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Comments

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QuickTime Creator Brings Flash and Office To the iPad, By Subscription

rjamestaylor Thanks (118 comments)

Thanks for ruining my awesome iPad experience. :)

more than 2 years ago
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What Happens To Your Files When a Cloud Service Shuts Down?

rjamestaylor Re:Isn't it obvious? (592 comments)

Choosing providers is a function of the value of your files and your ability to pay. Choose providers with strong financials and replicate critical files among providers.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Accepts, Then Rejects BitTorrent iPhone App

rjamestaylor Re:Closed Systems = Closed Wallet (163 comments)

This is true - it is a market of freedom. Now, I use *only* FOSS for my server-side development and deployment and have done so since the mid-to-late 90's. There is also no doubt that the influence of FOSS continues to keep closed systems like Apple, MSFT and even Facebook in check. We'll never return to the days of Windows de facto monopolization or even pre-Web strangleholds on online connectivity such as CompuServ, Prodigy, AOL.

We're all better off with FOSS, even if not directly using it.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Accepts, Then Rejects BitTorrent iPhone App

rjamestaylor Re:Closed Systems = Closed Wallet (163 comments)

I'm not as pure a FOSS adherent as you — all my personal computing devices are from Apple — but I definitely agree that without FOSS we'd have less freedom and innovation in computing today.

more than 3 years ago
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Tabnapping Scams Around the Corner?

rjamestaylor Rich web experience requires vigilance by users (362 comments)

As the richness of the web experience increases due to interactive technologies available on the client-side unscrupulous people work to catch people off-guard for their own advantage. At the most benign level this is done by advertisers seeking to gain attention. At the worst thieves use client-side scripting as a virtual pickpocket tool.

When possible I remind my family members to stay on alert when on-line (or even off-line). This includes not clicking on links in email, of course. It also includes not logging into a service unless they have entered the URL themselves or used a bookmark they have set up. Yes, this does not prevent MitM attacks and will not protect them from a scheme that changes a browser's bookmarks. But it solves the bulk of the phishing attacks to date.

One reason I prefer specialized apps for important services (banking, on-line status update services, email) over using a generic web interface is that specialized apps are less prone to be faked by XSS, phishing look-a-like pages, etc. This is especially true of closed platform apps like iPhone/iPad apps that undergo an approval process by a third party.

Sad as it is to admit one benefit to the lack of "freedom" on the iPhone/iPad platform is protection from scammers.

What is an open alternative to protecting the unaware from these scams? I'm all ears.

more than 4 years ago
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Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale

rjamestaylor Re:Obligatory.. (232 comments)

Then we're all good! :)

more than 4 years ago
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Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale

rjamestaylor "No proof exists" and other weasel words (232 comments)

I probably watch too many cop shows but when a suspect says, "No proof exists", it's usually a sign of moral guilt. Maybe even of distruction of evidence. Regardless, this is weak and should be treated as a serious infringement against the privacy of the students and their families.

IMHO, of course. Oh, and IANAL but I do watch Law and Order. ;)

more than 4 years ago
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iPad Is Destroying Netbook Sales

rjamestaylor iPad can't do everything my laptop can (911 comments)

While it's true iPad cannot doesn't allow me to do everything my laptop does, I find that for most of the things I do with a laptop the iPad excels. Especially consuming content. Creating content is getting better (I'm more used to the keyboard and use an external BT keyboard for long writing sessions), iSSH makes it bearable to manage my servers remotely (the only servers I use anymore are "remote"), and when off work the iPad is a fantastic movie and gaming platform.

So, I am finding myself using my iPad more and my laptop less. (Ironically, I'm writing this from my MacBookPro :)

more than 4 years ago
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Confessions of a SysAdmin

rjamestaylor I hate computers, but love customers (385 comments)

So, ever since family and friends found out I could help with arcane errors and problems with their Apple ][+ computers (did I mention I'm old? That was back in the early 80s) I've been standing between computers and users and trying to reconcile both to each other.

Eventually, this turned in to a great opportunity for me to help people with their use of current technology. Are computers and software packages irritating? You bet! But being in the middle position between the user and CPU has been something I've enjoyed for more than a decade.

