Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment re: e-commerce sites (Score 1) 334

I disagree. The whole point is *always* to find a niche, though. You can't sell just any old thing online and expect money to keep rolling in. I used to do computer support for a guy in St. Louis, years ago, who started a business out of his mom's basement selling motorcycle windshields. He'd collect them up at salvage yards and anyplace else he could get them cheap, store them in the basement with little tags telling what size they were and what they went to -- and listed them online.

It wasn't like he got rich off of it -- but it brought in enough income so it paid his bills and supplemented his mom's social security checks.

Comment Re:Depressing... (Score 3, Interesting) 334

It's always been this way ... and when I first got into the "work world" after college, the whole thing depressed me too. I spent a lot of time asking, "Why? What's the point of all of this, and how did my parents stand it?!"

But the elephant in the corner of the room that everyone likes to ignore is this: People with these "side jobs" are often working smarter, not harder. For example, say you want to start a side business selling something online? You may have to burn a few of those precious weekends working on the setup -- but once the e-commerce site is running, it sells to visitors 24 hours/7 days without you having to do much with it. Your role is probably only going to be in the packing/shipping of products ordered, and handling returns as needed. Granted, that can take some time, but you get to choose when you do it and for how long. You could box up a few items right before bed, perhaps? Or knock some of it out while you're watching some show on TV at night, relaxing. If it does well enough? Now you can afford to pay some teenager to do the hands-on stuff for you, making the operation completely hands-off.

And same kind of thing with people who really do find a way to make their second job a sub-set of their hobby. I know a guy in town, for example, who is really into history. Since he was interested in digging up everything he could find about local history in our city anyway, he decided to start compiling it into books. He's got 3 of them out now that he sells via Facebook and occasionally at a local flea market table, or in other people's shops. He was going to hang onto all of those notes and photos and copies of historical documents anyway ... so putting them into book format didn't take a whole lot of extra effort, really.

Comment re: Original article mixing up terms? (Score 1) 334

Dunno... I think I have to cut the author of the original article a little more slack than the parent poster is doing.

I'm not here to argue for the term "side hustle" as the best choice of words. But traditionally, you had a lot of people who worked one full-time or "career job". And then when situations arose where that wasn't cutting it for them to maintain whatever lifestyle they were used to, they'd take on a second job. Sometimes we called this "moonlighting".

The thing is, this "side hustle" seems to me like it's a little bit different. The traditional taking on a second job tended to involve selecting something relatively non-demanding. You might work the night shift at a local gas station, for example, or deliver pizzas. It wasn't usually anything you actually enjoyed doing, but rather, something you could *stand* to do after already putting in an 8 hour day at your primary job. I think what the Millennials are talking about is figuring out something you already kind of like doing, and turning it into a small side business opportunity. It's not about applying for entry level jobs in retail businesses. It's about making the effort to print up business cards or flyers and building a promotional web site, and convincing people they should buy some product or service from you that you can provide in your spare time. BUT, it's a "hustle" because you're probably trying to "fake it until you make it". You want your customers to THINK they're dealing with an entrepreneur who is working on getting that big business loan or venture capital money before long, to really grow the business into something big. But in reality, you're going to make up excuses why you're out of something or can't be there at 3PM next Thursday when your customer would really like the service. Because this is about some extra money on the side; not a hyper-focused effort on going full-time with what's offered.

If there's anything that's a sad commentary on today's society, I think it's not so much that you've got a generation willing to do some of this for the sake of regular trips to Starbucks. But rather, it's sad that the traditional "moonlighting" job positions are often not even available for that purpose today -- because you've got so many applicants who need those as their MAIN job to survive.

Comment re: new hardware not working with older OS (Score 1) 126

I find that annoying or irritating, sure ... but not to the point of outrage. In particular, the Surface Pro 4 is actually made by Microsoft, so why wouldn't they design it to help push their latest OS instead of encouraging people to stick with the older stuff they'd like to move away from? That's just good business logic from their perspective.

(And really, it's no different than Apple's business model all along, as a provider of both the hardware and the OS.)

