Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Is it time to ditch the Mac?

I've used Apple Macs for 8 years now, my first was a 2008 MacBook pro 15" which, by comparison to it's windows equivalent was light years ahead. You see Windows was using Vista, and it was a car crash of an Operating System. I had one, I used it for 28 days, and used system restore, more times in the time I had it, than I'd used on my XP machine I was replacing. Fortunately Tesco were great and refunded it for me as faulty. Which was the best way to describe it.
I bit the bullet, and without first hand experience, I forked out 4 times the amount I'd spent on my Vaio for the Mac. And I loved it, I became an advocate. I could name several people, who, from my enthusiasm went out and bought Mac's themselves.
But time moves on, and so does technology. Wireless streaming is no longer for the Bill Gates of this world, we all expect it. Music, everywhere. Films, all over. DLNA should be commonplace... but one Manufacturer is out of the game. Because they have their own version. Airplay.
If I want to blast a video from my phone (even an iPhone) from youtube to the TV (A Humax box to be precise) I can, I can... even from an iPhone. But from my Mac. Nope. Why? It's 2016, the technology should be built in. A year or so ago, I switched from iOS to Android, and the extra functionality, cheap cost, unique design has once again, made me an Android advocate.
But having updated to Sierra only an hour or so ago, I am left underwhelmed. Yes, I have an SSD, the machine I have is quick enough, it's light, it has a good battery life. It's still a great machine for something that is 4 years old. But it doesn't fit into my digital life like it ought to.
Password, jeez, what is it with passwords apple? I can't tell you how many times I've entered my passwords on the iMac and MacBook, but it's too many.
2 step verification? Ok, lets give that a try... so now I can no longer login to my iCloud email on my Android devices. This is not convenient Apple. And iMovie, whats this about holding 'R' to select a clip? Who thought that was a good idea? Simplicity, you've added a pointless extra step.
And whats all this elitism about features? Airdrop, it took me ages to find compatible equipment! My old iPad wasn't compatible, and I needed an iPhone 5S before I could start using it. And... well to be frank, it didn't work, it was rubbish. Bluetooth on my Android phone, works better than your in-house solution to file sharing between devices. Less, innovation, more....frustration.
My brand loyalty is not what it once was. It's ironic. In the 80's Apple's brand was built on a fear of succumbing to the evil, monstrous IBM. Not having to 'buy into' an all powerful eco system of dull boxes and incompatibility. The boxes might not be beige plastic, instead they're beautiful brushed aluminium, but the draconian and dystopian world Apple appear to be creating is not beautiful.... any more.
Perhaps it's time to consider the alternatives again.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Printing from a Chromebox - to a network printer.

So today I had my first experience with a google chromebook, 12 actually, networked. Initially I was impressed. Being OS light, they were quick responsive and pretty intuitive. Then I came to printing.

Printing, something so rudimentarily simple, that it should have taken moments. Alas, no. You see, Chromeboxes don't install printers. No drivers, no messy installation. Because, well. They don't work. Now this wasn't a £30 printer, this is one of the schools £500 canon laser printer, a worthy investment. But to be blunt. It was rendered pretty much worthless. After hunting round for an hour or so for a USB lead, I plugged it directly into the Chromebox. Although the OS detected the Printer, with no drivers to install, it was a pointless effort. Chrome found no apps that were compatible. So it wouldn't work.

After further investigation, I found in order to make this printer work, I would need to plug it into a windows machine and share it. Use the windows PC to act as a server, sharing it with a specific Google account. Then, I could quite simply share it with every google account who I wanted to grant the freedom to use it.

Now... here's the thing. This was a school. And, well, the pupils all have their own individual login's. {Can you see where this is headed}?

So in order for me to enable these chromeboxes, to print to the same printer in the same room with the 12 networked Chromeboxes, I needed both a windows PC, and to individually enable 300 plus google accounts to share it.

If anyone knows of an easier solution, for printing from multiple chromeboxes to one local network printer. Please do get in touch.

This is not the future of computing.

Simple laptop buying advice.