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Comment Re:I hear all these people switching to OSX. (Score 1) 327

But of course, this does take more than a few months of research to investigate, so...

There, FTFY.

After literally years of experimenting with different distros to find one that was acceptable and worked with all my laptop hardware, I finally switched to Mint with Gnome 2, and was using it exclusively for 6 months. Then I upgrade hardware, and find that Mint does not support my wireless, at least not in an easy fashion, and now has 4 (!) desktop environments that I will have to install and check out, instead of the one that (mostly) worked.

Very discouraging, and a huge waste of time that could be used to actually accomplish something, or at least enjoy.

Comment I want one!!!! Must have! Must have!! (Score 1) 309

Never wanted one before.
But now that I can't buy one, I want it more than anything!

What's that you say? "Just get a used one for a third of the price?" "Wait until the next version of shiny?"

This is just pre-school psychology applied to marketing.

Baby is surrounded by thousands of toys. He ignores all save the one he's currently chewing on. Pick up one that's five feet away and take it out of the room. Baby drops current chew toy. Face turns red. Tantrum ensues. Baby miraculously speaks, "I want a Kindle Fire!"

Comment I can't feel my knobs - Doctor, will I be o.k.? (Score 1) 311

I tend to run into this in the realm of audio processing.

Radial knobs and toggle switches, while pretty, are absolute bollocks with a mouse. I will use a plug-in that has linear sliders or numerical input if it sounds "good enough" rather than deal with the frustration of a pretty interface that slows my work down. It would have to sound amazing for me to bother.

If a non-audio app has knobs I simply won't use it, no matter what functionality it provides. I'd rather go without. It would be a different story if radial knob peripheral input devices were more standard for computers, but as it stands, keyboard and mouse are dominant.

Comment Twittazon, Yelpface, NYTwit, etc. (Score 1) 121

This is the exact issue I was trying to draw attention to in my submission of Why Amazon is Google's Real Competition.

People 'shop' not just for consumer goods, but also for opinions about politics, childrearing and family strategies, education opportunities, medical information and doctor reviews, etc. They use the 'net as their go-to solution.

The average info seeker believes that the large web portals are neutral purveyors of information. The fact is, those companies' business models are only indirectly aligned with the interests or well being of the seeker.

Slashdotters are likely far from average in credulousness when it comes to web reviews, and sorting through the chaff.

How to haggle in a marketplace of ideas? "I'll trade you five reviews, and not a review more!"

Comment Marketplace of ideas (Score 1) 129

The Twitbook, Yaoogle, Yelpazon shopping part is just a trite jumping off point for what I feel is a serious burgeoning problem in the marketplace of ideas. People 'shop' not just for consumer goods, but also for opinions about politics, childrearing and family strategies, education opportunities, etc. And they use the 'net as their go-to solution far more than even a library.

Perhaps more discerning people might think twice before accepting advice from "" (Though most probably think that is a reputable source. Let's use instead.), but the average info seeker believes that the large web portals are neutral purveyors of information, when the fact is that those companies' business model is only indirectly involved with the best interests of the seeker.

Submission + - Are premium cables a harmless placebo? ( 1

Barence writes: "PC Pro has a detailed analysis, examining the benefits — perceived or otherwise — of premium cables. The piece examines the claims made for premium audio and visual cables, and examines factors such as error rates, shielding and connectors.

It concludes that: "the boldest claims made for high-grade cables don't stand up to scrutiny", but that it's wrong to dismiss the benefits of expensive cables for their owners. "With HDMI, as with audio cables, this must be put down to the remarkable power of expectation to colour our experiences. If someone sincerely believes a £100 cable will produce an exceptionally rich and vibrant picture, then perhaps it's no surprise that that's what they'll perceive. And if it makes them happy, then no harm is done.""


Submission + - Amazon to Eat Google's Lunch (

wreakyhavoc writes: Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider maintains that Amazon's reviews and One-Click ordering will undercut Google's shopping ad revenue, and that Google is "terrified". How could Google fight this possible threat? Expose the astroturfing of Amazon reviews. Of course this would likely backfire as it would expose the astroturfing, link farming, and SEO games on Google.

From the article:

Google's real rival, and real competition to watch over the next few years is Amazon.

Google is a search company, but the searches that it actually makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online. These commercial searches make up about 20 percent of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are.

What Googlers worry about in private is a growing trend among consumers to skip Google altogether, and to just go ahead and search for the product they would like to buy on, or, on mobile in an Amazon app.

There's data to prove this trend is real. According to ComScore, Amazon search queries are up 73 percent in the last year.


Submission + - CyanogenMod 10 Nightlies Released (

hypnosec writes: The team behind custom Android ROM, CyanogenMod, has officially announced the release of its next version — the CM10 nightlies. On its Google+ post, the CyanogenMod team made the announcement. “Today we kick off the nightly builds of the CM10 JellyBean code branch, builds will show up later this evening.” the team wrote. The custom ROM builds, which are available for download, will require rooted Android devices. The team has announced that the ROM will be compatible with Samsung Galaxy S III variants, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Nexus S, the Nexus 7, the Transformer and Transformer Prime and quite a few other devices.

