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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

sirwired I don't have a problem with this... (380 comments)

In return for a free (and Free) OS, and a free suite of half-way decent applications, Google is asking to be "paid" in the form of some prominent exposure on the phone. Did anyone think Google was providing all this stuff out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course they aren't... the whole reason Android exists is to get you using services that feed Google more information about you, which they then sell; it's kind of their entire business model.

If an OEM doesn't like this, they still get to use the OS itself for free; they just have to provide their own apps. Seems like a pretty decent trade-off to me.

If the OS wasn't Free, we might could have a discussion about evil monopolies and such, since there isn't really any other viable OEM-able OS. But since OEM's have the option of discarding the whole package, while keeping the OS, it's kind of a silly argument.

yesterday
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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

sirwired It's more than the H/W (51 comments)

While the price for the hardware is not awful, they have also built a whole structured environment to help kids learn to code. It's all well and good to simply sit a kid down in front of a Linux box, but unless the parents themselves know how to code, how is one supposed to know where to start the learning process? A tightly restricted H/W platform makes the S/W package tons easier to deploy.

And the intent is that you'll use a TV as the screen, not a monitor (although you certainly could.)

2 days ago
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Stanford Promises Not To Use Google Money For Privacy Research

sirwired I was thinking the same thing (54 comments)

Imagine if Stanford published some privacy-related research, and there was a note at the bottom "This Paper was Partially Funded by a Grant From The Google Foundation", or whatever... there'd be a huge outcry of how tilted and biased the results must be because Google was paying for some or all of it.

about a week ago
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Blizzard Has Canceled Titan, Its Next-gen MMO

sirwired And where did that come from? (154 comments)

Blizzard is perfectly aware WoW has a limited shelf-life, and I don't see any indication from the announcement that they canned this product because of a fear it would take resources or marketshare from WoW.

Seems to me that it just wasn't that good...

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

sirwired What about professors or fellow students? (471 comments)

Can't you ask professors or fellow students for leads?

The sort of jobs held by PhD's aren't usually the type advertised on Monster.com or Dice. (And "send in a resume in response to an ad" has always been the LEAST effective way to get a job.) They are usually found via personal contacts.

(As a random side-note, IEEE Spectrum Magazine, (and I'm guessing the ACM's magazine) DO actually advertise for PhD openings; about 50/50 academic/commercial.

about a week ago
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Commander Keen: Keen Dreams Source Code Released

sirwired If only Tim Sweeney could find the ZZT source! (72 comments)

Forget Commander Keen... if only Tim Sweeney could find the ZZT source code! I first learned practical programming doing my own ZZT-OOP dungeons... much more fun that my CS class exercises.

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Did you read his whole post? (270 comments)

Did you actually read his whole post? I don't care if he would prefer not to employ people, although implying that anyone that would employ someone else for profit is pretty much Evil Capitalist Scum is a bit weird.

What I keyed off of was: " The only reason why I do not act violently against people like you is that I abhor violence even more than I abhor your ideals." The only thing stopping him from violently attacking perfectly normal employing business owners is disliking violence some small amount more?

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

sirwired May I Translate? (232 comments)

Ask Slashdot: "Aren't most programming projects over-budget, behind-schedule, and eventual failures? Just like countless studies, textbooks, etc. have documented for as long as there has been IT?"

This isn't some new shocking trend. There was not, in the misty past, some sort of utopia where programmers regularly worked 40-hour weeks, never got laid off, were well-managed, and code shipped on-time, bug-free, and projects never got canceled because of screwups. I'm pretty sure every Software Engineering course ever touches on at least some of this.

Just about any complex project in any industry has a ludicrously high failure rate. Starting a new business, launching a new consumer product, designing and building massive complex machines, running governments, etc.

There's always a lot of ways for things to go wrong, and far fewer ways for everything to go right.

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Errr... not all employees are downtrodden (270 comments)

You sound a bit unhinged.

Did it ever occur to you that some people don't mind being employees? I'm not sure how you equate "working for somebody else" with inevitable serfdom. I show up for work for reasonable hours under reasonable working conditions, I do my job, they pay me for it, I go home. Nobody took rights away from me; if I don't like the arrangement, I tell my boss it's over and I go elsewhere. No violence necessary or wished-for.

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Personally, I LIKE working for the man! (270 comments)

Speaking for myself, I like working for the man! I get to spend my entire workday (consisting of reasonable work hours) doing something I enjoy (Enterprise IT architecture.) Yes, "The Man" makes more off me than they pay me (they are a profit-making company, after all!)

But in return for the 6% Net Profit they report annually, The Man does all the things I don't want to, like Sales, Marketing, Legal, Accounting, Administration, Management, Benefits, etc. I don't want to do those things myself, nor am I particularly interested in figuring out how to manage somebody else doing those things for me.

I do well enough... I'm on track to retire comfortably at 50 after years of doing work I enjoy and working with people I like (and don't have to manage!), and I have a lot less stress than a serial Entrepreneur.

