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ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

They don't have to compete - they have a license from ARM. But why not compete - it's not like any advances they make won't be useful elsewhere in their product mix.

more than 2 years ago

The real consequences of the Facebook IPO flop.

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Half OT (13 comments)

The problem with any "strong arming" is that it would be the same as if, say, Illinois went bankrupt (now estimated at ~20% over the next 5 years). The Feds aren't responsible for bonds issued by the state of Illinois.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:What math? (260 comments)

The goal wasn't to yank anyone's chain, but to point out that the problems that hinder linux acceptance have been around for more than a decade, and nobody is really addressing them.

FreeBSD has about a 77% market share with OpenBSD and NetBSD accounting for most of the rest. There's nowhere near the same level of fragmentation that you see in the linux world. This means far less wasteful duplication of work, and less confusion as to "what is a standard BSD system."

Linux? ~1000 distros, none with a majority of the market.

Most of the comparisons of Win7 are against Vista, not XP. Here are the minimums:

Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk

Vista (other than Home Basic):
-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 1-GHz 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
Windows Aero-capable graphics card
128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
40-GB hard disk

Windows 7
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

Windows 8
1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

All the systems after XP required a minimum of 4x the cpu and 4x-8x the ram. People I know who triple-boot (linux, xp, win7) say that xp is by far the fastest, and the most stable. Looking at the minimum requirements, it's obvious why.

BTW - Wine is nowhere near ready to handle everything. Looking at the WineHQ database, there are more Garbage ratings than Platinum ones. Worse, what works on one distro isn't repeatable on another.

I appreciate that you have an axe to grind, but when you bring up Android we have to have a separate discussion about kernels and userland and desktop environment, and what is fugly and what is comparable to BSD and what is not. Frankly I suspect neither of us are qualified to entertain such.

It's not an "axe to grind." Android, is not an operating system, and anyone who thinks otherwise has been drinking the Oracle Koolaid. When I wrote multi-threading servers in c/c++, the difference between linux and bsd was one include extra file for bsd, and a conditional compile for one small section of loadable module code, so I think I have some insight into the practicalities of writing applications for both environments.

Now, when you write:

it should be a foregone conclusion that any OS stable enough to be used on millions of servers should be stable enough for desktop use

... that's just plain wrong. Servers for the most part run headless. They also usually run a very limited number of services, and few if any other peripherals. Desktops? A gazillion different printers, cameras, sound cards, scanners, digitizers, and just about anything else that can be plugged into a motherboard slot or a usb. And then there's video cards.

And that's before we consider the software ecosystem, which is much broader for a desktop.

So no, you can't expect a server OS to work just as well as a desktop.

And that's why I'm saying that, for servers, stick with BSD, and for end users, if you can get a mac then more power to you, otherwise for the foreseeable future, you'll probably save time just running Windows until (if ever) the linux distros get their collective act together, because a desktop is more than just a kernel.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

Better watch yourself - the followers of the cult of the foot-cheese eater do not like heretics, just like they don't like witches ;-)

Speaking of bad UI decisions, I blame the tablets. Metro is the absolute worst thing Microsoft has ever made, but the latest Gnome, contrary to what SJVN claims, is awful.

Attempts to turn the desktop into some sort of "dashboard", whether its MetroPoop, (dis)Unity or Gnome, are misguided at best.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

If netbooks are dead, [ARM-powered] tablets killed them, not cheap laptops.

The decline of netbooks preceded the current tablet craze. Cheap x86 laptops cannibalized the market, not anything from ARM.

I've never heard anyone complain about a laggy interface on a smartphone/tablet.

android laggy screen returns over 4 million results. It's been a problem from the beginning. Of course, if you're not running android, you probably don't have the same problems.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

Or maybe I decided that my time is worth more than having to distro-hop because every distro eventually turns to crap, same as everyone else I know has abandoned linux.

You have a problem when people who have been defending you for a decade or more get fed up. Sticking your fingers in your ears and going "nyah-nyah-nyah-i-can't-hear-you" or otherwise denying that linux today isn't even where xp was a decade ago ... well, that's just fine and dandy.

