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Comment: Re:This is bullshit (Score 3, Insightful) 278

by Christophotron (#44904663) Attached to: Ballmer Admits Microsoft Whiffed Big-Time On Smartphones
This is correct. I was a Windows Mobile user from 2006-2010. It was the best mobile platform at the time -- it did more than the competitors. Microsoft let it rot and fade away into obscurity, while the competition got better and better. By the time Microsoft "upgraded" their mobile OS (read: completely EOL'ed and threw away the previous version and replaced it with a completely new, incompatible, less-functional one), Android and IOS had completely taken over the market.

I was a WM user for two phone-generations and I had no choice but to switch to Android. In 2010, Microsoft simply did not have a viable product anymore, even compared to their old phones, let alone the new Android and iPhones. They started completely over from scratch, breaking all compatibility with previous versions (_twice_, with both WP7 and WP8), way too late in the development cycle to compete with current offerings from competitors. Windows Phone continues to try to catch up to its former self, in features and capability, while Android has gone way beyond that, and continues to improve. Nearly all of the former Windows Mobile developers have switched to Android and will likely never return -- the mindshare loss was devastating.

But Microsoft has a lot of money to throw at the problem -- they will eventually catch up, and then struggle to regain what they once had.

Comment: Re:I used to like it... (Score 1) 172

by Christophotron (#44102711) Attached to: Is Google Voice Doomed To Be 2nd-Class Messaging System?
I always clicked "NO" to those Sprint/Google integration prompts. As in-- do not choose either option, and close this dialog box. That means I still have two distinct phone numbers, one associated only with the telco, and one associated with Google that will redirect to your cell phone (or not redirect, if you choose). The way it should be. Integration with the telco kind of defeats the purpose of Google voice, IMO. If you only have a Google voice number then it's already too late, you are fully integrated and must always use Google voice for everything.

Comment: Re:What about coverage? (Score 1) 67

by Christophotron (#40674475) Attached to: Sprint Finally Joins 4G LTE Wireless Race
The airave piggybacks on a terrestrial (home) internet connection (i.e. AT&T DSL, Roadrunner, etc.) to create a virtual Sprint cell tower. If I am paying Sprint to have a wireless internet connection anywhere I go, how does it make any sense at all to connect to Sprint's service via a secondary internet connection that I also have to pay for? In other words, if I am in a location where I can set up an airave, then I can simply use WIFI instead and thus have absolutely no need for Sprint. (Yes, I know some people do use Sprint to make calls but, imo, that is irrelevant. Sprint is a wireless ISP that also happens to provide voice service).

Comment: Re:DUH! (Score 5, Informative) 91

by Christophotron (#34798564) Attached to: <em>LotR Online's</em> Free-To-Play Switch Tripled Revenue
Wow, LotRO made the /. headlines, awesome :)

I had never previously paid any money to play an MMO before LotRO. I used to play Ultima Online, first as a free 1-month trial and then on free unoffical servers many years ago. I joined LotRO a few months ago because it was free to play, and I quickly became hooked. It is a very high-quality game and very fun to play. Yes, I admit it is very commercialized because there is a 'store' built right into the game, and you can purchase points to buy things in-game. These things include additional content, quests and such, items, and lots of other 'little' things that can make things more convenient and/or fun.

But the beauty of it is -- you don't need to purchase _anything_ from the store to play through the main quest line, or to go to any area in the game except the major expansons. You can also _earn_ points without paying real money for them, just by playing the game. So I could avoid a monthly fee altogether and just throw a couple of bucks at it if there's something I want, or I could earn it by playing. And the stuff you spend the points on does not really imbalance the game. Sure, you can level a little bit faster or you can fast-travel to distant lands a bit more easily, but it's not like the free players are at a huge disadvantage.

I played for about a month and then I purchased the big expansion for the game, Mines of Moria. You need to be level 45+ to really go to the expansion area, anyway.. So along with this expansion I got a 'free' month of 'VIP' access, which includes many of the perks you can purchase using the points system. I really liked having these things after my free trial expired, so I decided to continue my VIP access by paying $10/month. I still play this game every day, so why not? But if I ever start playing less frequently, I can completely stop paying any money and still reap the benefits that I have unlocked already. That, to me, is really awesome. If this were WoW, if I stopped paying I could not play at all, period. It's a really ingenious system, IMO.

