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  • Apple’s case of Microsoft-itis

    Posted on December 2nd, 2017 at 06:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you’ve been following along with the “root” patch debacle, it may warm your heart to know that Apple’s having the same kind of Keystone Kops patching experience all of us have grown to know and love.

    Andy Greenberg at Wired has an observation:

    When a company like Apple rushes out a software patch for a critical security bug, it deserves praise for protecting its customers quickly. Except, perhaps, when that patch is so rushed that it’s nearly as buggy as the code it was designed to fix…

    Apple’s fix for that problem has a serious glitch of its own. Those who had not yet upgraded their operating system from the original version of High Sierra, 10.13.0, to the most recent version, 10.13.1, but had downloaded the patch, say the “root” bug reappears when they install the most recent macOS system update. And worse, two of those Mac users say they’ve also tried re-installing Apple’s security patch after that upgrade, only to find that the “root” problem still persists until they reboot their computer, with no warning that a reboot is necessary.

    Have we reached the point where both Windows and macOS have become so big, bloated, and just plain old that they’re not worth the effort any more?

    Lest you feel smug with iOS, take in this bug notice from Sam Byford at The Verge:

    A bug in iOS 11.1.2 is causing iPhones to crash repeatedly once the clock hits 12.15am on December 2nd… iOS 11.2 has been released just hours after this issue was discovered, and includes a fix for this date bug.

    Tom Warren at The Verge has a succinct overview:

    • macOS High Sierra critical flaw with root admin access
    • macOS High Sierra update released, but breaks file sharing
    • iOS 11 crashing on some iPhones due to a date bug
    • macOS High Sierra fix not installing correctly on some systems
    • iOS 11.2 released early to fix iPhone crash bug

    Oy.

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    Home Forums Apple’s case of Microsoft-itis

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    This topic contains 24 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 1 week, 5 days ago.

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    • #149123 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      If you’ve been following along with the “root” patch debacle, it may warm your heart to know that Apple’s having the same kind of Keystone Kops patchi
      [See the full post at: Apple’s case of Microsoft-itis]

    • #149167 Reply

      krzemien
      AskWoody Lounger

      There’s no alternative (a.k.a. illusion of choice)…

      We’re doomed!

    • #149168 Reply

      jescott418
      AskWoody Lounger

      I think even though this was a moment of Homer Simpson for Apple, the Mac OS is at least better able to have a more stable OS because it does not receive major revisions every six months like Win 10. I feel Mac OS at least gets to a stable mature point sooner and stays there. Windows 10 could get there too if they did less major revisions and focused on fixing current releases. I just seem to get to a stable point with Windows 10 and then I get pushed another revision. At least Apple let’s you upgrade at your speed not there’s. Still think Windows 10 needs a ability to let users have a LTS option and that would be available to everyone.

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  jescott418.
      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #149476 Reply

        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        the Mac OS is at least better able to have a more stable OS

        There’s MUCH MUCH less hardware MacOS has to cope with. That kind of helps. That’s 30 – 50 possible hardware configurations against millions…

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit PL
        • #149958 Reply

          anonymous

          A well written OS abstracts the hardware from 95% of the running code.  Very few of the patches to Windows are to code that doesn’t know or care on what hardware is it is running.

          To me it feels like this big generational shift in coders has resulted in a lot of the old talent heading for the doors and taking their experience with them.  It isn’t just Apple or Microsoft.  Google has 47 patches to Android this month, 10 of them rated serious.

    • #149176 Reply

      jescott418
      AskWoody Lounger

      I think more emphasis on providing the basics in a OS and less on all the bloat that’s included these days. Whatever happened to just given people a solid base to work with and let the user install what we need. Or does Apple and Microsoft think we are incapable of deciding this? Its like buying a car and forced to get all the options even though you don’t really want them or will use them. But they still poise a chance of causing problems.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #149201 Reply

        anonymous

        This may give you some ideas as to why do we witness what we witness across the board:

        http://uk.businessinsider.com/amazon-employee-perks-2017-11

      • #149364 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody Lounger

        I think more emphasis on providing the basics in a OS and less on all the bloat that’s included these days. Whatever happened to just given people a solid base to work with and let the user install what we need. Or does Apple and Microsoft think we are incapable of deciding this?

