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Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI

MoonBuggy Re: Battery life? (217 comments)

The good thing about basic phones is that they were perfected years ago, so they're cheap now. If off grid emergency use is important, buy a Nokia 1100 and it'll last you a week - a couple of cheap batteries can easily extend that to a month, or a portable solar panel will make it indefinite.

The emergence of power-guzzling pocket computers doesn't mean that the basic, long life, $30 phones don't exist any more, it just means they aren't getting headlines.

about 9 months ago
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Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI

MoonBuggy Re: Memo to phone designers (217 comments)

Get yourself a Moto G - the battery is good (although not astonishing: 1-2 days, rather than "oh shit, running out at 6pm"), the build quality and specs are excellent for normal usage (web, general communication), and they're dirt cheap compared to the competition.

about 9 months ago
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Great Firewall of UK Blocks Game Patch Because of Substring Matches

MoonBuggy Re:and Fox news (270 comments)

Not necessarily. Is it not reasonable to say "I think taxes should be lower overall, and I don't think funds should be distributed to X, Y, or Z. However, since I'm forced to pay those taxes, I may as well avail myself of services X and Z. I'd be happier not to pay and not to use them, but since I've already paid, I may as well make the best of it"?

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Software To Manage Student Grades?

MoonBuggy Re:Moodle. (120 comments)

My kingdom for a mod-point. Moodle is designed to do exactly what you ask - it's admittedly not the absolute best piece of software I've ever used, and there are a few rough edges, but it does its job.

The only real competitor is the utter monstrosity that is Blackboard, which I believe starts at $10k/year. For that low, low price, you get a piece of software which is slow, buggy, and has a web interface which manages to disable such revolutionary new browser features as 'the back button', and 'middle click'.

more than 2 years ago
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Tor Project Experiments With Funding Fast Exit Nodes

MoonBuggy Re:Who protects the exit node operators? Anonymous (96 comments)

I don't know that there is a method to do it completely anonymously, but the fact we're even treating the mere operation of an exit node as a crime, and something to be hidden at all costs, is a rather depressing indictment of the current state of our legal systems. Ideally one should be able to proudly and publicly make a stand for anonymity - that's where my comment about a decent amount of money comes in. A higher profile name who sets up a (charitable?) organisation with limited liability (not a perfect protection, but something) and loudly announces to the world how they're standing up for the First Amendment rights of all Americans (or some local equivalent) makes for, at worst, a protracted and public case in which the government can easily come out looking like the bully.

It's imperfect, certainly, but plenty of people have made the world a better place in the process of being fucked over making a stand against their governments. Many others have won. Some have disappeared into the legal system for all eternity. Sometimes the sacrifice is in vain, sometimes it isn't, but it almost always packs a better punch if you have the money and publicity to manage it well.

more than 2 years ago
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Tor Project Experiments With Funding Fast Exit Nodes

MoonBuggy Re:Why would anyone ever want to run a Tor exit no (96 comments)

It's a public service, helping to preserve people's ability to practice their right to free speech. Plenty of us believe extremely strongly in that, and I'd consider it at least as worthy as many other philanthropic causes. If I had a decent amount of money (i.e. enough to consult a lawyer beforehand, take reasonable legal precautions, and kick up a stink rather than just disappearing if I ever were taken to court) I'd do it like a shot.

more than 2 years ago
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Tesla Delivers First Batch of Model S Electric Sedans

MoonBuggy Re:To streamline future posts (311 comments)

Even so, I'm not sure I buy the whole "two cars" argument - going on the lifestyle you assume, the time taken to call up a rental place and say "I'm making a trip, can you drop a Porsche Cayenne off at my address tomorrow morning, please." is hardly significant. Or just ask your PA to handle it...

more than 2 years ago
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

MoonBuggy Re:Magnets in your body? That's nice. (228 comments)

