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Mobile Virtual Networks Are Booming Again

MoxFulder Re:Hopefully VoLTE will make this even bigger (79 comments)

While I generally agree with your preference for GSM devices, there's an advantage in that everyone else does too, so Sprint CDMA phones are available used for much less than comparable GSM phones. Sure, the selection's somewhat more limited but there are a number of high-end, CM-supported Sprint phones available for very little money.

Agreed. I got a slightly-used Samsung Epic 4G from Cowboom for $60 about in January 2012. It had been one of Sprint's two flagship models when it launched, less than a year and a half before. It runs the latest CM10.1 and the WiMax 4G coverage is great in Portland, and upgrading in this way allowed me to avoid a contract change or extension.

Because the market for them is so much bigger, the high-quality GSM and Verizon devices seem to retain their value for much longer... which is good if you're selling, bad if you're buying.

about a year ago

Google Drops XMPP Support

MoxFulder Re:Bad news for Google Voice (416 comments)

Actually, I think you're routing your calls through Google Talk even if you make your VoIP calls from within Gmail. If you "Try the new Hangouts" from within Gmail, you'll find that you can no longer make GV calls until you switch back to the old Google Talk interface.

I'm glad to see that Nikhyl Singhal of Google reassuring users that the cutting-off of GV is only temporary, and that it will be integrated with Hangouts/Gmail later: https://plus.google.com/106636280351174936240/posts/DG6h32BWaQW

about a year and a half ago

Ubuntu Developing Its Own Package Format, Installer

MoxFulder Re:I think this is for "apps" not applications (466 comments)

What does "standalone" even mean? The Wikipedia app on my Android phone uses some HTML5-to-app Javascript framework, the mobile banking apps use some other HTML5-to-app framework(s), the Wifi network debugger app uses some Busybox tools and would probably have been a lot simpler to write if it could rely on standard Linux wireless-tools, etc.

When I look on the Android market and I see 20 apps that do roughly the same thing, but 18 of them do it badly, and they all duplicate the basic functionality of a standard open-source utility... I weep with despair. :-p

about a year and a half ago

Wikipedia Moved To MariaDB 5.5

MoxFulder Re:But, did you donate already? (133 comments)

Herve, this is one of my favorite French expressions. We don't have an exact equivalent in English, but there are a couple of similar ones:

"Talk is cheap."
"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know."

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Stay Fit In the Office?

MoxFulder How to stay fit in the office? Get out of it! (372 comments)

I work in a "sea of cubicles" at a large tech company. When I have an hour or two of downtime, I get out of it. I go for an 8-10 mile run nearly every day, and have got it down so I be back at my desk in just about 1.5 hours if need be, though it's a bit of a rush. I get out into the nearby countryside, clear my mind, see the scenery, and exercise my body... it's tremendously restorative in many ways, and I believe it significantly enhances my productivity.

If you have work rules that require you to be always reachable/emailable/pagerable... push back against 'em or come to some agreement with your boss or another employee who can cover for you. I feel that it's beneficial to my mental health to be totally disconnected for an hour or two a day, and I think that the contrary expectation of many modern workplaces is unnatural and ultimately very bad for morale and productivity.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera Advice?

MoxFulder Technical knowledge? (402 comments)

I want a camera that's better than my phone, but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR.

I don't mean to be overly pedantic, but there's very little difference in "technical knowledge" required to operate DSLR vs. a MILC. The fundamental differences are mainly that DSLRs offer larger sensors and real optical through-the-lens viewfinders, while MILCs are a bit smaller and quieter.

Also, no one has technical knowledge to appreciate a DSLR until they start to play around with one for a while. I suggest trying as many models of each as you can, in person, at a knowledgeable camera store or by borrowing from friends. The ergonomics and convenience of a camera are at least as important as its technical capabilities in terms of allowing and encouraging you to take great photos.

more than 2 years ago

Cellphones Get Government Chips For Disaster Alert

MoxFulder Can you say "mission creep"? (374 comments)

This sounds just like security cameras designed to thwart terrorists being used to catch stop sign violators instead. Or federal agents looking for illegal immigrants busting people for possession of small quantities of pot instead.


