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Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

enjar Lots of weasel words in there (162 comments)

"user-specific" = "we are going to sell aggregated data"

"on behalf of a third party" = "we are going to get direct ad sales up and running soon"

#3 is just hysterical ... if they get acquired, they lose the right to any such thing as they become a wholly owned subsidiary, subject to whatever policies the parent company deems fit. As if it hasn't already happened about a billion times by startups who did one thing, then were bought up and summarily dismantled. Ello makes a false assumption that people give a damn about their product. An acquiring company may see it as a way to get a seasoned dev/qe team and shutter the service entirely. The examples of plucky startups that got pulled into the Apple/Google/Microsoft/$GINORMOUS_COMPANY orbit and summarily forgotten or dissolved is pretty big.

yesterday
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Safercar.gov Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags

enjar Re:We need to do it lke Europe. (120 comments)

I've received a few recall notices over the years for the cars I own. I followed the instructions on the form, made an appointment with the dealer, dropped the car off, then they did their thing. I never had to pay a dime.

You might be confusing a recall with a technical service bulletin. They are not the same, although a TSB can turn into a recall in certain cases -- and that happened in one case, for which I was refunded the money I'd paid for the service. All the recall notices I've received have had language on them to this effect, that if you repaired the car on your own dime (and can product a receipt) that they will reimburse you.

And if you buy a used car, it's probably worth the time to check for recalls. It's a similar situation for any consumer product you might pick up off Craigslist or from a private sale. We have a couple of kids and children's products are also notorious for this, since there's quite a "hand me down" / "cash sale" market that exists when your kids outgrow something and you don't need it any more.

3 days ago
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Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

enjar Re:All the more reason to get an antenna. (126 comments)

I live in the Boston metro area about 25 miles away from the broadcast towers and I get ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, FOX, two PBS and a couple independents. There are a couple Spanish channels and a shopping channel. There are subchannels on each so it ends up being something like 25 channels available. Some of them run reruns and old movies, for sure, but I get first run of anything on broadcast (goes into the TiVo), plus PBS has a lot of decent programming.

We also have Netflix and Amazon Prime but if you do your homework using sites like antennapoint.com and antennaweb.com you can get an antenna that's correctly sized and point it in the right direction, in addition to getting a rough idea of what you should be able to receive from your location.

3 days ago
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Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

enjar Re:Poor quality of ratings data (126 comments)

TiVo and Nielsen have had a relationship for some time, beginning around 2004. It's an opt-in system, so you would have been contacted by TiVo/Nielsen to allow monitoring of your recording and watching habits. Before the DVR, Nielsen used surveys and electronic systems from a segment of the population to generate data.

http://adage.com/article/digit...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...

3 days ago
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Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices

enjar Sounding another death knell for cable companies (126 comments)

Up till now, the TV Nielsens have been ruling the roost when it comes to how many people are watching something. Now with tracking added that includes online content on something of an equal basis, the real TV customers (the people who pay for ads) will know what the product (the viewers being shown advertising) is actually doing. This being Slashdot, people are no doubt running to the store to pay for a roll of tinfoil with a Bitcoin, but it's really not the Orwellian nightmare that you might expect. Imagine if there had been this richness of data for some shows like Firefly that were floundering in the TV ratings, yet were developing a following based on online views -- the audience was following the new episodes, but lagging the broadcast by a few months as they caught up.

I expect that many shows which got mishandled on broadcast yet had some redeeming value and a loyal (young, target demographic market) who aren't showing up on TV lists (because they don't own one) are going to now be more represented -- and that's going to lead to better programming for the people who like that. Perhaps the "sit in front of the TV" market will be eclipsed by the "sit in front of the tablet/smartphone" market as that becomes the way people consume television.

It might also clearly show what many of the cable providers keep denying but don't want to admit -- there's a tremendous market for (effectively) a la carte television that's being consumed right now. They can keep denying it, but it's going to be very hard for them to have leverage in deals with (especially) sports leagues when the Nielsen numbers show that it would be a great business decision to provide an app rather than going through cable to reach a larger audience who is young, hip and spends money.

3 days ago
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Making Best Use of Data Center Space: Density Vs. Isolation

enjar Re:Twins (56 comments)

Thinkmate

about a week ago
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Making Best Use of Data Center Space: Density Vs. Isolation

enjar Re:Twins (56 comments)

We use Twins extensively in our data center and have several racks full of them. We've been using them for several generations and are pretty pleased with how they have evolved over time. We now use the Twin2 units pretty much exclusively. We like the shared, hot-swappable power supplies and 4 systems in 2U layout -- which is certainly dense enough for our needs. We also have a great local VAR (greater Boston area) who is awesome in terms of RMAs, warranty service, and no-nonsense quoting when we need new systems -- they set us up with a login on their web page that will get the price dead on so we can get approval for that amount ... no "we are running a special 50% discount just for you" that requires a phone call and/or meeting. They will also send out guys to do a rack and stack who are really good at it -- you get systems shipped, they will put them in the rack in serial number order (easier RMA when you can just count up!) The prices are also very reasonable, and the extra bit of space for a card allows us to add an expansion card as we need it. We'd been through some other server vendors and we have stuck with these guys the longest because they work hard and are great to do business with.