        Apple has always kinda thought people were incapable of deciding most things; it’s been their “thing” since the early days of the Mac.  Even so, I think Apple’s desire to simplify (and sometimes oversimplify) is based in a conviction that computing should be easy, even if sometimes it had the opposite effect.  While this conviction (and Apple’s own belief that it had implemented it to perfection) sometimes resulted in absurd statements like how iPhone users were holding their phones wrong if they got poor signal reception, I do think that it all centered on a genuine desire to make their products easy to use.

        You didn’t mention them, but Google has this disease too.  Theirs, though, is borne of hubris and arrogance.  They have the attitude that the way they’ve decided to do something is the one true way, and if anyone disagrees, they’re wrong (and therefore should be ignored).  Their own responses to Chrome users asking for a Firefox-style master password tip their hand a bit more than they probably realize in terms of revealing Google’s conviction that they know everything and that people who disagree just don’t get it.

        Mozilla, in their efforts to mimic Chrome in every possible way, seems to have decided to adopt their arrogant attitude too.  Those of us who care more about being able to customize our browsers more than a slight (yes, it is slight) speed increase just don’t get it either, as they see it.  If we truly understood as much as they do, we’d welcome having the core defining feature of Firefox for the past decade and a half (its entire lifetime) removed!

        Microsoft has traditionally allowed its users a lot more customizability, but that’s been in decline since Vista (when MS added signature checks to custom themes).  Windows 7 took out the Classic start menu for no apparent reason (no one was forced to use it if they didn’t want to), and Windows 8… well, suffice it to say I only use it because of the aftermarket tweaks and mods that are possible.

        Now, in the Windows 10 era, MS seems to be desperately trying to copy everyone else.  They’re trying to be Apple when it comes to their Surface line of high-priced, supposedly premium hardware and with their Microsoft Store attempt at a walled garden.  They’ve copied Google’s penchant for spying on its users, and their highly questionable injection of ads into Windows has gone into territory not even Google would (like putting ads into the OS itself).   Windows 10 S, also, is their version of Google’s ChromeOS.

        Microsoft lately has become even more arrogant (though still not as much as a privacy threat, at least at this time) than Google, but it seems to center on them trying to copy and one-up them rather than a real conviction that they have all of the answers and really have a lock on the One True Way.  They seem to be trying randomly-chosen things that worked for Google and Apple to see if any of it actually works for them.

        That seems to be the way the whole market is headed.  Marketers have managed to inject fashion into a world that should be defined by functionality (it’s called information technology, for crying out loud), with usability and flexibility often taking a distant back seat to design fads like the extreme minimalism and flat UI that now infect the computing world.  Marketers have been hyping form over function for years, of course, but I can’t think of a previous time when computing functionality took as big a hit as it has recently in favor of faddish devotion to demonstrably counterproductive aesthetic choices. One can only hope that after the trend fizzles, as they always do, things will return to a saner, more usability-focused set of design parameters.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #149179 Reply

      anonymous

      I miss the good old days when accessing PDP11 using Wang dumb terminals.

    • #149216 Reply

      anonymous

      Stuff like this reminds me of the immortal song “Every OS Sucks” circa 2001 from “Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.”

      Chorus: “Every OS wastes your time from the desktop to the lap. Everything since the abacus, just a bunch of cr*p. From Microsoft to Macintosh to Lin-line-lin-lie-nux. Every computer crashes, because every OS sucks.”

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #149276 Reply

        lurks about
        AskWoody Lounger

        Great song, on point that most OS designers do not have a clue what is really needed by users.

    • #149227 Reply

      Jan K.
      AskWoody Lounger

      I love Minions!

      The companies must have infected each other, as Microsoft apparently has gotten appletitis lately?

      But happy to be past these OS headaches! 😀

      After countless hours of speculations, I’ve finally come up with my future – and most unexpected! – software/OS solution…

      The last two SSDs arrived yesterday, 14 switches will be here monday… but I think, I’ll start a thread…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #149287 Reply

        HiFlyer
        AskWoody Lounger

        After countless hours of speculations, I’ve finally come up with my future – and most unexpected! – software/OS solution… 

        And that software/OS solution is…..????

         

    • #149238 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody MVP

      This all just underscores that high tech is being pushed to a far too frenetic pace – presumably by the executives and investors so as to line their pockets more quickly.

      There is also an undertone that software development is something that should be treated as an unskilled labor job and contracted to some place in the East.

      Right at the time when the complexity of high tech systems is at an all-time high.

      Yep, makes sense.