Just like all those "WORKS_FOR_ME" and "WONT_FIX" responses to bugs. Keep it up, and one day you'll find that everyone else has either moved on to a mac, gone back to windows, or sideways to freebsd.

5 years from now, the only piece of gpl code in RedHat will be the linux kernel. Think of what that implies for a minute.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

And yet Microsoft makes more profit in one day than all the linux businesses in the world combined in one year. Actually, Microsoft made more profit last quarter ($5.11 billion) than the total ANNUAL REVENUE of all linux vendors.

But even that paled next to Apple, at $11.6 billion in profit for the quarter.

Windows is only "niche" when compared to Apple, and even then it's a bit of a stretch to say so.

Now if you were to say that Windows 8 is the worst product Microsoft ever made, I would agree. But end users don't care - they'll just stick with Windows 7 (or even XP, even after it goes EOL on April 8th, 2014) and see if Windows 9 is any better. Or they'll buy a mac. Or an ipad. Or an iphone.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

When netbooks came out, a single-core laptop with 512 megs of ram, 60 gigs hd and a cd-rom was $679.

Today, you can buy Core i5 2.5GHz, 8gig DDR3, 640gig hd, dvd burner, and 64-bit Windows for $30 less.

Price compression like that is why netbooks are dying. For less than $400 you can get a laptop that runs rings around any $300 netbook. People would for the most part rather pay the extra $100 and get a much more capable machine.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

Hi, welcome to the Internet. It runs on linux.

And 20 years from now, it will be back to running on a variant of BSD. These things go in cycles. So what's your point?

You're still using a desktop? How cute

Thank you. Glad you realize that tablets and smartphones aren't nearly as flexible. They don't have twin 26" displays, they suck at multitasking, they can't just be left alone to do a job for days at a time, they are more limited in terms of storage, they have relatively crappy sound, and they tend to get lost easier.

Did you know that for some unexplained reason, linux is required to do everything that any other OS does in addition to having its own software? Weird, right? Most of the time this involves no support from device manufacturers or other software developers, and usually there's no money in it for the linux dev.

So change the license to a more friendly one, like BSD. Oops, you can't - so linux will reach a peak and go no further. It's already happened on the desktop, where linux went from a peak of 2.5% about a decade ago to 1% today (and most of that 1% also dual-boot into Windows, so it's really a fraction of 1% overall). It's only a matter of time before it also happens in every other market, because manufacturers just don't need the hassles of dealing with raving freetards like RMS - or have you forgotten about his anti-android, anti-gpl2 fud? And how he was trying to claim that Android and Linux should switch to GPLv3 (if Linux ever *did* switch to GPLv3, Google would release a FreeBSD version of the Android stack, just like they will if Oracle ever wins anything significant).

Contrast that to FreeBSD. Apple built Darwin atop it, and continues to pay FreeBSD devs for code (not to mention contributing back that code). People are willing to pay a premium for quality, whereas you can't even GIVE linux away. I know - everyone I gave it to, including other devs, has abandoned it. I was the last.

Really it makes so little sense that the best explanation for people using linux on their desktops is that they're experiencing a mass hallucination. I'm sure you'll agree.

Not a "mass" hallucination. Remember, linux desktop market share has dropped by 60% from its peak, while the FreeBSD derivative just keeps growing. And why you have to hide the linux fugliness from the end user with Android.

It's pretty bad when none of the latest linux distros is anywhere near as stable as plain old XP+SP2. SP2 was released in 2004. Here we are 8 years later, and no linux distro (not Debian, not OpenSuse, not Fedora, not any one of the others I've used over the last 15 years) is as fast or as stable.

And of course, the range of software (which is what it's all about in the end - without software, any os is pretty much useless) is much greater than linux.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

And yet, the cpu you used as a baseline, AMD X2, has noticeable lag running KDE (Vista runs better - which tells you something about just how much bloat has crept into Linux distros lately).

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

the netbook phenomenon

...( gasp ) ...

Netbooks are a dying breed, and have been for years. This is 2012, not 2008. You can get a full-sized laptop for less than what a netbook went for then.

not to mention the inception of smartphones and tablet computers.

