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Comment: I like my four T-Mobile lines (Score 1) 136

by bdwoolman (#48994721) Attached to: Verizon Dropping Data Rates, But Current Customers Have To Call
I have to say that T-Mobile seemed the fairest provider to me because I travel overseas. Their European roaming coverage is better in a way than their US coverage. (Also I had a Galaxy I liked with a European version of Android Kit Kat and they were very cool to let me BMOD) Four lines at $100 (all in the family) Each gets 1 GB high speed, which is enough for me since my pattern puts me onto wifi a lot and I don't use the 3G that much just moving around. And there is free music streaming. (That data does not count against the 1GB) And world wide free texts (over 100 counties) Free roaming web speed data (Not 3G) in over 100 counties (This is nice. Data roaming in Europe has been notorious (it is better now). The free data in Europe has been fast enough to stream tunes and check emails and read my news feeds. As I said I travel internationally and T-Mobile is a great fit. Long Distance calls from overseas to the US are charged at 10 cents a minute with no roaming fees. Not awesome, but not like the bad old days of Euro roaming. When they gave me the run down on their roaming plan I could hardly believe it. Basically a world phone for four people for 25 bucks a month. Had to be a catch thought I. As it turns out...There is a juicy profit center for them. Long distance out of the US to overseas. I made the mistake of simply replying to a call from Kiev from DC. Ouch! I won't do that again. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Oh and I like their data rollover deal. Unused data does not evaporate at months end it rolls and accumulates. I really am a happy customer and not a shill. But this T-Mobil experience was simply good enough to pass on. Also I get a kick out of their foul-mouthed in-your-face CEO. Can't say why.

Comment: Agreed. Guaranteed Security would be key. (Score 1) 415

by bdwoolman (#48564001) Attached to: Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

Currently, I do shell out for an annual security subscription -- three seats. (I just tired of all the nagging and hoop jumping needed to perpetuate free AV accounts.) In my experience MS Security Essentials etc. is just not enough.

Here is the thing: If Microsoft offered top-flight security baked into the OS for a reasonable annual fee I might spring and drop the after-market application. Perhaps a two-tier sub or no sub : Windows option A would include bare-bones security and updates, basically the status quo (no sub). Option B would include a deluxe annual security package with good native utilities and maybe a little free support (with sub). You would have a choice between A or B when you activated your OS, with the subscription offered at a steep discount. Later you could still buy into the security, but at a higher price.

I mean many of us pay for some security anyway, Why not pay the OS developer? Especially if the security suite caused fewer problems since it was native. My current AV vendor currently gives me a free seat for my Android phone. Maybe the MS sub could throw in some phone security as well if you had a Windows phone. If MS could do this -- and do this right -- then they might get on the subscription gravy train. But again Microsoft's competition is doing much of this gratis. This makes the growing success of the Chrome OS internet appliances pretty understandable. MS has a pretty tough row to hoe.

Comment: Hard to see how a subscription would play well. (Score 1) 415

by bdwoolman (#48560441) Attached to: Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

Users are becoming increasingly OS agnostic. They use OSX, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Windows and (some) true Linux. Enterprise might subscribe, but will consumers? "You mean I have to pay an annual subscription to keep this box working? Sorry, dude but I see that Mint model over there advertising no subscription and machine life updates. Can I do my Internet on that?"

There is one possible exception to my mind: Guaranteed security and stability. If MS says it new Windows will be self contained. That one won't need add ons like subscription AV, anti Malware, or tweakware to keep it running smoothly and safely. And that MS commits to doing all the work to keep its OS in optimal shape, then perhaps, but only perhaps, would an annual fee be acceptable to some. But really they pretty much do that now for free with weekly patches and Security Essentials etc. Moreover, let's remember that Chrome OS does the same hidden maintenance thing for free, too. And better IMHO. Granted Chrome OS is pretty limited, but more and more applications are on tap to work on the platform within Chrome OS and the browser. I also think hardware vendors would see a MS subscription OS as a drug on their market.

