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Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

zerofoo Won't solve many problems in the US (149 comments)

The last mile of copper in the US is in an abysmal state. Telcos like Verizon are laying their fiber network and abandoning their low-cost copper network.

In Princeton, NJ we can barely make reliable, noise-free, voice calls over copper. T1s over copper are similarly disappointing.

I doubt pushing even higher speed data over this terrible infrastructure will result in a satisfactory experience - and the minute you need to replace a cable, why not lay fiber?

about three weeks ago
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Google To Take On Apple's CarPlay

zerofoo Yeah, I'll sit this war out. (126 comments)

I can't afford to buy a new car every 18 months to keep up with the A.D.D. that exists in the mobile product arena.

I'll buy in when the SAE adopts a standard protocol interface for in-car infotainment. For now, bluetooth does me just fine.

about a month and a half ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

zerofoo Re: Symptom of a much bigger problem (230 comments)

Yeah, now they are competitive, but the 5 year headstart that Unix on ARM has will be very tough to undo.

The mobile market is very solidly Android and iOS on ARM, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

about 2 months ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

zerofoo Symptom of a much bigger problem (230 comments)

Microsoft and Intel spent 20 years building bigger. Intel made bigger more complex silicon and Microsoft bloat happily expanded to fill that bigger silicon.

I remember times in the 90s where I was upgrading CPUs for clients that were 6 months old - crazy.

These two companies where wholly unprepared for the mobile revolution that required small and efficient. Neither company could shrink their offerings down fast enough. Unix on ARM was there to fill the need.

I say to both companies - tough cookies. Had they had an eye toward efficiency instead of bloat from the very beginning, they would have been much better prepared for the mobile/app revolution.

about 2 months ago
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Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

zerofoo Government preventing kids from learning to read (267 comments)

This is timely. I spent the better part of last night in a zoning and planning board meeting. I'm the IT director for a couple of small private schools for Kids with Dyslexia. One of our schools is currently located in the basement of a really old church. It works for us now, but our lease is running out and we need more space to grow.

We found a generous landlord willing to lease us space (way below market rates) in a brand new building - it's beautiful. It is part of a small financial complex, and the space is perfect for our needs. This landlord sees this as a temporary growth space, and he is offering to renovate a larger abandoned school for us over the next two years as our permanent home. He has a philanthropic foundation that would fund the renovation.

But there is one problem. The current (temporary) building has commercial/retail/office/daycare zoning. It does not currently have school zoning as an approved use.

We tried to argue the fact that currently "daycare" is an approved use, and teaching little kids how to read isn't a significantly different use. They didn't want to hear it. The sticking point? Parking. The landlord needs to completely redo a traffic/parking study to show how taking a few parking spaces from an enormous parking lot and dedicating them as "pickup and drop-off" spaces will impact the remainder of the parking lot.

Keep in mind, the entire parking lot and complex is privately owned by the landlord - there is no public parking anywhere in this complex. Presumably any parking problems would be the business of the tenants and the landlord.

That's what we thought, be we were wrong. The town denied our application and that means there will be no summer program this year.

So tell me - Government preventing a bunch of kids getting summer reading enrichment over a handful (3) of parking spaces is a good thing?

Sorry - people that extoll the virtues of Government have not had complex enough dealings with government to know any better.

about 2 months ago
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Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

zerofoo Tech in a dyslexic school (310 comments)

I'm the IT director for a school that teaches kids with dyslexia and non-verbal learning disabilities (Asperger Syndrome). Technology is a hugely beneficial tool for these types of kids.

Language based learning disabilities make it hard for kids to learn other subjects. A student that can not read at grade level is hindered in all other subjects. Text to speech and speech to text technologies can help a student complete history and science classes while they remediate their reading and writing skills in other classes.

Google Apps has a ton of educational apps that are reducing our need for textbooks. Stuff like Geogebra and Plotly are free online and have almost eliminated math textbooks for our school.

Show me a teacher that says technology is a worthless teaching tool, and I'll show you a lazy teacher.