Interesting. If anyone else cares, a somewhat enlightening bit of Googling on the subject seems to indicate that it varies from doctor to doctor, and that the main concern is the metal interfering with electrocauterisation equipment (in the case that something goes wrong during surgery, even if it wasn't intended to be used originally) and causing burns. It's a risk mitigation thing, and it appears that some places won't budge, whereas others will have you sign a release, with further variability based on the inherent risk of the type of surgery in question.

more than 2 years ago
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

MoonBuggy Re:Doing this is not smart (228 comments)

The anchors themselves are transdermal (through the skin), not subdermal (entirely under the skin) as the headline states. The magnetic caps sit on top of the steel which is protruding outside the skin, and the iPod then sits on them.

more than 2 years ago
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

MoonBuggy Re:Doing this is not smart (228 comments)

If you look at TFA, they seem to be inert transdermal anchors with magnetic caps, so there shouldn't be any risk of pinching the tissue between them.

more than 2 years ago
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

MoonBuggy Re:Medical issues (228 comments)

Also it appears the ones used in TFA are actually inert transdermal anchors with magnetic caps - in this case there's no reason to embed the actual magnets, whereas I'm assuming you got them for the whole 'extra sense' thing?

more than 2 years ago
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

MoonBuggy Re:FTFY: (228 comments)

Looking at the article, I was actually thinking this would be a lot cooler with a nice watch face than an iPod. Having it just sitting there without a strap seems like a subtle but kind of interesting way to modify a fairly standard accessory.

more than 2 years ago
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NY Times Apple Tax Article Flawed

MoonBuggy Re:So what? (193 comments)

It's fair to say that the figure is pretty damn likely to be incorrect. But I quite agree, the Forbes article should've gone one step further and done the correct calculation for the 2010 data (since, by their assertions, it seems that 2011 data is not yet fully available).

more than 2 years ago
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Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers

MoonBuggy Re:Really smart!! (112 comments)

I didn't say 'instead of', but it sure as hell gives you an advantage. In my experience it's a sliding scale between ability, appearance and confidence - the more you have of one, the less you need of the others. A vast generalisation, of course, with somewhat overlapping criteria, and it breaks down at the extremes (you don't get surgeons with zero ability, nor business executives with zero confidence, for example), but not a bad rule of thumb.

more than 2 years ago
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Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers

MoonBuggy Re:Really smart!! (112 comments)

A very reasonable post, although I must say I disagree with your implication that I'm 'pushing' anything. If you've looked at things from both sides and made your choice then I applaud you - it's certainly not my place to tell you how to behave. That said, I obviously think my way is the right way of doing things (hell, who doesn't?) and to that end I offer my opinion as best I can.

more than 2 years ago
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Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers

MoonBuggy Re:Really smart!! (112 comments)

Thank you.

more than 2 years ago
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Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers

MoonBuggy Re:Really smart!! (112 comments)

I've always found "I don't care how I look" to be the geek equivalent of the general public's "I don't understand maths". Both are shouted proudly, to separate oneself from the other group (those vapid socialites who base everything on appearance/those sweaty geeks who spend their lives in the basement with lines of code rather than people), when really neither are attitudes to be proud of. Of course there are times when there's no harm in looking a mess, but that's rarely what people seem to mean - it's often more of a day-to-day lack of care.

Sure, in an ideal world, people wouldn't judge on appearance, but that's not the planet we live on - there's no need to be uncomfortable, or look like a corporate drone, or even stand out particularly if you don't want to, but a high quality pair of jeans (the difference between good and crappy is vastly noticeable, even if you can't put your finger on exactly why that is) paired with a well-fitted button down shirt, a decent belt, and a good pair of shoes takes no more real effort than cargo pants and a t-shirt. Both are socially acceptable, but the former will immediately make a better impression on pretty much everyone you meet - they're better disposed to you, you feel more confident as a result, and so it goes on. The latter, to most people, would be the equivalent of needing to take out your phone to calculate a simple tip while you're out to dinner with a bunch of engineers - again it'd probably pass without comment, but it'd leave a subtle negative impression and modify people's disposition (conscious or otherwise) towards you as a result.

more than 2 years ago
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Is Google the New Microsoft?

