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Comment How are they better? (Score 3, Informative) 164

First of all, it is technically open source, but the license the community edition uses means it cannot legally be used by businesses.
It is definitely not a free alternative to M$ Exchange.
Each user license costs $52 for this product, an M$ Exchange CAL costs about as much, maybe a few bucks more.

Whoever designed the web access GUI went icon crazy and they are not very meaningful either.
Outlook Web Access is simple, this contraption had me guessing at what buttons do.

I manage an Exchange 2007 environment with roughly 700 users depending on it.
Originally having no experience, I got a test server up and running within a day.
The administrator tools are simple, powerful, and reliable; overall we have not had any serious issues in the past three years.
I also know that if something goes wrong, there is M$ support, service packs, backup software, DB repair tools, forums, etc.

Here is what happens with an open source product:
You install the product and spend the next couple of hours wading through text config files.
When you do manage to get the product to work, the thing does not work as expected.
You spend the next couple of hours cranking up debugging output and wading through source code.
If you are really masochistic you end up compiling your own build after you have found a bug.

Now in some cases going open source is worth the pain, especially when it brings additional functionality and cost savings.
Unfortunately, this open source product has the goal of duplicating functionality at a similar price point.
An additional thing to consider is that most open source products need more maintenance and labor.
This additional labor is highly in demand and is not at all cheap, which might make this an even more expensive solution than the original.

Comment Are these schools old? (Score 1) 663

My high school was 80+ years old when I was going there.
At some point some students noticed that the school water tasted funny.
Somebody took a sample of the water and had the local university analyze it.
The next week, we were banned from drinking from the water fountains and water colors were put in place.

I am sure we had mold problems in some areas.

Once in a while a sound proofing tile would smack a slacker awake, always a hoot.

It was reconstructed shortly afterward.

Before these parents start blaming radio waves for the sickness they should have the health department check the school out.

Comment Some things I noticed (Score 1) 706

I work for a non-IT company with a small IT department. We have one woman on our team.
Here are some things that I have noticed.

Completing a Task:
When one of the guys gets a task, we jump into it immediately and release something quickly (even if it doesn't work).
When the woman on our team gets a task, she thinks about it, asks for some help, comes up with a solution, and eventually releases it in perfect working order.
One would think that the woman is doing things the right way, a working solution that takes 2-3 times longer to produce will always beat out a nonworking one.
Unfortunately, others may see her as being slow and inefficient. In addition, one of the cardinal sins in IT is asking for help, once you do that you are seen as weak and unintelligent.

Team Socialization:
On a slow day, all of the IT guys will somehow converge into someones office and talk about random stuff, sometimes work related, sometimes not.
Rarely does the woman on our team join in unless we somehow managed to converge within her office, in which case she usually stays quiet unless asked for input.
I am not exactly sure why this occurs, but it is hurting her career as socialization within the team is one of the easiest ways to gain recognition and respect.

Performance Review Time:
Come performance review time all of the guys are on high alert.
We do PR engineering, damage control, boasting, extra work, and anything else needed to get a good appraisal from upper management.
The woman on our team simply continues on with her normal routine, sometimes asking one of us in private whether it's that time of the year.
Who do you think gets a better raise?

Personally, I think if you want to succeed in IT you have to be aggressive (taking control of each situation) and relatively thick skinned (ignoring egomaniacal VPs without losing sleep).
You have to be able to socialize with people within your team and outside, while at the same time not losing self dependency.
I am not sure if women want to work in that kind of environment.

Comment Re:Setting the bar low (Score 1) 169

In a decade those speeds might be weak.
However, I doubt that the fiber that they lay will become outdated.

Kind of like how DSL runs over copper that was laid decades ago at much higher bandwidth than originally conceived.

The equipment running the system will probably be upgraded over the years without digging up the streets and running new media. The cost will be negligible compared to the initial roll-out.

Comment At Will Employment (Score 1) 281

If you have ever heard the term "At Will Employment" it means that either you or your employer may terminate your employment at the company without informing the severed party of the reason.

As long as your employer fires you and does not tell you why, you probably won't have much recourse. Even if they tell you, unless it legally classified as discrimination (e.g race, religion, sex, disabilities...), there is not much you can do.

Companies that do not want to pay nor use company time for employee training have their reasons. These companies are usually afraid that you will finish the training and leave to greener pastures, leaving them with a bill to foot. Some companies will pay, but may make you sign a contract stipulating that you work for them for a certain time period after training.

There are some nasty employers out there, you may be working for one of them. It's usually easier to find a job while you still have one, maybe its time to seek a new job.

Comment I think you know the answer... (Score 2, Informative) 5

If you get it from a nationally recognized diploma mill, you may be able to squeeze yourself into a corporation.
Then your only hope is to gain enough experience on the job that nobody will care what degree you have.
You will have a tough time.

If you think you can enroll in a real university or college, why not try?
The education you get there will be of much higher quality than you can obtain online.
Cost wise, if you are a resident of the state and go to a public university it will probably be cheaper.

In my opinion, there is something sacred about learning directly from another human being.

Comment Re:802.11n Draft 2.0 (Score 1) 300

Holy shit! You mean I just wasted over a hundred thousand dollars on the 230 Cisco 1142 access points that I purchased and installed over the last couple of months? Why didn't someone warn me? ;^)

Not really... Cisco is pretty reliable stuff and they are well supported. I currently run 1121Gs at work and they are rock solid.
If it works for you business, it's not wasted money.
The problem with Netgear is that they generally assume you will buy the next iteration rather than fixing the current iteration.
We bought two Netgear Rangemax N APs, not only did the things go offline with more than a few clients, but eventually both plain died.

