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Comment Re:Reaching the SSH server from a vehicle (Score 1) 232

If you use cellular in any capacity you have to pay for a data plan. That's one strength of a lot of tablets is that there is a cellular radio built in for you. Most laptops don't have this feature. To me that sounds like a plus for tablets since you can use Wifi and/or cellular (even LTE now, faster than most hotspots).

Everyone does have special cases, but the decision to get a tablet should be decided based on if it meets your needs. As an IT person I have not run into any show-stopping roadblocks. The only annoyance for me (and this is just iPad) is not being able to scan wireless networks with the built in radios. You need to use spectrum analyzer accessory for that.

Comment Re:Innovation (Score 1) 232

I understand the points you've laid out, but i haven't had problems with the "locked down" state of the devices. That's not to say I wouldn't want them to be more open. So far I've only run into one limitation on my iPad (3rd gen) and that's with Apple locking devs out of the API for the wireless radios.

I use my iPad for almost all the same things I use my laptop. And when your a chronic Delta victim, being able to use a tablet in the few inches they give you is better than not being able to use your laptop at all on a 5+ hour flight.
1. email
2. writing documents (bluetooth smartcover keyboard by Logitech works beautifully). 10 hours of battery is better than most laptops
3. watching movies/netflix/shows/youtube
4. terminal/console for configuring network equipment (30-pin->RJ45 adapter and console app)
5. ssh (lots of good clients, some even let you sync session output to dropbox for records)
6. texting - using iMessage or other clients I can text people from 30,000 feet now
7. research - with stuff like Reading List, synced bookmarks, and note taking apps that sync across all my devices
8. etc.... (games, music, video chat, dictation, contact management, social media, navigation, picture management, calendar, ...)

There's really not a whole lot one can't do on a tablet now outside of specialty functions and modifying your local OS (which you can do with a JB/root). The biggest advantage desktops have right now are processing power and the mouse cursor. So stuff like video editing/rendering, while there are apps for it, can't (yet) be replaced by a table running an ARM processor. But even with that, if you're in a pinch or stuck on a plane, there are simple-tech solutions (like iMovie).

I'm curious if people really can't do what they want on a tablet, or if they just haven't taken the time to find out if they can. ;)

Comment Re:Huge missed opportunity. (Score 1) 487

Apple wanted Google to add this functionality, but Google made demands on Apple that they would not cave to, such as integrating Latitude with iOS, which would be a slap in the face by their biggest competitor.

Either way, in the end Apple really had to move to their own mapping system because the other big players all own theirs as well (Windows Phone -> Bing Maps. Android -> Google Maps). Being reliant on a competitor for a core function has not always been a good idea (see Samsung v. Apple drama).

And Apple Maps are actually quite good in my experience so far. The art is much nicer than Google's was (on iOS), and the turn-by-turn integration is done very well. The main problem was the terrain mapping in satellite view. Most people are not having the terrible problems that have come to light from the few that have. They instantly had a multi-million person client base when iOS 6 came out (since they can actually get the OS upgrades to customers within hours vs. years *cough* google *cough*). Google and MS have had gradual user growth from their releases. It's not exactly a free pass for Apple, but if they fix the problems quickly (especially considering they have a huge bug reporting audience to draw from), it could end up on even playing field with Google and MS in the maps game.

Timmy apologizing for maps was, IMHO, unnecessary. It's nice to see humility from a company that has historically denied imperfections, but some DB errors in their mapping system is far from the worst they've had (antenna-gate, patent wars, working conditions, and probably more I could come up with). Is he going to apologize every time they have a bug? Ballmer would have to do this the second Tuesday of every month. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" for each patch.

Comment Re:Signal isn't chaning, the noise floor is (Score 1) 615

The other reply to your question (from guruevi) is correct. There's also the problem of "duty cycle" (there are other terms) which is basically how much noise is in the air on a channel. This is basically how much space is between the noise. When you have a crowded room with everyone trying to get online on a channel, they are all waiting for their turn to talk. The fewer people you have, naturally you have more time between transmissions. The more people you have, the less and less time there is between. It's like the difference between speaking slowly and those auctioneer guys who speed right along and are almost hard to understand because there's no space between their words to process what you're hearing. When you get a spectral analyzer out and look at the duty cycle on a channel in a crowded neighborhood (maybe an apartment complex), you'll see many access points (wireless routers usually) on each channel. If you look at say, channel 1, you have a duty cycle for the access points on that channel, and you have contribution to that from overlapping channels (2 and 3). So if you are using channel 3, you are contributing to the duty cycle (thus degrading performance and throughput) of channels 1 through 6. In return, those channels contribute to your noise as well.