      -Noel

      8 users thanked author for this post.
      • #149270 Reply

        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Lounger

        The execs and managers are also being pushed along by the rah-rah crowd that worships at the altar of New! Shiny!! Different!!! Haterz Gonna Hate!!!!

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #149242 Reply

      anonymous

      Perhaps Apple has its own version of Microsoft-itis all along, just that Windows/Android users aren’t really tuned into it ?

      Reason being that every 1-2 months or so, the mainstream newspapers & TV stations over here would report about long queues of disgruntled iPhone owners outside the Apple Store, because their phones had been become unuseable after a point-release or major iOS update.

      So much so that my impression is that glitchy or even bricked iPhones are fairly routine after an iOS patch/upgrade, as confirmed by the below AppleInsider article (25 Oct 2017):

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/10/25/users-continue-to-experience-sluggishness-battery-life-problems-in-ios-11-after-multiple-updates

      As with just about every iOS update, Apple’s first release of a major operating system appears to have induced some problems, where there were previously none. Accounts abound of general sluggishness, crashing, and battery life problems.

       

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #149395 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        Huh, and here I’ve always been led to think that those long lines are to buy more new Apple gear, just released.

        Pretty good job by Apple Marketing I’d say.

        It’s been clear for some time that if we take an iOS update on existing hardware we will likely experience degraded performance, so I stopped updating our old iPad 2 quite a long time ago circa iOS 8. Even without considering brand new Apps, as expected, now more and more updates to existing Apps are coming up incompatible with the old OS, and some old Apps are now even complaining that they can no longer run effectively and access their part of the cloud because they’re outdated. Result: Loss of existing functionality. Can’t get there from here.

        Even though the hardware still works, the ONLY alternative fairly soon will be to spend more money to get a new model. Remember when “planned obsolescence” was considered a bad thing? Now we’re conditioned and expected to accept it at every turn.

        How is it progress when we waste our money keeping the functionality we already had?

        -Noel

        update_for_your_computer

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        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #149414 Reply

          DrBonzo
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’ve no experience with iOS but so far all updates for my new iMAC (macOS) have been free, even the upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra. I would agree, though, that Apple/Mac hardware is pretty expensive. Tightwad that I am, it shows how disgruntled I am with MS. 🙂

    • #149366 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody Lounger

      I can sort of forgive Apple for this latest episode (though it does not affect me personally).  When the bug was discovered, it was such a big deal that the patch had to be released immediately, and that meant that testing it before release wasn’t possible.  When you don’t test, bad things are sure to follow, but in this case, Apple had little choice.

      Microsoft, on the other hand, makes not testing into an official policy.  They do have a choice, and they chose to save money instead of providing the level of QC they once had.  They implemented this just as they moved to a rapid, time-based release schedule, which requires more testing, not less.  They had a choice about that too.

      As for the other Apple releases causing problems… well, I simply don’t know if they are as frequent or as severe as those seen regularly in Microsoft-land.  Maybe every iOS release causes issues, but how often is that?  Microsoft seems to have fairly severe breakage every patch Tuesday, not just with major updates (which also happen a lot more frequently in Windows than iOS).

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #149387 Reply

      PerthMike
      AskWoody Lounger

      Yup, one of my users just came to me with the crashing iPhone… Problem is, he only has about a minute between crashes/reboots, not long enough to even check for the update. So we’re desperately trying to disable all possible notifications in his many apps.

      COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods.

    • #149393 Reply

      DrBonzo
      AskWoody Lounger

      I don’t have any experience with iOS

      I’ve been using a new iMAC for 2 months. I’ve used every version of Windows since 3.1 except 8, 8.1, and 10. While it’s a bit too early to pass judgement on the iMAC, so far updates have been few and far between and all of them have installed flawlessly. I was affected by the latest root password flaw, but the 2 patches installed flawlessly. I also updated macOS from Sierra to High Sierra (I wouldn’t have been affected by the root password flaw if I hadn’t updated) and was frankly amazed. It took 70 minutes from start to finish, and everything worked just the way it did before the update; all settings, bookmarks, installed software, etc. were carried over. So far, there’s absolutely no comparison when it comes to patches/updates, the iMAC simply blows MS right off the playing field.

      As far as customizability is concerned, I’d say the iMAC is just as customizable as my Win 7 machines. I did use some macs back in the early to mid 90s and my recollection is they were not at all customizable. But they were so easy to use and had seamlessly integrated software that there didn’t seem to be much reason to change things. I think Apple was trying to bring computing to the masses and realized that the masses weren’t going to be at all comfortable with the arcane DOS commands. Today’s Macs are totally different, though. If you don’t want to customize anything, you don’t have to, but if you do, just dive into ‘Settings’ and go for it.

