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Comment Re:Handheld scanner (Score 1) 235

For that matter, why not use a digital camera and some stitching software?

Or, if you've got a good way to align a map against the lat/lon grid (which you'll have to have or you won't be able to use the maps anyway), why bother stitching it at all? Just photograph the map in sections, and use your alignment method to align each section separately.

Comment Re:Kindle (Score 1) 684

If that's your only comment on the Kindle, then you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

Yes, Kindle ebooks purchased from amazon usually have DRM. Not always, but usually. However, the Kindle works perfectly well with ebooks not purchased from amazon, if they are in MOBI, PDF, or several other formats. And before you start complaining about its lack of EPUB support, I'll point out that you can get the free Calibre software and convert your EPUBs to MOBIs effortlessly... unless you bought them from Sony, B&N, or Apple, in which case they're probably crippled by DRM, in which case you can't say they're any better than Amazon.

But if you want to live in a DRM free ecosystem, the Kindle is a beautiful piece of hardware that is entirely capable of reading DRM-free books. It's just your problem to acquire DRM-free books. But then, that'd still be your problem with some other reader too.

Comment Re:Who Is Doing What? (Score 1) 175

It doesn't matter whether he's just an ideas guy or provided money or whatever. What matters is what the contract he signed with Fusion Garage says about who the intellectual property belongs to. If it says he owns all the IP, then they have to cough it up for him so he can take it to another firm for manufacture. If it says they own the IP, then Arrington can go suck a lemon while Fusion Garage releases hardware. If the contract doesn't specify who owns the IP, then Arrington is an idiot.

What really pisses me off is that he could have hired Americans to do the design and sourcing and coding, and had a responsible reputable firm do just the manufacture. I even know a large number of the people he'd need, and at least most of them are available.

Comment A useful metric: summary of support requests (Score 1) 301

A lot of the sort of reporting on the IT end of things that would normally be included in this sort of report assumes an enterprise environment with a large support department, so it would normally include things such as average time to response after a trouble ticket is opened, average time to completion, etc. These aren't really appropriate and indeed may be harmful in a small company with only one administrator: I have been a lone admin in a tiny company like that, and when the boss got his hands on some metrics like that from a huge company (I didn't provide them, he saw an article on it in a business magazine) he suddenly expected that I was single handedly going to provide the level of support that would have required me to be a 5 person team, and demanded I produce metrics to prove I was doing it.

All of that said, I would do one particular IT metric for management: a summary of support requests by category. Select the categories you feel are relevant, and then start tallying the calls. Usually mine include things like computer hardware broken, software needs configuration, software inadequate to task, new software requested, printer difficulties, new hardware requested, and EOBUE. The latter is "Error Occurred Between User's Ears", and I usually phrase it more politely on the report to management, something like "user difficulty". Sometimes I break it down further into things like "training needed" and "user wants admin to do work for them" if that's a significant problem.

Anyway, this report can be useful in several ways... if you're having a lot of hardware problems, it demonstrates that management should be investing more in replacing machines because they're costing downtime and admin time, so it helps you argue for a better IT budget. Same with software inadequate, or requests for new hardware or software. The EOBUE stuff helps you argue for two things: training for existing staff, and that computer skills should be part of hiring selection. Yes, I have worked with companies that didn't screen for this, and they consequently got a bunch of computer-phobic twits who were used to doing everything on paper and tried to get the IT department to perform their every interaction with the computer for them. By showing that these idjits were running the support group ragged with constant stupid requests, I was able to get the company to start asking applicants about their computer skills before hiring. And in another case, I was able to get the employer to send an entire department for training, after which they were told that they could no longer pester me to do their work for them because they were supposed to know how now.

Comment Re:Isn't that a highly regulated industry? (Score 1) 467

Moreover, it not only shows those things, but if you had gambling industry experience and good references from it and you came to me and outright said "This demonstrates that I am trustworthy and have experience with high security software handling large dollar volume," I would take you *more* seriously as a job candidate, not less.

Comment HIPAA? (Score 1) 950

If the school is collecting any data from these devices, that could be considered medical data, and they could be forced to comply with HIPPA. That may be enough to stop them from doing it right there, because it might mean that they have to have a doctor present to collect and maintain the data. If you want to put a stop to it, I suggest you do some googling about HIPPA, print out some scary web pages about it, bring them into the school, and demand that if they don't handle all of the data from the monitors in a HIPPA compliant manner you will be speaking with your lawyer.