We looked long and hard at blades, too -- but in many cases they were simply TOO dense for our needs, as we do sometimes need an expansion board, USB slot or some other thing on one of the machines, where we don't have to go up to the full 1U or 2U server to accommodate that need.

We also get into cases where we need traditional 1U/2U systems for something or other, and we generally just use the same guts that are in the Twins, which means we don't have to deal with weird driver issues for a different system board, so we can deploy or base operating systems + packages onto it without issue.

My day job is in HPC land, so I know there are more dense things out there, but for x86_64 computing, the Twins are really good for what they are. When you start stepping off the "mundane mainstream server" path and get into the "ultra specialized, boutique" stuff, the cost starts rapidly outstripping the benefit. Of course, for some applications you need to go there, but for what we do, we have more flexibility with space than we do with budget so the Twins strike a nice balance.

about a week ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

enjar Re:Mediocre? How about godawful? Terrible? (193 comments)

I agree. I read a lot of Golden Age scifi when I was growing up, and there was a lot of unbridled optimism out there. Humanity was going to expand to the stars, and it was going to be (mostly) wonderful. Nowadays, it's really hard to find that. I read a pile of Discworld books, which were fun for a while, but they became very formulaic. Great light reading, though. I also picked up The Expanse, which was grittier, but was still fun reading that kept me going.

My "ultimate dark" book is Cormac Mc Carthy's "The Road". I read it exactly once. It was very well written but I won't read it again.

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

enjar Re:Mediocre? How about godawful? Terrible? (193 comments)

I kept looking for Bruce Campbell with a chainsaw for a hand.

I'd take Bruce Campbell with a boomstick. Or heck, even Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe. Or Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley.

At least when Bruce is on the screen you know it's not all that serious. As an aside, if you ever get the opportunity to see "Evil Dead Live", I highly recommend the show.

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

enjar Re:Mediocre? How about godawful? Terrible? (193 comments)

Yes, indeed. I'm reading the fourth book (Broken Homes) now and I'm really enjoying his writing style, the setting, the characters -- pretty much the whole package.

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

enjar Re:Stay in perspectve... (193 comments)

Look, compared to network tv shows, it's in the top third. Would you rather have another reality show about an ugly woman and her abusive husband who both have an IQ of 98?

I've started grouping any recreational activity like television, music, movies, reading, video games, web surfing as "entertainment". So any arbitrary television show might have to compete against a decent novel I've wanted to read, a new album from a band I like, a video game I'm working through, watching a movie I've heard about and checking my Facebook feed. In all those cases, there are good examples of better entertainment available to me that are better than Scorpion. I've only got so much time before I shuffle off this mortal coil, and I already know I likely won't have time for all of it. Why waste time on sub-par entertainment when there are so many great examples out there to choose from and a limited amount of time in which to enjoy them?

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

enjar Mediocre? How about godawful? Terrible? (193 comments)

I watched the first episode but only made it to the part where the stereotypical Asian woman was telling the stereotypical black government agent to not shoot the Radio Shack quality keypad at the "data center" that was obviously a self-storage vault, after the rest of the contrived story line (yes, of course, the aviation industry has no backup plans for backup plans if a tower goes dark and EVERYONE WILL DIE ; emergency vehicles in LA are only allowed to use the freeway and cannot bypass traffic ; you have to drive to a data center to get a hard drive ; software at an air traffic control sysem is only backed up 12 hours, every five minutes), collection of stereotypes (the Smart Ethnic People, The Guy in the Bowler Hat, The Unknown Genius Kid and The Misunderstood Autistic Guy. Not to mention The Eye Candy Waitress Who Isn't Just Eye Candy And Tells You About It) and over-used hacking tropes (I just hacked your video camera system from a diner in three seconds).

