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Submission + - Why is Facebook So Broken? (

rueger writes: Facebook is about to foist another redesign on its users, and like most I expect that it will be annoying and unwelcome. The problem of course is that everyone (more or less*) is on Facebook, and that makes it a must have tool.

My question is: Why is that Facebook seems to suck so badly, and manages to consistently make things worse with every change, while other companies (like Google) manage to get incrementally better, and manage to not irritate every user they have? Or, why is that most people will trust Google, but not Facebook, and why hasn't Facebook managed to fix this?

It's not a question of resources — both companies have enough money and expertise to do things right. So what is it about Facebook's corporate culture that seems destined to cripple it?

(*Yes, I know that you aren't on Facebook, and hate it, and will never darken its door, but you are still in the very small minority.)


Submission + - Really Short Time Wasters

rueger writes: At various times during the day I need a quick break from serious work. Browsing the 'net is not a good choice because it invariably winds up consuming an hour on places like Slashdot, so right now that means that my break is a game of Solitaire. Loads in seconds, takes maybe a minute to play, then back to stuff that matters. I'm wondering what other goodies could fill that role — maybe games, maybe something that actually leads to knowledge, skills, or a measurable output? Think of it as on on-screen micro-hobby. Ideas?

Submission + - Best Distro For Holiday Fun?

rueger writes: With a few free days coming up over the holidays, I'm ready to play with a new distro. By way of history, I've tried at least a dozen over the years, but Ubuntu was the one that stayed on my PC, and Mint Cinnamon is what I use today.

I'm looking for suggestions for a less mainstream, but still painless distro to try out. I'll take Gnome over Unity any day, and I do need to run VirtualBox for Windows. If it'll make a nice media server to feed our Sony BluRay, all the better.

I don't mind mucking about in the guts of things, but any problem that eats up more than two hours without a solution will likely not be fixed — I'll try a different software rather than spend that much time.

Submission + - Forcing Google to Fix Bugs (

rueger writes: Does anyone in the Slashdot community know how to get Google to actually respond to problems with their products? As much as I like Android, it frightens me that there seems to be no avenue to get support for it from Google. In my case there's one specific bug that is causing me grief, but bug reports (in ICS and JB); forum posts, and even sneaky attempts to find a living support person at Google have led to no response.

What is a reasonable standard of cxustomer support from a company this size? Do we need to resort to legislation to force companies to offer accessible user support for widely used products like Android?

Submission + - Staying Safe and Free on the 'Net (

rueger writes: The US government just shut down a website registered, owned, and operated in a foreign country, demonstrating that "anything hosted in the US, registered in the US, or using a domain whose root is controlled by a US corporation is subject to American law.". In Canada the government is likely bringing in legislation that allows warrantless police access to your Internet activity. And of course many countries filter or otherwise block access to various parts of the 'net. Given this increasingly hostile environment, what are the best tools for staying safe, keeping sites and services on-line, and keeping government noses out of your business? Tor is an obvious starting point, but what's the hosting equivalent?

Submission + - A Modern Majordomo?

rueger writes: "Today I wanted to set up a quick e-mail list for a group of people. In the past I've used, majordomo, and list-serv, as well as Yahoo groups and even some PHP packages.

I thought that it would be easy to find a free web based alternative that would let thirty or forty people e-mail each other, and which would be VERY easy to subscribe to and unsubscribe from.

I don't want to get into hosting list software for this group, and figured there must be good solution out there. So far everything that I've found via Google is either very one-way (advertising oriented) or charges more than is reasonable.

What is a fast and easy way to set up a small e-mail list for a small, non-techy group?"

Submission + - Best Off-Road Smart Phone? 5

rueger writes: "I walk dogs for a living on the mountain trails above the North Shore of Vancouver. I rely on my smart phone for emergency contact, and use the GPS pretty constantly if I'm on unfamiliar trails. In general terms I like my Android smart-phone, and have fell in love with the platform. Problem is the cheapy Motorola Charm is a lousy phone with mediocre 3G reception, and GPS that can't always be relied upon unless you reboot regularly. That hasn't been an issue since the battery usually dies after five or six hours of use.

I'm opening a can of worms, but what's a good 3G Android phone with good reception in fringe areas, reliable GPS, and really good battery life? In other words, if you're heading for the woods, what's the tool that you rely on?

PS — don't like Apple products — 3 years with a Powerbook didn't convert me. And a good camera is a big plus."

Submission + - String Quartets on the Web

rueger writes: Lots of people love iTunes. I'm partial to Ubuntu comes pre-equipped for Jamendo and Magnatune. These are great for those of us hunting popular music, but where do lovers of "classical" music go to find new artists and albums, download music, and generally keep informed, up to date, and satisfied? Or as my girlfriend put it "I used to go the the big classical record store downtown, but they're gone. Where do people go to find the newest Ligeti String Quartet recording?

Submission + - Facebook (etc) Alternatives

rueger writes: Over a couple of years I have actually found Facebook pretty useful and/or entertaining. It has certainly allowed me to stay connected with a lot of people with whom I otherwise would have lost track, and for its weaknesses it was handy for sharing links and such. This week though the privacy escapades have pushed me (and a lot of other people) over the edge.

If Twitter's 140 characters aren't enough, Linked In is too business oriented, MySpace too ugly, and Buzz... does anyone even use Buzz? ... what social media options are out there for all of those non-uber-techy folks?

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