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Comment Re:For comparison (Score 2) 169

I'm unfortunately in the same boat, but I think it does also depend on what you're looking for. I'd wager that if a lot of people had their default search engine changed to DDG, they'd probably fine. Let's be real, "facebook" and "facebook.com" are very common searches because most people have forgotten the distinction between a search bar and an address bar, so typing URLs in a Google/MSN search is probably a solid third of their traffic. DDG would probably be just fine for this sort of thing; people sure didn't notice when their default search got changed to Trivoli or the dozen other browser hijackers that were making their rounds a few years ago.

Where DDG comes up very short, however, is in more specialized searches. If you're looking for a code snippet or an outdated version of some app or something more specific and technical, DDG is a crapshoot at best and useless at worst. I mean, I can't really blame them - Bing is still inferior at this point and they have thrown Microsoft quantities of money at the problem. Search is hard - there was a decade prior to Google where Altavista and Lycos were doing their best with plenty of money and lots of talent, and they were still beaten by Google.

Ironically, DDG might get better relative to Google because Google results have continued their downward spiral toward the lowest common denominator. Just yesterday, I was trying to find out if anyone else with my particular TV was able to get the Android app "AnyRemote" to send the right IR code. I went to Google to search the model number with 'anyremote', and Google seemed to thoroughly ignore the existence of 'anyremote' in my search query, instead showing me physical remote controls, even when I put anyremote in quotes.

If Google continues this behavior, it's only a matter of time before they end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, giving DDG inroads to increase their market share. The ultimate question is, however, whether the revenue they get while retaining their staunch privacy directives is enough to keep them profitable, or if they will have to compromise their privacy policy, be bought out by someone who does not share their values, or make some other rough choices to keep themselves afloat.

Comment Re:I thought state and religion were separate in U (Score 1) 1545

It is quite ridiculous. It seems that despite political correctness advancements, it would still be impossible for an atheist (that is, anyone who is not terminally insane yapping about jebus and imaginary sky fairies) to become president in the USA.

With this attitude, you're probably right. Yes, I'm one of the handful of Christians that frequent Slashdot; there are indeed a handful of us. If you don't share the same set of beliefs as I do, that is absolutely you're right. If you are unhappy that there aren't more atheists in government, I completely understand that (to an extent, I'd even agree). If you're going to be insulting and degrading in the process, then you're going to find sympathy pretty hard to come by.

Lets get this straight, people: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD!

I disagree. I also know that I cannot empirically prove my stance, and thus cannot and will not fault you from arriving at a different conclusion. Telling me what I should believe, however, is the very behavior your post seems to find unacceptable.

One has to be pretty drooling stupid to believe in that child-molesting garbage

Yes, the Christian/Catholic church has had issues with this in the past, and I do not for a moment defend them. However, molesting children is far from a core tenet of the belief system, and millions upon millions of Christians manage to go through life, pursuing their faith, and are successful in doing so without molesting children. Moreover, a spiritual belief system need not be a direct reflection upon intelligence. A successful heart surgeon who has gotten a Ph.D. is, in all likelihood, a pretty intelligent person. If they also happen to believe in Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, or an faith derived from a tribe of Indigenous Americans, that doesn't mean they aren't intelligent or that I wouldn't let them operate on me if I needed open heart surgery, only that they do not share my faith.

yet in front of the people who are supposed to be running this country they have these retarded blathering idiots going on about their magic sky daddies and friends.

1. So don't watch it? Or DVR it and fast forward the religious leaders?
2. For what it's worth, I'm of the persuasion that this is far more a matter of pandering than an intent to set the course for the country. If the majority of people who voted for the winner were another group, there probably would have been people pandering to them instead.

It is one thing to make a president swear on some 2000 year old book of BS because tradition. But there no excuse for the rest. None at all.

See above.

As an atheist it reminds me that I am not represented and that people would still be happy to come at me with their torches and pitchforks.

Has anybody threatened your life on the sole basis of your faith? If not, are you honestly of the persuasion that the only reason people have not done so is because it's illegal? There's some credibility to the point that there are few (if any) atheists in Congress, but would you vote for somebody on the sole basis that they share your views regarding God (or a lack thereof), even if your views were opposite on foreign policy, NSA wiretapping, gun legslation, health care, economic changes, the educational system, and other things that they would actually be responsible to address and legislate?

Comment Re:This is insane behavior. (Score 1) 130

Every indication points to the entertainment market being completely over-saturated. What makes Apple think they can do better than the existing studios?

