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Comment Far from the storm, close enough to assist (Score 1) 159

We were living in Lubbock at the time and the apartment complex we lived in offered a few rooms to victims of the storms. From what I understood, it was rent-free for at least a year as well as some monthly benefit expenses and such to help them get on their feet either in town or for them to go back to New Orleans. By the time the families arrived fully we were already moving out of state, so I never had the chance to speak to any of the displaced families. I thought it was quite a nice deal for them given the circumstances, but within the first few weeks of the move some odd things began happening at the complex. Fence boards from the fences dividing nearby apartment complexes began going missing, while at the same time more and more makeshift BBQ's began happening. There seemed to be much more loud night time activities that previously. Being a college town, a rowdy Friday, Saturday, and even some Thursday nights are a normal occurrence. These, however, seemed to be less like parties and more like people just being loud for the sake of being loud at 1am on a Tuesday. The news stories aren't necessarily wrong about the hardships that some New Orleans residents experienced, but from my perspective all I see is the wasted charity given to those that felt entitled to it.

Comment Barrier to entry (Score 4, Insightful) 225

I don't live in the area anymore, but being a fresh college grad near that area around '05 it was hard finding work due to job requirements. I had no real-world experience, only a 4-year degree and a knack for computers and networking. No one was willing to train or even give an interview until I had 5+ years of server admin experience. The end result is that I moved out of the area and haven't thought about going back since. Maybe the older, established companies need to loosen job requirements and train good employees if they want people to work for them instead of the startups.

Comment Re:Email is an alternative to facebook (Score 1) 149

While your comment is funny, the truth hurts. For the longest time my wife (then girlfriend) kept two phones, one on AT&T and one on Verizon. Because of her family on Verizon and me (and my family) on AT&T, it was cheaper for her to have two phones to talk to both sides than have an "unlimited minutes and messages" account on one service. YMMV.

Comment Re:commercials? (Score 1) 288

I was in the same boat with you, but since MLB.tv offers a YEAR of games for what one month of cable or satellite costs I've cut that cord and haven't looked back. Supposedly the Xbox One will have all live streaming NFL games, but I haven't seen it in action yet. I hope more leagues go the way of MLB.tv- I gladly pay for the games I want to watch without getting all the extra channels or insane pricing for such little use.

Comment Re:Dude... (Score 1) 236

Agreed. It's $7 for adults, kids 5 and under are free, and you can bring food in yourself or get reasonably priced food at their snack shack (which has 10x the items of the regular theaters). For my family of four that's a total price of $14 before food for two movies and I don't have to worry about ruining someone else's experience, because it's almost all families anyway!

At the regular theaters the price is closer to $40 on tickets alone, not to mention (young) kids aren't necessarily welcome anyway. I may be the smaller demographic, but apparently there are enough of me out there to keep these drive-in's alive.

Comment Re:Keyboard is nice, but ... (Score 1) 618

I'm in just about the same boat as you, being product evaluator for the company. What's funny is that the iPad has actually made it easier for our field guys to do their work. The most they do is key in a few numbers, print and/or scan a few pages, take photos, and possibly map shapes via GPS. Doing this kind of work on a laptop is doable, but tedious. The iPad has made a one-stop device that is portable, easy to use, and has a shallow learning curve.

The Surface RT on the other hand doesn't play well with the scanners we have, doesn't have 10m GPS support, and in general is hard to use fully without the "keyboard" it came with. It's the 2013 equivalent of a netbook, with less compatibility. Battery life was great, but I think that was due more to non-use than use. It's been on my desk since we could get one and no one has taken it for more than a weekend. The only question I have after each evaluation is "did you like using it?" to which the response has been a resounding "it's kinda cool, but I don't see it replacing my android/iPad".

Anyone who is using an iPad for full-fledged document, spreadsheet, or powerpoint creation is either unprepared or extremely advanced. No, it's not a great device for creation. But it's a great device for quick edits, consumption, and presentation.

As for the androids, it'd be nice for the manufacturers to standardize things like keyboards. Half the time I have to google image search the keyboard layout because it isn't exactly the same as the device we have.

Microsoft is late to the game and trying to use their last bargaining chip- the Office Suite. The problem is that many iOS and Android apps exist for that already and do everything else better. Too little, too late.

