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Comment Amazing given the statistics. (Score 5, Informative) 115

The fact that Google achieves a 66.66% success rate in acquisitions is amazing. Most M&A's have a success rate of 17%.

According to a quote from the Wharton School of Business:

"Various studies have shown that mergers have failure rates of more than 50 percent. One recent study found that 83 percent of all mergers fail to create value and half actually destroy value. This is an abysmal record. What is particularly amazing is that in polling the boards of the companies involved in those same mergers, over 80 percent of the board members thought their acquisitions had created value.

— Robert W. Holthausen, The Nomura Securities Company Professor, Professor of Accounting and Finance and Management


Comment Re:Why the anxiety? (Score 1) 807

I'm not certain that there would be a significant performance increase from such a low-end processor. The VIA C7-D 1.8 only scores 333 on Passmark, which puts it in the range of an early-model Pentium 4 or Athlon XP from circa 2002.


It's also a 32-bit processor, so you're going to be capped at 3GB of RAM.

As an alternative, you can easily find used 4-5 year old Core2 Duo systems for $100-$200. They're 64-bit and will score 1300 or higher on Passmark.


Comment Re:4GB USB drives are $2.48, who cares? (Score 1, Troll) 488

Very well then, we'll argue about more pocket change.

Discounting shipping, I've seen piles of 4GB drives selling at $4 at Walgreens on clearance, which with tax would be $5.

Either way, USB drives are dirt cheap and have been for years. I'm also a bit wary of the notion that malware will infest a USB drive formatted on ext3 because you were careless enough to use your $5 drive to transfer photos to a pharmacy, instead of reserving another stick for that purpose.

Comment Try the later Windows versions before judging... (Score 2) 488

Windows Vista was a hog, but Windows 7 will run on any system that Ubuntu does, and runs well on the same systems, although you may have to disable Aero. The Windows 8 developer preview is actually faster and uses less memory that Windows 7, but it does require a "DirectX 9" graphics card (most anything 2002+), as the graphics are 100% 3D-accelerated.

Win7 also remarkably stable from what I've seen for the past 2 years or so. It's not subject to the junk XP was, like having to run ipconfig /flushdns (or rebooting) to fix network issues. It also uses ASLR and DEP by default for base security purposes.

Because of that, there's no reason to use XP in the Windows world ofr anything except for 1990s-era software that requires IE6 or does things like write to its own C:\Progra~1\ directory. Not to mention XP considers SATA to be exotic hardware, drivers haven't been written for it for years, its PnP driver capabilities are way outdated, etc.

But whatever you're using, it's your choice, and do enjoy. Just thought I'd inform you on this from the other side of things. :)

Comment Re:Ubuntu doesn't run on pre-USB boot systems anyw (Score 3, Insightful) 488

Then use Debian, use Puppy Linux, use BasicLinux, use whatever. It's your choice, whether you're running an 8-core AMD Bulldozer, a $250 netbook that leaves any 2003-era system in the dust, or something from the 1990s that belongs in a museum (or landfill).

I only wish you luck on getting any modern software, such as an ACID2-compliant browser like Iceweasel or Chromium, to run on a Pentium 1 with 48MB of RAM. Such things do not constitute Windows 98 era junkware. If you're reading this with lynx, more power to you!

Comment 4GB USB drives are $2.48, who cares? (Score 0) 488

Here you go, 4GB USB drive. A whopping $2.48 worth of pocket change.


If you're that concerned, take it out of the package, put Ubuntu Linux on it, and then throw it away immediately like it's a message to Inspector Gadget.

Comment Ubuntu doesn't run on pre-USB boot systems anyways (Score 3, Insightful) 488

Any system that has been made since circa 2001 (i.e. the past 10 years) has been able to boot from USB.

