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Ask Slashdot: Best Pay-as-You-Go Plan For Text and Voice Only?

thegrassyknowl Re:I'd look at mobile phone online stores... (246 comments)

An Australian option is TPG. $1/mo and just pay for what you use. SMS isn't too bad at 10c/each, but data is a bit on the pricey side.

Exetel has some reasonably cheap monthly pre-paid packages http://www.exetel.com.au/residential-mobile-cap-plans.php#super_plans

Kogan prepaid sits atop Telstra's network (best 3G speeds/coverage) and is excellent value http://www.kogan.com/au/mobile.

Most carriers offer a pre-paid option that expires monthly and included some number of "free" SMS. You can even get unlimited SMS on some. If you don't buy a pre-paid package with a bundled phone there is no commitment term. If you take a phone they usually hit you up for some number of recharges before they'll give you the unlock codes. Go SIM-only to avoid that.

about a year and a half ago
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Unlocking New Mobile Phones Becomes Illegal In the US Tomorrow

thegrassyknowl Re:It would be fair... (475 comments)

No DMCA: Carrier has to spend their dollars to find out you unlocked a phone and then bring civil suit against you to force you to use their monopoly service.

DMCA: Carrier spends /your/ tax dollars and the police do the hard work for them.

about a year and a half ago
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Unlocking New Mobile Phones Becomes Illegal In the US Tomorrow

thegrassyknowl Re:It would be fair... (475 comments)

It is a matter that should be covered under contract law, not criminal law.

Why? Then the carrier would need to spend /their/ hard^Weasily earned money on lawyers. This way they can spend your hard earned tax dollars having the public prosecutor spanking you instead.

Even better... it's the law, so the carrier isn't seen to be doing anything particularly petty. They're not upholding the law - the police are.

about 2 years ago
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Unlocking New Mobile Phones Becomes Illegal In the US Tomorrow

thegrassyknowl Re:It would be fair... (475 comments)

I agree - they should be able to sue you in a civil court - like any other company would do if you brake any other contract! not sure why this is a special case.

Why should they? There are many reasons to unlock your phone that don't amount to exiting your contract early.

ie. I travel overseas and like to purchase a local SIM to avoid enormous roaming charges. I still pay my monthly fee and I don't end up using my included minutes on my plan.

ie. I occasionally like to have a different number for dealing with some people (recruiters, companies who I know will sell off my details to every bidder, etc). I can just pop in a second SIM (perhaps on the same carrier, perhaps not, depending on who has the best pre-paid offer this week). I can call them, give them 'my' number and when my business is concluded I can destroy the other SIM and never have to worry about their tele-spam again. No, I don't want (or need) a whole second phone to do that; the GSM spec allows it with interchangeable SIMs.

In either case I am not carrier jumping. I am maintaining my monthly plan in good order, and most of the time making the majority of my calls via that plan.

The reason carriers want the phones locked is not because you pay your monthly bill. It's because they want you to use up all of your included 'value' (I don't know how I get $750 of 'value' each month but only pay $49, but that's a deceptive practices discussion for another day). They want you locked in when you've used up your included value. If you can't switch out the SIM for one that isn't in the penalty range they have you by the love spuds! That's what they want!

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device?

thegrassyknowl Re:iPad works ok (417 comments)

My mum barely computer literate. She can click the 'start' menu and find "Word" or "The Internet" or "Email" (as the programs are named) because she's been taught that.

I got tired of having to go around there and remove all the crapware from her Windows machine (and she wasn't even administrator on it). It turns out that being barely computer literate means she never bothers to remember the basic don't download and run every random piece of crap from the Internet talks we have. Typical "I just want to do this thing I want to do, and I don't care what you told me" mentality of a lot of naive computer users.

I set her up a Linux desktop machine with Xubuntu. It's connected to my VPN so I can manage it remotely. Being Linux there's a practically zero malware. Not being Windows means she can't download and run a whole bunch of crapware that gets peddled by every piece of shit website she visits. Being foreign means she is less reluctant to pick up the phone and ask for help rather than going to Google and then downloading a bunch of crapware. She's yet to find something that she needs to do that she can't achieve on Linux (except install random crapware) with a little help (usually installing the occasional piece of software for her).

Conceded, the situation has improved with Windows 7 - non administrator users are really far less likely to be able to install crapware - but it's not perfect.

