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Ask Slashdot: Unlimited Data Plan For Seniors?

prestonmichaelh MetroPCS (170 comments)

If you are in a decent sized city, MetroPCS. They have BYOD, so any unlocked GSM (AT&T or TMobile) device will work.

For $60 (taxes, fees included) you get unlimited calling, texting and 4G data. In the D/FW area I usually average 10 Mbps download speeds on my N4 (that only has HSPA+), my wife can gets 15-20Mbps with her MotoX (4GLTE).

If you are using it as a hotspot though, hotspot costs an extra $5 per month, and that is limited to 2.5 GB per month 4G. The phone would still get unlimited though.

about a month ago

Don't Be a Server Hugger! (Video)

prestonmichaelh Adobe Creative Cloud (409 comments)

Has anyone checked out Adobe Creative Cloud in the last day or two?

How is moving everything to the cloud working out for those users?

You can take my local servers from me when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

about 6 months ago

White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups

prestonmichaelh Re:Launch diddly (578 comments)

And I don't live in a cheap area. I can practically spit on Bill Gates house from here.

Please do so for me next time you get a chance.

(A IT worker, tired of Microsoft non-sense)

about 8 months ago

Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole

prestonmichaelh Tax everywhere (292 comments)

I don't understand why countries like Ireland or Bermuda or wherever don't all just charge a small tax of some kind (like say 5%) that keeps the companies coming there, but gets them tons of money. What does Bermuda get out of having Apple "based" in Bermuda if they don't get any tax revenue? They get no additional jobs or property taxes (except maybe a mailbox rental).

about a year ago

Longtime Linux Advocate Don Marti Tells Why Targeted Ads are Bad (Video 1 of 2)

prestonmichaelh Re:There is more to life than buying things. (187 comments)

This argument seems backwards though, somewhat. I guess the underlying factor is self-control. If you have the control to only buy what you need, then having targeted ads can aid in saving money.

In the original example, finding a 2 for 1 deal at a nearby restaurant would save you 50%. If you aren't going to eat out or are eating out alone, then ignoring the ad shouldn't be a problem.

There are something I by regularly and actively seek out sales for. If, through targeted advertising, the sellers could let me know that product XYZ that I've been buying each month for the past year is on sale at store ABC this month, it would save me money and time.

about a year ago

Campaign To Kill CAPTCHA Kicks Off

prestonmichaelh Re:stupid (558 comments)

Twilio. Facebook Connect. Twitter @Anywhere. OAuth. OpenID. I wasn't posting that, but it is kinda obvious what some better ideas are.

So on a business site, you would require a user to log in with an account from another site/system before they could contact you to show interest, request a quote, etc.?

I understand for web forums, etc, but my issue is contact forms on business sites. Most users don't want to share their facebook or twitter accounts and haven't heard of most of the other options.

I did see another post about combining the hidden form element technique with a short submission timer that looked interesting though.

about a year ago

Campaign To Kill CAPTCHA Kicks Off

prestonmichaelh Re:stupid (558 comments)

Not if you employed other technical measures. Search around a bit and you'll find captchas are unnecessary.

In all sincerity, can you post some links? I'll even take an insulting "lmgtfy" that end up with some good results.

I hate captchas, but all the other methods I have seen and tried (hidden form elements, javascript checks, etc.) all break down in one place or another.

about a year ago

Microsoft Is Sitting On Six Million Unsold Surface Tablets

prestonmichaelh Re:Bury (550 comments)

Is this an attempt to fix the marketing aspect?

about a year ago

Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

prestonmichaelh Re:Oh, look! Just what the economy needs! (600 comments)

I'm from the US and my current plan if my wife gets cancer is to withdraw all money I can from all my accounts, bury it in jars in the backyard and declare bankruptcy.

about a year ago

Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the Blood Kiss Crew Answer Your Questions

prestonmichaelh Kickstarter vs VC (44 comments)

I think the interesting thing that seems to go somewhat unmentioned is that the main advantage of funding via Kickstarter vs vc or the industry is that with Kickstarter, worst case you just have to give out swag (t-shirts, dvds, etc.) that you can factor the costs into your fund raising.