Comment: Re:If it comes out and works well (Score 1) 273

by Christophotron (#33405766) Attached to: Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month
From the btrfs wiki:

Btrfs is under heavy development, but every effort is being made to keep the filesystem stable and fast. As of 2.6.31, we only plan to make forward compatible disk format changes, and many users have been experimenting with Btrfs on their systems with good results. Please email the Btrfs mailing list if you have any problems or questions while using Btrfs.

OK, I guess the word "finalized" was a bit premature. It's "forwards-compatible", lol. I run 2.6.32 btw.

Comment: Re:If it comes out and works well (Score 2, Informative) 273

by Christophotron (#33400318) Attached to: Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month
I agree. BTRFS is definitely not ready for production or for storage of anything important that is not backed up elsewhere. It has known bugs, like for example the reported free space on a raid 1 will show the total disk size and not the actual free space, so it may be dangerous to fill the array too close to 100% (shown as 50% in df). It is unclear when (or if) it will be ready, but it is being worked on -- I've seen updates for the userland tools in Debian testing, and the newer kernels have updates for the fs driver. The bug I mentioned is fixed in 2.6.33, I believe. I was only countering the argument that it is too unstable even to test it out. That is untrue. Heck, even Linus Torvalds reportedly uses BTRFS as the root filesystem on one of his laptops.

Comment: Re:If it comes out and works well (Score 4, Informative) 273

by Christophotron (#33399990) Attached to: Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month
BTRFS is not that unstable really.. I have been running for a few months now, since the on-disk file structure was finalized. it's in a raid 1 configuration across 2 300gig drives on one of my home servers and it hasn't had a hiccup yet, even with lots of file i/o. i think it would like more than the CPU and RAM I gave it, but its still less resource intensive than ZFS. AFAIK ZFS would not even run on that machine due to the 32 bit processor and only 512mb of RAM. Some of the features are not implemented yet but it is certainly stable enough to test..

Comment: Re:Give me Laser Toner any day of the week (Score 2, Insightful) 651

by Christophotron (#32331330) Attached to: HP Explains Why Printer Ink Is So Expensive

I paid about $80 for a brand new Samsung ML-2510 monochrome laser printer. This printer can be found for even less if you get it on sale. I buy the (non-OEM) cartridges on Monoprice for about $20 apiece. One cartridge will last me FOREVER. At least 1000 pages I am sure. Oh, the cartridges are also easily refillable with a $6 bottle of standard copier toner. There is a removable plug on the cartridge that allows direct access to the toner chamber. It's not really worth my time, though, because the cartridges are so cheap. I have been using this printer for about 3 years and have only used up two cartridges.

I haven't been interested enough in color printing to buy a color laser, but I am sure that cheap, good ones do exist.

Comment: good for US in long run (Score 1) 151

by rastoboy29 (#32041670) Attached to: Japanese Consortium Projects a Humanoid Robot On the Moon By 2015
This is the sort of thing that will cause the US to start taking space seriously again.

I predict the space race will heat up real nice again real soon, but with multiple participants, this time.

It should be very exciting.  Just because we're sitting on our laurels, doesn't mean the other guys are.

(But we do have a very nice private industry starting).

Comment: Re:Anyone else notice when this patch arrives? (Score 1) 739

by Christophotron (#31663470) Attached to: "Install Other OS" Feature Removed From the PS3
PS3 may not have RRoD but it does have YLoD. Same thing, really. The graphics chip de-solders itself from the motherboard due to heat buildup and inadequate cooling. If you read up on it, you will find that essentially all of the original 60gb models are dropping like flies now. The 60gb was the best PS3 version that had full hardware-based backward compatibility and memory card readers and "install other os" feature. I wanted this version and I actually went as far as buying a used one but it died within minutes of turning it on. And remember -- this piece of crap cost $600 at release, and barely lasted 2-3 years. I don't think Sony is any better than Microsoft.. Even worse when you consider Sony did not extend any warranties past one year like MS did. Hardware reliability for consoles really took a nosedive this generation.

