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Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

zerofoo Software assurance for consumers? (415 comments)

How exactly, is Microsoft going to get the end consumer (who just gave a bunch of money to Dell, HP, or Lenovo) to continually pay for an operating system and applications when Google and Apple are giving theirs away for free?

I guess we will finally find out how much people really like Windows and Office. Do they like it enough to pay forever?

about two weeks ago
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FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents

zerofoo I love the iPad....but..... (229 comments)

We have iPads at our school, and they do help dyslexic kids learn how to read with apps like Lexia and Learning Ally.

That said, iPads - like most Apple products, are difficult to manage in a corporate environment. Apple's configuration tools are sparse, and they simply have no native MDM solution.

Third party solutions like Airwatch are a joke. They count on the end user to keep policies applied to the device under threat of not accessing corporate resources. Unfortunately kids don't care about that stuff and gladly remove the policies.

Things have gotten a bit better with iOS 8, but the fact remains that these devices were designed for a single end user, not for widespread, managed, multi-user environments.

We've slowed our adoption of iPads in favor of Chromebooks. They are much better for management and control of the end user experience.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo Re: iPads quite simply aren't a primary computer (193 comments)

"A prudent school administrator could build an MS-centric environment for the same initial cost as a Google-centric one, and with the same on-going costs."

No way.

The Microsoft cloud approach still requires Anti-Virus and associated management, it still requires a way to image the computers to some configuration standard, it offers no way to distribute configuration and security policies based on computer or user profiles.

To get anywhere near what Google is offering in terms of Google's security and management will require "pro" operating system licensing, domain controllers, CALs, centralized anti-virus, and an imaging solution - none of those are free.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo Our Chromebooks are as durable as any other (193 comments)

We have bought Samsung, Dell, and HP chromebooks - the Dell's seem to be built the best. In two years in a school with 150 users, we've had one broken power connector.

They are durable enough. And at less than $300 - all in - they are easily replaceable.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo When it comes to security, architecture matters (193 comments)

Microsoft's legacy architecture means that there will (realistically) never be a really secure version of windows. To properly secure windows (as I did when I ran a network for a bank) you need to disable practically everything and limit what the end user can do online. In those scenarios, Microsoft operating systems can work, but it is far from ideal.

The "walled garden" approach of companies like Apple and Google is fantastic for organizations like schools. We can allow staff and students to run apps from a safe repository in the cloud. Their data lives in the cloud - decoupled from the local operating system - and even the local network. This combination of control and flexibility as well as the walled garden approach is ideal for schools.

To be fair, this is possible in the windows world, but it requires quite a lot of administration and work. It requires group policies, careful delegation of permissions, patch management, anti-virus, disk imaging...etc....etc.

The Google Apps ecosystem does away with all of this - and the cost benefits are undeniable.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo Re: Schools can get enterprise tools (193 comments)

The problem is not active directory. The problem is the "cloud login" used on these low cost Microsoft computers is a Microsoft live login and not an office 365 login.

It's a stupid oversight that complicates management and the overall user experience.

The Google Apps way is simply easier and cheaper.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo Re: So much so that Microsoft is trying to get in (193 comments)

You've never had to deal with students and staff remembering their logins and passwords I'm guessing.

With too many logins to remember you'll need a full-time help desk just to deal with password resets.

The beauty of the Google Apps ecosystem is that you can deploy and manage tons of these things with minimal staff.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo Re: So much so that Microsoft is trying to get in (193 comments)

OS licensing upgrades and CALS cost money....lots of money. Google Apps, beyond hardware and management license is free. Centrally managed apps, user data, and policies.

It really is quite compelling once you get beyond the old "Microsoft way" of doing things.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

zerofoo So much so that Microsoft is trying to get in (193 comments)

We've had great success with our Chromebook deployment. For most computing tasks, they are cheap and easy. They boot quickly and management is a snap.

Microsoft is now trying to duplicate this success. They are giving away Office 365 E1 subscriptions to schools and non-profits. I will grant MS this, their online versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are quite good and closely mimic the desktop versions.

Now for the bad:

1. Microsoft's "version" of a chromebook is something like the HP Stream 14. It's about the same price and about the same quality. Unfortunately, these do not run a locked-down/hardened version of windows. They run the same desktop OS everything else does. This means you need AV, imaging tools....etc to mass deploy these things. Chromebooks don't need any of that stuff.

2. The OS that ships in the cheapy laptops cannot be joined to a traditional domain. User management and policies for these devices cannot be centrally managed. Google's management tools are fantastic.

3. Logins everywhere. To login to these cheapy windows devices, you need to either have local accounts, or a "live" or "microsoft account". This means you need a "live" login to get past the login screen, and an Office 365 login to do any work - it's madness.

In-short, Microsoft is jumping into cloud computing and chasing the incumbents in a half-assed way. Situation normal over at Microsoft.

about two weeks ago
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

zerofoo She's a do-nothing - and always has been (433 comments)

She was a do-nothing at Lucent.