The world is moving the other way as the OS is becoming increasingly less prominent. Heck, many people use two or three different OSs and don't even realize it. MS is practically giving 8.1 away to sell its hardware -- as well as that of its partners' -- and to keep market share. Chrome is a giveaway as is Android. I am sure MS would love to get subs for an OS. But it would be a hard sell in today's world of computing appliances. If they couldn't do subs earlier they won't manage now when the rest of the space is in giveaway mode.. And to try would probably hurt their business. What they have to do is make a disruptively cool, kick-ass OS that people have to have to make their new computers do new and wondrous things in the real world (deep learning, AI, robots and smart homes anyone?). They have the resources to do it. Do they still have the vision?

Comment: Why mess around? Why not go Open Source? (Score 1) 195

by bdwoolman (#48437633) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

With a Tabby

Get yours today!... Er, tomorrow... Would you believe...

Okay, okay, already. Apologies in advance for the snark. This really is a cool project.. And one worth watching. I do think the name is poorly positioned, however. Hey! What about Carduino? No? Anything but Tabby. I got it.. I got it... The Stallman! Hmmm. On second thought not for a car. I'll keep thinking.

Comment: IMHO You are right on the money, Nukenbar. (Score 1) 150

by bdwoolman (#48305095) Attached to: Smartphone App To Be Used As Hotel Room Keys

No check-in access is what this is about. I recently checked into a Go Native hotel in London. This is a hybrid property that stands between a hotel and a service apartment. The rates were great. But this meant there was no-one on a night desk. Gaining access at my check in time (Midnight) was a PITA. I had to call the 24 hour number (a living human) to get an entry code for the front door (giving my reservation number as a parole). Then, at the same time, another one-off pin for a little lobby safe was given to me as well. In the little safe I found my key card and room number. I remember thinking at the time that a smartphone app for this type of budget or off hours property would be the ticket and wondered if Go Native had one I had missed (but I did not go so far as to consider the phone as the key itself). It all worked kludgy as it was. The accommodation was fine by the way. A bit like a really nice dorm.

As for real security in a hotel? Fugedaboudid. Especially If you are not in the room. If you are in the room, then use the deadbolt and the privacy lock. Really valuable stuff (if you happen to have it) should go in the hotel safe with a receipt. Or in the room safe. But, really, smart phones are are going to be at least as safe as those programmable cards, keys, Ving cards. A hotel room is shared quarters. Just use a black light if you don't believe me. On second thought you really don't want to use a black light.. Hertz Gold rent a car lets you grab the wheels and go without a counter check in (the bonafides are done up front when you join the program). So this is kinda cool. Get your room number by text and download your BT access code into your app and you are set -- and nobody needs to see you... or your date.

Comment: Napping... great work if you can get it. (Score 1) 133

by bdwoolman (#47787889) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

I am retired now, but when I was working in Asia I often took a twenty- to thirty-minute nap followed by a big jolt of coffee or tea or an energy drink. My favorite place for a kip was in the shade of the building in which I worked (It was on pilings so there was a gap under it.) The newspaper delivery guys for the publishing group that employed me napped on beach loungers in this cool and gloomy underbelly. There were almost always a few free loungers. And I would catch thirty minutes on one and then buy a coffee from a street vendor and then head back upstairs. Completely fantastic rejuvenation even though I didn't think to drink the coffee beforehand.

We spent a lot of time at the office, but as long as we met deadline on our assignments no one, not even our Simon Legree of a boss, begrudged us a nap.

Winston Churchill was a great proponent of naps. And he maintained that they allowed him to work his brutal schedule during WW II. He advised not to mess about with such a serious undertaking. Out of your kit and into some PJs and into bed if you can manage.

Comment: Yes to Anker (Score 1) 131

by bdwoolman (#47733817) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

Anker Galaxy II replacement bat is as good as the fresh OEM one ever was. And the Anker universal charger works a treat. It has sliding contacts and a spring-loaded housing that will fit any mobile phone bat you could think of.

I can charge the still-okay OEM and keep it as a spare.

Oh, and I also like my Lumsing energy bank. Nothing to do with Anker. But the Lumsing is downright swanky.

Comment: Even for working A devices data scrub is a wash (Score 1) 113

by bdwoolman (#47555225) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

Check out this article in The Guardian 'Factory wipe' on Android phones left naked selfies and worse, study finds,

Really keep the thing for parts yourself. Or just keep it. You can't safely wipe it. Really. You can't. Though the chance of somebody actually harming you is small it is there. And if you have enough paranoia to ask this question then you will worry. Even years from now it will pop into your head at three AM unbidden and for no reason. Was that picture of me and Irma Plotnik really gone? Really really?

