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Comments

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Apple Gets Its First Batch of iPhone Chips From TSMC

gaiageek Re:Samsung's slowing sales... (45 comments)

"... blaming 'weak' sales of low- and medium-end smartphones."

I'd suggest that their weak sales has something to do with the fact that their phones are ridiculously overpriced. Samsung seems to think that they're the 'Apple' of Android phones and that they can price their offerings accordingly. Look at their Galaxy S4 Mini and just announced S5 Mini models: mid-range devices (both have only 1.5GB RAM) with flagship prices.

Then there's Samsung's "budget" phones. They also just announced the Galaxy Ace 4. The most obvious difference from last year's Ace 3? They cut the RAM in half, from 1GB to 512MB. That's right, they actually made the specs worse. Maybe we should thank them for not making the processor slower, too (they both have 1GHz dual-cores).

Meanwhile, we've hit the point of having very decent Android phones from the competition available for $100 or less purchased outright (see LG Optimus F6). The S4 Mini, now a year old, is still running $300+ purchased outright. Why would the average buyer spend an extra $200 for incremental upgrades like an 8MP camera vs 5MP, 1.5GB of RAM instead of 1GB?

Samsung's had a great run, but I think we're seeing the beginning of the end, with the competition nipping at their ankles.

about two weeks ago
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AT&T Charges $750 For One Minute of International Data Roaming

gaiageek Re:50MB = 750$ (321 comments)

Deutsche Telekom is still the majority shareholder of T-Mobile US, and they don't use matching GSM or W-CDMA frequencies. They do both use GSM and W-CDMA though, so the phones are compatible, though European smartphones are often lacking the correct W-CDMA bands for 3G use in the US. It's even worse with LTE.

about a month and a half ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

gaiageek Great (97 comments)

So if humans ever do populate Mars, they'll face strains of bacteria which even NASA can't kill. Wouldn't this make an argument for not going to such extremes to try to rid such rovers of any and all bacteria?

about 2 months ago
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The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

gaiageek Terminology (243 comments)

I can't tell if some people really haven't heard these terms before or it's some deep sarcasm. Feature phone = your average dumb phone. The phone you had before you had a phone that you could download and run mobile-OS specific applications. Its "features" probably included a calculator, calendar, camera and built-in WAP browser (even if you never used it), and probably allowed you to download and run Java apps (even if you never did). It may have even had a built-in music player. No options to install a new browser or media player, though there were some decent Java apps, like language-translation dictionaries. Basic smart phone = budget Android phone or maybe something from the Nokia Asha line. We're already seeing Android phones in the $50 range. Most of us would consider them to be crap, but if you live in a developing country and you're coming from a dumb phone, just having something like GPS is a big step up, and probably all you can afford.

about 3 months ago
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Russian GLONASS Down For 12 Hours

gaiageek Re:Warning Shot (148 comments)

That's a relief. Everywhere I go I'm close to an area. It's like I'm surrounded.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

gaiageek We need one more Linux distro (287 comments)

Shocking as it may seem, I think we actually need one more Linux distro: a lightweight, bullet-proof simple OS that keeps itself securely up to date with little to no user interaction and provides what 95% of grandmas need: an icon to launch a web browser. Something very much like Chrome OS, but which can be easily installed on old laptops and features automatic updates (neither of which apply to Hexxah's builds of Chrome OS).

In absence of such a distro, if you know of a good guide for turning something like Linux Mint 13 (LTS) XFCE into the above, please post here.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft's Ticking Time Bomb Is Windows XP

gaiageek advice on Linux alternatives? (829 comments)

I've got a couple 70-something members in my family who are running XP laptops just to run a web browser: email and the basics. Having moved to Linux myself and being the family computer guy, I'm wanting to switch these two laptops to some lightweight flavor of Linux that will work for them and require little or no support from me. I've tried many different lightweight distros in the past year, but I thought I'd ask here for input from any of you who have actually done what I'm about to do.

