ExtraBITS for 27 January 2014
In this week’s ExtraBITS, Adam Engst discussed the Mac’s 30th anniversary with Gene Steinberg on the Tech Night Owl Live podcast, and Matt Neuburg talked iOS programming with Chuck Joiner on MacVoices. LogMeIn announced the end of its free service tier, PCWorld explained mechanical keyboards in detail, and Backblaze released another fascinating hard drive reliability study. Finally, in a disturbing turn of events, the FBI was called to interrogate a man who wore Google Glass to a movie theater.
Adam Engst Discusses the Mac’s 30th Anniversary on the Tech Night Owl Live — The Mac’s 30th anniversary occupies the bulk of this discussion between Adam Engst and Tech Night Owl host Gene Steinberg, but they also talk about topics like the inadvertent release of new Mac mini specs by an Apple reseller and the ongoing conflict between Apple and the court over the external monitor in the ebook price fixing case.
More About What iOS Means to Developers and You — Listen in on a fun conversation between TidBITS Contributing Editor Matt Neuburg and MacVoices host Chuck Joiner (with some slight interference from Skype) about Matt’s iOS 7 programming books, the state of iOS 7 for users and developers, and the importance of programming in education.
LogMeIn Dropping Free Service — After ten years, LogMeIn is dropping the free tier of its remote access service. Users will have seven days after their next login to convert to a LogMeIn Pro account, which starts at $99 per year. This change also affects purchasers of the LogMeIn Ignition apps for iOS and Android, which cost up to $149.99 and have been replaced by free apps — the company promises “significant discounts” and “generous terms” to “ease the transition.” LogMeIn’s other products, including join.me and Cubby, are unaffected by this change.
Mechanical Keyboards Explained — For many writers and gamers, nothing beats an old-fashioned “clicky” keyboard. But the keyboard’s feel depends on what sort of mechanical switches are used in the keys, and there are a number of different types. Even the vaunted Cherry MX switches come in several different color-coded varieties. Alex Cocilova, writing for PCWorld, explains the differences in available switches — including required actuation force, noise, and multitasking performance. If you’ve been considering a mechanical keyboard, be sure to
read this first.
Backblaze Ranks Hard Drive Vendor Reliability — Online backup company Backblaze has produced another report on hard drive reliability, this time looking at specific vendors and models. Overall, drives from Hitachi (now owned by Western Digital) came out on top, with a 96.9 percent survival rate after 36 months. Second was Western Digital, whose drives had a quick initial die-off, but then stabilized with an overall 94.8 percent survival rate. In a distant third place was Seagate with a 73.5 percent survival rate. In spite of that, Backblaze is now buying mostly 4 TB Seagate drives due to
their low cost and steady performance; the company also likes the Western Digital 3 TB Red drives.
Movie Theater Calls FBI to Detain Google Glass User — It’s a Rorschach trifecta for today’s technology world! An Ohio network engineer wore his Google Glass (turned off) in a movie because he has prescription lenses in them. An hour into the movie, he was pulled from his seat by the FBI at the behest of the “Movie Association” (the MPAA, in all likelihood) and questioned for over three hours. Once the agents downloaded and viewed the contents of the Glass (as he had been asking them to do), they agreed he had done nothing wrong, after which the MPAA guy
gave him a pat on the head and four free movie passes. For self-awareness points, figure out what bothers you the most about this story: the heavy-handed FBI behavior, the response to potential movie piracy by the MPAA, or the wearing of Google Glass?