Tag: laptop

If I can’t hack it I can’t buy it

For the last few months I have been debating a laptop purchase. I’m running a four year old MacBook Pro 2.33, with a 120 gig hard drive and 2 gigs of RAM. It was time.

Unfortunately, I’ve also found the need for a more portable device, something I can type away on when out of the office, but with minimal added bulk (Editor’s note: MG is bulky enough on his own). I debated the iPhone 4 (with accessories) as well as the iPad, but knew I would have to swallow hard with a new laptop AND one of those.

I did the research, analyzed the cost benefits of several options and combinations of options, then wound up taking an entirely divergent route. I applied screwdrivers to the MacBook Pro and did some upgrading myself.

MacBook Pro 2.33

This is not to say I won’t wind up with a more portable device, but I had one serious problem with the Apple products – they are just not hackable. The biggest point: I can’t put whatever software I want on the iStuff – I’ve got to go through the iSwoons Store. Secondarily, I can’t switch batteries on a new MacBook Pro – another deal killer. The finest new machine is running at around 2.66 Ghz, so mine really isn’t that far behind. Further, I’m prone to thinking that solid state drive prices are going to plummet in the next few years – the feeling is we’re not far from seeing SSD prices that are similar to the mechanical drive prices of today. SSD will add to battery life too. The end result of my analysis was buying just a little more time.

For $75 I wound up quadrupling the storage capacity on this old aluminum slab – a new Hitachi 500 GB went in, and it runs at 7200 rpm too. Another $35 got an extra gig of RAM. Yea, I’m stuck with the old 3GB limit, but so what – that’s a 50% increase over what I’ve got today.

Will $110 buy me another 24 months on this machine? I’ve already made the bet – what do you think?

MG signing off (to relish in new found speed and storage capacity)

Apple new product summary in fifteen heartbeats

Not particularly favorable.

The world is getting a sexy little laptop with wireless-only connectivity and an irreplaceable battery – the MacBook Air. They are also getting a 1TB drive that works over the radio – the Time Capsule.

This time next year, a bunch of MacBook Air owners will have laptops that lose their charge in twenty minutes, and they’ll have to pay $120 or so to get them fixed. They’ll be looking silly at their next coffee-shop meeting too, when the colleague says “oh I’ve got that file on CD.” Or worse…”I’ve got that file on my portable Firewire drive” (there’s no Firewire on the device either). This convenience have cost them roughly two grand to start.

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other folks will have nifty storage units sitting on their shelves. They’ll download a 1.4GB movie from iTunes, which takes this user roughly a half-hour, and then they get to stir for another fifteen minutes when they decide to store it for future use. Big drives mean lots of (and big) files – transfer over the airwaves is a pain in the ass, 802.11n or not. I’m shopping for a new backup drive now, and won’t even consider one without (at least) Firewire 400.

It’s a lot of kit that seems destined to waste time as well as money. There’s an economic slowdown in the midst, and by the time people have money to burn there will already be something better out. Technology advances quickly, and I think Apple’s timing is off. Steve Jobs spoke, then Twitter went down? Give me a break – nobody cares.

But how about Apple’s stock price? Down 15 points in the past two days.

Nobody listens to the White House

After the Veterans Administration wrote the script for downplaying risk, when tens of millions of data records were stolen out of an employee’s home, the Bush Administration issued an edict – encrypt all data on government laptops.

Good idea, but nobody’s listening. Wonder what the TSA’s “100,000” number will grow to?

Veterans Administration heads down encryption route

The VA, who lost a laptop then found it, declaring the data had not been tampered with, has decided to listen to the White House. They are taking the high road, and going to encrypt all laptop data (actually, all sensitive data, which I assume includes that which resides on desktops as well).

All I can say is congratulations. They are “getting it.”

DOT needs lesson in laptop transportation

Laptop + parked car = theft risk.

But still, people don’t get it – even employees of the Department of Transportation.

Now there are another hundred thousand or so names and social security numbers floating around. Next up, spin.

Response time secondary issue with stolen laptops

Companies need a phone tree to deal with stolen laptops full of personally identifiable data, according to this report over at eWeek.

How about a simpler “tree”:

– Keep important data off of laptops and on in-house secure servers, followed by…

– Keep laptops full of data out of the back seats of cars standing in dark parking lots, followed by…

– Keeping laptops full of data out of the hands of foolish employees who think said laptops are safe in the previously mentioned location (as well as safe unattended in crowded wi-fi enabled cafes).

If you don’t make contact, repeat the above steps until you do.

White House says lock up your laptop

The Bush Administration’s Office of Management and Budget is advising federal agencies to encrypt laptop data, among other measures, following a flurry of data thefts (think VA).

I don’t track my inbound stats at Spamroll all that thoroughly, but I do think I would have remembered if the White House visited. Therefore, I wonder where they came up with that bright idea, since I’ve been pissing and moaning about it for over a year.

Data thefts are always worse than first reported

You would think that after letting someone go home with millions of personal records, only to have it stolen, you might want to get your actual exposure to such a theft sorted out right away. In the case of the VA deal, silly excuses were made first, and now the inevitable has occured – the theft is worse than originally thought.

Silly little government boys and girls.

***UPDATE***

Yes, silly. But what an absolutely moronic blatantly incompetent move as well. Complete and utter disrespect for the citizenry that should be held in the highest regard. None too surprising, however, from a pack of government lackeys an institution with no real accountability for its actions. A Slashdot reader agrees.

Of course, the veterans are suing, and I hope they get every penny they can (and a few heads rolling might not hurt either).

Universities not the only ones risking student data

The financers of kids’ college educations are doing it too!

A contractor for the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan company lost 1.3 million names and SSNs when a piece of equipment (which was not identified – meaning it was a laptop left in the front seat of a parked car), was stolen. The incident happened May 24th, the TGSL was notified two days later. The notice included a statement about the data being encrypted, then decrypted, followed by a “well the machine needs password access” – why didn’t they just say everyone listed in the database is now completely screwed?

E&Y no longer gets the benefit of doubt

While I deplore laptop theft, I hate hearing how careless people are with them particularly when the machines are loaded with personal data. And an auditor should not held solely responsible when a laptop full of client information is stolen from that client site.

At first I gave Ernst & Young some benefit of doubt, even though one of their people left one of the machines in a parked car (arghh!). Not this time.