The best practice is to keep the overlapping channels clean so that you don't get interrupted by those adjacent channels. The best possible graph you want to see in an analysis tool like inSSIDer on the 2.4 GHz view is 3 humps, spanning channels "0"-3, 4-9, and 10 to 13. In Europe you can use up to channel 14 as well. You'll get in trouble here in the US though. ;)

I'm not really familiar with posting things in /. elegantly, but here's an image of an ideal 2.4 GHz spectrum scan (you can use Wifi Analyzer on Android, or inSSIDer on Windows, or Wifi Explorer on Mac).

So here's the trick to using JUST 1,6, and 11. Signal strength. You can share channel 1 with as many neighbors as you want, but in order for it to be effective, you need to have roughly a 20 dBm advantage over the signale from the nearest AP using the same channel, in the area you want to use your AP. If you have that much of a difference in signal strength, it's good enough to have a good experience on wireless.

Here's an example where, if the signal from other APs are weak enough compared to your own, it doesn't matter that they are overlapping your channels because you can trump them with sufficient signal strength to talk from your client device to the AP.

So, if you have a scenario like that one, be courteous like the the taller ones and use the proper channels. :)

Here is an idea of what proper channel layout should be. If you have the opportunity to help your neighbors tweak their APs, I'd suggest channel planning it for the benefit of everyone. :)

I hope this helps. There is probably a lot more I could explain on this but I'm currently working a large event in Vegas and we're currently troubleshooting this very problem. Everyone comes in with a personal hotspot and just stomps all over the free wifi we are providing them. I wish there were a good way to educate people. It's just too technical for the lay person though.

Comment Re:Signal isn't chaning, the noise floor is (Score 5, Insightful) 615

There are 14 channels (frequencies) in 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz). There are only 3 that do not overlap though (1,6,11). The best thing to do if you plan to use the 2.4 GHz range is to run something like inSSIDer and see which of those 3 channels are least congested, then set your router to use that range. The problem with 2.4 is the lack of non-overlapping channels, and the fact that most routers have a default setting to pick the "least congested channel" but not conform to the 1,6,11 standard. So therefore you have all your neighbors congesting multiple channels by overlapping 1 and 6 or 6 and 11, using a channel in between. This is a nightmare for high-density areas (I do wireless for large conferences. It's a huge challenge).

In 802.11a/n (5 GHz), there are 23 channels you can use (depending on if you bond for N or not). This is like comparing a 3 lane highway to a 23 lane highway. Your density capacity is FAR higher than 2.4. The downside is that most mobile devices do not have 5 GHz radios, and 5 GHz, because of the nature of the higher frequency, does not penetrate (giggidy) as far as 2.4 (as you said). From a management point of view this is a benefit, but when you are trying to cover a large house it leads to weak signals at the edges of the house, if you center it. This is a good point to use multiple access points though (routers without the routing in lay terms).

So, the near future for wireless is 5 GHz (or, "Wireless A and N"). 5 GHz is catching on (iPhone 5 and a few Androids and Tablets have it now) and will start to get much busier, but the great thing about that is it's designed for it. The downside to the less-near future is that 802.11ac will add larger bonding in the 5 GHz range, which will lead to less available channels/capacity. We'll see how that goes...

One correction to your comment I have is that N is not 5 GHz specific, and it has not at all changed people from 2.4 to 5. It's only allowed more throughput than G or A did on those frequencies. It's caused more problems than not because of the fact it can use the 40 MHz window, taking up 1 of the 3 non-overlapping channels, pissing off your neighbors.

Comment Google Voice + employee personal numbers (Score 1) 224

One easy (free) way around this problem is to use Google Voice. Add and remove employee cell phone numbers as needed. Give your customers one phone number (gVoice number), and you control the routing at all times (including ring order), plus the added benefits of voice-to-text translated voicemail (when it works right).

Comment Re:Good luck with those new map service. (Score 1) 513

It's their first foray into the mapping world. Google has a huge head start, setting the bar pretty high. For my area it's been spot on for accuracy. And it was nice to know they acknowledged the problem and made a statement that they were working to fix inaccuracies people are reporting.

Comment Re:Not always smooth (Score 1) 513

As of iOS 5, it is smooth now, as long as you use the "Update" feature (not Restore) in iTunes or even better (and smoother), the built in update on the device. I used it to upgrade from 5 to 6. It took a bit to download (600 MB), but besides that it went perfectly.

Settings -> General -> Software Update

I hope this helps.

Comment Not Net Neutrality problem? (Score 1) 95

Here's my question... does net neutrality even come into play here? AT&T doesn't block FaceTime traffic at all. You fan jailbreak your phone, install 3Gunrestrictor (or whatever it's called), and use FaceTime just fine over AT&T's network (I've done this). The blocking is in iOS. I don't know the exact mechanism, but once you pay AT&T, they somehow have the keys to toggle FT over cellular on your device.

So, if this is the case (it's locked locally in device, AT&T with the keys from Apple), it seems to me that AT&T can successfully argue that this is not a net neutrality conflict since the it's the device, not the network or network blocking, preventing the service. That is unless net neutrality rules are very loosely worded, in which case it will be a battle of the lawyers over interpretation I guess (?).

