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Comments

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Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision To Attend PyCon?

edmicman "dongle"-gate (759 comments)

Huh huh....."dongle". LOL.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

edmicman Re:Linux just works... (965 comments)

Thanks - can I send you screenshots every time Ubuntu prompts for updates and insists a reboot is necessary? I don't think the kernel is updating that much...

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

edmicman Re:Linux just works... (965 comments)

For what it's worth, I'm running Ubuntu 12.10 with Cinnamon and I swear I have to reboot just as much as I do in Windows. There are prompts for updates almost every other day, and probably a reboot prompt every other week or so. Now, I know in Linux I probably don't *have* to reboot and could just kick services, and it's probably a lot related to the desktop manager and I could just restart that. But at least for me it's far from the panacea of infinite uptime, at least from a desktop user perspective.

about a year and a half ago
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The Chromebook Pixel Is Real, and Expensive

edmicman How much can I mod it? (392 comments)

My initial questions are:
What is the effective resolution? I.e., 1388x768 or whatever? It doesn't actually display at that resolution, does it?
Can you replace the HD?
Can you wipe it and run another OS like Linux or Windows on it?
What 'touch' features does ChromeOS use?

Seems like it might be a sweet little portable dev machine, that's not a Mac. Why is it that the only ones coming out with hires laptop displays are Apple or Google? Where's my 14" Lenovo with that resolution?

about a year ago
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New York Pistol Permit Owner List Leaked

edmicman Re:Guns only for the government... (899 comments)

In seriousousness, do you have a source for this? I see the popular myth spread all over my social news feeds but my WWII era history is rusty so I would love to have some sort of something to go back to them with proving your statement!

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device?

edmicman Printing (417 comments)

I've thought about pushing my grandmother and maybe my family to tablet-only since they have similar use-cases you describe and I think it would ease a lot of support headaches on my side. The only main hangup I've thought of is printing; my dad still loves to print stuff, as it seems a lot of older people do, too. There are cloud print / air print options out there but they all seem to involve either new specific cloud enabled printers, or shared printers on existing PCs. Honestly, to solve that I've been looking to set up a Raspberry Pi as a print server. I think think using CUPS I could hook that directly up to a printer and have it "available" to any other device on the local network. Then I think I could if I needed have some sort of headless chrome install if I really needed Google Cloud print to print over the Internet. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet...still need a second Pi unless I free up my raspbmc install!

about a year and a half ago
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Google Launches International Campaign For Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

edmicman Re:Marriage =/= legal union. (804 comments)

Those who are opposing gay marriage want to thrust their religious beliefs into the definition. Predominantly the religion they want to define marriage is a Protestant Christian one.

Whoa, now! The most vitriolic marriage arguments I hear seem to stem from the Catholics I know. While I'll admit that the party line for Christianity in general is anti gay marriage, it does seem that there are a number of Protestant members that are at least open to progressive thinking.

more than 2 years ago
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In UK, HTC Defeats Apple's "Obvious" Slide Unlock Patent

edmicman Re:Can we please.... (165 comments)

But...it's implemented *on a computer*! Bang, that's a new patent! And don't forget another separate one for *on a mobile computer*...that's different enough, too! Someone better get in there and grab one for *on a wearable mobile computer* before someone takes it!

more than 2 years ago
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Sale of Galaxy Nexus Banned in the US

edmicman Re:Patent trolling is the new iWhite... (696 comments)

But...but....there's *icons*! On a *mobile computing device*! And you "click" those icons with your *finger*! They might as well be one and the same!

--signed another extremely happy Galaxy Nexus owner

more than 2 years ago
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Are Open-Source Desktops Losing Competitiveness?

edmicman Yes (663 comments)

I dabbled in Linux for awhile, then switched full time to Ubuntu some years back. I wanted to run some specific games and switched to Windows 7 for awhile, until the hard drive crashed and am now back on the latest Ubuntu. I went from Unity to plain Gnome3 and now am on Cinnamon. And yes, I think the open source desktops are losing competitiveness. I personally think at this point in time OSX is the only one keeping things together. Windows 7 is actually very nice but Windows 8 looks like a train wreck. But for Linux it seems like your choices of desktop environments are either stuck in Win95-era or prior feel, or you have a "modern" DE that's half-assed at best and takes a ton of work to make it usable.

