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Comment: Re:16 VM's! (Score 1) 368

by Voyager529 (#49738327) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?

New laptop, an SSD, and VMWare Workstation, all for less than $1,000. The key here is TinyXP, the custom-built flavor of XP circulating the internet that uses 50MB of RAM after installation. Boot time for all of them would certainly be measurable if not staggered, but 16VMs on a laptop that's got 16GB of RAM, running stripped down XP installations that have one job...I think it's doable.

I still think the Layer 3 Switch option is a better one. Where that might be a bit more of a problem would be with regards to whether the update software is capable of handling the possibility of seeing more than one device available to update at the same time. Even though it's possible with networking tricks to get all the pumps addressable at the same time, there's no guarantee that the software is built for that use case. For that matter, it's entirely possible that the software will throw up if multiple instances are attempted to run concurrently. Thus, the 16-VM route may be necessary for that reason, regardless of whether or not a layer 3 switch could solve the networking problem.

Comment: Was accuracy really the problem? (Score 1) 70

by Voyager529 (#49719031) Attached to: Apple Acquires GPS Start-Up

I was never an Apple Maps user, but I was always of the persuasion that the map data and the routing logic was the problem, not whether the GPS had a six-foot margin of error instead of a six inch margin of error. Without good routing logic and accurate street maps, all the accuracy in the world won't help with navigation.

Then again, I'm still waiting for Delorme to release Street Atlas for Android.

Comment: History doesn't apply the same way (Score 3, Insightful) 276

by Voyager529 (#49666129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Future of Desktop Applications?

My initial reaction is to say that computing is simply cyclical; what was once mainframes and dumb terminals turned into locally installed applications on desktops and laptops, and now we're doing that again with Teh Cloud (tm). However, here's the difference:

1.) In the 80's and early 90's, overall technical competence of computer users was higher. Yes, the there was always the secretary who tried to use WordPerfect to make a database because she knew exactly one program, but overall, especially if you had a home computer, you had some concept of what you were buying, and what the things on the spec sheet meant - computers being sold today will have helpfully descriptive bullet points like "great for multitasking" instead of "8GB RAM", something that wouldn't have passed muster in the last cycle.
1b.) Malware was much less a problem, back in the earlier days of computing. E-mail viruses were a thing, certainly, but for the most part, one ran a virus scanner and moved on with life. Also, with less hardware to throw at resident software, any kind of malware that ran resident would use enough system resources to alert the user to its presence, which is less the case now. Google Docs doesn't care about macro viruses, and users of that platform don't have to, either. There's value in that proposition for many less-technically-inclined users. Similarly, backups/hard disk crashes are "someone else's problem".
2.) In the 80's and 90's, systems were generally designed for interoperability a bit better than they are today. It's possible to send an e-mail from a server running Exchange 2016 Preview to an SMTP server from 1989 and it'll be able to meaningfully use the message. This is not the case with Facebook or WhatsApp.
3.) Inherently connected applications are the norm now. The utility of Facebook is "the rest of the stuff on Facebook". Google Docs and Pixlr don't apply to this point since they still deal with .doc and .jpg files that are more standards compliant, but many of the web apps that are popular aren't necessarily tied to the "open/change/save/close" paradigm that is commonplace in the desktop world.
4.) "Bleed little, bleed often" is a more culturally acceptable proposition for most people, as it gives them the instant gratification of getting the product at a price they can afford, while not requiring a gargantuan up-front cost that happens regularly as people feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. $5/month = $180 over the course of three years, which has basically been the shelf life of every version of MS Office released. Makes it a lot easier to swallow for many people, whether or not it's actually a value proposition in the long run.
4b.) The fact that virtually every software developer who has implemented IAPs instead of a one-time, up-front cost has made more money on that business model. At this point, it's solely a matter of principle that a developer of a paid application would sell a perpetual license, since general acceptance of subscription and IAP licensing makes it a better idea for everyone to go down that road instead. This was not nearly as true in the days of mainframe computing.

