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Comment Superphone is just a tier (Score 1) 371

We in the industry have been using the term "superphone" for a while now to indicate the tier that sits above the iPhone in terms of spec. It is jam-packed with very-high-spec Android devices, like the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Droids, HTC Bionic, etc. This segment differentiates itself from the iPhone with HD resolution displays, NFC, sub 10mm thickness cabinets, dual-core processors and other techie specs. It is the only space that's really left open now that Apple has claimed the $99 to $199 space and is very crowded as a result. The only other viable space is low-end prepaid, where Pantech, ZTE, LG, Huawei and others fight it out. I have a very neat diagram of this, but I think you get the idea. So this comment on the roadmap is I'm sure nothing more than a tip of the hat to that super-high-end market spot and not a "superphone" that'll rescue Microsoft like Superman.

Comment My IT Dept rocks - really (Score 4, Interesting) 960

Our IT team is really the best. They are hugely popular with the staff and I can't imagine a better team. It's a 100+person R&D facility with 3 IT people. Here's how they do it:

1. Invisible firewall - there is one, but you can FTP, ssh, etc. to your heart's content without noticing it. It's even possible to run P2P apps. Of course, if it's non-work related then you're signing your own pink slip. Also, they do audit all PC applications on the network remotely, but I've never been queried and I run some really odd apps sometimes.
2. Simple to use Help ticket system - and they're fast in responding.
3. Adequately staffed - that helps.
4. No restriction on smartphones hooking up to the Exchange server - company doesn't pay for any phones or service though.
5. Multiple VPN services available, so if one doesn't work, try another. Worse case, SSL VPN is available or webmail over SSL. Helpful when traveling abroad or visiting companies that block VPN ports.
6. Support for Windows & Linux, but if you want to run a Mac you can. They'll support you as much as they know.
7. Software purchased under $2000 doesn't need to be vetted, reviewed, quoted or anything else. Just buy it on the dept credit card - with your manager's approval of course.
8. Printers everywhere - we are a printer company, so that helps, but we have competitor's products too, so if one fails and you're waiting for it to be repaired, you have at least two others to print to easily.
9. Copious amounts of network storage for shared files. All RAID. All backed up.
10. Large email quotas, which are instantly upgraded for power-users.
11. Overall a can-do, but pragmatic response to requests - want a load of email or docs archived? They won't waste their time or yours burning DVD's, but they will copy it to an HD and vacuum pack it for you.
12. Finally, no, and I really mean no, draconian controls or policies. Just don't set up a rouge WiFi AP or download porn. Basically, the cardinal rule is - get your work done and be a star.

Comment Re:Prosthetics designers need a lesson from the bo (Score 1) 98

One clarification - the heart may need those pulses, but the rest of the body does not seem to need them. From NPR June 13th 2011, "Heart With No Beat Offers Hope Of New Lease On Life": "The pulsatility of the flow is essential for the heart, because it can only get nourishment in between heartbeats," Cohn says. "If you remove that from the system, none of the other organs seem to care much."

Comment Tips for Stanford - redo for online (Score 1) 161

I just watched a number of the course previews for a variety of the online professional development courses from Stanford as I was seriously thinking about doing one of their certificates. I also checked out ClassX, which has some classes on it. I'm having second thoughts because I fear I'll be bored to death by the experience. I've been out of university almost 20 years, but it's clear that they haven't changed much and the flow of information from instructor to student is agonizingly slow. Maybe I'm spoiled, but these lectures are essentially academic death-by-powerpoint experiences or even worse, death-by-writing ... very .... slowly ... on ... the board experiences. Just taking a Standford (or any other) lecture, slapping it on the web and putting even a fancy control UI like ClassX has is just not good enough. I think the courses have to be completely redone with online learning in mind. And if they were really well done, then I'd bet lectures would end up being the *last* place you'd want to go to for the course.