... and you ignore how those devices are getting cpu upgrades almost every refresh ...

Like how the iPad went from a single-core A4 to a dual-core A5, and the iPhone went from a single 412 mhz core to a 800 mhz dual core.

People don't buy these devices because they "want more CPU". After a certain level, the "CPU" amount is irrelevant and its practical effects are completely unnoticeable.
People actaully know that they can't notice it after a certain point, which was actually passed about half a dozen years ago

... so why do people complain about some smartphones and tablets having a "laggy" interface, or not rendering video smoothly? They'd certain wish they had a more powerful device.

Do you really believe that the cpu from the original iPad 2 years ago could power the new iPad just as well, with 4x the pixels?

Your assertion is dissociated from reality.


more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

Sure, but ARM isn't the only game in town. And since nobody is selling much in the way of ARM 64-bit cpus, ARM isn't even an option for many server workloads.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

Except that you're ignoring a few things ...

Linux distros have, in the last couple of years, gotten worse, not better. Breakage on updates, never mind upgrades, has become too much of a problem. After 15 years of using linux as my main (and often only) desktop, after Opensuse crapped out on an upgrade - repeatedly, then switching to Fedora 16, which became so unstable after several updates that the computer had to be rebooted multiple times just to load the OS, fresh install and update repeated the problem, Debian not handling the display OR the keyboard properly, Slackware ... well, any OS that goes for 2 months with no patches or bug fixes is dead, a few others, I dug out the old XP disk and the computer has been working flawlessly for a month - and it's much faster than it ever was under Linux.

Bonus - my "linux" printer works. And I can actually play SimCity 4 or anything else if I want to just "zone out" for a while.

Even if I valued my time at the minimum wage, linux turned out to be way too expensive.

That's why I now tell people to go back to using FreeBSD for servers (upgrades go much better), and if they can get a Mac, more power to them; otherwise, Win7 is okay. Linux? Every one of my former coworkers has also abandoned it, for the same reason - it's not stable, hardware support too often sucks, and who needs the hassles? If you miss the terminal and command-line utilities, just download cygwin.

Linux distros collectively have reached the unsingularity - every new feature either introduces a new bug or takes away functionality elsewhere. No thanks.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

On mobiles, plenty of people don't want more CPU. Unless that extra CPU comes with no cost on either battery life or weight, what is not the case.

... because Intel never improves their instructions-per-clock-cycle rate, or comes out with a lower-power version of any cpu, and nobody ever developed a better battery technology, or lighter components, a more energy-efficient display, less power-hungry SoC, or made a better compiler, or software that was less bloated and more efficient ...

... okay, that last one might be a bit of a stretch ... ;-p

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

You keep mentioning the software stack. MOST people with computers dont have $1000's invested in windows software

I guess you're talking about pirates. I know I have thousands invested in software.

games being the notable exception

That's a pretty big exception, don't you think?

We have seen the end of windows as the de facto standard, its time you start realizing it.

Please call me back when my colour laser "windows, mac and linux" mfp actually works under linux ... and when, after I finally get it to work, the next upgrade doesn't hose it for a year.

Ditto my camcorder.

Ditto my 4-video+audio-stream real-time hardware mpeg encoder.

BTW, how's that video driver thing working out for you again? And all those DirectX games?

I'm not going to jump for about it, but the fact is that Microsoft and Apple are a duopoly on regular computers, and Apple and Android on mobile. Those are the de facto standards today.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

I fundamentally disagree. People want a computer that works. Ever increasing power is a dead end. Average people have no use for the supercomputers we have under our desks NOW

Average people DO have a use for the "supercomputers" under their desks. Otherwise, everyone would still be buying sub-gigahertz semprons. But software continues to get more bloated, and "managed code" imposes even more of an overhead.

Could you run, say, the latest Fedora or Suse on a p266 with 64 megs? That was a hot machine at one time ... but things change.

Dual core processor in the consumer space is because the chip companies couldnt go faster so they went wider,

... which kind of disproves your first statement - since there was a demand for more power, and they couldn't go faster on one core, they went to multiple cores.

