Ars Technica Reviews Leaked Windows 8.1 Update
I agree with your observations, but not with you conclusions.
It's true that, especially for touch-screen capable devices, Windows 8 satisfies the casual user and less computer-savvy. The only reason these people find it usable is the ease of which one can launch a basic selection of apps from the Metro UI. It's like having a big program launcher / menu system bolted onto the front of everything.
The millennials are pretty fixated on "cloud based services and apps" right now. You could give them a modern day dumb terminal with good web surfing capabilities and all of the popular sites made into icons and they'd be happy. (Well, you might have to make it run MS Word and Excel too, since they typically learned those programs in school and don't like the web-based alternatives so much.)
Your suggestion of using Windows 7 instead and the response that it's "for old people" sounds like the dismissive behavior I'd get from our pre-teen kids... but doesn't mean the entire face of computing has changed.
People who actually want to do real work with a computer aren't exactly praising the Windows 8 UI as the future. Microsoft is trying really hard to sell it that way, but it's struggling. The whole Nokia merger and the in-fighting surrounding it indicates MS is a company desperate to find other revenue streams. Basically, it doesn't really believe in Windows 8 itself -- so it wants to bolster it by retaining some leverage in the mobile phone space.
I may be one of those geeks who "used to laugh at those who refused to adapt to change", but back then, the changes were truly innovative leaps forward. When you tried to get people using MS-DOS to move to a GUI environment that supported multi-tasking, automatic support for all of the RAM in the machine, cross-application support for printers and audio devices and SO much more, it was a leap worth taking. When I compare Windows 8 to Apple's approach with OS X for desktops and iOS for smaller devices, the Apple method makes a lot more sense to me. Win 8 isn't really giving me back anything that makes it worth re-learning where they hid all of the settings and options.
Mass. Legislature Strikes Back: Upskirt Photos Now Officially a Misdemeanor
If a law is made this quickly, it could ALSO mean it just seems like such a common sense thing to the people involved, there's really nothing to argue about.
Personally, I think I'd rather have legislation made this way (flawed though it may be) than people passing multiple hundred page long bills that NOBODY could read through and fully understand before they're voted on.
Simple, quickly passed legislation can also be easily understood by juries and amended, as needed. The massive stuff with hundreds of hidden side-effects just catches people by surprise, time and time again, for decades to come.
Mass. Legislature Strikes Back: Upskirt Photos Now Officially a Misdemeanor
How would this even be an issue? When you shoot video, do you irresponsibly just upload it to the Internet for public viewing, immediately, without so much as previewing what you filmed first?
I've always assumed that 80% of the work of recording video is the editing you do AFTER you're captured the initial footage!
Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?
IMO, at 30, you're right in the "zone" as far as the age group companies like to hire for computer support or network/server administration.
(Honestly, I think there's greater interest in hiring younger for software development, due to the mentality that you can hire talent cheap if you catch them shortly after they're out of school. Plus, they haven't been in the field long enough to be "old dogs that know a bunch of tricks you have to get them to un-learn" for your particular environment.)
It sounds like part of your question relates to which technologies you should focus on learning? One trend I have noticed is that mail servers are becoming more and more centralized. Most growing companies want to eliminate the in-house mail server(s) and sub-contract that out. With the growth of mobile devices that get attached to corporate email, it's nice to offload that bandwidth usage to a 3rd. party, among other things. This has the side-effect of making knowledge of setup/configuration/maintenance of mail servers (like Exchange) a skill-set that gives you a full-time job working only with email. If you really like email and mail servers, great. Go this route and get hired on at one of the cloud-based email services out there! Otherwise, I'd only worry about knowing it from the client side.
Every company I've ever worked at could stand to have more I.T. people on staff with good training skills and an interest in doing it. The "gotcha" there is that usually? It boils down to a situation where you won't really get to do as much of that as you and your co-workers would like because management has other ideas about what's the most valuable use of your time and company resources. (Remember, if you decide to schedule a "training session" for a big group in one of the conference rooms? Now the productivity of ALL of those people attending just dropped to 0 during the time you've got them as a captive audience in there. You're also occupying the room, which may also pose at least some level of inconvenience -- especially if employees regularly book the room to pitch a service or product your company makes to its clients. You'll probably also find that without providing some food and drink, it's tough to get people to show up for such things... so again, another expense for the company.)
I've always found that good communication skills and ability to teach the software is a really valuable skill, but you'll primarily wind up using it randomly, when assisting people by phone or "one on one" at their desks with issues. If you're lucky, a hiring manager will give you more consideration than "the next applicant" because of a background teaching technology. But it will become "just another thing you do that's kind of taken for granted" once you're hired.
