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Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

bdwoolman Agreed. Guaranteed Security would be key. (415 comments)

Currently, I do shell out for an annual security subscription -- three seats. (I just tired of all the nagging and hoop jumping needed to perpetuate free AV accounts.) In my experience MS Security Essentials etc. is just not enough.

Here is the thing: If Microsoft offered top-flight security baked into the OS for a reasonable annual fee I might spring and drop the after-market application. Perhaps a two-tier sub or no sub : Windows option A would include bare-bones security and updates, basically the status quo (no sub). Option B would include a deluxe annual security package with good native utilities and maybe a little free support (with sub). You would have a choice between A or B when you activated your OS, with the subscription offered at a steep discount. Later you could still buy into the security, but at a higher price.

I mean many of us pay for some security anyway, Why not pay the OS developer? Especially if the security suite caused fewer problems since it was native. My current AV vendor currently gives me a free seat for my Android phone. Maybe the MS sub could throw in some phone security as well if you had a Windows phone. If MS could do this -- and do this right -- then they might get on the subscription gravy train. But again Microsoft's competition is doing much of this gratis. This makes the growing success of the Chrome OS internet appliances pretty understandable. MS has a pretty tough row to hoe.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

bdwoolman Hard to see how a subscription would play well. (415 comments)

Users are becoming increasingly OS agnostic. They use OSX, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Windows and (some) true Linux. Enterprise might subscribe, but will consumers? "You mean I have to pay an annual subscription to keep this box working? Sorry, dude but I see that Mint model over there advertising no subscription and machine life updates. Can I do my Internet on that?"

There is one possible exception to my mind: Guaranteed security and stability. If MS says it new Windows will be self contained. That one won't need add ons like subscription AV, anti Malware, or tweakware to keep it running smoothly and safely. And that MS commits to doing all the work to keep its OS in optimal shape, then perhaps, but only perhaps, would an annual fee be acceptable to some. But really they pretty much do that now for free with weekly patches and Security Essentials etc. Moreover, let's remember that Chrome OS does the same hidden maintenance thing for free, too. And better IMHO. Granted Chrome OS is pretty limited, but more and more applications are on tap to work on the platform within Chrome OS and the browser. I also think hardware vendors would see a MS subscription OS as a drug on their market.

The world is moving the other way as the OS is becoming increasingly less prominent. Heck, many people use two or three different OSs and don't even realize it. MS is practically giving 8.1 away to sell its hardware -- as well as that of its partners' -- and to keep market share. Chrome is a giveaway as is Android. I am sure MS would love to get subs for an OS. But it would be a hard sell in today's world of computing appliances. If they couldn't do subs earlier they won't manage now when the rest of the space is in giveaway mode.. And to try would probably hurt their business. What they have to do is make a disruptively cool, kick-ass OS that people have to have to make their new computers do new and wondrous things in the real world (deep learning, AI, robots and smart homes anyone?). They have the resources to do it. Do they still have the vision?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

bdwoolman The man asks: "What is BIRM?" (312 comments)

We answer: "Masturbate and you will find some on yourself."

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

bdwoolman Why mess around? Why not go Open Source? (195 comments)

With a Tabby

Get yours today!... Er, tomorrow... Would you believe...

Okay, okay, already. Apologies in advance for the snark. This really is a cool project.. And one worth watching. I do think the name is poorly positioned, however. Hey! What about Carduino? No? Anything but Tabby. I got it.. I got it... The Stallman! Hmmm. On second thought not for a car. I'll keep thinking.

about 1 month ago
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Smartphone App To Be Used As Hotel Room Keys

bdwoolman IMHO You are right on the money, Nukenbar. (150 comments)

No check-in access is what this is about. I recently checked into a Go Native hotel in London. This is a hybrid property that stands between a hotel and a service apartment. The rates were great. But this meant there was no-one on a night desk. Gaining access at my check in time (Midnight) was a PITA. I had to call the 24 hour number (a living human) to get an entry code for the front door (giving my reservation number as a parole). Then, at the same time, another one-off pin for a little lobby safe was given to me as well. In the little safe I found my key card and room number. I remember thinking at the time that a smartphone app for this type of budget or off hours property would be the ticket and wondered if Go Native had one I had missed (but I did not go so far as to consider the phone as the key itself). It all worked kludgy as it was. The accommodation was fine by the way. A bit like a really nice dorm.

