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Comment Turnabout is fair play. (Score 4, Insightful) 231

I've got kids and plenty of family in the toy-consuming age bracket......and I can't remember the last time we set foot in a Toys R Us.

With any luck, internet retailers will kill the Toys R Us model anyway - its about efficiency (for me) you know.

Comment Why government needs to get out of education (Score 1, Flamebait) 956

Government run education simply doesn't need to be any good - the government has a monopoly. They take your tax dollars by force and then require you to attend school.

Sure, you can enroll in any number of private schools, but you will still pay for government run schools.

The only way out of this that ensures even poor kids get an education is charters and vouchers. No unions, no teachers riding tenure all the way to their pension days. Government (aka taxpayers) still pay for every kid to get an education - and the schools need to compete for enrollment.

Create a Government monopoly in anything and you will get a bunch of people who will do just enough work to not get fired.

Comment However, in special ed, they do keep them engaged (Score 4, Informative) 283

We've moved away from very expensive smartboards and higher-end computers in favor of cheap projectors, whiteboards, and chromebooks.

The chromebooks are strictly for web-research, writing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

The projectors help a teacher share content with a class during a lesson.

We have some iPads, but we only use them to run some special-ed specific reading apps. They do help the kids read material that would otherwise be very difficult for some.

The past few years have been filled with schools blindly deploying smartboards, iPads, and high end windows/apple laptops. Unfortunately many of these districts didn't put in enough support systems or integrate the technology into the curriculum. We are only deploying tech where we see tangible benefits to classroom activities.

Comment The very reason I switched from ATV to Fire TV (Score 1, Interesting) 89

I left the iTunes Apple TV world for a Synology box running plex and Amazon Fire TVs running the Plex client. I got tired of encoding all my media in a format that iTunes was happy with and I got really tired of having to restart iTunes.

Apple is trying to do what Roku and Amazon Fire TV have been doing for a few years now....big surprise.

Comment Proscan 7" Android tablet - $49 (Score 1) 508

If you look around you can find a Proscan Android 4.4 tablet. My local grocery store is selling them for $49.00.

It's not a full-function computer - but it's close. Add in a cheap bluetooth keyboard and you've got more computing capability than I had in college.

Your $20 target might be impossible to reach.

Comment Re:IT as a utility - we're already there. (Score 1) 233

I've worked in regulated high-security industries (finance and medical). I've seen small to midsize shops with TERRIBLE security practices that did not have the necessary security staff onsite to keep their systems secure.

These small to midsize companies would absolutely benefit from the security groups at larger outsourced firms. Frankly, after seeing the credit union/community banking IT industry from the inside - I can say for certain the big service providers are way more proactive about securing their systems.

Are all cloud providers this good? Probably not. This is simply a resource issue. Many cloud providers have dedicated security teams auditing their systems/infrastructure. Almost no small to midsize company has this ability. Using a good cloud provider will give them a piece of that security team.

Comment Funny....I worked for a bank too. (Score 1) 233

I was a network manager at a small community bank. We also had FIOS/DSL/Cable interconnecting our sites - and we had a channelized DS3 as a backup.

Granted, we had almost all of our systems in-house, but many many of our competitors were "serviced" banks in that they had very few IT system in-house. Those companies also had redundant network connectivity.

The cloud is simply a way to cost-share someone else's computer. Your network design should have reliability built in whether your IT is cloud based or in-house if your business requires high availability.

Having a crappy internet connection has nothing to do with cloud VS in-house. Especially if your enterprise spans multiple locations.

Comment Is this really a big problem anymore? (Score 1) 233

We have FIOS and Comcast cable connecting our locations. We haven't had a significant internet connectivity failure in years.

If we did have a reliability problem with our network providers, we would account for that with redundant internet connections.

This isn't the 90s anymore. Internet connectivity is pretty reliable - and many areas do have more than one choice of network provider.

Comment An Android phone that wasn't... (Score 1) 80

I bought one of these figuring that it was a cheap unlocked phone with another year of Prime built in. Amazon's biggest failure was building an Android phone without leveraging any of the strengths of Android.

That was just stupid.

If they simply built the phone around stock Android and then added in their "ecosystem" it would have been a worthwhile device.

Comment IT as a utility - we're already there. (Score 5, Insightful) 233

At our school, here's the list of stuff we pushed into the cloud in the last few years:

Student information system (attendance, grades, IEPs, lesson plans - the lot). This eliminated an RDP server farm and a couple of SQL servers.

Email - this eliminated a couple of Exchange Servers.

Student data storage and applications - Google Apps eliminated most of our Windows and Mac student workstations. Chromebooks are cheap and easy.

Firewalls/VPN - management of these devices is now in the cloud - goodbye to local firmware updates and far more flexible provisioning of devices.

MDM - no longer in-house.

In each case we realized cost savings simply due to sharing someone else's infrastructure instead of home-brewing our own. Security concerns in the cloud are overblown by those trying to save their jobs. The fact is that most small to medium size businesses can not afford to have the security talent that most cloud companies have.

We don't make our own water or power - why should we try to build all of our IT?

Comment When the bugs become deadly NHTSA will care (Score 3, Informative) 192

NHTSA publishes a list of civil settlements here:

Fiat Chrysler was recently fined for inadequate protections on Jeep gas tanks, but I did not see that on the page linked above - so the list isn't entirely current.

NHTSA may not be the fastest regulatory group out there, but they have shown a willingness to go after car companies that do not issue timely fixes for dangerous problems. Automotive software bugs will eventually kill people. Unfortunately, NHTSA probably won't care until then.

Comment Does this law also apply to traditional media? (Score 4, Insightful) 330

I played baseball as a kid and I made the local paper a few times in my youth. My local library can get, pretty much, a copy of any newspaper that's ever been printed and archived.

I assume other countries like France have similar archives. Would this "right to be forgotten" also apply to paper archives? What about public records such as financial transactions?

It seems irresponsible of us to deprive future generations of these potential historical records.

Comment Sigh..It's 2015..Windows still has these problems? (Score 1, Insightful) 317

I remember this nonsense in college 15 years ago. Windows updates were a joke back then - surely the worlds largest software company has had time to sort out this issue.

I went from being a "windows guy" in college to the "anything but windows" guy now. Our company does run some windows servers in very limited roles, but everything else is Mac OS, Linux, or Chromebooks. We have 4 desktops running windows due to applications that only run on windows.

I put my family members on Mac OS or Chromebooks - and life has been much easier on me. No family members call me for help any more - it's fantastic.

Windows users need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why they are running that stuff. It most cases it is simply not necessary any longer.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"