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Comment Re:This is mostly outdated service (Score 4, Insightful) 280

This.

From TFA it sounds like they're moving more to a 'you only need it for X number of days to do that sort of integration testing, or you can buy one license if you need more time'. If you need a lot of time and a lot of licenses to build an application that's what MSDN is for.

Ultimately it's just a way to raise the price. Fair enough, if you think the price is too low on your product you're free to raise it and see if the market adjusts. I can see the problem they were getting into as more and more people were probably buying a technet license for their home family offices and parents and that sort of thing, which was costing MS money. I think they probably realized that when they dropped the price of Office Home and student people were.. well, willing to actually buy it. Rather than all these stupid deals where you got it through an employer or through school or the like (or you just pirated it). This way, you go into a store, you pay your money and you go home with it. No special program arrangements on MS end etc. Technet is/was a tremendously good deal, it was quasi legit enough that they couldn't justify trying to enforce the license, and that's the problem. Most of those people will continue to pay, so MS will try and charge them more money for it.

Comment Re:Start Button in 8.1 is useless. (Score 1) 543

What exactly do you want the start menu back for? The start button can be configured to send you to the All Apps window, which takes you to a sortable list of all your apps.

Fair question.

This where the difference between 'how I use my computer 90% of the time' and 'the other 10%' matters. A lot. Hugely. As in, it defines whether or not I want to use this over a competitor.

Lets say I want to start the slashot.exe application. In your case and 90% of the user time, you're 100% right. What does the start menu get me over a list of apps that is basically the same as the start men exactly?

What if I want the slashot manual.pdf, linked in the same subfolder as the slashdot.exe application? Ah. Now we have an interface design problem. I could have the manual and the application link both on apps list. But that rapidly clutters the apps list to absurdity with help files, readmes, configuration tools, uninstallers and links to applications I almost never use. I have, for example, adobe creative suite 4 installed, that has (yes literally) 17 sub programs. Of which I regularly use 3 or 4 and the others only rarely. I don't want them in my apps list, I don't want them cluttering up search results. They're adobe programs in the adobe folder of the start menu. Easy to find if needed.

Much more useful than an alphabetical list

here we will have to disagree. Literally nothing is more useful than an alphabetically sorted tree by default. That's the simplest thing people who can read understand.

You can even pull up the (not full screen) search pane directly from the desktop, and search for files and applications in a unified view.

Ah, here we arrive at the next problem. For a number of years MS has had the habit of not putting tooltips with shortcut keys on things. Whomever thought this was a good idea should be fired. Everyone who approved this idea should also be fired. Shortcuts that let you do things only work if the OS tells you what the shortcuts are.

But, no problem, by flailing my mouse around I've manged to find the (unnecessarily) hidden search charm from the upper right. So I search for shortcuts and...

well I get some webpages on shortcuts, including one from MS (and a couple of super sketchy ones), but that tells me how to copy and paste, not windows 8 shortcuts. And because there are no tooltips telling me there are shortcuts, how was I supposed to know to look for them anyway? But I digress, because I already know there are shortcuts I know to try and refine my search to 'windows 8 shortcuts'. Which takes me to a webpage on windows 8 shortcuts. No problem. Except I had to already know it was a feature to search the web to find out how to use the feature. See the problem?

What more exactly do you want?

My start menu on my windows 7 desktop current has 91 subfolders (including several pre-created by MS), and 21 shortcut links. For that much stuff I want some sort of easily manageable default organizational system to it. You know, like an alphabetically sorted tree. Now, I grant you, the habit of creating subfolders based on the name of the publisher of the software is really stupid.

Now lets try another, lets call it simple task. I want to find sirsriresume2013.docx. Which is stored along with sirsriresumexxxx.doc and docx in a google drive folder in user/documents/googledrive/resumes, where xxxx is all of the calendar years from 1998 on. In this case both windows 7 and windows 8 suck badly. I search (start menu and then start typing in both cases, though it's not at all obvious in windows 8 that this will work) and I type sirsriresume and, oddly, both of them find the result for 2006 but not the other ones. But at least that's in the right folder. sirsriresume2012, 2013 etc. produce a 'no valid results' in 7 and just a blank results screen in 8.

So what 'more' do I want? Well, one thing is if you're going to design an interface around your search tools, you need your search tools to not suck balls. So long as *I* was doing the searching in my own hierarchical way *I* could organize however I want, most especially for people who have learning disabilities and can't understand how normal people organize data. I'm a computer scientist without a learning disability, I can organize my data in a way very amenable to computers and to people. But I am not the only market here. Now if search was instant and work that would be one thing. But it doesn't. So... I want my own organization structure until they can get theirs to work.