Speaking mostly for Gnome, but the colors, themes, icons...they always feel like they're missing that extra polish or something that you get from the commercial OSes. Everything just feels...clumsy. It may work, but it just isn't polished. And while I appreciate pushing new innovations both Unity and Gnome3 seem to be halfway there at best, leaving sort of mostly working setups.

Thing is, with Compiz and the wobbly windows stuff, it actually looked pretty sharp. Honestly, I think the more things I try the less I know what I want, just that what I have isn't exactly what I'm looking for!

Just my $.02.

more than 2 years ago
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Bill Gates Says Tablets Aren't Much Help In Education

edmicman Exactly (575 comments)

I've wondered the same thing as I've seen ads that pretty much every major school district in my area are touting iPads for every student next year. I love new shiny tech, but I feel like 'get of my lawn' curmudgeon being skeptical on the benefits of outfitting every kid with a free-to-use tablet. It's especially frustrating when in the same article about the local district offering iPads to everyone (via a technology-specific millage) that same district is still 500k in the hole after cutting $1 million by way of faculty layoffs.

I haven't looked, but is there research showing that giving every student an iPad improves something?

more than 2 years ago
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Apple News From WWDC and iPhone 5 Rumors

edmicman Where's the PC counterparts? (683 comments)

When will we see a Thinkpad with a hi PPI display? I can't believe this display is news to anyone, especially other manufactures. When will we start seeing these displays in other laptops and even standalone LCD monitors?

more than 2 years ago
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Apple News From WWDC and iPhone 5 Rumors

edmicman 1680 x 1050? (683 comments)

So where's the 'retina' display or the 1680x1050 resolution? I'd love a super hi res display, but would like more work area than 1440 x 900.

more than 2 years ago
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Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran

edmicman Re:Uhm, so we're at war now with Iran? (415 comments)

were from, say, Toledo, then I'm sure suddenly being from the Toledo would be a tremendous mark against him

Well, yeah. Being from pretty much anywhere in Ohio is a mark against in my book. I mean come on, it's *Ohio*.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon Patents Electronic Gifting

edmicman Patent for JIT payment of non-gifts? (164 comments)

Seems to me like the time to go out and patent my method of not charging for "non-gift" purchased items until delivery, and allowing of canceling the order prior to delivery.

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon Patents Electronic Gifting

edmicman Re:This Patent won't live long... (164 comments)

Even better, after you patent math *on a computer*, I can turn around and patent math *on a mobile device* AND math *on the internet*!

more than 2 years ago
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What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?

edmicman Re:If my work inbox is any indication... (314 comments)

Granted I think I've only used Thunderbird or Outlook in recent history (with some Eudora thrown in) but I've never found the conversation threading in any of the desktop clients to be as good as Gmail's. Maybe I'm missing something...

more than 2 years ago
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Is Facebook Working On a Smartphone?

edmicman #jumpingtheshark (160 comments)

So Facebook is going to buy Opera and then build a phone? These both seem like desperate moves to stay relevant and even then I don't know if I'd call either of those ideas *good*. Why not focus on making a mobile app that doesn't suck first? All the news around Facebook lately seems to revolve around them realizing they need to have some sort of future plan to remain profitable, relevant, and grow at the same time. And it's like they're just realizing this newfangled mobile thing is going to take off.

more than 2 years ago
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Linux Mint 13 (Maya) Has Arrived

edmicman Re:Is it a good alternative to Ubuntu for a novice (216 comments)

Agreed. I just went back to Linux after a quite awhile on Windows 7. I was getting into some web development projects and it's just easier for me to get up and running and set things up on Linux. I went with Ubuntu since I had worked with that before, but Unity was all screwed up - specifically some quirks with Chromium tabs on it and I just didn't like it. I set up the Gnome3 stock PPA and used that for awhile. I liked how it looked but it just got to be too much work to use. Maybe it's because I'm on a laptop but with running everything full screen I found it tedious to keep alt-tabbing back and forth between browser, editor, and command prompt to do anything. Throw in a file explorer window or two and it was a mess. And with no taskbar I had little idea what all was running. I could spend a ton of time tweaking it and customizing it but why? Why spend all that time and work to get things to where they should be? So then I installed Cinnamon and have been using that for a few weeks. It's OK, but still has it's quirks. The taskbar font is ugly as hell, too small, and I can't seem to find a way to make it look cleaner. I've run into the "start" menu shifting like above, and some weird quirk where the locations of the open window tabs rearrange themselves when coming back from a lockscreen. I dunno, I guess it does work for the most part, seems to be better than Unity or stock Gnome3, but maybe I'd just be better off going back to classic Gnome.

