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Windows Store In-App Ad Revenue Plummets

cos(0) Is that such a problem? (196 comments)

Could the explanation be that Windows RT users prefer to pay for apps rather than to be served -- and to click -- ads? That's certainly the case for me. I own a Windows RT tablet and spent about $10 on apps thus far, including on Book Bazaar Reader, GVoice, and IM+. When there's a way to get rid of ads by paying for an ad-free experience in apps I value, I do.

Microsoft is also encouraging more significant apps by setting the minimum price in its app store to $1.50. I can easily imagine that more significant apps are more tempting to buy outright rather than to live with ads.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Protecting Home Computers From Guests?

cos(0) Some Windows software (572 comments)

One way is to just make a guest account.

But if someone wants admin rights to install a game or something, you can use Faronics Deep Freeze or Fortres Grand Clean Slate to ensure that no changes to the Windows filesystem survive reboots or even log-offs.

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Axing Messenger On March 15th

cos(0) Re:LOL alternatives (218 comments)

However, none of that invalidates the point that Skype creates vendor-lock in by means of their proprietary protocol. I don't admire people who do that, particularly when they do it in an area where open protocols already exist.

You're still not thinking. Open protocols still exist; Skype didn't erase them or ban them. They just don't work. Again—it doesn't matter if open protocols exist if the normal person in normal circumstances cannot get a simple phone call to work.

If you resent vendor lock-in so much, why don't you simply make the existing open protocols work? Or create your own open protocol that works?

about a year and a half ago

Microsoft Axing Messenger On March 15th

cos(0) Re:LOL alternatives (218 comments)

they made billions converting the world from open standards to their vendor-lock in

Think about that a little more. Did anyone hold a gun to the world to force them to switch? No. Clearly the open standards failed the world somehow.

In my personal experience, Ekiga (an implementation of the open standards you speak of) simply doesn't work in a NAT environment. I've tried multiple versions with multiple people, and either the phone doesn't ring, or the person doesn't even appear online. Skype worked. I even ended up giving Skype money.

It's much more productive to figure out why millions can be made switching away from open standards than to hate those who solve the world's problems.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Need a Phone At Your Desk?

cos(0) Re:Google Voice (445 comments)

I don't understand. When you say "your phone," are you referring to my desk phone or my cell phone? If I ever lose access to the desk phone, I just unlink it from my Google Voice account, and it'll never receive any of my calls again.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Need a Phone At Your Desk?

cos(0) Google Voice (445 comments)

The desk phone provides higher quality voice and better ergonomics. That said, I never gave out my work number because I don't want people to call multiple places, or to chain me to the desk when I'd rather answer their call on my cell.

But I started using my desk phone just this week. I ported my cell phone number to Google Voice, associated both my new cell phone number and my work number with it. Now when anyone calls my cell phone, it rings both phones, and I choose how to answer. I can also make outgoing calls through my work phone, appearing to others that I am calling from my original cell phone number. It's a beautiful system.

about 2 years ago

Slackware 14.0 Arrives

cos(0) Re:Pat and Slackware (183 comments)

Only a liberal arts major would suggest that "anyone" can make a good, usable Linux distribution. Time is not free, you know.

about 2 years ago

Is the Can Worse Than the Soda?

cos(0) Re:Silly (388 comments)

Your grandparent was talking about a specific bock: Shiner Bock. That one is made only in bottles.

about 2 years ago

Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

cos(0) Using my existing Linux distribution? (124 comments)

I'd love it if the project's web site had a howto for installing the necessary components on my existing Linux distribution.

Why would I want to boot a LiveCD/LiveUSB if I already have a perfectly working Linux laptop with all my files and settings? Presumably once you're connected to the mesh network you'll want to be productive, whether it involves instant messaging, email, or whatever else you have set up and configured on your laptop.

more than 2 years ago

Amazon Matches iTunes Match With New 'Audio Upgrade' Feature

cos(0) Re:How horrifying (157 comments)

A friend of mine and I both bought the same mp3 track from Amazon, and then compared the files and md5 checksums. Same metadata, different checksum. Our amateur conclusion is that the tracks were watermarked with our account IDs or something.

