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Comment Why shouldn't Best Buy fail? (Score 1) 407

Why wouldn't they fail?

1) Their sales staff are woefully ignorant of what they are selling. At best they know what's on the packaging (and that's unusual even), but they are /never/ helpful beyond very basic retail staff things.
2) They are full of shit. You can't tell them what you need, and get a product matched to that need, because of Issue 1 above coupled with their obsessive need to upsell on everything, particularly things that are entirely ridiculous.
3) Their prices are terrible. I understand they can't directly compete dollar for dollar with Amazon, NewEgg, Tiger Direct and co, but I find they are typically 50-100% more expensive than their online competition; with the price differentials particularly heinous on "accessories" where it can easily push 400%.
4) For PC components, their selection is atrocious. Typically only very overpriced, very low end components. Ever go shopping for a video card there? Hell, I haven't even seen a single internal hard drive in Best Buy in years. Not one

I'm impatient. I *WANT* to buy my toys in a store because I want instant gratification, and I'm ok with spending a couple extra dollars to get it. I head into Best Buy every time I'm shopping for a new bitty, and I always leave empty handed and dissapointed, and have to buy online anyways.

Comment Re:Net traffic is actually up 480% (Score 1) 519

I follow a few friends and a lot of tech pundits, and I'm never short of interesting conversations.

This. Most importantly to me, G+ is where I find interesting conversations, something that rarely seems to happen elsewhere. It's a much better setup for them than, say, Facebook comments. Being able to easily bring others into a discussion is wonderful, as is being able to include multimedia/etc in them (as opposed to only the original post).

G+ is better than I expected in many ways, but the real thing is that ultimately it's more symmetrical than asymmetrical, whereas twitter and Facebook are much more about broadcasting (particularly twitter) rather than conversing.

Comment Re:Return on investment (Score 1) 186

Normal solar panel takes 10-15 years to pay for itself. If it only produces 20% of a normal panel it won't be worth it unless it costs about 20% of a normal panel

It's not either/or. Maybe you already have solar panels on your roof, and want more? This increases your own power generation without, say, replacing your windows with solar panels. Sure, they are less efficient, but they also allow light to pass through allowing them to be used where traditional panels cannot be.

Comment Re:Um. Hooray? (Score 1) 59

This is not a "mashup" program. It's much different.

Ifttt stands for "If This Then That", and basically allows users to easily build their own cross-site scripting.

It's a pretty simple setup, but does require some creativity. There are hundreds of triggers and hundreds of actions - most of which are very highly customizable.

For example, I have a trigger set up so when my wife stars an RSS article in Google Reader I'll get a SMS message, with custom formatted text.

While it's not particularly complex to build something like this for personal use, if you lack the skills required (or just the time) it's surprisingly awesome.

Comment Re:I've never understood... (Score 1) 133

My wife and I both had 3G phones, I have a 4 now. Neither of us, over the three phones, have ever had a dropped call. Ever. Did you switch carriers when you switched phones? Or, perhaps, just a sketchy radio in the phone. As to being closed, that's just silly. The reality of the situation is that you need to jailbreak/root either phone, or you're stuck in a shitty closed platform. Android talks open, but you're still beholden to your handset maker/carrier for OS upgrades (which may well never come) and you still need to root it which may or may not be an easy process, depending on the phone.

Really, the endless fanboy wars are ridiculous. It's worse than console wars. Either is fine, both Android and iOS - once jailbroken/rooted - are great operating systems, with their own strengths and weaknesses. iPhones typically sport higher build quality/sturdiness, Android phones are more flexible and (importantly!) have removable batteries. ~shrugs~

For physical controls, though, I highly recommend people check out icontrolpad.com - for iOS or Android. Particularly useful if you're into emulators, but it works on a lot of appstore games too, as well as PC's etc. Standard bluetooth controller.

Comment Re:Car Analogy (Score 1) 322

All over the place. Take Factory Five's cars - some awesome stuff there - which want Mustang or Corvette drivetrains.

They recommend you pick up a used one, as that's by far the cheapest, simplest route, but it's absolutely trivial to order all the parts you need.

Call up Lordco, give them the parts list, they'll deliver.

Same principle as if you were repairing your Mustang/Corvette.

Comment Re:It's reverse psychology! (Score 5, Insightful) 211

This.

Color me uninterested. Windows Phone is too little, too late. To an entrant in the mobile OS market this late, they need to come to the table with something that can generate enough wow on it's own accord to get the press it needs.

WP7 doesn't do this. It's arguably more or less on par with the existing OS's (though I'd certainly debate that) but it definitely doesn't have anything making it particularly appealing in comparison. Why give up the huge support base and massive app availability of Android or iOS for.. well, Something Else.