Sure, I've been a developer and struggled directly with computers on one hand and produced software that unintentionally frustrated users on the other. But it's standing in the gap between the technology and humanity that I find myself the most valuable.

As long as computers and software suck there will be a need for people like me. And, as it turns out, people prefer to turn their problems over to other people -- not wizards, FAQs, etc. -- for assistance.

The trick is not considering users as the problem but oneself as a key to the solution.

more than 4 years ago
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Gizmodo Blows Whistle On 4G iPhone Loser

rjamestaylor Re:Not Quite (853 comments)

Maybe I wasn't clear - it didn't expose the contractor to Apple, but to others outside Apple. I didn't like that, either.

more than 4 years ago
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Gizmodo Blows Whistle On 4G iPhone Loser

rjamestaylor Re:Not Quite (853 comments)

Not an advert (we do run ads on Slashdot, of course) but a badge indicating I'm one of a few Rackspace employees here on Slashdot and willing to be helpful if someone has questions, etc. If you check my bio you'll notice I'm a Linux Sr Sys Engineer, not sales (though "There's nothing wrong with that" if someone is in sales :) ).

I do the same thing for Rackspace elsewhere. We're able to do this due to our relationship with Slashdot.

more than 4 years ago
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Gizmodo Blows Whistle On 4G iPhone Loser

rjamestaylor Re:Not Quite (853 comments)

:) Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. :)

Kidding!

I use GMail for a lot of my personal (i.e., non-essential) accounts. I still use Hotmail, AOL mail and Yahoo Mail for other things, too. Of course, my business mail is running at Rackspace.

more than 4 years ago
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Gizmodo Blows Whistle On 4G iPhone Loser

rjamestaylor Re:Not Quite (853 comments)

It's my company's logo - I work for Rackspace Hosting.

more than 4 years ago
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Gizmodo Blows Whistle On 4G iPhone Loser

rjamestaylor Re:Not Quite (853 comments)

My thoughts exactly.

Still, it would be quite embarrassing to be publicly named so that others besides Apple knew who was to blame for the mistake.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Open the Clouds with Portable Stacks

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 4 years ago

rjamestaylor writes "Rackspace Chief Strategy Officer, Lew Moorman, calls for creating open and portable stacks for Cloud development in a piece at Gigom.com: Currently, moving from one cloud to another is easy, and having multiple clouds to choose from gives customers the ability to utilize a range of features and service models to meet their varying needs. But proprietary next-generation databases, by locking customer code to specific clouds, remove the benefits of market choice, such as customized service experiences, competitive pricing and — most importantly — increased adoption.

To ensure continued advancement of the cloud, the industry needs to turns its support to an open cloud by using database technologies such as Cassandra and Drizzle Drizzle, which are portable to any public or private cloud."

Link to Original Source
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Will anyone pay for anything?

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rjamestaylor writes "After realizing that upcoming conferences focused only on "social media . . . basically gathering eyeballs, but nobody was talking about monetizing. . ., " Guy Kawasaki held Revenue Bootcamp in Mountain View, CA, and began with this session, "Will Anyone Pay for Anything?". What will people pay to use on the Internet? How can your web-based business make money? This session aims to answer these questions."
Link to Original Source
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rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 7 years ago

rjamestaylor writes "This is weird and annoying: every so often my Dell running Windows XP SP2 plays an audio file of one or two guys saying, "Come and get it!" I cannot find the source of this annoyance. Google, my trusted friend, has been unhelpful. I am running the following applications: SBC Yahoo Online Protection, Outlook 2003, AOL's AIM. So, I turn to Ask Slashdot to find the source of this annoying announcement. Help? Please!"

Journals

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Lunatic Fringe & the Density Divide

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 6 years ago Looking at the red/blue map it is interesting to note that the blue (Kerry, or "Hate Bush") states are on the geographical periphery of the US. More telling is the county by county map showing the winner by county in each state -- it's like looking at the map wearing "BlueBlocker" sunglasses. In California and New York, county by county, the states look red without their high-density population centers. Los Angeles, a blue county, is surrounded by red counties. (The Northwest coast of California is an exception to this density observation.)