Did you check IDv1 and IDv2 metadata? I don't have any Amazon MP3s handy, but as I recall Amazon puts a unique number into the Comment field. That's easy to change or erase. I'd be interested in comparing actual audio data between two purchasers of the same MP3.

more than 2 years ago

Overheated Voting Machine Cast Its Own Votes

cos(0) Re:OK Enough of this SHIT (378 comments)

Cue rising sales of chemicals that remove ink...

more than 2 years ago

Why You Don't Want a $99 Xbox 360

cos(0) Re:Same reason as before... (530 comments)

Figuring 25% is gone right off the top

Effective tax rates are much lower than the top tax bracket for a given income. A large fraction of the population pays no income tax, instead paying only FICA at 7.7%. Federal income tax starts only after the standard deduction, which is almost $6k, so you end up paying federal income tax only on $7.4k with a minimum wage job where you work 51 weeks a year for 35 hours a week. That's $738, or an effective tax rate of 5.5%. In all, in a state without income tax this person would pay about 13.2% in total tax -- assuming there are no additional deductions or credits. That's $11,233 per year in take-home pay.

more than 2 years ago

1366x768 Monitors Top 1024x768 For the First Time

cos(0) Re:Who cares? (394 comments)

I run my desktop monitors at work in portrait orientation, like God intended.

more than 2 years ago

Samsung Employees Conspired To Sell AMOLED Tech; 11 Arrested

cos(0) Re:Who benefits the most? (93 comments)

Is that a way to justify theft?

Some people also benefit from armored money trucks spilling their cargo over a highway.

But it raises the cost of doing business, and ultimately society pays a price for that.

more than 2 years ago

Sprint CEO Defends Company's Decision To Bet It All On the iPhone

cos(0) Re:WiMax and LTE (187 comments)

Speed, latency, and amount transferred are all independent variables.

I consider myself an power user when it comes to smartphones. But I transfer less than 500 MB per month. But when I do want to use my measly 500 MB, I don't want to sit around and wait for it. I want it now.

I'm a prime candidate for Verizon's LTE network and their caps: I transfer data judiciously, but I value speed and low latency. 4 GB is a huge amount of data... do you really manage to exceed it?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ideal High School Computer Lab?

cos(0) Re:faronics this faronics that (268 comments)

I am sorry, but nothing you've said is remotely true.

How does ntfsclone replace any Faronics product? I happen to use and love ntfsclone to reimage PCs. It's very nice, and like you said cheap, but it requires a reboot into Windows, a clone process that takes a while, and a mini-setup of Windows where it generates SIDs and other stuff.

Deep Freeze and Clean Slate, on the other hand, allow anyone to reboot or even log off (in the case of Clean Slate) and get everything restored to normal. Now students can get a pristine image for every class period or anytime they want, instead of having me reimage it with ntfsclone daily, weekly, or monthly. In summary, ntfsclone is not a replacement for or a competitor to Faronics or Fortres Grand products. Unless you can point to a free product that has the same functionality, it's not "money wasting."

As far as Faronics being a vendor lock-in -- again I have no idea what you're talking about. Deep Freeze is a single, well-contained product. It does not try to integrate with anything else, take over any other program, or cause any other headaches.

Finally, "mysterious breakage"? Again, Deep Freeze is one of the most reliable products I've ever used. It's reliable because it's simple: it redirects disk writes at the block level, keeps a temporary mapping of these redirects, then purges it at reboot. Clean Slate is similar in results, but it works at the filesystem level, so a logoff is sufficient to reset the PC to a pristine state. Both work very well in my testing and field experience. I'd love to hear about your mysterious breakage.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ideal High School Computer Lab?

cos(0) My experiences (268 comments)

I am the entire IT department for a private K-12 school. I also teach an accelerated C++ class to high schoolers in that lab over the summer. We have one computer lab with 25 PCs. Here are some of the things I've done or plan to do to make it a pleasant and productive work environment, in no particular order:

1) Have a good projector. Our projector does not support resolutions above 1024x768 and it can be a pain when the working window is needlessly smaller because of large static elements like the taskbar and toolbars.

2) Install in-ceiling speakers connected to the teacher workstation to distribute sound evenly. I recommend in-ceiling speakers from Monoprice.

3) Have a free-for-all shared network drive for students. We have three shared drives: one for students, one for all staff, and one for just office workers. This is probably one of the features that's easiest to set up yet appreciated the most.

