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Comment Re:What Happened? (Score 1) 127

There are several articles out there that detail the rise and fall of RIM/Blackberry. The basic idea is that Mike Lazaridis and other executives refused to allow the devices to develop beyond excellent email machines with nice keyboards, and completely missed the boat on the kind of developments that people came to expect of not just smartphones, but cell phones in general. Cameras, music players, larger screens, even good web browsers. They also completely missed the BYOD culture - if a person is buying one device for both personal and company use, they aren't going to buy the corporate-focused one that isn't much fun. They're going to buy the Android or iPhone or something with good app support that also happens to talk to Exchange.

By the time they started grudglingly adding some of these features, it was already angling towards too late. By then iPhone and Android (and Windows Phone) were offering near-desktop-levels of web browsing support, decent cameras, every kind of music and video playing you could want, while the Blackberry devices hadn't really changed all that much.

Meanwhile they were at least making enough money on paper with existing contracts to at least stay afloat, which really just led to more head-in-sanding.

Comment Re:Good guy teleco emplyees... (Score 4, Informative) 123

This, pretty much. I went round and round with AT&T trying to get an off-contract iPhone 4 unlocked for over a year before I ended up trading it in for double-credit on a iPhone 6 for my wife for far more than it would have sold for on eBay or the like even unlocked. They just kept declining it with no explanation, and the customer service reps were no help.

Comment Re:Novermber,2014 called (Score 4, Interesting) 170

In a past life I led UAT/QA testing teams, and I mostly blame poor fail state handling with a fair amount of positive-result-only testing. A lot of bits are coded such that they really only handle "correct" data, and anything else doesn't get handled properly or at all. On top of that, plenty of test case scenarios either only test that things work properly when used properly, or for things that include fail states that they still only really test "correct" usage. I used to get teased a fair amount for doing things like pasting huge amounts of data in fields (just for bugs like this one), or uploading images to csv-expecting text-based importers, or clicking buttons as fast as I could when it was only expecting a single click, but I found all kinds of weird bugs that way. My favorite, and relevant to this, was when I discovered that entering in a massive block of text on the customer account management site's Add Email Mailbox wizard would crash the entire customer management site systemwide. That one got fixed pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Actual pictures or it didn't happen. (Score 2) 150

I've seen a few of them, but they're pretty rare. I avoid them because usually the boot does more harm than good - getting stuck under the tab, sliding to the side and making it hard to push the tab, getting stuck next to the jack/port, especially if it's slightly recessed like you might find in an IP phone. And, apparently, breaking Cisco switches. Something like This would probably do it.

Incidentally, I'm not really a Cisco guy, but I have helped recover a couple secondhand switches for friends and I'm pretty sure there are several more steps required than just holding the mode button. If you were to get it stuck pushed and the switch ever power cycled it'd likely end up stuck at a boot prompt until the cable was unplugged and it was rebooted again, but it shouldn't be the disaster implied.

Comment Re:Sorry to say so, but... (Score 1) 354

I... think you just proved my point? You could connect (the original) Windows 95 to The Internet just fine. Install TCP/IP, install Dial-Up Networking or a Network Card, and dial up/connect. All built in. It did not include a Web Browser in the original version, so there was a limit to what you could do without extra software, but that in no way precluded access to the Internet. From there you could install Netscape, Opera, a version of IE you got from elsewhere, etc. Or use the built-in ftp and telnet if you'd rather; at the time just plain telnet was somewhat useful.

The Plus! pack only added an early version of Internet Explorer, it didn't impact access to the Internet itself. You didn't have to buy the Plus! pack to get access to the internet. OSR2 only added various versions of Internet Explorer. The underlying TCP/IP and ethernet/DUN didn't change.

Unless by "include" you're meaning "free access", which of course it didn't.

Comment Re:inertia (Score 1) 354

I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person that had very little trouble multitasking Windows 3.1 just fine. I'd regularly be running Word working on a school paper, maybe a graphics program editing some image for it, listening to a CD with a cd player program, plus maybe a DOS terminal program in a window for BBSing and generally have no problems. We were also early adopters of the Internet and I had no problems adding Netscape in '94 or '95 or so into that mix. Netscape started to be more of a problem in the 4.x versions once the web started passing it by, but in general I don't really remember having that much trouble with 3.1.

Comment Re:Sorry to say so, but... (Score 2) 354

You're confusing Internet for the web. It did have TCP/IP, which is a bigger deal than people today realize. Before Windows 95, people generally had to use one of several third party TCP/IP implementations. Trumpet Winsock for Windows, MacTCP for Mac (was not free originally), several commercial applications shipped along with their own stacks. Microsoft did release a version for Windows for Workgroups 3.11, but it came along pretty late and would have required someone getting ahold of it separately as it didn't come with it. Not to mention WFW was mostly aimed at businesses rather than home users. This was the first time (on Windows) there was a standard TCP/IP package available that could be guaranteed to be there (more or less... I worked for an ISP in 1999-2002 and you'd think people intentionally lost their Windows discs...).

