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What happened during the troubled Big Sur launch, and why Apple can't let it happen again – AppleInsider

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Apple’s Big Sur update needed to go smoothly, and instead it caused disruption worldwide even for users who weren’t trying to download it.

Anyone can make mistakes. And very few companies can deliver a revamped operating system to millions of users without problems. However, Apple is one of those firms that can do it, it’s one that has done it extraordinarily successfully.

It’s also the one that on Thursday got it startlingly wrong. In 2020, at the dawn of Apple Silicon, when consumer trust needs to be maintained at all cost during a big hardware transition, Apple cannot allow this week’s errors that prevented some folks from launching apps already installed on non-Big Sur machines, and Big Sur installations to fail, to ever happen again.

Ready or not

If we’ve all previously wondered whether iOS 13 was a little bit jinxed, macOS Big Sur has definitely been a problem child. It is the biggest update to macOS in years, but it’s also had what has seemed to be a very extended beta period.

Right up to the end, that beta didn’t seem to be closing in on the kind of robust, finished version that could be delivered to the public. It rolled out on November 12, though, and it was ready.

Only, instead of checking out Software Update in System Preferences, take a look at the macOS Big Sur entry in the Mac App Store. The latest version, the one announced and revealed on November 12, was actually uploaded and ready to distribute on November 9. It has not been changed or updated since then.

So it had been ready to release in time for Apple’s unveiling of the Apple Silicon M1 Macs, but Apple chose to hold it back for three days. There was no apparent technical reason for it, nothing within the update it self. But what there was in those days, was the initial pre-order phase for the new Macs.

There could be one or two meetings going on in Apple Park about these problems

Apple cannot have expected a software release to impact on the online Apple Store. But if it did know that there was a risk of a serious problem, it can have expected that its resources would be stretched if it were simultaneously trying to handle a lot of sales transactions. And it could have done more to prevent it.

The move to Apple Silicon

You can’t fault any company for balancing its resources, for deploying its efforts strategically. But this was part of the transition to Apple Silicon, a gigantic move that Apple has to get right.

What’s more, it’s a gigantic move that Apple had already done a great job of convincing us that it would get right. Even if you weren’t using Macs around the transitions to PowerPC or Intel, Apple’s really well presented explanations of what it is doing, when, and why, are remarkable.

Those explanations, this expectation Apple has built up so well, they are all remarkably punctured when the company stumbles. It’s not as if this were just something like Big Sur taking a long time to download because of demand, though that was part of it.

It was that the problems downloading Big Sur affected Mac users around the world — including ones who were not trying to get the new macOS at all. Apps that were working just fine on Macs with macOS Catalina were suddenly not launching.

That was not a demand problem, that was a mistake. To run your apps, you just had to disconnect from the internet or use an app like Little Snitch to block some traffic, and all was fine.

Naturally, you couldn’t download Big Sur if you weren’t online, but to get on with your work, you had to figure out this workaround. So however many people were watching that very, very slow download of macOS Big Sur, there were countless others who weren’t downloading it but still could not do their work.

There are likely to be some people in Apple Park having a very bad day today, and the conversations will be chiefly about what went wrong with the Big Sur download. But they should also include examining how users were abandoned.

Apple didn’t tell users what was going on, it didn’t change error messages to ask people to try later. It took users to figure out what was going so wrong, and it took users to devise this workaround.

It wasn’t about demand

It’s also a little too easy to blame the problems on just how many people were trying to download macOS Big Sur. This was a failing, it isn’t an excuse to claim Big Sur is popular.

Again, there aren’t many companies that can push out an OS update to so many users, but this is was actually one of Apple’s smaller cases.

True, macOS Big Sur was a very large file to download, but according to Apple’s last unit sales volume data from a few years ago, there are at least 20 iPhone users to ever one Mac owner – and this ratio has surely only increased with time. So iOS 14, for example, was a far bigger deal to distribute from a volume of data perspective.

Apple can do OS distributions at large scale. Apple has now done this many, many times. And, it does it with popular media as well — the download crushes from a new Disney movie are fairly incredible, we understand, with 4k movies of similar size as Thursday’s Big Sur download.

It hasn’t been without incident, though, it hasn’t been that everything has always gone so smoothly that Apple could be forgiven for relaxing. While nothing like this week’s issues have come up before, macOS Mojave caused a lot of problems at first.

Yet if the next year’s macOS Catalina saw issues with people’s older apps failing, that was the move to 64-bits, it wasn’t an error. So for all the disruption that the Big Sur problems caused, it isn’t a case of Apple not being up to the task.