4) Use centralized logins. At my school I have a passwordless "student" account with a mandatory profile, while all other accounts are roaming profiles with redirected folders. I've not heard any complaints about this. Students get the same desktop experience on every computer, and teachers love that their settings are shared between computers. I also offer (through the logon pop-up message) to create roaming profiles to students who want this feature, but no one has yet taken me up on this. Probably because no one ever reads that message.

5) Set up Fortres Grand Clean Slate or Faronics Deep Freeze on at least a few computers and configure them such that every account is an Administrator. There will always be students who'll want to install a legit program you haven't foreseen. Let them.

6) Keep software up-to-date. No one likes using Firefox 2.0 or MSIE 6.0 on locked-down PCs. Do this either through group policy (if you're fearless) or by reimaging PCs on student breaks. Reimaging works because everyone's documents and settings already live on the server.

7) This is controversial, but allow students and staff to attach any personal device to the network. We have a schoolwide wireless network, so this allows everyone to stay connected no matter what part of the building they're in. This has been tremendously popular at my school, and so far haven't had any issues.

8) Use standby. No one minds it, and it saves a huge amount of energy. Use something like Faronics Power Save Enterprise if you want fine-grained control, or just configure Windows power settings to go on standby after X minutes of inactivity. As a bonus, standby is also quick to reveal defective RAM. (Bluescreen, "hardware problem, contact manufacturer")

If anyone reading this is in Cedar Rapids / Iowa City of Iowa, I am an IT consultant and would love to implement this at more schools. :-)

more than 2 years ago

NFL: National Football Luddites?

cos(0) Re:the pro in pro sports (257 comments)

Yes you get paid, but you're throwing a ball around a field, get over yourselves

It's possible to trivialize any career if you try. I bet you get paid for simply pushing bits around, so get over yourself.

more than 2 years ago

Sub-$100 Android 4.0 Tablet Coming Soon

cos(0) Re:Not really... (278 comments)

that attitude is what's wrong with consumer electronics these days

That's progress.

When was the last time you patched your socks or shirts, or asked a local tailor to resize a shirt or a pair of pants? Oh, you mean you donate/discard clothes you no longer like and buy replacements? See, that's what's wrong with society these days. People don't take care if their clothes break down and they replace them on a regular cycle.

more than 2 years ago



Sources for firmware and hardware books?

cos(0) cos(0) writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cos(0) writes "Between O'Reilly, Wrox, Addison-Wesley, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, and many others, software developers have a wide variety of literature about languages, patterns, practices, and tools. Many publishers even offer subscriptions to online reading of the whole collection, exposing you to things you didn't even know you don't know — and many of us learn more from these publishers than from a Comp Sci curriculum. But what about publishers and books specializing in tech underneath software like VHDL, Verilog, design tools, and wire protocols? In particular, best practices, modeling techniques, and other skills that separate a novice from an expert?"

Cross-platform sample without revealing code?

cos(0) cos(0) writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cos(0) writes "I will be teaching a computer science / C++ course to high school students. They will have two projects they'll have to take to completion, making one improvement at a time. Since all students will be working on the same projects, I would like to provide a sample implementation that they could run to see what's expected of them in terms of interacting with the program and its functionality—but I don't want them to see how it's structured in terms of classes, functions, and other high-level logic. I'd provide a binary—but students may use their own laptops, and I know that there will be multiple platforms in the classroom. I've gone down the path of code obfuscation and compiling followed by decompiling, but neither approach is as fruitful as I like. Code obfuscators are few and expensive, and decompilers are few, immature, and I haven't been able to get one to work for me. How can I provide a sample implementation to all my students while shrouding its logic?"

Teaching C++ to high schoolers in six weeks?

cos(0) cos(0) writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cos(0) writes "In one week, I will take a classroomful of high schoolers of different grade levels and widely varied exposure to computer science and programming, and try to go from "What is a computer" to C++ polymorphism and operator overloading in 17 two-hour sessions three days a week. The course is unique: students will use whatever IDE they want, we'll use Subversion for everything, and they'll implement a team project (industry software) and an individual project (a game) from scratch. Please recommend interesting and engaging ways of teaching Comp Sci and C++ concepts at a very rapid pace to high schoolers, and general ways to make this course fun and productive."


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