top News Corp's
The Daily iPad App Shutting Down On December 15
I tried out this app when it first came out, and after a couple of weeks, I deleted it. The problem wasn't the multimedia experience (which people are claiming has something to do with it). The problem was there was basically no news being reported. It was nothing but sports and politics (that masqueraded as news). What I found is that I could get my actual "news" from so many different sources. I'd have no problem paying for a service if it actually gave me something useful, but this was one of the most useless "news" sources I've ever subscribed to.
about a year and a half ago
top Parent Questions Mandatory High School Chemistry
I remember taking chemistry in high school, and it was a breeze. When I got to college, because it was so easy, and I received an easy A, it was the one class at West Point that kicked my behind all the way through it until I ended up spending long nights avoiding more enjoyable pursuits and did nothing but study, even going to a tutor for the very first time (when I had always been the tutor). The point: Taking chemistry in high school is more an introduction to the science, no matter how many AP designations they attach to the class.
top How Facebook Can Out Your Most Personal Secrets
The problem with "choose your Facebook friends wisely" is that not everyone uses Facebook as a friend matcher. I'm a writer who accepts a lot of invites from people because they've read one of my books and are interested in learning more about me. This means that I have a LOT of people as "friends" who I don't know. And for awhile, I was fine with that. This was before Facebook turned into a shrill for trying to make money in any way possible (because their original model wasn't working). What has emerged is a business model that allows anyone of those "fans", which I've discovered can also be nefarious marketers rather than fans, who bombard my feed through all sorts of ridiculous methods (each one new in a whack a mole process that gets really frustrating). I keep changing my privacy settings to try to "fix" this, only to have Facebook change those settings with some new role out that's supposed to "enhance" my experience by basically rescinding all of my previous privacy desires so I have to now find where they've hidden the secret buttons to turn it off again (keeping in mind, it's now located in a completely different area I've never heard of before). What this has done has made people like me start to think that perhaps Facebook ISN'T the best way to maintain a marketing presence for writing. This would bother me less if Facebook didn't go through a lot of manifestations to promote the ability to publicize your works on its system.
top Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Flaw
I've been an Apple fan of its peripheral devices for a few years now. I got in on the original Iphone and ever since then have bought quite a few of the products that Apple puts out. The problem in almost all of their launches is that they have initial problems, clean them up, and then things work out great for those who like their products. The only real part of the problem is that people want the next thing right now rather than waiting a month or so and figuring out if the device is everything they hoped it would be. Because of that, I don't really have a lot of sympathy for buyers until after the warming period has ended. I'll probably buy an Iphone 5 myself, but I'll buy it AFTER they've worked out the kinks, making it the phone I want rather than the phone that I MUST HAVE.
top Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree
I am 100 percent for this. I already have two master's degrees from "esteemed" universities, but I'd gladly pick up several others through this method. For me, and for a lot of others like me, at one point I stopped caring about the actual degree itself but became infatuated with the idea of more learning. I love to learn new things, and when more and more legitimate ways of doing so arrive, like this, we're all the better for it.
top Microsoft's Antivirus Briefly Flags Google.com As Malicious
This happened to me last night when I was playing a game. I used google to look up something, and that warning came up. So I had them "remove" it. I was concerned because it didn't really give me a lot of information, but when you're left with the choice of removing a virus/trojan and just leaving it there, you're generally going to go for removing it. Reading about it today, I now realize what happened last night. This reminds me of years ago when I was installing some update to Microsoft Internet Explorer, and I received a message along the lines of: "Microsoft Explorer has detected an illegal program. Would you like to remove Netscape Navigator?" Something like that is really hard to forget, even though I found myself laughing at the time it happened.
top Female Passengers Say They Were Targeted For TSA Body Scanners
While it's not applicable in all situations (like if you have to fly, or you go overseas, which means any other travel ridiculous), I've personally come to the conclusion that not flying is really my only response to all of this TSA nonsense. I figure if I protest, I'll end up on a no fly list, which is completely maintained with absolutely no oversight whatsoever. Therefore, I drive everywhere I can, even if it means taking a few days to get to a place that might have taken a few hours. I really have come to hate airports to the point where this is pretty much my first choice of travel (anything but flying).
Star Wars: the Old Republic Launches
My disclaimer: I started playing yesterday and only have hit level 6. But I'm loving it. It may not last forever (the love part), but it brings me back to when I first played KOTOR the single player game. It's VERY MUCH like that. And I really like that. What really hit me like a ton of bricks was how much I actually started caring about the story just from watching the opening movie and then the movie that starts up as you play your first character. I felt I was watching a movie that I cared about the characters on the screen (even though it was just a freaking movie). And then when that scene ended, I realized I now wanted to be part of that fight that was taking place, and then boom, I was. THAT alone is exactly what so many MMORPG players have wanted for years. I remember a sense of this when I first started playing Tabula Rasa (caring about the world from watching the opening movie), but then the game became a simple grind, but that was mainly because the developers seemed to stop caring more than they had done something wrong. My other disclaimer: I play WOW all the time, and I still will. There's nothing that says I can't enjoy two games at the same time.