Comment So,do we know the physical limits on the Q mile? (Score 3, Interesting) 183

As someone who is a bit of a car enthusiast (always join the forums or car clubs for whatever vehicle I own, etc.) -- the fastest quarter mile results I ever see posted for vehicles taken to the drag strip is 9.x seconds. In most cases, you have people modding various sports or sporty cars to get down into the 12-13 second quarter mile range from wherever they start out at from the factory. Anyone running 11 seconds or under is considered "up there" in performance/speed.

So I'm starting to wonder .... is there pretty much a "hard limit" on how fast a quarter mile you can turn out based on the limitations of physics (tires can only provide so much grip, etc.)? Can you say at some point, "By getting my car to run a 9 second quarter mile, I've optimized it as much as is physically possible for a vehicle that's moving with rolling wheels on the ground?"

Comment May be reaching a turning point .... (Score 1) 325

At least speaking to healthcare in the USA, I think the furor over "Obamacare" along with rising medical costs across the board, and doctors' frustrating with increased paperwork, is leading to a tipping point.

Almost all of it boils down to problems stemming from healthcare as a profit-generating enterprise.

I absolutely think doctors and staff need to be paid a fair wage for their work, just like anyone else does. But there's got to be some kind of understanding we come to that medical care is treated differently than regular businesses. (If your car needs repair, for example? You have all sorts of options, including doing the repairs yourself or just trading it in and getting a different one. If your body needs repair, you can't just do a DYI heart bypass surgery or "trade it in". You can live with what's broken if it isn't TOO debilitating OR pay the asking price to get treatment.)

Under those circumstances, I think we need to view medicine as more of a charitable work. Whether you're a researcher or a doctor, your goal should be the motivation to help others and make the world a better place. Medicine isn't an appropriate field to get into if you're chasing maximum profits.

One of the best doctor-patient experiences I ever had was also one of the most basic. I had a red spot that kept appearing on my nose, that would get sore to the touch. After a month or so, it would disappear on its own, only to randomly come back again -- seemingly aggravated by sunlight exposure. People started telling me they thought it might be the onset of a skin cancer. I got worried, fearing the worst, and scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist who my parents had gone for for years. The guy was your typical "grouchy old man" who was "all business, no pleasantries". (I think he was about to retire, actually.) But they kept telling me he was good, so I gritted my teeth and went to see him. The doctor said few words... just pulled out his magnifying glass and studied my nose for 15 seconds or so and said, "Hmm.... yes...." Then he prescribed me medication for it and said it wasn't a cancer or anything like that. It was a type of cold sore. Oddly, the medication to keep it away is typically used for STDs (so it's a bit uncomfortable of a prescription to ask for refills on!), but he was absolutely right. Every time it starts to appear, I take one half of one of the pills (all that he said was really required) and it vanishes overnight. And recurrences have diminished over the last year or so.

My point is ... THAT was the kind of doctor's visit that was really worth my money. Pay once and let the guy use his expertise to discover the problem ... prescribe what's needed to help out, and done. I imagine at most doctor's offices today, the same visit would have involved tons of paperwork, tests being ordered, and follow-up visits. Ridiculous ....

Comment Zero reason to use Windows 10 in business? (Score 1) 126

The mentality that there's NO reason to upgrade to 10 in a business setting reminds me of the nay-sayers who never wanted to move off of Windows '98, back in the day. Sure, MS put out a lousy OS (Windows ME) as the next part of the upgrade path, just as Windows 8 was a pretty bad attempt at improving 7. But by the time XP came out, it made LOTS of sense to move to it.

I think that's where we're at with Windows 10 now. What do we gain as a company from moving from 7 to 10?


- Options for full disk encryption without resorting to 3rd. party add-ons
- Support for the latest hardware that can't even run older Windows OS versions (like the Surface Pro 4 tablets)
- Cortana, giving users a new option to instantly find and launch the applications needed without even touching anything on the PC
- Native support for high DPI (4K and 5K) resolution displays with proper font scaling

Secondarily, it just puts your company in a better place, moving forward. Potential new hires can see your organization keeps up with current technology. And it buys you a window of another 4-5 years or more where you know you can buy a new peripheral and it will have driver support, instead of always having to verify if it really "still works with Windows 7".

