Juha Saarinen is a tech blogger for nzherald.co.nz.

Juha Saarinen: Gear Friday - going small with iPhone SE

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From bottom, the iPhone 6S Plus, 6S and SE lie stacked on one another in a comparison photograph. Photo / AP
From bottom, the iPhone 6S Plus, 6S and SE lie stacked on one another in a comparison photograph. Photo / AP

Downsizing my iPhone from the 6S Plus to the new SE has been an interesting experience.

I can now sit down in the car and elsewhere with the iPhone SE in my front pocket without risking an injured undercarriage (the iPhone 6S Plus doesn't bend easily, believe me) and err, making the trouser line look strange.

Also, talking on the iPhone SE looks nicely retro and unobtrusive compared to the phablet-sized iPhone 6S Plus.

Small really is better at times.

I can drive the 6S Plus mostly with one hand and thumb, but the iPhone SE is that much easier to do that with, thanks to the smaller 4-inch screen.

For upgraders who felt the iPhone 6 and 6S are just too big, the SE is totally worthwhile: the camera from iPhone 6S, faster processor and new radios (both Wi-Fi and LTE) are great additions; also, Touch ID is actually much more useful on the SE than on the iPhone 6S Plus, as my large fingers are more typo prone on the smaller screen.

The smaller screen is the deal-breaker for me though: I've been spoilt by the large 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 6S Plus which lets me view more things at once with less scrolling and zooming around.

The iPhone SE had me wondering about the seemingly intractable problem of device sizes having to be both large and small at the same time, to be practical to use yet portable.

I can actually write pretty long documents on the iPhone 6S Plus by flipping it on its side, and using the larger keyboard that appears on the screen and both thumbs. A smaller, 4-inch screen would take a while to get used to - and unlike the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus which have iOS Reachability features to help people with small hands drive them, there's nothing equivalent for us with non-Trump-sized mitts on the iPhone SE to assist with the comparatively tiny display.

If you can live with the smaller screen though, the iPhone SE is a great entry into Apple's iOS walled garden, and good value for money as a new device that should keep going for the next two to three years easily.

The iPhone SE had me wondering about the seemingly intractable problem of device sizes having to be both large and small at the same time, to be practical to use yet portable.

I'm hoping the answer won't be Siri or Cortana or another voice recognition personal digital assistant, because having millions of people constantly talking to their mobile devices would be a horrendous dystopia.

Purloining the Panama Papers a piece of cake

Silly me, I must stop assuming skills and cleverness are applied in situations where taking advantage of carelessness and incompetence will do much better.

A global law firm like Mossack Fonseca, with lots of high-profile clients, should make every effort to ensure that their IT systems are up to date and secure, right? Bulletproof secrecy and all that.

Except it seems Mossack Fonseca didn't, according to security experts Wired UK spoke to.

The Panama Papers may have been leaked by an insider, or an outside hacker or a government wanting to shed light on murky financial dealings worldwide; either way, judging by how "holey" Mossack Fonseca's systems are, whoever engineered the data breach probably didn't have to work very hard to gain access.

Nor is it likely that there were any form of intrusion detection systems active to alert that the data was accessed: the Panama Papers data arrived over a period of a year, in little bits and pieces, with nobody noticing.

Lax security practices among law firms are apparently not unusual. It wouldn't surprise me if opportunistic activists and even criminals pay greater attention to legal beagles' internet-connected systems from now.

And accountants and... just about every single professional person or firm holding sensitive information. Just something to think about.

- NZ Herald

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Juha Saarinen is a tech blogger for nzherald.co.nz.

Juha Saarinen is a technology journalist and writer living in Auckland. Apart from contributing to the New Zealand Herald over the years, he has written for the Guardian, Wired, PC World, Computerworld and ITnews Australia, covering networking, hardware, software, enterprise IT as well as the business and social aspects of computing. A firm believer in the principle that trying stuff out makes you understand things better, he spends way too much time wondering why things just don’t work.

Read more by Juha Saarinen

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