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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best tool for website + mobile site construction (w e-comm later)

kaladorn writes: I've built networked client-server apps in java/C/C++. I've built web services. I've built websites by hand (old school when browsers weren't compliant) and later with tools like RVSSiteBuilder.

The scenario I'm confronted with: My partner wants to open a small craft business initially on the side and I want to help her get an internet presence for that small business. I've read dubious things about the economics of Facebook Business Pages. We may take an Etsy presence.

I feel like we'd also want our own website. Initially, I just need forum/blog/social media widgets, galleries and static content but I'd like to have the site built by a tool so she can work on it and I can do minimal troubleshooting. I'd also like to either have the tool (or a tool) create the mobile site to match or at least make the site itself work well on mobiles. I'd like a later easy integration option for some e-commerce solution if we have a big enough success to justify that expense.

So: Too much to ask from a cheap or free tool suite? Or is there one out there that supports those goals and with which slashdotters have had good luck?

I've checked out some (DudaMobile, some of Google's tools, and some others offered by hosting companies) but what their PR never tells you is is the project going to implode later on because of some major issue or glitch they didn't mention. That's where it's nice to draw on collective experience.

If you have the experience with using tools to build small sites with mobile availability for the context (via a separate tool-generated mobile site or the main site just working well on mobiles) and/or with integrating e-commerce later, what would you recommend? (For ecommerce I"m just thinking of being able to take CC payments mostly, though debit would be nice too)

Comment Re:Anything sold to the police should be sold... (Score 1) 191 191

I know a guy who owns an armoured car. it is unarmed, but he takes it out at times and drives around.

So you can own an armoured vehicle.

One of the issues of tanks and other modern armoured vehicles is that they are *integrated systems* and the manufacturer may be able to sell you a tank, but not if it contains defense department secret technologies like range finders, sighting systems, computer driven stabilization systems, EW and comms gear, etc.

So, although perhaps you could buy such a vehicle as a raw vehicle, you couldn't buy the entire integrated array of technologies.

I think to satisfy realistic control of those technologies, you should pay (as a consumer wanting to buy one) the cost of the vehicle and the cost of extraction of those technologies from the integrated system (if even possible).

So then you could still buy an M1, but it might cost you 1.3 or 1.5x the cost of a fully-integrated standard M1.

The issue with the police being outgunned isn't on the overall scale (eventually enough ERT members will show up). It's a short (and lethal) time where patrol officers with pistols, limited armour, and unarmoured patrol cars are engaged by high velocity portable weapons systems. That's when they are outgunned and the LA bank situation was an example of that that had nothing to do with a Cartel. So would be some active shooter/terrorism examples and police are expected to be first responders here too.

Comment Re:So, in essence, Uber's app is malware (Score 2) 234 234

There are permissions viewers, but you may also find permission managers. I have one installed but my phone is charging.

Not sure if the app has been borked by updates since the last time I went and used it to revoke some permissions after installation. It may have been. Google has tampered a bunch with security settings.

I usually go adjust the permissions after installation but before first execution.

Ultimately, people should light a fire under Google to force app publishers to only request perms they really need and to allow users to disable any perms they don't like (and encourage app devs to not make that break their app - modular enable-able/disable-able app functionality please!). Of course, that may be hard. If they still can't do a f***ing table of contents in Google Docs with page numbers, there isn't much hope they can get this right or will pay attention to massive outcry. In some ways, Google is a metric pantload of nerds doing nerd things and ignoring anyone that might actually use their apps. Microsoft, for all its flaws, was often more customer responsive than Google has been. Just sayin'.

Comment Re:It DOES have permission (Score 1) 234 234

There are tools that will let you edit app permissions after installation to remove some of them. Or at least I have installed and used those in past and hoped they worked. In some cases, apps check at startup and bork themselves like petulant children if they don't get what they want (even if they didn't need it) but others seem to run fine without the extraneous permissions (like ones that would allow linking to social media that I don't use so the function never gets invoked).

Ultimately, I should never have to enable an app feature that I will never use and should never have to grant permissions except as needed for the features I actually use. PC apps got this long ago (for the most part). Mobile apps have taken terrible directions in this respect.