Windows 7 wasn't that bad - I actually really like the UI. I just found myself wanting/needing a bunch of the command line stuff from Linux, plus this time around I didn't want to mess with activations, etc.

Is it really too much to ask for a Linux desktop that isn't half-assed complete but also looks and acts a bit more modern than Windows 95? Maybe that's why Microsoft and Apple have the big budgets, to get the little details. But coming from Windows Gnome3 and Unity seem like a completely wrong direction (Unity) and half-implemented (Gnome3). And everything else just seems dated. Sigh...

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Secret to Building an App Empire? Copy other successful apps!

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

edmicman (830206) writes "Tim Ferriss' blog features an article titled "How to Build an App Empire: Can You Create The Next Instagram?" by serial mobile app creator Chad Mureta. Essentially the secret is not creating a brand new innovative idea — it's taking what's topping the charts already in the App Store and mimicking those apps, sometimes adding your own twist. Sign me up for a 7-figure income!"
Link to Original Source
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Google Introduces True Facebook Alternative

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 3 years ago

edmicman (830206) writes "

Google took its biggest leap yet onto Facebook’s turf on Tuesday, introducing a social networking service called the Google+ project — which happens to look very much like Facebook.

Do people really use Google and Facebook for the same things?"
Link to Original Source

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Facebook Launches Open Compute Project

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 3 years ago

edmicman writes "From the article:
"Facebook is opening up the specifications and design documents that went into creating their customized servers and datacenters. According to Facebook, these are much more efficient than the industry standards out there right now — especially if you’re specifically building social applications. In fact, Facebook says their servers are 38 percent more efficient than the off-the-shelf ones they were buying previously. And that has meant a 24 percent cost savings.""

Link to Original Source
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Register.com suffers DDOS attack

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

edmicman writes "The Inquirer is reporting on recent denial-of-service attacks on Register.com. Our business website domain is registered under register.com, and hosted ourselves. Yesterday afternoon, we started getting reports of problems resolving to our mail server, also self-hosted. A Twitter search returned a flurry of posts pointing to Register.com being hit. The same thing happened this afternoon — and this time it was all DNS servers for our domain, not just the MX records.

What bothers me, is that Twitter has been the only place to find any info about this. Nothing on the main news sites, and nothing on the tech sites. Register.com's site, if will come up, has nothing.

Could this possibly be related to Conficker?"

Link to Original Source
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MSU Student Faces Suspension for Spamming Profs

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

edmicman writes "FOX News is reporting on a story about Michigan State University student who is facing suspension for bulk emailing a number of professors at the university:

A student government leader at Michigan State University could be facing suspension for sending a mass e-mail to professors about a proposed change to the school calendar — an e-mail that the university is labeling spam.

The article contains links to a copy of the original email, the allegations against the student, as well as the university's Email Acceptable Use Policy."
Link to Original Source

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Is the future of the Internet in danger?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

edmicman writes "InfoWorld has an in-depth look at the bandwidth problems facing the Internet as we know it. Video and other digital media is creating a perfect storm that the ISPs are trying to head off by introducing bandwidth caps and tiered pricing. In my opinion, this is a losing battle as content companies provide more and more digitally. The only real solution is to provide truly unlimited bandwidth."
Link to Original Source
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How do improve my local broadband options?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

edmicman writes "What can I do to try and improve the broadband options available to me in my local community? I live in the mid-Michigan, about 20 miles away from the capital and a major university, but the entire area is a technological pit. Mine is a smaller town, but it's not *that* small, and we are right along a major interstate highway. I've found out that AT&T's U-Verse is available in the Detroit area,

I am currently paying ~$50 for 4Mb cable internet, bundled with cable service, and started looking at AT&T DSL as another option. However, I found out that the best (and only) DSL option I could get was their basic service, at 768k down. My address is less than two miles from the center of town and the local CO. Essentially my broadband options are expensive cable, cheap slow DSL, or a variety of satellite internet which is even more expensive (and slower) than cable.

What can I do to get better broadband options available to my community? Should I contact the city government? My local state representatives? Is there such a thing as a local community taking the initiative to bring in real high speed broadband options? How do you improve the technology infrastructure of a city? Or am I stuck?"
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Sony's DRM-free tracks come with a price

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

edmicman writes "Leave it to Sony to mess up DRM-free music downloads. According to Infoworld:

The tracks will be offered in MP3 format, without DRM (digital rights management), from Jan. 15 in the U.S. and from late January in Canada.

