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Comment: Evolving values for "large" (Score 1) 132

by advantis (#48217677) Attached to: Preferred smartphone screen size?

I started with the HTC Wildfire (the ARMv6 sans FPU one). I thought that was fitting my hand nicely. A friend had the Samsung Galaxy S (no number suffix) and I thought it was a bit big for my taste. At some point I bought a Samsung Galaxy S from eBay, since my friend was very proud of his (only to tell me that he was experiencing the same 3-4 day crash cycle and other funny stuff that I was just discovering, but failed to mention it when he was bragging about how great the phone was). I got used to it, then I picked up my Wildfire. All of a sudden the Galaxy S was normal and the Wildfire was tiny. After a while I got myself the spanking new LG G2 (after being burned by Samsung on many fronts, not just smartphones, and after seeing that I wasn't part of a small crowd on the Internet when it comes to them). This one has yet a larger screen. I'm perfectly happy with its size, although I can't one handedly reach the far corner in diagonal. Now the Galaxy S feels small. But the Wildfire feels puny (I still have it).

It's like when you're a kid and you grow up. At first, adults are huge. Teenagers are big. You're Wildfire sized. As time goes by you grow and become a teenager, and the kids are small, adults are big. And you fully grow up and kids are these little people. And yet you never questioned the transition while you went through it.

I held an iPhone 6 Plus recently. It felt big, but for some strange reason it wasn't uncomfortable at all. When it comes to screen size I usually aim for the thing to be big enough to display readable things, but still fit my trouser pocket and not bother me when I sit in my car. Because of this, I think my LG G2 is spot on. Any larger and I may need some of those regularly-in-and-out-of-prison pants some people wear :) So no iPhone 6 Plus for me, thanks. My iPad mini does the job fine, and it goes in my backpack when I don't need it, but there are people who just want a 2-in-1 phonelet solution.

Comment: Flipping Kindles (Score 1) 105

by advantis (#47718787) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

One thing that goes away with the Kindle is the ability to use your fingers as temporary bookmarks while you flip pages back and forth to look something up. Advanced book users might use several of these bookmarks at one point if the information is spread across chapters. Even the simple "partially turn page to see what's on the other side without losing focus of the current page" isn't working.

Yet I still bought a Kindle (Paperwhite), because books aren't very readable in the dark, and I find myself switching away from the book (to Facebook, news-site-I-fancy-reading-now, jeu-de-l'heure) on a multi-purpose tablet. Haven't tried learning with it though. I use it to put myself to sleep :)

Comment: Capitalism (Score 1) 63

by advantis (#47562673) Attached to: EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog

When you can't make new stuff anymore, rent out what you have accumulated. Money has to circulate or it's pointless. This isn't criticism (just look how "well" the alternatives went). It's an observation. I'm sure somebody smarter than me wrote a book on the topic at least a century ago :) but rent, subscriptions and planned obsolescence are pretty much the same thing. Services (as opposed to manufacturing) are probably in the same ballpark. With everything pretty much already invented, we need _something_ to churn all that cash which is our sole reason to live :)

Comment: Dibs on circular screen (Score 1) 139

by advantis (#47412207) Attached to: BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

Just because developers don't have enough headaches to deal with, I'll go patent a circular screen with a polar coordinate system to access the pixels. :) And I'll find a way to stick 26 letter keys and 10 digit keys around it, and give it a shape that will make it fly as well as a frisbee too. Still not sure if to go overboard by making it squishy too so since it can fly when thrown your dog should be able to bring it back and have it still work.

You heard it here first folks! :D

Comment: Paying to free user ratio (Score 1) 132

by advantis (#47388319) Attached to: Google Reader: One Year Later

While everybody else is busy missing the point and showing off their favourite alternatives (I'm happy with Feedly BTW), there's a different data point I took out of TFS:

15 million users and 24,000 paying customers

That section alone is what interests me: the ratio of paying customers to total users. That's because I'm green enough in the field of business that I have no clue at all about these things, not even as anecdotes.

I don't usually read BI (because my perception of them is that they're BS, even though I don't have enough data points to support my perception), but this one made for an interesting article. From the article I got this other data point: If all 24,000 customers pay at least $45 per year, that means Feedly and its 12 employees are generating more than $1 million per year. and the fact that they were pushed near profitability. Nowhere does it say they are actually profitable. It's a good read for anybody who thinks of starting anything up and want their motivation, hopes and dreams crushed by hard reality numbers :)

Comment: It just clicked + everybody else was playing games (Score 1) 153

by advantis (#47133609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

This article asks for a rant, so here you go:

I got into this by luck. Otherwise I might have been just the run of the mill awkward person :) My mom found an ad in the paper. A school was looking for students to start 5th year on a computer programming curriculum, and entry was test-based. You had to pass a maths and a literature test on subjects that a 4th grader should be knowing.

I hadn't seen a computer until I started school in September, but there was a book that was recommended, and I got that during the summer holiday. With no computer, just with pen and paper, I went through the book, and it just went in. I had a void in my brain that gladly sucked it all in. The I about forgot it all when I sat in front of a Spectrum clone and didn't realise I had a power button to press on the monitor to turn it on.

Ever since, I've been attracted to the field. I was 11 when I started. Being awkward helped a bit. I was never competitive, so I rarely played any games that others could play, so if it was a game, it had to be a text-based adventure. Nobody would play those, and I'd get my ass kicked in any others, so I avoided those. The guys kicking my ass in games weren't really that good at programming the computers, so hey, while you guys are busy playing games, I'll try this little algorithm I saw in a book and see what it does and try to understand it. I spent my PE classes in the computer lab instead. Things moved on, we got PCs, we moved from BASIC to Turbo Pascal, and it was still great. I dabbled with assembly language, but never got experienced with it. I picked it up a few times, but never got past flinging a few registers and some data on the stack. I don't regret it though. I learned other cool things.