Comment Re:I hate it when companies decide what's good for (Score 5, Insightful) 284

Except this really doesn't constitute McDonalds or Starbucks "deciding what's good for you" at all. They're simply exercising some control over what they let you do with THEIR Internet connection. Taken to the extreme, you could cry foul that your local Mexican restaurant keeps deciding what kind of music you want to hear by piping in only Hispanic music, when you actually prefer punk rock. But no ... it's their place and their right to craft the type of dining experience they want it to have.

To my knowledge, none of these chain restaurants have ever put out pamphlets, posters or other advertising advising you to stop watching porn. They just don't want you to do it on their connection while eating there. That's perfectly reasonable.

Comment As the upgrade push continues .... (Score 1) 126

I'm interested to see just how motivated Microsoft is to get everyone upgraded to Win 10. The pressure they've been putting on everyone to upgrade before August, when the free upgrades from 7 or 8 expire has been tough for a LOT of people to refuse. But it hasn't been all that realistic for corporate users.

For example, where I work, we had all of our Windows users on Windows 7 Professional. We took a pass on Windows 8. Now, we're ok with making the move to Win 10, except the Microsoft upgrade process isn't always very practical. We usually use a pre-built drive image with all of our software set up on it. But a machine that has never run Win 10 before, even if it "qualifies for a free Windows 10 upgrade" only qualifies if you install 10 via the upgrade process where it can check in with the MS activation server and register the PC as qualifying. If you just blast our pre-made Windows 10 image onto the drive and boot it back up, it boots as inactivated Win 10 and wants you to pay full price for a working product key code.

In a few cases, upgrading the way MS wants you to do it resulted in PCs that had problems. Sometimes it's just because a newer BIOS version needed to be flashed onto it before starting (as happened with one of our older Dell laptops). But it means just telling users they can "go ahead and click the box to do the upgrade" can be trouble-prone. So to ensure a smooth process for people, I.T. has to go through all of this manually. One of our remote offices has resigned itself to just paying full price for Windows 10 licenses for all of its PCs in a couple months, when we get time to do an in-person office visit for a few days. They'd rather pay thousands more to MS than hassle with the process required to get the "qualifying free Win 10 upgrades" for its machines.

How many other places will just skip the upgrade instead of rushing to meet this "free" deadline? If there are enough of them, I bet MS does something else to get people on Win 10 at no cost or at reduced cost.

Comment This doesn't sound like that big a deal, either... (Score 1) 202

I mean, seriously -- we're saying a guy can be moderately overweight and only lose an average of 12 months off his lifespan? How many hours of a person's life are robbed from trying to do workouts they don't even enjoy doing, or turning down the foods they really want to eat and enjoy, all in an attempt to maintain a weight that's lower than their body's natural "set point" wants it to be if they do nothing special to change it?

IMO, the *real* questions are about QUALITY of life vs. how many months we can extend one. If you're in a situation where some weight loss prevents you from becoming a diabetic, for example? Now we're talking about a really valid reason to make life/diet changes that you may not necessarily care for or enjoy.

Comment Article says a lot of nothing ..... (Score 1) 729

People have been successfully buying and assembling gaming PCs from selected parts for MANY years now, and the process has only gotten easier with time; not harder.

I remember in the early 1990's taking a job with a "mom and pop" computer reseller. We were occasionally asked to build someone a good "gaming PC" or "file server" or other such requests. Back then, you still had the old AT style power supplies in use, not ATX or ITX. With AT style, you were responsible for connecting the 4 colored power wires to the back of the ON/OFF switch yourself. Mix them up and you created a dead short that tended to blow up the whole thing the moment you powered it on.

Now, power ON/OFF is handled by the motherboard itself, so you only have to connect a power switch jumper to a couple of pins on the motherboard (and polarity doesn't even matter).

