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Submission + - Everybody gets to design Ubuntu phones—see the best "fan-made" mockups (

jbrodkin writes: "How would you like to create a smartphone operating system? If you get involved in Canonical's Ubuntu phone project you can, in a way. Canonical is taking community input on what the core applications (e-mail, calendar, clock/alarm, weather, file manager, document viewer, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) should look like. The best aspects of community proposals will hopefully make it into Ubuntu phones when they finally hit the market sometime toward the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. Take a look at the best designs Canonical has received so far."

Submission + - No, free Wi-Fi isn't coming to every US city (

jbrodkin writes: "An amazing story circulated today through much of the mainstream media and tech press. The US government is going to build gigantic Wi-Fi networks across the country, giving free Internet access to everyone.

Or perhaps the US would somehow force wireless providers to build these networks—in which case, it's not clear why this amazing new Internet service would be free, unless the goal was to destroy the entire business model of both cellular carriers and Internet service providers in one fell swoop.

The headlines were literally too good to be true—the whole story was false, set off by bad reporting from the Washington Post. The story was repeated and embellished by many news sites, with no one asking the key question: who would build Wi-Fi everywhere and give it away for free to everyone? The real answer: no one."

Submission + - "Why the hell does this mouse need to connect to the Internet?" (

jbrodkin writes: "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of "Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?" comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."

Submission + - Motorola asks ITC to ban every Mac, iPad, and most iPhones (

jbrodkin writes: "The International Trade Commission voted yesterday to investigate Apple for patent infringement allegations launched by the Google-owned Motorola Mobility. As expected, Motorola is asking for import bans on just about every iOS device, including iPhones, iPods, and iPads. What might be surprising is that Motorola is also asking for a ban on every type of Mac OS X computer, claiming Apple's iMessage technology infringes a Motorola patent. While it's hard to imagine Motorola succeeding, the ITC will make a formal investigation to consider its request to ban imports of all Mac laptops and desktops, all iPads, and most iPhones."

Submission + - Microsoft deserves credit for Windows 8 innovations even if people hate them ( 1

brocket66 writes: After years of gliding by on Bill Gates' past success in making Windows the dominant desktop operating system, Microsoft is finally innovating and taking risks again with Windows 8. While the changes might anger some users, in the long run this is a good thing for the tech industry. After all, it's better to fail from trying to hard than to fail from not trying at all.

Submission + - Windows 8 Mail leaves users pining for the desktop—or even their phones (

jbrodkin writes: "The e-mail client in Windows 8 is the shell of a potentially good application—but Microsoft hasn't given it the proper care it deserves. With less than a month before Windows 8 hits RTM, Mail is a mess that doesn't support IMAP, can't connect to servers with self-signed certificates, and lacks basic features like flagging messages for followup. Metro Mail is feature-deficient compared not just to other desktop and tablet apps—it's behind Microsoft's own phone platform. Whether used on a tablet or desktop, this in-depth look concludes that Metro Mail in its current form will have users pining for a real desktop application."

Submission + - Resurrecting an old Windows PC with Ubuntu Linux ( 1

jbrodkin writes: "Taking old hardware and making it seem new again is something most Slashdot readers have probably done a few times... here's an example of taking a Windows XP PC that had degraded into a slow malware magnet and resurrecting it with Ubuntu (and a little extra RAM). It's not perfect, but for a computer that's needed primarily for Web browsing and email, Ubuntu does the job and makes the old hardware seem smooth and fast."

Submission + - Microsoft wins US import ban on Motorola's Android devices (

jbrodkin writes: The US International Trade Commission today ordered an import ban on Motorola Mobility Android products, agreeing with Microsoft that the devices infringe a Microsoft patent on “generating meeting requests” from a mobile device. The import ban stems from a December ruling that the Motorola Atrix, Droid, and Xoom (among 18 total devices) infringed the patent, which Microsoft says is related to Exchange ActiveSync technology. Today, the ITC said in a “final determination of violation” that “the appropriate form of relief in this investigation is a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry for consumption of mobile devices, associated software and components thereof covered by ... United States Patent No. 6,370,566 and that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of, Motorola.” Motorola (which is being acquired by Google) was the last major Android device maker not to pay off Microsoft in a patent licensing deal. Microsoft has already responded to the decision, saying it hopes Motorola will now reconsider.

Submission + - Best Buy's surprisingly insecure approach to new PC setup (

jbrodkin writes: "Best Buy is employing some surprisingly shoddy security practice when ringing up customers who buy new PCs. If you decide to pay Best Buy extra cash to set up a computer, Best Buy wants you to write down your desired PC password in a form and hand it to a Best Buy employee. Perhaps even worse, the forms are given out to any PC buyers, not just ones who want extra services, and are written in a confusing manner that could lead people to divulging the passwords to their e-mail accounts."

Submission + - VMware confirms source code leak, LulzSec-affiliated hacker takes credit (

jbrodkin writes: "VMware yesterday confirmed a leak of source code from the ESX hypervisor. The code was posted on Pastebin on April 8 by a hacker calling himself "Hardcore Charlie," who says he was friends with the now-arrested leader of LulzSec. In confirming the theft, VMware said there is a "possibility that more files may be posted in the future." The good news is that the code dates from 2003 to 2004. VMware is shifting customers to a newer, more secure hypervisor called ESXi, but ESX is still heavily used in IT shops across the land."

Comment Re:Absurd (Score 4, Informative) 273

Also, I submitted (and wrote) the article that rebutted the 2007 one: Cringely was claiming that IBM was about to lay off its ENTIRE US workforce. Come on, at some point you have to exercise a little common sense and not report things that just can't be true.

Comment Re:Absurd (Score 4, Insightful) 273

No, it didn't happen because it was never a realistic prediction. Those types of layoffs happen at failing companies. IBM is not a failing company, it is a company making massive profits and revenue. I think IBM probably has too many employees, and is making cuts that percentage-wise are small and likely make sense from a business standpoint. But the company had no need in 2007 to shed massive amounts of workers, and no need to do so now. The idea that the Cringely article from 2007 prevented IBM from laying off a third of its work force is ridiculous. That is not how companies make decisions.

Submission + - Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement (

jbrodkin writes: "Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word "book" by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook. The company has registered trademarks over its name and many variations of it, but not on the word "book". By inserting the trademark claim into the Facebook user agreement, the company hopes to bolster its standing in lawsuits against sites that incorporate the word "book"."

Comment Personal time (Score 1) 480

Working at home is the BEST. If you have a job you like, and you want to do good work, motivation is no problem. If anything, the problem is trying to carve out non-working hours. Still, if you need to get a quick thing done at midnight, it's quite convenient since you've already got your work computer set up. I've even been exercising more since I began working from home as I can take a quick break during the day, in which I get on the mini-elliptical and watch the previous night's episode of the Colbert Report (all about 5 feet away from my desk).

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943