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Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

advantis Flipping Kindles (105 comments)

One thing that goes away with the Kindle is the ability to use your fingers as temporary bookmarks while you flip pages back and forth to look something up. Advanced book users might use several of these bookmarks at one point if the information is spread across chapters. Even the simple "partially turn page to see what's on the other side without losing focus of the current page" isn't working.

Yet I still bought a Kindle (Paperwhite), because books aren't very readable in the dark, and I find myself switching away from the book (to Facebook, news-site-I-fancy-reading-now, jeu-de-l'heure) on a multi-purpose tablet. Haven't tried learning with it though. I use it to put myself to sleep :)

about 2 months ago

Correcting Killer Architecture

advantis Flying cars (98 comments)

Well, people keep asking for their flying cars, and now that they got them, thanks to that building in Leeds, they're upset?

about 2 months ago

Extracting Audio From Visual Information

advantis Eagle Eye (142 comments)

This is what I instantly thought of: Eagle Eye. The scene with the soundproof room.

about 2 months ago

EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog

advantis Capitalism (63 comments)

When you can't make new stuff anymore, rent out what you have accumulated. Money has to circulate or it's pointless. This isn't criticism (just look how "well" the alternatives went). It's an observation. I'm sure somebody smarter than me wrote a book on the topic at least a century ago :) but rent, subscriptions and planned obsolescence are pretty much the same thing. Services (as opposed to manufacturing) are probably in the same ballpark. With everything pretty much already invented, we need _something_ to churn all that cash which is our sole reason to live :)

about 3 months ago

Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

advantis Re:What? (200 comments)

What exactly do they say to you if your ISP didn't agree to pay that fee? "We tried to bleed your ISP dry and they refused, so if you want to watch this site you have to switch to an ISP in our approved list"?

about 3 months ago

BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

advantis Dibs on circular screen (139 comments)

Just because developers don't have enough headaches to deal with, I'll go patent a circular screen with a polar coordinate system to access the pixels. :) And I'll find a way to stick 26 letter keys and 10 digit keys around it, and give it a shape that will make it fly as well as a frisbee too. Still not sure if to go overboard by making it squishy too so since it can fly when thrown your dog should be able to bring it back and have it still work.

You heard it here first folks! :D

about 3 months ago

Google Reader: One Year Later

advantis Paying to free user ratio (132 comments)

While everybody else is busy missing the point and showing off their favourite alternatives (I'm happy with Feedly BTW), there's a different data point I took out of TFS:

15 million users and 24,000 paying customers

That section alone is what interests me: the ratio of paying customers to total users. That's because I'm green enough in the field of business that I have no clue at all about these things, not even as anecdotes.

I don't usually read BI (because my perception of them is that they're BS, even though I don't have enough data points to support my perception), but this one made for an interesting article. From the article I got this other data point: If all 24,000 customers pay at least $45 per year, that means Feedly and its 12 employees are generating more than $1 million per year. and the fact that they were pushed near profitability. Nowhere does it say they are actually profitable. It's a good read for anybody who thinks of starting anything up and want their motivation, hopes and dreams crushed by hard reality numbers :)

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

advantis It just clicked + everybody else was playing games (153 comments)

This article asks for a rant, so here you go:

I got into this by luck. Otherwise I might have been just the run of the mill awkward person :) My mom found an ad in the paper. A school was looking for students to start 5th year on a computer programming curriculum, and entry was test-based. You had to pass a maths and a literature test on subjects that a 4th grader should be knowing.

I hadn't seen a computer until I started school in September, but there was a book that was recommended, and I got that during the summer holiday. With no computer, just with pen and paper, I went through the book, and it just went in. I had a void in my brain that gladly sucked it all in. The I about forgot it all when I sat in front of a Spectrum clone and didn't realise I had a power button to press on the monitor to turn it on.

Ever since, I've been attracted to the field. I was 11 when I started. Being awkward helped a bit. I was never competitive, so I rarely played any games that others could play, so if it was a game, it had to be a text-based adventure. Nobody would play those, and I'd get my ass kicked in any others, so I avoided those. The guys kicking my ass in games weren't really that good at programming the computers, so hey, while you guys are busy playing games, I'll try this little algorithm I saw in a book and see what it does and try to understand it. I spent my PE classes in the computer lab instead. Things moved on, we got PCs, we moved from BASIC to Turbo Pascal, and it was still great. I dabbled with assembly language, but never got experienced with it. I picked it up a few times, but never got past flinging a few registers and some data on the stack. I don't regret it though. I learned other cool things.

I'm glad I didn't jump straight into C, as in Pascal you have a real string type that you don't care about, but in C you have a... convention... And if anything, when you start to learn programming numbers and strings are what you play with first. These days people are started in C, which I think is plain mad. Back then Python wasn't on the horizon. Nowadays, if you don't start newbies on Python as their first ever language you need to be shot. Python is the new BASIC in my view. What I like about Python is that "batteries included" thing. Want to have a taste with something? import thing_that_does_what_you_want_to_play_with. You'll study what that does later. Play time is now. Some purists may consider this to be ass backwards, but come on: to get interest, you have to play with it first, then study the boring bits. And study the boring bits in locally ordered random sequence. Sequential order can only put you off and make you hate the thing. And by FSM don't start people in Java or C#! You can put that in a follow up class, after your students know WTF to do with a computer in terms of programming.