Comment Re:Problem: The Cable TV Sports Monopoly (Score 1) 328

This may not be a great solution for you, but if you have an iOS or Android device that can spoof your location you can catch all the MLB.tv action by "putting" your device in a different state. As an A's fan living in Texas the out-of-market restriction isn't an issue, but now that 2/5 of the AL West is in Texas it may become burdensome.

Comment Re:Problem: The Cable TV Sports Monopoly (Score 1) 328

I subscribe to MLB.tv for ~$120/year. This covers spring training, the regular season, and some of the post season. The rest of the post season was available last year for ~$5. I'm not sure how much money the MLB makes off of this, but I prefer this service over paying for cable or satellite and then the sports packages on top of all that.

MLB.tv apps are available for all of my iOS, Android, XBMC, and computer. This service I GLADLY pay for over the $50+/mo cost of Cable TV for only a handful of games.

I believe the NFL is still in agreement with dish over the "Sunday Ticket", otherwise their might be some hope to catch the one NFL game a week I care to see.

Live sports are getting there, but just not at a quick pace.

Comment Re:Please consider Mint (Score 1) 318

This, 100%.

When Ubuntu went to Unity is when I went to Mint full time. When Mint went to Gnome 3 is when I went to Mint XFCE full time.

Why is it so hard to understand that the desktop environment is probably about as good as it will get? I probably sound like a stick in the mud, but the biggest annoyance in UI the past few years has been putting the ribbon on everything and tabs on top, at the top. The last one is the single reason I don't use Chrome on a daily basis and the former is the reason that I do any and all .doc and .xls work in OpenOffice.org.

The only interface enhancement that has blown my mind in the past ten years is the way my Apple laptop handles multi-touch in the trackpad. One finger for cursor, two for moving 360* in pages/apps, and three for dragging. There aren't any accidental swipes down or across the page like I have on my Win7 laptop and it's poor implementation of touch-sensitive areas.

For the desktop, I've found Mint XFCE to be a speedy, awesome, no-unneccessary-frills alternative. It's awesome.

Submission + - Why are you still paying for cable? (consensusinsight.com)

An anonymous reader writes: I am not an expert. But I am well over Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule explained in the book Outliers. I am just an accountant who refuses to pay for cable and would like to offer a cost saving alternative.

I probably watch more television than the average person. I like to watch things that I have never heard of, and have re-watched movies and television shows "just because."

Think about this

        If you have cable, you are probably paying upwards of $75.

        On top of over paying, you probably say at least once a week “There is nothing on TV.”

        Do you rush home to watch Dancing with the Stars or do you record it so you can fast forward through the commercials and watch at YOUR convenience?

Those are Strikes ONE, TWO, and THREE. Cable you’re out of here!

Cut the Cord already

Image from the Wall Street Journal

Cutting the cord on cable is a growing trend across the nation. When I moved into my condo about five years ago, I didn’t buy a television or sign up for an unnecessary bill. I used my laptop for almost four years and simply streamed directly to my laptop.

Upon getting married and my wife moving in, a television was purchased and subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus were purchased for the awesomely low price of $15.98.

Netflix and I

With Netflix, I have been able to connect with classic and current television shows as well as movies all for the low price of $7.99. For the low price of $7.99, I have been able to stream the following to my Vizio HDTV, laptop, and IPod touch: The Lincoln Lawyer — Shade — Necessary Roughness — Six Degrees of Separation — TED Talks Icons: Richard Branson — Breaking Bad Season 1-3 — Mad Men Season 1-4 — MacGyver.

Just to name a FEW

HuluPlus and me!

With HuluPlus, I stay connected to the more current shows for the low price of $7.99 as well: Parenthood — Modern Family – Community -The Office — Parks and Recreation — Law and Order SVU — Grey’s Anatomy – House — Up All Night — New Girl — Shark Tank — Endgame.

And for those of you who need Real Housewives of Everywhere, Bravo is a content partner.

So I am paying a total of $15.98 for viewing what I want, when I want, where I want!

You or someone you know is paying at least five times that for similar programming. If you like to throw money away, please write a check to Simeon A. Shigg. I thank you in advance.

Technology is AMAZING. I remember when I was in junior high school and my Dad carried a Beeper/Pager. I graduated high school when Motorola Two-Ways and Three-ways were on the market. And now I video chat via SKYPE from my iPod Touch to my 6-year-old nephew’s laptop. Times have changed drastically, even our ability to watch and pay for television.