It's about what people are willing to pay for. People aren't comparing the $20 ARM against the $100 x86 - they're comparing the whole package. So an x86 that is even 25% more useful is worth the extra bucks, because of what it brings to the whole package. Not to mention that ARM is still struggling to get any significant number of 64-bit chips onto the market, and that's not going to change for several years; with ram being so cheap, plenty of people have 6, 8, 12, 16, even 32 gigs of ram on their desktops. That, plus multi-core goodness, increasingly lets them run VMs.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

The article misses an obvious fact - the small market that arm will take is all on the no-profit, low-end, first-time notebook buyer.

Anyone who already has an x86 laptop is going to stick with x86, just to maintain software compatibility. Ditto for anyone with a legacy application. Ditto for anyone who wants to run games (and everyone wants to run the odd game here and there).

So, who's going to buy this? People who used to be called the "netbook" market.

In other words, cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel, almost-no-profit and few needs.

In other words, they'll take sales away from an already dying market, leaving Intel the higher-margin / higher-priced market.

That's the same strategy Apple has used for years.

It really is about the ability to run existing programs, otherwise we'd already have the Year of the Linux Desktop.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

ARM won't take anything from the server or desktop market, so the only current Intel market left is laptops.

Nobody's going to junk hundreds or thousands of dollars of software just to save $50 by buying an ARM laptop instead of an x86.

So who's the market? People who don't have any legacy software (so forget business users or anyone who already owns a computer). Even they will mostly stick with Intel, because let's face it, almost everyone who has a computer has at least one application/game/whatever that needs Windows on x86.

It's why we haven't seen the Year of the Linux Desktop, and never will. OTOH, we *might* see a Year of the Android laptop sometime this decade ... which could be interesting.

ARM still has a ways to go before getting any 64-bit cpus into the market. That's not good, not when you consider that most consumers consider 4 gigs as the minimum nowadays for a half-decent laptop.

Ultimately, the incremental cost of going Intel is not going to be enough to offset most people who are buying their first laptop, and most of the rest are already locked in to x86 for the foreseeable future. Just try to take an x86 macbook away from it's owner.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

TFA is really dumb. It combines two very separate markets - notebooks and smartphones.

It makes the assumption - always wrong - that people don't want more cpu. People ALWAYS want more cpu. I remember back when pundits were writing "there will never be a consumer market for dual-core processors." Now a dual-core notebook is "bottom of the line".

So ARM will take some of the bottom of that market @$20 per cpu. Intel will take the $80 - $200 per cpu market.

Plus, people want software compatibility. Windows on ARM is all well and good, but nobody's going to re-buy a thousand bucks worth of software to save $50 on a laptop.

more than 2 years ago

ARM, Intel Battle Heats Up

Barbara, not Barbie Re:Simple math, silly! (260 comments)

TFA mentions smartphones and notebooks. Intel is just now venturing into smartphones, so any money from that is "found money." In that market, Intel will be taking more from ARM than ARM can possibly take from Intel.

The notebook market is different, but even there, the numbers don't mean much. If the market doubles in size, and ARM takes the lowest 20% of it, so what? That just means that Intel gets the higher-margin stuff - the formula that Apple's been using for years.

more than 2 years ago



Bring back the 40-hour work week.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Barbara, not Barbie writes "From AlterNet

overtime is only effective over very short sprints. This is because (as Sidney Chapman showed in 1909) daily productivity starts falling off in the second week, and declines rapidly with every successive week as burnout sets in. Without adequate rest, recreation, nutrition, and time off to just be, people get dull and stupid. They can't focus. They spend more time answering e-mail and goofing off than they do working. They make mistakes that they'd never make if they were rested; and fixing those mistakes takes longer because they're fried. Robinson writes that he’s seen overworked software teams descend into a negative-progress mode, where they are actually losing ground week over week because they're so mentally exhausted that they're making more errors than they can fix.

For every four Americans working a 50-hour week, every week, there's one American who should have a full-time job, but doesn't. Our rampant unemployment problem would vanish overnight if we simply worked the way we're supposed to by law.