She was a do-nothing at HP.

She would be a do-nothing as President.

Hey - maybe a President that does absolutely nothing wouldn't be a bad thing at this point.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

zerofoo This isn't a tech issue, it's a immigration issue. (454 comments)

When an economy has 8-10% unemployment, that economy should not import labor for any reason. Governments exist to protect it's citizens - that includes REASONABLE immigration policies.

I'm the second generation of a family of immigrants. My grandparents came here almost 10 years apart due to restrictive immigration policies. Generally grandpa waited his place in line, came here with a sponsor, worked, and paid taxes. After establishing himself here, was he allowed to bring over the rest of the family.

Allowing too many people into a country, too quickly, is a sure fire way to hurt the local workforce, and stress social support systems to their breaking point.

Unfortunately the politicians in charge don't give a damn about the citizens they claim to serve.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

zerofoo Government created the H-1B visa you twit. (454 comments)

Those "pesky regulations" are the exact cause of this problem - and is the exact reason why Libertarians want government out of employer/labor relations.

If government had not given favored immigration status to tech workers, the free market would naturally settle on wages via supply and demand. Tech companies with the aid of the US government distorted the labor market to increase supply and drive down wages.

An Econ 101 student could understand this and see what is happening. Why you can't is a mystery.

about three weeks ago
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Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

zerofoo Control the carbs and you control blood lipids (252 comments)

I tried a "low-cholesterol" diet and it made my lipid profiles worse. I went on cholesterol drugs, and they had awful side effects. Finally I gave up the cholesterol meds and started restricting carbs. My lipid profiles got much better and I've decided to simply live as a "borderline" case without cholesterol meds.

I'm 20 pounds lighter, and I feel a hell of a lot better than on the meds.

I'm not sure medical science understands (well enough) the relationship between carbs/blood sugar/cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. The low-fat diet and food pyramid is probably the worst thing ever foisted on the American people. With 30 years of run-away obesity and diabetes, maybe it's time to admit failure with those recommendations.

We still let cereal manufacturers pitch their wares as "heart-healthy" - what a joke.

about a month ago
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Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund

zerofoo E-rate doesn't fix the infrastructure problem. (107 comments)

Our schools are in a part of the country with decent access to broadband. Both schools where I work have roughly 100 Mbps access via Cable Modem or FIOS for less than $200 per month.

If you don't have decent broadband choices near your schools, E-rate won't make that problem any better. All it will ensure is that your local school district spends thousands of dollars per month on private connections that are mostly unnecessary.

The FCC should focus on getting multiple broadband providers into every market across the country. Once that problem is solved, the E-rate program will not be necessary.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

zerofoo Re:As a technology director for a K-12 district (219 comments)

Our experiences mirror yours. We've had great success with chromebooks, but the iPad thing is still a pain.

I recently spoke to a couple of Apple reps about their lack of focus on enterprise management for iPads. I explained how terrible the Apple Configurator is, and how their new Apple Device Enrollment Program is simply not enough. Apple needs to stop relying on third parties for large scale management if iOS devices. They need to build a management portal similar to Google's device management portal - and they needed it yesterday.

As a long time Apple fan, I still admit - Apple sucks at enterprise management.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Losing the School Markets To iPads and Chromebooks

zerofoo You're doing it wrong (219 comments)

We've successfully implemented chromebooks - their low cost and ease of management can not be beat.

Your model of office coupled with local storage is a dinosaur. Modern companies (where your students will eventually work) require a mobile workforce that can connect and collaborate from anywhere. Getting your students onto cloud based apps and data prepares them for how they will work in their future careers.

We do not have kids walk around with laptops. We have carts in each classroom, and laptops are pulled out as needed. Students don't walk around with other classroom materials like microscopes and yardsticks. Why would you make kids walk around with computers?

Chromebooks work well in a "classroom cart" environment. They boot quickly, their data is stored in the cloud, and they shutdown quickly. The instructional overhead of traditional windows based computers simply does not exist with chromebooks.

We have some traditional Mac desktops for staff members and for special purpose labs, but for general purpose computing chromebooks can not be beat.

about a month ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

zerofoo I didn't solve the Towers of Hanoi problem in CS (320 comments)

I merely implemented the solution in software. Is that cheating?

Yeah, I wrote the recursive algorithm in Pascal, but I didn't "invent" the solution. Somebody a long time ago did that.

Unless you are doing PHD level research into something no one else has done, most undergrad work is a rehash of something someone else already figured out.

The point is to learn the material - how you learn it is irrelevant. Presumably, college professors have a way to measure your knowledge before giving you a grade - I think that is called a.......test.

about a month ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

zerofoo Prohibition never works. (698 comments)

See our war on drugs, or revisit the prohibition of Alcohol in the US if you doubt me.

Just because you would give up guns, does not mean that bad people would.

about a month ago

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