I have computers on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Various levels and flavors of all of the above actually.
There’s always the question as to when or whether to upgrade them.
Linux is pretty simple – when your distribution changes, give it a week or so and listen to the chatter. If the chatter is clear, go for it. I’ve never had a problem here.
Windows. I have a Windows 7 machine that won’t get upgraded because it’s an old Core 2 Duo machine. It will either die before Windows 7 does or it will get given away. Windows 8 became Windows 8.1 as soon as it was offered to me. Windows 8 was an abortion, Windows 8.1 is manageable. Just add Classic Shell and it cleaned up almost all of that Modern/Metro hideousness and pushed it aside. Classic Shell made that ugly block land go away and replaced it with all the desktop land goodness that I need to get things done. It’s still there, lurking under the hood, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had to use one of those ugly blocky programs that Microsoft mistakenly thinks I need to slice, dice, and make julienne fries. Other than network access which the Modern/Metro interface gets in the way massively and then drops you back to a desktop app to actually get the job done to disable and enable things.
I don’t. ‘Nuff said about that.
Then there’s the Mac. I always liked the sleekness and the design of them. Beautiful hardware, a well thought out interface. When I need to use my Mac, it is almost always a pleasure. I got the thing, installed Snow Leopard, and it purred. When the Mavericks upgrade was offered, it was free so why not? I noticed no real problems there, and since I am a lightweight user of my Mac it’s fine.
I’ve heard reports that Mavericks slowed memory access from the prior version, Lion, but like I said: I’m a lightweight user so I don’t notice.
They put out a new operating system, Yosemite. Since I knew about the memory speed issue, I thought I’d wait. Let the experts go after it.
I’m glad I did because there are some privacy issues that made me uncomfortable with things.
Everyone likes having search functions on their computers and generally don’t think twice about how things are done. What happens is that that information you are looking for is sent back to the program to check its indexes and report back to you when it finds what it thinks is the right answer.
That was all well and good back in the good old days when it was enough just to search this current computer. Some smart people decided that they’d go out and do a search on the internet to give back more content. It’s a built in function on the desktop called Spotlight that phones home to Apple and does that search.
Fair enough if you’re actually doing an internet search. But why do you need that search to go back to Apple if you’re just looking for a file on “this” computer? If you are searching for movie information or maps, it’s going to send back your current location, as well as the current device you are on, and anything else that it thinks is pertinent such as language settings and what apps you have used.
To be fair to Apple, you can turn this off, but I have done enough support to know that unless someone turns that sort of thing off for you it won’t get done.
The flip side to that is that if you have turned it off, location services are one of those things that get rather naggy to have turned off. Your searches get a helpful prompt asking you to turn on location services and eventually you wear down and just leave them on.
Checking my Android phone, location services is turned on there, and we know that all that sort of thing goes on there with Google. If you want a smartphone these days, you are either going to have Apple or Google put their hand in your pocket and watch over every move you make that they believe they need to, it’s part of the game.
The idea of having big brother was scary enough when I read 1984, but the reality is that we all now have that big brother in our own pocket and don’t think too much about it.
Nothing to see here, keep moving on.
All this was reported in the Washington Post’s technology blog a while back, and apparently Apple has been taking heat about their decisions to make these changes.
There is a website called fix-macosx.com that promises to give you information how to take back some privacy and turn off some of Apple’s data collection.
This all is a change of heart since the old days where the Mac was more privacy friendly. Now, they’re going all in and sucking down all this info while you happily go along with it. Since Apple is notoriously tight lipped about what they do internally, I suspect that it will be a long time before we find out just exactly what they’re doing with all that data.
No thanks, I’ll pass.