Requirements:
- fast and light: will run fine on a Thinkpad T41 (which doesn't support PAE kernel)
- Windows-like interface (I'm thinking LXDE, definitely not Unity)
- easy to use Wi-Fi manager (some of the Wi-Fi managers in lightweight Linux distros are way too technical for a novice)
- once a year if any on-site maintenance (remote maintenance is fine if necessary)
- auto updates in background but with very low chance of system breaking with an update (maybe no auto updates is better?)
- ACPI support (at least lid closed = suspend)
- printer support

Chromium OS seems like a good option, and it will run on one laptop (Thinkpad T61) but I'm pretty sure it uses a PAE kernel, ruling out the T41. I've been looking at Lubuntu, Peppermint OS, Porteus, Slax, Puppy Linux. All seem like viable options with a 30-minute test drive, but this is where I'm seeking feedback: on how some of these distros might be good or bad choices in the long-term, especially given that I won't be able to be physically present if something goes wrong.

about 7 months ago
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Multidrug Resistance Gene Released By Chinese Wastewater Treatment Plants

gaiageek Progress (111 comments)

It's nice to see that China is finally releasing dissidents.

about 7 months ago
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FCC To Consider Cellphone Use On Planes

gaiageek legality doesn't make it reality (183 comments)

The FCC making it legal is one thing. Airlines allowing it is another. Given the overwhelmingly negative response I've seen on this so far today, I think it's pretty safe to say that any airline that decided to allow passengers to make calls on their phones would risk losing business -- especially the business of frequent flyers. People who fly a lot tend to be quite familiar with the annoyances of flying, so why would they want to fly an airline that potentially adds another?

What I haven't seen mentioned is whether you'd have to pay a premium for such calls. Assuming you have to pay cruise ship rates (over $2 a minute), that would definitely discourage people from making long chit-chat phone calls to pass the time of their flight. Likewise, I'm sure a time limit on calls could be easily implemented. With such conditions in place, I'd probably be ok with it, and I'd certainly appreciate it if I was ever in a situation where I really needed to make a phone call en route to my destination.

about 8 months ago
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Texas Drivers Stopped At Roadblock, Asked For Saliva, Blood

gaiageek Re:Food for thought (783 comments)

He did do something: he was born not white.

about 8 months ago
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How Many Android OEMs Cheat Benchmark Scores? Pretty Much All of Them

gaiageek Re:And Apple (189 comments)

Posting anonymously since I'm a motoroogle employee... you'll be disappointed. I certainly am. At this point, I expect google to shut us down or spin us off.

Care to elaborate on why we'll be disappointed? I ask because this thread is focused on (perceived) performance of smartphones, and I know Motorola caught some criticism for not giving the Moto X better silicon to compete with other flagships, but personally, I think their tactic is pretty smart: focusing on functionality for the average user instead of performance capabilities which most people don't care about. I'd actually consider buying a Moto X if it weren't for the non-removable battery (deal breaker for me).

about 10 months ago
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U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed

gaiageek Paul Revere (1532 comments)

"The Britsh are laughing! The British are laughing!"

about 10 months ago
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Apple Unveils iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S

gaiageek Re:Surprising they're sticking with 64GB (773 comments)

Exactly. How would a larger chunk of flash require more power?

They didn't go to 128GB because they need that for next year's tiny list of "vast improvements".

about 10 months ago
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Nokia Insider On Why It Failed and Why Apple Could Be Next

gaiageek Re:Fail (420 comments)

3. Switch to Android, and become yet another Android also-ran with Huawei, HTC, LG, ZTE, and Motorola all fighting for sunlight behind Samsung's shadow. Nokia had some of the best designers in the business, but they would have been late to the game fighting other vendors for consumer attention. And they wouldn't even save much money, because Microsoft would have hit them with the same lawsuit it's used to extort patent fees from all of the other Android manufacturers.

- Even just two years ago, Samsung was not the massively dominant Android manufacturer it is today, and back then, most people had never heard of ZTE or Huawei, and HTC and LG didn't have anywhere near the brand recognition that Nokia has.

- While I think Samsung phones are good, they are often criticized for their unoriginal design and sub-par (plastic) build quality. Nokia, on the other hand, has long had a reputation for making phones of great build quality AND original (even "crazy") designs. They could have easily distinguished themselves in the Android marketplace.

- They would have been late to the game, but with their loyal brand following and great reputation, they could have easily pulled it off as being fashionably late.

