The entry-level model also gets some extra memory too, stepping up from 4GB to 8GB while still enjoying a £100 price cut that – shock horror! – actually brings it down to £999.The 128GB solid-state drive hasn’t changed, though, so you’ll have to pay £1,199 for the 256GB model. There’s also a 2.8GHz model with 512GB of storage available for £1,399.00.
Needless to say, further upgrades and build-to-order options are expensive, with another 8GB of memory costing £160, while a dual-core i7 running at 3.0GHz adds another £240. Don’t forget, too, that the memory on the MacBook Pro is soldered onto the motherboard so you can’t upgrade it yourself – a limitation that seems particularly short-sighted for something that calls itself a pro machine.And that’s pretty much it for 2014. There’s no change to the basic design of the laptop, although it has always been a smart-looking kit, with its unibody aluminium chassis weighing just 1.57kg, and measuring 18mm thick.One talking point ahead of this update was the possibility of an upgrade for the Retina Display, as there are now several Windows laptops available that provide even higher resolutions. To be fair, the 2560x1600 resolution on this 13-inch model still works a treat.
The IPS panel is bright and colourful, and provides excellent viewing angles. The Mac operating system also handles scaling of text and graphics more effectively than Windows – just try running Photoshop on some of the quad-HD Windows laptops that are currently available – so Apple doesn’t have to worry too much on that score.It’s also likely that a higher resolution display would reduce battery life, which has always been one of the MacBook Pro’s strong points. Apple quotes nine hours of wireless web browsing, but we managed eight hours and 20 minutes of streaming video, and less intensive use can certainly stretch that to a good ten hours.The price cut this time around may well be due to currency fluctuations rather than any real generosity on Apple’s part – there’s been no comparable change in the US prices for the MacBook Pro – but a starting price of £999 for the Retina models should certainly bolster sales in time for the new school term. And, with its smart, lightweight design and strong battery life the MacBook Pro With Retina Display can still give its Windows Ultrabook rivals a run for their money.
Patch early and patch often is the advice of security professionals when it comes to software updates.After all, who needs to be left wide open to hackers and malware writers when the solution is delivered by the software's maker?Yet sysadmins will be increasingly leery of applying such an approach to Windows systems following Microsoft's latest botch job.On 12 August Microsoft released 40 updates for Internet Explorer, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro.Very shortly afterwards people began reporting their Windows machines bricking – while others glimpsed something they hadn't seen in a very long time: the Blue Screen of Death. Many thought BSODs were a thing of the past in this brave new Windows 7 (and 8) world.They were wrong. As ever, people were in the dark over what had gone wrong and why.I have spent about 8 hours looking into this and I found out that the error occurs when I install any of the following updates: KB2976897, KB2982791 and KB2970228. I checked my laptop's ram and hard disk and they do not show any defects, wrote Frank on a Microsoft forum.
Tempers were running high. I wasted loads of time trying to get my PC to boot as mine boots in to a blue screen and it comes with error win32k.sys, wrote 007L2Kill.One user unloaded: I wish that Microsoft would check the updates before releasing them I suspect that these updates mentioned above are not compatible with windows 7 64bit which I am running.Susan Bradley, a Microsoft “valued professional community moderator”, shot back:They do test, they just missed something here. Would you mind emailing me so we can get this officially investigated? The more samples/cases we have the faster we can get to the bottom of it.Hardly the words of comfort one expects from Microsoft. Judging by Bradley's comments, the software giant was as clueless about what had gone wrong as the hapless users.It was also clear the BSOD plague was hitting everybody, from those supporting elderly relatives' PCs up to serious business users. Yet amid the horror there was humour:I thought that only Windows 98 systems got blue-screen errors?, wrote Joe Blough. (I am laughing at you all, because I haven't seen a blue-screen error on my win-98se system for years. I'm typing this reply on one such win-98 system right now - it has 2 gb of installed ram and win-98 can see and use all of it thanks to a few patches. And no, I'm not running 98 in a VM.)