If doing all that scut-work, or managing others to do it for you, is what floats your boat, more power to you! But it's certainly not for everyone.

about two weeks ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired I don't think those kids are writing COBOL (270 comments)

I don't think those kids go out into the wide, wide, world to program COBOL. I suspect that the subset of CS majors that care enough about real-world jobs are the sort to take a COBOL class, just in case it comes in handy. You'd probably also see that these students are more likely to pursue computer-related summer and in-school part-time jobs, more likely to participate in open-source projects etc.

I know that when I was looking for jobs, I had a whole stack of job offers, despite a middling GPA. Some of the other students in my dept. struggled to find a job, despite better grades. The difference? Two computer-related summer jobs, four different tech-related work-study jobs, and a LOT of extra-curricular study in IT. If my school had a COBOL course, I probably would have taken it. (I did take a SQL course, which wasn't even offered by the CS dept.; it was in the business school, along with the other IT (vs. CS) classes.)

about two weeks ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired Any indy computer shop (421 comments)

Pretty much any independent computer shop will toss together an OS-less machine upon request. All but the tiniest towns have one. And, of course, there are any number of OEM's that will sell them via mail-order.

about two weeks ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired What monopoly? (421 comments)

What monopoly? Is the Mac not a thing? Is it not an utterly trivial task to procure an OS-less PC in nearly any town bigger than a few hundred people in the civilized world?

Speaking for myself, while I can't buy one at Best Buy, there are any number of independent computer shops in my town that would be happy to build me one. Any town of any size at all has at least one of these places... I've been in some real downtrodden parts of BFE and even those towns usually have at least one computer shop. Most folks use it for repairs and local businesses use it for tech support, but they sell computers too.

about three weeks ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired This really makes no sense (421 comments)

Why could I not apply this same legal idea to everything else included with the computer? "I already have a perfectly good power supply!" "Let me swap in my old CPU chip!" "Stop including an LCD on my laptop! I'm never going to use it!" "Curse the forced purchase of LED power lights! That's a good three cents I could save!"

There are more than enough sources from which a computer can be procured that do not have Windows. If the manufacturer or store you want to buy from doesn't have any, don't buy from there!

about three weeks ago
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Accused Ottawa Cyberbully Facing 181 Charges Apologizes

sirwired Online libel can be quite harmful (140 comments)

Poisoning Google searches for your targets can most certainly ruin lives, in many cases in an irrevocable fashion if the information gets republished far and wide. I don't see why prison time should not be on the table.

about three weeks ago
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Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

sirwired Google still has to consider carrier's wishes (162 comments)

Google pushed this out on iOS because they don't care about carriers losing voice revenue on Apple customers. Meanwhile, when convincing carriers to push Android phone, they care very much.

Now that unlimited (or nearly so) voice service is pretty common in smartphone plans (and the amount of time subscribers actually talk with their phones drops), it's not such a big deal for Google to roll out a mechanism to bypass carrier's voice infrastructure.

about three weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired It's more than a skin... (134 comments)

Yes, I know that Fire OS is based on Android. But it is different enough that you cannot assume that an Android app will work on Fire OS, and Fire OS devices do not have the Google Play store, so if an app is only available there, you are SOL. This is not a trivial limitation; you are missing out on some apps like, say, GMail.

about three weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired No Google Play Store (134 comments)

Yes, you can still install and run Android apps like any other Android phone, as long as those apps are actually available from the Amazon app store. Not all apps have been customized or tested to run on Amazon's particular Android build, which is a little more custom than the "skin" other Android builders commonly use.

No, it's not as bad as a Zune, but it doesn't offer any compelling case over the more-standard alternatives.

about three weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired What was Amazon thinking? (134 comments)

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what Amazon was thinking when they released the thing. While on a "raw spec" basis, it's not a bad phone, it's headline feature does little more (at the moment) than make it easier to buy stuff from Amazon. Why would anybody buy this phone over a similarly-priced phone from Samsung/Moto/LG?

If the phone was significantly cheaper than the competition (like the Kindle Fire), or if the tight Amazon integration was a super-useful feature (like the Kindle Readers), it might have been a success. But charging the same as the competition for a phone running a custom OS? I expected it to be about as successful as the "Facebook Phone", which is to say "not at all".

This sort of completely blind hubris reminds me of the Netflix fiasco. Anybody with more than a few brain cells to rub together should have been able to see the flaws here...

about three weeks ago
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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

sirwired *sigh* A fool and their money... (160 comments)

Every grocery store and quickie-mart I go to that does wire transfer has signs, brochures, etc. warning you about all the most common scams, of which this one is most certainly on the list. Those that persist in not yet getting the memo that using WU/MG to send money to anybody you don't actually know is insane are beyond help.

Hint: Why would somebody send you a huge check and expect you to forward the money on to their "agent"? Why would they just not pay the "agent" themseleves?

You can't fix stupid... while I feel sorry for those that fall for these schemes, I'm not sure what can be done to help them.

about three weeks ago

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