What is it about highly dense population centers that push them to the Democrats? What is it about the rest of the country that draws them to Bush?

BTW, the reason I put Bush vs Democrats is that Kerry was "anybody but Bush" to the Democrats. This election was about Bush, not Kerry. Dean had the democrats soul but was unelectable; Kerry hoodwinked the Democrats into thinking he could leverage his war record against a Wartime President (the fact that it was 30 years ago and the activities of Kerry after returning were evidently not considered before making him the Dems' "Yellow Dog").

Bush is a real person -- WYSIWYG. Kerry is "complex" and "nuanced." Look, Kerry's 19 years in the Senate is void of any decisive impact or resonant agenda. (Today I heard the first insider post mortem (such an accurate phrase, really) on the Kerry campaign that tells of a terminally indecisive Kerry -- who's surprised?) But is that the reason for the Density Divide? I don't think that's enough.

Rural areas have liberal-minded folk, but you couldn't tell that from this election. Do dense areas have conservative thinkers? Dallas/Fort Worth is rather dense but are red. Travis County (home of Austin), TX, was a blue island in a sea of red.

What we do know is that 51% of voters in a heavy turnout election chose Bush. Did 48% choose Kerry or vote against Bush? As far as Congress is concerned, the American voters want more Republican representation. Overwhelming majorities of voters want Marriage defined as between a man and a woman (shocking!). South Dakota was willing to give up its pork barrel to rid itself of The Obstructionist, Tom Daschle; apparently realizing that his benefit to the state outweighed his harm to the nation in which they also live. Conservative -- not Gulianni-styled moderate Republicans -- replaced Democratic senators in two states. Bush's victory is not only significant for his own election but his coat-tails are long -- for the first time since Reagan's 1980 election.

There's been a dramatic shift in America. It's not all about 9/11/01, either. It's about character, conviction, steadfastness, morality, unimposed but evidenced faith. It's about a strong America willing to do what's right in the face of its enemies and vociferous critics. (I bet there are many Democrats that are now wanting to "retake" their party from the far left.)

Here's to the hope that a non-politicized dialog emerges about Iraq and its future. There needs to be a re-evaluation, but the attempt to win political advantage over the issue of Iraq was potentially damaging to the entire effort. Now with that pressure off, perhaps headway can be made in Iraq in time to secure that country's first democratic elections in its history and join the ranks of free nations as Afghanistan already has.

Three cheers for the Coalition of the Willing. Australian Prime Minister Howard's re-election (defeating a campaign of anti-war sentiment aided by Kerry's family) was welcome, so now is the decisive Bush victory. We now await the British to re-elect Blair. //heading into 2008... this is still relevant

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"Democrats Say Bush Lied on Guard Service"

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 9 years ago

"Democrats Say Bush Lied on Guard Service"

That's the latest headline from the Kerry camp. President Bush, who has
proven himself over the last 4 years as a man of strength,
steadfastness, vision, determination, leadership is said to have lied
about something some 30 years prior thus negating what we know of the
man we and the world respects as a man of his word -- so they would
have us believe.

If Bush had received the Medal of Honor for hand-to-hand combat in the
Marines 30 years ago that would not speak as much as what Bush has
demonstrated over the past 4 years.

Conversely, as we look back on the Democratic candidate we see Kerry's
meritorious service in Vietnam and then a travesty of honesty and
integrity before the Senate and the country, denouncing himself and all
his comrades as war criminals for committing routine atrocities, thus
feeding the propaganda needs of our enemy in a time of war. We also
see 19 years in the Senate where he did nothing remarkable, except vote
against the entire modern arsenal our armed forces use in battle today.
Then we see a campaign over the last couple of years marked by a
consistent inconsistency on every critical issue our nation faces
today.

In this election this year I hope a certain Democrat will finally be
exonerated and restored to a place of honor in the eyes of history -- I
speak of Mondale and his landslide loss to Reagan in 1984. May his loss
be dwarfed by the current dwarf's overwhelming defeat on election day
2004.

