Involuntary updates: a drama in an imaginary future Apple car


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They should not call them contracts they should call them what they really are TRAPS!


Where’s my tooltip fix!?


Welcome to the new natural selection. Users who have the sense to back up their data and not attempt an OS or firmware update on a device that they are actively dependent on at that moment in time will live long, healthy lives. Everyone else will plummet to their death.


Yeah… Think I’ll stick with quaint “mechanical interface” vehicles.

This one here is a real beaut --comes with a very large axe in the boot!
(handy for when your friends are bricked-in)


“Pod bay doors are updating!” That’s brilliant!

Stick a lively old-fashioned disk defrag animation on there, and Dave would never have had a chance.


Yup. Sign them, at least, so we’d know with whom to engage.
A simple “Ackbar” would suffice.

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The comic, while kind of humorous, is a bit disingenuous. Apple OS updates don’t automatically install themselves without the user purposely starting it. They have, in the past, pushed the OS download to devices, but they didn’t automatically run.

Apps, on the other hand, can auto-update. But the user has control over that, too.

Also, wouldn’t this be a bit more accurate if the car in the comic was a Google car? I mean, they’re the ones actually developing an automated car.


Well, the Google car would have a screen telling you that it’s been upgraded and what’s changed, at least. And you’d be able to download, install, and use the old, or any available UI, if you wanted.


Yes. I’ve never had an Apple device self-update without my intervention, unlike Windows, which many times when I’ve wanted to turn it off has told me not to, that it’s updating and will turn off when it’s good and ready … sometimes an hour or more later. And yes, I’ve set preferences for it to not do that.

On the other hand, Windows has suffered from a nearly infinite backwards compatible legacy (it’s rare these days I generate an output file that could even FIT on a 3.5 inch floppy), yet outdated hardware is still supported. Thanks, sort of. (I sometimes wonder if I could read some of my old 5.25 inch and 8 inch floppies (which are truly floppy).

Apple has taken the opposite path of forcing users to update. No more floppies, the future is optical – um, er – cloud… No more serial & parallel ports, the future is USB & FireWire – um, er – Thunderbolt. I think their operating system probably peaked around Snow Leopard and has gone downhill from there.

Sometimes they’re right (does anyone really prefer connecting a serial port over plugging in a USB connector?) sometimes they’re wrong (I find Thunderbolt connector terribly sensitive to being jostled, which never happened to USB). And yeah, it forces buying new peripherals, which can be obnoxious. Then again, so many devices are getting better so quickly that I would often want to update anyway. I have an old flask card reader (USB 1 full speed) which worked great with a 16 MEGAbyte compact flash card, but was insanely painful with a 4 GB card. (Speaking of which, Compact flash, Memory Stick, SD, miniSD, microSD …)

The thirty pin iPod had a very long life in Apple-years, (though they did migrate the other end from FireWire to USB, thus greatly slowing down syncing). I have an old selection of Casio Exilim cameras and every single one has a different interface connector.

What I think is truly obnoxious is that the Update Paradigm has entered television. My first TV, an Hitachi 17 inch portable, which I bought in 1976, worked just fine right up to the day broadcasts went “digital”.

My first digital high-def TV can’t play media I purchased because it used HDMI 1.2 which was not fully HDCP compliant. At least I skipped the 720 resolution screens and held out for 1080p, but now the industry is going to 4k. Fortunately I’m blind in one eye, so the 3D upgrade never interested me. I’ll probably skip 4k and wait for 8k or 16k or maybe wireless DirectBrainInterface.

Hhmph. Sorry about that. I guess I really needed to vent.


Or, more likely, the HTC car running Google’s Car OS that you bought six months ago wouldn’t be upgradable to the latest version of the OS (unless you want to get under the hood and do some tinkering), so you aren’t going to get that patch that fixes the problem with the seat belts randomly disengaging, nor support for the remote start technology that everyone is talking about now.

You could always just sell this one and buy the new Samsung car, but they’ve replaced the dashboard that Google spent so long refining with a garish jumble of gadgets and doodads that they got paid to throw in by third parties.


My first digital high-def TV can’t play media I purchased because it used HDMI 1.2 which was not fully HDCP compliant. At least I skipped the 720 resolution screens and held out for 1080p, but now the industry is going to 4k. Fortunately I’m blind in one eye, so the 3D upgrade never interested me. I’ll probably skip 4k and wait for 8k or 16k or maybe wireless DirectBrainInterface.

From the HDMI 1.2 spec

9.1 Recommendation
Content protection capability is recommended for all HDMI compliant devices. An HDMI compliant Source should protect all of the protected audiovisual data. Amongst adequate copy protection technologies that are compatible with HDMI, HDCP is available.

9.2 HDCP Implementations
HDCP implementations for HDMI shall adhere to HDCP specification version 1.10.
Note that if the Sink has no digital audio outputs and has typical restrictions on its analog audio outputs (e.g. must be normal pitch) then it is recommended that Supports_AI be set. If this bit is clear then the Sink will not be able to receive audio content from DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD.

Perhaps the problem was that your TV manufacturer decided not to implement a technology that was both readily available and essentially standard at the time.

Now, DVI is another story. Lots of DVI monitors, and HDCP support was something that the consumer had to look for.

(Many of the problems associated with HDCP can be traced to an essential engineering defect required by the spec-- the “sink” must respond to the “source” in (IIRC) less than 20 ms, which sets an upper limit on cable length)

That’s if you bought that Google-OS car from an arsehole, we-don’t-care-about-customer-service-just-cuz-we-like-to-leave-security-holes-unpatched provider, instead of opting for a vanilla not-locked-in model, say from Google directly, or from Asus or other quality manufacturers, so that the patches are pushed out by Google, instead of said arseholes.

Indeed. My kids won’t have a lot of money, so they’ll end up with a dirt cheap car carrying a version of the OS that’s outdated by a couple years (and the car lacks the memory for an upgrade). It still plays the parallel parking app and the headlights work, but you have to maneuver yourself and it doesn’t interface with the other vehicles in some circumstances, so those automated transport trucks might not even ‘see’ them in the road.


I should probably add that the “4k” copy protection debacle is likely to be confusing as well. Particularly since even though HDMI 2.0 was supposed to resolve the bandwidth issue, if your TV (and your preamp, etc) don’t support HDCP 2.2, your player is likely to insist on it. Since it’s not “backwards compatible” things are likely to break.

The problem extends throughout the chain. Run your HDMI through a receiver or soundbar? They’ll need to be HDCP 2.2 compliant as well. It’s important to note, there are many receivers shipping this year that have HDMI 2.0, but are not HDCP 2.2 compliant. That might be an issue eventually, as we’ve discussed.

To put it another way, all HDCP 2.2 devices will have HDMI 2.0, but not all HDMI 2.0 will have HDCP 2.2. Very few receivers have 2.2 right now.

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Yes, actually – it’s Windows that constantly wants to update and will reboot your system whether you want to or not. Apple generally just tells you that updates are available and lets you install them on your own time.


Sure am glad I’m a Linux user and don’t have to deal with crap like that.


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It is also Nicely Inconspicuous.

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Bull shit. You don’t have to restart after an automatic update, you can ignore the prompt indefinitely. You also don’t need to install updates on shutdown by simply selecting “shutdown” in the shutdown options rather then “shutdown with updates” and if you feel like it you can disable the automatic updates completely. Also windows updates never change the user experience, you have to install a new version of the OS for that.

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Maybe there’s a way to avoid it, but all I seem to be able to do on Windows is have the message that it is about to reboot delay for 15 minutes or so. Yes, I can delay it again, but if I’m away from my machine longer than that there seems to be no away to prevent it from rebooting in my absence – there is no “I’ll reboot when I want to” option that I can find.