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Comment: Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (Score 2) 187

by lucm (#47732377) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

Even when there is intense competition the service is usually bad, because then the companies are stuck in a price war (like the one in the cloud involving Amazon, Google and Microsoft) so resources are scarce for great customer service. And once a winner emerges from a price war, the service remains poor because the company can get away with it.

This is not specific to the tech industry. A long time ago people were greeted by a small army of sharp-looking attendants at the gas station who made sure to check the oil, clean the windows and check the tires. Nowadays you are lucky to get the attention of a nonchalant clerk facebooking behind a 4 inch bullet-proof window when the pump does not accept your credit card directly or when you don't get a working code for the automated carwash.

Comment: Re:No difference (Score 4, Interesting) 105

by lucm (#47716509) Attached to: Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

The one issue I have with the Kindle is that reading technical books does not work too well. For them, I pencil in remarks and highlights, and the Kindle functionality for that is not really usable. Also, technical books often have formulas and pictures which do not work too well either.

I agree that pictures and diagrams suck on a Kindle, but the highlighting is fantastic, I've been using it a lot since I found out that in my Kindle library online I can access all the text I have highlighted, ever. In the past I used to stop reading whenever I would find something interesting that inspired me to do some googling, or when I would learn about some other book mentioned by the author. Now I simply highlight stuff and I look it up later. A lot more convenient.

Also it's possible to lookup a word or sentence in wikipedia without leaving the page, there is a small pop-up window for that. Hugely convenient. Same thing with the built-in dictionary; that's what I used to brush up my Spanish since it's possible to have 1 default dictionary per language.

And finally there is the Audible sync thing. I can listen to an audiobook while driving, and when I get home I can pick up where I left reading on my Kindle, the audio and ebooks are synchronized. I have to buy both but there is a big discount. It's not ideal for deeply technical books, but it works well for other kinds of non-fiction like business books or biographies. And it is awesome for fiction.

I would not go back to reading paper books or ebooks on a tablet. For a while I had access to O'Reilly Safari and while they have a large selection of technical books it is pretty subpar as far as e-reading goes, I hated it.

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 1) 572

by lucm (#47714859) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

I don't know what is your "hosted Azure solution" that costs tens of thousands per month (I think your IT guy is ripping you off), but if you were to switch to Office365, for $4 per user per month you could have 25GB mailboxes on servers that you don't have to maintain or patch or backup, without having to stop using your own Active Directory (if you want you can use a managed domain instead). Or for $8 per user per month you would have that plus SharePoint, Lync and the online version of MS-Office, which is at least as good as any non-online version of existing FOSS office suites.

Even with the big plan at $8 that's a $11,200 cost per month for your 1400 users; how you managed to setup an Azure solution that costs tens of thousands of dollars is beyond me, and how you expect to save money by replacing Exchange is also puzzling.

But just for fun let's crunch the numbers in your Azure scenario:
1) 3 Azure servers, plus storage, SQL Azure and bandwidth, that's $1000 per month (or $0.71 per user)
2) Windows Server + Exchange Server licenses: over a 3-year span (typical accounting), that's more or less $150 per month (or $0.10 per user)

This leaves $10,000 per month to pay for IT people, which is not a lot because they get sick, take vacations, etc, so you need at least 3. I'm sure that kind of team can deliver the kind of SLA included with Office 365, which has huge datacenters and a small army of sysadmins.

Show those numbers to your boss and explain to him how switching to Postfix or the free edition of Zimbra (that has no search, calendar or contacts) could save tens of thousands of dollars. I'm sure he will promote you to CIO on the spot. Or if he knows how to count he will see what is the expensive line item in his IT budget and he will outsource it.

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 4, Informative) 572

by lucm (#47700193) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

At my company (125 users) a while ago we moved to OpenOffice to save money. Users were not happy and started to call it "BrokenOffice". Only people who needed to exchange documents with outside clients were allowed to use MS-Office, and this created a lot of tension between the haves and have-nots. Bootleg versions started to appear, etc.

The company has since switched to the Office.com deal (annual $100/user for 5 floating licenses), so each employee can install MS-Office on various computers in their family in addition to their workstation without requiring assistance from IT (plus they get more OneDrive space). With the recent version it's possible to "share" the licenses, so employees can authorize their kids who are in college and let them install the applications themselves.