Here's some tips for improving on the online UI experience (for Stanford people if they read this):

1. Add a Skip Forward 30s/Back 10s control, because the instructor often dithers around on non-educational topics.(Copy Tivo/Dish/etc.)
2. Enable the video to be viewed faster than real time. I can easily process 2x speech or higher and the instructors often speak slowly. There's no need to force onliners to listen at 1:1. (Like Livescribe Pen desktop playback or software DVD players)
3. Have the instructor repeat the comment/question from the audience for the microphone - it's a classic problem, but they need to do it.
4. Add in chapters for each topic - this will enable us to skip to the next point/slide should the instructor belabor the point - okay I get it! (Livescribe pen / available on some ClassX content)
5. A number of times, the instructors mentioned how questions couldn't be asked by the online participants, but this isn't true. If the video is surrounded with a forum UI then viewers will easily be able to ask questions and a TA or the Professor can answer later - or other students could. (Like Hulu/YouTube/etc) Partially implemented.
6. Allow bookmarking/resume on the videos because it'd be really useful (like BBC iPlayer/Hulu)

Maybe Stanford's real online system has these functions, but if not, they should. Based on the cost of the courses, you'd think they could have a decent system banged out pronto.


Comment Re:Satellites? (Score 1) 351

Prevent, maybe not, but monitor yes. The signals have to come back down at some point so governments could try to intercept satellite connections at a ground station. Iridium routes from satellite to satellite and then down to the US (Tempe, Arizona and Wahiawa, Hawaii for the military) so is fairly impregnable from that perspective. Globalstar's satellite are "bent pipes" and beam down immediately to a ground station in Argentina, Australia, Botswana, France, Korea or the United States. Inmarsat is perhaps the most interceptable (in theory) as the ground stations are not owned by Inmarsat and are in a number of countries: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, US, various EU countries, etc.
But there is also signal monitoring equipment like that from Shoghi Communications that can snoop on all the signals. One would use a VPN at that point, but you'd be breaking the law...

Comment Actually, this is for DRM protected music... (Score 5, Informative) 151

Reading Claim 1, of which all the others are dependent, this is for the distribution of music using a user-specific DRM system. Also, the claim is incredibly long which != broad BTW. Remember, do one thing differently and you're golden. Reading the claim and with such specific nuggets like the music having to include a "core" that includes "at least one object identification code, object structure information, a consumer code and an encryption table", and at least one "layer" around the core containing "the actual music information" etc and I wonder if anyone would actually do it that way anyway. That was probably the way PacketVideo did it, who have actually be around for years doing video meida streaming going back to the 56K modem days (and probably before). And they are innovators, not a troll.

Comment Re:Random password generators (Score 1) 340

My approach is something a security guy from Intel told me - take a phrase you can remember that is unique to you, e.g., "I love Jennie and Maggie my 2 kids" or "We moved to Portland 25 years ago in August" and then just take the first letter of each word and keep the numbers as is. You can also throw in some punctuation or make it a two phrase password as well. Then, when you type, you just say the phrase(s) in your head and tap the first letter. It's very simple. I've been using it to express my angst for years, so maybe there's a few too many "f's" in mine passwords, but there you go.

Comment Android ain't free (Score 1) 514

Fiddlesticks, not this again. Android ain't free. As in beer. It costs a stack of $'s to make Android work on a device because is it *not* a product and it's not delivered to an OEM in any fit state to be put onto a phone as-is sold to a Western carrier. To get Android into shape costs oodles of dollars and hundreds of man hours (and most of that know-how and changes stay in-house BTW). That's not all Android's fault - it all depends on the hardware it's put on and what features you want it to run, but it's definitely not free, the costs are just elsewhere.

Comment Re:US (Score 1) 302

It's not a government regulation, but the CTIA and GSMNA introduced the same measure in the US last year (well 2009) and it's a mandatory feature for all new handsets released from the big carriers now. Next step is to stop bundling chargers in the boxes like Apple did on the iPod. Then get rid of all the CDROM's, wired headsets, manuals and other junk accessories - they are almost gone now. Final step will be to get rid of the boxes themselves and ship in bulk to the stores and have them slipped into a (bio-degradable) bag at POS along with the warranty slip and legalese, or even skip the bag.

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