I predict this plan will fail like the V-chip...

more than 3 years ago

The Facebook Obsession

MoxFulder What's *really* worrying me... (265 comments)

... is our obsession with our obsession with Facebook. Are the media writing too many articles about how they're writing too many articles about facebook? Are we being too public about our desire for privacy, or too private about our attention-whoring publicity?

more than 3 years ago

Google Voice Teams Up With Sprint

MoxFulder Re:Virgin Mobile? (115 comments)

Thanks for the info.

Any idea when this will become available for existing GV users? I have a Sprint Android phone, and use GV heavily, but no options have yet appeared for me to combine the two. I'm wondering if the hold-up has anything to do with the fact that I ported my number from Verizon to Sprint several years ago.

more than 3 years ago

Google Voice Teams Up With Sprint

MoxFulder Re:No news (115 comments)

This obviously isn't intended for you. Nobody said it was. Basic logic should cause you to skip over it since you've already made the transition.

This is intended for normal Sprint users who just use their phone as normal. Now instead of jumping through hoops and using apps or workarounds, they can simply flip a switch and suddenly receive all of the great Google Voice features for free. Free along with easy is a huge selling point.

Heck, I'm an early adopter of GV and a Sprint customer as well... and I'm very happy for this change.

Benefits of "built-in" GV integration for people like me and the grandparent poster, who already have Google Voice and fancy smartphones:

  • The Android GV app uses background data, which eats battery. If GV texts are transmitted at the CDMA level, they'll use less battery.
  • Android requires a data connection for GV texts and calls, so they're less reliable in marginal coverage areas, and you can't get texts during calls. A low-level text message can get through almost everywhere, and during a call.
  • We'll be able to block spam calls to our private Sprint numbers using the Google Voice interface.

The longer-term benefit of this change, I hope, is that it will show other wireless companies that they should concentrate on building good and flexible networks, and let others provide useful services on top of them, rather than pursuing rent-seeking, walled-garden approaches (like charging for over-the-air downloads and crippling Bluetooth file exchange).

more than 3 years ago

Smartphones For Text SSH Use Re-Revisited

MoxFulder Re:i'm interested in an android app for ssh tunnel (359 comments)

I use ConnectBot on my Samsung Moment. Has a physical keyboard and works great, can do pubkey authentication, all the bells and whistles. Big thumbs up... ConnectBot is an extremely well-designed and open-source app.

more than 3 years ago

Android vs. iPhone — Who Wins In 2011?

MoxFulder Re:Everyone wins. (424 comments)

I just got an Evo to replace my moment.

I have the Moment as well. The stock ROM is awful, unfortunately. The Sprint-branded apps (NFL, NASCAR, TV, Navigation) and other crapware (Moxier Mail) are buggy and use a lot of memory and battery life and can't easily be disabled. The worst part is that the Moment randomly locks up when you transfer too much data (e.g. http://forum.sdx-developers.com/android-2-1-questions/dj07-connection-dropped-even-*more*-often/) and a number of OTA baseband updates have failed to fix this.

Fortunately, rooted and with custom ROMs (many of which do little more than remove the Sprint crapware) the Moment is a pleasure to use. With patched EV-DO libraries (why the heck Samsung/Sprint haven't fixed this, I have no idea...), the Moment is very reliable for data usage. Really nice hardware at a low price, and a genuine pleasure to use.

So, basically, I agree with your point. Many of the phones, pretty much everything except the flagship products, are rushed to market with tons of bugs and tons of carrier-added crap... then abandoned by the carriers and manufacturers. If you are willing and able to install custom, community-supported firmware on you Android phone, it will be awesome... but the handset manufacturers and carriers have really dropped the ball.

more than 3 years ago

Democrats Crowdsourcing To Vote Palin In Primaries

MoxFulder I completely agree (1128 comments)

Rush Limbaugh tried something similar in 2008 (encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary in Obama-leaning states), and it just made him look like a bigger d-bag than he already was.

I think it's dangerous and unethical to vote for a candidate other than because you genuinely want them to win. Dangerous because it can backfire, and unethical because it subverts trust in the democratic process and its outcome--however flawed they may already be.