I'm glad I didn't jump straight into C, as in Pascal you have a real string type that you don't care about, but in C you have a... convention... And if anything, when you start to learn programming numbers and strings are what you play with first. These days people are started in C, which I think is plain mad. Back then Python wasn't on the horizon. Nowadays, if you don't start newbies on Python as their first ever language you need to be shot. Python is the new BASIC in my view. What I like about Python is that "batteries included" thing. Want to have a taste with something? import thing_that_does_what_you_want_to_play_with. You'll study what that does later. Play time is now. Some purists may consider this to be ass backwards, but come on: to get interest, you have to play with it first, then study the boring bits. And study the boring bits in locally ordered random sequence. Sequential order can only put you off and make you hate the thing. And by FSM don't start people in Java or C#! You can put that in a follow up class, after your students know WTF to do with a computer in terms of programming.

Nowadays I'm abusing the hell out of Bash, but only because I got really good at it, hated Perl, didn't actually get properly acquainted with Python until recently, and I have serious aversion of using PHP to write console tools.

Of course, as you might imagine for a Slashdot reader, my social life is absolutely devoid of content :) I don't like it that way anymore, but if I let go I have no idea what to do next. It's like you either do this full-life, or you don't. If I cut down, I just feel that I'd write OpenSSL-style code instead, and I'm not at ease with the idea at all. The fact that I work in a very tiny company that relies on me probably doesn't help. This paragraph is probably good material for an "Ask Slashdot" article: "How do you cut down and get a life?". I know it's a viable proposition for an article after reading the comments on the "Parenting rewires male brains" article. Either everyone there was masterfully trolling, or I've been doing everything wrong in my life so far. I'm yet to see what I can do to fix that, but I have to, as I'm 31 now, and I don't want to become Larry Laffer (he is 40 in the game).

Oh, and I think I'll be getting my first downmods ever. But do as you like. /RANT

Comment: Peering vs net neutrality (Score 3, Interesting) 105

by advantis (#46978239) Attached to: FCC Chairman Will Reportedly Revise Broadband Proposal

It dawned on me how they could work a fast lane within net neutrality rules. They don't even need to change anything.

It goes like this: Hey, we're douchebags and like to bleed our customers dry for slow Internet. We do this by overselling our transit capacity. But, if you want our customers to be able to use your service, our peering prices are $100/MB/month.

That's why Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue I guess. But should peering be a net neutrality issue? On the Internet, different pathways have different speeds. Your LAN and ISP network are usually a lot faster than general Internet access, and nobody said Netflix can't pay a premium to plug straight into your LAN.

In Romania you get gigabit links within RDS - a nationwide ISP, and if you run Linux, you're in luck because they peer with RoEdu (the Romanian education network), who mirror a lot of stuff, and that peer is fast as lightning if RDS is your provider. But mirrors who are in the country but not peered get Internet speeds - which are still faster than what I generally get in the UK mind.

Comment: Like TV licensing vans (Score 2) 93

by advantis (#46959589) Attached to: UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates

If piracy is actually a problem, this may be as effective as the TV detection vans they (used to?) have roaming around, supposedly able to detect if you're watching live TV without paying the TV licence (which makes you a criminal in the UK). Apparently the high tech of those vans is... a list of people who don't have a licence. Nobody knows if they have a remote listening device like in spy movies that they point at your window, and apparently they don't even bother sending the vans out these days - they just tell you they do, and it's just as effective.

Using that logic, just the appearance of threats can get most people to comply with the law, or demands from the law that you don't have to comply with (like in "can I search your car please?"). Since an IP address doesn't identify a person, that's pretty much all they can do: send educational material, which makes people think "we are watching you", which makes them subscribe to Netflix and give up on 0-day TV shows (freshly ripped off the air).

I'd like to see "piracy" and "loss" numbers a year after people start getting these letters. My belief is that the piracy numbers will go down, but the revenue of content creators will not follow suit.

Comment: Trojan Horse (Score 4, Interesting) 150

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right, but it feels like:

1. Get dedicated wires laid down by Comcast for you;
2. Start with Apple-only services on your new national network that Comcast gladly laid down for you;
3. A bit later, start offering general Internet services through your brand new national network that Comcast can't take away from you no matter how much they scream in horror;
4. Be ahead of Google Fiber in term of reach, since Comcast were so helpful in helping you compete with them;
5. Profit!

Did I miss anything?

Comment: Re:No shit ! (Score 2) 144

by advantis (#46533595) Attached to: Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

My most infuriating experience was when I solved a problem I had at work, it compiled, it did everything it needed to do, but when I went to commit it to SVN I had no Internet. After a few attempts, I realised I was dreaming and I woke up. And I had to type all that again when I got into the office.

Comment: Re:Phishing sites (Score 1) 187

by advantis (#46482485) Attached to: Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

They did that before the layout change too. Even I got tricked by them for a while. Never gave them any money, but they frustrated me quite a bit, as the information I wanted wasn't there. They looked like the government websites I was used to - same layout, same fonts, same colour theme - so it took me quite a few minutes to force my eyes onto the URL and realise that it's a $ website instead of the $ I expected.

It's gotten so bad that it warranted some press attention.

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