Comment Re:Evil Harper Government - really? Wow. (Score 1) 70 70

What was the logic of that sale?

Was it simply to raise government revenues by any means they could and someone said 'this vaccine that is unproven and not (at the time in 2010) required or in demand is worth $200K if we sell an exclusive license"? Even that could be defensible as the government has some responsibility to help provide non-taxation revenues where it can.

Or was the notion to make it available for potential production for a modest fee? That may have factored into the thinking. For this point, an exclusive license may have been a poor choice.

Every government I have seen behaves in ways I do not approve of. I refuse to call any of them evil as most politicians are morally flexible - it is part of why they can engage in compromise and diplomacy when they choose. This government is not my favourite, but I simply dislike and disagree with their policies. Those I can take clear issue with without needing to step off into abusive ad hominem territory.

There are many that would blame Mr. Harper's government for heavy snowstorms (global warming), downturns in the global economy (greed and elitism, Bilderbergism, etc), the tensions in Eastern Europe (grandstanding, not cozying up to an ex-Soviet KGB strongman with familiar tendencies, etc), global warming (albeit the majority of that comes to provide energy we all collectively use), and everything else. That is ultimately a bad sort of process because it obscures legitimate critiques of the policies his Government supports and instead focuses on personal attacks.

Mr. Harper appears to be a power-hungry politician who plays hard ball and prefers adversarial relations with the other parties, rather than a more collegial one. That doesn't make him different than many others past and future and is irrelevant (red herring) where it does not directly relate to any particular policy (as policies should stand or fall on their own merits).

Comment Re:50 MILLION DOLLARS! (Score 1) 70 70

As a Canadian, I am curious why that original deal was inked and what dictated the cost structure. I'm going to guess $205,000 may not have even paid back development costs so it may have been a price intended to recoup a small portion of expenses or simply to make the product more openly available.

It's a travest that it is now going to be manufactured for $50M or so it seems without the benefit of understanding the technical complexity of manufacturing it. The facility would have to be secure physically and in terms of any risks of outside exposure/escape. I'm curious how many units $50M is going to buy and how much the will in turn sell for.

If that cost is more reasonable than it seems likely to be, based on the actual cost of facilities and so on to manufacture this and total volume of production, then perhaps this $50M is just alarming because it seems large.

I do think Canada should not be selling exclusive license to any such development as it may be needed and we don't want anyone hoarding and overpricing it. We should have sold a non-exclusive license.

Comment Re:Need automatic "loser pays" in jurisprudence (Score 1) 219 219

You can lose even with a case with merit. The law is not oriented so as to preclude you from engaging in a suit entirely out of the fear you might, from a technicality, be found to have your suit not substantiated.

Yes, the law may not award costs and punitive damages for prosecutorial aggressiveness, but it serves other ends. Perhaps that issue is meant to be dealt with by other means?

In the US, don't you elect prosecutors, judges, and sherrifs, and DAs, and so on? These people, one presumes, are doing as the electorate wish.... or they shouldn't be getting elected.

You also elect the politicians that pass these laws under which these people get charge in the first place. Don't vote in the major party candidates if this is the result.

Only your exercise of the franchise and extensive public outcry can change this sort of conduct.

Comment Re:Wrong risk ... (Score 1) 151 151

You state something false - you certainly can recognize when you are going up against big money and thumbing your nose against it. You can certainly plan, if not for the specific tactic they will take, for the general fact that you are endangering their bottom line and that affects many people's pocketbooks and they aren't going to take that assault on their livelihood (even an unrealized one or one which simply has great potential) lying down.

Saying you can't plan for this is saying that you can't recognize the power of massive corporations to change laws, use extra legal means or harrassment, and to lobby or that you can't recognize that nation states are driven by their wealthy and their corporations in the modern world and law bends to accommodate wealth (because it is the tool of the wealthy in some large measure as we need a savant class to interact with it).

