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Comment Here's how I do it (Score 1) 434

First, I'll throw out the environment I'm using. Windows 7 Enterprise, Outlook 2010. I've been using Outlook for over two years after we upgraded from Lotus Notes (anything is an upgrade from Lotus Notes) and have not deleted more than a handful of emails since the upgrade. I receive on average about 150 emails a day. I keep the current month's email in my inbox and archive every prior month into a folder - by month.

This doesn't exactly organize my email - I just end up with 12 folders a year full of around 2000-2500 emails in each depending on the month. How do I make sense of it all? Search. Outlook is set to index all mail in my archives (currently around 9gb total), and I can sometimes narrow down by timeframe based on my folders. So far this scenario works great for me, I'll give an example of how.

Client ABC Inc calls customer service to complain that their file specifications are incorrect - they're missing a "B" record and cannot process the file! We need to fix this immediately because their CEO plays golf with our CEO or something. I was assigned the project that built their "file" and looked through our project folder. At some point on a client call two years ago the customer told us to remove the B record during testing. The test file we sent them never included this record, and when the project went live it of course did not include the B record.

Between the archived test files in our project tracking system and the emails I recovered from 2009 regarding the project we were able to convince the client that they were nuts - they never received a B record because they told us two years ago they did not want one. We then suggested they could add a new B record, but of course - that would cost them. =)

Programming

How To Get a Game-Obsessed Teenager Into Coding? 704

looseBits writes "I have a friend whose 14-year-old son spends all his time gaming, like any normal teenager. However, my friend would like to find a more productive interest for him and asked me how to get him into coding. When I started coding, it was on the Apple II, and one could quickly write code that was almost as interesting as commercially available software. Now, times have changed and it would probably take years of study if starting from scratch to write something anyone would find mildly interesting. Does anyone have experience in getting their children into programming? How did you keep them interested if the only thing they can do after a week is make the computer count to 10 and dump it on the screen?"

Comment Quirks and eBooks (Score 4, Informative) 419

My first run in with eBook "quirks" didn't take long to happen. I received a Kindle for Christmas, and having already scouted out some prospective books to purchase I had some novels in mind. The first book I read was Flood by Stephen Baxter - I just finished that last night. Flood is followed by its sequel - Ark (by the same author). However, upon trying to buy Ark I couldn't find it anywhere on the Amazon kindle store. I recalled seeing it when browsing before (that's why I bought this series first, because I noticed both books were available in kindle editions) - however now it was missing. Trying a few different things, I logged out of my Amazon account. Low and behold, the ebook appears for sale! Kindle edition and all - however I noticed a very small notice (almost fine print) below the "Buy with 1-Click" button that read: "Due to copyright restrictions, this title not available in the United States". WTF! It took changing my address to that of a Canadian friend of mine in order to be allowed to purchase this book - thankfully they still accepted by US-addressed credit card.

Copyright restrictions and such on sale of books/music/movies is extremely stupid in my opinion. In the end all it took was changing my address twice - once to Canada and then back - but it's the principle of it all. I'm happily reading my book now; a book that just to purchase I had to be dishonest about where I lived simply so I'd be allowed to purchase it.

DRM is another issue I'm worried about, however with the advent of tools to strip the Kindle and nook DRM, I'm not to worried about moving my books to a new platform once a better read becomes available.

Comment Re:"Everybody in this country needs a car." (Score 1) 505

I was waiting for someone to post along these lines. While it is great that your 'hilly 10-mile commute' only takes you about 45 minutes, my nearly flat 25 mile commute would take unreasonably long with a bicycle. 25 miles as the crow flies, I might add, since the reality is I'd need to bike first east and then north (or vice versa), through some neighborhoods that I don't even feel safe driving though in a car with the windows rolled up, let alone a bike with my laptop strapped to my back.

Thankfully I live near a train station, so I don't require the use of a car to get to and from work. I can bike to the train station, ride downtown and then walk the last mile to work. I guess you may be right, not everybody in the country needs a car - but the overwhelming majority certainly do.

Comment Re:Overpriced. (Score 4, Insightful) 505

Cars are cheap because nearly everybody in this country needs a car. You need a car to get to work, you need it to get to school and you need it for recreation. Sure, if you happen to live in a major city there is also mass transit, but for a large percentage of the population a car is a necessary reality.