They don't have to be "better". Apple hardware tends to be one-at-a-time kit - there aren't *that* many people who will own and use multiple laptops or smartphones at the same time. However, it's entirely practical (and common) for a Netflix subscriber to also purchase a season of a TV series from the iTunes Store. Apple focusing a bit more on services allows them to widen their potential customer base by creating a product whose competitors can all coexist, which isn't nearly as easy for laptops and smartphones. Therefore, they don't need to out-Netflix Netflix, they just have to have a TV show that a million people are willing to spend $20/season on, irrespective if those people are also Netflix subscribers.

Comment Re:cult of mac (Score 2) 168

On top of that, it was expensive, you could not share files over Bluetooth, it did not support 3G, it did not have an expandable storage slot and you needed iTunes for everything. But despite that, and to the horror of its rivals, everyone wanted one.

just goes to show the best product doesnt always win - same is true with the ipod, there were better options at the time. the term "cult of mac" became known for a reason

Oh, the memories that have been lost to history...

Okay, first off, remember that in 2007, iTunes libraries were expansive, encompassing, and well-curated. Virtually everyone had an iPod, which synced with iTunes. DRM had only *just* come off the files they sold, meaning that plenty of users still had hundreds of purchased songs that couldn't play on anything else.

The iPhone didn't do *lots* of things that contemporary smartphones did...but the iPhone wasn't competing with them. The iPhone was competing with Feature Phones - the LG Chocolate and similar handsets that were popular at the time, and shared pocket space with the iPod. Consolidating the two devices into a single gadget was one of a few major things the iPhone brought to the table.

Bluetooth file transfer was used by a handful of people...but keep in mind that Verizon had a habit of blocking that from most of their phones at the time, so it wasn't missed. Even if it was, if Apple loses points for Bluetooth file transfer, Blackberry loses points for making the Blackberry Curve without WiFi. What was sorely needed though, was a phone that did mobile web browsing and didn't suck. Internet Explorer Mobile sucked, horridly. Every attempt it made to lay out a page on a 320x240 screen was basically an exercise in shuffling cards - it never, ever worked right...but miraculously, even it was a step up from the Blackberry browser, which couldn't do anything right. Showing a full website and pinching in and out to navigate it? That really was incredible for the time. We have mobile website *now*, which is nice, but no one cared about cell phone web traffic in 2007.

Threaded messaging was available in BBM, but even Blackberry made it nearly impossible to split longer SMS messages. They made their name on e-mail, but didn't do HTML mail in any meaningful sense. Blackberry did music, but it was the "drag-and-drop MP3s to a MicroSD card" method that negated most of the benefits of iTunes like playlists and play counts and automatically syncing new purchases. The iPhone, by contrast, had beautiful threaded messaging with few functional limits - many feature phones at the time could only store a few hundred messages so deleting old messages by hand was a common task. We take kinetic scrolling for granted now, since everyone has it but it was truly a "wow" moment during Steve's keynote. Visual Voicemail was also something new to the masses and took years for others to implement.

The initial release of the iPhone wasn't about having a massive amount of features to compete with every bullet point on the box of the Curve or the Q or the Blackjack, it was about the ability to go from carrying around two devices to just one, with a solid web browsing experience, in a package far more streamlined and polished than anyone else on the market.

So yes, it couldn't use 3G or map, but I will definitely give credit where it is due. The iPhone didn't do everything, but what it did do was done right, given what was prevalent amongst users at the time of its release.

Comment Who wasn't expecting this? (Score 2) 376

I'm not surprised LG is doing this. Whether it's for raw competitive reasons ("Look Phil! This one has the Wi-Fi and a touchscreen!") or less-than-desirable reasons (acquiring information regarding the use of the product / making it less serviceable by techs without specialized equipment), the fact is that this sort of thing was basically inevitable.

Whether it's worth caring about depends on whether the devices will perform their intended function without internet access. Sure, some people will find it nifty to have an app notify them when preheating is done or to be able to check that they turned the stove off as they drive away (and turn it off if they didn't), but the real question is whether I'll be required to sign up for an LG account in order to set it to 375 to bake cookies.

Internet connectivity as a bonus, I'm fine with. Internet connectivity to do the functions that have been served for the last hundred years with a knob...not so much.

Comment Re: What IS a recommended secure wifi router? (Score 2) 119

Depends on the kind of security you're looking for. I'm generally a fan of the Asus family of routers that support the Padavan firmware - they all support DD-WRT as well if that's your thing.

