Category Archives: Apple

The old order changeth …

And slowly answered Malcolm, in the large:
‘The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And Pod fulfils itself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

There are a couple of mini-Pods around the house, including the little one that’s no bigger than a USB socket. I normally have at least four devices here on the desk — a fifth, the 60MB 4th generation, was carted to London to transfer a large .mpeg and is still down there. The 8oGB 5th generation is in a box, needing a battery transplant. So that currently leaves two iPads from the second and current generations. Oh, and these specimens:

Have to admit affection for that second generation 20GB. And it’s only 15 years young.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, BBC, History, Music

An evil soul producing holy witness…

… Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly 🍎Apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

Enough Merchanting of Venice.

That’s here, because else I’d be blaspheming. I just need to work out a bit of spleen.

For some reason my super-duper Apple wi-fi keyboard had taken to doing strange things, when paired with the CPU. And then, for no reason, it decided not to pair at all.

Fair enough. It’s given good service over at least a couple of years. And it did take some thrashing. And even the odd bit of morning caffeine.

But here’s the really, really annoying bit: that keyboard works quite happily with the ancient iPad.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple


I’ve always enjoyed the Ulsterman’s (and -woman’s) ability to find anything “desperate”. As far as I can pin down this all-purpose expression, it indicates the odd, out-of-the-ordinary, even wryly amusing.

Just once in a while, those attempted e-mail scams throw up such an object.

Is it really worthwhile to pose as Mrs Florence Au and solicit me to receive a cut of her late husband’s multi-millions, lodged in a foreign bank?

Or the expert who remotely diagnoses a security fault on my Windows PC, when the whole house is Mac-dependent?

Or the notification that my non-existent account with the Bank of Ireland, Paypal, Amazon or Ebay has been infringed?

But … whoa! … here comes a new one. 

Malcolm Redfellow, it seems, is being chased for not paying his dues to E-ZPass, the electronic toll-road collection system for the North-Eastern United States.

Since Malcom Redfellow does physically exist (at least beyond these mumblings), does not drive — and certainly not in the Tri-State area, does not and never has owned a vehicle or a driving licence, —

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, blogging, crime, films

You can diss Big Blue, but don’t mess with Big Bird!

Once upon a time the 600-pound gorilla on the corporate computing block was Big Blue — IBM.

One of the early Apple TV adds has a pair of old suits looking down at younger suits entering the building. These young ones (including the new wave of … women!) were carrying Macintosh SE30s. That would seem to date the memory back to about 1990. The old suits asked the redundant question: why were they bringing their “toy computers” to work. The message, then and still with Apple, is that their products “just work”.

A cynic might plausibly argue that the success of the SE in business owed less to Apple than to the way the hardware ran MicroSoft Excel (from a 1.4 MB floppy!) — and to the fact that Excel was way in advance of the clunky VisiCalc application to which behemoth mainframes were shackled.

You’ll still see SE30s in many laboratories — even if only used as door-stops, or under office desks. Plug ’em in, switch ’em on. Most still dong cheerfully, and boot up OS 7.5.5. Choose the right day of the week and you may get Arthur Dent telling you This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

We thought that neat, at the time.

Somehow that all seems relevant to Malcolm — but then he has a very disturbed thought-process.

Was Romney’s stab at PBS singularly ill-advised?

What he said to the moderator, Jim Lehrer, was:

I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.

The “cost”of that “subsidy”, as PBS quickly made clear is trivial:

Over the course of a year, 91 percent of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81 percent of all children between the ages of 2-8.

Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online — all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.

Far from huge tranches of money from China to pay for it, the PBS “subsidy” amounts to 0.001% of the federal budget. Were that the scope of a President Romney’s ambitions to cut the deficit, he — and we — really would be in trouble.

All this, and much more, is being very elegantly and eloquently made by Charles M. Blow at the New York Times:

Big Bird is the man. He’s 8 feet tall. He can sing and roller skate and ride a unicycle and dance. Can you do that, Mr. Romney? I’m not talking about your fox trot away from the facts. I’m talking about real dancing.

Since 1969, Big Bird has been the king of the block on “Sesame Street.” When I was a child, he and his friends taught me the alphabet and the colors and how to do simple math.