Especially if you're getting hired via a recruiting firm, they're overly fixated on industry "buzzwords". Certain items are considered "hot" at any given time. For the last couple years or so, "virtualization" was a big one. If you could say you had experience using VMWare ESXi or any of the other products allowing virtual servers, it was a big plus. "Cloud" knowledge is another one. IMO, this is really a bunch of nonsense, because almost ALL the cloud-based services have easy to use web based control panels. Anyone with good general I.T. skills and knowledge can master any of them in short order. Mastering virtual server products is a little more difficult and useful as a real skill .... but again, many places just treated it like it was a big deal, only because of a one-off desire to reduce the number of servers in a server room. Once somebody moved all 7 or 8 of those outdated physical servers onto one virtual server and got them running well? There wasn't a whole lot more to do or know to maintain that.... so other I.T. skills become more important again.
RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores
The Radio Shack I knew and loved, growing up, was one of the early computer stores, among other things. The TRS-80 line of 8-bit computers, despite being much maligned by proponents of competing brands ("Trash 80" as they liked to call them), were solid, reliable and capable computers in their day. I *still* know several people who have their old TRS-80 Model 3 or 4 computers in good, working condition to this day. (If you purchased that optional dust cover Radio Shack used to sell for them, and used it religiously, the machine might even LOOK almost like new!)
The parent poster is also correct that Radio Shack home stereo equipment was pretty good stuff, all in all. Like every brand, they sold a few "duds" too, but products like the old Minimus 7 die-cast metal bookshelf speakers were even critically acclaimed in magazines like Stereo Review. (They eventually got renamed Optimus 7, with the 77 being a larger wattage version with about an inch larger woofer.) I believe some of their component stereo receivers were made for them by Pioneer, but designed custom for Radio Shack so not just identical to Pioneer models for sale elsewhere.
Radio Shack used to also be one of only a few really good "go to" places for things like police scanners, weather radios or shortwave radios. Sure, other brands were arguably "better" but were typically only available by mail order or at specialty shops. At least with Radio Shack, you could recommend a particular one and know anyone could run down the street and grab it at their nearest store. The availability of some of these also meant readily available hardware modifications. (I remember downloading instructions on how to cut one capacitor off of a board in one of my Radio Shack scanners to unlock the ability to scan a whole portion of the frequency spectrum that was otherwise locked out. Pretty cool enhancement for nothing but the cost of my time to open it up and cut one thing.)
When they tried to change into a mini Best Buy type of store, they really went downhill fast, IMO. I guess that was an attempt to appeal to the masses, who were less interested in electronics projects and hacking, and more interested in buying off the shelf accessories and gadgets. But too many retailers already did that better than Radio Shack ever could with their smaller stores.
At this point, I agree that R/S may need to cut back and close quite a few stores -- but it could do well to focus the remaining ones on electronics for true hobbyists and electricians, IMO. Drop the prices so they're really competitive, especially on items like ethernet cabling and jacks. Carry a full line of quality tools like phone linemen's handsets, punch-down tools and "fox and hound" toners/probes, but sell them below the high prices of places like Greybar! IMO, there's no room to make any money selling computers anymore. R/S just needs to step out of that area -- other than maybe stocking a few common items like USB memory sticks or SD cards. But definitely go back to carrying a full line of soldering irons, solder remover tools, maybe an R/S branded oscilloscope ....
Bitcoin Exchange Flexcoin Wiped Out By Theft
I'm more than happy to defend the concept behind crypto-currency ... unregulated by governments and all!
What I find a bit humorous are all the people who were so greedy and eager to make a quick buck on bitcoin that they immediately exchanged considerable amounts of traditional, govt. backed funds for it, only to park the bitcoin in one of these public exchanges. Then they're all happy and excited, until the site gets hacked and their bitcoin disappears (or an unscrupulous operator take the money himself, pretending it was a hack involved, and shutters the site). All of a sudden, "the sky is falling" because nobody is there to come to their rescue, to get back the lost crypto.
ALL of this was perfectly well known as risks of using a decentralized currency from day 1! By keeping the bulk of your crypto in a personal encrypted wallet and making sure you have backups in safe places (on a USB stick kept in a safe deposit box, perhaps?), you would never encounter any of these issues.
IMO, the only "right" way to trade on these exchanges is to push funds in only when you're ready to trade them. Do your trade, and extract your resulting funds again, ASAP. Sure, you *might* lose that money if something goes bad in the middle of your transaction -- but that's, IMO, a much more acceptable risk.