I'd switch from AT&T if they weren't the only carrier with the iPhone on GSM (voice+data) and LTE in the US.

I love being a consumer in a world where corporations work for the customer. Wait, that was just a dream.

Comment Re:He's right. (Score 1) 575

I don't understand the narrow-mindedness about tablets on this forum.

Tablets have come a long way in terms of productivity in the 3 years they have been mainstream. Just because your kids enjoy them doesn't make them less useful to people of all ages. My little cousins love them to play games. My little sister loves it for social media apps (Facebook and such). My wife uses them for reading music while playing piano and organ and reading online, I use it for work (SSH console, Cisco console, RDP, VNC, email, chat, analyze 802.11, etc...), and my grandmother uses it to read books and stream music and netflix. There are tons of other uses too. For the purpose of this community, might as well mention it streams HD porn quite nicely. lol.

It's just a modern multi-purpose tool. They are "made for" whatever you can apply their benefits to. easy to wipe off too.

Comment Re:He's right. (Score 1) 575

If used appropriately, tablets are extremely useful in college. There's no (practical) limit to the amount of notes you can take, you have the ability to record audio while you take notes, you can thousands of text books in under a couple pounds on your back, and your reference tools are almost limitless with apps like WolframAlfa, Google, and Wikipedia, among others. Being able to multi-task means you can switch from your notes to references to email with quick gestures.

Being easily distracted is a personal problem. Even pen and paper can be distracting. I used to doodle when I got bored in class. Students can choose to be responsible and benefit from use of a tablet in class. And I'm sure a lot do.

Educations benefits from iPads to younger children may increase with iOS 6 which has a lock-down capability to disallow exiting an app (such as an edcuational app) to look at other distractions. Not sure if Android has this or not.

Comment Evolving Internet-Only setup (Score 2) 479

I've wondered about the best way to do this as well. I refuse to pay for a service that makes me watch commercials (cable/sat TV). IMHO advertisers should be paying cable companies to give away cable access to people who want it, or there should not be commercials if I'm paying. Why do I need to pay to be advertised to? I'm sure it's more complex, but I just don't care.

My setup has evolved over time. I have a 30 Mbps Internet connection, a 55" LED LG mounted to the wall in my living room, and a mid-line BD/surround system. The evolving part is the media source of course. I started with a small tower with Windows 7 running on it. It let me play my Windows-based games on my big screen and I could stream Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, and my questionably acquired collection of movies and TV series.

Disclaimer: I know from reading this site frequently that most people here don't like Apple. The disclaimer part is that I just don't care. My views are based on my experience.

Eventually I decided it was taking up too much space, making too much noise, and taking up too much electricity (didn't want to shut it down because takes a while to boot). Over the last couple years I've picked up an iPhone and an iPad, so as a natural progression I decided to try the Apple TV. It has some nice features such as being 1080p, having AirPlay (lets me stream music and pictures from my iDevices, and lets me mirror the screen on my iPad, some games work with it too), and a superb Netflix interface (much better than most App-enabled media appliances). I've picked up a few TV series and a few movies and they play beautiful video and sound. Since most people seem to have iDevices nowadays, it's nice for friend and family that come over to be able to share pictures and videos and such from their phones on the TV.

The problem with Apple TV is that it's the usually Apple-walled-garden situation. You're limited to the services they provide (for now). I suspect they will open the Apple TV up for app dev soon (like they did for the iPhone when the Appe Store was announced) based on the direction the interface is heading. Once that happens it may be a solve-all solution for my needs. But until then, there is one major problem with it... there's no way to play my video collection.

To fix this, eventually I picked up a Boxee from Best Buy (made by D-Link... not my favorite brand). So far it has been a fantastic solution. It streams my video collection on my LAN flawlessly, streams Netflix (interface is not as polished as Apple's), Pandora, Vudu (decent service), Hulu, and many others. There's an app repository that you can get quite a few apps from, and the ability to add custom repos if you'd like. The remote is not a simple and beautifully made sliver of aluminum like the Apple TV remote, but it's far more functional. It has a full QWERTY keyboard on the back, it's not directional (works in any orientation, so not IR I guess), and the front is a simple interface. The Boxee also support AirPlay for audio and video. I haven't had luck with doing any screen mirroring.

I've only just recently discovered the Vudu service on it. It's owned by Walmart and it's pretty nifty. I don't want to be an advertisement for it but if you go the Boxee route you should definitely check out Vudu.

Over all the Boxee does 99% of what I want and maybe everything that you would want. You can even add an antenna attachment so you can stream local broadcast channels. The Apple TV is nicer in design (smaller, sleeker, cheaper), interface, remote (iDevices can be remotes too), and overall polish. Once they start having apps for it and stuff like Oplayer and Hulu show up on it, I don't think I'll need the Boxee anymore.

I've also considered the Roku, but I haven't had a reason to look at it since I got the Boxee.

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