I know that some states allow voters to vote in primary elections of parties with which they're not affiliated. I think this is just fine if those voters pick candidates who they genuinely want to see succeed. For example, had I been eligible to vote in Republican primaries in 2008, I probably would have voted for John McCain. In the general election, I preferred Obama, but I also genuinely felt that McCain was the most competent, intelligent, and deserving Republican candidate, and I wanted to see him succeed and make the general election campaign competitive and thoughtful.

If nothing else, Democratic voters should understand that they're doing their party no favors by setting them up with a weak opponent. Politicians without credible, thoughtful opposition tend to act like ordinary politicians... which is to say that they become corrupt, authoritarian, lazy, and devoid of ideas. Many American leaders have been most productive when they've faced smart opponents... and won. I'm thinking about Bill Clinton vs. Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan vs. Mikhail Gorbachev, in particular.

more than 3 years ago

German Kindergartens Ordered To Pay Copyright For Songs

MoxFulder Think of the childr...! (291 comments)

Oh, wait.

Do the copyright mafias really have no shame?

more than 3 years ago

Yahoo! To Close Delicious

MoxFulder Thanks! (311 comments)

Diigo looks like the best replacement I've found. The interface is slightly cluttered but otherwise it seems to support the features I liked about del.icio.us. And the ability to auto-add new bookmarks to del.icio.us simultaneously is really handy.

Good find.

more than 3 years ago

Yahoo! To Close Delicious

MoxFulder Yahoo has TWO things that don't suck... (311 comments)

... Delicious and Flickr. They just killed Delicious, and I'm hoping Flickr isn't so far behind.

I used to use Yahoo Mail, which was a great webmail service for its time... in 2000. I also used Yahoo Auctions until that folded. Before Google, I relied on the human-assisted Yahoo Directory for my web searches. I liked Yahoo Games, when they didn't have much besides pool and scrabble and word games.

But all of Yahoo's services have turned into ad-laden, bloated interfaces with out-of-date technology. It seems that the company has been unable/unwilling to innovate and has just been milking their previously respected brand for ad revenue. Flickr and Delicious were the only two services that seemed to resist this trend :-/.

I guess it's time to export my Delicious bookmarks and find an alternative host for them :(. SimPy and Del.irio.us used to be a couple of pretty nice open-source clones, but seem to have disappeared. Anybody else have a recommendation for a site with similar functionality, clean interface, and good browser addon support?

about 4 years ago

Microsoft Word Patent Case Going To Supreme Court

MoxFulder An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind (207 comments)

Opponents of software patents should root for Microsoft here, regardless of how you feel about the company (I loathe their philosophy but like a few of their products).

Believing in justice means believing it applies even to your enemies and opponents. Besides, we don't want the Supreme Court setting some awful pro-software-patent precedent that will haunt less-deep-pocketed open-source developers down the road.

about 4 years ago

Horizontal Scaling of SQL Databases?

MoxFulder Rick Cattell's work on scalable datastores (222 comments)

I recently came across Rick Cattell's site which addresses just the questions you're asking.

Rick Cattell has written an excellent comparison guide of horizontally scalable datastores of different types (RDBMS as well as a variety of NoSQL systems).

Cattell has also written an academic paper with database expert Mike Stonebraker, which weighs the system design factors required to make a datastore scalable.

Executive summary of Cattell's work: although NoSQL may be a huge fad, the things that make a datastore scalable can be implemented in SQL RDBMS systems as well. Also, implementing do-it-yourself ACID in NoSQL systems is extremely difficult and error-prone, and is a significant advantage of most RDBMS systems. Stonebraker is the author of VoltDB, which is an open-source RDBMS designed for horizontal scalability, but they give a very fair and thorough look at competing datastores as well.

more than 4 years ago

AT&T Wireless Data Still Growing At 1000%

MoxFulder Re:Crap title (137 comments)

Wellll... sorta. Significant digits are not magic. They express the relative uncertainty in a quantity.

The relative uncertainty does not propagate equally under all types of arithmetic operations (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significance_arithmetic for addition and multiplication).