Employees see that as a perk, and helpdesk is less busy with "BrokenOffice" problems (real or perceived), so everyone is happy. It's more than pennies but it's not that expensive either.

Comment: Re:Who has the market share? (Score 4, Informative) 336

by lucm (#47592093) Attached to: Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

No they support Linux virtual machines. It's not the same as cloud services.

On Azure one can deploy virtual machines (Windows or Linux) but also cloud services, which are basically dedicated on-the-fly instances of Windows Server on which one's web services are deployed. Cloud services are similar to managed VPS; you can remote desktop in the instance, but the patching and maintenance is built-in in the image. You don't rent a VM, you rent resources, and the instance is mostly stateless.

In addition to VM and cloud services, Azure also offers web sites, which are similar to traditional hosting. They support most web technologies (asp.net, php, python, node) and you can choose between shared or dedicated instances. What I found convenient is that you can use all those technologies within the same website, so if your app is mostly node but you need a specific web service that is written in PHP you can have both.

That's different from AWS, where only VM are available.

I have two Linux VM on my Azure account. There is a CentOS image available. It works ok but I know for a fact that they sometimes reboot without warning (I installed one and was lazy in configuring Apache, it was not registered in the startup services, and a few weeks later I noticed that Apache was not running). Never had that problem on AWS, but Azure is cheaper and easier to use. I pay about $15 per VM per month for the smallest instance.

Comment: Re:Who has the market share? (Score 2, Insightful) 336

by lucm (#47591881) Attached to: Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

I would be curious to see how Azure is impacting Windows Server market share. They made it very easy to automatically deploy instances for those cloud services, and most people run multiple instance for load balancing.

I don't know the exact number but from what I've read Azure is gaining about 1,000 customers per day. That's a lot of Windows Servers.

AWS was first in that business but their console/dashboard is just too clunky, this scares a lot of people away. No wonder that Microsoft is making shitloads of money while Amazon is almost to the point where they will ask employees to sell their blood in order to finance the price war in the cloud.

Comment: Re:Perl still works, and PHP is fine (Score 1) 536

That's like complaining about the 640K barrier in Microsoft's operating systems.

Yeah, who the hell needs more than that?

You know what is hilarious, it's that with mobile development all the old limits are coming back. The other day I was reading the story behind vi and the fact that using short one-letter commands was a decision linked to a slow 300-baud network link, and I couldn't help but think about minified javascript...

I have no experience with wearable computers (watches, glasses, etc.) but it must be even worse on those devices.

Comment: Re:Perl still works, and PHP is fine (Score 1) 536

Most of it applies to old, obsolete versions of PHP.

Which might be the only versions that your hosting provider offers because upgrading PHP would change the language's semantics in ways that break other subscribers' programs.

Bullshit. Please post a list of hosting providers that offer only PHP4.

Because here is what 30 seconds of googling show:

Bluehost: PHP 5.4
WebhostingPad: PHP 5.4
Hostgator: PHP 5.4

The old crap in the linked article applies mostly to PHP4 or PHP3. Yet PHP5 has been initially released more than 10 years ago.

Find some other dead horse to beat please, this is getting boring.

Comment: Re:Perl still works, and PHP is fine (Score 1) 536

PHP was expressly designed to display web pages. Originally the acronym meant something like "Personal Home Pages".

Yes, it has warts, security issues and the original database services were anything but plug-compatible, but it's a great language for quick-and-dirty.

If you want something architecturally cleaner, if not necessarily more secure, there's Python.

Could you care to explain how a language is "architecturally cleaner" for web applications when it does not have native web-related features? Unless you consider that piling up frameworks is a better architecture because it brings more moving parts in the picture. Hopefully you are not an architect.

Comment: Re:Perl still works, and PHP is fine (Score 1) 536

Anyone cosidering PHP should read this the now infamouns "PHP is a fractal of bad design".

http://eev.ee/blog/2012/04/09/...

Most of it applies to old, obsolete versions of PHP. That's like complaining about the 640K barrier in Microsoft's operating systems.

Comment: You don't own the government (Score 1) 534

Ah but the corporations are owned by the shareholders, in this case it would be the police boards that pay into each 'corporation' but no matter how far down the line the money the police spend belongs to we the people so the 'shares' belong to 'we the people' as technically we are supposed to own the governement.

The US government has been a corporation since 1871, and the citizens lost control of their money in 1933. If you are looking for the actual owners of the country, check the "bank" section in the yellow pages.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_

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