Start treating bitcoin more like cash, people! Would you just hand, $10,000 or $20,000 in cash to some stranger, because he promises you he'll enable you to buy something else with it of greater value, if you just leave it with him for a while until the right moment comes along?
Apple Launches CarPlay At Geneva Show
The 3 auto makers offering it first are all high-end luxury brands. That means the "early adopters" are the same people who have plenty of disposable income to have already purchased superior options.
(Personally, if I had they money to be driving around a Ferrari, I would already have a really nice custom stereo system in it, which would surely have a dedicated GPS system in it. Why get stuck in a situation where you can't find some place you need to get to, just because you accidentally left your phone at home or at work?)
This integration makes a lot of sense, but I think the people who will get the most out of it are the masses driving inexpensive economy cars, minivans, pickups, and mid priced sedans or sporty cars. (Again, the wealthy have the means to pay for "concierge" services by phone where they can make requests of a live operator who answers. Why settle for an automated system like Siri?)
Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone
Not to sound like a jerk -- but when you have to start worrying that accepting a software upgrade on the iOS side will mean it breaks functionality with the piece on the OS X side, that's your sign that it's time to upgrade OS X.
I know all about the people clinging onto Snow Leopard because of either a claimed need for Rosetta, or being one of those systems that was kind of "caught in the middle" when things were transitioning -- with a "Core" series CPU, yet one that's only 32-bits.
But I don't think you can really expect Apple to keep supporting your environment any longer, if you're still holding on to OS X 10.6. Like it or not, Apple has pretty clearly been following a trend of giving support only for the current revision of OS X and the previous version. So far with Mavericks, they've actually been extending that support back 2 versions (both Lion and Mountain Lion), but regardless? When you're a full 3 versions behind the current one, you really shouldn't expect Apple to give you answers other than "upgrade" when you complain about a lack of security patches or functionality with newer software releases.
Personally, I don't even believe Rosetta is needed by many of the people who think it is. There's a free product called SheepShaver out there which emulates classic MacOS even under Mavericks, and I know of at least one project out there that uses it as the "engine" to run the old WordPerfect for Mac software on today's machines. So that's one way to make even pre PPC era software run on a new machine.
I'm sure there are other niche cases, such as older software synthesizers that never got upgraded past the old PPC versions, but why would you even need such a machine to stay online all the time, and therefore need the latest security fixes? Just leave it on Snow Leopard or whatever and use it as a stand-alone music creation box.
US Carriers Said To Have Rejected Kill Switch Technology Last Year
Same is true for cars..... yet not everyone is interested in all the extra work that entails.
US Carriers Said To Have Rejected Kill Switch Technology Last Year
The quality of his analogy isn't really that relevant. The fact is, he's right.... The way theft is handled with just about every other piece of consumer electronics gear you can think of is to make the OWNER responsible for its safe-keeping. If it's stolen, you can potentially make an insurance claim, and certainly you can file a police report. But giving a third party (such as the cellular carrier) the ability to issue remote wipes? That's just asking for a slew of lawsuits against carriers for improperly erasing someone's personal data. (Most "hacking" is just social engineering.... Someone pretends to be a person they're not, makes a phone call or two and says the right things, and convinces some customer service person to do their bidding.)
The fact you can blacklist a phone from ever getting activated on a carrier's network is already an extra theft-deterrent not available to most electronics products people might steal (such as digital cameras, car stereos, etc.).
How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?
going back to around that time-frame, I was still married to my ex-wife, who also enjoyed video games. We had a pretty regular ritual of battling each other in a RTS game like Age of Empires or Warcraft in the evening. Neither one of us were too big on watching television so that kind of took the place of it for us.
These days, I still play the occasional online first person shooter, just to unwind or kill some time. But it's not as big a deal anymore. I've actually received coupon codes to download new games and didn't even bother for months, because that's how little I'm enthused by them. If I get bored enough some Sunday afternoon, that's when I might look at one of those, and give it an hour or two of my time.
But truthfully, I get a lot more out of reading things on message forums or informative web sites than just gaming, these days. Maybe that's all part of "getting old"? Or maybe I just feel like most games I see are rehashes of stuff I've played before, so I just don't care?
Killing Net Neutrality Could Be Good For You
The Internet wasn't originally designed to handle MOST types of traffic it handles today. Never-mind the streaming video thing.... It certainly didn't envision VoIP telephony or P2P sharing protocols. I don't think anyone even thought about such things as IPSEC VPN tunneling back then.
