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Comments

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Cringely Predicts IBM Will Shed 78% of US Employees By 2015

jbrodkin Re:Absurd (273 comments)

No, it didn't happen because it was never a realistic prediction. Those types of layoffs happen at failing companies. IBM is not a failing company, it is a company making massive profits and revenue. I think IBM probably has too many employees, and is making cuts that percentage-wise are small and likely make sense from a business standpoint. But the company had no need in 2007 to shed massive amounts of workers, and no need to do so now. The idea that the Cringely article from 2007 prevented IBM from laying off a third of its work force is ridiculous. That is not how companies make decisions.

more than 2 years ago
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Cringely Predicts IBM Will Shed 78% of US Employees By 2015

jbrodkin Absurd (273 comments)

The Cringely prediction cited as being "approximately true" (http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070504_002027.html) was nothing of the sort. Cringely predicted IBM would imminently lay off 150,000 employees. That was five years. Didn't happen.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?

jbrodkin Personal time (480 comments)

Working at home is the BEST. If you have a job you like, and you want to do good work, motivation is no problem. If anything, the problem is trying to carve out non-working hours. Still, if you need to get a quick thing done at midnight, it's quite convenient since you've already got your work computer set up. I've even been exercising more since I began working from home as I can take a quick break during the day, in which I get on the mini-elliptical and watch the previous night's episode of the Colbert Report (all about 5 feet away from my desk).

more than 2 years ago
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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?

jbrodkin Always use vacation time (948 comments)

Wow, in 12 years in the workforce it has never once occurred to me not to use all my vacation time, and I've also always insisted on comp time for traveling on weekends. I understand the reasoning (and as a work at home type I probably do too much work at odd hours) but most people need time off to recharge. As long as you prove your worth during your days on this shouldn't be an issue.

more than 2 years ago
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Hard Drive Prices Up 150% In Less Than Two Months

jbrodkin 3TB drive (304 comments)

I bought a 3TB drive from Best Buy for $150 or so. By the time I received it in the mail, about 3 or 4 days later, the price was already up to $250. Glad I bought when I did.

more than 2 years ago
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Mozilla Contemplating Five Week Release Cycle

jbrodkin Better than Chrome on Mac but worried about addons (495 comments)

I switched from Firefox to Chrome 2+ years ago because at the time FF was constantly crashing. Just this week I switched back to FF because Chrome on Mac has had numerous problems for me over the past month. So far I am liking Firefox, but I am relying on a few plugins or add-ons. The quick development cycle will make it tough for users who have to rely on add-ons that may not be updated to support new browser versions immediately upon release.

more than 3 years ago
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Ziff Davis Secretly Paying Sites To Track Users

jbrodkin Re:Ziff Davis doesn't publish PC World. (53 comments)

Parent is correct. Admittedly this story is up to /. standards, but the editors should fix the post. Parent is wrong about "published". PCMag isn't in print anymore, but is still a busy web site. Disclosure: I have written for them for many years and run the Security Watch blog.

Well, as an online writer I use the word publish to mean anything published online or in print. Hell, I read all my books on the Kindle now. Anyway, I used to write for IDG so I noticed the error right away.

more than 3 years ago
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How Does GPS Change Us?

jbrodkin Re:Nobody knows where anything is (266 comments)

One time I was driving from my apartment to the gym and there was a major detour because of a parade, with no obvious way around it. I stopped and asked the police offer how to get where I was going and he says in the most condescending way possible: "How long have you lived in [city I lived in at the time]?" I lied and said a few months, and he proceeds to attempt to give me directions around the detour. And he eventually gives up because he doesn't know the way or the names of any streets.

more than 3 years ago
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How Does GPS Change Us?

jbrodkin Nobody knows where anything is (266 comments)

My own experience is that on those rare occasions when I need to ask someone directions, no one has any idea where anything is, even if they live or work in the area I am lost in. I'm not sure whether to blame GPS, or general human stupidity. Luckily, my phone GPS usually works.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easiest Linux Distro For a Newbie

jbrodkin Re:Linux mint live CD (622 comments)

I like the software center in Mint better than Ubuntu because of the way it's organized in categories and subcategories, but the one problem I found with Mint for a newbie is that it's hard to upgrade from one version to another when they update the OS. There's a list of things you have to do to make the upgrade, whereas with Ubuntu it's just a click or two.

more than 3 years ago
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Following the Money In Cybercrime

jbrodkin Re:Economics (107 comments)

