Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)
Wow, the new Beta Site looks like..... a million other websites on the web.
I'm glad Slashdot doesn't want anyone to be able to distinguish their site from anyone else's on the web....
The Economics of Perfect Software
" It's buried deep, and when the user hits it, he says 'huh,' clicks a button, and then goes on his merry way... having a few users hit some bugs they won't care about."
For commercial software that people are paying for, this line of thought is a bit of a misnomer. if that user took the time to go down to that 3rd level menu item, then for THEM, it DOES matter, and they won't say 'huh', they're going to be pissed & wondering why that company would add a feature into the program that doesn't work right. I think the challenge that people in our (I.T.) industry have, is that they don't always realize that most people do not think like we do about software. WE realize that it can't be absolutely perfect, and we understand what programmers do and have to deal with. A normal user who is a plumber, or a teacher, or a doctor, or a student will be less than understanding about functionality that does not work properly. So, it's not about fixing every bug and that it will cost way too much to fix it; it's more about that software companies should look at fixing every bug that they DO know about, and if it looks like that cost will be way too high in comparison to the number of paying customers that might want to use that feature, then they should look at perhaps removing that feature until such time that it can be added back in and also work properly.
Yelp Founder Says "No Extortion — Just a Misunderstood Algorithm"
If you listen to the owner of Yelp and their PR people, every time they have an interview or talk to the press, the whole Yelp crew sounds like they've been taking private bullshitting lessons from Darl McBride over at SCO. Over the past couple years, there have been many, many, accounts from businesses that have been involved with Yelp's "marketing practices" that all have pretty much the same story about a Yelp "account executive" have either inferred or directly stated that negative reviews would not be a big problem if only said business would buy some advertising spots from Yelp. I can understand how maybe some non-techie business owners might be fooled when Stoppelman talks about unfortunate misunderstanding about their business practices, algorithms, etc., but when he's talking to the tech establishment and trying to pass off that nonsense as legitimate information, I have to be wondering if someone should be over there looking for roach clips next to the ash trays or rolled up dollar bills laying around.
$1M Prize For Finding Cause of Unintended Acceleration
Thanks for that post - it made my night - I needed a good laugh.
Why Flash Is Fundamentally Flawed On Touchscreen Devices
After reading the entire article, it seems that Flash (or CSS, or [insert favorite web technology here] ) is not what needs to be rethought, but how device makers with touchscreens implement sufficient UI controls for users. An easy way to remedy the mouse-over / hover problem would be to include a cursor button (say, next to the text entry button that brings up the on-screen keyboard) as part of the UI. When you click this UI element, a cursor appears, which you can drag around with your finger, like on a touchpad. Perhaps it could even be programmed to appear by default when the device observes appropriate content on the screen, giving the user the ability to go back to 'normal' non-cursor mode if they chose to. Although this may not be considered the most elegant way to go about it, it seems that if there is a substantial amount of content and applications out there that require this type of interaction, then it is the responsibility of device makers to enable their users to interact with it, just as no PC maker would sell a PC without USB ports (or formerly ps/2) ports for plugging in a mouse and keyboard. No one would buy the damn thing, but more importantly, it makes the content that could be accessed by that device less valuable as a whole, just a giving users MORE ways to interact with content makes the content more valuable as a whole.
Outlook 2010 Bug Creates Monster Email Files
"This could be a problem for email programs that limit message sizes..."
It's not necessarily a program that limits the size of an email message, it's an internet service or email provider that limits the message size to or from it's servers. For example, Gmail (remember, it's Google as a company that sets the limit on the message size, not the Gmail app itself) has a 25MB limit on message size, AT&T and Comcast are still 10MB, I believe, and companies like Earthlink (that are still in the ISP dark ages) are 5MB. Also, I believe Earthstink still only gives people a 100MB inbox, while most other ISPs are 1or 2GB or more.