It is a case of mistakes. They were just costly mistakes that came at a time when Apple needs to be rock-solid with its releases.

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Health unit declares COVID-19 outbreak at Shish Shawarma restaurant – CBC.ca

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The Middlesex London Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Shish Shawarma and Grill after six employees tested positive for coronavirus. 

The restaurant is located at 1401 Ernest Avenue in London’s south end. 

The health unit was notified of an initial case on Dec. 1, and closed the restaurant the following day after being notified of two more staff cases. On Thursday the health unit was told about positive tests for three additional employees. 

“Investigators are still determining whether any of the six staff members worked while they were infectious. The Health Unit has determined that there may have been a low-risk exposure for some customers,” the health unit said in a statement. 

Those who visited the eatery between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 should monitor themselves for symptoms. 

“We know that it raises concerns when the health unit declares a COVID-19 outbreak, especially when it’s related to a restaurant, but I want to be clear that the risk of contracting the virus in a situation like this is very low. Any interactions between restaurant employees and patrons would have been brief and staff who interacted with customers were wearing masks, which would have reduced the possibility for COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health

“We will continue our investigation and work with these six people directly, determine who their close contacts are and provide the support they need to help navigate this situation.” 

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The 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Is A Serious Threat To The Civic Si – Jalopnik

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Photo: Hyundai

At a time where both sedans and manual-transmission models are fading from the market, it’s nice to see automakers continue to make compact and fun four-door offerings. Hyundai just released pricing for the Elantra N Line and it seems that it has the Honda Civic Si sedan squarely in its sights.

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Hyundai brought some substantial updates to the Elantra lineup for the 2021 model year, including a drastic styling change that adds some flair to the commuter-car segment. The all-new 2021 Elantra N Line uses a formula similar to its competitors — four-door compact sedan, performance upgrades, manual gearbox — but offers an awesome value at a starting price of $25,095 with the six-speed manual and $26,195 with the dual-clutch automatic.

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In comparison, the Si is $26,155 is available only with a manual gearbox. The Elantra N Line uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Honda’s motor is a turbocharged 1.5-liter that makes 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque

While the performance specs are incredibly similar, the Elantra N Line lays it on heavy with standard equipment. The sporty trim builds on the already well-equipped SE and SEL, which come packed with advanced safety equipment and technology, and then adds a host of upgrades to set the N Line apart. From Hyundai’s press materials:

Larger front brakes, Multi-link rear suspension Leather/cloth combination sport seats, Sport mode select option, Power driver seat 18-inch alloy wheels w/ 235/40 R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires, Heated front seats, Chrome twin exhaust N Line analog gauge cluster, Sunroof Leather-wrapped sport steering wheel & shift knob, Full LED taillights, Alloy pedals, N Line front grille and bumper, Black headliner, N Line rear fascia w/ diffuser, 60/40 split-folding rear seatback with armrest & cup holders N Line DLO (glossy black)

Also in this category is the updated VW Jetta GLI that puts down similar power but has a starting price of $27,460 with a manual transmission. However, the VW doesn’t include the same level of standard equipment as the Hyundai.

While it would be nice to have a hatchback option as well, the Elantra N Line sedan retains the formula of a fun car at an affordable price — if the styling is your thing.

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Sonos One Wi-Fi speakers are $40 off today – The Verge

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Sonos ran an all-too-short one-day sale on its Wi-Fi speakers last week for Black Friday. The good news is that they’re discounted once again at Best Buy and Amazon, though the price cuts aren’t as steep. Both the Sonos One SL without microphones and the Sonos One (Gen 2) are $40 off at either retailer. This puts the One SL at $140 and the One (Gen 2) at $160. Neither are best-ever prices, but given that they’re within $10 of their lowest costs, we thought you’d like to know about these deals.

If HBO Max caught your attention yesterday with the news that all Warner Bros. films released through 2021 will debut day-and-date on the streaming platform, you understandably might want a subscription for yourself or to gift to someone else. For new and returning subscribers, you can save 20 percent by prepaying for a six-month subscription to the service. Instead of $90, it’ll cost you $70. Just note that this is non-refundable.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the latest installment that crams essentially four games into one package, has received a $10 price cut across all platforms at Walmart. The PS4 or Xbox One version of the game now costs $50 instead of $60. If you’re already gaming on the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S consoles, you’ll spend $60 (PS5, Xbox Series X / S) instead of $70.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you get the PS4 / Xbox One version, there’s a $10 fee associated with getting the next-gen patch for either the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S. So if you just don’t want to fuss with that, get the pricier next-gen version instead.

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