As it stands, WP7's only feature is that it isn't iOS or Android.

Comment Re:This is seriously a world first?!!?? (Score 1) 123

Arduino, no shields at all. The Arduino contains an FTDI chip allowing serial communication along it's own USB connection. Use the built in Serial controls, and basic switches.

if (switchIsClosed) { Serial.print("a") };

Then run aackeys*, a free accessibility app - win95 has SerialKeys, which does the same thing - which monitors a serial port and converts incoming serial characters to keyboard keypresses (actually, you can send mouse events too - move to arbitrary locations, save/restore pointer positions, mouseclicks, x/y moves, etc with various escape sequences). Hardware setup is ridiculously simple, basic switches plugged into the arduino, the arduino coding is about as basic as can be.

* http://www.aacinstitute.org/Resources/ProductsandServices/AACKeys/AACKeys.html

I'm neither a programmer nor engineer, but I had a system set up this way inside of an hour or so. Used a stack of old touchlights as switches, popped them under my desk. Originally set them up for extra inputs for MMO playing, now just use them for macros.

Comment Re:right then (Score 1) 204

Sorry, I thought chromium == linux build of chrome? If not, excuse my ignorance!

Anyways, I concur wholeheartedly with the above post, to extremes even. There are countless Linux distros that differ from their parents solely by the default included software, all of which is easily grabbed via the package manager. It's certainly handy to have it preassembled, if the given package list is what you want, but otherwise it seems like a lot of unnecessary clutter.

Why GIMP being included or not in the default Ubuntu install was news at all, for example. Who cares? If it fits, great, if not just grab it after install if you need it.

Software installed by default is a major deal with an OS such as windows, that comes preinstalled on regular systems. Ubuntu doesn't. Sure, there's some niche manufacturers that sell pre-installed Ubuntu systems (and the odd rarely purchased Dell model, now and then), but the *vast* majority of commercial desktop/laptop systems are windows based - obviously excluding Apple.

These users - buying pre-built systems from bigbox retailers - they often have no idea of their options in browsers and other software, so the default install has significant value.

Users installing Ubuntu on end-user systems however are by nature at least sufficiently literate with the system to be aware of their options and to pick the packages they want.

So, yeah... who cares? Why is this even news?

All that said... Chrome on Linux is a much better experience than FF, or at least it was for me a few builds ago, haven't installed the 11.xx ubuntu builds or the later FF/Chrome builds.

Comment Re:Understand why people buy things (Score 1) 401

It's possible that this is an extension of precisely that, but I get the feeling people typically buy desktops and laptops like they buy appliances. They know there are a few basic metrics that they don't actually understand, and they go for the [largest/fastest] number of all of them for what they want to spend. ... ...
Buying complicated things are simply complicated decisions. Manufacturers are well beyond understanding how people shop, and have figured out how to play that game to their advantage. That's how companies like HP manage to exist in the consumer market, by pumping up the baseline specs and short-changing everything else.

This. I'm the more technically inclined one in my circle, and I constantly rail against people buying laptops or desktops at best buy or what have you, specifically for this reason. Major retailers will sell a computer by 2-3 "stats" often comparing PC's using different stats. Desktop A has a 3.2ghz processor and a 3TB hard drive! Desktop B has 6GB ram and a 27" monitor! And of course the salespeople are always ****ing morons with no idea of what they are selling outside of the gibberish printed on the price tag.

Typically, these prebuilt systems will feature one or two "good" components (read: large number) and be surrounded by a lot of crap creating unnecessary, horrendous bottlenecks in their systems to haul the price down. Unfortunately, most are terribly awkward to upgrade, as the motherboard is virtually always one of the first places the manufacturer skimps out. So, you may have a very fast processor, but it'll never

Take the same budget, go to newegg/ncix/etc and you can put together a far more capable system with components matched to what you're going to use it for and each other.

Comment Re:Please fight the good fight Netflix... (Score 1) 366

I'm certainly interested in seeing how this plays out. You're absolutely right, though, that the deathblow would come via sports streaming. As things stand now, live sports is the only Cable product that is extremely difficult to replace.

My only fear is that the Cable industry will succeed in legislating victory over Netflix etc.

Cable is done, it's dead. It's a delivery and pricing model that nobody wants anymore.

Comment Why is this so hard? (Score 2) 208

Well, that's depressing. Seriously, who would buy something like this? I use my phone (hell, even my laptop) in the tub *all the time* with no problem at all. Keep a hand dry, use your thumb. If you need both hands for whatever you're doing, keep a towel beside the tub. It's really not rocket science.

But, yeah. Laptops and phones in the tub for 6 years now, and I've never had a problem.

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