The move is far from the all-digital service offered by its rivals, though. To obtain the Sony-BMG tracks, would-be listeners will first have to go to a retail store to buy a Platinum MusicPass, a card containing a secret code, for a suggested retail price of $12.99. Once they have scratched off the card's covering to expose the code, they will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service, including Britney Spears' "Blackout" and Barry Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies."


What is the point of DRM-free tracks if you still have to go to a retail store to buy them?"

Link to Original Source
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Perfect 10 sues MIcrosoft for stealing porn

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Ars Technica is reporting that adult publisher Perfect 10 is suing Microsoft, saying that the MSN/Windows Live search engine infringes on copyright by returning thumbnails of and links to sites hosting Perfect 10's images. Does this sound familiar? In 2004, they tried the same thing against Google. Google was eventually found to be within the bounds of fair use."
Link to Original Source
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Infoworld is reporting on a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate that would have the FCC revise what bandwidth rates qualify as "broadband":

Senator Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat and chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act Thursday along with five Democratic cosponsors. The bill would require the FCC to re-evaluate whether 200Kbps is sufficient bandwidth to justify being called broadband, and it would require the agency to create a new measurement, known as second-generation broadband, to identify networks' capability of transmitting high-definition video.

The bill would also require broadband providers to report availability of broadband and second-generation broadband connections within smaller geography areas than the postal zip codes the FCC now uses to measure the availability of such services.
"
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Gaim has posted an update that explains in part why the 2.0.0 version has been in beta for such a long time:

Many years ago when this project was first started, it was called "GTK+ AOL Instant Messenger." AOL naturally complained, and Mark Spencer changed the name to "Gaim." AOL was appeased, and no one really ever heard of it because there were very few users back then. A few years later AOL trademarked "AIM," and started referring to their IM services using that name. They complained. The issue was brought up on Slashdot, and the Gaim developers at the time got some legal support. That legal support advised that the ongoing discussions with AOL be kept confidential until fully settled, and so it remained. The public thought the issue had gone away then. It sorta did, in that AOL stopped responding to Gaim's legal support for a while.


At long last, I am pleased to announce that we have a signed settlement and can release our new version. There is one catch however: we have had to change the project's name. After a long, and unfortunately secret debate (as we could not say why we were looking at a name change, we ended up just doing this ourselves), we settled on the name "Pidgin" for gaim itself, "libpurple" for libgaim (which, as of 2.0.0 beta6, exists), and "Finch" for gaim-text. Yes, the spelling of "Pidgin" is intentional, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin.
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Tech news outlets are reporting a story from Alaska where a man's laptop was confiscated after he was caught playing online games using the library's free WiFi connection:

Brian Tanner was sitting in his Acura Integra recently outside the Palmer Library playing online games when a Palmer police pulled up behind him. The officer asked him what he was doing. Tanner, 21, was using the library's wireless Internet connection. He was told that his activity constituted theft of services and was told to leave. The next day, Sunday, police spotted him there again.
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Dethroner is reporting on how the NFL is cracking down on churches displaying the Big Game this weekend. They had a follow up telling how apparently the . A final update showed that the 55+ rule only applies to the churches or other large groups; community groups can not get together and watch the Super Bowl on a large screen projector or TV larger than 55":

And you know what? The NFL is right. According to US Code Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 110, 5,B, i, II which describes what isn't allowed under copyright code:

(II) if the performance or display is by audiovisual means, any visual portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 4 audiovisual devices, of which not more than 1 audiovisual device is located in any 1 room, and no such audiovisual device has a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches, and any audio portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 6 loudspeakers, of which not more than 4 loudspeakers are located in any 1 room or adjoining outdoor space;
So that's the skinny: You can watch the Super Bowl at home on any size TV you like, but if you're watching it in a church or sports bar, any screen larger than 55-inches actually is in violation of the U.S. copyright code. It may be stupid, but according to my non-lawyerly interpretation, it isn't something the NFL pulled out of thin air.
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "No clean install for you! Ars is reporting that Vista upgrades will require the old OS to be currently installed; no longer can you do a "clean" install from a Vista upgrade disc, pop in the old XP disc to prove it's an upgrade, and go on your merry way.

