Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: QuickBase (Score 1) 144

by flanders123 (#49243425) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Issue Tracker For Non-Engineers?
I always use and recommend QuickBase for ad-hoc tracking solutions. It is both simple and powerful. It is not free but has a free trial for you to try. It is web-based / SaaS but honestly I would not go any other way in your case. This greatly simplifies management and support, and generally supports any platform (windows, ipad, etc) that has a modern web browser. I have also heard good things about Base Camp, another web-based solution.

Comment: Re:Throw "Freedom" On It (Score 1) 550

I disagree completely! I would contest our political system has mutated to a something that is NOT, as Lincoln said, "a government of the people, by the people, for the people". Somehow I doubt our electorate is any more gullible, irresponsible, and/or swayed by the media compared to any other in the world. The slime balls have found a way to game the system. The system needs to change.

Comment: Re:Too Late (Ask Zune) (Score 1) 445

It's never too late for a company the size and quality of msft to break into the phone market

I guess I have less faith. The XBox (360 that is) is the last thing MS that I can remember breaking into a market...and that was largely in spite of themselves (as proven so far by the One). I just don't see MS as an innovator. Maybe new leadership will change this.

It's also impossible for a software platform vendor to ignore mobile

Doesn't mean they are very good at it, or go about it very intelligently. Anyone can say "Hey we should get into this market". Its the execution that matters.

Zune, on the other hand, was bound to be eclipsed by more inclusive devices (think about the long dead ipod).

Again: Execution. Apple saw this, and basically took its existing iphone and ripped out the wireless radio. Bam, there's your iPod and at negligible manufacturing and R&D cost. MS on the other hand developed Zune and Phone completely separately. Not only is this a massive waste, it is a huge reflection of MS's silo'd corporate culture in general.

Finally, I can't think of one competitive advantage Apple or Google has that would constitute a moat protecting their current lock on the market

I think prior purchases (apps, vids, music, hardware) and apples vertical integration of their products are a couple significant obstacles. You have to come up with something special for users to ditch all of these ancillary purchases that "just work" and start fresh on a new platform. Maybe a more innovative and agile company can acheive this, but I don't think MS has it in them

Comment: Re:Too Late (Ask Zune) (Score 1) 445

I guess I was thinking in the context of WP7, which was MS's first modern generation of app-centric, internet- focused, touchscreen phones; Released around the same time as iPhone 4, but with the feature set of iPhone 1. Android was quicker to adapt to this market and thus is very successful in it.

Comment: Too Late (Ask Zune) (Score 4, Interesting) 445

When the final iteration of the Zune rolled out, it was largely considered a terrific product. However, the summary of that particular review is a chilling reminder of MS's tendency to arrive late to the party:

If this thing came out in a parallel universe where the iPod didn’t exist, it would be hailed as a god. No, the problem is the iPod’s head start — its catalog of music, movies, apps and accessories are ridiculously superior to the Zune’s

The Zune was cancelled shortly thereafter. The product finally became good, but it was too late. I smell the same fate for windows phone.

Comment: Utilities (Score 4, Interesting) 210

by flanders123 (#49149835) Attached to: Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware
I've always wondered why manufacturers reinvent the wheel when it comes to bundled utilities. Why does Lenovo develop its own power controls, wireless manager, driver updater, display management, etc when there are standard OS utilities to handle these things? Isn't it sort of a waste of their time? It's always fun when the 3rd party utils start fighting with the native OS tools for control.

Comment: De-Fragmentation (Score 1) 570

by flanders123 (#48869483) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade
One motivation for this may be to address their fragmentation issue. My guess is MS is tired of supporting multiple versions of OS concurrently, and multiple concurrent versions of software that run on those concurrent OS's. Think of the costs associated with trying to manage/test/support all this compatibility (not that they have been great at this in recent years).

So maybe they are taking an Apple approach and de-fragmenting their own walled garden, reducing products, cutting costs, and hopefully providing a more uniform experience for its customers.

But really I am just dreaming of the day I can stop developing for IE6 compatibility in websites :-)

Comment: Just use the IP (Score 1) 388

by flanders123 (#48619155) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS
To use TFA's illustration: "The address is removed from the phone book" ... Yes but the store is still there and open for business. Those who really want the content will obtain the IP address and bookmark that....or put it in their hosts file. or publish an app that does this for non power users automatically. If the content is there, it will be found.

Comment: Re:No surprise here (Score 1) 392

Wish I had mod points to give you. The ONLY reason cable is alive today is live sports. Period. The cable cos know this, and this is why they pay billions to lock up exclusivity rights to the major sports. The sports leagues are more than happy to take this handout rather than dealing with broadcasting their product themselves. The problem is, enough people are starting to cancel cable and people will eventually loose interest in sports that they cannot watch.

Right now it is prohibitively difficult to watch live sports online, especially local teams. I feel are in the "Napster" age of watching sports online. It takes a semi-techie to pull it off and it is of questionable legality and quality. The league or network produced online services like NBA or MLB Pass are poorly executed. They black out in-market local games (this is pretty easy to bypass with DNS or VPN). Playoffs and national games aren't included. They don't even bother to draw advertising revenue, as you often see one commercial over and over or a blank screen during breaks.

Sooner or later Content providers (like sports leagues) will just sell their broadcasting direct to consumer, a la carte. I think they have to do this or they will lose their audience. But for now, they will take the Cable Co's Titanic full of money.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen