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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

rsborg Bricking or Tracking? (204 comments)

Why should THE MAN want to brick your phone, when instead they can just track you - that's what they want - then they can brick *you* as needed.

9 hours ago

Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

rsborg and when the UX fails? (198 comments)

No one reads documentation.

When the UX fails, the role of documentation is to be there to prevent the user from quitting in frustration (and turning to a competing product).

I do think a rich user community forum and/or wiki can supplant most of the need for documentation (e.g. most open-source projects), however, all features of a product should have some basic documentation (e.g.: command-line usage --help).

Extensive documentation adds a lot of "drag" to a product - this is both good and bad, but where doc can't be updated, the user should *at least* know how stale it is.

about a week ago

Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

rsborg Apps as media - parallels to iTunes (249 comments)

Apple's current approach seems to parallel what they're doing with iTunes which really favors the labels over the artists. What they should look at is, instead, creating a community for social discovery and interaction - in short, what Amazon has done a fairly good job of (all review systems have faults and can be gamed, but it's clear that the average App Store review is generally of a lower quality than your average Amazon product review).

While I do like seeing "featured" stuff, I also like seeing what others buy based on what I bought, and whether there are any reviews.

Part of this may revolve around making reviews more seamless [1] while also putting down the ban-hammer on apps that have fake/bought reviews.

Also, I'd suggest Apple also adopt a "return period" - they support this for some jurisdictions (S.Korea? HK? I forget).

Absent this kind of reform, the App Store is simply a device for pushing the interests of publishers, not developers, let alone users.


about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

rsborg Re:One word: PDFLib (132 comments)

The trouble I can see with PDFLib is the stupid "per machine" licensing. Per machine licensing for a software library is ridiculous - the description of the license on their website pretty much rules out using it in any situation other than some sort of central PDF processing behemoth service.

Clearly you haven't dealt with Oracle's licensing, compared to that, PDFLib is highly liberal stuff. They even give you one machine free (dev box).

about two weeks ago

Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

rsborg Re:Your next supercar. (138 comments)

Your next supercar will be ugly as hitting your father with a sweaty sock, but really efficient because, as we all know, people buy supercars for their efficiency.

Let's turn it around - *some* or "a lot* of people who buy super cars (especially of the electric variety) buy cars for their efficiency (speed/mileage).

a) not all or nothing - a big enough niche where you dominate (and erect defenses from encroachment) will provide a solid business model and sustainable profits.
b) speed requires efficiency, unless you plan on putting rocket fuel into your afterburner.
c) I always thought dimples were sexy on a girl, why not a car?

about a month ago

Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

rsborg Re:Duh (176 comments)

Why is this comment rated so low? If anything, having such a politically invested person on the board of directors really does say something about Dropbox and their views on privacy and security (yes, I do think the same about Apple and Al Gore - his values did seem to align with the company's).

Ever since 1Password moved to iCloud sync, I've stopped using Dropbox for even stashing an encrypted file. For everything else there're more targeted cloud services.

about a month ago

How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

rsborg How do you measure "good"? (285 comments)

If teachers' unions ever agree to let teachers be paid based on how good they are - rather than just by seniority - you might actually see more attractive salaries for good teachers. You might also see more bright people interested in taking up the profession if they knew they could make a better living doing so.

The problem is in the measuring of "good" - this is realistically best measured in terms of outcomes - i.e., the better a student does a the end of their scholastic engagement, the teachers involved should be rewarded. Problem: this takes long-term thinking and doesn't profit private interests.

Some teachers had a profound impact on my education. I spend the majority of my educational years in US schools, after immigrating here. The impact could not likely have been measured within the year. You would have to have looked at my performance at the end of several years, or my matriculation out of the school to accurately see what those experiences did for me.

However then you run into the problem that a similar students in similar classes with perhaps abusive home environments, or being unlucky enough to live in more dangerous neighborhoods (gangs, drugs) who might have completely different scores - so you'd need to also cross-correlate with socio-economic factors to get a true view (i.e., factoring out economic standing, and possibly more uncomfortable factors like ethnicity and type of household like single-income vs. dual, vs. single-parent, etc).

All this shit is hard. And doesn't profit those who want to cash in on the education cash cow. So it's never going to happen. But it should.

about a month ago

The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

rsborg Re:Nowhere in TFA (131 comments)

So Rick is only going to give you up after a Factory Data Reset?

The lyrics take on a whole new meaning with this exploit :)

about a month ago

New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

rsborg Seconded (205 comments)

In Japan, Toyota sells a hybrid minivan (the Estima) that uses the Prius drivetrain and is based off the (discontinued in the states) Previa styling:

Most of these vans get less than 20-25 MPG, so an offering that gets 40 MPG city (or better) would surely be more compelling than a gimmick megaphone. Hey Toyota, about get your act together and bring your superior automotive technology to the USA instead of this kind of stuff.

I've been asking Toyota for years. That said, I finally caved and got a non-hybrid Sienna, and it gets about 20mpg combined average. I'd kill for that Estima to be sold here even if they did mark up for adding a hybrid drivetrain.

about a month ago

How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

rsborg Re:Mission creep. (285 comments)

Yes, the kids love them and yes, they probably do have educational value... but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

Public funding for education going into internet bandwidth for widgets... well, it takes a bridging argument to say that's a good thing.