We will not turn this situation around until we do what our 19th-century ancestors did: confront our bosses, present them with the data, and make them understand that what they are doing amounts to employee abuse — and that abuse is based on assumptions that are directly costing them untold potential profits

Sound familiar?"
Link to Original Source


CBC launches music streaming service

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Barbara, not Barbie writes "Whether it's rock, pop, top 40 or moldy oldies, CBC just started streaming 40 different music stations. You don't have to sign up, but if you do you can bookmark individual songs ...

Some music streams are all-Canadian content, others a mix of Canadian and international. Some have additional commentary, some just stream music continuously with no interruptions. Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Coldplay, The Clash, Melissa Ethridge, Victoria Duffield, Deftones, Machine Head, Bruce Springsteen ... it's not your grandma's CBC."

Link to Original Source

"No math degree" law for cell phones in Manitoba

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) writes "Tired of cell-phone contracts that have hidden cancellation fees or require a math degree to figure out? Manitoba has passed a law that requires the following:

Customers can cancel a contract before end of term, a ban on unreasonable cancellation fees and unilateral contract changes, minimum monthly cost to be included in advertisements, no charges while defective equipment is out of service unless it's your fault, and limits to automatic renewals.

Hopefully the law will "go viral" with politicians looking for a way to please disgruntled voters."

Link to Original Source

Bedbugs transmit drug-resistant bacteria

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) writes "The CBC News is reporting that researchers have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in blood-sucking bedbugs found on several patients

"The resistant bacteria were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE).

"Because of the insect's ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bedbugs may serve to amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities."

This is one itch you don't want to scratch!"

Link to Original Source



Funny ad on slashdot.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago Wondering why I don't block ads on slashdot? It's not just because slashdot makes a bit of money that way, but also because sometimes they're just too funny.

Today's example, following up on yesterdays Facebook IPO flop, reads:

Invest in Facebook Now

In just a few days, Facebook will sell its stock to the public one(sic) of the biggest IPOs in Wall Street history.

Sadly, if you invest in Facebook after it goes public, you're going to be too late.

But if you act TODAY, you can take advantage of a secret way to invest in Facebook BEFORE it goes public ...

Get more details immediately.

What a joke. The site pimping this is - another stock shill with clueless predictions that FB "could" be worth $70 a share. Try telling that to the underwriters who had to buy back millions of shares at $38 so it wouldn't drop below the issue price. Manually entering the final url w/o the junk gives an IIS error page saying that the requested page has been moved. Don't blame them, really :-)


The real consequences of the Facebook IPO flop.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Facebook's IPO was a flop - the only reason the shares didn't end the day on a negative was that the underwriters bought millions of them at the floor price, to support the stock.

Even Groupon, which is now trading at less than a 3rd of its' first-day high, closed over 30% higher than it opened.

So now the underwriters are sitting on millions of shares of FB at $38 apiece. In other words, instead of taking in $171 million in fees, they traded back those fees (and then some) for FB paper that nobody else was willing to buy at $38 a share by days end.

Ignoring the question of the underlying value, which is much less than the IPO valuation (but that's another story), how much is FB worth to someone playing the market? Zynga has been used as a proxy for FB for a while - if you couldn't buy FB stock, at least you could buy their major partner, Zynga.

Trading in Zynga was halted - twice - because of 10% price declines in the stock in a 5-minute period. In other words, Zynga would probably have gone still lower if trading hadn't been halted. Zynga ended the day down "only" 13.42%.

Since the only thing that kept FB shares from going through the issue price floor was massive price support by the underwriters, Zynga continues to be a valid proxy for what Facebook stock would be performing if it weren't for the underwriters intervention.

What does this mean to the underwriters? Realistically, not only did they not make any net income from FB, but the shares they bought back at $38 will be a hard sell at $31 over the next few weeks.

Their only real option is to slowly sell off the shares, a little at a time, in competition with the other half-billion shares, many of which were bought in anticipation of a quick profit on a first-day market "pop" that was over almost as soon as it began.

