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Comment There's another piece (Score 1) 136

In addition to the already described points of "Black Friday" turning into "Black Week", and Amazon apps dinging us when there's a new deal we can swipe-left or swipe-right, the stores painted themselves into a bit of a corner - "up to 80% off!"...that thing that no one wants, ever. The things that are actually wanted are only 5% off. The $200 laptops...each store only gets three of them, so if you're dediated enough to be one of the first three in line, you might be lucky enough to get one, but stores stopped shipping reasonable quantities of doorbuster deals, so anyone who got up early and didn't get what they came for started saying "screw this" after the first few rounds of disappointment, finally coming to the realization that spending $20 more and having it shipped to them from Amazon was an infinitely better gamble than spending four hours freezing outside.

Black Friday used to be the day where it was possible to get actually good deals, but it got distilled until there was nothing left.

Comment Re:What if it was a bomb? (Score 1) 780

he took an off-the-shelf alarm clock, and made it look like a bomb. He did this very deliberately.

Reasonable doubt regarding motivations aside, there were a number of issues with the device being a bomb. Yes, it looked like a bomb if the only bomb you've ever seen has been from a Tom Cruise / Bruce Willis / Liam Neeson movie...but that that point, you're not qualified to determine what is and isn't a bomb. There was nothing even resembling an explosive charge in the case, and even Achmed the Dead Terrorist knows that you don't build a bomb that is required to be plugged into an electrical outlet in order to work, as you'd be rather defeated by way of unplugging the bomb.

Should the school have ignored, what could have been a bomb, because the kid was a Muslim?

No. You follow actual procedure, like "evacuating the building" and "calling a bomb diffusion team", and you treat it like it's actually got an explosive charge, none of which was done. Sure, hold the kid in the principles office (or some approximation thereof as a result of the evacuation procedure), and when the bomb squad tells you that it's absolutely not a bomb, you hand the device back to the student and say, "even though it's not a bomb, I don't want to see this in school again". THAT is how you deal with this situation - treat the device like a bomb, and then when you find out that it isn't a bomb, you treat the student like he's not in possession of a bomb. Not that hard.

What sort of litigation would there have been if it was a bomb, and the school did nothing?

Oh plenty...but the reason why they'd be lawsuited to hell and back in that case would be because they didn't follow the procedures they were supposed to follow when dealing with a bomb scare.

Now, all of that being said, even RIAA/MPAA math would have trouble coming up with $15 million in damages from the situation. A mess was made by all parties involved, these things happen, apologies were made, and I wouldn't be patently against filing a four figure lawsuit + court fees, just on principle. Lawsuits like this though are why we can't have nice things.

Comment Re: Is Windows10 a thing? (Score 1) 191

Counterargument: Macbooks aren't always $1,500. They sell units now with 128gb of storage, which fits very little - a handful of phone backups or iPhoto storage will eat that alive. 256 and 512 are obviously preferable, but one must know how much storage they will need at time of purchase, since it's not possible to upgrade later..and units with that amount of internal storage are a lot more expensive - the 1TB upgrade for a MacBook Pro is an $800 add-on. With the USB port count as low as it can go, external storage isn't much fun. You can buy a Synology or similar NAS, but that is necessitated by the storage situation on the machine. "Put it all in iCloud" is the go-to battle cry, but that cost would need to get factored in, and using iCloud at the exclusion of any other storage method means that you're at Apple's mercy to keep your data safe.
Yes, a $1,500 Macbook that holds up for five years is a better deal than a $500 Dell unit every two years...but over ten years, two $1,500 Macbooks + storage solution + de facto mandatory USB adapters + Applecare over ten years is, depending on exactly which combination of things you get, still notably more expensive than five new $500 Dell units over the same period.

Comment Re:We need an excuse to outlaw encryption again? (Score 1) 145

We need an excuse to outlaw encryption again? (Score:1)
by Opportunist (166417)

I bet my rear end that no later than tomorrow we'll get to hear about how we have to outlaw telling people how to use encryption and how to avoid being tracked on the internet.

I am confident that we can rely on Cameron to not disappoint us.

Username checks out.