Upgrade versions of Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Starter Edition will not install on any PC unless Windows XP or Windows 2000 is already on the machine in question. In years previous, upgrade versions of Windows could be installed on any PC. If a PC did not have an older version of Windows installed, users could provide an older installation CD of Windows for verification. After dropping a qualifying CD in the CD-ROM drive, the installation routine would verify the disc and you'd be on your way. With this approach, one could use an "upgrade" copy of Windows to lay a new Windows install on a computer.
I was already waiting before trying out Vista, but as a computer enthusiast I've usually gone the way of buying the "upgrade" version, and doing the clean install from that. Now I'm expected to purchase the full version of Vista? How often has a standing upgrade from one version of Windows to another actually worked?"
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "We currently have a ton of web reports using Crystal 7. My employer wouldn't upgrade to later versions because of Crystal's steep licensing costs. We are now upgrading to the SQL Server 2005 platform from SQL Server 2000, and intend to phase out Crystal in favor of SQL's Reporting Services.

I was able to attend a small seminar put on by Microsoft showcasing the abilities of SSRS, and it looks very cool for what we want to do with it. Unfortunately, the seminar closed out with a presentation by the sponsoring partner as a sales pitch for their consulting services to convert our reports for us. With a hefty fee, for sure.

Looking into it some more, it seems there are a *lot* of 3rd parties selling expensive converters that will be run once, or consulting services with huge fees, all to do a one time conversion from Crystal to Reporting Services. Even Microsoft's webpage suggests a number of consulting firms. The seminar I attended showed the sponsors tool — a simple .NET application that you pointed out your existing reports, and it converted them as a batch. This makes me wonder — where is the open source utilities for something like this? I don't know how they do it, but I assume they are using the Crystal API that's included with Visual Studio .NET 2005. I'd love to make an open source app to do this, both to solve our problem and also to spite the big consulting firms out there essentially selling a "Y2K fix" that will be obsolete in a year or two. So are there any reasons why open source couldn't solve this problem?"
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edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

edmicman writes "Wired News has an interesting article about what would make the perfect voting machine:
With election season upon us, Wired News spoke with two of the top computer scientists in the field, UC Berkeley's David Wagner and Princeton's Ed Felten, and came up with a wish list of features we would include in a voting machine, if we were asked to create one.

These recommendations can't guarantee clean results on their own. Voting machines, no matter how secure, are no remedy for poor election procedures and ill-conceived election laws. So our system would include thorough auditing and verification capabilities and require faithful adherence to good election practices, as wells as topnotch usability and security features.


The article raises some interesting points. Why doesn't someone / some group create an open source voting machine software? The hardware could even be open, too. So what are we waiting for? Why doesn't someone do it? Who do we talk to to get started?"

Journals

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Facebook Android app is crap

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The official Facebook app for Android is crap. It recently updated - you would think that updates would bring incremental improvements, but it seems like the FB app makes minimal progress and then leaps backwards time after time. The latest change? It appears that they have gone from a native app to embedding a web view in place of the news feed - for all intents and purposes the app's newsfeed now is identical to just browsing the mobile website. My list of complaints in off-the-top-of-my-head order:

Videos
With this new version was supposedly video uploading support. However, I have yet to actually be able to play within the app videos that I'm pretty sure were posted via FB (as opposed to posting a YouTube link). Every time I've ever tried to watch a video someone else has posted I get the "incompatible format" error. Do I need Flash installed? Can we upload videos, we just can't play them?

Pure Coherent Native Experience
This was a problem before, and now it's even more jumbled. For a long time the Android FB app would kick you to the mobile site for some functions. Digging further into a person's profile for instance. Some links. It disrupted the feel of the app before, and now it's even worse. The main menu is the same old style from before. You go to the newsfeed and it's the embedded mobile site. Then you click through to someone's profile and it's the old app style. Commenting and liking something on a profile wall is different than commenting and liking the same post if you did it through the newsfeed. Same function, but it's broken between the old and new app styles. Then you click on a friend's friend's profile, and it takes you to the mobile profile page for that person.

No (or limited?) Push notifications. As far as I know I won't get notified if someone comments on something of mine.

Newsfeed that is actually embedded web view
I've already noted that I don't like it. It feels like a copout and feels laggy compared to the native listview controls in apps. I can't get "Recent News" to stick as a default - it always reverts back to "Top News". There actually doesn't seem to be a difference between the two at the moment, but that's not the case on the normal site so I would expect that to be a problem at some point, too. There's some stupid slot machine wheel functionality now to change between newsfeed views. Really? Where did that UI decision come from?