There's also a limited window of opportunity. 6 months from now, all those Facebook employees who can't sell their shares because of the 6-month lock-in will also be wanting to cash out at least some of their $$$, so that leaves 6 months to unload, while many of the people who bought half a billion shares also look to unload.

None of this takes into account the FB employees who took out loans against their stock grants. This secondary market just got risk-ugly.

So, who benefits? Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

Microsoft, because Facebook is now just another stock, and one that doesn't even pay dividends, so competition with Facebook for employees just got easier. Bing will also pick up some advertisers who are re-examining their committment to FB in light of the triple whammy of GM pulling out, the $15 billion lawsuit, and the FB IPO flop showing that investors don't have that much confidence in future FB growth being anything like the past.

Apple, because people will continue to buy iPads, and iPad users tend to use Facebook less (eventually just responding to birthday reminders and such, at least from what I've seen). Anything that makes FB look like yesterdays news makes Apple's ecosystem look more attractive.

Google, because not only are they now, like Microsoft, going to have an easier time competing for talent, but also because of the dark shadow (think "negative halo effect") the FB IPO dud will have on Facebooks credibility with advertisers, just a few days after GM pulled out of paid FB advertising because it's not worth it and the rumours of other big-name advertisers who are also ready to pull the plug. That money will go to Google, and to some extent, to Bing.

The big loser, of course, is nowhere to be seen. It's anyone on whom Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs dump the overpriced FB paper they're now holding.

On another note, it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, the underwriting banks do with their new positions as significant shareholders of Facebook. They could make Zuckerbergs' life "interesting."

Plus there's the impact it will have on the economy just from reduced expectations all around, and the increased reluctance to invest seed money in other tech ventures.

Oh, and let's not forget the impact on the whole "social media" bubble. That hissing sound you hear? It's the air coming out. FB looks a lot more vulnerable than it did just 24 hours ago.


Time to switch careers - politics it is!

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Since programming is now out as a career (over 35, problems with my retinas), I'm going to that refuge of all useless humanity - politics.

Seriously, I've been thinking about it for some time, and level of corruption of the local government is depressing. Not only that, but they've done some pretty nasty things to me over the years, and I'm tired of it.

What ultimately tipped the scales, though, was that I stopped by the hospital to talk with two women who work there on my way to visit one of my sisters, and we got to talking about how the government is trying to fudge its books by artificially inflating apparent receivables.

The latest scam: Sending out notices of tax re-assessments for the last 25 years to the spouses of people who have died. Totally illegal (there's a 10-year limit here). They recently tried this on one of my relatives. Anywhere else, I wouldn't believe it. Quebec - hey, this is just business as usual for Canadas' most corrupt province.

Under this scam, the workers of that department get their bonuses for meeting targets for "enhancing receivables", and if the money never gets collected, that's just another departments problem.

For those just joining in, it's gotten so bad that I had to sue the government when they illegally (and wrongly) tried to claim that I owed $70,000 in a separate matter. The judge agreed that I didn't owe a single penny and that the seizure of my salary was totally illegal, but having to spend money to sue the government when they're illegally lopping of 1/3 of your pay before taxes is not for the faint of heart.

Most people would have taken the lawyers advice and taken the settlement, rather than firing the useless turdle and arguing the case themselves.

It turns out that one of my friends who works at the hospital is also being hounded by the government. Even though she only works a few days a week, they're seizing her salary, and her attitude was "it's the government - nobody wins against the government." Until I talked to her, she was just resigned to paying it - doesn't matter if she actually owes it or not.

I had just come from my lawyers' (yes, I sometimes let lawyers fight my battles for me) because I have to sue the government again (I must be on some list or other ...), and really, that's the last straw. It's not just me. It's not just a few people. This corrupt government has its' claws into everything and everyone.

The feds turning a blind eye makes them just as bad.

We currently have a corruption commission getting underway (one the government resisted, then tried to severely hamstring). It won't be enough. We've been there before, and the political will, and the ANGER, just isn't there. People are resigned to "business as usual."

I'm not. I've taken all the crap I'm prepared to take. I've got dirt, and I'm going to use it.


Who really killed the Linux desktop?