FCC Proposes 100Mbps Minimum Home Broadband Speed
So, in other words, what the US ISPs are saying is that South Korea, Japan, France, and over a dozen other countries are (in terms of residential internet connectivity) smarter, more innovative, more creative, better run as businesses, more competitive, and more technologically advanced than US companies are. NINETEENTH. We are NINETEENTH in the world in broadband speeds. Let that sink in for a moment. (Go ahead, I'll wait....) There are already countries that have 100MB home internet connections. Not a lot, but even 10 to 50MB is common in these other countries, and we're limping along at 3.8MB as the average home broadband speed in the US. Many European and Asian countries have CELL PHONE connectivity that is faster than our home internet connections (7MB cell phone connectivity is not uncommon over there). It's not that the equipment or technical know-how does not exist, or even the infrastructure to deploy this higher speed connectivity. The carriers already talk about how many billions they are investing each year into R&D, and how many billions they are investing in infrastructure deployment each year. What they don't talk about, and what many of us fail to understand, is that the money they are spending is purposely aimed at keeping us tied into a system where they slowly and methodically dole out just a little bit more speed every few years, and get the early adopters and people that can really benefit from the faster connection to pay top dollar for it. The FCC isn't saying to do this next year. TEN YEARS from now they're saying that to be LABELED as broadband, the minimum speed should be 100MB. There will still be people on dial-up then, but that should be their CHOICE, not some corporate imposition meant to keep prices artificially higher than they need to be. When there are 100MB connections, they'll still be able to offer people a 1MB DSL connection if they want it, but it will be what people are paying for dial-up now (or cheaper). Just like with hard drives now, you can practically double your capacity for every extra 20 bucks you want to spend, up until you hit about 1TB. So it can be with DSL/cable modem/FTTH. $7.99 for 1MB, $15.99 for 10MB, $20 for 20MB, $29.99 for 50MB, etc. No one is saying they should offer 100MB speeds for fifteen bucks, even 10 years from now. What the FCC is acknowledging (because far be it from US carriers to acknowledge their own shortcomings) is that we are WAY behind, and with the carriers propensity for milking every dollar out of us that they can, that without some sort of prodding, not only will the American public continue to to get milked, but that we will fall farther and farther behind the rest of the world in connectivity, and in turn, our competitiveness in the world. We have all seen what the people of the US have been able to accomplish (from their own homes) in terms of the business they are able to conduct, the ability to stay connected to other people, the creativeness of video, audio and pictures, with just a few MBs to work with. We need to imagine and strive for the ability to do even more; to become leaders once more; to set the example, not to hide behind unsubstantiated statements like those of CEO Mueller ("A 100 meg is just a dream," and "First, we don't think the customer wants that." How can it be just a dream, if other countries are DOING it? You don't think the customer wants it.... Sir, I WANT IT. And it would only take a couple hours for me to introduce you to many, many, many paying customers that 'want it'. For all of the hubris generated by the telecoms and ISPs about their ability to deliver 'what customers want', when compared with the world, either Americans don't want very much any more, or those large faceless corporations aren't being totally forthcoming with the American people. Which one of those do YOU think is the more likely scenario?
NASA Will Crowdsource Its Photos of Mars
If they've imaged 1% of the surface of Mars, then my vote for new pictures would be (drum roll..................!) the OTHER 99%
Thank you - no applause, please.
Making Sense of the Cellphone Landscape
If Google really wanted to promote their own phone and force carriers to move toward a more web centric connectivity model, they could make a deal with a carrier that would completely pay for the phone and the data service, like the following:
Most data services from the carriers run from $30 to $50 per month. Many unlocked smart phones run about $600 to $650, which over a two year period, works out to be about $25 to $30 per month. If a carrier would be willing to provide an 'unlimited' data plan for around $39.99, then for about $69.99 per month, on a two-year contract, the phone could be sold for $100 up front, or even given away free, and over the course of the two years, the phone and data would be completely paid for, with Google sweeping up the profits from the ad revenue from the users' web browsing. If they wanted, Google could even sweeten the to compensate for the carrier not making any 'traditional' cell phone plan income, by giving that carrier a small cut of the ad revenue. The real trick would be for Google to convince a carrier that they would bring in enough new users to make it worthwhile to support a program like that - could Google accomplish that?
Verizon, Fiber Or Die?
It's possible that if this all started while, or just after, they got done digging up the neighborhood to run the fiber, that they accidentally did something that is causing line interference or an impedance of some sort. In this case, a line technician would be able to determine an actual physical problem with any of the lines. Obviously, a phone call to have them check won't hurt.