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Comment Different devices for different taks (Score 1) 625

I was just having this conversation with my coworkers this morning. It took me 3 years, but I finally found a use for a tablet. I am getting burned out on the constant cycle of patch and nerf that MMOs come with, and don't have the time to sink into console gaming. I have found that I enjoy the digital trading card games, and other phone/tablet based RTS genres, but that playing them on my phone strains my eyes, and causes my fingers to remain in cramped positions. As such, I ordered my first tablet yesterday evening.

However, the one thing that phones and tablets absolutely suck at is productivity, and I am currently attending college. My desktop, with its 22" screen and multitasking ability, rules for creating spreadsheets, writing essays, or even creating longer messages such as this post. However, the desktop stinks for the online portion of my math class as I have to lean forward to to reach past the keyboard for hand calculations, or try to do it against a clipboard or folder leaning in my lap. Either way quickly invites ergonomic issues.

Because of this I have a Chromebook. I can leave my desktop's keyboard tray pushed fully in, and bring my chair up against my desk. The Chromebook sits neatly to my left while my scratch paper is right in front of me. The only time I touch its keyboard is to enter solutions.

At first glance it seems ridiculous that I have 4 devices now, but each one of them fits a niche in my life. I don't see anything replacing the desktop soon as there is no other practical way to have a large screen and enjoyable input format, let alone true multi-window multitasking. However, I know that once my tablet arrives I will have little need to boot my desktop up anymore, perhaps once per week. I may even be able to do my online math homework on the tablet, but the Chromebook does this so well that I'm not certain it would be worth the hassle of finding a stand for the tablet.

Comment Re:Headphones do improve concentration (Score 3, Interesting) 405

I agree. My office is an enclosed space where all 6 of us can hear every word the other 5 say. One fellow is extremely talkative, as well as louder than most, whether on the phone, or receiving visitors in his cubical. Some mornings I can go without headphones for an hour or so, while everyone is busy sifting through email, but it is rare to find me without Pandora playing for the rest of the day.

Without headphones I can barely concentrate on anytihng. Between the loud conversation to my left, the loud typing to my right, and the bridge-club-like terminal conversation behind me, personal music is the only thing that keeps me sane and productive.

Comment Irony in motion (Score 1) 198

I find it totally ironic that just as my local newspaper is hitting rock bottom their parent company, Gannett, is erecting a paywall.

For a few years now the editing has been absolutely horrible, with daily stories missing tons of content (e.g. there was a story last month about a political fight in the State legislature, sans any mention of what legislation they were actually fighting over, and more recently I found an article about an issue involving the police department that gave absolutely no background on the event), an alarming increase in the number of grammatical and spelling mistakes, etc. Even the paper's calendar of local events pales in comparison to the listings on Craigslist, to the point that I haven't used the paper's calendar feature in two years now.

This is ass-backwards marketing.

Comment Too slow (Score 2) 107

Just like its predecessor, this beta loads content too slowly to be usable as a daily driver. In high contrast there's the Opera mobile browser, which is the fastest page renderer I've found on Android yet. I'll also take Opera's "speed dial" feature over Firefox's "loathsome bar" on any given day.

Comment It's no problem at all (Score 2) 212

I've been telecommuting on and off for several years now. It's such a non-issue that I had to think aobut what I should write here.

Between OpenSwan, the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client, and my current employer offering Citrix-hosted services, there's nothing I cannot do from home. You don't need a phone system that ties into your employer's as long as you can forward calls from that system to your cellular, or home phone (if you still have one).

I haven't used M$ Office in over a decade, and I haven't missed it at all. Only twice in 12 years have I run into document formatting issues, but both were easily solved by exporting/importing via a different filter. I even get by with LibreOffice for my college assignments (in fact, a few of my professors prefer the Open Document format).

Tying into email should be a snap. You have your choice of clients for POP3 and IMAP connections, Evolution for Exchange integration, and a native Linux client for Lotus Notes.

I have run into a few issues with my current employer being super single-sign-on happy, not realizing that when this is done in IIS/AD that it negates the ability for Kerberos-based authentication for everybody else, but I've found that I can use my virtual desktop in Citrix on the rare occasion I need to access one of those sites.

Contrary to needing Windows in the enterprise or for telecommuting, I cannot think of a single good reason to use it.

Comment Lots of easy landfill reductions (Score 2) 861

As someone that recycles a bunch, and has spent a fair amount of time around transfer stations and landfills, I can tell you that even if we skip right past the Reduction and Reuse components of the 3 Rs, if the following were recyclable at the curbside in every area rather than just in some areas, and if recycling was made compulsory, landfill usage would shrink by around 80%:

Cardboard On any given day this material alone counts for roughly 20% of my local transfer station's haul.

Landscaping refuse .I see so many bags of grass, tree branches, etc. that the front-end loaders have difficulty piling it up.

Paperboard This is the majority of food packaging, and covers most junk mail that isn't 'crumple-able'.

Food The amount of food we waste in the U.S. is staggering. Before my own family made conscious changes were were wasting 25-30% of everything we brought home. Thanks to variable work hours, even with careful planning we still waste 5-10% each week. If you think of the total mass of food you consume in a week, this quickly adds up across your local population. In restaurant-laden areas like San Francisco, especially with all of the buffets in Chinatown, the food waste is exponentially higher (did you see the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike spent a shift with the garbage collectors? Sheesh.)

Appliances (you'd be surprised by how many of these hit the transfer station every day. The workers line them up along the edge of the property, because their company sells the items to recyclers).


Since we reduced the amount of stuff we bring to the house, learned how to reuse a lot of stuff (such as composting), and learned how and where to recycle the rest, our 95-gallon trash bin only goes to the curb two or three times a year (and that's mostly due to shipping styrofoam and combination materials that cannot be recycled).

Comment Who cares? (Score 1) 293

Seriously, who cares what anyone at Microsoft has to say about anything in the mobile world? They entered last, they're running dead last, and offer nothing new at all to the entirety of the mobile industry. In other words, they are far from being experts on anything in the mobile field, and should not be sought for comments on it.

Comment Time to bring Amazon Instant Video into our home (Score 1) 488

For the cost of the 1-at-a-time DVD plan with Netflix we can get 2-3 streaming rentals from Amazon for the exact same movies.

Our Roku player already has the ability to tie in with Amazon's service, so all Netflix did with this was lose $2/month from us. We were on the $9.99/mo plan, but just switched it to the streaming-only, $7.99 plan.

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