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Microsoft Launches Outlook For Android and iOS

zerofoo Microsoft's strength - business software. (170 comments)

I'm no Microsoft fan, but for years I've been questioning their insistence on competing in "consumer" level stuff. Bing, tablets, phones - none are market leaders - they are too little too late. These non-business products are simply a distraction from Microsoft's core competencies.

Their strength has been, and will always be, business. Their software is cheap-ish, and works well enough in those spaces. Sure, sharepoint is a turd, and there isn't a problem that can't be solved badly by excel and access - but businesses like that stuff.

There is no shame with taking billions of business dollars to the bank.

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

zerofoo "Court-ordered" searches? Baloney! (423 comments)

If law enforcement wants access to encrypted data, then the court order must specify that the owner of that data must produce it (or decrypt it).

What if you lived in an impenetrable house? Could a court order force you to open the door? If so, how are encryption keys any different? Does the 5th Amendment protect physical keys? Does the 5th protect the keys in your head the same way?

Let's be honest - the complaint here is that default encryption denies access to data that, up to now, has been obtained via warrantless methods. A court can still order you to hand over your encryption keys.

3 days ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

zerofoo All been heard before (598 comments)

When Steve jobs first left apple, we heard similar complaints of declining software quality.

Then when he returned and started the iDevices trend - we heard about declining software quality.

Then after Steve Jobs passed, we heard about declining software quality.

The bottom line is that Apple is always releasing something new - and a bit half baked. This has been going on for the better part of two decades now. If you want stable Apple products wait about 3-6 months after release before adopting.

about two weeks ago
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Why Run Linux On Macs?

zerofoo A good reason not to: (592 comments)

EFI updates. On Mac hardware, they can only be delivered by a Mac OS update. Run Linux exclusively, and you will not get firmware updates.

I'm as Mac a fanboy as one can be - but if you want to run Linux, build yourself a nice PC - far less pain that way.

about two weeks ago
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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

zerofoo A government powerful enough.... (784 comments)

to raise your kids, is powerful enough to take them away.

about two weeks ago
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Gun Rights Hacktivists To Fab 3D-Printed Guns At State Capitol

zerofoo Re:This fight is intentional - printing guns is le (573 comments)

Sure, the ATF could change anything they like, but are unlikely to do so without a mandate from elected officials.

An outright ban on homemade firearms would definitely trigger a SCOTUS eligible case. The ATF and anti-gunners do not want that until the SCOTUS deck can be stacked with more liberal judges.

about three weeks ago
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Gun Rights Hacktivists To Fab 3D-Printed Guns At State Capitol

zerofoo This fight is intentional - printing guns is legal (573 comments)

Most gun control laws, as currently written, are unconstitutional. The reason they have stood for so long is either challenges were not brought, or the supremes refused to hear the case.

Heller and Peruta affirmed the individual right to bear arms for the purposes of individual self-defense as well as group defense . It is legal to manufacture firearms for personal use (and always has been). Licensing and serialization are only required if you choose to manufacture arms for sale to others.

The bottom line is that manufacturing your own weapons is legal - as per the ATF FAQ:

http://www.atf.gov/files/firea...

9. May I lawfully make a firearm for my own personal use, provided it is not being made for
resale?
Firearms may be lawfully made by persons who do not hold a manufacturer’s license under the GCA
provided they are not for sale or distribution and the maker is not prohibited from receiving or
possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semiautomatic
rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts, as set forth in regulations in 27 C.F.R. 478.39. In
addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and advance approval by ATF. An
application to make a machinegun will not be approved unless documentation is submitted showing
that the firearm is being made for the official use of a Federal, State, or local government agency (18
U.S.C. 922(o),(r); 26 U.S.C. 5822; 27 C.F.R. 478.39, 479.62, and 479.105).

Currently there is a very pro-gun trend throughout the country. I do not see lawmakers stomaching any more gun-control any time soon. Personally, I would like to see many of our unconstitutional gun-control laws repealed or struck down by the courts.

about three weeks ago
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Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

zerofoo Technological improvements had nothing to do with (285 comments)

ABS, crumple zones, airbags, traction control, and high-strength steel had far more to do with reducing highway fatalities than lawmakers could ever hope to achieve.

about a month ago
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Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

zerofoo OK, we get it...its the keyboard (132 comments)

Anyone that wants a physical keyboard can have one. There are TONS of phone cases with bluetooth keyboards. I don't know of a single modern smartphone that doesn't support them.

But hey, there are dozens of Blackberry fans that will love this product.....so it's got that going for it.

about a month and a half ago
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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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months ago

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