For more information on Cord Cutting and more viewing solutions, please check out:

PBS – Your Guide to Cutting the Cord to Cable TV or The Wall Street Journal — Cutting the Cord on Cable

Simeon Shigg is Consensus Inc.’s resident Senior Accountant. What you don’t know about him: he thinks the world would be a better place if it was made of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Submission + - Best Buy Swipes Drivers License for Returns/Exchanges - Blocked for 90 Days (courant.com) 1

rullywowr writes: "A customer with a defective Blu-Ray disc returns to the Best Buy store where he purchased it. After scanning his driver's license into the system, he is now banned from returning/exchanging goods for 90 days. This is becoming one of the latest practices which big-box stores including Target, Best Buy, and Toys R Us are using to limit fraud and abuse of the return system. You know, the people who buy a big screen TV before the big game and then return it on Monday. Opponents feel that this return-limiting concept has this gone too far, including the harvesting of your personal data. What do you think?"

Comment Re:Incidentally (Score 1) 440

That right there is the problem. Not the phone, but the users. As a previous poster stated (and the article mentioned), the only people buying a new Blackberry are the ones that already have an old Blackberry. RIM needs to start thinking about what they can offer to consumers (and business) that no one else does. They don't have the app market, music/video store, or appeal that both Apple and Android have.

What RIM needs to do is go to the carriers and give them whatever cash is left to allow BB phones a 100% truly unlimited-in-ever-sense data plan. A few years ago when I was shopping for data plans, the iPhone "unlimited" was somewhere around $30/mo, and the Blackberry "unlimited" was $50-60/mo. This may be the fault of the carriers, but it hurts RIM nonetheless. If WinMo and RIM want to compete they need to offer what no one else does: unlimited data.

Oh, and they need to stop forcing that sh!tty BB Enterprise Server. We're not paying an extra $60k/year to duplicate the functionality of our current mail server.


Submission + - Prince of Persia creator finds lost source code (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Jordan Mechner may not be a name many of you know unless you are up-to-date with your video gaming history. He’s probably better known as the creator of Prince of Persia back in 1989.

Since that release 23 years ago on the Apple II, Mechner has gone on to develop the sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame and then joined Ubisoft to reinvigorate the series for a new audience in 2001. Along the way, he managed to misplace the original source code for that first Prince of Persia game and has been searching for it ever since.

Yesterday he found it, and the discovery is all thanks to his father. The three packs of 3.5 Apple ProDOS disks had been safely stored away in a brown box along with a load of Amstrad copies of his 1984 game Karateka.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: A cheap, DIY home security and surveillance system? 1

scubamage writes: "Approximately 6 weeks ago, my home was broken into while my fiance and I were at work. Our neighborhood is essentially empty during the day because it's an upper middle class neighborhood. Two laptops were stolen, an iPad, a power brick, a safe (complete with several years worth of taxes, my birth certificate, and old copies of my driver's license), a digital SLR, several pieces of heirloom jewelry, a guitar, and a custom built saxophone. In total, we lost around $20-30,000 dollars that day. We are now dealing with an attorney because the homeowner's insurance is fighting us on a number of items and we're not backing down. It has been a nightmare. Now as we were hoping things were starting to calm down, we've noticed that someone has been visiting our house during the day. There has been garbage left sitting on our back porch table, so its unlikely to have blown there. We've also seen footprints in our garden that are not there in the morning. We want to know who is on our property while we're not, and maybe if we're really lucky reporting it to the police could recover some of our property. My fiance has asked me to assemble a home security system that is motion activated, and both notifies us of an entry, as well as records video or rapid HD stillframes when sensing motion. The goal is to do this cheaply and more effectively than going with a private security company like ADT (who, consequently, our police department told us to ignore due to the incredibly high rate of false alarms). Also, we already have gotten the dog and the gun, so we have those bases covered now. What suggestions do you have on setting up home security systems, and what have you done to build one in the past? Help me slashdot posters, I need your brain juices!"
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Hackers targeting security hole in Microsoft Office for Mac (winbeta.org)

BogenDorpher writes: For those who run Microsoft's Office for Mac, be warned of a new security hole that is being actively targeted by hackers. This new threat actually relies on a three-year old vulnerability in the way Office for Mac handles different types of Microsoft Word Files.

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"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_