Comment Re:I'm fine with this... (Score 2) 89

Comcast sells video service. T-Mobile does not. Comcast gets money if you subscribe to Xfinity. T-Mobile does not get money if you subscribe to Netflix. Thus, Comcast has a conflict of interest. T-Mobile does not.

Moreover, at least based on what it said right now, T-Mobile has solely technical requirements to meet in order to be part of BingeOn - whether you're Netflix or Comcast or Verizon Video* or Pornhub, if you meet their technological criteria, you're in**. Thus, in its present state, this isn't truly subject to the hypothetical scenario you're painting.

*No, Verizon Video doesn't exist in this respect. What I'm getting at is that T-Mobile's current rule set allow for a direct competitor to enter into this model, which is why it's not a conflict of interest like the Comcast example.

**One could argue that the "technological criteria" requirement could be stretched to "interstate commerce clause" levels, e.g. "videos must be in 720p .mp4 video, and not originate from servers with 'comcast.net', 'verizon.net', or 'att.net' in their DNS resolution traffic", but thus far, there's no evidence that T-Mobile intends to do this.

Comment Assuming this is a genuine question... (Score 1) 148

First off, pretend you're the average person going to Best Buy with $500 to spend on a new TV (approximately the median for a ~40" LED set). You're not super technical, but you know that you watch TV from your cable company, DVDs on occasion, and Netflix. You don't presently have a Roku or other set top box for streaming (that side of things is done on your tablet at the moment), so you have to factor that into your purchase.

You get to Best Buy, and there are a dozen TVs in your price range to choose from. You need to weed them out somehow. Start with the size - units that are too large to fit in the entertainment center are out, but if you're wall mounting, kill off the smallest ones available; no need to get a 40" when you can get 50" for the same price. That leaves you with half a dozen possibilities. Rule out the Insignia ones, because Best Buy's store brand doesn't instill confidence. You've got an LG unit, a Samsung unit, and a Sony unit left, all 46". Now, you need a differentiating factor to ultimately choose which you prefer. Now, one may well search the internet for reviews to see if there are any obvious standouts in either direction, but let's assume that that's not practical for whatever reason. If you get a TV with Netflix integrated, you save $70 by not buying a Roku, and another $70 by not buying an HDMI cable, and you won't need a separate Roku remote. On top of that, the integrated camera and microphone would make it really nice to be able to Skype with out of state family - not a purchase consideration initially, but it'd be really nice, especially with grandma's eyesight going - and Roku can't provide that sort of functionality, anyway.

So yeah, for those who don't read a EULA and "have nothing to hide", a lower initial purchase price over a TV + Roku + cable, a single remote for most functions, and fewer wires to run are all things that are deemed positive selling points for TVs, much more so than buying one that avoids a questionable practice on page 29 of a legal document that no one has ever read.

Comment A non-open-source solution... (Score 1) 118

Look, I know that "open source solution" is in the title. The low hanging fruit is already camping out in the thread - Bacula, Clonezilla, and script/cron/rsync are the major solutions there.

If the business is okay with "free, even for commercial use", Veeam Endpoint Backup is excellent. It will either back up to a Samba share or a Veeam B&R if you have one in the environment somewhere. It's legit freeware, and works very well.

Even if not for this particular case, it works well for laptops. It's the only free backup application i've seen that will back up to a USB drive, such that connecting the drive triggers a backup, rather than relying on a schedule. This is great for laptop users.

Comment Back in my day... (Score 2) 113

In the days of yore, ATI Radeon drivers were easy to work with - a simple, clearly labeled set of tabs that allowed monitors and GPU settings to be manipulated in the least amount of time possible...and the files were >50MB.

The latest iterations of the Catalyst Control Center are highly convoluted, poorly labeled, oversized, and just generally terrible to work with. If the interface from the Radeon 9000 series made a comeback with nothing but the required INF/CAT/CAB files for the new cards, that would be the single greatest thing they could do, and I see no reason why this isn't completely possible.

I'm unopposed to there being a "Radeon Studio", where other functionality can be used. If they made it a place to use their hardware accelerated video transcoder and allowed the creation of a RAM disk (and provided a place to put a Twitter feed, I guess...), that would be wonderful. There is not, however, a need for these functions in the drivers.

This really isn't that complicated.

Comment Re:Siri? (Score 2) 144

Of course if it did this, we would be complaining about how Siri is "tracking our movements".