      I still love Windows 7, the look and feel of it and generally how it works. But the update and patch fiascos quite simply wear me out and suck the joy out of computing. So, I’ll make a reasonable attempt to keep my WIN 7 machines going until January, 2020, but after that it’s Macs and Linux for me. MS will never be able to win back my trust or persuade me that they have any semblance of competence. Apologies for the rant here in the last paragraph.

      • #149397 Reply

        PKCano
        AskWoody MVP

        If you want to run Windows on your Mac, I highly recommend Parallels Desktop.

        If you haven’t already, check out some of the articles I did in “MacOS for Windows Wonks.”

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #149402 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        VMware Fusion is also a good package.

        -Noel

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #149485 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody Lounger

        So, I’ll make a reasonable attempt to keep my WIN 7 machines going until January, 2020, but after that it’s Macs and Linux for me. MS will never be able to win back my trust or persuade me that they have any semblance of competence.

        Same with me, except substitute “8.1” for “7” and “2023” for “2020.”

        I don’t plan to ever buy any Apple hardware, though, so the odds of me using MacOS are pretty slim.  I like having a broad variety of commoditized hardware options and the ability to build for myself too much to ever be happy with Apple’s hardware.  If they’d release MacOS (probably have to re-rename it to OSX) for ordinary PCs, I’d seriously consider giving it a go.  That’s quite a statement from the likes of me, as I have always seen Apple as the “bad guy,” whether it was Apple II vs. Commodore, Mac vs. PC, or iPhone vs. Android.

        That’s all been turned on its head, though. Commodore has been gone for a long time, so what they could have or would have done is pure speculation.  In the mobile OS wars, Google is worse than Apple in a lot of ways (I don’t believe that Apple spying even comes close to Google’s), so now I don’t like either of them.  MacOS/OSX has evolved into something close to a very polished *nix distro for x86 PCs with traditional mouse/keyboard/non-touch monitor interfaces.  Compared to what Windows has become, it begins to look very appealing, though only theoretically (I’ve never actually used it, so for all I know I may hate it).

        I use two PCs each day (at least) at home.  My main PC, an overclocked i5/2500k desktop (a misnomer, really, as it is a floor-standing full tower case I have it in) has a 23 inch monitor, and rather than attach a second display to that PC, I use my trusty 14 inch laptop, with it immediately to the left of the main monitor.  When I have one thing going on the main PC, I will often just reach over the desktop’s keyboard and use the laptop instead of tabbing out to look something up or watch a video or what-not.  I have two desktop mice (mouses?) side by side, one for each, just to the right of the desktop’s keyboard.

        Both of these computers are set up in as identical a manner as I can manage, with Windows 8.1 identically modified on both, and with both dual-booting with nearly identical setups of Linux Mint 18.3.  The laptop almost exclusively lives in Linux land these days, and I’m trying to keep it that way as much as possible to get myself to learn how to do things in Linux and find Linux software alternatives to Windows as much as possible.  It’s actually going better than expected, and Linux is beginning to feel more and more like “home,” while Windows increasingly feels… how would I put it?  Artificially limiting, I guess, even though I have 8.1 set up so well, to my way of thinking, that I wouldn’t want to change a whole lot about it.

        I’ve had the suspicion that MS doesn’t really want to be in the OS business anymore since the release of 10, and if that turns out to be accurate, Linux may well see a burst of interest like never seen before.  On various tech forums, the Windows fans like to tease the Linux fans with “this is the year of the Linux desktop!” taunts every time the Linux people predict any surge in interest, but this one is different, should it come to pass.  It’s not Linux defeating Windows in a head to head contest; neither Linux or MacOS/OSX has ever come close to doing that.

        In this case, it would be Microsoft willingly exiting the market, after having extracted all of the last value out of the Windows franchise.  What will happen in the Linux world remains to be seen, and a lot of the Linux die-hards who like things pretty well the way they are may not care very much for a huge influx of Windows users… but if their desire to free people from the grasp of Microsoft is true at all, it has to happen at some point.

        As for me, I’m not a Linux die-hard by any means, but I’m getting there.  I’ve been a consistent Microsoft user/supporter/defender (sometimes reluctantly, as in the dark browser war days, when I was firmly a Mozilla fan) from the MS-DOS 3.3 days forward, and if they hadn’t lost the plot starting with Windows 8, I’d still be right there with them.