General slowness
Granted, this has been a little better since moving to the web newsfeed. Actually, before I would have timeouts refreshing the newsfeed or pulling up images on a regular basis. I'd jump over to the mobile site and it would work fine. That seems a little better now, but lots of times the waiting symbol will just keep spinning trying to load an image. Loading album thumbnails is still very slow and cumbersome, on wifi or 3G.

Weird behaviors
Many times I'll hit back and it goes back, but you're on the same page. It's like it loses where it was or something.

I'm on a stock OG Droid. Anyone else?

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How can I make my employer be more open-source friendly?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

How can I encourage my employer to be more friendly to open-source software and standards compliance?

I work as a web developer for a small company that sells a software-as-a-service product. Or, at least, I did. We were recently bought by a much larger company, and I am finding their IT department ideals to be much different from my own.

Granted, we are a Microsoft shop, with the application being in classic ASP/VBScript and ASP.NET. But I developed with Firefox primarily, and we were using Bugzilla for issue tracking. I was even started to move from SourceSafe to Subversion. I didn't necessarily strictly validate against all standards, but our web application worked in all browsers across the board.

Now our "new" website application uses vbscript for client side scripting instead of javascript. It's non-functional in Firefox. We have a homebuilt issue tracking system that has a fraction of Bugzilla's functionality. It uses some "grid control" that requires IE, so it doesn't render correctly in Firefox. I can't save searches. I can't search on the description or details screen. We have a web-based empoyee management system where we manage travel, time off, tech requests, etc. It will load in Firefox, but doesn't *work*. Links and pages break, and it uses frames for everything.

It's frustrating having used what I think are much better tools only to feel like I'm taking giant steps backwards with the new ones, just because the corporation mandates it. Is there anything I can do?

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I want a Google Mail appliance

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

With 2008 kicking off, I'm looking over my list of projects I want to tackle in the next year. My company hosts our own mail server, a beige-box Linux PC running Debian, set up by an outside consultant many moons ago. We are a Microsoft shop, running a business based on VB6 and IIS software, but us in the tech department all encourage use of open source tools as much as possible. Mostly we just don't have a lot of Linux experience, although I'm picking up a lot, and have successfully set up some in-house LAMP servers for some specific purposes. The truth is, though, our mail server has been the most rock solid component of our network for a long time. The thing is, none of us really know anything about it; it's a black box!

So on my TODO list is to look into "replacing" our mail server. It's not broken....yet (although we have noticed some BIOS errors on a restart)....but I'd rather have a migration plan sooner than later. Plus, I think that if I were to look into rebuilding a mail server from scratch, I'd both understand it a lot better, plus gain a valuable experience.

There's been a push to use Exchange from a number of users, and it probably would be easy enough to set up a dedicated Exchange box that integrates into our current Active Directory setup. But that comes with a lot of costs, both hardware and software if we're looking at moving to a production system eventually. A Linux option, if I could find something that handles groupware well enough (and especially integrates with Outlook, which a number of the staff uses), I think the cost and stability are good selling points.

But what would I really want? A mail appliance by Google. They already have a search appliance for enterprises, why not mail? Advertising dollars in the emails? They already have the option to disable ads on the enterprise Google Apps, and how do they handle that with the search appliance? I think the Gmail web interface is the best out there. Labels rock. It can do IMAP and POP. I think it would just need some way for the shared calendaring to integrate into Outlook (does it use CalDEV?) and it'd be set.

Give me a box that I put in my rack with all this software. Have some built in drive space and allow it to connect to NAS or something, so my storage space can grow. Give me decent admin tools with metrics and backup tools, let Google do the spam filtering (maybe connect to their existing system for filtering?), and all the while the box with the actual emails are under my direct control.

Why not?

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Gmail is now available via IMAP

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 6 years ago I was checking something tonight, and it appears that gmail now allows you to download your gmail via IMAP! The option is available in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section in the settings now. Woohoo!

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Why doesn't Thunderbird integrate with Chandler?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  about 7 years ago

I've been using Thunderbird with the Lightning extension for quite awhile now. As an email client, especially with IMAP, I haven't found anything that beats Thunderbird. But as a calendaring/PIM/task list app, Thunderbird with Lightning sucks. I feel crippled with Lightning, not as productive as I could be, and actually *wishing* I used Outlook to try and organize my work life.