What makes this router something warranting a slashdot discussion is the fact that it does unified threat management, something that tends to require an appliance beyond a simple router/switch/AP combo. The cheapest ones with integrated Wi-Fi are from Sonicwall, but they're all kinds of awkward to have in a home setting (NAT translation is a pain, no UPnP, etc.). Fortinet also has some prosumer units, but good luck getting one - it tends to involve a whole lot of middlemen and quotes and all that other sales red tape that's quite obnoxious.

If you're cool with a more DIY solution, break it out. A gigabit switch is more or less a gigabit switch; 8-port units are $40 or less now. Most routers can function as a simple access point (aforementioned Asus being among them), but if you're looking for multiple access points, Ubiquiti is my favorite as the $130 access points do AC1750, there's a central configuration utility, they handle roaming and frequency hopping quite well, and they're a whole lot less expensive than most of the alternatives.
As far as the router itself, get a desktop and a second NIC, and you've got choices. I'm an Untangle fan myself, and $5/month for the home version gets you the kitchen sink for your home - virus checking, content filtering, ad blocking, spam filtering, multi-wan, VPN, the whole shooting match, in the simplest configuration console I've used. pfSense (and its recent fork opnsense) is free, and gives nearly all the same features, but in a somewhat more Spartan interface with more manual control required. Sophos has an excellent UTM, though it has a 50-endpoint limit and resembles Sonicwall in its NAT configuration. Other honorable mentions worth exploring would be Endian (simplest past Untangle), Smoothwall (best QoS), and IPFire (runs on a 133mhz Pentium), again, depending on the feature set you're looking for.

Happy exploring!

Comment This is going to be a tough one... (Score 2) 163

A friend of mine told me about VidAngel a few weeks ago, and my feeling is that they're trying to do a tightrope walk, blindfolded, while wearing ice skates.

Their business model hinges on the sell/resell gimmick that solely exists on a balance sheet. It's shaky ground to stand on.

CleanFlicks lost out because they altered the movies, which either fell under "derivative work" or "CSS decryption", either way not a good idea. They lost in court.
RealNetworks (still a thing, apparently) tried having a product that allowed movies to be ripped to one's own computer, but included more DRM than the original DVD. They lost in court.
Aereo distance-shifted OTA broadcasts, limited to one viewing per antenna, and one antenna per user. They lost in court.
Zediva bought DVD players and DVDs, paired them 1:1, and allowed one user to stream a movie from an available DVD player. They lost in court.

Vidangel is walking a trail blazed by dead bodies, forged by lawyers who have no intention of providing a compromise that reflects reality. Once they get big enough, the MPAA will come after them as well. They might win against Miramax and MAYBE Universal, but once the sleeping Mouse is awakened by their family-friendly edit of Rogue One, I wouldn't bet a counterfeit wooden nickel on them willing that court case - Disney will win on attrition alone.

After all, it is power, not money, that perpetuates this behavior.

Comment Re: Roads belong underground (Score 4, Interesting) 184

I think it was Stephen Colbert who made an attempt to describe the Lincoln Tunnel to people who didn't live in New York:

Imagine trying to get that contents of this container of jelly beans into this bucket, putting them all through these two drinking straws...Also, all of those jelly beans are late to work.

A major problem is when accidents happen in tunnels. There is literally nowhere for anyone - including emergency vehicles - to go. Now, accidents in tunnels tend to be of the fender bender variety, but when a vehicle is rendered inoperable, you're just plain screwed. Making tunnels the way roads are built as a general rule is not the best of ideas - it's why subways make more sense as long as the stops can pick up and drop off enough people to nudge the needle of the rest of traffic. Manhattan would be utterly impassable without the subway moving half a million people a day.

Nobody likes traffic, and nobody likes parking. LA has its problems due not simply to cost, but the lack of a useful alternative when dealing when that level of population density independent of a useful mass transit system.

Comment Re: better options (Score 3, Insightful) 50

No, so that if the issue is expanding batteries, the batteries can be made thinner, or they'll pop the back off, prompting the need to have the battery replaced, or so users can buy batteries from Anker or ZeroLemon (or LG), or so Samsung can ship a box of batteries to each Verizon store and let users swap them with be batteries as a 45-second exchange rather than spending an obscene amount of money for RMAs in hazmat boxes...really, the only reason the phone needed to be recalled as a complete unit is because the batteries weren't removable.

While yes, Apple, LG, and Samsung have produced unibody phones that didn't blow up, I've yet to hear a reason why removable batteries are a bad thing for consumers with the sole exception of anorexia.