Absolutely. I wish I had taken an economics course in college. It's only in my "old age" that I've started to become interested in this stuff.

more than 3 years ago
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Computer Glitch Friday Grounded US Airways Flights

jbrodkin Us air (140 comments)

Ive had more problems with us air and united than any other airline. Theyre incompetent

more than 3 years ago
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Facebook, Zuckerberg Sued For $1 Billion Over Intifada Page

jbrodkin Thought it was a joke at first (350 comments)

oh we're posting real stories now? In all seriousness, this lawsuit is frivolous.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Handcuffs Web Apps On iPhone Home Screen

jbrodkin What's the difference between these apps? (298 comments)

I'm not sure I understand the distinction between web apps launched from the home screen and web apps launched in Safari. I have an Android so maybe I'm just unfamiliar but it sounds like home screen apps are just bookmarks to websites. When you open the bookmark wouldn't it launch in Safari? Is this only an issue in iOS 4.3 or was it in previous versions?

more than 3 years ago
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Tech Expertise Not Important In Google Managers

jbrodkin Re:Plagiarized (298 comments)

You're probably right in this case. I just assumed it was an unauthorized copy because that's how I'm used to seeing my articles reprinted. My apologies to the Economic Times!

more than 3 years ago
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Tech Expertise Not Important In Google Managers

jbrodkin Re:Plagiarized (298 comments)

I am a journalist so of course I know what news syndication is, but I also know my work and articles by other publications are routinely reprinted in their entirety without permission. This one might be legitimate, but reprints without permission far outnumber legitimate ones, in my experience.

more than 3 years ago
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Tech Expertise Not Important In Google Managers

jbrodkin Re:Plagiarized (298 comments)

That doesn't mean you're allowed to reprint an entire article. Unless they have a specific deal with the NY Times, that is copyright infringement. It's similar to the fact that you cannot reprint a book and sell it, unless it is out of copyright (i.e., 100 years old).

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Everybody gets to design Ubuntu phones—see the best "fan-made" mockups

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jbrodkin writes "How would you like to create a smartphone operating system? If you get involved in Canonical's Ubuntu phone project you can, in a way. Canonical is taking community input on what the core applications (e-mail, calendar, clock/alarm, weather, file manager, document viewer, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) should look like. The best aspects of community proposals will hopefully make it into Ubuntu phones when they finally hit the market sometime toward the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. Take a look at the best designs Canonical has received so far."
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No, free Wi-Fi isn't coming to every US city

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  about a year and a half ago

jbrodkin writes "An amazing story circulated today through much of the mainstream media and tech press. The US government is going to build gigantic Wi-Fi networks across the country, giving free Internet access to everyone.

Or perhaps the US would somehow force wireless providers to build these networks—in which case, it's not clear why this amazing new Internet service would be free, unless the goal was to destroy the entire business model of both cellular carriers and Internet service providers in one fell swoop.

The headlines were literally too good to be true—the whole story was false, set off by bad reporting from the Washington Post. The story was repeated and embellished by many news sites, with no one asking the key question: who would build Wi-Fi everywhere and give it away for free to everyone? The real answer: no one."

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"Why the hell does this mouse need to connect to the Internet?"

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  about 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of "Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?" comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."
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Motorola asks ITC to ban every Mac, iPad, and most iPhones

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "The International Trade Commission voted yesterday to investigate Apple for patent infringement allegations launched by the Google-owned Motorola Mobility. As expected, Motorola is asking for import bans on just about every iOS device, including iPhones, iPods, and iPads. What might be surprising is that Motorola is also asking for a ban on every type of Mac OS X computer, claiming Apple's iMessage technology infringes a Motorola patent. While it's hard to imagine Motorola succeeding, the ITC will make a formal investigation to consider its request to ban imports of all Mac laptops and desktops, all iPads, and most iPhones."
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Windows 8 Mail leaves users pining for the desktop—or even their phones

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "The e-mail client in Windows 8 is the shell of a potentially good application—but Microsoft hasn't given it the proper care it deserves. With less than a month before Windows 8 hits RTM, Mail is a mess that doesn't support IMAP, can't connect to servers with self-signed certificates, and lacks basic features like flagging messages for followup. Metro Mail is feature-deficient compared not just to other desktop and tablet apps—it's behind Microsoft's own phone platform. Whether used on a tablet or desktop, this in-depth look concludes that Metro Mail in its current form will have users pining for a real desktop application."
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Resurrecting an old Windows PC with Ubuntu Linux