Comment: HP LaserJet 5MP (Score 1) 702

by bdwoolman (#46792021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

My HP 5 MP Works normally after two decades service. When I bought it in 1994 the memory upgrade was very expensive so I skipped it. But about two years ago the extra modules (32 MB?) were quite reasonable so I sprung when the big new PDFs choked the printer's memory.. Ha. I bought some rubber roller dressing at an electronics store and that stopped the feed problems that began about two years ago -- just after I upgraded the memory. (Murphy at work.) I thought of getting rid of it, but find that I print less and less these days. And for the very few things I do print it is fine. It supports Post Script, but the native non Post Script LPL driver kicks out no memory problems with big modern PDFs and the new RAM. I also use an M Model keyboard. A space saving version (No separate number keys.) I think keeping working tech out of landfills is a kind of green thing to do. I say kind of because it is power hungry. Take my old Pentium 4. I heat my office with the bitch.

Comment: Imelda Marcos's World View... (Score 1) 818

by bdwoolman (#46784549) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Imelda maintains that there are only 500 people in the world. When she had the wealth of a nation in her pocket she used to be one of them. Now? Not so much. But her point is well taken and probably true in a way. I wonder what percentage of the world's wealth is held by the world's 500 richest people?

The wealth canyon in the US has been deepening since trickle down began thirty-five years ago. And the situation is slated to get worse not better. Dr Krugman had a great thumbsucker on this sad sit. a month or two back.

The recent SCOTUS decision on personal contributions corrupts the corruption. Special interests own Congress. (left and right) There remains vanishingly small political will to act in the public interest at any level in the political hierarchy. This has always been true in most of the world. Sad to see the rot ramp up in the Good Old US of A.

Our job creators created jobs alright. In China and for... robots. And themselves, of course, with princely paychecks. Got to make it into that elite 500 somehow.

Comment: From Okay Cupid... (Score 4, Insightful) 1482

by bdwoolman (#46632673) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights
...To Okay Stupid. This requested boycott is a cynical media troll that plays on people's lowest impulses. I doubt this gutter play buys Stupid Cupid much goodwill just some media attention. Besides, Eich has stated that he supports a diverse workplace. And a lot of people have evolved on this issue over the years.

Comment: Generally True (Score 1) 276

by bdwoolman (#46479147) Attached to: Amazon Hikes Prime Membership Fee
But I found Rubicon on Amazon prime. It's a smart, but subdued spy thriller a la Tinker Tailor. It got cancelled after a season. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. And it reached a pretty good partial conclusion. I missed it when it ran (I miss most stuff since I live and work here and there.) Anyway, there it is for what it's worth. But generally Netflix is indeed better.

Comment: Limited liability laws allowed general aviation. (Score 1) 472

by bdwoolman (#45081999) Attached to: How long before most automobile driving is done by computers?

After deep-pockets law suits nearly killed US general aviation manufacturing some sensible limited-liability laws revived it. So, IMHO this troublesome aspect of autonomous driving will get sorted quickly. Insurers will love insuring people when the accident rate goes down as a result of automation. (Believe me. Their premiums will not drop proportionately.) Autonomous driving has to be very appealing to anyone who cares about human life. And certainly to anyone who trades on its fragility. Thirty thousand people die a year on our US roads . Robots are already acquitting themselves very well on everyday roads. Even today's robots would do much better than people under highway driving conditions and in light traffic. And I do not think it long before all but the most challenging driving tasks will be managed routinely. Frankly, the 'bots could hardly do worse than people. It is a bloodbath out there.

This pop sci article has what appears to be a very factual update on the Google autonomous car project. (500,000 miles without a crash.) But most closed beta test drivers still take over during tricky maneuvers and on side streets. I answered the Slashdot poll and thought about twenty years before we were all automated (I should live so long). But I expect to see a lot of automated cars in ten years. Maybe even Google's automated taxi service in some locales... Maybe.

"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all." -- Nathaniel Branden