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Comment Twist Ties... (Score 1) 374

I keep all twist ties from new equipment in a pile for re-use. I strongly prefer them over zip strips... you can undo them. And then re-use them. I can't count how many times I've needed to add "just one" new cable and didn't have a zip strip handy.

You can remove twist ties without tools. Further, half the time when I want to remove a zip strip I've only got a knife handy instead of diagonal cutters... that's just playing with fire...

The only downside that I can think of with twist ties is that they're metal. I suppose they could cause a short if they snapped and fell into the wrong place... however, considering how many staples and paper clips litter floor of the average office, I think the additional risk from my twist ties are minimal.

Comment Re:Yeah, but who's buying? (Score 1) 698

Just to be clear here, $60/mo sounds a lot like the MSP "Premium" we pay in BC. That's only a small fraction of the cost of health care in Canada. A large percentage of our income taxes go to pay for health care too. We're still way cheaper overall than the US, but we're not at a $60/mo level. Plus, when's the last time a major drug or medical technique was developed in Canada? We should thank the American's for footing the bill for the R&D that we all get to piggy-back off-of.

Comment 3rd Party tool... (Score 1) 567

Agreed. For years I was using copy and paste into a text editor to strip out formatting... a year or two ago I started using a utility called "PureText". Now using "Windows+V" will do what amounts to "paste without formatting" in any application.

Comment Palm 2.0 (Score 3, Insightful) 197

I've always thought of RIM as Palm Pilot, the next generation. The same people who bought the first PDA's from Palm were the first to use Black Berries. Carrying contacts and calendars around was, and is, a very good thing. But, when Black Berries did that, plus email, Palm's weren't competitive anymore. It took awhile, but Palm has all but disappeared (I know, Palm is now buried in HP somewhere.)

Well, email on a phone isn't a big selling feature anymore. It's all about the apps and web access. Email is just the bare minimum - a minimum that RIM couldn't even meet on their Playbook tablet launch (WTF!?)

So... as a Canadian, I'm sad to see RIM's decline. The game isn't over yet, there's still value in the Enterprise and Government sectors... for a while anyway. But, I think their days as a consumer brand are numbered. There really isn't room for 4 platforms in the mobile space... even 3 platforms is pushing it. iOS and Android are here for at least the medium term. Windows Phone and RIM have to fight it out for a distant #3.

If I had to bet, within 5 years, Microsoft will buy either all of RIM, or the pieces - both largely serve the corporate markets.

Comment Even Slashdot readers... (Score 2) 93

I've been using the mediocre Intel IGP's for years on the last couple laptops. The GPU on these new AMD chips wipe the floor with the 2 year old Intel IGP on the laptop that I'm typing this on. Even basic home video editing doesn't really use the GPU, those goofy home videos are all CPU work.

Having the fastest computer doesn't mean much for most people. It's the form factor and utility that counts. Heck, we're one hop-skip-and-a-jump away from perfectly adequate ARM based machines that people will use instead of Intel or AMD... oh, wait... that was the iPad and it came out last year.

LOL, and to think that we used to measure computer speed by how fast it could recalculate a "large" Excel spreadsheet.

Comment Look for SEO link buying from Fortune 500 firms (Score 1) 220

The other day I was approached by a marketing firm that wanted to buy a text link on the front page of my main website. That wasn't new, any webmaster of a half-busy site will get generic link buying requests frequently. This was different.

It was clearly a specifically written email to the webmaster, me. It wasn't the usual automated scatter-shot form letter email. I was curious, so I asked for a bit more information and it turned out to be a Fortune 500 firm that wanted to rank highly on printer supplies. No, not JC Penny, but it would be every bit as controversial. Anyway, it was tempting, but I didn't bite. Their desired link text didn't really make sense on the site, and just as importantly, I don't want to tempt the wrath of Google.

Comment Re:I, for one, welcome our new advertising overlor (Score 1) 220

My revs are up marginally the last few months. My theory was that it's Google doing a much better job of using their DoubleClick display adds to follow users around the web - it might be specific to my main site, it's very niche, and there really weren't that many distinct advertisers. Plus, I've been noticing Google ads following me as I browse the web. It's a little eerie, for example, I was researching antivirus packages for work. A day or so into the process, I'd start seeing ESET NOD32 ads everywhere.

On the advertising side, i.e. AdWords, my costs are up a little bit too. Maybe it's the economy improving or general growth in the Internet... I'm not sure yet. I've been meaning to take a closer look at how much I'm paying per click.

Comment Sounds good... netbook vertical res is too low. (Score 2) 343

This sounds good to me, as long as at least part of the URL is visible. There's really no need for the address bar to go all the way across the screen.

This is especially good on netbooks since the vertical resolution is annoyingly low. Though, I recently realized that fullscreen mode in any browser is useful to get that extra bit of vertical screen space - that makes a big difference on some sites!

Comment Great product... if you need it. (Score 4, Interesting) 337

I have some friends who have rent sat-phones to go hiking in remote areas. It's amazing for peace of mind. They actually used it last year after being cut-off from the road by a storm. They were able to use the phone to notify relatives that they'd be late a couple days.

But the # of people who need this is relatively small compared to the immense cost of satellites. Of course, the biggest users of sat phones aren't the occasional hikers. I think it's the government and resource extraction sectors, e.g. mining firms.

I wonder, could someone launch a SMS only satellite service based on only a few geo-sync satellites rather than the 66 (!) that Iridium launched? With texting only, the extra lag and a few dropped packets don't matter (as long as it re-sends them later).

Comment Unresearched article... 90% of email newsletters (Score 1) 108

I manage a mailing list for a client - it's completely opt-in, either in the retail stores or via the website signup forms.

To keep current with what other companies are doing, I've signed up for dozens of email newsletters. I would say that at least 3/4 are using the equivalent of web bugs to track email open rates - it's not 100% accurate, but it's far better than nothing. It's a checkbox feature by EVERY major 3rd party email service provider.

Actually, I've also examine a lot of SPAM - they do NOT do web bugs anymore. At least not the ones that I've examined.

Comment And anecdotally AdWords is Excellent for me. (Score 1) 214

I've spent hundreds a month for years on my very niche bingo card generating site. You better believe that I monitor the ROI on the campaign.

Google AdWords is excellent for my needs. When the site launched, naturally it was nowhere to be found on the search results. I paid for 95% of the visits. How do you rise to the top of the search results if no one can find you?

I still run the ad campaigns, at roughly the same dollar value, but the majority of the traffic is now non-paid from searches or direct entry.

Is it possible that the site would have gotten backlinks and risen towards the top of it's important search terms w/o buying ads? Sure... eventually. But buying traffic was faster, years faster.

Comment Dell, HP, and the like build 1M units per model... (Score 1) 606

I build my own PCs for home use since it's easier to swap out parts here and there. I'm not sure if I've bought a completely new desktop in a decade - usually it's an HDD here or a motherboard+CPU+RAM there.

But, for offices, no way.

Stick to the brand names, and even better, the volume mainstream models from the big brands. A couple hundred dollars isn't that much - and an OEM Windows Business license isn't much either - less than 1/2 the price of a retail (not sure what a volume license costs these days). Why? It's in Dell's best interests to minimize repair costs, so they do real testing of the designs. Open up a Dell box and take a look. Only the ports and slots that are necessary are there, and the BIOS is quite limited - for geeks, this isn't so good, but for offices, that implies less stuff to go wrong. It's just not worth the risk that you get some weird incompatibility between your RAM or CPU or MB or PSU that shows up in a reboot every week.

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