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Comment Re:Programming without music? (Score 1) 1019

Try to learn the Pomodoro Technique. It's all about learning to focus on a task for short periods. It has excellent techniques for deflecting distractions, both internal and external. Short description from the site:

The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique can be split in five simple steps:

      1. Choose a task to be accomplished
      2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
      3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
      4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
      5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

What I've found is that if the task itself isn't engaging, I tend to look for distractions. Hearing voices and conversations just makes it more difficult. Part of training yourself to tune it out involves more than just overpowering the noise. You'll need to handle disruptions such as the urge to check your email, handling phone calls, people touching you to break your trance, and even bio breaks.

The downloadable book takes a couple of hours to read, and it doesn't cost anything. There are also some software projects that are helpful as well.

Perhaps having a bell go off at regular intervals at your place of work may start to annoy everyone else. Then you can suggest that you'll trade the bell for your music. :-)

United States

US Call-Center Jobs — That Pay $100K a Year 362

bheer writes "BusinessWeek profiles a call center company called iQor which has grown revenues 40% year-on-year by (shock) treating employees as critical assets. It's done this not by nickel-and-diming, but by expanding its US operations (13 centers across the US now), giving employees universal health insurance, and paying salaries and bonuses that are nearly 50% above industry norms. The article notes that outsourcing will continue and globalization will continue to change the world's economic landscape. 'But the US is hardly helpless. With smart processes and the proper incentives, US companies can keep jobs here in America, and do so in a way that is actually better for the company and its employees.' Now if only other companies get a clue as well."

83% of Businesses Won't Bother With Windows 7 545

Olipro writes "Most enterprises stated they won't bother with Windows 7 for at least a year as they simply continue to distrust that compatibility issues won't occur with their mission-critical software ... The Million Dollar question will be whether the fact that XP upgrades to Windows 7 requires a clean install will prove to be Microsoft's undoing." I suspect that will change before they actually release the OS.

Google CEO Warns Newspapers Not To Anger Readers 328

Barence writes "Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hit back at newspaper bosses, warning them that they risk alienating readers in their war against news aggregators such as Google News. 'I would encourage everybody to think in terms of what your reader wants,' Schmidt said at a conference for the Newspaper Association of America. 'These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.' Schmidt's rebuke follows a sustained attack on Google by newspaper bosses such as Rupert Murdoch, who have accused the search giant of 'stealing' their content without payment." Schmidt also suggested that newspapers need to expand their distribution methods to make better use of mobile technology, and a NY Times piece argues that the Associated Press' struggle against aggregators is futile since they're largely trying to give news stories to consumers for free anyway.

Microsoft Ending Mainstream Support For XP 580

Slatterz writes "Come next week, Microsoft will be in the unusual position of no longer offering mainstream support for its most widely used product. Windows XP will pass another milestone next week on the road to retirement when mainstream support ends on 14 April 2009, over seven years after the OS originally shipped. While the company said that it will continue to provide free security fixes for XP until 2014, any future bugs found in the platform will not be fixed unless customers pay. Windows XP accounts for about 63 percent of all Internet-connected computers, according to March 2009 statistics from Hitslink, while Windows Vista makes up about 24 percent."

MS Reportedly Adds 6 Months of Vista Downgrade 244

LiteralKa sends in a poorly sourced Reg story claiming that Microsoft has granted OEMs six more months to sell PCs using Windows Vista with the support to downgrade to Windows XP. OEMs can now offer such arrangements until July 31, 2009 — the previous deadline was January 31, 2009. The article claims as source "a Reg reader" without further details. Neither Microsoft nor any OEM has confirmed the rumor, and only a few scattered bloggers have picked it up.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Petition to open OS/2 source, round/2 ( 1

The_Wilschon writes: On September 25, 2005, sent a petition with 11,613 signatures to IBM, asking them to release some or all of the source code to OS/2. Oddly, given IBM's embrace of the Open Source movement, the letter was ignored. So, on November 19 of this year, sent a second letter. They have also opened up a second petition round in order to show even more support to IBM for their requests. In particular, the System Object Model (SOM), Workplace Shell (WPS), and OS/2 kernel could both spur new OS/2 development and provide some fresh ideas to the Free Software world.

Submission + - Oracle 11g: First on Linux (

space_biker writes: From a PC World article: Wednesday marked the official unveiling of Oracle Corp.'s 11g database. The vendor confirmed that the Linux version of 11g will ship this quarter, probably in August.

"It's our intention to do a pricing announcement closer to the release date," said Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president, server technologies at Oracle. "It's just a matter of weeks before we make that announcement."

Oracle wouldn't comment on when 11g would be available for the other operating systems the database will support including Microsoft Corp.'s Windows.


Submission + - Eco-friendly ice creams

Roland Piquepaille writes: "According to the Scotsman, Mackie's of Scotland has bought 3 wind turbines for £2.5 million to produce ice creams made with 100% renewable energy. The two new turbines ('Ice' and 'Cream') will join the existing one ('Mackies') and make enough 'green' electricity to produce every tub of ice cream sold by the company — with enough surplus to power 1,000 homes. Mackie's, which wants to become the greenest company in Britain by 2009, also plans to invest in a biofuel plant and use solar power in the near future. A question remains: will this change the taste of their ice creams? But read more for additional details and a diagram showing the components of the wind turbines used by Mackie's."
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Microsoft taking $1B charge related to Xbox mess

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft expects to take an earnings charge of over $1 billion for the quarter that ended in June related to expenses it will incur fixing faulty Xbox 360 machines. Microsoft said it will expand its warranty coverage to Xbox 360 customers who have a certain type of hardware failure. The new program is a result of an "unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox 360 consoles," Microsoft said. soft-to-fix-xbox-360s.html

Submission + - McDonald's Grease Powering McDonald's Trucks (

hankmt writes: "McDonald's, known mostly for smiling like an evil clown while the world gets fatter and fatter, is now actually doing something productive with all of those kilojoules of grease. The company is planning on powering its entire UK truck fleet with bio-diesel created from its own waste vegetable oil.

The fuel will be composed of 85% fryer oil and 15% virgin rapeseed oil. However, Matthew Howe, Senior VP of McDonald's UK was quoted saying "As we get better at the refinement we will be able to remove virgin rape from the process," a line which we sincerely hope never gets taken out of context."


Submission + - 3D painter for Kids released as "Free on Linux

mrueger writes: "The award winning 3D painting program "Plopp" has been released as "Free on Linux". For more information go to or see the latest review ("Hugely inventive, both in terms of its interface and its features, Plopp is truly innovative software."). PLOPP is a creative painting tool for cartoon-like 3D scenes without the effort that comes with professional 3D modelling programs. You can build 3D objects very easily! Just paint them in a 2D environment and PLOPP will transform them into 3D! The 3D objects can then be moved or rotated in order to arrange them in a true 3D scene. You can paint different backgrounds and adjust the lighting in the scene. The scenes can be printed, set as the desktop wallpaper, or sent as an ecard. Plopp was inspired by Takeo Igarashi's Teddy sketching tool"

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