        Like many others who are new to Linux, I am more of a Windows refugee than anything else, but I am acclimating to my new digs pretty quickly.  Even though I still have one foot in each world, I am not sure if MS could get me back now either, even if they suddenly had a change of heart and gave us the OS that I wish 10 had been all along… too much trust has been lost.  How would I know that MS won’t decide to abuse their customers once again in the future if the mood were to strike?  That’s what’s great about truly free (as in free speech) software: You’re never truly trapped by devs who chart a path you just cannot follow.  Others will agree with you; a fork will be formed, or an existing one will be reinforced.

        While forks often spread scarce resources even thinner, they also prevent an oligarchy of project heads from forcing their choices on an unwilling user base.   Developers losing the plot and moving in what seems like a suicidal direction is not limited to closed-source outfits like Microsoft; Mozilla is having its own such moment right now, and Ubuntu did years ago when they decided to chase the “one UI to rule them all” fad with Unity.  The difference is that when it happens in proprietary software, you can only take it or leave it and hope that the devs listen to their customers and change their minds (which doesn’t seem to happen very often).  While open-source software is no panacea (it has its own issues), it offers a clear antidote to devs who seem to be having a Thelma and Louise moment with their software.

    • #149558 Reply

      AlexEiffel
      AskWoody Lounger

      I think the situation is a bit different with Apple.

      They have never been that good at patching for security in the first place. They built a good OS on top of a solid secure foundation and because of that, they might have less critical security issues. Although the patch was bad, it is a good thing they tried to quickly patch something that was perceived as critical. They were not pushing unneeded new features, here.

      Yes, I am annoyed by the bugs they release with each new IOS upgrade. The upgrades are quite big, although the OS itself remains quite simple. Each year, I have to tolerate a few weeks of bugs, some might have to reinstall everything, quite annoying really. But going through all the options of the OS and adjust my install procedure rarely takes me more than 2 hours each year, compared to days with Windows. You can’t really compare though because one is a mobile OS and the other one a desktop OS.

      Still, Apple looks to me like they are more focused on simplifying user experience and adding truly useful features, at least to some users. I think they have a harder time doing that as they complexify the OS and the interactions possible between it and the apps and the apps between each other. Some settings have become much more obscure, like everything related to Siri and the reduction in functionality you have with Siri on IOS 11 if you want to maintain more privacy (it is now more an all or nothing approach: give us access to your personal data or I won’t even find the app when you search for it if the name is not spelled out completely anymore).

      I don’t think MS and Apple are going the same way at all. Apple seems less apt lately at producing the polished, clean experience that has made them what they are, but I don’t think they want to do it, they just make more mistakes. Is it because Jobs is gone? Don’t know.

      MS is violating the trust of its users regularly and they go in a very bad direction, I think. However, almost everything is there to reverse course at some point. If Nadella would be fired when the market sees Windows is loosing too much ground, they could easily reverse course by starting from the LTS version and offer a truly “pro” version with less bloat for the business desktop, which would also be available to customers who demand it. The problem with Microsoft is will they retain enough talent before they have to switch course? If they don’t fix their reliability and stability issues, soon enough they won’t have as much customers and those gone will likely not return.

      The big mistake Microsoft makes is addressing two very different markets the same way. Business users are not susceptible to fads or switching to another OS unless you really make their life impossible. They are captured by the whole software ecosystem and tools centered on Windows. You need to try real hard to loose them and even them, for most it will be very painful to switch. For home users, it seems that at least initially, they can sell a lot of vaporware and dubious aesthetics over everything else. In that sense, they might want to address competition by playing this game, but over the long run, if they annoy users too much, I’m not sure those buying a Mac will ever come back.

      This is a huge risk for fighting no real actual threat on the desktop. They should just accept the desktop is loosing to mobile in some cases and that’s fine. They bet too much on their whole ecosystem of integrated hardware and software and I will argue they are not good enough to pull this off. They can’t make their integration seamless and reliable, useful and good for productivity, while annoying everyone with ads and other privacy invading or productivity hindering “features”. They can’t push their thing that much if it is not stable and reliable. People will just stop following them if they get bitten. If you don’t really need the Microsoft ecosystem at home and you bought a Surface Pro because you thought it was cool and then you have so much issue without any decent support. you will probably be very mad to have sunk that much money into that bad product and you will think twice about it before buying a new one next time.

       

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