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User Journal

Journal Journal: slashdot 1

Is it just me, or is the "new" slashdot almost indecipherable. Normally I write to the source for bugs, or complaints, but this make-over, over the last six months or so disappoints on almost all levels. I work with tech, so I'm pretty good at figuring out some of the weirdest and most complex interfaces, but I've not figured rhyme and or reason with the new slashdot.

I get random announcements of moderator points, but when viewing comments I see no widget with which to moderate. I get screens that say "done", but are completely blank except for the left and right margins. Weird.

Anyone else have similar experience?

User Journal

Journal Journal: does Adobe dis loyal customers?

I decided I should upgrade to Photoshop Elements 7. "7" has some features I'd like to use.

Okay, but does this make sense? The upgrade is more expensive than the full version!

Try it yourself. Go to their purchase page. Click the "upgrade" version, select Photoshop Elements 7, English, Download. Then click the "full" tab and select same thing.

I see $74.99 for the full version, $79.99 for the upgrade. WTH? Does this make sense to anyone but Adobe?


Journal Journal: I wrote a book. 3

Cool, I just wrote a book! (I wrote the seven new chapters.)

Two of the most popular editors are vi (and its work-alikes), and emacs. This is O'Reilly's first new edition of their classic "Learning the vi Editor" in ten years and it was an honor to be part of the new release. Love vi, love emacs, it doesn't matter, I'm glad O'Reilly committed to updating their entry for vi.

(and my name is not Arnold, and my name is not Linda.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Anyone need a microbiologist? 4

I graduate December 20th with my BS. I'm excited, but unemployed.

In other news, the rest of life is good. The kids are adorable, the husband is still happy at his job, and we're about to launch headlong into a kitchen remodel.

How is everyone else?

Linux Business

Journal Journal: the run on Wal-Mart PCs

What does the recent run on Wal-mart's $200 mean, to Microsoft, and to the PC universe in general?

Simply selling out of a product quickly doesn't testify to the product's quality or goodness. Wal-mart's recent sale of PCs loaded with a customized Linux for $200 each was probably a price for many households too good to not try. The litmus test comes after the purchase, and based on Wal-mart customer reviews on the Wal-mart web site this machine gets a solid thumbs up.

This is good news for Linux. Each interation for the Linux desktop delivers a more seamless platform, now apparently, good enough for the masses. It comes with tools necessary for what people need: word processing; spreadsheets; internet; and e-mail. To get a similarly loaded Microsoft (Vista) machine (beefed up to handle the processor hungry Microsoft versions of its applications) would require a minimum of $1000.

You would think this is bad news for Microsoft. It isn't. Microsoft is too big, and too far ahead to care. They should care. Instead, they continue to put out their notion of what users want, increasingly complex and resource heavy applications, expensive and unwieldy. They claim their software is simple and intuitive. Anecdotal experience and reviews say no.

Now, Wal-mart has seeded the market with a computer that "just works", much like Macs, but at a fraction of the price. With its price advantage over Apple, and Microsoft's new Vista foundering, this is an opportunity, maybe the beginning of a tipping point for Linux. It's a modest but encouraging start. Linux users, take heart! Microsoft, take note!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hanging on... 8

I haven't deleted this account yet, but I'm thinking about it. I check my messages now and then. I was excited to see one from ellem, even if it is just a place holder. But mostly it is just poetry from johndiii, which is intended for one specific target, and a sprinkling of posts from a few others.

The people who stayed all have new journals to read or have drifted away from slashdot. And I see most of the people who left. Actually I see a lot of people, people I never knew on here but that I've become fond of since getting to know them.

So... I guess I could delete this. But I won't. I hate putting things away. I could do what Nizo and tuxette have done and cross post the things I post on multiply, but I don't think there'd be anyone left to really read them or that anyone misses me in particular. I am a social poster, and most of slashdot is news/technology/politically oriented, s I fit better at multiply.


Journal Journal: heat shield tiles, who needs them! 1

Well, after slicing a finger but still not emancipating my new mechanical pencil from its clamshell container, I'm having a V-8 moment.

NASA is looking in the wrong places for their solutions to protect the space shuttle. Heat shield tiles, who needs them! I say NASA simply talk to the vendors selling $5 crap and encasing said crap in inpenetrable and indestructible clamshell packages.

Encase the shuttle in one of these packages and NASA's good to go. (But watch your fingers when you try to get the astronauts out!)