Comment Re:hashtag home irc servers matter (Score 1) 6

Good news, Mr. AC: There are people who are doing lots of work to enable just that sort of configuration:
https://github.com/Kickball/aw...
https://turnkeylinux.org/
https://bitnami.com/

With respect to the 'business class tax', it's obnoxious to pay twice the price for internet...but business customers get better support and the option for an SLA, as well as static IP addresses. Now, I wouldn't be opposed to an 'enthusiast' tier with consumer-grade support and open ports 80/25 on a single static IP, but it's not a thing for the moment...which is why no-IP's port 80 redirect is helpful. Similarly, very few ISPs block 443, so https + reverse proxy = green pastures of self-hosting on a residential line.

"Everyone hosting a mail server" is a bad idea. Most don't know how to configure or administer one, nor have the desire to do so. The problem with e-mail as a bastion of free speech is that it requires the recipient to listen, a premise compromised at the outset. Meanwhile, the majority of e-mail sent and received today is spam, so increasing the avenues for spam just sounds like a horried idea all around. As a final point, the gatekeepers move from "who moderates Facebook" to "who decides what is and isn't spam at Spamhaus".

We need middlemen for certain things. Making technical competency a de facto requirement for exercising freedom of speech is itself an example of censoring in practice. I hate the cloud as much as you do, but there are certain people who will always need a tech person in order for their idea to be heard. There's no reason they should be required to get a server, install a LAMP stack and CMS, register a domain and configure its DNS, leave their computer on all the time, and be comfortable in tweaking a few lines in Javascript, just to interact with others about knitting.

Comment Re:Public Folders (Score 1) 158

Absofuckingloutely entirely this. Little BIOS updates to old hardware, links found on some obscure forum and files obscenely difficult to find. I stumble across at LEAST 10 of these kinds of files a year and those are the ones I notice.

So, genuine question here...this problem did not start existing after Dropbox - in fact, it dates back to when drivers were delivered on floppy disks and downloads varied from OEM to OEM, so FTP repositories were how this was dealt with for decades prior to Dropbox. The question is this: at what point did this fall out of vogue? Sure, Dropbox is prettier and all, but it's not like FTP stopped working, or that FTP's lack of security is such a travesty for a manual or a driver. Sure, GoDaddy might not be cool with hosting 2016's rebirth of ftp.cdrom.com on their base level shared hosting tier, but is 'hosting an FTP server' such an insurmountable undertaking for scenarios like these?

Comment Re:I wonder why (Score 1) 34

You're absolutely right in that Cisco is not a company with any concept of how to compete on price. I'll do one better though - there's no integration with anything, and thus no reason to use Cisco over AWS/Azure/GCC. Those companies have massive scale, and playing catch-up isn't cheap without a reason to not just use one of them. VMWare can do hybrid cloud better than Google can, so they can successfully charge a bit more to companies who need certain things on-prem while cloudifying others as they decommission old servers. Oracle is run by Satan himself. Data that ends up in an Oracle database doesn't come out barring a miracle, so they can sell to companies who have already sold them their soul pretty well. Speaking of companies run by Satan, Intuit can do their SaaS thing because it's still pretty profitable to have 80% of Main Street businesses dependent on their product, to the point that raising the cost of their Quickbooks Online by $1/year will never be a reason to switch away from them, but is still millions a year in money-for-nothing.

Cisco sells routers and switches and phone systems. There's no springboard, no inertia, no existing customer base to move to the cloud (maybe the phone systems a bit). If they can't leverage their existing customers, then they are left competing with Amazon, the Wal-Mart of the internet, Microsoft, who can still flex muscle with Windows and Exchange server and make those cutovers easier than anyone else, and Google, the company who data mines for a living. Cisco can't compete on price, they can't really compete on features, and they don't have an explicit market for which keeping with their existing vendor makes sense for IaaS.

Comment Re:Microsoft see, Microsoft do (Score 1) 101

"Microsoft's response to the Amazon Echo and Google Home is Home Hub, a software update for Windows 10's Cortana personal assistant that turns any Windows PC into a smart speaker of sorts."

No it's not. Based on Microsoft's track record it will be a poorly-designed, late-to-market, barely functional piece of shit that will garner no market share except for that of the die-hard Windows fanbois. After a year or two of disappointing reviews and craptastic software updates they'll discontinue it.

That may well be true...but there's a one-in-a-billion chance that Microsoft will be able to make it stick if they can successfully court the XDA community. If a device is mod-friendly, and it becomes "the Echo you can mod", it's possible that it'll carve out a niche for itself...because both Google and Amazon have taken steps to ensure that the modding community isn't welcome.

Microsoft clearly has no recent evidence of this path, which is why I'm perfectly aware that it's such a remote possibility. However, it's a market hole that neither Google nor Amazon have any chance of filling.

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