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When good maths goes bad
It goes without saying that the technical and scientific knowledge of your contributors is amazing, but one would have thought that it would include basic maths. That’s is why I was stunned to read a schoolboy howler in Anthony Leather’s review of the Intel Core i9-7900X ( see issue 276, p50).
Talking of the difference between the £1,500 Broadwell-E and the £1,000 7900, he refers to “that 50% drop in price”. Most primary school children would be able to tell him that a change from £1,500 to £1,000 is in fact a drop of 33%. James Gourley
Tim Danton, editor-in-chief, replies:
Well spotted, James. The other way around – going up from £1,000 to £1,500 – would of course be a 50% increase, which perhaps explains why prices always seem to rise by more than they’re ever reduced.
Who cares if Big Brother’s watching?
Reading Stewart Mitchell’s article on surveillance ( see issue 276, p14), it seems to me that there’s a lot of pseudo outrage about this topic. It’s reminiscent of the outcry over identity cards, invasion of privacy, Big Brother, and so on.
If one is not engaged in anything illegal or underhand what is there to fear? With global terrorism on the increase, it behoves us to allow our security forces, both overt and covert, the maximum access to data sources. Keith McIntyre
Tim Danton, editor-in-chief, replies: Safe to say this is a topic that tends to split people. To provide some balance, here’s what Edward Snowden had to say – most eloquently – on the subject. “Saying that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. It’s a deeply anti-social principle because rights are not just individual, they’re collective, and what may not have value to you today may have value to an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life tomorrow. And if you don’t stand up for it, then who will?”
Why buy NAS-specific drives?
Your NAS group test ( see issue 276, p74) references the possible use of NAS-specific hard disks, which are rather glibly dismissed because of a durability increase that is unnecessary in the majority of use cases: “If you’re buying new drives, you can consider specialist NAS disks such as the WD Red series, which are designed for heavy use and high-temperature environments. That’s great for busy offices, but for a home NAS it’s probably overkill.”
My understanding of NAS-specific drives is that they claim to have a greater MTBF and workload rating, so are better equipped for long operational periods when compared with standard desktop drives. There is, however, understandable scepticism about that claim.
Having had three standard desktop drives fail on my Windows Home Server during the years I ran it, I can confirm that a longer operating life would have been useful.
You don’t have a time machine to test operational life, but perhaps taking a selection of NAS-specific drives and comparing them against their sister desktop drives in one or two of the NAS units covered in issue 276, might be an interesting test? Matthew Clark
One Last Thing
In his recent column ( see issue 275, p130) Jon Honeyball correctly states that, “We can’t have hundreds of thousands of people using vulnerable software for years”, but he then goes on to say, “simply because they can’t be bothered to upgrade”.
No, no, no! I agree that everybody should apply security patches but this is not the same as upgrading. People shouldn’t be forced to upgrade simply because of security issues in released software. Security updates should be issued - which are security updates - to address all known vulnerabilities.
If I want to use Office 2003 with Windows Vista then that’s up to me. It’s up to Microsoft to make sure that this system has no known vulnerabilities, but not to say that I need to upgrade to a later version which has the issue(s) fixed. This is analogous to being told that the car you are driving has a known problem with the brakes - but don’t worry; the latest model fixes this. Just get rid of your existing car and get a new one and you’ll be all right. You can imagine the uproar this would cause if car manufacturers tried it. A computer system is no different - despite what some people like to state to the contrary.
Despite what Jon and others may wish, a software licence is forever - and Microsoft and others need to wise up to their responsibilities and start to fulfil them - rather than putting the blame on the user. The blame is, and always has been, on the supplier and that is where it remains. John Taylor
so long as the software isn’t disabled by the manufacturer when a vulnerability arises, I can’t see that happening. Ultimately, they can’t continue supporting old apps forever as it’s not financially viable, just as car manufacturers won’t usually support a car outside of its warranty period. At that point, it’s up to the owner to pay a garage to fix it for them, which isn’t all that different to being forced to pay for a vulnerabilitypatching upgrade.
I’d give my right arm for an iMac
Your review of the latest 27in all-in-one Apple iMac ( see issue 276, p62) makes reference to the screen’s very limited adjustability, which has always been a feature of that computer. The only adjustment possible, when using the supplied stand, is a back and forth tilt; no height or swivel adjustment.
Yet, I wonder how many of your readers know that it’s possible to order an iMac with a standard VESA 100mm mount (without a stand), with which it can be fixed to a flexible desk-mounted monitor arm and moved in all directions. Such arms are available for around £120, and are suitable for a 27in iMac.
I bought my iMac just as the latest range was released in June 2017 and that VESA mount is still available. Combined with a flexible arm with built-in cable management, it offers custom adjustment to suit every requirement. Better yet, as the arm is barely visible behind the iMac, it appears to be floating in mid-air. If mounting on a conventional stand is preferred at a later date, it’s possible to buy a suitable model with a VESA mount and fix the iMac to it. Miles Mandelson
I wonder how many of your readers know that it’s possible to buy an iMac with a standard VESA 100mm mount
ABOVE You’re being watched – but does it matter, asks reader Keith McIntyre?