Facts obvious at the outset:
MP3.com / MegaUpload / others all threaten big media bottom lines
Big media has a lot of money and has a track record of ruthlessness and a willingness to be bloody-minded
The US and other western countries are to some degree politically influenced by corporations (the US most of all I suspect)
The US will exert its reach beyond its borders in various ways and allies will often comply to stay in their good books
The world is increasingly global and being outside the nation of an empire whose monied corporations you are threatening is no defense
Any and all tactics are on the line when large amounts of money are involved

We can all reasonably forsee these things gong forward and could even 25 years ago. So there's no way except willful self-delusion that Kim couldn't have seen this coming. To assume a constancy of law, an inability of the major players to exert influence to change law, an inability of a major empire to reach beyond its borders, and to presume his small budget could match their large budget in terms of power and capability ..... these are all willful acts of self-delusion. Ego plays a big role here. The urge to thumb ones nose at a bully is great for most of us.... the odds of our nose getting realigned while doing so are pretty high too.

This is the problem with the world today: Institutions (Corporations/Nation-States) now have a life well beyond that of their employees or their economic or geographic sector because of the money involved in them. The larger they are, the more pronounced this is. Individuals and smaller groups of individuals can never match this.

This is why the current surveillance state trends, government non-transparency, militarization of police, and government-for-corporate-interests (or government-for-rich-people as a more classic description) are so troubling. Individuals and smaller entities can't muster the power to oppose this and these trends are enshrining tools and laws that make it hard to ever build towards opposing these institutions and power centers.

In the long run, a nation strongly sunk under this sort of influence and control by an elite and with all sorts of ways of stopping the masses from developing more moderate countermeasures and opposition can only end one way: Anarchy and complete tear down and rebuilding. Revolution. Social unrest on a nationwide scale. Extensive bloodletting. Likely even if you can manage the revolution, the rebuilding may fail and you end up in a failed state scenario.

I hate to say it, but in the next couple of hundred years, I expect to see either the veneer of freedom and democracy finally disavowed in Western nations or else massive social upheaval and these states being reduced to the dustbin of history (maybe with nothing but chaos and misery replacing them like Africa often sees).

We don't care enough and aren't strong enough to put up the hard fight now. The fortification of power is ever increasing. In the long run, that just increases the butcher's bill.

Yes, I'm feeling pretty grim about the possibilities and probabilities. I have read a lot of histories and most empires don't go gracefully into the good night.

Comment Re:Was impressed until.. (Score 1) 144 144

It is a bit unfair the upstarts get away with leasing rather than their own build out, but since the Big 3 got their build-outs on the back of the Canadian Taxpayer, I don't really feel so bad.

If we decoupled content provision from bit pipe/access provision, we'd be in better shape. Access provision would be a lower margin thing, but cities and even non-profits could invest (thinking of folks like Ottawa FreeNet) if the government would back them up. Rogers, Bell and Telus could stick to content provision (or break up with one part doing content, another access/bit piping).

Comment Re:Was impressed until.. (Score 2) 144 144

Here's the difference between Canadian and US Health care (as a summary) before O-Care:

US had a slightly higher top end standard (in places like the Mayo Clinic) and you could get better health care if you were covered by a great program from a good HMO (but it often cost). Canada had better overall coverage as we didn't have so many uncovered men, women and children. The problem in the US was that, if you got sick then had to change jobs, your new HMO likely would want to write up your health issue as pre-existing and you wouldn't have coverage. A friend of mine's wife worked for the State of Louisiana and had this issue arise. I can change jobs here or have no job and I still have decent coverage (better with the add ons from work, but nobody asks about prior conditions because it might be illegal).

The issue with government health care O-Care style is this:

If you had a single payer with some privatized service delivery (we do this), that's pretty effective. It's not terribly inefficient necessarily either as my friend's wife mentioned above worked in resolving health care claims in Louisiana and the state government spent a very large % of its health care budget (shockingly so) chasing HMOs and arguing over who would pay for what. That system was hugely inefficient and wasteful plus it slowed down resolution. That whole monstrous expense disappears with single payer.

The issue the US is suffering from is you are trying to socialize and extend coverage but doing it by building on top of the existing corporate, flawed, corrupt HMO system and with things like kickbacks to doctors and clinics for pushing drugs and procedures and other things that wouldn't fly here. It's like trying to build a nice new luxury home on rotted pilings. The massive roll-out all at once was also a huge fustercluck. That's the worst way to deploy new solutions.