Ubuntu 11's system requirements are as such:

* 1 GHz CPU (x86 processor (Pentium 4 or better))
* 1 GiB RAM (system memory)
* 15 GB of hard-drive space

By Pentium 4 or better, that likely means it requires SSE2 instructions, which means Athlon 64 is the minimum on the AMD side. 1GB of RAM is hard to find or get on 2001-2002 P4's as well due to the use of RDRAM. So you're basically looking at 2003-era systems as a minimum to run Ubuntu.

But finding an 8 year old or better system as a hand-me-down, at a yard sale, or even by dumpster diving isn't difficult at all. Never really has been. Most systems like that will actually still work once the typical spyware-infested XP install is removed.

Considering a brand new 4GB USB flash drive is a whopping $2.47 on Amazon (or $5 at Walgreen's) it's not that big of a deal to get one of those either.


Ubuntu made the right choice by dumping what is now an arbitrary 700MB limit. I'm sure plenty of people also "saw the light" of Linux on 1.44MB floppies in the late 90's as well, but it's almost 2012, and both eras are over now.

TLDR Ubuntu requires 2003-era systems to begin with. 4GB USB drives are $2.47 these days. No big deal.

Comment These systems will collect dust, Win7 is why. (Score 2) 319

As listed, this only applies to outdated computers made between 2004-2007. Namely, Pentium 4's, Pentium D's, and perhaps some Core 2's from 4-7 years ago.

But as the article states: "A lot of these devices, given their age, will not be in good working order and does not support the latest versions of Microsoft products."

Most IT Departments in school systems have been switching to Windows 7 as a cost-cutting measure, not just because XP security updates expire in 2 years. The deployment tools on Server 2008 R2 for Win7 are insanely excellent. One can pull a central server to a distant school just once from a PXE boot, and it will peer-to-peer on the local network, rather than download a ~10GB file 30 times. Any additional drivers, software, and updates can be installed on the spot -- think Ninite, except before the installation. Doing things like installing XP from Ghost and babysitting the systems for an hour are obsolete, as is the staffing required for it.

But Windows 7 requires 1-2GB of RAM to run properly depending on software installed. With the crisis in the EU (PIIGS especially), it's very unlikely that they'll spend the money to buy DDR1/DDR2 to upgrade systems that don't. A 7-year old system is going to have hardware problems that low staffing can't troubleshoot, to the point where they won't even bother. And they certainly won't have the staffing required to take the time to set up an OSS system, much less train their staff on it, as it was only "recommended."

At best, someone might set up the ability to install Edubuntu through PXE boot, but they'll just be Edubuntu systems, nothing more. Some kids might play around on them at times, but otherwise, these old systems are just going to collect dust.

Comment In 1994? Think browsing with ActiveX. (Score 2) 246

If it was 1996 or 1997, perhaps not too much different. But in 1994, that would change everything. That predates HTML 2, the first attempt at standardizing it. It predates Apache, Javascript and CSS. Late 1994 predates the web presences of Amazon, Craigslist, the New York Times, and Dell.

The only well-visited site I can think of still in existence was the whitehouse.gov, and it was extremely primitive. Here's a mirror:


Basically, if Microsoft was able to redirect web development that early, they'd go for something very similar to what ActiveX was for vendor lockin. HTML would remain primitive, broken, and discarded. To make anything more than what was available, you would basically use Microsoft systems over HTTP.

Instead of HTML, you'd use something like Visual Studio to create forms and graphics via drag-and-drop and upload .rc files with Access/VBScript like background controls. Video would be embedded as Microsoft Media Server (MMS) and would run locally.

Taking that out to 2011, it'd probably be similar but sandboxed, and using a lot more XML. But nevertheless, you'd basically only be able to browse the web from OSS with something like WINE -- basically, a emulator/compatibility layer developed from a lot of reverse engineering that wasn't 100% reliable.

Comment Slashdot crowd with a history lesson here. (Score 1) 519

Despite the fact that web browsers were considered commercial specialty products in the late 1990s, that era was one of completely non-standard "quirks" HTML. While Acid2-era HTML4/CSS2 is perfectly standardized and supported by all modern web browsers, HTML5/CSS3 is not, it's practically Quirks Mode II. Passing Acid3 is really a gimmick in comparison to Acid2.