The problem is that Siri is already tracking movements. The sales pitch is, "if Siri tracks your movements, she'll be able to help you with things like finding the nearest gas station or coffee shop", which can be useful when you need gas or coffee in unfamiliar territory.

People like me who are privacy conscious and already have neutered the GPS in our phone are unaffected, and people who couldn't care less about their location being public information aren't affected, either. Those who view Siri as a "data for data" exchange have reason to be upset because Apple isn't holding up their end of the bargain.

Comment Cryptowall Solution? (Score 1) 217

I'm certain you've got codebreakers breaking codes. If you're able to do this, and you'd like to establish a shred of good will, would you kindly package it into simple-to-use applications that will allow users to decrypt files held ransom by Cryptowall? You'd be strengthening your image while simultaneously hurting the economy of the sketchy side of the internet.

Warm regards,

Comment Re:sad (Score 1) 328

Yes, but those other crappy jobs don't typically involve gambling a billion dollars (usually of someone else's money, who will then be owed a favor upon your success) to get the job. They also tend not to involve decisions where the options are "a thousand soldiers die" and "a hundred civilians die".

Anyone who WANTS to gamble a billion dollars to make those kinds of decisions is highly suspect at best.

Comment Re:sad (Score 2) 328

I know we have really thoughtful and intelligent people in this country, but for whatever reason, they don't seem to be able (or want) to compete with the horribly inept batch of clowns that we inevitably get.

What smart person wants to be blamed for every bad decision that other people make, every bad outcome no matter how much planning went into something, arguing with the "Pepsi" people who just don't want to agree with something from "Team Coke", owe this one a favor for lending support of a bill of theirs that inevitably means putting your name on something you don't actually support, make decisions that will affect thousands of lives in ways that couldn't possibly be foreseen (in some cases literally condemning some to die), and spend a billion dollars to do it?

Being the president is a crappy job, and every smart person realizes that.

Comment Re:Governments: Make LibreOffice the standard! (Score 2, Interesting) 147

I'd love to see this happen. Really, I would. However, let's take a walk down Pragmatism Road for a moment...

Government decides, "screw MS Office 2016, LibreOffice from here on out." They begin the rollout. And the user training. They train all the users who have /just/ gotten used to the Ribbon that "lol jk no more ribbon". This is the high point of the transition.

LibreOffice has no meaningful replacement for Outlook. Thunderbird doesn't do ActiveSync natively, and it's missing a number of advanced features. To hand-wave this into the "done" pile, we'll just assume that they get a sweet deal on a volume license for eM Client, somehow managing to convert all of the Offline Archived PST files into a useful format along the way, assuming no Outlook Add-Ins are in play (not the least of which are the virus scanning modules), and assuming that they'll hand-wave away the simplicity of "start outlook -> click 'next' twice -> click 'finish'" setup that Outlook provides and eM doesn't, in the case of internal Exchange.

Now, we need to deal with the SharePoint integration. The government uses SharePoint. A lot. The implementations span the gamut from "by some miracle, working as intended" to "being the running gag of the office for being mostly-broken, all of the time". Office integrates well with SharePoint, LibreOffice does not. In theory, they could just download-edit-upload, but now we lose any ability to do multi-user mode editing of files. And thus, they move all of their SharePoint installations to Alfresco, migrating all of the existing data, SQL data from SQL Server to MariaDB, and somehow, making all of THAT work, hoping that none of the other internal systems that rely on SharePoint information to function will notice the difference...

Now, let's head back to the desktop. Excel add-ins and macros don't work. Report generation software gets messy, documents that reference other documents give questionable numbers because LO can read some sheets but not others, with no add-ins to verify that the numbers match what they should. Access databases don't open, and yes, there are plenty. Powerpoint slides lose most of their transitions and WordArt (hey, silver lining to everything...), and you'll be hard pressed to find me a single secretary that can make a flyer in Scribus that was otherwise capable of making something remotely useful in Publisher.

Move to LibreOffice? I'd love it. It makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. In practice, and given the amount of inertia which it will be fighting, I see the transitional process being so incredibly painful and problematic that, the following year, Microsoft will start getting blank checks from Uncle Sam.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.