As for real security in a hotel? Fugedaboudid. Especially If you are not in the room. If you are in the room, then use the deadbolt and the privacy lock. Really valuable stuff (if you happen to have it) should go in the hotel safe with a receipt. Or in the room safe. But, really, smart phones are are going to be at least as safe as those programmable cards, keys, Ving cards. A hotel room is shared quarters. Just use a black light if you don't believe me. On second thought you really don't want to use a black light.. Hertz Gold rent a car lets you grab the wheels and go without a counter check in (the bonafides are done up front when you join the program). So this is kinda cool. Get your room number by text and download your BT access code into your app and you are set -- and nobody needs to see you... or your date.

about a month and a half ago
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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

bdwoolman Napping... great work if you can get it. (133 comments)

I am retired now, but when I was working in Asia I often took a twenty- to thirty-minute nap followed by a big jolt of coffee or tea or an energy drink. My favorite place for a kip was in the shade of the building in which I worked (It was on pilings so there was a gap under it.) The newspaper delivery guys for the publishing group that employed me napped on beach loungers in this cool and gloomy underbelly. There were almost always a few free loungers. And I would catch thirty minutes on one and then buy a coffee from a street vendor and then head back upstairs. Completely fantastic rejuvenation even though I didn't think to drink the coffee beforehand.

We spent a lot of time at the office, but as long as we met deadline on our assignments no one, not even our Simon Legree of a boss, begrudged us a nap.

Winston Churchill was a great proponent of naps. And he maintained that they allowed him to work his brutal schedule during WW II. He advised not to mess about with such a serious undertaking. Out of your kit and into some PJs and into bed if you can manage.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

bdwoolman Yes to Anker (131 comments)

Anker Galaxy II replacement bat is as good as the fresh OEM one ever was. And the Anker universal charger works a treat. It has sliding contacts and a spring-loaded housing that will fit any mobile phone bat you could think of.

I can charge the still-okay OEM and keep it as a spare.

Oh, and I also like my Lumsing energy bank. Nothing to do with Anker. But the Lumsing is downright swanky.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

bdwoolman Even for working A devices data scrub is a wash (113 comments)

Check out this article in The Guardian 'Factory wipe' on Android phones left naked selfies and worse, study finds,

Really keep the thing for parts yourself. Or just keep it. You can't safely wipe it. Really. You can't. Though the chance of somebody actually harming you is small it is there. And if you have enough paranoia to ask this question then you will worry. Even years from now it will pop into your head at three AM unbidden and for no reason. Was that picture of me and Irma Plotnik really gone? Really really?

about 5 months ago
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Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

bdwoolman Memo (277 comments)

From: Kazuo Hirai

To: John Smedly

Re: SOE Rego

@#$$%^&*()!) (*$%@#$$%^&*()!)(*$%@#$$@ #$$%^&*()!)(*$%% @#$$%^&*()!)(*$%

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

bdwoolman HP LaserJet 5MP (702 comments)

My HP 5 MP Works normally after two decades service. When I bought it in 1994 the memory upgrade was very expensive so I skipped it. But about two years ago the extra modules (32 MB?) were quite reasonable so I sprung when the big new PDFs choked the printer's memory.. Ha. I bought some rubber roller dressing at an electronics store and that stopped the feed problems that began about two years ago -- just after I upgraded the memory. (Murphy at work.) I thought of getting rid of it, but find that I print less and less these days. And for the very few things I do print it is fine. It supports Post Script, but the native non Post Script LPL driver kicks out no memory problems with big modern PDFs and the new RAM. I also use an M Model keyboard. A space saving version (No separate number keys.) I think keeping working tech out of landfills is a kind of green thing to do. I say kind of because it is power hungry. Take my old Pentium 4. I heat my office with the bitch.

about 8 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

bdwoolman Imelda Marcos's World View... (818 comments)

Imelda maintains that there are only 500 people in the world. When she had the wealth of a nation in her pocket she used to be one of them. Now? Not so much. But her point is well taken and probably true in a way. I wonder what percentage of the world's wealth is held by the world's 500 richest people?

The wealth canyon in the US has been deepening since trickle down began thirty-five years ago. And the situation is slated to get worse not better. Dr Krugman had a great thumbsucker on this sad sit. a month or two back.

The recent SCOTUS decision on personal contributions corrupts the corruption. Special interests own Congress. (left and right) There remains vanishingly small political will to act in the public interest at any level in the political hierarchy. This has always been true in most of the world. Sad to see the rot ramp up in the Good Old US of A.