The reason Internet Explorer took the market over Netscape was that Microsoft provided an extremely high-quality browser for 1997 in an age of non-standards. It was far more secure than Netscape -- it wasn't vulnerable to crashing your system with the XSS loops people posted on each other's Guestbooks at the time. IE 4/5 was insanely fast compared to Netscape, which involved watching a logo with stars fly most of the time even outside of 28k modems.

But the reason IE 4/5 took over was because of quirks. Netscape was horrible to develop a cutting-edge website with. And IE was very tolerant to bad code -- Netscape would stop rendering the page if a /table tag wasn't included, IE wouldn't. The second a web developer made a popular site "Best viewed with IE", the end user use their bundled IE to visit that site. And not long after, they would use IE for everything else.

Bash Microsoft all you want, but history is repeating itself. IE10 is seriously fast and has some serious, but user-friendly lockdowns on security. IE10 feels as nice as Chrome but uses far less memory. Firefox, like Netscape, since version 3 has been building its perception as incompetent bloatware and is likewise being dumped. Unlike IE 6-8, IE10 is a seriously competitive browser.

And Microsoft has plenty of time to regain the old IE browser share. The way the W3C bureaucracy works, HTML5 likely won't be standardized until 2022.

*TLDR*: All MS has to do is to make a very nice bundled browser, ensure everything is written to its own quirks, and it's 90% of the market share again. It's the 90's again except with high-bandwidth multimedia and 3D shooters in CANVAS tags.

Comment Why? EOL in 2014 and hw/sw vendor support. (Score 1) 471

On April 8, 2014, security patches and hotfixes for all versions of Windows XP will no longer be available. That basically means if you run it past that date, any exploit released out into the wild will not be patched, ever.

Furthermore, hardware vendors haven't consistently supported XP in years. Windows drivers are only forward-compatible, and Vista has been out since January 30, 2007, which is nearly 5 years. If you upgrade or purchase new hardware in any way, good luck with getting that to work in XP without installing old network and sound cards for starters. Even then, the performance is also going to be terrible on an OS tuned for 10-12 year old hardware and considers SATA to be exotic.

Don't expect software vendors to thoroughly support XP in the next 2 years or so, either, when XP usage will likely plummet to single digits like IE6 has in the past 2 years. The fact that a simple program like Paint.NET 4, due at the end of the year, won't support XP is a harbinger of this. At 10 years old, XP is like a Linux system stuck on Kernel 2.2, KDE 2.2, Xfree86 4.1, and GTK 1.2. The fact that such an old configuration is still supported to any extent and remains thoroughly tested by software developers is nuts. Like with web devs and IE6, most probably can't wait to drop it.

Comment The so-called "creative" market is saturated. (Score 4, Insightful) 520

The true creative class is the people who are willing to put forth the hard work to study particle physics, microbiology, colloid science, differential equations, managerial accounting, and parallel algorithms. Their dedication is what makes carrying out their creative dreams possible. As the article states, they're doing well, as there's still scarcity in that market. Their competition in overseas diploma mills that teach to the test do not produce the same results.

What this article is referring to is the so-called "creative class" who thought they could start a grunge band by learning power chords, buy a Canon EOS and become a professional photographer, or become a psychologist because they were interested in their bad teenage relationships. They are the types who thought they'd win the lottery and become rock stars without the serious learning required to invent, build, and deploy something new.

Those people in the so-called "creative class" locked in an entitlement mentality are a dime a dozen.It may have worked in the 1990s when they and their friends were given unlimited subsidy by coddling baby boomer parents, but these days, you're on your own and actually have to know your shit. Universities today aren't full of ambitious engineers who will take full advantage of their $50K in student loans, they're full of future waitresses and customer service reps with a piece of paper.

A better article would be "Why did 17 million people go to college?" -- http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634

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