Computers much like books alone can not teach a child. These things must be integrated into the curriculum and it is the teacher's responsibility to guide the instruction and keep kids on track.

Technology isn't the problem - lazy teachers are the problem.

about 2 months ago
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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

zerofoo This tech is not about safety. (584 comments)

Anti-gun folks want this type of technology mandated as a barrier to gun ownership. This technology increases costs, and there is ZERO data to show that this technology increases safety. If this technology proves unreliable; it could actually decrease the safety of the end user.

The only people pushing for this gun technology are the manufacturers of that technology and anti-gun people. That alone is enough to make me suspicious.

The mandate argument is strictly a distraction. We gun owners live with TONS of mandates regarding our ownership and use of firearms. Comparing driving mandates to gun ownership is stupid. Driving is a state-granted privilege. The right to bear arms is a natural-born, constitutionally protected right.

Learn the difference.

about 2 months ago
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Our Education System Is Failing IT

zerofoo Comp sci for all! (306 comments)

Yep, I'm one of those "IT directors" that operates interfaces. I studied EE and graduated with a Comp Sci degree.

Sure, I learned all about this stuff - circuits, logic, algorithms/math...etc. I ended up not making products, but implementing/using them. I understand how the spanning tree protocol in my switches uses a tree data structure to detect and eliminate loops - but do I really need that level of knowledge to be an effective IT guy?

The reason IT guys have devolved into "operators of interfaces" is that of efficiency. I'm the sole guy here in a small school with 200 people in multiple locations depending on me to keep the lights on. I don't have time for lengthy customization or "roll your own" IT products.

So efficiency requires that I take products out of the box "operate the interfaces" according to best practice guidelines and move on with life.

That's just the way it is.

about 3 months ago
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How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

zerofoo Apple stole nothing (194 comments)

The car electronics companies gave away the market. I was in car audio for years while in college. I sold and installed almost every brand you can stick into a dashboard - that was in the 90s.

Mobile electronics interfaces are still stuck in the 90s. The mobile industry has completely ignored the user interface advancements of the last 10 years. Take a look at the average aftermarket radio - buttons and dot-matrix LED displays that should have been replaced years ago.

Don't even get me started about bluetooth in car - absolutely no mobile manufacturer makes a stable bluetooth implementation. They all universally suck.

The best thing I put into my car was a bracket to hold my smartphone. After trying 5 different headunits, I finally gave up trying to find one that approaches the functionality and usability of my Nexus and iOS devices.

The mobile electronics companies screwed this up - apple stole nothing from them.

about 3 months ago
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

zerofoo I'll tell you why Netflix caved (328 comments)

Barriers to entry. Comcast and Netflix have now raised the barriers to entry for any newcomers. Comcast gets paid, Netflix passes on the costs (eventually that will happen) and any newcomers will need to have a similar arrangement or their service will never get off the ground.

This is about preserving the status quo for all involved and locking out any new competition.

None of these guys are your friends.

about 3 months ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

zerofoo He's nuts (641 comments)

'I use a third-party firewall, a free virus checker, and run Housecall periodically,' says Appel. 'My Firefox browser uses Keyscrambler, HTTPS Anywhere, Ghostery, and Disconnect. I also have a VPN account (PIA) when traveling. For suspicious email attachments, I deploy private proprietary bioware (me!) to analyze before opening. All the "experts" say I am crazy.

And this is less work than installing and learning a modern Linux distribution?

I understand people not wanting another learning curve, but this guy might be better served by spending his copious amounts of free time learning something current.

about 4 months ago
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Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

zerofoo Re:We're on Google Apps/Chromebooks (409 comments)

You can disable ads in the Google Apps for Education admin tool.

We also block ad networks via other means.

Relax - not everything is a conspiracy. Sometimes philanthropy is just that.

about 4 months ago
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Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

zerofoo We're on Google Apps/Chromebooks (409 comments)

And it is fantastic.

We still have microsoft in the server closet, but in the past two years we've dumped our Terminal server/SQL farm for cloud based apps, and moved off of exchange to Google Apps.