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Cyclical holidays

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 11 years ago How many people still celebrate cyclical holidays? Most, I reckon. One year in college I was struck with talk about how better the world was at a certain time of the year. I heard people around me and on the media who seemed to think a certain season would make the world a better place. Then, it hit me: I hear this every year.

When is it that the season's effects wear off? What is it about January, February or March that causes the world to return to its hard, mean state? Perhaps the world didn't really change in December, afterall . . .at least, not enough to "stick" the rest of the year. What, then, makes December different from other times of the year, or conversely, the other 11 months different than December?

Some may claim a focus on religious, spiritual, or family values makes December better than the other 11 months. My question is, do not these values hold true in the other 11 months if in December? Or does the earth's relative position to the Sun affect us to such an extent (if so, Astrology may be the purest religion!).

I decided that if something is true in December it must also be true in January--and July. From that point, if it was merely a cyclical observance (and I'm not a farmer) it probably held little or no relevance to me.

Your thoughts?

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Switched Back

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 11 years ago I switched back to Linux/Windows today, officially, with the sale of my not-too-used Titanium PowerBook G4 550. Sold it $800 less than I paid for it (not bad, really) to a friend and co-worker who is a graphics designer. Very appropriate sale.

"Officially" - because in reality I've been leaving my TiBook at home in favor of my 18 month old Toshiba 2805 running, depending on hard drive installed at any given moment, Windows ME (came with it) or RedHat 7.2. At the office my desktop is Windows XP Pro (rock solid) and my servers are all RedHat Linux. The TiBook has been a great machine for my family to watch DVDs on. But not to do real work.

Eventually the dock, no matter what settings I used (and I tried a lot of things) just became an annoyance. The lack of a real program launcher (vis a vis Windows' Start menu, the Gnome Foot, or the KDE thingy), the annoying lack of coherent Alt-Tab window switching, the lack of a decent terminal program (yes, I bought and used GLTerm after damning Terminal; and, yes, I futzed with XDarwin to use "standard" XTerm but could never get Gnome to work to my liking (Gimp kinda worked)) -- at least on WinXP/Me I've got superfast and capable PuTTY.

The thought of programming in Cocoa was enticing but practically DOA since my corporate users are all WinTel based. I new I would need VirtualPC to support Win/IE users. I just was not prepared for how slow VirtualPC would be (all updates applied, 768MB Apple RAM, All kinds of "settings" tweaked)--unbearable for long periods of time. I'm stuck in a WinTel world (business). Just a reality.

There were a number of things I like about the TiBook and Mac OS X, but I found myself gravitating back to WinTel/Linux. I went most of June without waking the TiBook from sleep mode. I just didn't need it.

Then came the .Mac annoucement and the Jaguar upgrade. I couldn't see paying another couple hundred bucks for a machine I wasn't using. Even with the speed increases in 10.2, I wouldn't be using the Mac to support Windows users. Not practical.

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Under God

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 12 years ago Recently I changed my .sig to reflect my appreciation for the phrase "Under God" in the US pledge of allegience. The .sig read:

I'll stop pledging "Under God" when they pry it from my cold, dead lips.

Remove "Under God" and I rescind my pledge

I've received a bit of response and will post some of it here (and add commentary eventually).

A post from susano_otter :

Regarding your sig: do you really believe that the phrase "one nation, under God", accurately describes the country you're pledging your allegiance to? Or is the pledge for you simply an expression of an ideal state that we may all aspire to, even if it has yet to be established?

My response:

Do you believe subscribing to a lesser ideal will help the the state of our Republic?

When I gave my wedding vows I did not hesitate to pledge my allegience to an imperfect person (as an imperfect person). Nor did I consider that we were imperfect. Rather, I was honoring the covenant of marriage.

When St. Paul called the wayward church in Corinth "the church of God which is at Corinth" was he forgetting that they were divided, litigious, adulterous, gluttonous, etc.? No, but he spoke concerning something higher than their condition: he spoke concerning their position.

Regardless if we live like it or not, whether we believe it or not, we are a nation under God's sovereignty. Saying we are a nation under God is not a reflection of our condition, but of our position.

