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Comment: Try and try again. (Score 4, Informative) 378

It is actually kind of sad if you know their history.

Back in the day they were competing with Palm, and had Windows CE and Pocket PC 2000. When PocketPC 2002 came out my employer switched over from Palm and I got to rewrite a bunch of tools. They did pretty good for a while with Mobile 2003, and Windows Mobile 5. It knocked Palm down several notches in the mobile market, with Palm losing value and getting bought out in 2005.

The fun thing about that era is that there were phones with PDAs in them, you can go back to "Pocket PC Phone Edition" for that. Each version of Windows Mobile supported running in phones, but they never took off.

The iPod was getting some power and some apps, but I loved that with a single CF card I could have my entire music library on my device; the Axim x51v used the same audio chipset as the iPod of the era coupled with better playback software where you could mix and such. It also offered all kinds of apps making the device useful for the other common tasks of the time like calendar, email, and web over both wifi and bluetooth.

Again you could get phones running WM5 and WM6 with all their apps, and in late 2006 they had 51% of the market. Blackberry had 37%, Palm was 9%, and Symbian at 9%.

Then came the iPhone. At the time I didn't really see the reason for the hype, when it came to processor power, memory, and even 3D graphics the iPhone was less powerful than my Windows 6 phone.

As the numbers came back, iOS rose and WM feel by the same percent; the other companies were flat in market share. By early 2007 Windows Mobile drooped to 42% and iOS was at 11%. By 2008, WM had 29% and iOS 19% and Android had entered at 2%. By 2010 Windows Mobile devices had dropped to 7% market share, Blackberry had dropped to 25%, Palm to 3%, and Symbian at 2%.

Phones running Windows Mobile continued to exist, but that's about it. Three more versions of Windows Mobile, the three editions as Windows Phone, they have never been able to get their market share back anywhere near 2006 levels.

Comment: Re:Going my own way (Score 2) 190

by Frobnicator (#49159159) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

As far as I'm concerned, ... no one cares anyway. :) The important thing is *I* know what to think when I learn about something "out there." And Pluto? Pluto is definitely a planet. If someone convinces me that these ideas are inconsistent, I'll do my best to fix 'em so they aren't.

We see articles about how few people are scientifically literate, and so many on Slashdot decry "We are geeks, we understand science!"

Appearently, nope!

Scientists, the astronomers who spend their days and nights studying the stars and planets, people who are intimately familiar with the definitions, and people whose life work and career funding depend on them, came up with a set of definitions.

The definitions draw a line somewhere, and you can argue they are as arbitrary as a meter and a kilogram, or a foot and a pound. You can spend your days arguing that the measuring stick is the wrong size, or spend your days convincing the rest of the world that they need a different measuring stick, or otherwise be a nay-sayer and contradict the consensus of the scientists.

But to decry that because you learned something one way, therefore that convinces you forever, that's just plain stupid.

Comment: Re: Welcome to the U.S. of A. (Score 5, Insightful) 148

There is also the matter that, according to the plaintiffs, she was paid (indirectly through her husband's estate) and contractually bound to keep her mouth shut.

Contracts don't work indirectly like that. Either you agree to the terms directly or you don't. As all legal organizations including the SCOTUS recognized, a valid contract requires free consent.

Either she was a party to the contract with it's nondisparagement clause, and agreed to keep her mouth shut about all production details, or she was not part of the contract and the company is in the wrong. Her statement was that the show made during her husband's life and with her husband's contract was done "without my knowledge or cooperation," which is quite likely since her then-living husband likely took care of his own business deals.

Some portions of a contract may survive a death and transfer to estates. Others automatically dissolve completely (such as partnership agreements between two people) or require affirmation that the new parties accept the new terms of a new, successor agreement. Binding nondisparagement terms do not transfer to other people.

On its face it looks like the company made an agreement with a now deceased individual. The question is one of contract law. If she signed the contract then she was bound and shouldn't have said anything. But if she didn't sign the agreements, she should be adding a counter-claim.

Can they produce such a contract? Do they have a nondisparagement agreement that SHE signed? That's the key to the entire dispute.

Comment: Re:Weak (Score 3, Informative) 65

by Frobnicator (#49057705) Attached to: California Floats Conditional Approval For Comcast/TWC Merger

So let's allow the monopoly and reduction consumer options, but we'll delay it's full impact for 5 years. This doesn't make much sense, except to the Judge, who will be getting one hell of a kickback in 5 years.

Read the whole thing, there are some gems.

One particularly expensive gem the requirement that they must roll out to rural areas and low-density housing areas under their own funds. These areas would be expensive for the state and the companies don't want to pay the bill either.