Moneycost varieties aside, it was generally pretty easy to grab an ISP install disc (or even floppy set) even as early as 1995-1996 that had some 32-bit version of a browser on it, often for free at kiosks at checkouts. Most ISPs also sent out install packages with software when you signed up, so it's not like there was a huge barrier of entry even for people who bought the original Windows 95.

Comment Re: 15? (Score 1) 354

If you held down shift while doing a Restart from the shutdown menu, rather than going through a whole reboot cycle it did the equivalent of dropping to DOS and reloading It could be a great shortcut for application installs and such. In the days of motherboards that insisted on slowly counting up your RAM, and then himem.sys testing it again, it could shave a good minute or so off boot times.

Comment Re:Could someone ELI5 how Macbooks retain value? (Score 1) 435

Granted everyone has different expectations and patience when it comes to computers and OSes, but this hasn't been my experience at all. I keep around a Dell Latitude D620 (released 2006, I think) for some uses where I need a real serial port that handled Windows 8 just fine, and still runs 10 pretty well. Bootup takes a little longer than might be ideal on its crappy slow hard drive, but it's completely usable and faster than 8 in most things. I also ran 7 and 8 on a Compaq Presario C700 laptop (was my previous laptop, released 2007) though I've stolen some parts from it so I haven't upgraded it to 10. Then I have a relatively new Thinkpad T430 as my "real" laptop, and it runs 10 brilliantly (i5, 16gb of RAM).

Yeah, I know, anecdotes, opinion, etc, but I have no complaints. I also generally have no reason to try to resell computers, so resale value isn't a concern to me. In general, Windows has gone faster and improved performance for each version past Vista for me, on the same hardware usually.

Comment Re:coolpad, ten bucks (Score 1) 141

You're looking at carrier-subsidized prices. The "free" phone you get for signing up for accounts still costs some amount, often a non-trivial amount. I picked up a $10 Coolpad Arise myself for testing some things, and even though there's technically no contract involved it's still been subsidized by the carrier expecting you to then pay them for service. The $50 smartphone is $50 retail, out the door, full cost nothing added or removed, direct from the vendor.

This is a bigger deal for developing countries who don't have carrier subsidization, old phone clearances, etc.

Comment Re:Advice for youth (Score 1) 585

I can't disagree with this more. Once you reach a certain point, being unemployed for long is very rare. I've experienced this first-hand - I was working for a company who discovered the CFO had been cooking the books very, very badly. It wasn't quite illegal; there weren't criminal charges involved, but it led to about 15 people (including me) losing our jobs, and the remaining 20 employees taking a serious pay cut with a questionable future for the company. While I (and the others) getting let go were still in the meeting where they'd informed us of what happened, some of the other higher-ups were talking with us about possible business ideas that could turn the business back around and lead to us being rehired, and they mentioned approaching the now-ex CFO guy for investment (but *only* investment, no controlling interest, just to be clear). So we have a case where a guy has just cost 15 people their jobs through blatant chicanery, had just been fired from the company for it, and the other higher ups are still interested in dealing with him for funding. Money talks, and once you have a certain amount of it you'll have a hard time staying down for long unless you've committed some crime serious enough for jail time.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 127

This gets into the arms race thing again. Right now some sites/ad networks are doing things like setting cookies, parameters, checking logs, etc to make sure that you've hit the ad server. Alternatively, sometimes they'll use annoying NOSCRIPT code (or just rely on ad scripts to do something to the main page content) to blow up the website somehow if the ad scripts aren't loaded. There are any number of ways to detect whether adblockers are running or not.

Right now, most websites are still feeling like bad press and lost market share generated by turning away visitors with adblockers aren't worth it, so you'll usually see something fairly unobtrusive asking to unblock the site. At some point, especially if adblocking reaches a tipping point, more and more sites might actually start blocking content if ads are blocked. If this happens, adblockers will have to come up with a way to convince the networks that the ads are loaded, even when they aren't. Sadly this might require going back to the way adblocking used to be done whereby the whole page was loaded, and then ads were removed. This will hurt the bandwidth savings since all that will have to be downloaded anyway, and may also open up some attack vectors since scripts will have to execute somewhere.

Just the nature of the arms race. Probably the best-case scenario is that most mainstream websites will never want to risk alienating visitors and completely wall off their content to adblockers. We may start seeing more paywalls and microtransaction requirements though.

Comment Re:Won't catch on. (Score 1) 98

A way around this might be to have "spectator goggles" that would allow people watching to flip among the racers. That might increase the appeal a bit. Or maybe a few TVs displaying the view. I expect that'd be somewhat more exciting than just watching them from the outside. I don't disagree though, it'll be a hard thing to gain a lot of spectators unless people start racing drones big enough to see well in stadiums or something. I've never been able to enjoy esports too much myself.

+1 also to the dogfights. We've done some "wrestling" with drones here at the office that just sort of involve trying to knock them out of the sky either physically or using the downwash, and it's been interesting. Actual weapons would be cool.

"You show me an American who can keep his mouth shut and I'll eat him." -- Newspaperman from Frank Capra's _Meet_John_Doe_