Now all of that being said, I do think that video editing is one of the few tasks that will never lend itself to a subscription model, beyond what Digital Juice does. Editing-as-a-service makes very little sense, since even a moderately sized project will still take tens of gigabytes of upload time, which means "hours before you can edit". Meanwhile, 100GB of assets is not unheard of for even a two hour wedding video shot in HD, and with upload speeds still measured the single-digit mbit/sec unit, it can easily be days before editing can even be entertained. At the same time, costs are a lot higher for a company looking to get into that business, because you're going to get much less ability to thin provision even 500GB of space, as the nature of what's being done is going to make much more use of that space than the OneDrive accounts with a 1TB progress bar. CPU/GPU processing is similarly much more likely to be leveraged, and we haven't even gotten to the headache that is "plug-ins" - Alien Skin, NewBlue, Red Giant, Pixelan, BorisFX, Panopticum...and that's just the list off the top of my head of companies that make plugins for video editing platforms. How, exactly, does that work in the cloud? Now you're talking about a sub-subscription, or deals whereby plugin developer FOO has to pay Adobe to be included, and the number of subscribers is higher than plugin developer BAR, so they pay less per seat, and it's Net Neutrality all over again. All in all, to create a viable video editing as a service platform, it'd be about the cost of a new, moderately-well-spec'd laptop per year in order to make a profit off that particular niche...and if that's the cost, business pragmatism makes it very difficult to justify subscribing in the first place.

Meh, what do I know.

Comment: Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 369

by Voyager529 (#49647565) Attached to: Keurig Stock Drops, Says It Was Wrong About DRM Coffee Pods

The real product that Starbucks sells is its dining room - a place where, for $3-$10, you can sit for an hour in a relatively comfortable chair and either meet with someone, get some work done, or simply not-sit-at-home. Now, that's certainly not to say that there aren't a large number of people who like the "coffee flavored chocolate milk", but there's any number of places that sell actual-coffee that see plenty of business. I'm a 7-Eleven guy myself, but Dunkin' Donuts is also very popular. Many of the gas stations around me sell either Green Mountain or Chock Full O' Nuts, so it's entirely possible to purchase drinkable coffee along with gasoline. The law of large numbers says that there's going to be a good number of people who will just prefer Starbucks' product to the competition.

Comment: Re:I'll tell you why I don't use it. (Score 4, Insightful) 359

by Voyager529 (#49558065) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Show me a product from 10 years ago that is still around, and popular, in essentially the same form.

Microsoft Office 2003. Now, to be fair, this does indeed depend on how you count. Office 2003 is still feature complete for most Office users. Office 2007/2010/2013 has a fresh coat of paint, and Sparklines are nice and all, but functionally speaking, it may fit your criteria. Alternatively, we can point to the fact that most Office clones (Open/LibreOffice, AbiWord, iWork) have a very similar layout and functionality.

But, let's assume that we're talking about current iterations. eBay and Paypal are still very recognizable from 2005. Amazon still sells books. The iTunes Music Store hasn't changed much. My ISP still offers Usenet access, and Yahoo mail is still quite popular; hell "e-mail" is quite possibly the longest lived digital communication protocol ever created. Google's search page hasn't changed significantly in ten years.

Now, to be fair to your point, this is certainly a list of exceptions that took a bit of time to come up with. However, I'll also point out that the reason why Office 2003 was my primary example is that it's still possible for users to install it on a computer purchased today as long as they have their installation discs. Google discontinues products when they're no longer viable for Google, and that's their prerogative. However, I submit that if Google is going to devise a means of facilitating the generation of data, to which they have the exclusive means by which to make that data useful, that the onus should be on them to ensure that the users receive copies of that data if the service is to go down. Now yes, I understand that the users are the product, not the customers, but that then lends credence to the grandparent's point. Office 2003 may long be discontinued, but Microsoft didn't take my data with them when Office 2007 was released. Google's "everything on Google's servers" philosophy has its merit, but its caveats are clear as well. I have AIM conversations from 1999 that are still stored as HTML files. I cannot say the same for discussions in Google Wave.

