking’ into IBM Bios chips by literally slicing off microscopic layers one at a time and mapping each layer to mark out where the transistors were, where internal connections went – enabling you to build up a complete copy of a chip that had no markings on it (IBM didnt want to make it easy) so that hardware functions could be duplicated.
At the same time, software people had to produce a BIOS (Basic Input Output System) chip – which takes care of the lowest level functionality long before the operating system ‘boots up’.  IBM (and Apple) sued immediately folks who produced ‘copies’ and you had to legally demonstrate that YOUR copy in NO way used any of the original code from the IBM or Apple chips.  If it did – you were toast!

And – Joe was the Visionary.  The one who SAW where THINGS WERE GOING.  This is much less ‘real’ as no one ‘saw’ the web coming.  Believe me. It stunned everyone.
Joe was sort of Steve Jobs, and Peter Norton/Mcafee rolled into one.  He made a lot of money with his Utilities (Norton) but got out after being bought out of his own firm. (McAfee).  And he was always a bit nuts.  And driven.

The series also very nicely shows the search engine rivalry – Google was Rover (which used computer algorithms and spiders to index the web and add pages automatically to its search indices) and Comet was Yahoo – where PEOPLE looked at a page, described it – and added it to Yahoo’s Directory (for years it was NOT called a ‘search engine’ at all.  In the early days, being a Yahoo ‘Editor’ was prestigious! and profitable. And you were IMPORTANT.  Yahoo has a full 5+ years head start on Google (it started in 1994 vs 1998).  But the actual Yahoo Directory – was retired with nary a whimper in 2014.  After spending years (and acquiring over Search engine businesses like Alta Vista) they just finally gave up.  But in the 1995-2000 era your website HAD to be on Yahoo to be ‘real’ – and if a Yahoo Editor mis-described it the damage was significant!
But in the end – the Web decided the winner.  The web grew SO fast, 2 or 3 orders of magnitude (100-1000x) faster than anyone had though – that having a Human adding sites was simply ludicrous.  Only a computer algorithm could do it – and Google’s breakthrough was coming up with an algorithm sufficiently clever to give ‘pretty good’ and then ‘very good’ relevant results to a given search.  The early days of ‘stupid results’ gave way to what we know now.

What the series really did NOT capture was the public acceptance of the internet, the web, and personal computers.  And the sense of connection that was created.  There were the Magazines – Boardwatch, Byte, PC Magazine giving news and reviews.  There were the Bulletin boards, put up by individuals – or small groups.  My Own bulletin board, Pinecliffe BBS – was one of the very first multi-line bulletin boards with a program UltraBBS (that I helped develop) that had 12 phone lines all able to share data and files, and chat with each other! (FAR FAR before the world wide web or the internet).

I was the first (that I know of) that allowd a bulletin board user to access and post to Unix NewsGroups (which were the university based systems for exchanging information and news).  During the FIRST Gulf war – my bulletin board allowed users to post a message that was send to a bulletin board in Saudi Arabia, and printed out and delivered to a military service member in the war theater.  I also was the first (to my knowledge) to build serious encryption into my Bulletin Board Software – and I had permission from Bruce Schneier to use his Blowfish algorithm as the basis of it.  That was in 1993.  This whole aspect of the computer world was missing.

Also – largely missing – was the importance of Porn to the computer world.  I kid you not.  We would not have CDs and DVDs had it not been for porn – I was creating CDs for an Islamic scholar – when 10 Cds and a glass master cost $15000 to produce.  And a CD Burner was $25000 and the Mastering Software to Create a CD was $5000 for the license.

I’m NOT kidding.  Some vast percentage of early CD production was for naughty pictures.  In not very good resolution even!  But it was THEIR orders and purchases that eventually drove down pricing to where we see it now.  $0.25 for a DVD and $60 for a DVD burner.  Sheesh 🙂

And there was also ShareWare – missing from the show.  There were many firms who produced Share Ware CD Disks with software that you could freely distribute.  And I had a 8 drive SCSI CD Reading tower so I could have EIGHT such disks loaded simultaneously for all my callers.  I had Financial software, Games, Images (non-adult) – programming languages, translation packages, DOS utilties, many tens of thousands of packages available free to all my callers!
The ones I liked were produced by Night Owl and I went to many BBS and Computer conventions with a table of ShareWare CDs and – I was selling them for $40 or so each!
These were popular in 1990-1996 and I had ALL the Night Owl disks available online!  (Multiple CD Towers and a mechanism to automatically change disks if needed)

But – all in all – it was a very good show and brought back many memories!  Catch it if you can and any questions you have about it I’ll be happy to answer!


As you no doubt have noticed, we have had breach -after breach – of many firms who SHOULD – have known better.
Experian – one of the Big Three Credit Reporting Bureaus – had 150 million peoples information stolen.
Yahoo – had pretty much ALL their email accounts stolen.
And one of the companies that lets you store all your passwords in one place (One Login) had a breach in June of this year – where hackers got ALL the passwords of MANY of their users!  How convenient is this – get folks to give you ALL their passwords and then ONE hack gets EVERYTHING!

I dont trust ANY of these sorts of firms.  And you are a fool to put your faith in any such firm.  But – main point – is that Internet ‘Security’ is largely illusory.  And when you hear some Government employee tell you THEIR information is completely safe – they are spouting BS.  And when they assure you NO ONE can get into their computer system – ha ha ha.
Much of Governental efforts to impose security protocols is simply silly.  And in practice often not followed – and even more often irrelevant!  After all what does it matter how good VA internal security is when a consultant leaves a laptop with ALL the Veterans Administration database on it – in a cab??

Protect yourselves folks – but dont believe anyone of TV telling you how great their security is – they have something to sell you!

ADOPTION CORNER – all with a 6 month warranty

Just in – a nice 2015 13n Retina, 2017 Mac Air, Super Nice 2017 Dell i7 5480, also some nice cameras!

SUPER nice Dell a 5480 model which is only a couple of months old – 16gb 256gb SSD, i7 cpu and a Nvidia 930MX Graphics processor that is SERIOULY kick-butt!
VERY VERY nice unit!

also up for adoption a nice 2015 Mac Air, A Retina 13 2013-2014 Macbook pro, A 2010 27in Imac, and various others!
And I even have a 2011 (and a 2010 one as well) 17in Macbook pro – IMHO the best Macbook apple ever build (on which this is being written!)
A nice HP 13in X360 convertible!

A SUPER cute Lenovo Yoga Pro.  This is a 10in android tablet – that has a built in DLP Projector – and can project the desktop onto any surface 🙂

Can’t for the life of me think of a use for it myself – but Its SUPER cute!
And many more!

Cameras in the adoption corner!
I have 2 Canon 7D cameras – their semi-professional models.  And a Nikon D5200 (also semi professional)
Just got in a Sony A6300 mirrorless camera – and we have various others like Canon T2i, T3i, T4i and Nikon ones as well.
We also have some older film cameras for the vintage buff –

and a VERY NICE Museum piece – a Kodak 2-D from about 1909 in GREAT Condition complete with its original black box and the black cape you throw over your head to take the shot!  (The bellows have been replaced but other than that its all original) SUPER NICE shape according to a customer who is in the large format photography group

Enjoy folks hope you all enjoy my musings!  Any and all comments are very welcome!