Comment Seems like a really stupid idea to me... (Score 1) 480

The insurance company claims that they would never use any information obtained to consider changes in insurance rates, but that really sounds unbelievable.

What I notice is not so much what they're promising, but what you're not saying they're promising.

They're (apparently) *not* promising not to use the footage to discriminate against the kid in regard to rates after the kid becomes an adult and wants his/her own policy. I also don't see you saying that the footage won't be shared with other insurance companies or placed in some sort of centralized database. So, you could be saving yourself a few bucks now, in exchange for screwing over your kid for the rest of their life.

And I think it's vitally important to consider that the footage could be subpoenaed by practically anyone, and could be used against your kid even if the kid didn't really do anything wrong - if the kid is in an accident, you can bet the other party's lawyer will demand the footage and try to construe it to make it seem like it shows your kid doing something wrong.

I would *never* allow such a camera in my own car - even if I own it myself - and I would *never* allow it to be installed in my kid's car, if I had a kid.

Comment Re:Motorola's great return? (Score 1) 195

I'm with you - this could be a winner. I owned a RAZR - for one night. I bought it at 4pm, hated it so much that I decided within an hour to return it, and took it back the next day. The software sucked. BUT THE HARDWARE WAS AWESOME. It was slim and light and comfortable and felt like it was built like a tank - in fact, it was the most solid feeling cell phone I ever used. Later, I owned the Motorola branded "hip-top" phone using the Danger software... I didn't love the software and eventually replaced it with an iphone, but again, the hardware was awesome and felt really really solid.

The combination of rock-solid Motorola hardware with a great OS and software should make for a really fantastic phone and experience, and I wish them the best.

Comment Re:Education shouldn't be for profit anyway (Score 1) 272

I worked at a small university a few years ago, in a fairly high level administrative position. I was privy to the overall finances of the place.

Basically, the place was barely running in the black, and expected to be operating at a loss within a few years unless they built enough buildings to have enough more classrooms and dorm rooms to allow a major expansion. So, they were building. Even then, they felt that tuition was higher than they wanted it to be, but didn't feel they had any options about lowering it. I was friendly with the head of financial aid, and I know she sincerely cared a great deal about doing everything she could to reduce the cost of education for the students. It wasn't about charging everyone as much as they could, it was about trying to cope with the costs of running the place and see what we could do to charge students as *little* as possible.

I've worked in a few universities over the years, and my impression was that they weren't trying to gouge students for money, it's just that it costs a fortune to run a traditional university.

Comment Why I'll never buy another Tivo (Score 1) 335

I'm on my third tivo, but unfortunatley it's going to be my last.

My first Tivo I loved, and I wore it out.

My second Tivo was fine, but I started wanting to be able to record two shows at once and a few other features, so I gave it to a friend and switched to MythTV. MythTV was great, but the box required occasional maintenance (software updates, reconfiguring the data source, etc) and it didn't recover well from the occasional power outage, so I tried EyeTV on my mac. That was awful (worked fine but made my mac slow as molasses in vermont in january) so I decided to buy another Tivo.

The new dual tuner Tivo was fine, but two months after I got it, my cable company informed me that they were switching to all-digital service and that I would have to get - and pay for - a cable box. As they were already charging me the limit of what I was willing to pay, I decided to cancel my service and use purchased TV downloads instead for a while and see how I liked that. Ok, no big deal, I could put the Tivo on ebay. So I called to cancel my Tivo service... and they said no. It seems that somewhere in the fine print when I signed up for service, they said I had to agree to a year of service on the unit, and so they wouldn't cancel it. I would have to find a buyer willing to transfer the service to them and fulfill the remaining contract period. Given that there are plenty of tivos on ebay without such restrictions, I knew that would never fly. So I'm stuck with it until the contract runs out.

If that's how Tivo wants to treat their customers, I have no desire to be one of those customers. If I ever get cable or satellite again, I'll go to the effort of maintaining the mythtv box again.

Comment Your choices are simple. (Score 1) 633

There are two ways this can be dealt with.

1) Somebody could do maintenance work on the "time capsule" contents for the next 16 years. This would involve occasionally moving the digital files to fresh media and converting files from obsolete formats to current ones.

2) The time capsule could contain the entire computer setup required to view all the enclosed media.

There's really no other way around it.

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