- All the other Android manufacturers are not Nokia, which I think it's safe to say, has a massive war chest when it comes to mobile device patents, putting them in a great position had Microsoft gone after them for patents -- and this is assuming Google wouldn't have helped them out.

I think a previous comment nailed it: Nokia could have been the Samsung of Europe. I'm not even a staunch Nokia fan and I think it's sad to see what's become of them. It does give me hope to hear the news mentioned above about Newkia (though I'm guessing they won't be able to keep that name).

about a year ago
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Samsung Unveils Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

gaiageek The question now is... (244 comments)

which makes you look like a bigger tool: holding your over-sized phone up to your ear, or holding your watch up to your ear?

(I'll stick with my 3.3"-screen smartphone, thank you.)

about a year ago
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Official: Microsoft To Acquire Nokia Devices and Services Business

gaiageek In my dreams... (535 comments)

"...subject to approval by Nokia's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other closing conditions."

In my dreams, the shareholders revolt, backed by Finnish regulators and the Finnish people. Elop is ousted for being the trojan horse that he is. Nokia ditches Windows Phone to make smartphones running Android (at least to return to profitability in the short-term), Ubuntu Touch and/or Firefox OS.

I'd be very interested in a modern Nokia smartphone if it weren't running Windows Phone, and I know I'm not alone.

about a year ago
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Studying the Slow Decay of a Laptop Battery For an Entire Year

gaiageek Re:Letting the battery cycle? (363 comments)

If you check batteryuniversity.com, one of the points made is that battery life can be prolonged by not charging the battery to 100%, but instead to lower voltages (i.e. only charging to 90% capacity. The lower the voltage, the more life you get out of the battery. So it could actually be that, if Apple is tweaking the cutoff point of its batteries to get better battery life, it's on the top end -- not the bottom.

How to Prolong Lithium-based Batteries

Of note, this is one reason I still love Thinkpads: their Power Manager software allows you to set the maximum charge point, so you can set it to charge only up to 95% (or whatever you want) and it will do this even when rebooting into Linux, though the software must be run under Windows, of course.

about a year ago
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Studying the Slow Decay of a Laptop Battery For an Entire Year

gaiageek Re:I really enjoyed this article (363 comments)

I've not yet owned a Samsung smartphone, but this is one reason why my next phone will likely be one: all their phones have user-replaceable batteries. Most new phones from HTC, LG, Motorola and Sony have non-replaceable batteries. I probably would have bought a Moto X, if it had a user-replaceable battery.

Vote with your dollar.

about a year ago
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Unlocked Firefox OS ZTE Open Is Now Available On eBay For For $80

gaiageek Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (122 comments)

What are you talking about? Given the bands supported, it will run on AT&T 2G and 3G, T-Mobile on 2G plus 3G in those areas where T-Mobile has re-farmed their 1900Mhz spectrum (see www.airportal.de). Given that it's an $80 phone, the fact that it's quad-band 3G is pretty amazing.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Do you want a smartphone that can fit in your pocket?

gaiageek gaiageek writes  |  about a year ago

gaiageek (1070870) writes "By means of an online petition, popular mobile phone website GSMArena is looking for support in their quest to get Android manufacturers to buck the trend and produce devices with flagship specs in a pocket-friendly form factor. Are you also annoyed that the high-end smartphones have gotten so big?"
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Ask Slashdot: Could old Android phones be repurposed as pocket Wi-Fi repeaters?

gaiageek gaiageek writes  |  about a year ago

gaiageek (1070870) writes "In the interest of putting outdated or damaged (i.e. cracked screen) smartphones to good use, would it be possible to convert old Android devices into pocket Wi-Fi repeaters either through an app or via a dedicated ROM? Couldn't DD-WRT or similar linux-based router firmware run on even the lowest spec Android devices?"
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Hard Drives: To Smash or Not to Smash?

gaiageek gaiageek writes  |  more than 5 years ago

gaiageek writes "The BBC is featuring an article citing a Computing magazine study claiming that the only way to keep your data from being recovered off an old hard drive is to physically smash it. I've heard this argument before and have never bought into it knowing that disk wipe utilities exist, but since I'm not an expert on hard drive storage, I'd like to raise the question: If a hard drive is wiped using a disk wipe utility, such as the open-source Darik's Boot and Nuke, is there any way of finding previous data on it?"

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