Now lets do a couple of other things.

Lets say I'm playing a video game or browsing the web, and I decide I need, I dunno, a calculator app. Windows 7, windows key-> type 'calc' hit enter, and it pops up either in a remembered location on or on the panel where the mouse is. Windows 8: if i hit windows key it's taken me out of the other program to the 'metro' UI, I *need* to know to use start + s or start+q. Extra key for worse functionality. What am I getting out of this exactly? Oh and because on windows 8 calculator is a 'desktop' application (thank god), if I was running something in the 'metro' UI... I just got turfed out of it. 'Metro' is a bit like a newsreader for your desktop, or a horrible collection of gadgets in the windows world. It's actually really good at shoveling data at you. It's the sort of thing I'd want on a second monitor along with a web browser and smaller tiles to make everything fit sensibly. Having a single button to swap to it for single displays makes sense.

When most applications (including a lot of the built in stuff) immediately default to desktop mode it's a sideshow, not a centrepiece, and treating it like a centrepiece highlights that it's not suited for that task. If anything the 'metro' UI should be run as an application in a desktop UI element, so I can close it and, 'forward' and 'back' like a web browser etc. Then it would actually be sorta kinda useful. I could put it above or below things on big displays or on a side display if needed. But having this rigid 'metro or desktop' hurts it as a UI element, a lot.

I could go on... and on... and on. But even the people I know who work at Microsoft don't get the message, so I won't belabour it further, here. I see the point, for 90% of the use cases metro is more or less ok. It's an extra step, to get to a full applications list, but that list is reduced in functionality for the rarer cases where I actually need something else. And when I need something else, windows 8 search fails, windows 7 start menu doesn't.

Tested on Windows 7 64 desktop with 2 monitors, up to date, windows 8.1 preview on 5 year old HP touch screen laptop (that works surprisingly well).

Comment Re:Open source equates to freedom. (Score 1) 356

The thing about a non-profit is that it really doesn't reduce tax revenue much at all. The money has to go somewhere, to the employees as salary or perks that have to be reported on their tax forms. It all gets taxed in the end.

Ah yes, the whole there's no reason to have corporate taxes at all argument.

That seems like a conclusion jumped to with not a single example.

Sort of my point. Any illegitimate entity for tax avoidance purposes (whether posing as open source or otherwise) is going to only be something the IRS has ever heard of because it's not a real entity.

Or this IRS letter proudly displayed on the Apache Foundation

That's actually a pretty strong argument for my case. It lays out that they have determined apache to be a legitimate 501 (c)(3), that they are indeed not a 509 (a) and that any change in their funding could change that assessment. Seems reasonable.

These are hardly companies you have never heard of.

Exactly, so they get looked at, and the IRS moves on. They do, as the Apache letter clearly points out, have a number of requirements that need to be met and need to be continually met however. And they need to check on those occasionally.

To assure your continued exemption, you should keep records to show that funds are expended only for those purposes

The whole Apache letter is actually a fairly short summary of the kinds of things someone *could* do illegally that the IRS would look into eventually, to make sure you aren't doing. Because they would limit your tax liabilities.

They aren't necessarily pure tax dodges either, they, as pointed out ,could be one of several types of organizations, and they are required to inform the IRS of changes, which they could be lying about (as with all voluntary tax systems, it is the responsibility of the tax collector to go out and verify any supporting documentation supplied).

Comment Re:Open source equates to freedom. (Score 1) 356

It does in many way sounds like it could be exploited as a tax dodge too. And the thing is, these would be companies free/open source people wouldn't have ever heard of, because they would be fake.

When looking for tax dodges you will occasionally investigate legitimate enterprises, but the illegitimate ones, that just are tax dodges, no one else will have ever heard of because they're paper entities for tax purposes. Imagine if MS or Toyota or the like tried to get a similar tax exempt status for all of their employees who do the free publicly given away documentation (manuals, MSDN or the like). If your open source project is only useful on a computer supplied by 1 particular company, supported by that one particular companies employees then the non profit corporation paying for the production of the open source software may just be sketchy.

Comment Re:As the song asks... (Score 1) 358

I am a private person by nature

Red flag.

It also stands to reason

Who said 'reason' had anything to do with this?