Do you know how to do simple math, Mr. Romney? Maybe you and the Countess Von Backward could exchange numbers.

Blow is vamping on the educational values of PBS in general, and Sesame Street in particular. When told his American-born grandchildren had “etiquette” as part of their pre-school daycare experience, Malcolm had to control his eyebrows. Yet that, too, is in the overt Sesame Street curriculum:

Big Bird and his friends also showed me what it meant to resolve conflicts with kindness and accept people’s differences and look out for the less fortunate. Do you know anything about looking out for the less fortunate, Mr. Romney? Or do you think they’re all grouches scrounging around in trash cans?

Moreover, anything must be a good thing that dilutes and uplifts the pabulum, notably those crude (and, to Malcolm, violent) oriental- made cartoons, which is the staple fodder on the commercial networks.

Pester power

Were the Obama campaigners and their assorted PACs truly Machiavellian they would be running Save Big Bird! ads in the post-school hours. All that is needed is a trim of that clip of Romney:

It would work on the same basis as those confectionary and SimpleWare [©] displays so adjacent to the supermarket check-out. Never underestimate the niggle factor:

Mom! They’re not going to hurt Big Bird, are they?

Basic, under-powered and over-stated — rather like the Macintosh SE — but it might. similarly, “just work”.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, education, equality, Ethical Man, New York Times, Uncategorized, United States, US Elections, US politics

Wish you all adieu

There is a world out there, beyond spats about immigration.

For the next couple of weeks, Malcolm will be elsewhere.

The elsewhere will be via JFK, NYC, DC and Thanksgiving in Noo Joisey.

With luck it will involve substantial sampling of craft ales, book-stores, diners (the US’s gracious gift to international cuisine, and rarely matched), decent music (Mona’s in the East Village is inked into the agenda), a bit of family familiarity, along with the odd novel (real and literary) experience. In there somewhere will be thirst-slaking at  the Old Town Bar  — if only because, one celebrated afternoon, unshorn and weary, sitting beneath the image of Frank McCourt and other worthies, Malcolm was accosted by a pasty and insipid youth and asked was he Famous Seamus.

Redfellow Hovel will be left in full charge of he who answers to the code number of 1690: the password is “No Surrender”. That’s no joke: his name is Ken. He left just that message on the Redfellow answerphone when “The Troubles” were at their height. For months afterwards, there were strange clicks and quiverings whenever anyone else ‘phoned. Can’t think why.

So, this evening, Malcolm has been filling the iPod to get him from here to there and back. Just let’s hope that he doesn’t disgrace himself on AA107 if the iPod spills out Phil Coulter’s Scorn Not His Simplicity — 

Or (as is more likely) Luke Kelly’s angstier rendition:

It cracks him wide open every time. For a good reason.

Leave a comment

Filed under air travel., Apple, Beer, Dublin., folk music, Ireland, New York City, pubs, Seamus Heaney, travel, Troubles

To iPad or not to iPad …

… that is the question.

[Malcolm spent twenty minutes rewriting Bill Shakespeare, before recognising it wasn’t worth the effort.]

Here, though, is the question [Watch it, Malcolm!] — the Lady in his Life has a MacBook, which, after three years of whips and scorns of time [Tut! Tut!], is suffering over-heating problems. The thousand natural shocks [That’s pushing your luck!] to which the Pert Young Piece has subjected her keyboard is causing problems. Meanwhile, Malcolm himself has been producing this pale cast of thought, about enterprises of great pith and moment [That’s it! You’re barred!] on a clapped-out PowerBook G4 and an iBook.

To the point!

There may, just may be the chance of an all-round up-grade, as part of a parental visit to First Born in Noo Joisey (and access to places where sales tax does not apply).

Pretty well everything that the inmates of Redfellow Hovel undertake could be done on an iPad.

So … are there cheaper, better (or even equivalent) alternatives? Is there some undiscover’d country from whose bourn No traveller returns but puzzles the will [No! That’s cheating!] which involves … Android?

A lot of the technology papers (flush with adverts for just those products) imply so. Murdoch’s Sunday Times invariably finds that an Apple product is second or third choice behind an Android vehicle.

Perhaps Malcolm and the Redfellow Hovel herd are missing out here?