MoonBuggy That depends... (492 comments)

Are Google enforcing proprietary formats, bundling products to the detriment of their competition, and 'reinterpreting' standards such that third party options no longer interoperate properly? Although MS have been forced to improve more recently, I think that style of business was always the main problem that people had with them. Throwing another option into the marketplace without any element of coercion is fine by me, even if it is just a copy - genuine competition keeps everyone on their toes.

more than 2 years ago
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How Romanian Fortune Tellers Used Google To Fleece Victims

MoonBuggy Re:It's a foregone conclusion (140 comments)

She actually has to run a special Win 3.1 program for that, because it's the only one which does the calculations she needs.

What's the program? Sounds like there might be some money in recoding those calculations into a nice shiny iPhone app...

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

MoonBuggy hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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The Problem With the Nook

MoonBuggy MoonBuggy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

[EDIT]: Looks like someone's made a petition based on this post. Seems like a good idea to me - it's the kind of thing that B&N may well see the benefits of!

---------

For the actual act of reading, the nook works well - certainly a good start for any ereader. The hardware is solid, the screen is pleasant (although the pixels are a tad noticeable; one holds a book much closer than a laptop or TV) and the page turning buttons have a satisfying click. A less noticeable screen refresh would be nice, but then e-ink is still fairly new tech. The colour touchscreen should have rounded it out perfectly, making complex navigation a breeze.

The issue is the software. It's not even a matter of big, complex problems, it's just a few minor but blindingly obvious omissions. The real shame here is that all of the major failings could be put right with a few lines of code; B&N could have it done within a week. Hell, it's the kind of thing the open source community would have straightened out in an afternoon.

All in all I'm still happy with what I got for my money, although I'd say $150 is slightly on the high side of reasonable. It's a special purpose device, after all, so 98% of its use is simply flicking through pages. The rest of the time, though, is spent using ancillary functions that are just barely adequate.

The lack of any search or jump options in the library is going to be a problem for any collection of non-trivial size. It lists ten books per page, without so much an option to skip to a letter of the alphabet, search, or even skip to a given page. On a device that can hold many thousands of books, manually clicking through one frame at a time will very rapidly get to be a serious problem.

The screensaver's issue is simple: you can't turn it off. Although e-ink apparently needs to be refreshed periodically to avoid images 'sticking', there's no reason for the device to wipe your page and replace it with a pretty picture. It just means that it takes a few seconds every time to get back into your book - not the end of the world, but a little jarring. Why not just leave the text up, ready to pick up and read, much the same as paper? Have the device blank the display and refresh every few hours if it's necessary.

Although some might not consider it core functionality, the audio player is a major enough selling point to be worthy of comment. In short: who decided to design an MP3 player without playlists? Even just allowing selection by folder structure would be fine. It's so basic that it should go without saying, but as it stands there's not even the ability to separate audiobooks from music. There's also the dead-battery waiting to happen due to the rather strange fact that sleeping the device doesn't pause the music.

To add insult to injury, not only did B&N take the time to add a general purpose web browser to the 1.3 firmware (which is all but unusable on an e-ink screen) while a simple go-to-page function within the books wasn't added until 1.4, they also released a 1.4.1 hardware revision which makes the previously available jailbreak unusable. It's an Android device, they don't sell apps, and the standard software is quite happy with epub files from any source - the idea of preventing root access seems to me to be completely inexplicable, even from the most cynical 'big business' perspective. The upshot is that one can't even circumvent the problems by installing a couple of simple apps - say a specially designed library manager and MP3 player set up to work with the dual screens.

So there you go. A nice device with an overall decent interface, marred by some very obvious missing features. I'd still tentatively recommend it, especially in light of the Kindle's poor format support, but it's a real shame that the potential for an excellent touchscreen interface is going completely untapped.

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