In reality, the Internet should handle pretty much anything we can conceive of that can be sent over it following the basic rules of TCP/IP, as long as bandwidth is sufficient and latency low enough for the purpose.
If a business tries to offer a service (whether HD video streaming or anything else) that it lacks the Internet capacity to provide reliably, the whole problem lies with them and their implementation.
To abuse the ever-popular automobile analogy once again? Sometimes it's as though a company decides to build a vehicle so wide, it occupies 6 lanes of traffic. Then people start having a discussion about the problems it causes when it takes up an entire highway including a couple of lanes designated as "HOV" only. (I see the net neutrality arguments here as being somewhat like folks arguing over if the company building this super-wide vehicle should or shouldn't be allowed to buy a special permit to occupy the HOV lanes, so it can get through.)
The better question is probably asking why they decided to build something so darn wide in the first place? Maybe building it extra long, or just using multiple, smaller vehicles would have been a better design choice from the start?
If you're having issues pushing streaming SuperHD quality video reliably? Maybe you should quit concerning yourself with whether or not you can purchase a higher QoS over the existing infrastructure so it transmits better, and start asking if you're just trying to do something that's not technically advisable in the first place. We've come a long way with such things as improved video compression methods. There might not be a lot of room to squeeze more out of that... but maybe this is one of those areas where the existing cable TV infrastructure starts making more sense? (If you want to keep cable television subscriptions viable, morph them into super/ultra/whatever HD quality services delivered right to your set-top box over all that bandwidth the cable network has, and let people use the regular Internet to stream the lower resolution stuff.)
Gabe Newell Responds: Yes, We're Looking For Cheaters Via DNS
The scanning is done client-side, which means it's just an internal function of the software.
It isn't divulging any of your internet browsing or usage history. It's just combing the local cache for specific things, and is a process it doesn't even do in the first place unless a user is suspected of trying to abuse Valve's gaming environment by cheating.
If the TOS has to state an app is going to access your local DNS cache, then Windows operating systems are probably in violation themselves!
Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters
I'm not confident LTE 5G will really be much of a viable competitor?
I think it will be a great option for a lot of people who are still stuck in areas with no reasonable broadband choices. (You can put up a tower and suddenly provide this service to rural customers who could only do DSL at 3-6Mbits over a phone line, or go with satellite otherwise.)
But as even AT&T admitted in a talk about broadband deployment I attended a while back ... The wireless transmitters still rely on wired back-hauls to central offices. They just shift the need for a wired connection from individual customers to a little bit further away, where the antenna sits. If you over-subscribe wireless customers to any one tower, the bandwidth drops off significantly and you're back to slow, unreliable Internet for people.
Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters
Glad this was already modded up or I would have done so!
The content is garbage, by and large. Sure, you've got the fans of certain TV series' who go on and on about how great they are, and I don't really disagree. I may not personally find some of them interesting, but I can see that so many others do -- it'd be foolish to claim it wasn't entertaining television for many people.
I'm talking about the fact that when you randomly channel surf on a given day, you can go through 100 plus channels and not find a THING worth paying for! Typically on my FiOS subscription, I see a bunch of re-runs of old TV shows that I've seen for decades for free, via OTA local stations (stuff like Rosanne, Two and a Half Men, etc. etc.). Lots of reality TV nonsense of varying quality -- but nothing I'd willingly pay good money to pipe in each month. A few sports games going on (which again is worth zero to me, and probably not worth much to most people unless the particular teams playing each other happen to be on someone's personal favorite's list). Infomercials, TV evangelists and live televised masses in churches, home shopping network junk .... have I forgotten anything?
Only reason I haven't "cut the cord" on all of this is because my wife wants to pay for it, just so she can watch 2 or 3 shows she's into. It really makes no economic sense.
It's obvious the cable networks don't want to do a-la-carte because it would illustrate how worthless most of it is! Everyone would sign up for a few stations and 90% of them would have to be given away as "bonus" material to get people to take them.
If you ask me, the ones with quality, original series running regularly (mostly your former "premium movie stations" like HBO or Showtime) should just go online exclusively and cut the cord too! Tell the cable networks,. "Sorry guys... We can sell this content just fine without involving you piping it over your services first!"
'The Color Run' Violates Agreement With College Photographer, Then Sues Him
From the summary of this article, I was just trying to wrap my head around how this college student could have gotten himself into this predicament. My first suspicion was he didn't read the terms and conditions carefully enough when he was asked for permission to share some of his photos. (I figured, "Ok... maybe he just saw the part about them wanting to put them on their Facebook page and didn't notice some fine print releasing the photos for all promotional uses?")