Comment: Re:Still unsure about Wheeler. (Score 1) 86

Had he rubber-stamped this merger, all manner of people would have been howling for blood. He'd be removed from his position, and the ensuing legal and political inquiries would have essentially ended his life and neutered any prospect of future employment.

So, with pretty much EVERYONE standing over his shoulder (with club in hand), he was FORCED to play it straight.

Counterpoint: Where do we see precedent for this as of late? Most of the high-profile cases that come to mind of late involve people getting off scot free. Enron, Martha Stewart, and Bernie Madoff are about the only names that stick in my head that had any sort of repercussions for their actions, and those are the better part of a decade ago. The level of corruption in this day and age leads me to believe that, had he intended to let the merger go through, he could have easily went to Comcast, asked for $50 million and a tenured job as a middle manager somewhere, gotten it, and had Comcast's legal department ensure that no one raised any questions.

Yes, everyone had him under an electron microscope with clubs in hand...but I sincerely doubt anyone would have actually threw the first punch, had this gone the other way.

Comment: Re:Drug dogs (Score 1) 409

Simple fact is that they are commonly used to find contraband and are successful in doing so regularly. They are successful in finding drugs WAY too often for it to be merely false positives to allow illegal searches.

From what I've read thus far in the thread, few are questioning whether or not a dog can reliably smell drugs/bombs/whatever. explosive/drug sniffing dogs at border checkpoints and airports make perfect sense for this very reason, and my understanding of the case is such that the use of dogs in these cases aren't being called into question.

The problem stems from a scenario like this: A cop pulls someone over for a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, the officer wants to search the car, for whatever reason - anything from what might be a genuine concern, to simply wanting to give someone a hard time because he's a jerk. So, the cop calls in a K-9 unit to smell for the "drugs", the dog smells them, and now "probable cause" has been established to search the vehicle.

The objection isn't with the dogs themselves, but with the fact that the cop explicitly calling a drug sniffing dog for what should be a routine traffic stop. The odds are highly unlikely that the dog won't be signaled to give a false positive, because at the very least it's a major embarrassment to the officer if the dog smells nothing, vs. the dog giving a false positive. Dog smells nothing, cop has egg on his face in the eyes of the citizen and the K-9 unit. Dog "smells something", cop does the search, finds nothing, "well...the dog gave the signal" is something for which there are witnesses, and for which the officer cannot be faulted.

The case here is that the cop cannot detain an individual to wait for a dog, as it applies to one-to-one scenarios such as a traffic stop. The efficacy of dogs at checkpoints and airports makes a lot more sense, because you're basically searching everyone in one shot, and are less likely to signal the dog to make a false positive in a targeted manner.

Comment: Re:Sure, you're free of Google ... (Score 1) 179

by Voyager529 (#49488841) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

But now you're stuck with Microsoft.

Is this supposed to be some kind of improvement?

Google applications on virtually every stock (read:non-AOSP) ROM: not removable.
Microsoft applications on an AOSP ROM that, almost by definition, requires root and an unlocked bootloader: Good question; the fine summary says "integration", which could mean anything.

Still, I'd say the ultimate outcome is better with Microsoft than with Google. Not because of who Microsoft is, but because of who Cyanogen is.

"Oh noes, google is teh big evil corp'ration, let's go with teh Microsoft". I mean, what the hell are they thinking?

They're probably thinking, "Rent is due this month, and I need to put gas in my car, and I'd like to eat something besides ramen noodles tonight", like the rest of us. Microsoft is willing to give them a pile of money to make it so that a build of their ROM prompts for an address instead of a gmail address. Dropbox, Samsung, and HTC already do this, so as long as the MS additions don't dim the "uninstall" button, I see no reason why MS being the prompt at the beginning is any better or any worse.

This just sounds like the point at which the free software folks sell out and say fuck it, let's just follow the money.

Which is why the devil is in the details. If the pile of money means "It prompts to create a Microsoft account at the beginning and OneNote and OneDrive are installed by default, with a 'skip' button for the former and working 'uninstall' buttons for the two latter", then it's foolish to turn down that pile of money. If Cyanogen with Bing(r) is just as difficult to deal with as pulling the Google stuff from a stock ROM...then that *is* selling out.