Comment: Re:So basically (Score 1) 226

by Christophotron (#31593020) Attached to: No More Firefox For Windows Mobile

Provided your phone maker doesn't push out an update that bricks your rooted phone.

This interests me a lot. I am a WM user and I have never owned an Android phone (yet) but at this rate it looks like my next phone will have to run Android or Meego. In the Android case, I certainly plan to run a rooted phone with a hacked ROM like Cyanogen. Isn't it possible to block carrier OTA updates? That's a *serious* downside to Android if not.. The whole purpose of a hacked ROM is to have total control over my own hardware. If the carrier can screw it all up on a whim, then I'm not really in control, am I? I certainly had no idea that could ever be possible. On WM, there was never any such thing as an OTA update, and I like it that way..

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 439

by Christophotron (#29932361) Attached to: Will Google and Android Kill Standalone GPS?
Absolutely, any decent smartphone made in the last few years has an actual GPS receiver that communicates with GPS satellites. My point was that it also requires an active internet connection because it does not cache the maps. What good is knowing your latitude/longitude if you still don't know what is around you? If you drive out in the boonies somewhere and you lose cell signal then you also lose your maps and navigation. Maybe Google will improve this with smart caching or something, but right now if you want to store the maps on your device you still need to purchase an app or a standalone GPS from a company like Garmin, TomTom, etc..

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 439

by Christophotron (#29925119) Attached to: Will Google and Android Kill Standalone GPS?

Sprint did this before Google did. If you purchased any smartphone recently from Sprint, (i.e. Touch Pro 2 or Palm Pre), then you already have Sprint Navigation on your phone. It has no additional fees, provides turn-by-turn navigation with text-to-speech (reads the street names to you), and requires an internet connection. I'm sure this didn't have much of an impact on standalone GPS and neither will Google Maps Nav.

They both have the fundamental limitation that they require an active internet connection. If you are out in the boonies somewhere and cannot get a cell signal then you have no navigation ability. You will still need a standalone GPS or a Garmin or TomTom app for your phone that stores the maps on the memory of the device.

Comment: Re:So he knows there is a problem ... (Score 1) 275

by Christophotron (#29545233) Attached to: Ballmer Admits, "We Screwed Up Windows Mobile"

I recently switched phones and providers, and I could have had my pick of basically any smart phone out there. I could have stuck with AT&T and got an iPhone, but I went with Windows Mobile-- specifically the Sprint (HTC) Touch Pro 2.

I was using AT&T and I decided that their network sucked and my "high-speed" data phone really did not achieve any kind of usable speed when I wanted to use it most. I remembered how Verizon always had great signal with their CDMA network, but they were way too expensive and their phones all sucked. So I went with Sprint (and what an awesome decision that was!). Sprint's network is leaps and bounds better than AT&T where I live-- I get EVDO speed in places I never even got an EDGE connection before. I actually have usable RDP over wireless now 3

Anyway, back to the phones. Sprint has Blackberries, WM phones, and the Palm Pre, among others. My wife went with the Pre and she loves it, and I sprung for the more mature hardware on the Touch Pro 2. Compared to the Pre, the keyboard and screen are simply amazing, not to mention the speaker is louder and clearer and the signal strength is better than the Pre. From a hardware perspective, the HTC TP2 stomps the Pre, the iPhone, the blackberries, and maybe even Nokia. This really is the finest piece of pocket-sized hardware I've ever used, bar none. The software may not be quite as slick as the competitors, and the app store doesn't exist yet, but overall I am VERY happy with this phone (with a bit of app envy).

Actually if they made this exact hardware configuration with Android OS on it, I would try it and probably like it even more. This phone is good IN SPITE OF Microsoft. HTC made the hardware, and HTC customized the software to make it tolerable, and Opera made a sick web browser for it. But I wouldn't count out the Windows Mobile platform just yet... I think MS is going to wise up soon. The app store is coming. They better get with the times, because if they don't, we will all be welcoming our HTC/Android overlords with open arms.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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