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Comment Re:Cox has low customer satisfaction? (Score 1) 70

Yeah, I know why they're hated as a cable TV company, but the ISP side of Comcast has always been pretty decent in my experience, and I don't know anyone who has anything bad to say about that side of them. Sure, the data caps is an ongoing concern, but they haven't implemented anything evil on that side, beyond introducing the concept to begin with.

Comment Re:Libreoffice is a thing (Score 1) 202

git is a tiny fraction of what's needed to replace OneDrive - unsurprising given it's a source code version control/management system. If you were to start from scratch creating a OneDrive alternative, you'd probably start with Apache, not git. Add versioning and more advanced permissions to Apache's WebDAV implementation, a web interface to the same directory (preferably linked to something capable of at least viewing Word etc documents online), and client tools to sync with Apache, and you're pretty close to being there.

Comment Re:I have a dream (Score 1) 436

When you don't need to replace your laptop or desktop every 1-3 years like a Dell, well, I suspect your sales numbers won't be quite as growth oriented.

Funny, I have a $299 Toshiba that was bought in 2010 that's still in use. Well, I don't have it, I gave it to a friend 2 years ago, but they're still using it daily. I was actually going to reply with something along the lines of "that only happens when you buy the cheaper models, but you're still ahead dollar-for-dollar and get periodic performance boosts as a bonus; when you spend as much on a PC laptop as you do on a Mac, they tend to last as long"; then, I remembered that $299 gem.

There's always exceptions. The general rule with all the company laptops I've dealt with was if you got more than 1 year out of a battery, that was a net plus. If the laptop itself didn't implode due to one of many different causes within the first 2 years, that was a win. This was primarily Dell, HP, and other lesser name brand laptops. The desktops generally lasted 2-3 years, tops, before things started going squirrelly.

But I'll still elaborate on my point: I can spend $2400 on a 15" MacBook Pro (I'm pulling this from memory of my purchase in 2015, prices may be different today) and hope it lasts me 5 years, of I can spend $300/yr on a cheap PC, only have spent $1500 after 5 years and, at the end of that 5 years, have something faster than the Mac I would have spent $2400 on. Going the PC route gives me a $900 savings every 5 years and continuous performance upgrades.

Here's the thing - I'm not looking purely at cost. I freely admit you can get a $200 laptop, saw one today, in fact, a Core2 Duo running win 10 - I'm sure it smokes, or will, as soon as you try to run some video processing through it. :) Seriously, when you compare a high res screen, fast memory and disk I/O in a package with weight and battery life, you just can't touch the mac specs for much less than a mac. In fact, I ran those comparisons for screen resolution, memory, and disks against the various offerings from Dell, Lenovo, and HP, and in only 1 instance could I match the performance specs with a cheaper machine. However, it weighed 2#s more and, being a Dell, you'd have to figure in a new battery every year and about half the stated battery runtime. If all I needed was a web browser, I'd firmly agree with you. My particular needs involve much more than that, and those requirements actually make the mac very competitive just on price. At that point it's a few trade offs: can I live with replacing the battery, shorter runtime, and almost always greater weight vs slightly reduced connectivity or extra dongles? Plus, of course, can you live with Windows and its restrictions/invasions, or the extra overhead of maintaining your own Linux/BSD installation, or deal with the pain that is OSX...

Just kidding.. :)

Of course, I need more performance than the $300 PC laptops will give me, so that's not a viable solution for me, but it does illustrate how the Mac doesn't necessarily demonstrate "better value" based on "lasting longer". For the average user, that $2400 Mac would have to last 8 years to match the value of the $300 PC; and that's generously assuming the PC is upgraded yearly like clockwork. Additionally, at some point in that 8 year cycle, the $300 PC will surpass the $2400 Mac in performance.

Just for fun, I had a 2004 Powerbook, not top end, but nice. Sold it after 5 years for over $400. It had a relatively new battery, thanks to a recall program, and generally ran great at the time. The 2006 MBP that replaced it is just now getting ready to be put out to pasture. It was limited to 10.7, but has 10.6 on it. Note that this is 11 years old, and was used for 4 straight years as a daily development machine. It was replaced by a 2009 MBP in early 2010 for heavy development purposes. That machine was used daily until the SATA controller flaked out in 2015. 5 years of daily abuse, and then it was a controller chip that went bad. I got almost $400 for it as well on trade in for the current 2014 MBP I'm running. The 2009 MBP had a SSD upgrade and was as snappy as most offerings out in 2014.

The 2014 MBP is smoking fast. It handles many things near my desktop's speed, a rather built out 980x with an SSD RAID 0 subsystem, primarily because I couldn't get price competitive single SSDs to anywhere near match the laptop's performance. Yes, my MBP showed that I was still disk I/O limited on the desktop. With 4 SSDs in RAID 0, I'm close on disk I/O. It was cheaper than trying to upgrade to a M.2 motherboard which would have required a new CPU, etc.

