Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Playbook with frustration.. (Score 1) 278

The Blackberry Playbook was frustrating to use in the most basic thing - the Home button.

I saw it for the first time on display at an Office Depot store. When I approached it, I opened an application, a web browser, and navigated to a few sites. Ok, standard stuff.

Then, I wanted to go back to the home screen, but for the life of me, for about 5 to 10 minutes, I had no idea how to do that. I looked all over for a home button that I could press. I tried to close the application; I tried to use different gestures, but I couldn't. There was no obvious button on top, in front, on the side, on the back. It was a moment of incredible frustration for 5 to 10 minutes.

Then, I looked at the front of the display. And at the bottom, was the Blackberry logo. Nothing about this logo screamed out "Touch me! I'm the Home Button", like the iPhone/iPad does.

Then through some miracle (or deductive reasoning, as there was no other button to press), I wondered if that was a touch sensitive button, or something. So I touched it. And lo and behold, it was. It was the home button. And it was camouflaged behind the Blackberry logo, as if someone new to the device was supposed to know it was the home button.

I was dumb-founded as I had wasted 5 to 10 minutes looking for it. And I was irritated that Blackberry would design something so non-intuitive.

So, in my irritation, I put the device down. And walked away. They had lost a potential customer forever.

I was interested in the Playbook as it was a cheaper device than the iPad, and Blackberry had a reputation of making solid phones. But those 5-10 minutes of frustration while I searched for the Home Button, was enough to send me running back to my "expensive" iPhone and iPad.

Blackberry must have failed to test the device with a completely new user. And that made me think, if they messed up on such a basic thing, then what else did they overlook. Turns out, they overlooked a lot of necessary things.

I'm still happy with my first generation iPad. It's a bit slower than my iPhone 4S, but it still can read my emails, browse my PDF eBooks, watch Netflix, and play Candy Crush.

And I'm waiting to hand $500 over to Apple again for their rumored iPad Mini with Retina screen. =)

Note: Admittedly, a touch sensitive home button is good, since it is not mechanical, and is less error prone to breaking. But I wish they had enclosed their Blackberry logo in a circle, or something, to make it appear like a home button.

Comment The usefulness of math (Score 1) 1086

Learning math is like adding an extra tool to your toolbox.

You may never need to use it, but one day, you may come across a problem which you cannot solve or understand, unless you have that tool in your toolbox. You may need to dust off the tool a little, but it is still there, and you can use it.

Personally, I ran into a few instances in business where I had to answer some seemingly basic questions. And without a background in Calculus, I would have never been able to understand it, or to see a more elegant solution.

For example, a coworker shared a problem with me once. If a customer adopts our software product across their enterprise, how long will it take for the customer to get their return on investment (ROI)? This is useful as a sales tool to help convince customers to invest in our product to help make their business more efficient.

This was a problem that I solved using Excel. But I had to use brute-force to solve it, and I created over 1000 lines of formulas to find my answer. Not very elegant, but it worked.

However, I noticed a pattern in the Excel formulas. And the only reason, was because it seemed similar to a math problem I studied in Calculus II, about Series and Sequences.

I found my old Calculus book from college, dusted it off, and re-studied Series and Sequences. Then, I was able to create a solution to my problem using a simplified math formula. Success!!

Next, I plugged in my new math formula into Excel. Now, I was able to solve my problem and model it across different variables. I could modify each variable independently to identify when the customer would achieve their ROI, based on different circumstances.

So, you may not always use Calculus everyday, but one day, it will be a life-saver. And you get to be the hero for your team.

Comment Calculus (Score 1) 1153

I did find that I had to use Calculus once, about 12 years afterward in the real world.

I had to calculate summations; learned in Calculus II.
Either I could do it in Excel, and take 50 pages to calculate it, or I could summarize it into a nice little Calculus formula.

I couldn't figure out how to create the formula at the time, so I went ahead with the brute force method and created 50 pages of Excel to get my answer. Thank heavens for Excel.

Then the following day, I looked at the problem again, and derived my simple formula to solve my problem. A skill which I had once learned 12 years prior in some Calculus class I took in College; while questioning, when the heck was I ever going to use such a knowledge in my life.

Now, I can plug that formula into a program, and it will help me solve more questions that would take me 200 pages of Excel to brute force calculate.

Times like that is when you appreciate the beauty of math.

Comment The iPad as a portable music player? (Score 1) 536

... and you may use 'any application that pleases you' to play music and video, a clear edge over Apple's limitation to iTunes."

Please explain to me the logic or rationality behind using the iPad as a portable music player. Seriously. Is anyone going to really plug into the iPad while they are running on the treadmill? Or maybe it's better to use it as a desktop music player?

Although, admitedly, I would like to view my XviD movie files and have access to an expandable SD Card. I am already hit the 16 GB limitation of the internal storage.

So far, all I am interested in using it for is to read my PDF books, do some light web surfing, read news via iPad news apps, or stream a quick Netflix.

The 10 hour battery life on it is fantastic. The thing practically lasts all day. The $500 price point practically kills the Nook and Kindle as an eBook reader.

Comment Re:Win+R (Score 1) 261

My comment wasn't supposed to be a flamebait.

It's an "opportunity for improvement".

Even if you Google how to map the Windows key, the solutions are not supported, or isn't exactly very natural.

The power of the Windows Run command, allows you to quickly execute a command line program, without the need to open up a command prompt. Or it allows you to open up a specific program directly, without having to navigate for it through the myriad of menus and sub-menus. Quick and easy.

Comment Win+R (Score 2, Interesting) 261


This is one of most annoying things about Linux. It sometimes tries to copy Windows, but instead, does a half-assed job.

Why not just use the WIN+R command? Microsoft created the Run command, and the Windows Key makes the keystroke very easy. It is certainly easier than reaching for Alt+F2.

Even Apple created their launch application using the command+spacebar keystroke.

Why can't this be made standard? Instead of having to add some other unsupported key application just to get that mapping to use the Windows Key. Practically all keyboards have the Windows key standard.

Slashdot Top Deals

This screen intentionally left blank.