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Comment: Re:The coping mechanism is to fix the room (Score 4, Informative) 94

by ottothecow (#49176047) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?
That is not even close to the right microphone.

They want to pick up multiple people wandering around a large room. That mic works best right in front of (measured in inches) the source of the sound.

The right answer is to just buy a polycom phone. Why try to buy a microphone and configure software (since you want a sensitive microphone that picks up everything, but then you will want noise cancellation that blocks out half of what the mic captures) when there is already a product that does this incredibly well for a pretty low price. You can get one for $50 or less on ebay.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 3, Interesting) 293

by ottothecow (#48663949) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi
I think you are missing many of the benefits of being a repeat customer.

In many cases, I'll take a United flight if there is up to a $50 or maybe even more difference. Between having a United credit card and flying them relatively often, I get a bunch of things that I don't get on any other airline (except southwest). Free checked bags have actual value. I may not use them every time, but even on shorter trips, I often like to buy local beers that aren't available in my town which can't be carried on (and if I am not going to check bags, I can go with the cheaper flight). I get priority boarding and extra privileges when it comes to changing seats/flights. Priority boarding is super handy because I seem to end up on a lot of planes like CRJ-700s where you will get stuck gate-checking your carryon if you are in a late boarding group. I get a couple lounge-passes a year...not helpful most of the time, but great if a flight gets delayed or cancelled (both for somewhere to hang out, and because the customer service agents in the lounge are more helpful than the ones at the gate). $200 difference on a $300 flight? No way, save me the money

And in terms of employer paid airfare? Who cares. When I have travelled for work, I generally fly whatever airline has the times I isn't about the price, it is about the flight that gets me there in time for the meeting...never heard a client complain that I could have saved $200 if I took the 5AM flight instead of the 7AM. If there are multiple options, sure, maybe I would opt for a slightly more expensive United flight if I wanted the extra benefits....but that cost difference pales in comparison to the cost of me going there (since my time is billed hourly). Finally, if you have status, you could actually be saving the company/client money. For instance, say that my boss only flies business class. If he has enough status on one airline to book seats that get upgraded...he can book a coach fare and get upgraded for less money than the business class ticket.

Comment: Re:Duh. (Score 0) 190

by ottothecow (#48606129) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
Did you even read my comment?

I click because the headline interests me and I don't immediately recognize it as a Bennett post. He often picks interesting topics, but his actual responses are awful.

I comment because I choose not to just ignore it. Sure, I could install a greasemonkey script to eliminate Bennett, but that is not going to help slow the downfall of slashdot. I comment because I want to make sure Dice knows that there is public opinion that doesn't want this crap. I comment so that any new users who happen upon slashdot and click on Bennett's junk aren't led to believe that his content is accepted as reasonable discourse by the community.

FWIW, I don't usually check the "Disable Advertising" box that they give you for having good karma (it eventually unchecks itself and you have to re-check it). But when I read a Bennett article, I immediately go and check that box. They aren't getting any extra ad revenue from me out of Bennett's drivel.

Comment: Re:Duh. (Score 4, Insightful) 190

by ottothecow (#48601515) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
I think it is a two-fold issue.

First, most of us think Bennett is an idiot and simply don't want to read his drivel. Slashdot doesn't provide an easy way to ignore his stuff (although other users have written greasemonkey scripts to get rid of him). If he posted comments like that, I personally think that he would be moderated away. If stories were subject to moderation, I think the same would happen. If this were reddit, his posts would never see the light of day.

Second, and more importantly IMHO, is the issue of why is Bennett special? Slashdot links to articles. With the exception of things like ask-slashdot and posts about slashdot itself, everything is cited to an external source. RTFA is a thing, because usually there was an actual article with content. Why does this Bennett guy get to use slashdot as his personal editorial platform? He should have to post this on his own person blog, just like everyone else. And like everyone else, I believe it used to be frowned on to self-promote to slashdot. If you want your articles to show up on slashdot...write good articles and hope other people post them. I 100% believe that if he was posting this stuff on his own blog, it would either not get submitted at all, or the editors would reject it. It simply doesn't meet the quality standards of slashdot (at least the quality standards that there *used* to be). If the articles aren't good enough to stand on their own, why does this post-Dice slashdot feel the need to give this guy a soapbox to stand on?

Slashdot will probably never be what it used to be...but Bennett's crap is one of the most noticeable things that numerous long-time users absolutely hate. The articles often hook you in with an interesting prompt...but the writing is terrible and you soon realize you are reading a moron's rantings. This isn't an ad-hominem attack--I don't reject his articles because they are written by him. I usually don't notice it is a Bennett piece until I am halfway through reading it and say "Oh man, this is terrible" only to look and realize that it is another one of his poorly thought-out editorials which has been given free web-hosting and promotion by slashdot. Every single one of them is bad. If he were to write a decent piece (and preferably post it elsewhere with just a summary and a link on slashdot), I wouldn't complain. But they are all *awful*.

Comment: Re:To hell with taxis... (Score 1) 295

by ottothecow (#48600963) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber
Maybe most people where *you* live use them twice a year.

You clearly don't live in Paris where this article is from. You probably don't live in NYC, Chicago, or SF (the actual cities, not their suburbs) either. I probably take taxis/ubers twice a week or more. Having UberX as a significantly cheaper (and usually cleaner and friendlier) option has greatly increased my taxi use. Taxis are just one component of a public transit system. They are the piece that lets you get to/from under-served areas of the city, or that let you make a direct trip when you don't have time for a bus or train.

Part of why uber works, is that they are better able to meet demand. A lot of the UberX drivers do it part time. They finish work at 5, and sign on to uber for a couple of hours (maybe until a fare takes them close to home). Because most big cities have a limited number of taxi medallions to the point where every taxi in the city is basically in operation 24/7, trying to catch a cab at 5:30 on a rainy day used to be almost impossible in busy areas. UberX drivers being able to fill in the gaps have made that much less of an issue. Even if you don't want to pay surge pricing (In my town, I think you have to be above 1.75X to be more expensive than a cab)...every person who is willing to pay surge pricing is one less person getting into a yellow cab, leaving them open for you.

Sometimes I just use the Uber app to hail regular cabs (especially since they don't surge). It means payment is handled automatically--no arguments over whether or not the CC machine is broken--and the drivers have been reviewed. Most of the regular "yellow" cabs that use uber are cleaner and friendlier than average. The drivers don't drive like assholes because if they get a bunch of bad reviews, they will lose their Uber privileges. Sure, they will still be able to pick up people on the street in their cab, but they lose automated hailing from customers who never have trouble paying and always tip (since it is built in to Uber). And the uber app doesn't discriminate between independent cabbies and different companies....ANYONE can sign up. Some of the cab companies in my town have started trying to make their own apps, but who wants to be locked into one? Why would I want an XYZ Cab that is 10 minutes away, if ASD Cab is just around the corner?

Comment: Re:Have one giant high-res monitor! (Score 1) 567

by ottothecow (#48582353) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait
Interesting, I didn't know that. Looks like as of Win7, they don't even have to be the same resolution.

Unfortunately for me, I omitted some detail. I actually have to open a full-screen citrix session before starting remote desktop. While you can get citrix to span multiple monitors, it seems like it treats it all as one big montior (if you hit maximize, it covers both screens, even though they are mismatched resolutions). The documentation says it should work like normal...but that is not what I am observing with my particular citrix setup.

Comment: Re:Have one giant high-res monitor! (Score 1) 567

by ottothecow (#48574041) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait
Yup. And the current trend towards 16:9 ratios leaves you with monitors that are too skinny in portrait mode.