I've kept tabs on the Chandler Project here and there for awhile, too. When I've played with it, it seems to be developing into a very good Getting Things Done client. My biggest complaint is that my email is still a central part of my info work, and most of my generated things-to-do and meetings stem from email messages. But Chandler's email client sucks. I need integration between the two, but I don't want to have both Thunderbird and Chandler open at the same time. Email is still king for me, so Thunderbird wins, and I try and make do with Lightning.

So we have Thunderbird with it's strong email capabilities, and Chandler with it's strong PIM attributes. Why doesn't Mozilla scrap the Calendar/Lightning project and use the Chandler project, or why doesn't the Chandler project scrap rebuilding from scratch an email client and use an established *good* one? I don't foresee Tbird/Lightning ever coming close to the PIM abilities of Outlook anytime soon, nor do I see Chandler becoming a robust email client anytime soon. What am I missing? Why wouldn't this work?

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It's Time for Social Networks to Open Up

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Wired has an article, "Slap in the Facebook: It's Time for Social Networks to Open Up", that calls for the greater programming community to create a truly "open" social network. Specifically, the problems with today's networks, says the author, is that their content is not available to everyone.

Personally, I don't use either Facebook or MySpace, though I have friends that do. I host my own blog, and communicate with friends via email, IM, and forums. I run my own blog and pic hosting. I've just never really jumped on the social networking bandwagon. Yeah, I'm old school.

As for this article, I can see both sides. Part of the point of the Facebooks and MySpaces is so that *not just anyone* can view what you put online. Nevermind that I don't really get why you'd post something *private* online in the first place if you didn't expect the world to see it. But the private social networks foster and clique or group mentality where if you're not in the know, you don't know.

What the point of the article is, though, and which I tend to agree with, is there needs to be a better way to round up your online "identity". Why should I have to sign up for Facebook to keep in touch with some friends, and MySpace for others? Why should I have to be a member of multiple IM services to keep in touch with different people? I have multiple email addresses for different purposes. I have signed up for probably dozens of mailing lists and discussion forums, and have been an active member in more than a handful. Heck, I even signed registered on Slashdot so I can make posts and comments non-anonymously. Why should my online "identity" be fragmented so?

Of course, the flip side of that is is that due to the fragmentation of my online identity, I still maintain that air of anonymity. I think that actually may be at the root of a lot of the issues going on. By having different email addresses and aliases, I can appear to some audiences as one person, and to others as someone totally different. Even on Facebook and MySpace, would most of those users publish in a real life semi-public place the photos, musings, and thoughts that they write on those sites? Perhaps we would ideally like the convenience of having a central identity, but don't want the accountability of being tied to that central identity?

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Where are the open source counterparts to popular web apps?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Open source has given us very competitive alternatives to some commercial powerhouses in software. Office suites (OpenOffice.org vs Microsoft Office), Image editing (GIMP vs Photoshop), web browsers (Firefox vs IE), instant messengers (Gaim/Pidgin, millions of others vs the standard clients), plus a ton of other apps, both standalone and web hosted. But where are the open source counterparts to popular commercial web apps? Specifically, I'm looking at email and image galleries.

Where is the blatant ripoff of Gmail that I can install on my own server that connects to an IMAP server? I want the Gmail interface and user experience, but with my own email server. I looked for something for the longest time that I could install on my host and use as a better webmail client than what they offered. Squirrelmail seems to be everywhere, but using it feels like the Internet circa 1997. Last time I looked, the closest thing was Roundcube, but even that felt simply like a rehash of a desktop email client in AJAX. Gmail's system works, why hasn't anyone copied it yet?

Recently I was looking to upgrade my web gallery from Gallery2 to something else. Gallery[2] and Coppermine are nice, but again, they feel really dated compared to something like Flickr. So where is the the "Flickr" that I can install on my own server? There seems to be *nothing* out there. Why not?

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Is Slashdot's submit feature broken?

edmicman edmicman writes  |  more than 7 years ago I've submitted a number of stories, and most have been rejected. That's fine. But I've had two submissions that are still just sitting there, pending. One on 2007-02-26, the other recently on 2007-05-26. I'm OK with them being rejected, but the most recent concerned the bill introduced to the US Senate to redefine the broadband definition used in the US. I think it's a worthy story, and am surprised that it hasn't been covered at all by Slashdot yet. But mostly, why are my submissions still 'pending'? What should the expected turnaround be? Did my submissions just fall through the cracks?

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