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Taking old hardware and making it seem new again is something most Slashdot readers have probably done a few times... here's an example of taking a Windows XP PC that had degraded into a slow malware magnet and resurrecting it with Ubuntu (and a little extra RAM). It's not perfect, but for a computer that's needed primarily for Web browsing and email, Ubuntu does the job and makes the old hardware seem smooth and fast."
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Microsoft wins US import ban on Motorola's Android devices

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin (1054964) writes "The US International Trade Commission today ordered an import ban on Motorola Mobility Android products, agreeing with Microsoft that the devices infringe a Microsoft patent on “generating meeting requests” from a mobile device. The import ban stems from a December ruling that the Motorola Atrix, Droid, and Xoom (among 18 total devices) infringed the patent, which Microsoft says is related to Exchange ActiveSync technology. Today, the ITC said in a “final determination of violation” that “the appropriate form of relief in this investigation is a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry for consumption of mobile devices, associated software and components thereof covered by ... United States Patent No. 6,370,566 and that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of, Motorola.” Motorola (which is being acquired by Google) was the last major Android device maker not to pay off Microsoft in a patent licensing deal. Microsoft has already responded to the decision, saying it hopes Motorola will now reconsider."
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Best Buy's surprisingly insecure approach to new PC setup

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Best Buy is employing some surprisingly shoddy security practice when ringing up customers who buy new PCs. If you decide to pay Best Buy extra cash to set up a computer, Best Buy wants you to write down your desired PC password in a form and hand it to a Best Buy employee. Perhaps even worse, the forms are given out to any PC buyers, not just ones who want extra services, and are written in a confusing manner that could lead people to divulging the passwords to their e-mail accounts."
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VMware confirms source code leak, LulzSec-affiliated hacker takes credit

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "VMware yesterday confirmed a leak of source code from the ESX hypervisor. The code was posted on Pastebin on April 8 by a hacker calling himself "Hardcore Charlie," who says he was friends with the now-arrested leader of LulzSec. In confirming the theft, VMware said there is a "possibility that more files may be posted in the future." The good news is that the code dates from 2003 to 2004. VMware is shifting customers to a newer, more secure hypervisor called ESXi, but ESX is still heavily used in IT shops across the land."
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Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word "book" by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook. The company has registered trademarks over its name and many variations of it, but not on the word "book". By inserting the trademark claim into the Facebook user agreement, the company hopes to bolster its standing in lawsuits against sites that incorporate the word "book"."
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CEO dares Microsoft to sue him by flouting software licensing rules

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Virtual desktop vendors are up in arms about the preferential treatment one company seems to be getting from Microsoft. To protest, tuCloud CEO Guise Bule is forming a new company that will intentionally violate Microsoft's licensing policies. The move is highly unusual, given the fact that vendors re-selling Microsoft software are typically unwilling to bite the hand that feeds them. "If they sue that business, I'll appear in court and shout and scream 'antitrust, anticompetitive behavior,'" Bule said. "I don't think they want that because they can't justify their licensing.""
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How Red Hat killed its core product—and became a billion-dollar business

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbrodkin writes "A decade ago, Linux developer Red Hat faced a decision that would make or break the company: whether to stop producing the very product that gave Red Hat its name. The company was built on Red Hat Linux, but when executive Paul Cormier joined the company as vice president of engineering in 2001, he knew Red Hat's devotion to open source alone couldn't create a business model capable of standing up to the Microsofts and Oracles of the world. He pushed for drastic action. Despite internal dissent (some engineers called Cormier "crazy") Red Hat dumped its free (as in beer) Red Hat Linux for the pricey, subscription-based, yet still open source Red Hat Enterprise Linux, creating a business model without disregarding the principles on which it was founded. Almost a decade later, the decision has paid off many times over: Red Hat will become the first billion-dollar open source company after its fiscal year ends Feb. 29."
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The first time I used an Apple computer was...