top Sony Sued Over PSN 'No Suing' Provision
I know this isn't going to be popular with a lot of people who like to be a lot more reactive, but having been screwed by Sony (and its affiliates) in numerous different areas (their tendrils stretch pretty damn deep), I've made all attempts to separate myself from anything that has the name Sony on it. I went into buy a new TV a few months ago, and at the end, I chose a different brand than Sony mainly because it had the name Sony on it. I own a Playstation 3, which I've pretty much stopped using other than to watch DVDs on it. Recently, I bought a non-Sony Blu-Ray player; my Playstation 3 may be disconnected and stored in the closet forever very soon. When this whole EULA thing came along, I just attributed it to anti-customer behavior that Sony has displayed EVER SINCE I'VE EVER DONE BUSINESS WITH SONY. So, little by little, Sony is making it very easy for me to avoid suing them in the future because at every turn, I avoid buying anything with the name Sony on it. Hell, not so long ago, I decided NOT to play an online game that was being distributed by Sony (not made by them, but just distributed), so because their name was attached to a game I thought about playing, I boycotted it instead. May not have hurt them in the long run, but it made me feel good, and in the end, their game tanked as well. Probably not from my actions, but had the name of Sony been better, they would have gotten my business, and maybe (along with many other people) we would have done something about making sure it didn't tank.
top Ask Slashdot: Protecting Tech Gear From Smash-and-Grab Theft?
While it's not feasible and would be massively expensive, I'd love to have James Bond's car from For Your Eyes Only that blew up when someone tried to smash his window, killing the bad guy in the process. Granted, I'd probably be put in jail for life for it, but that would be the last smash and grab he'd ever do.
top Many Early Adopters of the Amazon Fire Are Unhappy
When the first Kindle came out, I bought one, mainly because I wanted to read the Washington Post every morning. It was great. I used to bring it to work every day. Then the Ipad 2 came out, and after waiting for availability, I bought one. What I immediately discovered was that for reading books on e-reader, the Kindle was far superior, but I didn't want to lug around two devices. Then Amazon released an Ipad Kindle app, and I've never needed a Kindle again. It just sits on my desk and collects dust. What this did was unbelievable. When the Kindle was only black and white, books now came in color on the Ipad Kindle App. So when I heard about the Kindle Fire, I thought, "why would I need that?" And that's the problem Amazon has right now. They developed such a good alternative "free" market for reading their books that there's no need to actually buy one of their devices. As a devoted Ipad user, there's no way I'd trade down for a Kindle Fire, so all they can do is attract new people who never would have bought an Ipad in the first place (and that number dwindles every year). I'm not even an Apple fanboi, and I love the Ipad (I usually hate Apple).
top Groupon Not Doing So Well On Wall Street
When Groupon first came out, it had some promise, but so far, especially in my neck of the woods, every time I see something affiliated with Groupon, it's almost always some massively over-expensive product that I never would have bought in the first place, and even with the "deal" have no intention of buying in the future. People sign onto Groupon because of the initial hype, or hear about really good deals in very large cities where it does work, but then read the first few weeks of ads that come through and then immediately delete the app and stop going to the web site.
The company, however, still pushes the idea that it's profitable, even though the only people making profit seem to be the main owners of the company who are basically trying to sell a product that too few people want. Add to the fact that they've hyped the crap out of their initial offerings over and over again, only to pull it back before release, and people now see Groupon as what looks like a scam (even if it's not). So, it's stock is going to come out, go up really fast with the people who seem to think an initial offering is a gold mine, and then tank before disappearing forever.
top How Does a Self-Taught Computer Geek Get Hired?
I totally understand your dilemma, because your dilemma has been my entire adult life. I learned BASIC programming 20 some years ago when I was a high school student and that's all computers could do. Then I went to a community college nearby (while in high school) and learned FORTRAN. After going to West Point for my education in physics (with no computers being used in schools back then), I did my time in the service and learned COBOL on my own. Meanwhile, I taught myself HTML programming so I could create some of the first web pages back in the day. During that time, I created computer games (lots of them) using whatever platform I could find, and they were changing practically every day. Luckily, after my military service, I was noticed by someone at Maxis Software (he played one of my old games programmed in BASIC), and I worked there (and then Electronic Arts) for awhile before realizing that without a computer degree, you really couldn't move anywhere. I was always relegated to the low programming (i.e. glorified tester) positions.
So years later, I ended up being a computer repair specialist, because I was also good at ripping apart a computer and putting it back together again. But trying to get a job in computer programming has been massively elusive for me. However, every time I have gotten close, someone has been interested mainly because of something I was able to show them as "proof" I knew what I was doing. Without that, I doubt they'd even take a second look.
top Has Apple Made Programmers Cool?