Now, your average tablet isn't locked down at all, and usually can't easily be. That means that your computer illiterate user will be able to go to the app store and install whatever piece of shit apps look like they might fill some need (or allow frivolous time wasting). Being computer illiterate, they never check the required permissions for apps. Even if they could be trained to check, would they really understand what they were seeing and ask the right questions? (why should Angry Birds need access to my phone book, SMS messages, email, local storage, network, calendar, etc). Tablets are great. The granular security provided by Android and Win8 (I can't speak for iCrap because I haven't used it for ages, and back then it wasn't granular or listed) is very good, but in the hands of someone who doesn't think about security it may as well just allow everything always because most users will just click the "get the fuck out of my way and install the fucking app already" button, regardless of what they see.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Develop Sixty Day Bread

thegrassyknowl Re:Preservation has it's downside (440 comments)

And then you realize that if they did do this and the bread was terrible tasting that nobody would stand for it and fork off to another store that isn't awful tasting.

Have you been to a certain mass-market burger chain lately? It tastes like greasy crap. The one here is the least tasty burger offering around where I live (because there's a couple of pubs, a handful of little restaurants and a burger truck, all selling delightful burgers), but they're also the cheapest, fastest and have the largest profit margin to afford mass advertising.

People are (for the most part) cheap and stupid. Consequently the mass-market junk shop does the most trade even though a far superior product exists right next door for only a couple of dollars more.

about 2 years ago
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Scientists Develop Sixty Day Bread

thegrassyknowl Re:Real bread goes stale after 1 day (440 comments)

That's interesting. I go to my local bakery and they put my fresh bread in a bag. Am I doing it wrong?

about 2 years ago
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Government Surveillance Growing, According To Google

thegrassyknowl Re:Government (105 comments)

Everyone is innocent, until a government decides otherwise.

Try telling this to the "if you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear" crowd. Their response is invariably "the government would never do that".

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Which Virtual Machine Software For a Beginner?

thegrassyknowl Re:Virtualbox (361 comments)

I used to prefer VirtualBox, but it's become quite for me lately. The Linux version occasionally brought down my machine and the Windows version would cause BSODs more than daily.

I switched to VMWare player and I haven't had any issues. The only thing I miss in the free VMWare offering is it's nowhere near as easy/powerful to script things.

about 2 years ago
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Facebook Won't Take Down Undercover Cop Page In Australia

thegrassyknowl Re:Don't complain about crime then (254 comments)

I've been in two not-at-fault bingles (rear-ended while stopped at lights both times), and each time all I needed to give my insurance company was the rego of the other car and the driver's name. Conceded it made it easier having their full details, but I have never been asked who insures the other party.

A little helpful hint - if your insurer is good, and you get choice of repairer then you should make the claim through your insurer even if not at fault. It shouldn't have any effect on your premiums because the insurance companies will sort that out between themselves. If the other party has a no-choice policy and you let them claim it then you may wind up stuck with whatever (possibly crappy) repairer their insurance sends you to, as happened to a friend of mine recently with very poor results.

about 2 years ago
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Facebook Won't Take Down Undercover Cop Page In Australia

thegrassyknowl Re:Don't complain about crime then (254 comments)

Do you really want to hear someone say "ill call you with my insurance details"

Around here that's what we do. All you need to do is give their rego number (and hopefully name/drivers license number) to your insurance company. It is an offense to drive a vehicle with no plates and you are required to carry your license. Anyway, if you had good insurance it wouldn't matter if the other person didn't. Just snap a photo of the accident scene (presuming they didn't do a runner) that shows the plate numbers and you're able to claim.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Linux Game For Young Kids?

thegrassyknowl Re:Tux Paint (338 comments)

+1 for TuxPaint. If you install the sound pack they'll love it, but you'll hate it.

My 8 year old just asked me to put it back on after I reinstalled my laptop. Seems there's no end to the creativity and the simple drawing tools are really fun to use.

Gcompris also held his attention for a good long while. There's quite a few challenges in there.

And +1 for all the other "take your kid to the park" responses. Get them out there and make them run about. Teaching them to be sedentary is a terrible thing, and you'll spend a long time undoing that early "work" later on.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Asks Users To Pay What They Want

thegrassyknowl Re:I just hope they don't get discouraged (280 comments)

VS is a really nice IDE. (But don't bother trying to convince the Linux guys of that.) I'm just not sure it's worth what they're charging for it. Most people could use the Express version, except there's no VS Express. It's VC# Express, VB Express, ASP.Net Express, and so on. When you break it into eleventy billion pieces, it ceases to be useful. So to get a useful version, the minimum price is $500, and that's just not going to be worth it to a hobbyist. Especially not with platform lock-in.