Now, with that being said - what happens when something is produced in such great numbers? Economies of scale - the price is driven down due to mass production. Vehicles that cost $13,000 USD are a reality and they're not half bad either. A pretty decent car can be purchased for $20,000, and a really good car for $30,000. Luxury vehicles are nearly anything $40,000 and above.

What about electric cars? They aren't mass produced in any great number just yet, because so far everyone is content with dropping $13,000 on a car that's just "good enough" for their needs. Why do I need an electric vehicle? What benefit does it give me _right now_? Fuel costs decrease significantly, yes - but enough to offset the price of the car? Probably not, even over the lifetime of the vehicle. Therein lies the problem.

Electric vehicles - especially from a non-big 3 startup - are something I believe the government should assist. Your tax dollars are helping fund the future, because while you may not be able to afford this vehicle at $50,000, you might be able to afford the next car they produce using the profits of the Model S.

When the world is filled with "good enough" and people who like "good enough" - how do you convince people to switch to something better?

Comment IE6.... =\ (Score 1) 531

We unfortunately use IE6 exclusively here at my office/entire corporation. IE7 is being trial (and we're 'not allowed' but not blocked from installing IE7 or IE8) but 99% of the corporate populace is running IE6. It made things interesting when I inherited an internal app that's "developed" using oracle application express. Giving the entire app an overhaul and trying to integrate stuff such as jquery to makes things a bit more user friendly was quite a challenge when the browser that everyone uses keeps throwing up rendering errors for what seem to be almost no reason. Eventually I said screw it and developed the entire site twice; using browser sniffing to determine what version to send out. The work wasn't justified at the time (only myself and a few others use alternative browsers), but when the company eventually does move to IE7/8 this app will at least be compatible with newer versions. Not only that, but it'll exhibit features that simply aren't available under IE6.

Image

South Carolina Seeking To Outlaw Profanity Screenshot-sm 849

MBGMorden writes "It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to 'publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.' I'm not sure if 'in writing' could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."

Comment Re:A better sponsorship (Score 1) 120

Unfortunately you need to read the manual before you even purchase the car, and the car comes in so many body styles, colors and designs - and every option under the sun. You can even throw in a Model T engine and have it run great.

The car that runs on baby kittens on the otherhand, comes with far fewer options, and these options are all kinda similar (different engine sizes and three or four colors) - but the support is great, everyone has one (so if you don't know something about it, your neighbor might) and the roads were designed with them in mind.

Sometimes it's not about features, it's about the marketing. Microsoft is successful not because they offer the best product, but because most people only know of their product and nothing else. And unfortunately until recently (Ubuntu and similar), Linux just hasn't been close in ease of use. The previously mentioned distros are a great step in the right direction but are still far from being ready for the prime time.

Meanwhile, I'm going to hop in my Aluminum iCar. It only has one button and is maintenance free. Only comes in black or white though, and it costs $150,000 - but hey, that's the price you pay for ease of use sometimes?

The Internet

Why are Websites Still Forcing People to Use IE? 899

DragonTHC asks: "I just visited Movielink's website for research. Their site has a nice message saying, 'Sorry, but in order to enjoy the Movielink service you must use Internet Explorer 5.0 (or higher) or Mozilla/Firefox with an IE Tab Extension (IE installation required).' While allowing the IETab Firefox extension is somewhat progressive, why do companies still force people to use Internet Explorer? Surely the site should work just fine in Firefox? With Firefox's steady gains in market share, you would think that webmasters would get the hint. If you are a webmaster, what are your reasons for forcing IE?"

A Lost Miyamoto Project - Super Mario 128 54

Wowzer writes "After the 1996 release of Super Mario 64, magazines for years mentioned Super Mario 128 - a game that would feature both Mario & Luigi for release on the N64 or its 64DD add-on. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto lays the game to rest as one of his lost projects. From the article: 'Super Mario 128 was just one of many experimental games we had. Suddenly, everybody started talking about it. I'm in the all-too easy habit of starting a project only to later on not do much of it. There is a great deal of unfinished work on my desk. I worked on a prototype for the Nintendo 64 game with Mario and Luigi in it for some time." As it turns out elements of Super Mario 128 live on in Super Mario Galaxy on Wii.'"

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