Nowadays I'm abusing the hell out of Bash, but only because I got really good at it, hated Perl, didn't actually get properly acquainted with Python until recently, and I have serious aversion of using PHP to write console tools.

Of course, as you might imagine for a Slashdot reader, my social life is absolutely devoid of content :) I don't like it that way anymore, but if I let go I have no idea what to do next. It's like you either do this full-life, or you don't. If I cut down, I just feel that I'd write OpenSSL-style code instead, and I'm not at ease with the idea at all. The fact that I work in a very tiny company that relies on me probably doesn't help. This paragraph is probably good material for an "Ask Slashdot" article: "How do you cut down and get a life?". I know it's a viable proposition for an article after reading the comments on the "Parenting rewires male brains" article. Either everyone there was masterfully trolling, or I've been doing everything wrong in my life so far. I'm yet to see what I can do to fix that, but I have to, as I'm 31 now, and I don't want to become Larry Laffer (he is 40 in the game).

Oh, and I think I'll be getting my first downmods ever. But do as you like. /RANT

about 5 months ago

FCC Chairman Will Reportedly Revise Broadband Proposal

advantis Peering vs net neutrality (105 comments)

It dawned on me how they could work a fast lane within net neutrality rules. They don't even need to change anything.

It goes like this: Hey, we're douchebags and like to bleed our customers dry for slow Internet. We do this by overselling our transit capacity. But, if you want our customers to be able to use your service, our peering prices are $100/MB/month.

That's why Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue I guess. But should peering be a net neutrality issue? On the Internet, different pathways have different speeds. Your LAN and ISP network are usually a lot faster than general Internet access, and nobody said Netflix can't pay a premium to plug straight into your LAN.

In Romania you get gigabit links within RDS - a nationwide ISP, and if you run Linux, you're in luck because they peer with RoEdu (the Romanian education network), who mirror a lot of stuff, and that peer is fast as lightning if RDS is your provider. But mirrors who are in the country but not peered get Internet speeds - which are still faster than what I generally get in the UK mind.

about 5 months ago

UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates

advantis Like TV licensing vans (93 comments)

If piracy is actually a problem, this may be as effective as the TV detection vans they (used to?) have roaming around, supposedly able to detect if you're watching live TV without paying the TV licence (which makes you a criminal in the UK). Apparently the high tech of those vans is... a list of people who don't have a licence. Nobody knows if they have a remote listening device like in spy movies that they point at your window, and apparently they don't even bother sending the vans out these days - they just tell you they do, and it's just as effective.

Using that logic, just the appearance of threats can get most people to comply with the law, or demands from the law that you don't have to comply with (like in "can I search your car please?"). Since an IP address doesn't identify a person, that's pretty much all they can do: send educational material, which makes people think "we are watching you", which makes them subscribe to Netflix and give up on 0-day TV shows (freshly ripped off the air).

I'd like to see "piracy" and "loss" numbers a year after people start getting these letters. My belief is that the piracy numbers will go down, but the revenue of content creators will not follow suit.

about 5 months ago

Apple Reportedly In Talks With Comcast For Separate Apple Streaming Path

advantis Trojan Horse (150 comments)

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right, but it feels like:

1. Get dedicated wires laid down by Comcast for you;
2. Start with Apple-only services on your new national network that Comcast gladly laid down for you;
3. A bit later, start offering general Internet services through your brand new national network that Comcast can't take away from you no matter how much they scream in horror;
4. Be ahead of Google Fiber in term of reach, since Comcast were so helpful in helping you compete with them;
5. Profit!

Did I miss anything?

about 7 months ago

Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

advantis Re:No shit ! (144 comments)

My most infuriating experience was when I solved a problem I had at work, it compiled, it did everything it needed to do, but when I went to commit it to SVN I had no Internet. After a few attempts, I realised I was dreaming and I woke up. And I had to type all that again when I got into the office.

about 6 months ago

Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

advantis Re:Phishing sites (187 comments)

They did that before the layout change too. Even I got tricked by them for a while. Never gave them any money, but they frustrated me quite a bit, as the information I wanted wasn't there. They looked like the government websites I was used to - same layout, same fonts, same colour theme - so it took me quite a few minutes to force my eyes onto the URL and realise that it's a $ website instead of the $ I expected.

It's gotten so bad that it warranted some press attention.

about 7 months ago

Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

advantis Free upgrade (241 comments)

Given that it costs you nothing to upgrade to the latest OS X now, why are people still running the old version?

I have a MacBook Pro made in 2007 that I bought from a friend last year because I needed a Mac, not because I wanted the bragging rights that come with the latest shiny. It came with 10.6 (Snow Leopard) - because he was lazy, and I gave Apple the vast amount of 13 British Pounds to upgrade to 10.8 (again, because I needed it - Xcode didn't like 10.6, and the guy with the latest OS X DVD was on holiday). I did all this only because I needed the stuff there and then an Apple was taking its time with the latest shiny, so I wasn't planning to upgrade to 10.9 if they wanted more money for it. But since they offered it for free I didn't wait long.