No need to go portrait when you can get a screen that is as tall as a portrait screen from a few years ago. 16:9 sucks for viewing websites because it is super wide without much height (and most websites exclusively scroll up and down). But a browser window docked to 1/2 of the screen is pretty much the perfect width for reading, and on a big monitor, has plenty of height. 16:10 is a little better, In portrait, it feels a little more like a piece of paper...but again, side by side windows on a big 16:10 are better than a single window on a smaller portrait 16:10. 4:3 works pretty well sideways (or its LCD cousin 5:4), although at that point you have a lot of height and may not need to go portrait.

At home, I just use a 27" screen and half-screen dock everything. cleaner than a dual-monitor setup and almost as functional. The only think it can't do that my dual-setup used to do is that I can't have a full-screen game open on the primary monitor, and a browser open to some reference page on the secondary monitor. When I remote desktop into the office, it is actually better than dual monitors...remote desktop doesn't support dual-monitors, but it is perfectly happy doing split-screen docking on a giant single screen.

Comment: Re:What is fair competition? (Score 2) 280

by ottothecow (#48559207) Attached to: Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain
What I find even more interesting is that in NYC, UberX actually costs more than a taxi. Here in chicago, I use uberx and lyft a lot (often when I might have otherwise not even bothered with a cab)...because they are significantly cheaper. It helps that they are usually clean, smell normal, and have a friendly driver who isn't muttering away on the phone...but I mostly take them because they are cheaper.

But taking taxis in NYC can apparently sometimes suck so much that people will pay extra to ride around in some random dude's car. They aren't even undercutting the competition on price. They are purely succeeding on quality of service (and availability).

Comment: Re:What is fair competition? (Score 1) 280

by ottothecow (#48558231) Attached to: Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain
Well, some cities have figured out how to fix these things without simply banning anything that would compete with the shitty services the regular cab companies provide.

I believe NYC requires UberX drivers to get a commercial license, and I think Chicago has asked for taxes/surchages (as well as specifying insurance and background check requirements for Uber).

Comment: Re:Greasing Palms. (Score 1) 280

by ottothecow (#48558011) Attached to: Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain
Yup, and these regulations are all coming thanks to local politicians. Average people don't even know the names of their state representatives...and those representatives all won their seats thanks to money from people like the local Taxi Company owners (or influence from people with large groups/unions that they can cajole into voting in local elections). It doesn't take a lot of money to influence a local politician, and there is not a lot of visibility to prevent it.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 238

by ottothecow (#48522991) Attached to: The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS
Why can't you cache facebook?

Sure, nothing on there is a static page, but if a million people are sharing the same 1MB image, you can still cache that. The text after "So and So shared..." will change, and the comments/likes will change, but somewhere there is a jpeg that keeps getting reused. Not everything makes sense to cache, but for things like images shared by George Takei, caching them once at the ISP or corporate network level could stop many gigabytes of external transfer.

Comment: Re:Doesn't apply to Google (Score 1) 73

Why not get a free phone? I don't know about this lollipop business, but my 2013 Moto X has been an absolutely excellent phone running android 4 (the 1st gen Moto X is optimized for user experience rather than raw power...and it isn't as huge as the new Moto X). Big improvement over my old android 2 phone and I believe they are available for free on a contract right now.

Before anyone jumps on my neck about "on a contract does not equal free", you've been paying for your current phone service since 2009. If you had gotten a free phone back in 2012, that contract would have expired by now and you'd be in exactly the same situation as you are currently in, except you would have a new phone. T-mobile I believe is the only big carrier who offers a discount for owning your own phone, so unless you really plan to switch carriers all of the time, it is silly to keep paying the same rate and *not* take advantage of the phone subsidy.

and FWIW, you should be able to keep your old contract terms. Until last week I was on some ancient grandfathered texting plans and another family member was still on unlimited data despite updating our phones multiple times. Discovered last week, that the whole family plan could be ~$30 a month cheaper if we went to shared data between the phones (with a cap greater than our combined usage), and we got switched from limited minutes/texting to unlimited talk/text.

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.