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  about 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "When I saw the news that Steve Jobs had died, I thought about 1984 (give or take), when I was about 5 years old and my parents bought an Apple IIe. It was the first computer I ever used. Even as a child, I knew there was something fundamentally new and exciting going on, that this was a step forward in human capability. At the very least, typewriters suddenly were archaic. We used the Apple to write school reports and play video games. We used floppy disks to load software and save files, and sometimes when I was bored of video games I played another game called "see if you can destroy a floppy disk." After years of using Windows as an adult, Apple crept back into my life with the iPod, and never quite left. As an occasional history buff, I marvel at the impact Jobs and his competitor Bill Gates had on my life and the lives of so many others. But mostly, I remember what it was like when I first used an Apple computer. All of us technology nuts have stories like this, so I asked my colleagues to share theirs. Here's what we came up with."
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2 phones, 1 device: Samsung virtualizing Android

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "VMware’s mission to bring virtualization to the mobile market gained a major supporter last week when Samsung pledged to use VMware software to build business-friendly smartphones and tablets. The project known as Horizon Mobile will let Android phones use virtual machine technology to run a second instance of Android, in much the same way virtualization works on servers and desktops. The user essentially has two completely separate phones running on one device, and can switch from the personal one to the corporate one by clicking a “work phone” icon. With Samsung pledging to add VMware software to the Galaxy S II phones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 tablets, virtualized Android devices are expected to ship within "the coming months.""
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Microsoft's five biggest weaknesses

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Microsoft is still a giant no matter how you measure it, but its position as the world's dominant provider of software to consumers is at risk. The primary factors (cough, Apple and Google, cough) can be debated, but this article argues that Microsoft's five biggest weaknesses are in search, Web browsers, Web servers, mobile devices, and Windows itself. Microsoft was provided the list in advance of publication, but for the most part declined to provide specific responses."
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Reverse engineer Microsoft patches, launch attacks

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "The security company Qualys this week demonstrated how to reverse-engineer a Microsoft patch to launch a denial-of-service attack on Windows DNS Server. The proof-of-concept shows the steps hackers could take to attack Windows and highlights the importance of deploying Microsoft patches as soon as possible after their monthly Patch Tuesday release. 'We reverse engineered the patch to get a better understanding of the mechanism of the vulnerability and found this vulnerability can be triggered with a few easy steps,' Qualys says. Qualys used a binary-diffing tool called TurboDiff to compare the unpatched and patched versions of the affected DNS Server files. Once the vulnerabilities were identified, Qualys set up two DNS servers in the lab and crashed one of them by typing in a few commands."
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IBM: The PC is the new mainframe

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "On last week's 30th anniversary of the IBM PC running Microsoft's MS-DOS, IBM CTO and PC co-designer Mark Dean said PCs are "going the way of the vacuum tube." But a more accurate description — courtesy of another IBM luminary — may be that the PC is going the way of the mainframe. While the mainframe still brings in lots of cash for IBM (yes, really), even IBM executives know that it's no longer the center of innovation in the IT industry. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a 41-year veteran of IBM and one of Linux's biggest champions at Big Blue, says PCs will become a legacy platform like the mainframe, "but the bulk of the innovation will now happen in the mobile platforms, smartphones and tablets." IBM realized this is selling off its PC business, and perhaps HP is now doing the same."
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Linus Torvalds: ARM has a lot to learn from the PC

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Linux and ARM developers have clashed over what's been described as a "United Nations-level complexity of the forks in the ARM section of the Linux kernel." Linus Torvalds addressed the issue at LinuxCon this week on the 20th anniversary of Linux, saying the ARM platform has a lot to learn from the PC. While Torvalds noted that "a lot of people love to hate the PC," the fact that Intel, AMD and hardware makers worked on building a common infrastructure "made it very efficient and easy to support." ARM, on the other hand, "is missing it completely," Torvalds said. "ARM is this hodgepodge of five or six major companies and tens of minor companies making random pieces of hardware, and it looks like they're taking hardware and throwing it at a wall and seeing where it sticks, and making a chip out of what's stuck on the wall.""
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The epic unpopularity of Windows smartphones

jbrodkin jbrodkin writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbrodkin writes "Everyone knows the iPhone and Android is killing Windows Phone 7 in sales. What you may not know is Microsoft's phone sales have been cut in half since that huge "Really?" marketing campaign last year, and even now trail Bada — a smartphone you might never have even heard of. Bada is a side project for Android-focused Samsung, sold mainly outside the United States, but is already more popular worldwide than Windows phones, with 2 million sold in the most recent quarter. HP's WebOS seems to be the only major smartphone platform MIcrosoft is capable of out-selling. If Bada can top WP7 despite Samsung betting the farm on Android, what hope does Microsoft's partnership with Nokia have?"
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