Unless you live in an area with no wireless neighbors, getting the 40-MHz wide channels working in the 2.4GHz spectrum is going to be a challenge. Those 40-MHz wide channels occupy either Ch 1 and 6 or 6 and 11. Even Cisco recommends not using the 40MHz-wide stuff in the 2.4 spectrum.

I live in a house with a few weak access points surrounding it. Shouldn't be an issue.

Comment 802.11n Draft 2.0 (Score 1) 300

I would get this thing if it were certified with the final 802.11n standard.
There just isn't any point to get a draft n 2.0 product months before the final is released.
Also this thing is capable of 300mbits at 2.4ghz, while most of the new Intel cards are capable of 450mbits at 2.4ghz and 5.8ghz.

I applaud Netgear on the whole OSS thing, but the timing just isn't right.

Comment Facebook? (Score 5, Interesting) 187

Taking away the facial recognition technology, it's not that much difference than facebook. A friend takes a photo of me somewhere, sticks it on their facebook profile, labels me in the picture, and links it to my facebook profile. Then your pictures can be searched.

Given enough labeled pictures of me, one could run it through a facial recognition system. It would have the same applications, without the initial creepy factor.

Talking about facebook, I guess soon people will not need to label you. Facebook will label you automatically. Recognition error rates can be reduced by making sure you are in the same circle of friends.

Comment Humans on Mars? (Score 1) 183

More than a decade ago while still in school I was reading some space exploration books for kids. I was obsessed with anything containing science in a digestible manner. All of these books stated that by 2020 humans would be on Mars.

Now the latest Bush policy proposes going to the moon by 2020. Who cares about the moon, we've been there four decades ago. Yes, it could have been faked, but still...

This latest post about sending a robot to one moon or other by 2020 is appalling.

Handhelds

Submission + - What's Keeping US Phones in the Stone Age?

knapper_tech writes: After seeing the iPhone introduction in the US, I was totally confused by how much excitement it generated in the US. It offered no features I could see beyond my Casio W41CA's capabilities. I had a lot of apprehension towards the idea of a virtual keypad and the bare screen looked like a scratch magnet. Looks aren't enough. Finally, the price is rediculous. The device is an order of magnitude more expensive than my now year-old keitai even with a two-year contract.

After returning to the US, I've come to realize the horrible truth behind iPhone's buzz. Over the year I was gone, US phones haven't really done anything. Providers push a miniscule lineup of uninspiring designs and then charge unbelievable prices for even basic things like text messages. I was greeted at every kiosk by more tired clamshells built to last until obselescense, and money can't buy a replacement for my W41CA. I finally broke down and got a $20 Virgin phone to at least get me connected until I get over my initial shock. In short, American phones suck, and iPhone is hopefully a wakeup call to US providers and customers. Why is the American phone situation so depressing?

Before I left for Japan about a year ago, I was using a Nokia 3160. It cost me $40 US and I had to sign a one year contract that Cingular later decided was a two-year contract. I was paying about $40 a month for service and had extra fees for SMS messages.

After I got to Kyoto, I quickly ended up at an AU shop and landed a Casio W41CA. It does email, music, pc web browsing, gps, fm radio, tv, phone-wallet, pictures (2megapixel), videos, calculator etc. I walked out of the store for less than ¥5000 (about $41) including activation fees, and I was only paying slightly over ¥4000 (about $33) per month. That included ¥3000 for a voice plan I rarely used and ¥1000 for effectively unlimited data (emails and internet).

Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the costs facing American mobile providers can explain the huge technology and cost gap between the US and Japan. Why are we paying so much for such basic features?

At first, I thought maybe it was something to do with network infrastructure. The US is a huge land area and Japan is very tiny. However, Japan would have lots of towers because of the terrain. Imagine something like Colorado covered in metropolitan area. Also, even though places like rural New Mexico exist, nobody has an obligation to cover them, and from the look of coverage maps, no providers do. Operating a US network that reaches 40% of the nation's population requires nowhere near reaching 40% of the land area. The coverage explanation alone isn't enough.

Another possibility was the notion that because Americans keep their phones until they break, phone companies don't focus much on selling cutting edge phones and won't dare ship a spin-chassis to Oklahoma. However, with the contract life longer, the cost of the phone could be spread out over a longer period. If Americans like phones that are built to last and then let them last, the phones should be really cheap. From my perspective, they are rediculously priced, so this argument also fails.

The next exlpanation I turned to is that people in the US tend to want winners. We like one ring to rule them all and one phone to establish all of what is good in phone fashion for the next three years. However, Motorola's sales are sagging as the population got tired of dime-a-dozen RAZR's and subsequent knockoffs. Apparently, we have more fashion sense or at least desire for individuality than to keep buying hundreds of millions of the same design. Arguing that the US market tends to gravitate to one phone and then champion it is not making Motorola money.

At last I started to wonder if it was because Americans buy less phones as a whole, making the cost of marketing as many different models as the Japanese prohibitive. However, with something like three times the population, the US should be more than enough market for all the glittery treasures of Akiba. What is the problem?

I'm out of leads at this point. It's not like the FCC is charging Cingular and Verizon billions of dollars per year and the costs are getting passed on to the consumer. Japanese don't have genetically superior cellphone taste. I remember that there was talk of how fierce mobile competition was and how it was hurting mobile providers' earnings. However, if Japanese companies can make money at those prices while selling those phones, what's the problem in the US? It seems to me more like competition is non-existent and US providers are ramming yesteryear's designs down our throats while charging us an arm and a leg! Someone please give me some insight.

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