Our job creators created jobs alright. In China and for... robots. And themselves, of course, with princely paychecks. Got to make it into that elite 500 somehow.

about 8 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

bdwoolman From Okay Cupid... (1482 comments)

...To Okay Stupid. This requested boycott is a cynical media troll that plays on people's lowest impulses. I doubt this gutter play buys Stupid Cupid much goodwill just some media attention. Besides, Eich has stated that he supports a diverse workplace. And a lot of people have evolved on this issue over the years.

about 9 months ago
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Amazon Hikes Prime Membership Fee

bdwoolman Generally True (276 comments)

But I found Rubicon on Amazon prime. It's a smart, but subdued spy thriller a la Tinker Tailor. It got cancelled after a season. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. And it reached a pretty good partial conclusion. I missed it when it ran (I miss most stuff since I live and work here and there.) Anyway, there it is for what it's worth. But generally Netflix is indeed better.

about 9 months ago
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How long before most automobile driving is done by computers?

bdwoolman Limited liability laws allowed general aviation. (472 comments)

After deep-pockets law suits nearly killed US general aviation manufacturing some sensible limited-liability laws revived it. So, IMHO this troublesome aspect of autonomous driving will get sorted quickly. Insurers will love insuring people when the accident rate goes down as a result of automation. (Believe me. Their premiums will not drop proportionately.) Autonomous driving has to be very appealing to anyone who cares about human life. And certainly to anyone who trades on its fragility. Thirty thousand people die a year on our US roads . Robots are already acquitting themselves very well on everyday roads. Even today's robots would do much better than people under highway driving conditions and in light traffic. And I do not think it long before all but the most challenging driving tasks will be managed routinely. Frankly, the 'bots could hardly do worse than people. It is a bloodbath out there.

This pop sci article has what appears to be a very factual update on the Google autonomous car project. (500,000 miles without a crash.) But most closed beta test drivers still take over during tricky maneuvers and on side streets. I answered the Slashdot poll and thought about twenty years before we were all automated (I should live so long). But I expect to see a lot of automated cars in ten years. Maybe even Google's automated taxi service in some locales... Maybe.

about a year ago
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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

bdwoolman Let's talk about saving lives. (1440 comments)

In 2012 about 14000 people were murdered across the US. The death toll on the highways was roughly twice that much -- about 28000. The data is pretty conclusive that, as a risk factor, distracted driving is as bad as being drunk behind the wheel. So, while texting seems innocent enough on the face of it, when it is considered in the statistical aggregate as a contributor to premature mortality texting is a killer. The officer is arguably doing much to to save lives. As much as a homicide detective? Hard to say. But his contribution to public safety is not trivial. Good for him.

about a year ago
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Dispatch From the Future: Uber To Purchase 2,500 Driverless Cars From Google

bdwoolman Very little on the face of it. (282 comments)

These self driving vehicles are doing extremely well so far. Hundreds of thousands of miles with no at-fault accidents. And they could hardly do worse than people. Chimps could hardly do worse than people. Really. We suck at driving. Thirty thousand dead last year in the US. That is 10 times the number of people killed on 9/11 every year. And it is 75% (roughly) of the number we lost in the Vietnam war. When I see what other people do behind the wheel these days I really start to want this tech in place. Texters, talkers, make-up artists, wankers, DJs, nursemaids, tipplers and tokers... anything but driving. Time for the bots. "Home, Hal."

I was not in the least confused by this article. I guess I read the dateline. Let's see. If it really takes another ten years then we'll lose another 300,000 lives.

about a year ago
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Van Gogh Prints In 3D: Almost the Real Thing For $34,000

bdwoolman Well you gave a very spirited defence (104 comments)

I am, as I said, no great fan of Abstract Expressionism. A 'high brow con game' is what I said it had become. What I wanted to make clear was that Pollock was honest in his work. And that, without knowing he was doing so as such, he was channeling a mathematical reality that he saw or felt in nature. Nobody else has the high fractal index that his work has. It is diagnostic. And viewers sense it rather than see it. Our brains are wired to do so. That said, I agree with you that AE proved to be a dead end of sorts since it is so easy to phony up. Also the artist's expression of feelings is not communicated intact to the viewer with these paintings -- even Pollock's. They are emotionally quite neutral IMHO. Which is why interior designers love them for bank lobbies and such.