I have a hard time people are going to buy an Android device, so they can wipe it, kick out Google, and bring in Microsoft. If you want that, buy a Microsoft device and get on with it.

Personally, I really like the new Outlook client for Android, especially since I have an Exchange account. Also, I don't always store stuff in The Cloud (tm), but when I do, I use OneDrive. However, I use Xprivacy, and I see no Windows Phone equivalent for the title. I use Root Explorer, and again, I see no WP equivalent. I use Swype, which doesn't exist on Windows Phone, nor does Titanium Backup or any number of other apps. "Buy a Microsoft device" is as shortsighted an answer as when zealots say "Get a Mac" to any and every problem that happens on a PC: it ignores any number of other variables.

Comment: Re: UAC - A Double Edged Sword (Score 1) 187

by Voyager529 (#49456101) Attached to: LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security

The problem is that it works both ways. For example, if a non-admin user has smb://foo/bar mapped to z:, but the admin user does not, attempting to make a scheduled task running as admin that involves data in z: will fail, because admin doesn't have it mapped. If you go to %userprofile% in an elevated command prompt, you go to Administrator's profile folder, not the currently logged in user. "non-elevated being unable to talk to elevated" is the 'by design' situation you speak of. 'elevated being unable to talk to non-elevated' is another.

Comment: Re:The purpose of Swype (Score 1) 140

by Voyager529 (#49456039) Attached to: Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype

T9 is a terrible example for two reasons.

First, T9 was "clearly to the left of the uncanny valley" - the number pad is clearly not a rearranged QWERTY arrangement of keys, so the existing muscle memory doesn't apply. Moreover, the use of the letters on the phone keypad, while not a regular way of entering text up until that point, was still at least loosely familiar to anyone who needed to dial a vanity 800-number.

Second, the fact that "feature phones", aka "messaging phones" or "dumb phones with a QWERTY keyboard" were a huge market in the 2004(ish)-2009(ish) period indicates that T9 was very clearly considered nothing more than a stopgap measure. Alternatively, the mass adoption of feature phones and smartphones would lend credence to the possibility that T9 was an acceptable means of text entry for the very small amount of text that was generally going into a phone at that time, but the ceiling was quickly reached.

Bonus round: People will adopt an optimization to Swype and Swiftkey, just as they were adopted as an extension of the iPhone and older Android long as their existing knowledge is still useful. Knowing how to type on a QWERTY keyboard is useful when you need to type in a last name, and number pad dialing is still used for good ol' fashioned phone calls. If an optimized arrangement of the keys is genuinely helpful, then we'd be seeing an arrangement of keys that puts the vowels toward the edges to facilitate thumb typing...but we don't see keyboards like that gaining any meaningful traction. "Flow" (discussed by me and a few others further down in the thread) largely solves these problems, but it's in the 10K-50K range, rather than Swype and Swiftkey, in the 10M-100M realms.

Comment: Done long ago (Score 1) 140

by Voyager529 (#49455437) Attached to: Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype

I used that app back in 2012, and it wasn't just-out-of-beta then, either. When I used it, it effectively solved all of its intended problems: common letter combinations were in close proximity, and there were fewer "word collisions" than with Swype ("or" vs "our" immediately coming to mind).

The problem I found was the fact that while Flow is more accurate, it took me significantly longer to type out a message because I wasn't used to the layout. I've spent over 20 years on a QWERTY keyboard, and even though Flow is more efficient, QWERTY is basically like breathing for me, so any statistically-better keyboard would still be slower because I'd be re-learning to type all over again. Even with errors, I'm personally still a Swype person at heart. I've even tried Swiftkey and Go, but even there what holds me back is knowing where the punctuation keys are. The only alternate keyboard I'll use is "Hacker's Keyboard" when I find myself in an SSH session, but other than that, Swype got me in early in the WinMo 6.5 days, and has never let go.

"Take that, you hostile sons-of-bitches!" -- James Coburn, in the finale of _The_President's_Analyst_