I turned the TV off and read a book about a English policeman who is also a wizard, which was far more believable that the utter crap which Scorpion was. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, so I'm not opposed to the fantastic and/or the outlandish -- but Scorpion just pulled the same old tired crap out of the file, changed the names, crapped out a script, spent a pile of money and called it done. There are other shows on television with fantastic or scifi elements that are entertaining and fun to watch -- Doctor Who and Sleepy Hollow to name two current series, and there have been plenty in the past which have done a credible job -- The X-Files, Fringe, Alias, LOST, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, 24 to name a few. Some varied from "light mind candy" (e.g. Alias showed off Jennifer Garner's abs at 30 minutes in every time) to serious business (LOST, BSG), but Scorpion just missed on everything -- plot, story, characters, originality. It's just terrible to watch.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

enjar Just run the cable. Jebus. (279 comments)

The equipment and supplies required to fish cable through attics, walls, ceilings, basements and even running it around the house isn't expensive, novel or hard to use. It's more time consuming and frustrating than anything else. It's fall so temperatures in the attic aren't bad, and it's not freezing cold outside. Call a buddy/spouse/family member and get it done.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

enjar Re:Stop paying until the bugs are fixed (204 comments)

Oh, and to answer the "free software" point ... of course ... this is slashdot after all :) Generally when we have bakeoffs with products, we endeavor to include a "free" alternative in the mix. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

enjar Re:Stop paying until the bugs are fixed (204 comments)

Indeed, I'd have done the above much earlier, and/or moved off the vendor and thrown out the junk as a sunk cost long ago. Employee productivity, time to market, seemingly unrelated problems that come down to faulty equipment can all add up quickly and dwarf the remaining cost of the service contract.

If it's been two years, I'm wondering how severe the problems really are and how truly aggressive OP has been at finding a solution -- any solution. When we have stuff that's not working reliably and significantly hindering revenue-generating work (e.g. sales, new features, etc) that's pretty much putting on the One Ring and drawing the Eye of Sauron on yourself where I work.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

enjar Stop paying until the bugs are fixed (204 comments)

Proper escalation goes something like this:

0: Make sure you aren't doing something that's going to get you sued / fired. Meaning if this is already on your plate, I hope your manager knows about it. Tell them that you are going to be talking to legal/purchasing first about stopping the bills being paid. AKA "never make a threat you can't carry out".
1: Call your sales rep. Tell them that you find their product unacceptable, and you are withholding payment on the contract until such time as you are provided a list of fix dates, workarounds, etc for the product. Be sure to provide a list of the bugs as you understand them, listed in priority order. Be reasonable -- if you have ten bugs and items 1 and 2 are causing the most grief, it might be reasonable to accept immediate fixes for those, but the other ones my need to wait longer, or you can agree that they can be closed.
2: Start lining up a bake-off of similar devices now, to prep when the contract runs out, and start testing them with the people who found all the bugs in the other one. If the original vendor is unresponsive, switch off their device early. It may look like crap from the financial side, but depending on who and what is riding on this bit of equipment, better reliability / less bugginess / etc may have an immediate ROI and it might be worth it.

Other tips:

Never curse, lose your temper or be less than professional. Save that for when you get off the phone.

Schedule an in-person meeting if possible. Barring in-person, phone. Emails don't convey urgency well.

If the sales rep doesn't give you satisfaction, call their boss, then keep on working the way up to the top. Top managers do not like it when their lower level managers aren't doing their jobs. They want to concentrate on long term, not stuff like this. Make them irritated enough and you will have the management chain ensuring you go away because you make them look bad -- but this is the flip side of the "being professional" bit -- if you keep using words like "unacceptable", "does not meet advertised uptime numbers", "does not match your published specifications", "crashes when XXYY happens", you stay on issue. If you go off issue into raving lunatic, cursing land, you lose your credibility and are dismissed as "angry customer", not "that guy who has a legit list of 10 major bugs and who has his lawyer and finance department witholding payment".

about two weeks ago
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Test Version Windows 10 Includes Keylogger

enjar Re:Isn't that the whole point of this kind of thin (367 comments)

Because it's explicitly a "technical preview" or "beta" or "pre-beta invite only" or "not intended for production" system. I've participated in numerous betas for other products like MMORPG games, and I always expected I was being watched and monitored. Not for evil reasons, but more for usability or analysis. I signed up to be in the beta, was accepted, so I'm seeking out this kind of experience.

I can't imagine that other vendors aren't collecting information in similar manner. Why send out a beta if it's not going to give you useful data back before you release the production version?

about three weeks ago
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Test Version Windows 10 Includes Keylogger

enjar Isn't that the whole point of this kind of thing? (367 comments)

The whole intent of this kind of program is to gather data as to how real world users are using the software. What applications are they loading, what settings are they changing, where do they get hung up, do things crash, etc. Bringing people into a focus group or lab setting isn't going to give the same results.

I'm sure MS has a whole regression test suite and a formal QE process that's going to give them some idea that there aren't egregious faults with what they are shipping, but that's not going to entirely cover the semi-random ways which a real human being is going to be using the OS. If someone using the software encounters a problem, it can send a more complete picture of what was going on if it has more data.

I'd expect that this will not be shipping in the real product.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Yanks iOS 8 Update

enjar Re:ha ha (203 comments)

Siri? Is that you?

about a month ago

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