How would you feel if the school district made money off this venture thereby lowering tax burden or removing the need for "school foundation" donation culture? I, for one, would love that.

about a month ago

Bing Implements Right To Be Forgotten

rsborg Microsoft doing the right thing (64 comments)

It was mentioned in another slashdot post that Google was perhaps undertaking some malicious compliance [1] in following the EU directive, essentially removing an article that referenced a person instead of just making his name not show the result.

By mentioning that they have a responsibility to balance public interest verses the privacy needs of the individual, they're showing more maturity in their response than Google did.

I don't say this too often but... props to Microsoft.


about a month ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

rsborg Re:Don't ask; I'm not telling ... (383 comments)

You should have offered to help.
For $200/hour + expenses.

That's the on-going contract rate with a 10hr monthly minimum, adhoc should be 2x that.

about a month ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

rsborg Re:Nokia sure has bad luck (383 comments)

Very true. How the board was misinformed to the point of doing a such clear suicide is still part of the hidden story. Even more strange is the constant support the board give to the CEO even after all the alarms was turning full red. The "No plan B" concept was the biggest mistake ever from a board.

The Nokia board had already screwed it, they were in the hole to the tune of $1B before they went to the loan-shark (Microsoft) who required Elop as the CEO for their "investment", I imagine. They had years to respond to the Blackberry, the iPhone showed up with the Androids right after it, and the rest is history. I remember 12 years ago lusting over some of those smartphones that Nokia offered, but never really actually wanting what was offered - it all kind of sucked. I loved my Palm Treo 600 - it was the first real smartphone with apps that I could grok. Had Nokia taken that inspiration or acquired Palm, things might have been very very different today (though not likely - the iPhone was future-tech compared to everything around it when it landed).

about a month ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

rsborg Re:I guess they won't need any more foreign Visas? (383 comments)

Programmers are massively underpaid compared to the skillset we need to do our jobs.
Considering the lousy end products I have to deal with on a daily basis, paying programmers more money won't improve the skillset. You want to be paid more money? Produce a better product.
As to the products I'm talking about, let's start with Oracle and SAP then move on to Microsoft itself, Apple, HP and Siemens to name the most used ones I deal with.

Right - like programmers are all that controls a software product's destiny. You know there are these groups in almost every software vendor called "product management" and "sales", right? Lets not forget about "legal".

about a month ago

Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

rsborg Re:Another Malaysian Air 777 (752 comments)

I'm pretty sure that it is neither Malaysian Airlines, nor Boeing's fault that it was hit with an anti-aircraft missile.

What, is the 777 supposed to be equipped with flares and chaff now?

No, but this flight was quite a few miles off course - same airline, same manufacturer/model. The coincidence is noteworthy.

about a month ago

Manuel Noriega Sues Activision Over Call of Duty

rsborg Re:Questionable? (83 comments)

Odd, since the US has said that US laws do apply to Noriega, even when the person and crime are not on US soil.

Since when has Justice become a bidirectional thing? Justice as practiced today is a pass-through function for the rich and connected to subject others to their judgement.

about a month ago

Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

rsborg Your comment apples both to Dem and Rep (140 comments)

Herein lies the kicker. Yep, Wheeler was placed there specifically for that purpose. It's an old Scientologist trick. They couldn't get the OK as far as their tax exempt status so they got their own people hired into those positions in order to make the decision in their favor. And, you know what? You can't do anything about it other than try to show proof that they did so with that intent, the intent to subvert the democratic process. It is a subversion of it but they know you can't do anything about it, so all they have to do is feign the desire to have the public concern heard even if they never intended to listen, and then make the decision in the ISP's favor. Wheeler, and his masters, knows that once the decision is made it will take Congress to counteract it. Then of course you have the President and the Vice President both of which favor the big corps that pay for this lobbying.

The amusing thing is that if you remove mention of a specific agency or actor, the above tactic is what all the big corporations and industry groups are using to subvert the public interest to serve their profit interest and this infestation of governmental agencies works regardless of who is in power (as long as you contribute to both parties - or at least the party in power).

There's even a term for it: Regulatory Capture

about a month ago

Apple Agrees To $450 Million Ebook Antitrust Settlement

rsborg Hachette? (91 comments)

Yeah, much better to let Amazon to run all the book publishers out of business. :rolleyes:

Yes, the DOJ should totally prosecute the theoretical future anti-trust actions by Amazon, while ignoring the actual increase in prices brought about by market manipulation of Apple. :rolleyes.

The future is here:

about a month ago

White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

rsborg Disagree - This isn't about direct sales (382 comments)

Direct sales itself is the threat. If people want change, they need to get off of the notion that this is about Tesla and learn a little more of the history behind the law.

That's a bit like arguing that the Civil War was about states' rights. True, but only because states rights were invoked to support slavery. In the same vein here, it's the auto and petroleum industry fighting a war against electric cars. If electric cars happen, the future arrives and the entire petroleum distribution chain will eventually have to transform (without the corresponding profit margin increases for the current players) and get commoditized as nuclear, wind, and solar can fully power the economy and people's transportation needs (no need to convert back to gas or diesel for transport).

Elon Musk and Tesla believe the time has come, and have done a lot to prove it. Now it's time to see if Big Oil and their auto cronies can stop an idea whose time has come.

about a month ago


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