An email from aaron thorn:

No one said that you're not allowed to go on blathering about your American god. What you do in private is your own business. Why should anyone else have to pledge alegance to your silly god anyway?

Just curious-

A post from SubtleNuance:

So, you are an advocate of oppressive non-secular states?

PLease, I invite you to join the rest of us here in modern reality. Cast away your boogie-men and think for yourself.

You chide me for not agreeing with your point of view and then admonish me to "think for myself" -- which is it?

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Rethinking Strategic Advantage

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  more than 11 years ago

We have a six month cycle for many reasons. First off, and most important to me personally, it is just the right length so that I do not kill myself. The holidays are nicely spaced for me. Since I am project leader, I must not be permitted to go insane.

Theo de Raddt

Instead of "release early and release often" Theo de Raadt has a 6 month release schedule so he can have a life. What a jerk!

Kidding. But it made me think -- why haven't I had a life now that I'm a reasonably well-paid lead developer for commercial projects? It's because there is always a looming deadline that I'm rush-rush-rushing to meet. Why have I allowed myself to fall into the spin-cycle of development? Strategic advantage.

In university I was taught that technology's high cost and risk was justified by the potential for strategic advantage over competitors. Examples from the Just-In-Time inventory control of the Japanese automakers to the (then) state-of-the-art real-time inventory control systems of FritoLay emphasized the benefits of investing in technology...as long as that investment produced a strategic advantage (SA) for your company. Unsaid was the assumption that you'd have to be the first with the technology in place in order to have such an SA. So, the high cost of technological development was justified by the expediency of providing a SA. Expediency is assumed in this model.

Much of software soution marketing revolves around the notion of speed. From concept to deployment...fast. Microsoft is pushing it's .NET as a timesaver. Oracle sells a 65-day ecommerce soution. Heck, I recommend Perl because of the speed of development.

In the midst of this speed-talk out went my life. I haven't had a 40-, 60-, or even 80-hour work-week in a couple years.

A few years ago I was involved in radio broadcasting, both as a show producer (2 different daily broadcasts: one live 30 minute broadcast; the other requring 40+ hours of editing per 30 minute daily broadcast) and as a on-air operator / program director. We were constantly running to meet deadlines. Chaos and confusion were the norm. It was a way of life. But there was a definite reason: time stops for no one. Sure, better production planning help reduce the confusion but there seemed to alweays be a clamor right before the mics went live. When my production group began a venture into video documentaries, all sembalance of 'life' went out the window. I began staying at the studios over consecutive days to meet deadline pressures. My family life consisted of phone calls home. That's when I left broadcasting for the safe haven of software development.

Now I find myself in an increasingly high-pressure position. Surely it has a lot to do with me, my personality, etc., but there is this "got to have it now" assumption that has been bred into not only me but everyone who learned to justify technological costs as a strategic advantage, rather than just the cost of doing business.

I hope in the next few months to reorganize my work schedule, reduce my commute time (currently an hour each way), etc. But I also plan on educating my clients that their project is not worth my life. Yet I know my first student will need to be: me.

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Beginnings

rjamestaylor rjamestaylor writes  |  about 13 years ago Ignomious, for sure, but this is a beginning to my Journal. Future writings will cover things that interest me -- family, work, thinking, reaction to news, ideas, plans, ramblings...

The first thing - my family - has recently grown. Less than 2 weeks ago my wife gave birth to our second, healthy, son. Our first son is 22 months old and still very "needy", which makes life interesting as I consider the second thing.

My work has changed as well: I'm working for a new company as a lead Internet application developer. No DOTCOM stuff...but using the Internet as a network. While I've investigated other tools (ASP, PHP, Java) I find myself returning to Perl -- extremely versatile and, well, CPAN makes all the difference. I'm well into the second phase of a new project and am enjoying my work very much.

Thinking: with a new baby and a new job there isn't much time for thinking. What I mean by thinking is considering philosophy, history, religion, politics, human nature (a mix of the foregoing...gee, maybe I am thinking...). When the first things settle down, I'll return to this.

This has been a beginning, and, like all things, needs an ending. (I guess that's it.)

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