User Journal

Journal Journal: what is the Microsoft chargeback code? 5

Another morning, another 30 minutes until my Windows XP box was ready enough for me to begin productive work. Today it was an automatic reboot I'd been trying to defer all day yesterday since I had some things I wanted to finish. Apparently over night Microsoft thought better of my wish to defer and rebooted.

Aside from time needed getting all my applications back online and in a state I wanted, I also had to re-configure and recover lost session work (minor, but an annoyance).

No matter the memory, no matter the CPU, no matter the patch level of Microsoft boxes, time and again I find my start up time eroded around the edges tending to Microsoft's rough edges. (Over the last couple weeks I've begun to get "low virtual memory" dialog from XP, even with a 2G machine, and the machine is barely asked to do much work (I mostly use it to support my cygwin Xwindows, and maybe one instance of Firefox), and ultimately I must reboot to get back responsiveness.)

This is standard operating procedure it seems in corporate PC America. This is what Microsoft has brought to the IT groupthink. This is not the way it always was. Sigh.

Thirty minutes here, ten minutes there, 5 minutes there... it all adds up (including the time to finally stop and write this journal entry), and anecdotally I know others in IT experience Microsoft platforms the same way. I wonder sometimes collectively what the world pays in lost slivers of time fixing and cleaning up Microsoft's mess. I'm betting it's more than the GNP of many small countries. I'd love to have a Microsoft chargeback code... If Microsoft wants to farm out their not-so-superior technology for the world to babysit, and rake in obscene profits with their tacit monopoly, I think it only fair we should be able to charge back our time to Microsoft for our time spent working for them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hello Everyone on Slashdot 12

Just thought I'd check in to see how everyone's doing.

Is it lonely here with most of the circle gone? Or do you keep busy with news articles and whatnot?

I still check in from time to time to see if anything interesting is going on with you folks, but just realized I haven't posted in ages so you get this... Not that exciting but a post all the same.


Journal Journal: SonyEricsson to stop developing firmware for P990/W950/M600

It is 1½ years now that the Sony daughter SonyBMG bought us the Root-Kit. But it seem that the uproar at the time did not teach Sony a lesson. Now it is SonyEricsson which brings grieve over the user.

The Background: With 25 bugs reported SonyEricsson creases development for the P990i/M600i/W950i series. From the announcement:

These firmware releases meet the requirements of bug fixes prioritized by our operator customers and the Customer Services organization within different markets.

Well I always suspected it and now it is proven: The end user is of no concern to mobile phone producers.

Any remaining issues are of course unfortunate, but we feel that with the level of quality on the latest P990 firmware we now have a good, solid product.

May I quote from the bug list:

1. Memory leaks are still present - it's worse than Release 5.

22. The newest firmware contain a lot of defects. My P990 reboot 2-5 times per day. I can use "Exchange ActiveSync" only after a reboot cause maybe an hour later it doesn't connect to server.

24. The phone crashes on incoming SMS.

25. The phone crashes on incoming calls while another call is already active.

So that's what Sony calls a "good, solid product." — good to know. But the best quote from the announcement is certainly:

Due to all heavy features in P990, the need for RAM memory has grown. [...] The low RAM memory situation for the P990 will unfortunately remain for the heaviest users, and would not be fixed by a new firmware update since it's hardware related. Multi-tasking on the P990 however works satisfactory provided that you don't run too large and memory-consuming programs at the same time. Performance improvements have indeed been made for the new P1 phone compared to P990 and the user RAM available for applications has been increased with >400%, significantly improving multi-tasking performance and application behaviour so that you can run a lot heavier programs simultaneously.

So — Sony, you did not put enough memory into the P990i — your top of the range flagship phone — to work as expected and the solution is: Buy the now P1i. You made a mess of it by under powering the P990i and expect us to pay for your mistakes by buying a new phone?

Well, Sony did it again — treating there customers with content. I wonder if this time round Sony finally manages to destroy it's good brand name or if we are going to forgive them again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Usability of College Majors 11

Why are there so many useless college majors available?

By useless I mean you graduate and then there's no one really looking for your degree. With teaching, computer science, architecture, or mechanical, civil, chemical or computer engineering degrees it's obvious what you'll be doing. But what about biology? English? Psychology?

Why did no one warn me that Microbiology, while a great subject and very interesting requires a masters or doctorate to be truly useful?

I'm glad I feel strongly about medicine because the idea of going to graduate school is not appealing at all.

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The bogosity meter just pegged.