And it was beaten by a $1700 PC laptop which, I bet you won't guess, is still in use a year and a half later, with no signs of needing to be replaced any time in the foreseeable future. It's actually still competitive with the 2016 MacBook Pro so, if you want to say a Mac laptop will last 5 years, it looks like I'm gonna get at least 6 out of this; it's sure built well enough to do it.

Interesting, something from Alienware, perhaps, or similar? How much does it weigh? I ask, because I did a rather thorough evaluation of top end laptops before buying the last one in early 2015, and one of my criteria was lugging it around. My second question is battery life? While I don't get 10 hours out of my MBP, I do get over 6. A brand new Lenovo upper tier business system I tried out lasted about 2 hours and weighed an extra pound.

If Toshiba can make a laptop that lasts (and is still going strong in daily use) 7+ years for $300, why can't Apple tap that market?

They did - iPad.

And Apple could totally do that with a more recent C2D than what's in your 2006 MBP. If that's enough performance for you, something more recent should be marketable to a wider audience, as well; after all, people have no problem paying $300 for a C2D-based PC these days.

Apple did that with the 2014 minis. 2012 minis cost as much or more than the "upgraded" 2014 minis being sold today.

I can't answer why Apple didn't do it. I don't know why they ignored their Mac Pro and mini line as long as they have. It appears they thought the Mac Pro would be what pro people wanted, and that the iMac would work for everyone else. The mini was repositioned to be that low-end $300 machine you mention above, albeit starting at a little over $400 and then "upgradeable". I'd argue the highest end mini should be selling for under $500. It's a piece of crap compared to what you can build for that kind of money. I personally wanted minis to be the grid a mac pro would control for some serious processing power.

Comment Re:Fortran (Score 1) 524

I'm not quite old enough to have used FORTRAN.

What does age have to do with anything? I took a computational linear algebra course in the late '90s that used FORTRAN nearly exclusively.

That said, I started out, like most kids in the '80s, with BASIC and assembly language (6809 and 6502, in my case). I started college early enough that the introductory computer-science courses were still in Pascal, but pretty much every course that needed to do real work used anything but Pascal...lots of C, with a systems-programming course splitting time between 8086 assembly and VAX assembly and a database course that introduced us to SQL (of course).

The computational linear algebra course mentioned above was a math course specifically for computer-science majors; other engineering students took a different linear-algebra course.

Comment Re:Fortran (Score 1) 524

My father showed me basic when I wanted to use the computer as a calculator (basic arithmetic). I discovered programming.

He then saw talent in me and bought me a Turbo Pascal book (in my mother tongue... English would not have worked at that age) and a copy of Turbo Pascal (I presume from work, but... I don't know where exactly he got it from).

... and that's how he awoke my interest in computers and ultimately the profession I would choose.

Thanks dad...


Slashdot Asks: What Was Your First Programming Language? ( 524

This question was inspired by news that Stanford's computer science professor Eric Roberts will try JavaScript instead of Java in a new version of the college's introductory computer programming course. The Stanford Daily reports: When Roberts came to Stanford in 1990, CS106A was still taught in Pascal, a programming language he described as not "clean." The department adopted the C language in 1992. When Java came out in 1995, the computer science faculty was excited to transition to the new language. Roberts wrote the textbooks, worked with other faculty members to restructure the course and assignments and introduced Java at Stanford in 2002... "Java had stabilized," Roberts said. "It was clear that many universities were going in that direction. It's 2017 now, and Java is showing its age." According to Roberts, Java was intended early on as "the language of the Internet". But now, more than a decade after the transition to Java, Javascript has taken its place as a web language.
In 2014 Python and Java were the two most commonly-taught languages at America's top universities, according to an analysis published by the Communications of the ACM. And Java still remains the most-commonly taught language in a university setting, according to a poll by the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. In a spreadsheet compiling the results, "Python appears 60 times, C++ 54 times, Java 84 times, and JavaScript 28 times," writes a computing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding "if Java is dying (or "showing its age"...) it's going out as the reigning champ."

I'm guessing Slashdot's readers have their own opinions about this, so share your educational experiences in the comments. What was your first programming language?

Comment Re:Libreoffice is a thing (Score 2, Insightful) 202

This is about Microsoft's non-subscription version of Office being able to access the corporate version of OneDrive, so LibreOffice won't help here.

It'd be interesting to see the FOSS community come up with an equivalent to OneDrive (if we could somehow do it without needing a central server, that'd be a major step forward) but a FOSS office suite isn't going to help.

Comment Re:Time to switch (Score 1) 202

Those will still work with the business version of OneDrive after 2020? Or did you misunderstand the summary and think Microsoft is deactivating Office 2016 in 2020 completely?

What Microsoft is announcing is relatively obscure and probably won't affect many people at all. Home users will be completely unaffected. Businesses are largely moving over to Office 365 anyway, the combination of "Corporate OneDrive + non-subscription Office" is pretty unusual.

Switching over to the Mac (or, more easily, to LibreOffice/OpenOffice) won't help in the slightest.

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