But unless there's more to this story than what's being told? "The Color Run" is simply owned by a guy who's being a complete asshole. Receiving a letter asking to be fairly compensated for the use of photographs in commercial material, after you *only* received permission to share them on Facebook, is hardly "extortion"!
And trying to add on additional charges against the student seeking just compensation, by claiming he owes them for trademark infringement because the "Color Run" name and logo showed up in some of the photos?! Yeah.... I think not, buddy.
Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice
Poolesville is a small town about an hour outside of Washington D.C. Our population is only about 5,500 and it's basically a farm community that grew into more of a distant bedroom community for DC metro area employees in the last decade or two.
Around here, they've been very efficient at clearing a path through the snow, even though we've got about 11-12 inches of it this morning (and expect 2 more in a second wave late this afternoon).
I've noticed with many of the more rural Maryland communities, they seem to do better job plowing snow and keeping the roads clear than the bigger cities do. I'm sure the fact we have a lot fewer roads to clear is a big part of it, but some of the towns like Brunswick are very hilly, so you'd think they'd be a difficult challenge. Nonetheless, they seem to have workers who have a real commitment to doing the job well, and perhaps the more rural upbringing makes them more adept at handling heavy equipment like snowplows and dump trucks? (I'm sure many of them know their way around large tractors and other farm equipment.)
House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls
Because I hate it when people start talking on their cellphone in a theater during a feature presentation!
There oughta be a LAW .....
Yep, it's about that stupid. Theaters have done just fine throwing people out of movies without the help of legislation for many decades.
Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
Slashdot has become something greater than the sum of its parts, in many ways.
If I show this site to someone who has never seen it before, their first impression is that it's some type of technology blog. After examining it more closely though, readers soon realize that's not true -- because the site doesn't consist of articles written by staff members running the site. Then, they conclude that it's a technology news aggregator. This is a little more accurate, but still misses what makes it worthwhile.
Anyone can put together a site that collects up the latest news items posted by others in a certain topic, and almost all who do bolt on some type of comment system so readers can respond to the articles too.
Slashdot has grown to where it has an active community of regular users who often know as much or MORE about the topics than the people writing the original articles it references. IMO, it's quite rare to find this happening on the Internet. If you successfully get a group of very knowledgeable people together on one web site to regularly discuss their area(s) of expertise, it's typically a message forum -- which is a different format.
The magic that makes Slashdot special, IMO, is the fact that you can visit regularly to keep up with cutting edge technology news and happenings, but THEN by reading the comments, you get a much deeper understanding of each of the original topics. Perhaps you can even contribute insight of your own, and if you do - you'll receive feedback (by way of rating your post up or down), which in turn helps you know if your own contributions are really useful, or just a waste of people's time and bandwidth.
If Slashdot's owners are out to "modernize/pretty up" the site in hopes of attracting a bigger audience? I think they're on the wrong track. If that tactic attracts a bigger group of site visitors, it only does so by watering down the talent pool that makes Slashdot work. The core group using the site today are perfectly content with the current site layout, IMO, and any changes should just be functional ones. (You say you can increase site performance and reliability with a "beneath the surface" code improvement? Go for it! You say you can add some sort of new, improved search functionality? Ok, I'm all ears. But you just want it to draw more color images and use more font styles so it doesn't appear "dated"? Yeah.... I think I'll pass.....)
I never met a person yet who avoided using Craigslist to post a free classified ad because "the site just looks too plain with all that straight ASCII text".
Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?
Not a software developer myself, but I worked closely with a group of them for years....
I'd say MillerHighLife21 is absolutely right. Any developer who actually has *some* level of pride in his/her work will usually be happy to explain the code to you, if you've taken on working on their original project.
Someone else posted that you "can't win" because even if you fix it completely, it's the original author who will come back and take all the credit. That could well be true, but let's face it.... you're a contractor, not a full-time employee. IMO, that's part of the deal with working as a contractor. You're often paid to make somebody else look good. Your end of the bargain is a decent paycheck, at an hourly rate often as much as 2x or more what the full-time staff gets paid.
If that's an issue for you, then I'd have to ask why you aren't pursuing full-time employment, where the company has more of a vested interest in you (and you in them)?
I think you can accomplish this goal with the help of some communication with the original developer, and a tactful approach where you're not insinuating the problems with the code have anything to do with his/her lacking in coding abilities. (Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't -- but either way, the situation is what now affords you the opportunity to get paid to work on it!)