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Steve Jobs and Apple, not Microsoft, killed the Linux desktop.

Think about it. If Apple had never recovered from their near-death experience, Linux would have had a Vista-sized window of opportunity to gain desktop share and interest from commercial software houses.

Also, there would have been no Android phones - they'd all be running a stripped-down Linux instead, since there would have already been a viable commercial software-for-profit ecosystem.

And there would be no App store with one company dominating a platform.


Canadian CyberSnoop Law Backers' Private Life Tweeted

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago In what is clearly a case of "what goes around comes around", The National Post is reporting that Vic Toews, the Canadian Minister who said about those who oppose online spying - "He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers", isn't Mr. Clean. A new Twitter account, @vikileaks30, is posting details about the "outspoken family values" real family values, including getting his babysitter pregnant, divorcing his wife, and not paying support.

More here if you don't want to log into twitter


Ubuntu TV, meet the Lenovo 55" Android Ice Cream Sandwich TV

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 2 years ago

For several years, Canonical has been a day late and a dollar short when it comes to shipping real products. There were the Ubuntu Android devices announced almost 3 years ago, the switch to a tablet interface for the non-existent Ubuntu tablet and smartphone market (causing many current Ubuntu users to switch to Mint or Debian), and now Ubuntu TV, quickly thrown together using 3rd-party code, which Canonical claims will ship by the end of the year, despite not having a single manufacturer lined up.

At the same show, Lenovo raised the barrier to entry into the TV market with an 55" Android Ice Cream Sandwich TV. Comes with a built-in webcam, remote with microphone (for voice recognition) touch pad (for swiping, etc) and motion sensors (so you can use it like a Wiimote) ... and an extra game controller.

Canonical abandoning their "Android Execution Environment" for "The Search For More Bling" was a serious mistake. If you're going to offer the next generation of linux-based TVs or tablets, you need more than a pretty (inter)face. If you don't have Android support, you're simply not in the game.


It's about time skeptics weighed in against groupon-type sites.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 3 years ago

But first, a hint for the math-impaired: Even letting the customer spin a wheel and getting a discount of either 25%, 50%, 75%, or FREE would let you keep more money ($33.33 on average per sale, as opposed to $25.00), and the customer gets a bigger saving on average (2/3 off instead of half).

42% of all small and medium businesses (SMBs) would not do another groupon deal.

Series of articles on real groupon disasters.

Did you see the movie Alien? Of course you did. Remember the scene?

Yes THE scene .

The one with the alien popping out of the chest of the guy while at dinner with everyone? The alien had used his body as a host and destroyed him.

The online discount sites,"deal-of-the day"Â blogs and their ilk are using your deal to build their lists.

The customer loyalty is going to their pages, their offers, their friends - not yours.

I think you're delusional if you've been thinking otherwise.

The money that could be making your shopping experience more competitive, keep your inventory fuller and letting you hire better is vanishing. And you're the magician.

Bottom line: Discounting your product by 50%, then giving 50% of what's left to groupon or another group buying site, is only a great idea if your goal is to destroy the perceived value of your product and burn money.

Groupon - for when you lack the imagination to come up anything else.


Low-tech ways to save money.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The biggest "line items" in most peoples' budgets are food, shelter, energy, and transportation. Saving even a small percentage here can translate into real money ...

Food: A few weeks ago, I stopped buying "junk" while doing the groceries. No more bags of cookies, no "snack foods", no Doritos. Strawberry-rhubarb pie and ice cream are still on the menu, in moderation :-) No more taking a break at work to go across the street and buy something to drink or "munch on."

The impact on my food budget was immediate - and positive.

I still get "the munchies" - I'm only human after all - but now I try to wait it out. Or, at the office, I eat an apple, or have a cup of tea. Even taking into account the higher cost of greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce, salads are still healthier and cheaper, by at least $25 a week. Annual savings: $1,300 per year.