Instead, it would have made sense to say:
1) Identify a range of probable best-practices.
2) Cook up a ground-up rebuild of socialized single-payer medicine with privatized service delivery in places where it makes sense.
3) Deploy in a region (county/state) and run at least 1-2 years of pilot.
4) Take lessons learned, revise, repilot for 0.5 - 1 year.
5) Then begin national roll outs one state at a time.

Much less chaos, better chance to test what you deploy and see how it works. Probably cheaper. And a ground up design rather than a built-on-troubled-systems approach.

We don't know much up here in the eyes of some in the US, but we mostly get decent to good health care. Both of my parents are disabled. One had heart surgery, had a leg with open ulceration for about 8 years, then lost it when infection control was not possible. My other parent's car got hit by a 10 wheel dump truck making an illegal turn out of a local landfill. About 30 broken bones, 6 plates, 75 screws, other artifical parts just to get back to a fraction of her function and with a grim prognosis (although she's made 11 years now, things get worse day by day).

Those two sets of surgeries, both life threatening, plus follow on work and surgeries, plus rehab, plus dressings (surprising how much full leg sized silver impregnated dressings can cost... $100+ per dressing change, changes from 2 times per day to three times a week depending on which phase we were in). I'd guess that was over $500K, likely closer to $700K or more. And our socialized system handled a lot of it.

My parents were died in the wool conservatives (small c). Even they have been forced to admit the system has done a lot for them even though they used to be totally opposed to it.

We watched my cousin (who married a girl from Missouri) go through a rough time as his wife lost her son at 28 with a dual heart and lung transplant needed. He lived for about 6 weeks of his son's life. He was just married. The surgery was going to cost $1M. They didn't have it, he didn't have coverage, and even though the town pulled together and did fundraisers, my cousin and his wife are still dealing with the crushing debt that left them.

No, I'll take our system thanks. I just wish the folks in the US had one that ran as well (or even better, since ours is not perfect).

Comment Re:Was impressed until.. (Score 1) 144 144

My service is $42 a month Cdn for 25 Mbps down and 2 or 3 Mbps up (enough to serve skype conferences) with a 300 Gb cap but it also doesn't count 'wee hours' usage (12 - 6 am?) and I've only once come close to the cap and that was a mix of massive software installs and updates combined with heavy netflix high-res usage that month.

And its with Teksavvy. I was soooo glad to say goodbye to Rogers and previously Primus and Bell at different times.

Teksavvy may use Rogers' cable (or as I think of it, taxpayer-funded cable) but they have better tools and nicer tech support. I've know people who worked at Rogers tech support and hated the company they worked for because of how it did business.

Comment Re:Change Last Mile (Score 1) 144 144

How do you imagine you build competition into the marketplace? It sounds a lot like new regulations to me.

The problem is there is no interest from the big incumbents to do anything other than attempt whatever stranglehold they can and they have piles of people figuring out how to do just that in one form or another.

Without regulation, you'll never get out of this mess. That requires law and lawyers and enforcement.

Frankly, if internet service were mandated as a common utility, that might be a useful change. The issues that come from combining content providers and access providers in the same entity are profound.

Comment Seems like a political in-fighting tactic (Score 1) 308 308

The investment climate won't change so entirely that this investment will be a poor one. I'm quite sure they can always find a way to monetize their product.

This seems more about politics and political pressure than about any solid business reason.

Comment Re:Get rid of the electronic voting machines. (Score 1) 388 388

It is interesting how much of this sort of response you see on tech sites. We digital sorts should be (in the popular mind) champions of this stuff.

I think the truth is most of us recognize the flaws and dangers of the complex electronic systems and the simplicity and functional nature of old fashioned pencil-and-ballot voting.

E-voting is indeed a solution looking .... but not for a problem..... for lots of $$$$.

Comment Re:Vote by mail. (Score 1) 388 388

Not counting the fact that the post offices are fading as papermail becomes a thing of the past and any business model they had just isn't sustainable over the long run?

Yes, in theory this approach is good. On the other hand, you probably have no idea if your vote made it to be counted and the post offices may well not be around in another few years (for anything but parcels).

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr