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Comment: Mu (Score 3, Interesting) 89

by sootman (#47561837) Attached to: Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?


Install once, update if you care to, but it's not essential. Requires no configuration after installation, works for ALL browsers on your system with no setup, does not require the browser to "support" it in any way (i.e., extensions), never ever gets broken by browser updates, works on ancient computers with grossly out-of-date browsers. Works with ANY tcp/ip-based app on your system, really, so it lowers vectors for IM apps, Acrobat, etc.

The first computer I used it on was an 800 MHz G3 iBook with 640 MB RAM. Some people may say a large hosts file will slow down your computer, but I've never seen that happen myself in over a decade of using it on literally every computer I have.

It may not block EVERY ad like a dedicated extension does, but it comes really really close, and I like the fact that it works with all browsers and never requires updating. When I get a new computer, I put the hosts file on and pretty much never touch it again. A handful of sites (like hulu) will not work with an adblocker and it's a manual process to edit the file, but for unix types, that's not a problem. It blocks google's sponsored links so you may need to take that out too, for people who google "sears" and click the first (sponsored) link instead of the first actual link.

No reason not to do security in layers and use it WITH adblocking extensions, I suppose, but I've never felt the need to.

Comment: Re:Try (Score 4, Funny) 156

SPUG: "The group is on hiatus."

The most recent "previous meeting" mentioned was 12/5/2006, and there's a link at the bottom that says "Palm is hiring" if you want a hint of when that page was last updated.

Even the link to the article about the death of Palm is two years old now. Seriously man, it has run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

Comment: Check your local library, or Amazon (Score 4, Informative) 156

My local libraries all have tons of outdated (5- to 15-year-old) books on a variety of computer subjects. You just might get lucky and find the one you need at yours.

Or, check Amazon. Lots of people list lots of useless old books for basically nothing plus shipping. First hit for "palm os programming" is this meaty tome, from 2002, for 30 cents plus $3.99 shipping. Bang, zoom, $4.29 later, you're set. Palm OS Programming for Dummies, 22 cents plus $3.99. Whatever version you need is out there somewhere.

And they usually come with interactive CD-ROMs. Interactive, my friend. Check the descriptions on Amazon and make sure they're included.

Comment: Re:Bullshit.... (Score 1) 129

by sootman (#47554655) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

I'd just say it's useless because no two people can agree on what's important, so what's the point of giving a single score? And even something as seemingly simple as a compression algorithm has more than just two characteristics:
1) speed of compression
2) file size
3) speed of decompression
4) does it handle corrupt files well? (or at all?)

Even just looking at 1 & 2, everyone has different needs. Some people value 1 above all others, some people value 2, and most people are somewhere in between, and "somewhere" is a pretty big area. Yes, your examples are pretty far apart and most people would agree that "best" is somewhere in the middle, but the middle is bigger than you think. Hence, there can simply never be a "best". So why bother trying to score one?

> So why can't you create some kind of rating system to give
> you at least a vague quantifiable score of that concept?

Because it would just be too vague to be useful. I mean, yeah, it can sort out the great ones from the horrible ones, but that's easy anyway, so if you're just trying to compare a few really good ones, the difference isn't enough.

A car that goes 200 mph is great, but not if it gets 2 mpg. Likewise, 100 mpg and a top speed of 30 mph isn't useful either. If you're comparing a bunch of cars that get 32-35 mpg and go 130-140 mph, there's not a meaningful way to pick the "best" in that group that everyone will agree on, unless one has the highest speed and the best mileage, but then, again, that's an obvious winner and you don't need an algorithm's help to pick it out of the pack.

Comment: Well, DUH. (Score 4, Interesting) 508

OF CORUSE they don't want to make them. More moving parts (read: points of failure), harder to design and manufacturer, higher component costs, and, despite the findings of your rigorous "informal online survey", there actually ISN'T that much demand for such a device.

Adding a slide-out keyboard adds many moving parts, and either a) adds bulk or b) displaces space that could be otherwise used by the battery. (Or both.) So you'll get a more-expensive phone with ONE feature (physical keys) and it'll be larger, heavier, less reliable, and/or have worse battery life. Can you see why this market isn't worth sinking money into? Face it: whenever you deviate from the norm -- the biggest seller, and by extension, the cheapest to manufacture due to economies of scale -- you either need to a) charge a premium, or b) eat the costs because you're chasing market share. Choice "a" will shrink the possible market even more so, further reducing return-on-investment, and "b" is not ideal either.

There are literally a hundred things that could be (or not be) on a phone, and people feel very strongly about these things, but it's impossible to manufacture every single combination. Somewhere there is a guy who wants a phone with a triple-size battery and big antenna and no camera because he works for a defense contractor in a building where he gets shitty reception, but he's SOL and so are you. Unless this takes off, you'll have to live without your dream feature set.

Also, you need to think more about the implications of your data. Of the people you surveyed who HAVE used a phone with a slide-out keyboard, only about half of them STILL want a phone with a slide-out keyboard. There's a clue in there somewhere...

Comment: Re:Best Wishes ! (Score 1) 322

by sootman (#47523433) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

> I'd love to see a single UI that works across 4" phones and 7" tablets
> with gorilla glass, and 13" laptops and 10" convertibles with membrane
> keyboards, and 24" desktops with 101-keyboards, and 60" XBox Ones
> with controllers...

You want a UI on a 4" device with one low-res input -- your finger -- that's the same as what's on a 24" desktop with 100 keys and a pixel-accurate mouse because......... why?????

