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Comment Android tablet (Score 1) 370

My mother is 82 years old. Me and my brother tried for years to get her to use computers, with her repeated asking for certain sites of interest. Using a mouse and learning to aim, single click, double click, right click, ...etc is an exercise in frustration because of lack of dexterity and no previous exposure to the paradigm of using a mouse.

We got her and Android tablet, Lenovo IdeaTab 9", but anything 9" or 10" should work. After some coaching during an extended visit, she uses it daily and happy to be on the internet.

Here are some tips:
- Teach them how to click in the address bar and enter a search term or a URL. Also how to scroll down and close a tab.
- Bookmark sites that they use often and teach them how to get to them.
- Tell them if they get stuck somewhere, pressing the back button a few will get them to a familiar point.
- Using the Facebook app will help see pictures of you and grand kids. Depending on your specifics this can be a great thing or a bad thing.
- The difference between what is an ad and what is content is a challenge. Install AdAway from F-Droid if your tablet is rooted, or Adblock Plus from their site with "unknown sources" otherwise. If they click an ad, teach them not to press install at all, unless they call you and you say so.

Comment US cutting down on military aid (Score 1) 214

That aid to Egypt's army caused it to build an economic empire that controls (by some estimates) up to 40% of Egypt's economy.

Just in the past few days, there is talk about winding down the aid to Egypt's military, and this is welcomed there by both ultranationalists who see the US meddling with Egypt for too long, and the revolutionaries who see the above empire as something to rein in.

In all cases, cutting that aid means the USA loses leverage with the most populous Arab nation, one with a peace treaty and border with Israel.

There will be a long struggle to bring this business empire under civilian oversight. The now suspended 2012 constitution said that the miltiary's budget is not subject to parliamentary oversight, and only a military council with a majority of military people can see the details. The constitution being drafted now seems to be heading that way too after refusal of the army to be under normal civilian elected oversight (public or in private hearing in committees).

So, as usual, foreign policies that worked in the past has had side effects, and we are now seeing them, and it will impact geopolitical future of a country and perhaps the region too.

Comment Re:Lazarides is one cause of Blackberry's problems (Score 1) 118

I agree that the BB's strengths are the keyboard and good battery life. But the lack of an easy repository for apps was what made Apple and Google a success (despite lagging in the keyboard and battery), and BB failed to see that.

My first "smart"phone was a Microsoft Windows, and I chose because of the keyboard factor. It had a sliding keyboard with good touch keys. But Windows was horrible as a phone interface.

I then moved to Android, also preferring a keyboard and got a Motorola Milestone (which is the GSM version of the Motorola Droid). The keyboard was terrible, requiring using your fingernails to press them. But I was hooked to Android, and moved from there to a Sony Xperia X10 and now a Sony Xperia Arc, and soon a Sony Xperia ZL.

In a nutshell, I have gotten used to touchscreens. I don't text a lot though, so that may be a factor. You don't need to do adaptive typing in Android. You can make it suggestive and if you like the word suggestion, you click it and that is that. Friends who have the BB Z10 showed me the flick method for word suggestions, and again, they are not forced on you.

Email is solid with Google's Gmail on Android. Not sure what BB offers that is more, apart from the corporate backend of things (BIS/BES/...etc.)

I never used a BB. But seen people praise the keyboard. For example, reporters in Egypt during the turmoil of past few years saying that when they are under fire and teargas, the keyboard is vital for tweeting without having to look at the screen. It is the same ease that I find in a shell, not distracted by eye/hand coordination using a mouse.

Comment Lazarides is one cause of Blackberry's problems (Score 2) 118

I live in Waterloo, and have many friends who work/worked there.

Before people think that an acquisition by the founder would save the company, please read the following in depth article: How Blackberry blew it: the inside story.

While Apple and Google were building an ecosystem of developers writing thousands of apps, and a central repository for those apps, Lazarides was still focusing on battery life and a physical keyboard, and failed to see why Apple and Google were becoming so popular.

Blackberry is resigned to the fate of being #4 platform for mobile, after Google, Apple, and yes, Microsoft, with low single digit market share after being #1 before smart phones with touch screens and app store/markets.

Comment Strawberries in Egypt (Score 3, Interesting) 259

Same for Strawberries in Egypt in the last quarter of the 20th century. The cultivar that was used initially was so sweet and fragrant, but did not keep well in the heat of Egypt and could not withstand transportation with heavy loss. Enter the current cultivar: much bigger fruits that look better, significantly harder, and almost tasteless, like the ones you find in the USA/Canada supermarkets. The older cultivar vanished in a year or two.

It was not disease, but yield that did it.

Comment Session time out problem in Tiny Tiny RSS (Score 1) 335

I have been using Tiny Tiny RSS since March, ever since Google announced they are discontinuing Reader.

It works well, and close enough to Reader. Imported my RSS without issues.

Once issue I am facing is that the session times out a couple of times per day.

This is despite having the following settings in config.php:

define('SESSION_COOKIE_LIFETIME', 86400*365); // Default lifetime of a session (e.g. login) cookie. In seconds, // 0 means cookie will be deleted when browser closes.

    define('SESSION_EXPIRE_TIME', 86400*365); // Hard expiration limit for sessions. Should be // greater or equal to SESSION_COOKIE_LIFETIME

Any idea why this happens?

Comment Re:I think he's dealt with other orthodox types (Score 1) 367

Agree about the one about interest, that some schemes are made to not look like interest, but underlying it it is almost the same.

The part about some Saudis drinking and gambling is not circumventing the laws but staying within their letter. This is mere hypocrisy: conformity to social pressures, and indulging when no one is around. They are not pretending that what they do is within Islamic law, they just don't adhere to it at all. The same happens elsewhere. A Dutch friend from an old Protestant order tells me about whole villages where TV is banned, and of course adultry, while elders go to Amsterdam to enjoy the sin of the flesh, and have curtains so no one can look into their home and see them watching TV. This is different. They don't pretend this is lawful.

Agree about human nature. It only takes a few out for themselves to spoil it for the rest.

Comment Re:I think he's dealt with other orthodox types (Score 1) 367

Great examples, I will add more ...

- The Eruv system, where on the Sabbath it is forbidden to carry stuff from one place to another unless it is an enclosed farm or something. So a wire is set up on utility posts to encircle the whole city, and therefore observant Jews can move stuff from one place to the other. This is implemented in several major cities in the USA.

- The seventh year farmland must be fallow rule (Shmita). Land owned by Jews in Israel is sold on paper to Palestinians using an intermediary lawyer, so it can be farmed and harvested that year, then at the end of the year, the ownership is transferred back to the original Jew.

- Jewish restaurants in Budapest serve patrons on Saturday, but you have to come a day earlier and pay in advance.

Yes, similar "juristic tricks" are in other religions. For example, some were developed centuries ago in Islam (called just that Hiyal: tricks, loopholes) to circumvent certain laws, and several authors have written against them condemning the practice.

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