I value my friends and family enough to want to personally interact with them one on one

How, in this day and age do you have friends so tightly packed that this is reasonable? Today I used various tools (not just facebook) to connect with people in 4 countries (canada, the US, Turkey and the UK), and of those in the US in 3 different states, and I suspect later today I will add India and Albania to that list. For most people e-mail is dead as a viable communications medium, and facebook has allowed the turk and the albanian and myself to collaboratively try and resolve an issue.

f blindly spamming the whole universe

If you think that's what facebook is then you're probably not the sort of person I would want an employee. You lack subtlety and have rushed to an uninformed judgment. Sure, don't post anything on facebook you don't want other people to see. But then there are lots of things people want their friends to see... and that goes to my 'red flag' about 'i'm a private person'. So... you don't get along well with people.

Shame on you for judging a tool you don't use, and shame on you for thinking that people who use a tool badly are showing the only way to use it.

would prefer not to work for that company in any case.

So you would prefer to remain unemployed or self employed. See what I said about self righteous jerks? Virtually every company I've interacted with professionally in the last 5 years is full of people who use facebook, from banks to google, rackspace and microsoft, from measurement companies to universities. It's like being the guy who says "I don't own a television". Ok.... you don't have to. But when 14 year olds in india and 60 year olds in the US can all get along quite happily using some social network service and you're saying 'no I don't want to' you stand out as the odd man out. You might be right, but then most people who use facebook will drop it the moment they see something better come along. Don't post anything you don't want people to see and social networking is remarkably useful.

In 7 years I have had (university) students move to probably a dozen countries, and in nearly 20 years since the end of highschool I've had friends move to probably a dozen more. And I only sessionally teach (i.e. 1 course at a time occasionally).

you should know better!

You should know enough about the real world to know how to actually assess the usefulness of tools, and you should realize that deliberately being antisocial is a choice you are free to make, and live with the consequences of. We're in hiring season right now, and I've had a number of former students looking for work have prospective employers call me up. The one thing they want: People who are normal and will get along with the rest of the team. They don't (to use a phrase from a credit union recruiter) want 'a wierdo'.

Comment Re:As the song asks... (Score 1) 358

You're missing out on device convergence and some super handy tools.

If you're so in touch with years of technology that you don't feel the need for a cell phone more power to you. But I have to wonder how much you know about what they can do then, or if you're just spouting off biases and rare occurrences. Considering how many people have smartphones yes, people get mugged for them, but the vast vast vast majority of people don't. Yes, teenagers becomes self absorbed jerks with phones but so what, they're teenagers, they'll be self absorbed with whatever is in front of them.

You're like the guy who wanted to cling to having a typing pool. Sure, the PC put people out of work and you had to learn how to use it for you and not just as a time waster, but they're great little tools. I've been around the PC business in various forms since the Wang.

own a cellphone that is nowhere near advanced enough to be considered "smart"

Anyone who has been around computing since the 70's shouldn't be making such stupid statements. Hardware is only as smart as the software you run on it, and these little gadgets in your pocket can do some really useful things. They can do useless things too. But even as we speak having real time chat with 4 other IT guys I'm working with, all of us in different cities (and two countries) and we can each be physically on site with whatever hardware is causing grief is incredibly handy. You don't need a 500 dollar phone to do that. But if you're not doing it, you're missing out. The gadget can also do a lot of different jobs at once.

Having a camera, flashlight, to do list, grocery list (that can be updated by my spouse and or children without me), my rolodex, a scientific calculator, a multi-party real time text chat system, a gps, a linux terminal, oh and a phone, and the internet in my pocket saves me a lot more than the 15 or 20 minutes of work it takes to pay for the data plan.

Comment Re:As the song asks... (Score 1) 358

Notice my Slashot ID is actually quite a bit earlier than yours. I've been around a long time.

The practical realities of business win out here. If someone doesn't have a facebook account you do have to wonder why not. Since most of the non technical staff don't know or care about the nature of what I described as the facebook privacy invasion service finding employees who are self righteous jerks about it tends to mean they aren't going to fit in.

Comment Re:As the song asks... (Score 1) 358

I just can't imagine how spending one's time "tweeting" or maintaining a Facebook page has much to do with what kind of employee I want, unless perhaps those "tweets" particularly socially unacceptable.

If you don't have a facebook page (with friends...) the question of 'why not' arises. Do you not have any friends? Are you not allowed to use facebook? Sure, the Facebook privacy invasion service is well, a privacy invasion service, but if you can't connect with the vast real world of people who use it I have to wonder about how well you're going to get along with all of the other people on staff who aren't technical. I don't care how brilliant you are, if you can't get along with people I don't want you as an employee. If you haven't at least used twitter, or don't have a smartphone how tech savvy and current are you? Well.. if you just moved to this country and you don't have a job and don't have a cell phone then no big deal. If you have lived here for 5 years and don't have a smartphone I have to wonder about your nerd cred (depends on the job).