Submission + - (

tiberiusgill writes: "Today Gamasutra is making the rounds by reporting that BioWare Montreal’s director of online development Fernando Melo has been claiming that certain players would like Downloadable Content to be available the same day that games are released. I’m sure he’s right, but it does open up the larger issue of just how much developers should tailor to audiences irrational desires.

Part of Melo’s explanation was that more than 53% of the first DLC pack for Dragon Age: Origins was sold on the day the game was released and that although some gamers can take months to get their money’s worth out of a video game, some rush through that content really quickly and are ready for more just as soon. BioWare have included day one DLC as part of their launch line-ups for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3. Melo then went on to explain that getting involved with DLC is very important to the games industry for all developers, both in terms of keeping developers working and in terms of potential sales."

Submission + - since its 2012 and all

An anonymous reader writes: Being 2012 and and since civilization is going to end before the year is out. I ask slashdotters what are you going to grab from the net before it all falls down? What would you grab to help you and your fellow cave dwellers survive?

Comment Next Up, Consumer Medical Tricorder (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Medical health professionals are already reporting that many patients are able to do self diagnosis with the help of 'net research. "They come to us for confirmation of what they've already figured out."

Given the lack of access to quality health care in even 1st world societies, imagine the empowerment to diagnose biomedical ailments at the molecular level from commonly available handheld devices at home.

The ability to do real-time PCR(, immunoassays to detect bacteria, viruses and cancers based on antigen-antibody reactions, dielectrophoresis, and other techniques would have an immense impact on general human health and treatment in the hands of qualified health professionals and citizens.

Doctors working in third world and inaccessible regions would have an incalculable leg up, not having to wait for non-existent sample testing.

I don't see this as a project for basement tinkerers, but the technology is coming along. Health care costs are threating to overwhelm world economies as populations burgeon and life expectancies increase.

I'll leave it to the other cynics to burst this bubble. I'd like to think there are still some optimistic dreamers out there. Let's hear some feedback from some of those, please.

Comment Re:Cables still have to come ashore (Score 1) 210

Neal Stephenson always bears referring:

Mother Earth Motherboard:

Most of the fishing-related damage is caused by trawlers, which tow big sacklike nets behind them. Trawlers seem designed for the purpose of damaging submarine cables. Various types of hardware are attached to the nets. In some cases, these are otter boards, which act something like rudders to push the net's mouth open. When bottom fish such as halibut are the target, a massive bar is placed across the front of the net with heavy tickler chains dangling from it; these flail against the bottom, stirring up the fish so they will rise up into the maw of the net.

Mere impact can be enough to wreck a cable, if it puts a leak in the insulation. Frequently, though, a net or anchor will snag a cable. If the ship is small and the cable is big, the cable may survive the encounter. There is a type of cable, used up until the advent of optical fiber, called 21-quad, which consists of 21 four-bundle pairs of cable and a coaxial line. It is 15 centimeters in diameter, and a single meter of it weighs 46 kilograms. If a passing ship should happen to catch such a cable with its anchor, it will follow a very simple procedure: abandon it and go buy a new anchor.

But modern cables are much smaller and lighter - a mere 0.85 kg per meter for the unarmored, deep-sea portions of the FLAG cable - and the ships most apt to snag them, trawlers, are getting bigger and more powerful. Now that fishermen have massacred most of the fish in shallower water, they are moving out deeper. Formerly, cable was plowed into the bottom in water shallower than 1,000 meters, which kept it away from the trawlers. Because of recent changes in fishing practices, the figure has been boosted to 2,000 meters. But this means that the old cables are still vulnerable.

When a trawler snags a cable, it will pull it up off the seafloor. How far it gets pulled depends on the weight of the cable, the amount of slack, and the size and horsepower of the ship. Even if the cable is not pulled all the way to the surface, it may get kinked - its minimum bending radius may be violated. If the trawler does succeed in hauling the cable all the way up out of the water, the only way out of the situation, or at least the simplest, is to cut the cable. Dave Handley once did a study of a cable that had been suddenly and mysteriously severed. Hauling up the cut end, he discovered that someone had sliced through it with a cutting torch.

There is also the obvious threat of sabotage by a hostile government, but, surprisingly, this almost never happens. When cypherpunk Doug Barnes was researching his Caribbean project, he spent some time looking into this, because it was exactly the kind of threat he was worried about in the case of a data haven. Somewhat to his own surprise and relief, he concluded that it simply wasn't going to happen. "Cutting a submarine cable," Barnes says, "is like starting a nuclear war. It's easy to do, the results are devastating, and as soon as one country does it, all of the others will retaliate.

Copyright © 1993-2004 The Condé Nast Publications Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1994-2003 Wired Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.

Comment Great work, thanks (Score 4, Insightful) 109

This is the DIY, open source version. Kinda clunky, but open and accessible. He's obviously a proponent of accessible education, a welcome sentiment.

The Apple/Nokia/Samsung version will be flip-phone configuration, no user serviceable or accessible parts, locked down and impossible to open up without destroying. It will feature multiple wireless protocols, wireless probes and accessories. It will not be upgradeable, and will be created as a designed obsolescence, throw away device. While you use it to explore the world around you, it will be gathering all your data to explore and categorize you.

It will also be backed by a war chest of patents used to deny the populace or small businesses from creating their own cheap, open, accessible versions.

Scoff all you like, but enjoy this handiwork while you still can. Or at least applaud.

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