We're now rolling out chromebooks as a replacement for MacBooks in the classroom. The combination of quick boot time, instant data save to the cloud, low acquisition costs, and no ongoing costs simply can't be beat.

We can buy 5 chromebooks for the cost of one MacBook - with a lot less administrative overhead.

Sure, there are creative areas where MacBooks still make sense, but handing a child a $1000 laptop no longer makes sense. There is enough stuff in the cloud to teach kids how to research, write, and learn.

Besides, we need to stop teaching kids "Microsoft" or "Apple" and we need to teach them how to learn. The tool should be irrelevant.

about 4 months ago
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Transhumanist Children's Book Argues, "Death Is Wrong"

zerofoo Fly over the middle of the US sometime (334 comments)

and look out a window. The last time I landed in Las Vegas I was stunned at how much of the us is completely and totally unoccupied.

Drive out to state college PA sometime - nothing but trees on either side of you for hours on end.

I heard a stat a few years ago saying the entire population of the world could fit into the state of Texas at the density of NYC. Yes, that doesn't account for infrastructure, and food production, but the point is that the entire world would be left over for that.

There is lots of room on this blue marble. Technology will find a way to support us all.

about 4 months ago
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Your Next Car's Electronics Will Likely Be Connected By Ethernet

zerofoo A little late (180 comments)

The SAE has been talking about this for years. This article is from 2012:

http://articles.sae.org/11142/

I think the BMW 7 series has used ethernet for the infotainment systems for a while now.

about 5 months ago
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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

zerofoo The declining suburbs....or not.... (606 comments)

Almost daily I read something telling me that my car will become obsolete, my suburban house will plummet in value, and my suburban lifestyle is heading the way of the dodo. Meanwhile, the suburban neighborhood I currently live in didn't exist 10 years ago. Could it be that people actually like living in the suburbs?

The problem with this "urban utopia" concept is that cities suck. They are generally crowded, noisy, smelly, expensive, and all-around unpleasant. Sure, if you are young and don't mind having 3-4 roommates, or you are a history professor type that loves walking everywhere - they by all means - live in a city.

I loved NYC until I had to work there. Holy crap - what a disaster that place is. The experience was so bad, I ran to the suburbs to raise kids - and I'm never going back.

It's no surprise that tech companies, flush with cash, can seek better alternatives. I actually applaud these companies. There are talented employees all over the country - not just in cities. If companies want to bus in their workers - that's great. Government should just get out of the way and keep the roads paved.

about 5 months ago
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California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

zerofoo Kalifornia (374 comments)

Is there any business that Kalifornia doesn't hate?

I'm simply amazed at the size of California's economy relative to its anti-business ways.

about 6 months ago
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Microsoft Extends Updates For Windows XP Security Products Until July 2015

zerofoo Re:Oh great... (417 comments)

Or they deployed Chromebooks for the reasons we did:

1. Low hardware cost - our Samsungs cost $249 each.
2. Enough web based software to do the job (google apps plus 3rd party apps are VERY good in an education environment).
3. Central data storage that doesn't require lots of backup hardware and software or server hardware.
4. Great management tools for deploying policies and apps.
5. The big one - FREE after the initial hardware purchase - WITH SUPPORT.

Show me another ecosystem that offers this much for so little cost.

If Google is beating us with a stick, I'll take it any day of the week over the Microsoft/Apple stuff we were running.

about 6 months ago
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How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

zerofoo Even mediocre charters are loved by parents (715 comments)

I work for a private school. While it is not a charter, I have seen many parents of children in mediocre schools profess their love for charters.

Why would a parent love a school that performs, statistically, no better than the school they previously attended?

The answer is choice. Parents choose to put their children in those schools, and the administrators and teachers know that if they do not bend to the needs and wants of the student and the parent, then the student placement is put at risk.

One parent compared her local school district to the phone company. She said "before charter schools, the school district was like the phone company, they didn't have to care, they were the only game in town".

Charters give parents without means choice. That means the teachers and administrators of those schools have to be "nice" or the student walks. All else being equal, a parent of a C/D student in either environment prefers the charter school.

-ted

about 7 months ago

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