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Comment They didn't grab the opportunity (Score 5, Insightful) 359 359

I remember when Google+ first appeared as an "invite only" service. That was just before Facebook made the huge blunder of putting members' faces in ads for any pages they "Liked," suggesting an endorsement. I remember a lot of people everywhere got really angry at Facebook about "faces on ads," and even threatened to leave because of it.

And Google+ remained invite-only. Pretty much no one I knew had an account.

Over the next week, pretty much all you saw in the news was how people wanted to leave Facebook because of the "faces on ads" thing. What an abuse of privacy! You're stealing my image to sell products! There were a bunch of petitions for Facebook to undo the new "faces on ads," or else they would delete their Facebook accounts. The only problem was that there wasn't a viable alternate social network out there. Twitter wasn't really a replacement for how most people used Facebook.

And Google+ still remained invite-only. By then, a few people I knew had accounts, but had run out of invites to share. So few others could get in.

After a few weeks, Facebook decided to calm the storm, and undid "faces on ads." And as expected, people stopped freaking out about Facebook. After another week, even the tech websites stopped writing about "faces on ads."

And finally, Google+ went "live." Anyone could join. I had an account, but few of my other friends bothered to sign up. Why? Because they were still using Facebook, they got over the "faces on ads" fiasco. Without other people to share with, Google+ failed to gain critical mass.

Google+ failed because they didn't know how to respond to the opportunity that Facebook gave them.

Comment Buy an IBM Model M (Score 1) 452 452

Your best bet is buy an IBM Model M keyboard from Unicomp. That's where I bought mine. It is a really nice keyboard, solidly built, good travel on the keys. Yes, it's a mechanical buckling spring keyboard, so it does make noise. But my fingers just don't get tired. It's great. I ordered mine as a USB keyboard.

Unicomp also seems to sell a few keyboards in the more common "rubberdome" format, so maybe that's more your style.

I'll admit that sometimes my carpal tunnel flares up and I need to switch back to an ergonomic keyboard. I still have my Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite from a few years back. It's a rubberdome keyboard, just like any keyboard you'll find, but it lets me keep my wrists and forearms in a relaxed position. It's a PS2 connector with a USB adapter.

Comment Re:A popular laptop OS? (Score 5, Interesting) 133 133

FreeDOS gets used in several pre-built computers. HP is one example - HP EliteBook comes with a FreeDOS option. And Dell used to do this, don't know if they still do. There are a bunch of vendors (especially in Europe and Asia) that pre-install FreeDOS, too.

Alas, these pre-built computers have FreeDOS on them mainly as a clever way to get around a licensing agreement with Microsoft. I understand that Microsoft put a term in their Windows OEM license that prohibits system builders from selling "naked" computers - systems without operating systems. If you want to get the huge discount on Windows OEM licenses, so you can sell pre-built computers with Windows already installed, you may not also sell these "naked" computers.

But there are plenty of people out there who don't want an operating system pre-installed (I presume these people are like me who prefer free software, and who would install a Linux distribution on their new computer) so system builders started shipping computers with FreeDOS pre-installed. I think the premise is that customers will reformat the drive and install Linux anyway, but the system builder didn't technically sell a "naked" computer.

I actually think this is very clever and I like the idea. A few users do keep FreeDOS installed on their system; occasionally I get emails from people who decided to keep FreeDOS installed (and probably dual-boot into Linux) so they could use FreeDOS to play old DOS games.

Comment Re:Can I play Descent on it? (Score 5, Informative) 133 133

I wonder if FreeDOS can run in virtual machine. Oh Google...

Yes, you can run FreeDOS in a VM! I usually recommend installing FreeDOS in a VM, especially if you don't plan to commit that computer to FreeDOS full-time. For Windows, I think most people prefer QEMU or VMWare or VirtualPC. On my Linux laptop, I run DOSemu.

Submission + - FreeDOS is 20 years old

Jim Hall writes: In a June 29, 1994 post in comp.os.msdos.apps on USENET, a physics student announced an effort to create a completely free version of DOS that everyone could use. That project turned into FreeDOS, 20 years ago! Originally intended as a free replacement for MS-DOS, FreeDOS has since advanced what DOS could do, adding new functionality and making DOS easier to use. And today in 2014, people continue to use FreeDOS to support embedded systems, to run business software, and to play classic DOS games!