Microsoft has now retreated from the update, taking the second quickest route to fixing something - the first being power button off, power button on. It's told users to uninstall the botched update from crippled PCs. Microsoft has also removed the offending download links from its site.Already this month Redmond has had to rush out hotfixes to repair the security updates to Internet Explorer versions 7 through to 11 in July and August, which caused IE users' web browsing to run at the speed of cold molasses in January. Or, running that description through the Microsoft filter, after you applied patches MS14-037 and MS14-051: Web applications that implement consecutive modal dialog boxes may cause Internet Explorer to become slow and unresponsive over time.In November 2013 Surface Pro 2 vanity slabs were overheating thanks to a fault that was also making the screens go too dark to be read.An update from Microsoft released in December which supposed to stop the problem only made it worse, spawning a variety of new difficulties. Users reported their Surfaces weren't charging properly, the batteries draining and bogus error messages kept popping up. Others simply couldn't install the update.
What did Microsoft do? Retreat, again: it pulled the update and postponed delivery of fresh patches to after Christmas, when, Microsoft assumed, lots of new Surfaces would have been purchased.Microsoft has dragged its development practices into the 20th century, it has recently been said.But whether it's Waterfall, Agile or another en vogue development methodology working its way through Microsoft, the company's clearly got a serious problem on development and delivery of fault-free patches.The worst part? It's about to get a lot more complicated as Microsoft has decided the whole update system works so well, it can throw system updates into the code stew too.Unfortunately, the fact that Microsoft's security fixes keeps making things worse makes this not just a problem for Microsoft it's an issue for millions of PC users.Sysadmins must decide whether to trust Microsoft one more time or to run the gauntlet of hackers and malware writers, applying patches late and infrequently to save their own sanity and their credibility in the workplace.
British Samsung repair centre Samuel King Intelligent IT Solutions has gone under, leaving folks stranded without their serviceable Sammy equipment.The repair firm, which fixes mobiles, TVs, laptops and other Samsung tech, said on its website that it had gone into administration, without giving any further information other than a phone number.Reg reader Steve said he’d been given the run-around by Samsung’s customer service when he tried to find out what had happened to his touchscreen laptop. He said Samsung didn’t seem to know that its repair partner had gone out of business.Steve had been trying to get in touch with Samuel King for over a week before he gave up and called Samsung’s customer service helpline on Monday. Despite promising to find out what was happening and let him know, he had to call again yesterday, when the operative said that they were looking into it.“So I decided to call Samsung UK in Chertsey and got through to one of the executive's PAs and when I told her Samuel King had gone out of business she hadn't a clue,” our plucky reader said.
“I told her if I didn't get a reply that afternoon I'd walk into their offices and wait for a reply. Soon enough, someone called back saying that Samsung would be retrieving all customers' equipment today (14th) but didn't know the status of any of it. She did offer me to have it delivered to my address directly in whatever condition it was in - fixed, unfixed or in bits. I replied they could deliver it in a Tesco's bag for all I cared at this stage!”“For a company like Samsung to treat any individual the way I have been given the runaround is a joke,” he fumed. “And still they haven't gone public with the news. They may invest in tech, but they've forgotten how to treat the end user.”A Samsung spokesperson told The Reg that the firm was trying to help customers of the repair centre.“Samsung has been made aware of the complaints regarding Samuel King IT Solutions and delayed repairs. Samsung has issued a notice at the entrance of the repair centre notifying customers that if they have recently left their in-warranty Samsung device for repair and have been unable to arrange collection, to contact the Samsung escalations team directly,” they said.Blocks and Files Simplivity makes scale-out converged server-storage Omnicubes, and you have to rip-and-replace your IT infrastructure to make the best use of them. This sounds like a hard sell, but many of its customers are doing just that as the startup heads towards a $200m run-rate.