If it costs money to upgrade I understand the reluctance - that's what's keeping XP still alive and kicking (it has an even more incentive to stay around as the upgrade costs a hell of a lot more than Apple used to charge), but it's free people! You don't even have to get a cracked copy off the Pirate Bay!

Waiting for the responses that "company policy", "IT department won't approve", bullshit. Kick the IT department in the nuts. They're the ones that will need to fix your Macs when your VPN login details get pastebinned.

about 8 months ago

Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

advantis Bug! Where are the bugs?! (745 comments)

[Neo sees a black cat walk by them, and then a similar black cat walk by them just like the first one]
Neo: Whoa. Déjà vu.
[Everyone freezes right in their tracks]
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing. Just had a little déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure.
Morpheus: Switch! Apoc!
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

about 8 months ago

U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed

advantis Re:Fucking idiots (1532 comments)

Interesting form of dictatorship you got there...

A discharge petition signed by 218 members (or more) from any party is the only way to force consideration of a bill that does not have the support of the Speaker. However, discharge petitions are rarely successful, as a member of the majority party defying their party's leadership by signing a discharge petition can expect retribution from the leadership.

So if they rebel against the Dictator^W Speaker, they get kicked in the nuts by their party leaders. Why do you need members of Congress again? They should just stay home and let the Speaker vote for them.

Which part of the law allowed the Speaker to impose this "majority of the majority" rule anyway? Wikipedia says it's "an informal governing principle used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s to maintain their speakerships". I take "informal" to mean "because that's how I like it", but not like "and you can't do anything about it". USA being the land of lawsuits, I'd assume this would have gone to court by now - or something.

Unlike some Westminster system parliaments, in which the office of Speaker is considered non-partisan, in the United States the Speaker of the House is a leadership position and the office-holder actively works to set the majority party's legislative agenda. The Speaker usually does not personally preside over debates, instead delegating the duty to members of the House from the majority party.

(That's from Speaker of the United States House of Representatives)

You what?

1 year,18 days

Intel Rolls Out Raspberry Pi Competitor

advantis Different markets (214 comments)

The Raspberry Pi's main mission is education. I have no idea where they're at with that, but the commercial aspect of selling boards to the masses is a very slick way to raise funds. Would you give them money just because you like their cause? Not so readily. Intel isn't competing in this market and most likely won't do so any time soon.

If this board had an Nvidia card that did VDPAU, instead of that GMA cruft, I may have been interested - because I need VDPAU, and it works awesomely well with an Atom CPU and 1080p H.264 video on the ION platform. Not an ION? Not interested. (to Nvidia: wink, wink)

If people actually do switch to Intel's "competitor" board in the detriment of the Raspberry Pi, it's going to hurt Raspberry Pi Foundation's goals, the people who buy Intel's stuff will be a lot more out of pocket for not much in return (can you get the same or more power if you give the $200 to Raspberry Pi and build a cluster with their boards?) I somehow don't see that happening though...

Bottom line is that if you want a Raspberry Pi you get a Raspberry Pi, and if you want a crap x86 computer - just because it is small - you get the "competing" board from Intel.

about a year ago

Microsoft To Add Ads To Smart Search

advantis Re:What about TV? (169 comments)

Actually, you don't pay for TV. You pay for cable. The copper and the shoving of signal down said copper. There are places in this world where you don't have to get cable if all you want to see is free to air channels. The channels you do pay for don't show ads.

about a year ago

MS To Indie Devs: You Have a To Have a Publisher

advantis Market share (463 comments)

Is it me, or is Microsoft trying *really hard* to lose customers? And the idiots just won't leave! Of course, they can't just say "stop buying our stuff".

Feels like MS got a friendly letter about their dominant position from the DOJ or the EU, and they're trying to tell them that even if they build high walls and put large chains and locks on their gates* people still want to get in.

*somebody, somewhere, is now imagining Bill Gates with large chains and locks around him, and smiling.

about a year ago



Hardware CD/DVD drive emulator found at CeBIT

advantis advantis writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Radu Cristescu (622471) writes "I didn't go at CeBIT, but some of my colleagues have, and there they found the iodd portable virtual ROM. This device connects to either a SATA 2.0 port, or a USB 2.0 port — comes with both options, and emulates a mass storage device. The part that caught my attention was the CD/DVD drive emulation. You put an ISO on the internal hard drive, then you select it using a switch and the OLED display. This can save the Earth, time, physical storage space, and company money — in that order, since if you use this you no longer have to throw away lots of plastic discs, burn test discs (even rewriteables) which take too long just to see that you forgot that semicolon in an essential script and you have to burn a new disc just for it, doesn't take as much space as ten DVD spindle towers, and you don't have to nag your superior to buy new supplies when discs run out.

It's like an iPod, but for software developers and testers.

The price at CeBIT is 90 Euro for the 320 GB version. I'm not sure what the retail price would be, since, according to the brochure, this product was introduced this year, so it's really fresh."


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