VS is a really nice IDE unless you have used /anything/ else, Windows or otherwise. Don't give me that "Linux guys" crap. Everything you like about VS either happens by default in other tools or can be added with scripts.

VS does, however, include one of the best GUI debuggers I have ever used and that alone is worth money to me.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Equipment and Furniture For an Electronics Hardware Lab?

thegrassyknowl Re:erm... (208 comments)

if you're merely after decorating ideas, i would suggest things that don't attract a lot of static electricity (so shag pile is out)

If you're making a professional lab then conductive flooring, yes.

For a hobby lab linoleum is best. You can get good quality stuff that doesn't generate static.

Tiles are OK at a pinch (if you already have them) and carpet of any sort is out. It's painful to wheel a chair around on tiles or carpet and if you drop little components there's lots of places for them to disappear.

about 2 years ago
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UK Man Arrested For Offensive Joke Posted On Facebook

thegrassyknowl Re:context (606 comments)

Well, yes. Likewise, I wouldn't be terribly sad if April's father broke the guy's nose or kicked him hard in the nuts.

I'd be a little sad if the father got arrested for it though. Now, one can only hope this fellow is acquitted and then sues the police for illegal arrest of bringing illegal charges or some such. Fat chance of that happening though; the media has got hold of it, we [the police/courts/lawmakers] can't appear to be big pussies or the public will start to question our integrity.

about 2 years ago
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UK Man Arrested For Offensive Joke Posted On Facebook

thegrassyknowl Re:The joke in question (606 comments)

But this post could be considered an incitement to violence and that is a whole different kettle of policemen.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

thegrassyknowl Re:In the US? Not so much... (632 comments)

One that I saw done in the NT4 days (I was early in the workforce by then), but never did to anyone, was to change all the colours in Windows to black. It turns out there was a registry way of doing it so you could actually hack it up in a text editor on your desktop and then just apply it wherever you wanted to damage.

Everything, black. Black wallpaper, black fonts, black icons, black black black. Looks like the machine is off when they come back to it.

Some of the guys at work used to make a habit of doing it to people who didn't lock their screen. We worked in a facility with a strict policy about locking your screen, but there were a few people who refused. They soon stopped refusing. Funnier than the look on the poor sap's face was the look on the sysadmin's face.

Unfortunately, too much of that kind of prank is a sure fire way to ensure that IT eventually insist on locking everything down to the standard operating environment across the whole company and re-imaging machines as they reboot. Hooray for knee-jerk reactions.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

thegrassyknowl Re:In the US? Not so much... (632 comments)

Clueless PE teacher for me.

"If you install Doom on one of these computers again, I'll have you expelled. You could have infested every computer in here with a virus."

[the computers were not networked]

Early 2000's: my brother got clueless music teacher, but it was more inane - "change the wallpaper again and you'll be suspended, you dirty computer hacker, you".

It seems high school computer classes haven't come a long way.

In the mid '80s my primary school had C64s available. They really were a treat though, having games like Cave of the Word Wizard (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJIubj1PsdY) to play.

I happened to have a C64 at home (by coincidence, since our grandmother sent it to us as a gift). I was more interested in making it do things than playing games on it so I started learning BASIC. I outgrew that pretty quickly. I remember there were a couple of other kids at school in a similar situation and the school brought in a programming teacher who ran special classes for a couple of hours a week (remember, primary school age kids) that really pushed most of us into bigger things. I was programming 6510 assembly by the time I got to high school.

High school (early '90s) had a network of BBC micros. Teacher seemed to actually know about them and he was very willing to sit around at lunch times and after school offering up advice to anyone who was genuinely interested in learning. School curriculum forced everyone to pass the typing test (which a few of us did on the first go, but most others spent a semester learning). I remember this awesome kingdoms game that was available on the network, but I cannot remember the name. I can also remember learning all about how to do nasty things to other people's terminals over the network. Security was pretty lax, and it was frowned upon, but our computing teacher always encouraged ingenuity and nobody ever really got more than a polite "you really shouldn't do that" talk.

Later on (mid '90s) , the high school installed a network of Win 3.1 PCs and a Novell server. Just as much fun. It was really quite amusing defacing the Windows 3.1 splash screen. Same awesome computing teacher, but now the school decided Visual BASIC was the go. I remember being amazed at how other people would struggle with concepts that I found trivial at the time. Being old enough to reflect now, I can see that I found them difficult when I had learned them years before.

about 2 years ago

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