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Comment Is that such a problem? (Score 1) 196

Could the explanation be that Windows RT users prefer to pay for apps rather than to be served -- and to click -- ads? That's certainly the case for me. I own a Windows RT tablet and spent about $10 on apps thus far, including on Book Bazaar Reader, GVoice, and IM+. When there's a way to get rid of ads by paying for an ad-free experience in apps I value, I do.

Microsoft is also encouraging more significant apps by setting the minimum price in its app store to $1.50. I can easily imagine that more significant apps are more tempting to buy outright rather than to live with ads.

Comment Re:LOL alternatives (Score 1) 218

However, none of that invalidates the point that Skype creates vendor-lock in by means of their proprietary protocol. I don't admire people who do that, particularly when they do it in an area where open protocols already exist.

You're still not thinking. Open protocols still exist; Skype didn't erase them or ban them. They just don't work. Again—it doesn't matter if open protocols exist if the normal person in normal circumstances cannot get a simple phone call to work.

If you resent vendor lock-in so much, why don't you simply make the existing open protocols work? Or create your own open protocol that works?

Comment Re:LOL alternatives (Score 3, Insightful) 218

they made billions converting the world from open standards to their vendor-lock in

Think about that a little more. Did anyone hold a gun to the world to force them to switch? No. Clearly the open standards failed the world somehow.

In my personal experience, Ekiga (an implementation of the open standards you speak of) simply doesn't work in a NAT environment. I've tried multiple versions with multiple people, and either the phone doesn't ring, or the person doesn't even appear online. Skype worked. I even ended up giving Skype money.

It's much more productive to figure out why millions can be made switching away from open standards than to hate those who solve the world's problems.

Comment Google Voice (Score 1) 445

The desk phone provides higher quality voice and better ergonomics. That said, I never gave out my work number because I don't want people to call multiple places, or to chain me to the desk when I'd rather answer their call on my cell.

But I started using my desk phone just this week. I ported my cell phone number to Google Voice, associated both my new cell phone number and my work number with it. Now when anyone calls my cell phone, it rings both phones, and I choose how to answer. I can also make outgoing calls through my work phone, appearing to others that I am calling from my original cell phone number. It's a beautiful system.

Comment Using my existing Linux distribution? (Score 1) 124

I'd love it if the project's web site had a howto for installing the necessary components on my existing Linux distribution.

Why would I want to boot a LiveCD/LiveUSB if I already have a perfectly working Linux laptop with all my files and settings? Presumably once you're connected to the mesh network you'll want to be productive, whether it involves instant messaging, email, or whatever else you have set up and configured on your laptop.

Comment Re:How horrifying (Score 1) 157

A friend of mine and I both bought the same mp3 track from Amazon, and then compared the files and md5 checksums. Same metadata, different checksum. Our amateur conclusion is that the tracks were watermarked with our account IDs or something.

Did you check IDv1 and IDv2 metadata? I don't have any Amazon MP3s handy, but as I recall Amazon puts a unique number into the Comment field. That's easy to change or erase. I'd be interested in comparing actual audio data between two purchasers of the same MP3.

Comment Re:Same reason as before... (Score 1) 530

Figuring 25% is gone right off the top

Effective tax rates are much lower than the top tax bracket for a given income. A large fraction of the population pays no income tax, instead paying only FICA at 7.7%. Federal income tax starts only after the standard deduction, which is almost $6k, so you end up paying federal income tax only on $7.4k with a minimum wage job where you work 51 weeks a year for 35 hours a week. That's $738, or an effective tax rate of 5.5%. In all, in a state without income tax this person would pay about 13.2% in total tax -- assuming there are no additional deductions or credits. That's $11,233 per year in take-home pay.


Submission + - Sources for firmware and hardware books?

cos(0) writes: "Between O'Reilly, Wrox, Addison-Wesley, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, and many others, software developers have a wide variety of literature about languages, patterns, practices, and tools. Many publishers even offer subscriptions to online reading of the whole collection, exposing you to things you didn't even know you don't know — and many of us learn more from these publishers than from a Comp Sci curriculum. But what about publishers and books specializing in tech underneath software like VHDL, Verilog, design tools, and wire protocols? In particular, best practices, modeling techniques, and other skills that separate a novice from an expert?"

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