With vc or industry funding, they are going to expect a percentage of the profits or gross. What I would like to see is a Kickstarter where if you fund above a certain level, you get a certain percentage of profits (even if it is really small).

about a year and a half ago

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System

prestonmichaelh Re:Menu 'dimensioniality' aside (80 comments)

This actually works really well:

http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_watch_Netflix_(Watch_Instantly)_in_Linux It uses WINE, but the ppa sets everything up for you (if you are using Ubuntu). For things like TVs and Rokus, they have special, non-silverlight DRM built in that Netflix has specified. The problem with making truly native Linux client is that, like most things for Linux, the market share isn't there to make it cost effective.

about a year and a half ago

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election:

prestonmichaelh Re:Vote (707 comments)

I voted for Robot Nixon

about 2 years ago

FCC To Allow Cable Companies To Encrypt Over-the-Air Channels

prestonmichaelh Re:Dish, Direct, Antenna, or cut the cord (376 comments)

If your kids are young, then cut it now. A few Rokus and a Netflix streaming subscription and you are set. I have a 4 year old and if needed, she can work Netflix on the Roku herself. Doesn't mind watching the same seasons/episodes of Dora, Fresh Beat Band, Franklin, Barney, etc. over and over and over. I find most kids to be like that.

People like to complain a lot about Netflix content (or lack there of), but they actually have quite a bit of kids content.

more than 2 years ago

How To Add 5.5 Petabytes and Get Banned From Costco

prestonmichaelh Re:All on consumer grade drives..... (273 comments)

You should read on how they build their systems. One of the ways they keep costs so low is using consumer grade hardware with the idea that it will fail. In general, consumer grade hard drives have about the same failure rate as "enterprise grade", they just usually have lower transfer rates. When your clients are syncing over 768k DSL uploads or even 3-5 Mbps cable upload speeds, hard drive speed is not going to be your bottleneck.

They actually have a guy whose job it is to just go around a day or two a week through their data center and replace the dead drives. Due to the redundancy they built into their systems, a drive failure isn't a big deal or really unexpected.

more than 2 years ago

How To Add 5.5 Petabytes and Get Banned From Costco

prestonmichaelh Re:Makes no sense (273 comments)

It actually makes good sense as part of a complete backup system.

What happens to your data when your office/house/whatever with the 2 or 3 TB drives burns down with them in it, or someone breaks in and steals your desktop and the USB drive you left sitting on top of it?

Depending on the circumstances, I usually recommend RAID of some kind if possible, a USB/External Hard Drive on-site, and then some kind of off-site backup.

If your internal drive dies, if you had RAID, you just replace the dead drive. If no RAID, then you restore from your External backup. If you had a fire/theft or other major loss, you restore from web/off-site. In the case of BackBlaze, they offer 3 restoration options, included zip download of files, or FedEx thumb drive or external drive for additional cost.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Cell Phone Carrier In the US?

prestonmichaelh Re:Virgin Mobile is looking interesting in the USA (375 comments)

$30 a month buys 300 minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited 3g/4g (throttled after 2.5 gigs)

I'm a Virgin Mobile customer, so a few clarifications:

  • The $30 a month is only with auto-pay with an iPhone. All other phones are $35 (unless you are grandfathered in or use the current YMMV glitch of switching an older phone to the $25 per month plan)
  • They currently only have 1 4g phone, the HTC Evo V. 4G isn't actually throttled at all, but it uses Sprints older Wi-Max network, so expect speeds around 2-4 Mbps and spotty 4G coverage depending on where you live. All other phones (including the iPhones) are 3G only

All that said, I switched from AT&T to VM a while back and couldn't be happier. They speeds are slower and data coverage is worse than any of the major 4, but I pay half what I did before for my service, so it is worth it to me.