And CPUs are easier to install without damaging them too! On the old ones from the i386 and i486 days, you had relatively long pins under them which easily got bent. Whenever that happened, you were stuck trying to use a tweezers or very small screwdriver to pry the bent pin back up. Half the time, it would wind up snapping off instead, trashing the CPU.

Don't forget that today's motherboards have all of the peripheral ports integrated on them! In the "bad old days", you had to install a card for your hard drive controller and serial/parallel ports, a card to handle your sound, and cards for your USB or firewire ports if you wanted those. Often, at least one of those boards would have some kind of incompatibility with the rest of your hardware so you had to troubleshoot all of that and possibly try other makes/brands of cards to get it all playing well together. Re-configuring said cards usually involved placing jumpers on the correct rows of pins on the cards, too. No easy software setup!

There are several reasons people buy Apple computers vs. building a PC - but gaming is very rarely one of them! I use Macs at home and have for the last 10 years or so. But I still put together my own Windows 10 gaming PC for games like Fallout 4 I wanted to play on it. As I get older though, I generally prefer the "unbox it and go" experience I get with a pre-built machine, and I like a lot of things about the Apple experience when I'm going to go that route anyway. (OS X is still my preferred operating system, and I appreciate having local stores all over the country where I can schedule appointments to have my machine serviced, rather than always having to mail it out someplace after calling some toll-free support number and wasting an hour or more on the phone.)

Comment Re:Cost of Living Tradeoffs (Score 4, Informative) 163

Yep! I know this might come across as a "slam" against younger workers -- but I agree without meaning it that way.

Younger I.T. workers bring a lot of things to the table, but a rich experience working with older technologies is not typically one of them. I see a lot of "re-inventing the wheel" going on with new web-based services many startups keep trying to launch. Sometimes they're a success, but a lot of older people in I.T. look at the stuff and just shake our heads. We've seen other ways the same thing has been implemented before, and can't see why it's worth all that money to rehash it with a pretty new web front-end.

I deal with this all the time with supporting a lot of younger professionals in marketing and creative work. They're always struggling to figure out ways to get very large files transferred to clients, when the attachments are too big to email. They resort to paid web services that aren't all that reliable, and then we field dozens of support tickets asking why someone can't get a download to start when they click the link, or why they were never emailed the invite to get the file.... on and on. All along, we had a secure FTP server set up which gets the job done quickly and reliably. But it's a battle to convince them that the person on the other side really *can* install a free FTP client easily and successfully log in to grab the needed files.

Almost every time we get that process going though? Everyone involved loves it and there's no more heartburn about getting files to or from that client. Whaddya know? Sometimes the decades old solution still works the best!

Comment Several thoughts on all of this.... (Score 2) 293

First of all, the whole "technical glitch" claim when this new "live content" is suddenly pulled *could* be legitimate. I'm not saying Facebook has done much to deserve the benefit of the doubt based on its actions in the past.... but it's quite possible these live streams of very popular "breaking news story" type content are overloading the servers they're getting hosted on. Maybe FB has to pull stuff when it gets too many simultaneous views and move it elsewhere, to keep it from impacting performance of the rest of the site? I don't know what they have to juggle behind the scenes to keep everything working properly, but I imagine there's a lot of this manual intervention required. Even our MS Exchange mail hosting service has struggles with automatic load-balancers and regularly pins the blame on them when strange things start happening with devices not receiving mail.

Second, I think there have to be some expectations set with "social media" as a whole. Just because social media sites are adding capabilities like live-streaming video doesn't make them a substitute for a commercial news station. At best, they have the same status as your run of the mill blogger. Certainly, some breaking news happens thanks to these sites distributing it first. But there's no guarantee the content will reliably stay online to reference it for others to view or read it, and it's liable to be presented with a strong bias attached.

IMO, there's a weird symbiotic relationship between news media and social media going on. While social media is happy to grab up a lot of the "eyeballs" that would traditionally have watched television news or read printed news instead? The news media benefits, in turn, by selectively rebroadcasting some of the content, straight from social media sites, vs. incurring the expense of sending news teams to record that content themselves all the time. Even if we're talking only printed news -- they can literally break new stories based solely on what they saw happen or read about on social media.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.