I am glad you did not dismiss him out of hand, but after due consideration. Ha ha. I think it took guts to stand up as you did to the tyranny of consensus. And to your small-minded art prof. You deserved an A for critical thinking. And for knowing what you like. And don't. And saying why.

For expressionism I prefer Edvard Munch. There is an awesome show in Oslo Norwayfor the next month or so for his 150th anniversary. He is a lot more than The Scream.

about a year ago
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Van Gogh Prints In 3D: Almost the Real Thing For $34,000

bdwoolman Before you discount Pollock out of hand... (104 comments)

Often imitated never equaled. Abstract expressionism was, and often remains, a high-brow art con game. That much is obvious. But many critics who were otherwise unimpressed by the 'abstract movement' felt that its founder, Pollock himself, was on to something different. They could see that he was seeing.... something. Pollock himself always maintained that he was painting "The rhythms of nature". Recently a discovery was made about his work that lends a lot of credence to his vision. I saw the documentary elsewhere, but this quote from the Wikipedia article on Pollock. tells the story better than I can.

In the 21st century, the physicists Richard Taylor, Micolich and Jonas studied Pollock's works and technique. They determined that some works display the properties of mathematical fractals.[20] They assert that the works expressed more fractal qualities as Pollock progressed in his career.[21] The authors speculate that Pollock may have had an intuition of the nature of chaotic motion, and tried to express mathematical chaos, more than ten years before "Chaos Theory" was proposed. Their work was used in trying to evaluate the authenticity of some works that were represented as Pollock's.

As for this article... I bought a painting at IKEA for an apartment we were renting out . It was an abstract print on canvas, but it had real paint on it with lots of texture. I wondered if it was painted by a robot or some kind of 3-D process since it was one of several. Interior designers like abstracts because they are non-entities. They fill space but disappear. Since they have no narrative they can't offend. That is, unless you are offended by the very idea of them.

about a year ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB & 1TB TLC NAND Drives Tested

bdwoolman Hot vs Crazy (156 comments)

Here's the thing. SSDs are now more reliable than when this guy logged this report.

But are still maybe not as steady Eddie as a good-quality HDD. But we still want them because having an SSD boot drive changes the whole computing experience due to their awesome speed. And since we are good about backups (Are we not?) we can be relaxed as we ride the SSD smokin' fast Roller Coaster. SSD or HDD then what's the problem if we have data security. Both are gonna FAIL. So what if Miss SSD stabs me for no good reason? It was a helluva ride, Bro. And well worth the stitches. I do wish SLC NAND was not priced out of reach, but, hey, when it comes to hottness we take what we can get. Right?

Okay. This is Slashdot we get no hottiness...no hottiness at all.. No no no hottiness. It's pathetic really. ....

about a year ago
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Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks

bdwoolman What about a federal VAT on internet sales? (125 comments)

The online sales the states must tax are intrastate. Interstate is still the problem for states and vendors alike (The new law requiring collection notwithstanding.), But the federal government clearly can tax such commerce -- electronic or otherwise. It is established law.

A Value Added Tax is a very fair kind of tax that only taxes the end consumer. (Fair being a relative term here.) It is an account-book pass through so it does not hurt sales up and down a supply chain. That is, VAT does not get written into the price and so with a VAT you do not wind up taxing tax in subsequent sales (with old fashioned sales tax you do). Some things (typically educational materials) are VAT exempt. And different classes of goods are taxed at different rates. The federal government could easily get vendors to collect such a tax universally online and then the USG could redistribute it to the states using a formula based on population. Or on internet sales dollars per capita. Or something.Or, as a nation, we could use the money and earmark it for improvements to our network. Or both. A VAT is a much different tax than a simple regressive sales tax which actually constipates the supply conduit.

Europe uses VATs to collect national taxes on consumption, which captures revenues from people who otherwise do not pay income taxes (in paces like Italy this is just about everyone -- or was.). A big gripe by the US rich is that such a large percentage of people pay no federal taxes when really they earn enough to do so, but off the books. Did you fix cars on the side for undeclared cash and use the money to buy a big-screen TV? With VAT Uncle Sam will at least get a little bite. And fair enough at that. IMHO A VAT in internet sales makes sense now that online retail has matured. And rather than a primitive sales tax a VAT is just a more nuanced solution. I imagine Mr Bezos will think otherwise and he has just bought Washington DC's hometown newspaper to allow him to subtly press his points home. Of course if you are a no-new-taxes-ever kind of person then such an idea is poison. It would go nowhere in the current House of Reps. But things will change at some point.

about a year ago

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