Comment Internships and experience (Score 1) 309 309

It's not too early for job hunting, although you are shooting a little too high for your experience level. What you should be looking for now is an internship somewhere. Many companies are looking for students to do basic coding for them over the summers. Yes, you can even do the Web development you were looking for. When I was in intern, I worked on several things: Code cleanup, a program to audit a database and report stats, experimenting with new methods and writing & documenting a sample program, etc. It can be good summer employment while you are on summer break. And when you graduate, you'll have a ton of experience for your resume. Finding internships may be challenging. Check with your job placement office at your university. They likely have a list of places that are looking to hire paid interns. Start with that. You might also call around to places that you like and ask to speak to a manager in the software (or web) development group. Then just ask if they are hiring interns, introduce yourself, tell them what you are interested in. You might get lucky and find someone to hire you, even if they weren't planning on hiring an intern. Remember, even if they aren't hiring interns or don't have a slot for you, they might be able to point you to someone who does. Often, IT managers know other IT managers at other companies, so they might at least be able to recommend somewhere to call where you'd have more luck. Focus on getting the experience through summer internships, and you'll be able to find a great job when you graduate. I did that when I was at university, and it led to a job at a company I interned for, after I graduated, and I didn't even have a CS degree (I was physics).

Comment Start with the applications (Score 1) 452 452

"Since I am the only guy with Linux experience I would have to support the Linux installations. Now the problem is what works perfectly fine for me may be a horrible experience for some of my coworkers, and even if they would only be using Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice I don't know if I could seriously recommend using Linux as a desktop OS in a business. Instead I want to set up one test machine for users to try it and ask THEM if they like it. The test machine should be as easy and painless to use as possible and not look too different compared to Windows. Which distro and what configuration should I choose for this demo box?"

What you are describing is an impromptu usability test. And that's a good thing to do, especially if you are planning to recommend a particular desktop environment.

But what you need to start with is applications. Running Linux on the desktop is great (I do it at work and at home) but if you have users who need to run Photoshop, or a Windows IDE, or some particular finance application, it's going to be awfully hard to do that on Linux. But let's say your organization has all your applications in the Cloud or on an internally-hosted web application server, and these web applications run fine in Chrome or Firefox. That's a different story. But my guess is that you'll have at least a few programs that require running on the desktop.

My recommendation would be to find interested groups who'd like to try Linux on the desktop, and start there. Make it a pilot project. Take it slow, and meet with someone from that group daily to make sure you're addressing any pain points that come up. Things you'll want to watch out for are shared storage (like on a file server) and printing.

Submission + - Target's data breach started with an HVAC account->

Jim Hall writes: Security blogger Krebs reports that Target's data breach started with a stolen HVAC account. Last week, Target said the initial intrusion into its systems was traced back to network credentials that were stolen from a third party vendor. Sources now claim that the vendor in question was a refrigeration, heating and air conditioning subcontractor that has worked at a number of locations at Target and other top retailers. Attackers stole network credentials from Fazio Mechanical Services, then used that to gain access to Target's network. It’s not immediately clear why Target would have given an HVAC company external network access, or why that access would not be cordoned off from Target’s payment system network.
Link to Original Source

Comment leadership lessons from unusual places (Score 1) 186 186

I like to find leadership lessons from unusual places too. I occasionally write about them on my blog. This year, that included IT leadership lessons from Zombies, and leadership lessons from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! Coaching Buttons blog :-)

Comment Re:NIH syndrome (Score 1) 334 334

Sad thing is, much of the behavior one sees out of federal contracts is due to taxpayer groups demanding anti-corruption measures. A great deal of the bureaucracy comes directly from people complaining about waste and demanding a complex audible process.


I'm going to assume that was an autocorrect error on your post.

Comment Re:Best Buy (Score 1) 385 385

Man, I hope they don't close Best Buy. That's where I try out stuff before I go buy it on Amazon.

Sure, Best Buy has been close on price for a few items, but I really don't like getting my bag searched on the way out. I'll try out the stuff that's there, but I won't spend my money there.

Comment Re:Images (Score 2) 1191 1191

2 things:

1. I have a 3G phone, but my service area only offers 2G. After loading your new site on slooooooooooooooooooow 2G, I'm not feeling very motivated to find a menu item to turn off images. I'll likely go to Google News - Technology section instead.

2. Your beta site clearly is detecting that I'm using a mobile phone, because it gives me a different top-banner than my desktop browser. But that icon that you pointed us to does not exist on mobile.

Comment Re:Awful (Score 1) 1191 1191

It's 2013. Supporting mobile devices at the same time as the high-resolution desktops should be a no-brainer. But the beta site looks pretty bad on mobile. On my phone, the new site design does quite a lot of scrolling to the right, mostly thanks to a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge ad at the top. Also, the site pops up a message box that disappears off the left side of my screen, rendering half the message unreadable.


Comment Re:Use 100% width please (Score 1) 1191 1191

This layout does not auto-adjust to the width of the browser. It is responsive for smaller screens, but for large ones, it wastes space.

The beta site may scale down well for desktop browsers, but not for phones. On my phone, the new site design does quite a lot of scrolling to the right, mostly thanks to a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge ad at the top. Also, the site pops up a message box that disappears off the left side of my screen, rendering half the message unreadable.

It's 2013, we must support mobile devices at the same time as the high-resolution desktops.

If all else fails, lower your standards.