I recently bought an energy-efficient fridge. I'll only be saving $3 to $4 a month on electricity. However, that's not where the big saving is - the new fridge keeps food fresher longer. For example, lettuce now seems to last forever, instead of turning soggy after a week, so we should add cutbacks in food spoilage, say another $10/month - but we'll be conservative and ignore the food savings. Annual energy savings: $42.00


Temperatures here are now below 0C. If it is sunny outside, I open the blinds. When it's not, I close them. This way, I can leave the heating system turned completely off most of the day, while I'm at work, and on weekends. I've set the timer so that it's warm when I get home, and off at night. In the morning, it's still around 65F. Reduction in the natural gas bill - about 20% so far. Annual savings at current prices: $240.00


Declining gasoline prices have made a difference, but what's made an even bigger difference is moving closer to work. Not only do I save 10 hours a week - a tank of gasoline now lasts more than twice as long - 3 weeks, instead of 10 days. Annual savings at current prices: $720.00 per year. (my actual bill has gone down by almost 3/4, because of the price drop, but we won't take that saving into account here).


I recently moved to a larger, nicer place. By shopping around after the peak spring season, I was able to save several hundred dollars a month. Annual savings: $3,840.00 per year.

Total annual savings: $6,142, or almost $120 a week - tax free - with a commensurate improvement in quality of life and time saved.


Wow - I have BAD karma ...

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I guess some people have no sense of humour. How two people thought this was "flamebait" is beyond me ...

Maybe they own a restaurant or something?

Well, I thought it was funny at the time, but as another poster pointed out, under the new rules someone could actually patent cooking, even with the existence of "prior art". And that's definitely NOT funny.

Oh, well, just goes to show just how dumb these patent wars really are.


Its about clothes, not gadgets.

Barbara, not Barbie Barbara, not Barbie writes  |  more than 8 years ago

This entry was prompted by someone who doesn't understand why women need 50 pairs of shoes.

Men always make fun of how we can look in a closet full of clothes and say "I have nothing to wear." Sure, its easy for you. You guys can wear the same style shirt, pants, and shoes 7 days a week and nobody will notice. But for us, clothes are like remote controls or gadgets for men - there will never be enough.

Do you really want us to wear the same outfit every day? Of course not. But everything has to match. That means matching shoes, matching purse, matching coat, jacket or sweater. You might have a favorite sweater that you wear until its falling apart - on you, its "cute" (at least that's what we tell you ... :-) For me, my sweater has to match my top, which means a matching skirt or slacks, which means matching shoes. That's just the way it works for women. And there's no way I'm wearing a black bra with a white top, much as you might like the idea.

Then there's the whole "shoes thing." Its not just different colors. Evening shoes are completely different from work shoes, and they have to match the rest of my outfit, as well as the occasion. Now add in the change of seasons - boots. Winter boots, spring and fall boots, as well as boots for clubbing in summer when a girl wants to "make a statement!" Now throw in a few pairs of sandals, a few pairs of shoes for casual wear, and a few pairs or runners. 50 pairs is reasonable in such a situation - that works out to only 5 or 6 pairs of each type.

And lets not even consider jewelry - or maybe we should. Look at something as simple as earrings. Men get along with either none or a stud in one ear. My earrings are a reflection of what I am doing, and my mood. Thats why we have jewelry boxes. One pair is unthinkable.

Even watches (yes, sir, that's watches - plural) for different occasions. And rings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

You have a wallet. How nice. I have a purse. Well, actually, several purses. Day purses. Evening purses. Don't forget that they have to match, or at least not clash with, my outfit, so a woman can no more get along with one purse than a man can get along with ... gee, I don't know. A dozen purses is reasonable, don't you thing, all things considered?

And then there's our makeup. Day. Evening. Night on the town. Visiting friends - casual. Visiting friends - not so casual. Formal occasions. You might have a toolbox full of all sorts of wonderful toys - we have cosmetics.

... and I haven't even begun to talk about hair, nighties, or coats for different occasions and weather, or any of the other details. You might think we mean it when we say "I'll just throw something on", but that almost never happens.

Just like you can't believe we have nothing to wear when we have a closet and dresser full of clothes. But think about it like your gadgets and tools - do you use the same tool all the time? Of course not - you're always saying how you need "the right tool for the job." So do we, just that our tools are more fashionable :-)

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