They need to provide up to 45% coverage for a bunch of areas, and offer deep discounts to anyone earning less than 1.5x poverty level. They need to support the Lifeline program (communications equipment to elderly and disabled) through their entire coverage area. They must support Ethernet for the last mile for everywhere they cover. They must pay to hook up k-12 schools and libraries up to the same ratio as their subscribers in the area. They've got about 1.7M subscribers in the bay area, Google suggests there are about 2.3M homes in the area, so roughly 70% of the population. There's several hundred million dollars they'll need to pay for supporting schools and libraries. Running all that cable and fiber to the more sparse areas will also be expensive. Some quick back-of-the-envelope estimates show they're looking at around a $2B-$10B cost for that. Yes they could afford it, but it will certainly sting.

Then this line could also sting: "Comcast shall take action to improve customer service including respecting customer choice and competitive choices, and meet the Commission’s minimum service quality standards as set forth in GO 133-C". The standards include timeliness requirements that comcast currently does not meet, so they'll be hiring lots of service techs and buying lots of service trucks to get them out fast enough.

From their response "some of the penetration rates and time frames suggested by the conditions are simply unattainable under market conditions, especially with populations that have been slowest to adopt broadband." Which is true. "market conditions" means never installing fiber or high speed connections to those areas because it is expensive.

So on the one hand it does grant them permission to merge, on the other hand they're looking at quite a few billion dollars on government-mandated action.

No, this is just like Comcast's advertising: What the big print gives, the small print takes away.

Comment: Re:The land of the free and the home of the brave. (Score 5, Insightful) 645

Be careful about the whole "home of the brave" comments. ISIS is trolling, they are doing all they can to entice the US into sending ground troops. That is a trap. Please don't fall for it. Thankfully most leaders can see and are avoiding the trap.

If the US or other western nations send in ground troops the region considers that an ISIS victory.

The instant the US or other western nations commit to ground attacks ISIS can make stronger claims of legitimacy within the region. It is no longer "ISIS versus everybody", it becomes "Another US/Western war against Muslims".

Unlike the US, Jordan can do this. They are in the region, sharing borders with Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. When Jordan strikes out they are seen as "Muslims fighting with other Muslims", which does not polarize the issue. If Jordan attacks it is seen as an ISIS loss.

Comment: Re:Latest update (Score 2, Insightful) 222

by Frobnicator (#48995633) Attached to: GPG Programmer Werner Koch Is Running Out of Money

I don't contest that Zimmerman and Koch know how to communicate securely and what it takes, but maybe we are talking about a different threat model. One thing is identity assurance just for the sake of identity assurance, but in Debian we use it as a core infrastructural part: Get hold of my GPG key, and you have potential root access to thousands of computers.

Holy Hell, I hope you mistyped something!

It is 2015. If you've got a single password (your private key) with root access to that many machines, something is terribly wrong over at Debian.

For THOUSANDS OF MACHINES let me introduce you to the concept of a key vault. You start with your two-factor credentials to the vault, check out temporary credentials for the individual machine's keys or services you need, and use them for the day.

Do not allow your single private key -- no matter how many bits long it is -- to have root access to thousands of machines.

Comment: Re:The correct term is "Unschooling" (Score 1) 700

by Frobnicator (#48985941) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

So in other words, they turned out the same as most public school worst no worse than public schools.

That is not what I wrote, I ask you to not throw in strawman arguments for your witty retorts.

At worst it is substantially worse than public schools, thank you very much.

Comment: Re:The correct term is "Unschooling" (Score 1) 700

by Frobnicator (#48977567) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

And it works amazingly well.

Sometimes yes, it can get excellent results. Other times not so much.

A great deal of it comes down to your teacher, perhaps your own parent or a group of like-minded parents. I've got several relatives who decided to home school.

Some relatives were strict about achieving basic competence at every subject area in addition to delving deep into preferred topics. These kids all earned advanced degrees or are on the route to doing so. They seem to be well-rounded and able to solve any problem put before them.

Other relatives did not require broad skills, nor did they enforce study of core concepts that the parents or the students found boring. I fear these people will not become productive adults, as they seem to lack even basic critical reasoning skills.

One benefit of traditional schooling is that a broad range of topics are covered. Some of those the student may not enjoy but will at least have some exposure. Other topics the student and the parents may not have thought to explore on their own. The drawback is that the teacher may not have that individual student's best interests in mind.

Comment: Re:But We Need More H1-Bs! (Score 3, Insightful) 331

by Frobnicator (#48977105) Attached to: Massive Layoff Underway At IBM

If you only consider "good people" as the ones who are pre-trained with previous experience on cutting-edge software, then yeah, you will have a hard time finding them. Those are not the people looking for jobs.