And then, courtesy of (which might, just might, be biased) Malcolm hits on this:

Several reports have indicated that despite shipping hundreds of thousands or even millions of tablets, many of Apple’s competitors are not seeing consumer interest in their products and thus the devices are sitting on store shelves and in warehouses and not making their way into users’ hands. One of the most telling pieces of data comes in a new report from AllThingsD, which has learned that of the approximately 270,000 units of HP’s highly-promoted TouchPad shipped out to Best Buy’s distribution channels, only about 25,000 have been sold to customers.

According to one source who’s seen internal HP reports, Best Buy has taken delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has so far managed to sell only 25,000, or less than 10 percent of the units in its inventory. 

A second person who has seen Best Buy’s TouchPad sales figures confirmed the results as “consistent with what I’ve seen,” and went so far as to say that 25,000 sold might be “charitable.” This source suggested that the 25,000-unit sales number may not account for units that consumers return to stores for a refund.

Best Buy is said to be so unhappy with the lack of momentum on TouchPad sales that it has asked HP to take many of the unsold units back, but HP is reportedly “pleading” with Best Buy to remain patient. HP recently slashed $100 off of the price of the TouchPad in attempt to spur sales and is hoping that the move will turn things around, dropping pricing on the entry-level 16 GB model to $399.99. HP’s price cut may not be having the desired effect, however, as reports coming in from retailers suggest that consumers are continuing to hold off in hopes that prices drop even further. 

So, such reports Must give us pause [Huh?] … there’s the respect/ That makes calamity of so long life; … With this regard their currents turn awry,/ And lose the name of action.

[I hate you, Malcolm. I really, really hate you!]

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, blogging, Literature, Shakespeare

Let’s have “mysophilia”

Malcolm’s authority for such things is, as always, the Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED does not recognise “mysophilia”, but happily gives us:

mysophobia, n. Psychol. Irrational fear of dirt or defilement.


He first encountered the term some three years ago in the BBC website’s saga of Cinders. This comes with a brief, but uplifting video-clip  of the star of today’s show. So, on with the motley:

A piglet scared of wallowing in mud has overcome its fears with the help of some Wellington boots.

Six-week-old Cinders appears to suffer from mysophobia, a fear of dirt, after refusing to join her siblings as they splashed around in the mud.

Owner Andrew Keeble from Thirsk, North Yorks, said his daughter Ellie, 12, suggested kitting her out in the tiny footwear which had been on a key ring.

“Lo and behold they fitted her like a glove,” Mr Keeble said.

“She’s scared of mud, but her brothers and sisters are quite happy in it.

“We’ve never come across this before. They are born ready to go and explore, but she never really liked going in the mud.”

Anyone heading for the Keeble farm at Thirsk would have a further trek across about ten miles of North Yorkshire to reach Bedale.

That BBC piece is a mini-epic, with a classic structure worthy of any well-plotted novel. After that up-beat intro, establishing character, we get the central crisis with its requisite frisson of fear:

Mr Keeble and wife Debbie, both 42, run a sausage company and keep about 200 pigs on their 1,000-acre farm.

Only then are we re-assured with the fade-out into the porcine silhouette in the sunset:

But the father-of-four said there was no chance that Cinders would be slaughtered.

“She’s more of a pet really now and she’s going to live a very long and happy life,” he said.

Ah, bless! Hold the apple sauce.

Cinders came back to Malcolm’s mind when Victoria Gill, Science and nature reporter, BBC News, posted this scientific break-through:

It is a true picture of contentment, and now a scientist is suggesting that a pig’s love of mud is more than just a way to keep cool.

A researcher in the Netherlands has looked at wallowing behaviour in pigs’ wild relatives to find out more about what motivates the animals to luxuriate in sludge.

His conclusions suggest that wallowing is vital for the animals’ well-being.

The study is published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Marc Bracke from Wageningen University and Research Centre is propounding that pigs don’t wallow because they lack sweat-glands: on the contrary, they failed to develop sweat-glands because they do wallow.

Hence Malcolm’s suggestion that the scientific lexicon needs the term mysophilia. And, by next week, in the more sordid recesses of the internet, it may well have become a fully-fledged and recognised fetish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, BBC, Britain, culture, reading, Yorkshire