I'll just come out and say it, but being an app designer hasn't made me cooler. Sure, people don't run away when I say I'm an app designer (as they did when I used to say I was a programmer). But when the inevitable question of "so what kinds of things do you design" comes up, no matter how I phrase the answer, they lose interest immediately. The point is: People will act like it's a lot cooler, but they still don't want to hear about the details.
top Bipartisan Internet Sales Tax Bill Introduced
For me, I don't really have a problem paying taxes on stuff I buy on the Internet. Sure, I'd rather not, but I understand that eventually it's probably going to happen. However, where I have the problem is who gets to collect. I mean, if I live in Michigan, a place that has a horrible infrastructure and does so little to create business (other than claim it does a lot while offering very little incentive for businesses), the State of Michigan should NOT benefit from something I ended up buying from a company in California that has the infrastructure to foster an actual business that was able to put the products online. If the State of California wants to charge me sales tax for something I buy from California, then the right entities actually benefit. Some fat cat bureaucrats in Detroit or Lansing shouldn't be benefiting from my tax dollars for doing absolutely nothing to foster business but voting a tax benefit for themselves. Sure, that money COULD help my state, but because my state doesn't do anything to foster business, it WON'T do anything to help my state but will probably end up with more 8 figure salaries for state and local government cronies who serve themselves at the behest of the state citizens.
top Amazon Bypassing Publishers By Signing Authors Directly
As a writer who has tried to go it alone (without a publisher), it didn't take long to realize how much harder it is without a legitimate publisher. I had gone the publishing route before, and because I wasn't a household name already, it was a negative experience. But going alone didn't do much better either because I was still required to do practically everything myself, and without the assistance of a staff of people who know what they're doing, it was a lot more difficult. The ebook route has a lot going for it in the future, but until writers can figure out how to get books into bookstores (or at least seen on searches), we're still held back by the power that publishers have over the ability to be seen and observed.
Publishing has never been the problem. The problem has always been after publishing, where most writers end up being as unknown as they were before they wrote anything.
top Google+ Loses 60% of Active Users
I joined Google Plus with an invite in the beginning stages, and right off the start, I began to realize that no one I knew was on it. There were a couple of high profile people on it, and then there were a bunch of people making names for themselves to up and coming profile people. To this day, I can't find hardly a friend or two on the whole site. Everyone else on the site is unknown or some big time celebrity I don't really care to read their narcisstic posts. I was checking the recommended friends list almost every day and to be honest, I heard of none of them, so finally I just realized that Google Plus might become big one day, but it would probably be without me.
top Netflix Kills Qwikster
I'm usually not a very reactive kind of customer. I tend to let things go and not really give them much thought. However, I remember some time ago, I got upset that Netflix was raising its prices. So, I switched to only one dvd at a time from three. Quickly, Netflix reversed its decision, and I went back to three dvds.
Then they decided to raise prices again and immediately split the company into two. I found myself somewhat insulted by all of the ceo's comments in response, almost as if he was an adult talking to little children. So, I closed out my account and left. Now, they're trying to fix this faux pas again, and unfortunately, many people like me aren't going to come back. It wasn't really the price increase or even the splitting of the company. It was being talked down to like a child by a company I have given business for many years now. I decided they can do well without me. From what I now see, they're realizing they can't. But when you lose a customer, you lose a customer. Sorry, but that's how business works sometimes.
top Spotify Defends Facebook Sign-Up Requirement
I have no desire for Spotify, so this isn't really in response to that, other than a recognition that I don't like having to use one service in order to do something else I might want to do. However, what I have noticed is that other services have a tendency to want to be linked with Facebook, and that drives me nuts. Goodreads is an example. When I sign onto it, it usually wants to do so by accessing my Facebook profile, and then spams my Facebook account. Yeah, I could configure it not to do that, but who wants to go through that kind of trouble for something so mundane? Recently, I have been writing articles on Viewshound, which ONLY gives me the choice to sign in through Facebook. I really dislike this, but I have no choice as part of my revenue steam somewhat relies on services like Viewshound.
I worry that more and more companies are going to go this route. Where it really bothers me is that my workplace has put Facebook off limits, so I have difficulty connecting to a lot of other services I use on a daily basis because I have to sign onto Facebook FIRST in order to use them. Sure, I could be a good soldier and not goof off during the day, but this isn't about being an employee who has no free time at work but about some of the complications for those of us who do have some free time at work.
top Comcast Launches Program For Low-Income Families
While I'll never qualify for this, I still find myself having to criticize Comcast for doing everything possible to avoid helping as many people as they can. The very last line of the stipulation is what ruins it for me, when they state: "and they can't have had Comcast Internet in the last 90 days." If people qualify for it because they NEED it, stop doing everything possible to keep people from being able to qualify for it. Having had Comcast in the last 90 days doesn't somehow make someone who is on the list of those in poverty from being any less poor. Just give them the damn benefit like everyone else who falls into the "need" demographic. Yeah, I know no one really "needs" it, but if they're going through and pretending to be helpful, at least be helpful.