It used to be that companies expected to train everyone, even experienced and senior people, for several months after hire. Now you are expected to start on the first day with a year of experience on new products in order to be considered a good worker.

It is unrealistic to expect that new hires, even experienced new hires, have 100% of the skills you need. Get someone who is smart, then train and educate them on the details.

Comment: Re:As always the definition of a terrorist (Score 1) 127

by Frobnicator (#48970713) Attached to: FBI Put Hactivist Jeremy Hammond On a Terrorist Watchlist

Thanks for that.

My quote was a reduction of what was in the article. The article itself reduced the 14-line block of text into a 4-clause statement, so I didn't have the full thing to pull from.

From the 4-clause article excerpt it seemed a reasonable quote. From the 50-something clause actual guidelines, not so much.

Comment: Re:As always the definition of a terrorist (Score 5, Insightful) 127

by Frobnicator (#48970133) Attached to: FBI Put Hactivist Jeremy Hammond On a Terrorist Watchlist

basicly the definition of terrorism as defined by the government is nothing more than "dissent"

Did you read the article? According to the definition issued by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in March 2013 ... an individual may be nominated to the TSDB watchlist for suspected acts [... that threats to society ... ] or "influence the policy of a government."

If your suspected action threatens to influence government policy, you're good enough for a terrorist watchlist.

Let's throw all of Washington DC into gitmo. They're threatening to influence government policy. Terrorists, the lot of them.

Comment: Re:How is maintenance performed? (Score 1) 148

by Frobnicator (#48932911) Attached to: Former NATO Nuclear Bunker Now an 'Airless' Unmanned Data Center

I can see a good BOHF episode answering this question.

The episodes have addressed it many times. In fact, both the article AND THE /. story talk about it: "We developed a solution that reduces the oxygen content in the air, so that even matches go out..."

The answer is easy enough: Halon satisfies their requirements, as do Halon substitutes. They work well for cooling and suppress fires. Halon discharges are a BOFH staple.

Comment: Re:Only for the first year (Score 1, Troll) 570

by Frobnicator (#48867423) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

I think the key question is what happens after the first year? How much does it cost after year 1? If you don't pay will it brick your PC or just stop providing updates?

Either way, I predict a massive revolt about 365 days after the upgrade is released.

I also predict a massive PR push by various Linux groups starting about 300 days in.

Comment: Re:Even Better (Score 1) 385

by Frobnicator (#48861111) Attached to: FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

Wait till your infrastructure dies because the FBI or some other three letter agency is poking around in your systems trying to install a backdoor or exploit.

Seems like you missed the news on that.

Last May, as part of Glenn Greenwald's book, the NSA's process of supply-chain interdiction was exposed. They would intercept shipments of Cisco hardware, install the back doors, replace factory seals, and put it back into the shipping chain. One story. And another.

Cisco's response was somewhat curious. It wasn't outrage. It wasn't a lawsuit. It wasn't an emotional response. It was a calm, publicly released letter addressed to President Obama about trust and confidence. Nowhere in their public statements do they say anything about surprise, or about lack of knowledge that it was happening, or that they were not complicit.

Nope, it is an open letter asking the government to restore trust and confidence. It reads like the company was asking "please don't let these secrets go public again."

It is widely believed -- and documented -- that government agencies have already inserted various backdoors into Cisco corporate security products. It is also likely that the companies know full well about their products being intercepted and modified by the government, and that Cisco and others are helping the various agencies by tagging the products to be modified.

Comment: Re:H1-B Tech workers are NOT paid less! (Score 2) 484

by Frobnicator (#48817685) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce

Sources for all these magical wages? Wherever I've been I don't see the tech giant directly hiring the H1Bs. Instead they hire a contracting firm, and the contracting firm brings in an army from India and China.

And as for some of the companies on the list like Microsoft, they beg and plead for more H1B workers, but last year in July, September, and October they laid off a combined total of over 25,000 Americans with a corporate ban to not rehire any of them.

Somehow those 25,000 workers cannot do the job despite many of them having stellar backgrounds, yet they tell Congress in September that they cannot find any qualified workers and so they are opening up offices in other nations..

Most of us see this for what it is: a corporate money grab. The numbers you gave (without citation) do not paint the real picture. Those numbers may be what the companies publicly state when they are pleading for their desperate need for tech workers, but they do not match the reality of the layoffs, the people training their H1-B replacements, the office closures, and the creation of cheaper foreign offices. I cannot fault the companies in their desire to maximize profits, that is the nature of the beast. But please don't fall for and recite their well-spun lies about H1-B workers not displacing American workers.

The beer-cooled computer does not harm the ozone layer. -- John M. Ford, a.k.a. Dr. Mike