This is especially true for exponentiation. If we start with the premise that AT&T's data usage grew 30x over 3 years, to one significant digit, that means that the real value is somewhere in the 25-35x range. That gives us a range of growth rates of 192% to 227%, assuming annual compounding... considerably less than one significant digit of uncertainty in the growth rate.

For linear (non-compound) growth, 25-35x growth over 3 years corresponds to 800%-1133%. That range is not easily exactly describable by significant digits either.

Significant digits suck. They are an imprecise and opaque way to express relative uncertainty.

more than 4 years ago



AT&T and Apple to allow VoIP on iPhone

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MoxFulder (159829) writes "Blogger Cecilia Kang at the Washington Post reports that AT&T plans to allow Apple to enable VoIP applications on the iPhone. Presumably this will include Google Voice? Apparently, they are trying to stay ahead of government regulation, now that it looks like the FCC is ready to enact rules enforcing network neutrality."
Link to Original Source

Chinese Internet users take a different approach

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  about 7 years ago

MoxFulder writes "Newsweek's China blog has a fascinating article on social networking and Internet use in China. Basically, it looks like China's users differ from their Western counterparts in several ways... they're younger and use the net more for entertainment than information. They like the immediacy and intimacy of instant messaging, while Facebook, Myspace, and their local counterparts haven't taken off. One great quote: "Young Chinese were more likely than Americans to say their online lives were more intense than the real thing (48 percent versus 12 percent)." The web may become more attuned to Chinese interests, as their online numbers increase."
Link to Original Source

AMD Quad-Core Desktop Processor Report (Phenom)

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MoxFulder (159829) writes "As a follow-up to Sunday's report on the upcoming quad-core Barcelona server processors, TechARP has published a new report on Phenom, AMD's upcoming quad-core desktop processor. An interesting read, though unfortunately lacking in actual performance numbers... since AMD hasn't supplied much in the way of benchmark data or sample processors yet. AMD is touting its monolithic implementation as a major advantage over the split-die design of the Core 2 Quad, but it's not certain that this will translate to real-world performance. With Intel's agressive 50% price cut on its Q6600 quad-core processor, is AMD too late to compete at the quad-core game?"

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MoxFulder writes "Remember yesterday when a group of Stanford students released an eBay toolbar for Firefox — before the Mozilla-eBay collaboration released its official toolbar? Well, beyond being a major embarassment, that toolbar offers features eBay doesn't want its users to have, namely the ability to view thumbnail images for auctions that haven't paid for them.

Looks like eBay is fighting back, by punishing users of the Stanford toolbar. If you install the Stanford toolbar and log in to an eBay account, you'll suddenly be unable to view the thumbnails whenever you're logged into that account. I installed the Stanford toolbar earlier today, and all the thumbnails disappeared from the "List View" on eBay (try it yourself!). I found that when I logged in from another computer, the thumbnails disappeared again. The only way for me to get the thumbnails back is to log out of my account.

Isn't this a pretty drastic measure for eBay to take? Banning toolbar users from seeing all thumbnails? Might this violate eBay's contractual obligations to those who have actually paid to display thumbnails?"

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MoxFulder writes "Henri Richard, AMD's VP of sales, has promised to deliver open-source drivers for ATI graphics cards (recently acquired by AMD) at the recent Red Hat Summit. This is pretty huge news for proponents of open-source device drivers... in the last year, Intel, the leading provider of integrated graphics cards, has opened their drivers. But ATI and NVidia, the only two players in the market for high-performance discrete graphics cards, have so far released only closed-source drivers for their cards. This has created numerous compatibility, stability, and ethical problems for users of Linux and other open source OSes, and prompted projects like Nouveau to try and reverse-engineer NVidia drivers. Hopefully AMD's decision will put pressure on NVidia to release open-source drivers as well!"

MoxFulder MoxFulder writes  |  more than 8 years ago

moxfulder writes "Fortune Magazine has a thorough profile of "DVD Jon", who famously wrote DeCSS to decrypt DVDs and play them in Linux. Now he's taking on Apple's FairPlay DRM, used in Itunes. The articles hears from Jon and the record companies, and it gives a glimpse into Jon's current hacking activities! He's founded a company called DoubleTwist to distribute his FairPlay-breaking software."


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