Also, in general, if you are going to be in a major city and want the best coverage (regardless of cost) go Verizon. If you are in a more remote area, and want the best coverage, go AT&T.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would You Include In a New Building?

prestonmichaelh Did this 6 years ago (422 comments)

I moved a company of about 150 from a 10,000 sqft or so office to a newly built 13,000 sqft office. Not quite as large of a size increase but the main change was that in the old office, everything was rigged to work, the "server room" was just a re purposed office. The cat5 was run as needed, a lot by me.

Anyway, first focus should be your server/comm room. Shoot for an independent, dedicated A/C, a waterless fire suppression system (make sure they don't put a sprinkler head in during construction and that you have everything approved with local fire code), dedicated electrical circuit (ideally 220v), also make sure they don't blindly put carpet or things like that in the room. Run Cat5e everywhere. Plan out what you think you need now for each room and, if budget allows, double it. Rooms that are more likely to change, do your best to run extra Cat5e. If you can afford it, go up to Cat 6 instead of Cat5e, again, budget matters. Get professionals to do your wiring for you. Get several quotes and make sure you see some past work before you hire them. Well done cabling can make a huge difference in an office. You don't want people throwing cable over florescent lights, or parallel to unshielded power lines or things like that. A good cable runner will leave a service loop of 10-15 feet (maybe more depending on the room) above each drop in case you need to move wall locations later. Everything should be neatly labeled, organized, etc, so that when you have an issue, it should take 5 seconds to figure out which port is messed up, not 5 hours.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: IT Contractors, How's Your Health Insurance?

prestonmichaelh Re:Just buy insurance...it's honestly that simple. (468 comments)

I'm in the US. My wife doesn't have insurance (pre-existing condition, minor but enough to get her disqualified). I have "private" insurance for myself and children since I work for a small business (small enough to not have to provide it). My last son born in Oct. cost us $13,000. It would have been cheaper to buy a baby off the black market :) The actual initial bill was closer to $25,000, but the nice thing about paying cash for health care (in the US) is that most doctors/hospitals/etc will give you huge discounts for paying right then with cash. They figure they don't have to file with insurance and they would rather get some money then and call it done, then have to chase you down or take small payments for who knows how long.

more than 2 years ago

Insurer Measures Driver Safety With Smartphone App To Calculate Premiums

prestonmichaelh I use Snapshot (345 comments)

Progressive is already using a feature like this in the U.S. It's just not a smart phone app. It's actually a little box you put in your car. It's called Snapshot. Not my kind of thing. There is just no way for the insurance company to know what is or is not going on around you when you're driving.

I actually use snapshot. I do agree it is frustrating sometime when the system registers a "hard break", which drops my discount when it was that hard break that prevented an accident through no fault of my own. Then again, when you think about it from their prospective, they was me to minimize my risk of an accident in any fashion, regardless of fault (in case of an uninsured motorist). So even if the hard break isn't my fault, if I do most my driving in stop and go traffic on the freeway, I am more likely to get in an accident than on a less congested city road.

I really don't mind the program or tracking. According to them, they only track speed, time of day, and breaking, but honestly even if they tracked more, I wouldn't really mind. The whole reason I signed up for it to begin with was because my wife is a stay at home mom and only drives her car two or three times a week and then not very far.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Protecting Data From a Carrington Event?

prestonmichaelh Re:UPS Datacenter (386 comments)

Exactly this. I have a server in a colo facility in Dallas, which I toured before putting it there. They are basically the same thing (can withstand an F4 tornado, on 3 power grids, 8 Internet backbone connections, generators with a week of fuel plus "guaranteed" 24 hour fuel delivery contracts, etc.)

Basically my thought was that if things get so bad even half of the contingency plans kick in, I'm not really going to care about my server anymore.

more than 2 years ago


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