Go ahead and build from common core code -- worked for OS X/iOS! -- and make them work together and even have similar styles and icons, but optimize the UIs based on the environment. Different devices are different, and if you don't optimize for each, you get lowest-common-denominator crap. That is literally the definition of "optimize." Why wouldn't you optimize? There is no such thing as "optimized for all situations." Sinofsky's idea of No compromise design was complete and utter bullshit from Day 1 because design IS compromise. A good UI that's identical from 4" to 60" literally can not exist.

OK, fine, maybe it can exist and it's just that no one has invented it yet, but I'd bet my next year's pay that MS isn't going to solve that puzzle with Windows 9 or 10.

Comment: Re:I doubt most people care (Score 1) 353

by sootman (#47510101) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

If you rent less than a movie a week (and if you can get by with a small catalog of current-ish releases), Redbox is pretty economical at $1.29 per DVD per day. You can't leave it sitting around your house for days at a time, but then you don't really need to because you get the movie when you want to see it (as opposed to requesting it on the site a day or two in advance) and then return it the next time you're out. There are redboxes everywhere in my area so getting to one isn't a big deal. In the 2 or 3 years years I've been using redbox, there have literally only been 2 or 3 times where I had to make a special trip to drop off a movie on time. Usually, I leave the house at some point during a day, and if I do, there's a redbox either where I'm going or on the way. (On the borders of my subdivision, there are redboxes at the Walgreens stores on the NW and SE corners, and one at the 7-11 on the NE corner. There's nothing on the SW corner, but I rarely go that way, and if I do, it's 1 mile to the next redbox.) My usual process is to get something on the way home from work and then drop it off when I go out the next day.

One thing in Redbox's favor is that the window between "hey, I want to see that" and having the movie in your hand can be just a matter of minutes. And if you do that, say, twice a month, that's $33/year instead of $96/year. So for small users -- like me -- it's actually faster and cheaper. (Plus they send codes by email or text for either a free rental, rent-one-get-one-free, or $.75 off a rental, about once every 3 weeks. I used redbox about once a month when I first signed up and I just rented when I had codes and I only paid for about 2 movies the first 6 months. Once I got used to using it, I started renting a little more.)

Comment: Re:Ads are good for the internet. (Score 1) 394

by sootman (#47491545) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

I haven't seen anything in the last 14 years to make me doubt any assertions in this article, which gives MANY reasons that micropayments won't work. Here's just one short section, but it's one of the key points.

micropayments create a double-standard. One cannot tell users that they need to place a monetary value on something while also suggesting that the fee charged is functionally zero. This creates confusion - if the message to the user is that paying a penny for something makes it effectively free, then why isn't it actually free? Alternatively, if the user is being forced to assent to a debit, how can they behave as if they are not spending money?... Users will be persistently puzzled over the conflicting messages of "This is worth so much you have to decide whether to buy it or not" and "This is worth so little that it has virtually no cost to you."

Comment: Re:No excuses left (Score 1) 390

by sootman (#47485257) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

> Capitalist theory says that if an incumbent merchant/provider
> is too inefficient to provide a good service or if another potential
> merchant/provider thinks they can do a better job for a lower
> price, then that new provider will step in and provide said service.

If the barrier to entry is too high, no one else can step in. Once a company is making huge monopoly profits, it can save a bit for a rainy day and undercut competitors until they go under. McDonald's could start selling burgers for 5 cents apiece until Burger King was bankrupt if it weren't for anti-monopoly laws.

The natural result of pure capitalism is monopolies. Regulation is required, because monopolies always wind up being bad for consumers.

Even moderately benign monopolies suck. Craigslist is a great example. Even though they are relatively benevolently run -- almost everything is free; a few things like real estate listings in major cities cost a lot and pay for everything else on the site -- their listings suck in a lot of ways and they have no incentive to make them better. Why can't they have columns for things like cars and computer so I can search specifically by Manufacturer -> Model, and not just to text searches on the ads? That would help deal with the fact that almost every ad in "cars for sale" looks like this. But because Craigslist has a monopoly, no other "stuff for sale" site can gain traction, and Craigslist has no reason to improve. So you eat the shit sandwich that is Craigslist because there's nothing else on the menu.

Comment: Re:This a question that Microsoft should answer (Score 1) 272

by sootman (#47485137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

> This week, I got a real WTF when dealing with Microsoft products and
> the amazing amount of redundancy that is possible in the company.

I work with SharePoint and see this DAILY. When editing, one kind of page has a button that says "save" (which also ends the editing session); another kind of page has a button that says "stop editing" (which also saves.)

I imagine the boss talking to employees: "Coder #1: put a button that stops editing and saves on this kind of page. Coder #2: put a button that stops editing and saves on that kind of page."

SharePoint lists are also fun. If you go past 10k rows, bad things happen. But you can have as many columns as you want.
List 1: 3 columns, 11,000 rows, 33,000 total "cells" (for lack of a better term): BAD.
List 2: 25 columns, 9,000 rows, 225,000 total cells -- almost 7 times more -- EVERYTHING IS FINE.
(I've made lists like this just to test. It really happens.)

Again, I imagine one guy in charge of how rows are handled, and another in charge of how columns are handled.

Comment: Re:And in totally unrelated news.... (Score 1) 383

by sootman (#47475965) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

> How does this make Microsoft better?

You always here that competition in the marketplace makes all companies stronger. So, maybe that? Kind of indirect, but it might work. The losers who stay behind will have to up their game to compete with their now-stronger competition.

"Just the facts, Ma'am" -- Joe Friday