But why would I - why SHOULD I - give a shit about my applicant's "tweets" unless perhaps they deal with bizarre rape fantisies or something, in which case I might reasonably wonder why my applicant isn't smart enough to use an alias?

Yes exactly. If you're claiming to not be tweeting, are you tweeting under an alias that is going to come back and bite me, as the employer, in the ass when it gets found out? So you do care a lot about what people are doing online, especially if they aren't at least kind of open about it.

In other words, in my opinion, your "tweets" and Facebook prattle have no interest to me in terms of evaluating your job skills. In fact, I might be uncomfortable with someone who spends too much time in an on-line world.

You're contradicting yourself. You very much care. You don't care if it's normal and uninteresting. You care if it's abnormal. And you kinda want to find out which of those two bins the person is in.

If someone comes in for a job and you ask 'what are your 5 most frequented internet sites?' and they say 'I don't use the internet' you kinda wonder about them. If they say 'the pirate bay, torrentfreak, pornhub, redtube, tor, etc.' then they're a bit too honest. If they say 'network world, slashdot, reddit. facebook, google' then they at least know what a good answer is.

Comment Congratulations unpaid lord (Score 1) 47

Being a member of the house of lords allows him to be an unpaid member of the government, is a common political appointment in both the british and canadian systems (House of Lords or the Senate, but the same basic function). A UK cabinet minister from the house of lords collects about 110k pounds a year. When he gets turfed from government (as they all do eventually) he won't get paid anything unless he chairs a committee, or a couple of other things. But he will get to call himself Lord. Which is part of the perks of the appointment.

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/m06.pdf

Considering the head of BT was paid 8.5 million pounds for 2012 that's a bit of a pay cut.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/may/23/bt-ian-livingston-pay-share-price

Comment Re:I suspect they actually sold a decent number of (Score 1) 88

It's fair to say this was a disaster on total units sold compared to publisher expectations and an even bigger disaster on revenue.

It was definitely neither of those.

For the amount of time and money Gearbox sunk into it they probably were profitable in the hundred thousand units, and given how little time they had it I'm sure publishers were thrilled that they managed to ship a product at all after so many years of a useless money pit.

Comment Re:Wait, there were royalties? (Score 1) 88

I suspect they actually sold a decent number of copies, if nothing else but for people to see what the game turned into. If we're talking about a 2 million dollar lawsuit we're talking in the hundreds of thousands but likely not millions of copies of the game. That would generally be a decent if not great title.

Comment Re:Too large to be useful... (Score 1) 293

Game developers in countries not so encumbered by copyright law will happily look at it the moment they can free from repercussions too.

If you're in china, and make games for the chinese market why do you care what some 'murican game developer has to say? Like every other knock off and counterfeiter in china, they don't care in the slightest.

Comment Re:Three factors of dealing with radiation (Score 3, Interesting) 266

Radioactive decay is the mechanism by which something decays which gives off radiation.

Radiation is all sorts of stuff, from the mundane visible light, to high energy beams of doom, to, unfortunately, electrons flying around (beta radiation) and helium atoms stripped of electrons (alpha radiation), although fortunately the term 'radiation' for alpha and beta particles has mostly fallen out of use.

Any given radiation photon (or alpha particle or beta particle) is indeed short lived in the area, but the radioactivity - the amount of radiation being given off in a unit of time can be constant for quite a long time. Normally we talk about the half life (how long it takes for the amount of radiation given off to drop to 1/2 of its previous level) but half of 'enough to kill you 1000 times over' is still a problem.

Different types of radiation have different effects.

With a nuclear power plant you have a fairly diverse collection of radioactive materials and types of radiation, some of which will be a problem for a few minutes, some for a few thousand years and everything in between (and potentially some things which are going to be a problem for millions). With regards to an american reactor (which I know nothing about) 60 years could very reasonably be long enough for a large portion of the short lived radioactive isotopes to decay into something safe, and the radiation to be either absorbed by the casing or simply be radiated away at a low enough dose that it doesn't matter. And then you have to deal with the stuff that's going to be radioactive for a lot longer. Or maybe not. Who knows, in 60 years someone might actually come up with and implement a plan for what to do with all this nuclear waste we're making that isn't just 'keep in under water on site'.

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