162 posts • joined Thursday 18th June 2009 16:14 GMT
As someone who's been there too with charities, I repeat the warning about keeping things simple. Don't make the mistake of the aid workers who installed fancy electric pumps in the developing world, only to see them end up useless for lack of electricity, spare parts, etc. You have to install technology commensurate with the organization you're putting it in.
Does your charity have professional IT services available to fix things? Do they have a reliable network, both internal and external? If they don't have these basics, then don't give them a solution that needs them. How will new user accounts be added? How will they be shut down? Can people gain access to their stuff from outside the office? Will YOU be required to do all these mundane chores, and what kind of response time can you realistically provide?
Through hard lessons, I have come to some principles:
1. The less hardware in the office, the better. Ideally, you want to go serverless. If you MUST have a server, try for one that just serves files. You will still have to set up backups for it, of course.
2. Cloud services are great: professional-level IT services for pennies (or even free). Google Apps solved many problems at once (email servers, access from outside the office, large file sharing). Email was a BIG problem --- lost password, email client configuration, email password management, and of course SPAM. And it ALL went away in one fell swoop when we went to GMail.
3. Use consumer products as much as possible. They are VERY cheap: new computers can be had for under $300. More important than the dollar price, end users have a ghost of a chance of being able to do self-service if something goes wrong. We used to use Mac OS X Server with network logins. Now we use just basic consumer desktop machines with local logins. Whether we use Mac or PC on the desktop no longer matters. If they buy something from MicroCenter and put it on their desk, they can get it working. They just have to connect to our fileserver, to Google Drive, and then point their browser to GMail. They can get this stuff working without me, at least temporarily. Or an easy call over the phone.
4. Move to web-based databases. See above about eliminating servers from your office... CiviCRM is one free possibility, and there are many paid companies as well.
5. Desktop support is the achilles heel of charity IT. You pay top dollars for bottom skills. Anything that can be administered remotely, you can pay a lot less for better skills. And it's often so easy to do, you can just do what they need done during a coffee break. One more reason to go serverless in the office.
6. Remember that your time IS valuable. A new computer is $300. Setting up a new computer can cost a lot more than that, if you don't keep things simple. Free hardware isn't as much of an asset as you'd think at first, unless you have a VERY quick way to turn it into USEFUL hardware with proper stuff installed. Old hardware is deadly because installs are slower, and thus more costly for you in the end than just buying something new that works.
7. Do anything to avoid viruses. Each virus infection requires full rebuilds, see the costs in (6). We've had good luck with Macs, at least, which somewhat justifies their high price. Linux is better on this front, of course, if you can make it work.
8. Tech Soup is a good place for licensed software. But even better is software that doesn't need licensing. It's not just that it's free --- but also you avoid the hassle of managing license keys.
Re: A hacker's paradise
Maybe YOU would drive the car when you're inside. For this scheme to work, the car only has to be driveless when vacant.
Even if this reduces demand in the developed world, increases in the developing world are likely to keep global automobile demand on the upswing for at least a few more decades.
Highly Flawed Proposal
The problem with this proposal is there is a time lag (40 years) between the CO2 we put into the atmosphere and the warming we measure. Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions today, we are still committed to warming caused by the past 40 years of emissions. Markets tend to overshoot when there is this kind of time delay --- meaning, we would end up with 40 more years of warming than the market said it wanted. That could be quite costly.
The difference between Google Glass and a camera phone is... you have to hold the phone up to take a picture, and everyone knows it. Google Glass lets you take photos incognito.
In making claims of the vertical take-off vehicle, they're probably assuming better batteries in the next 8-10 years, with a significantly higher capacity per kg.
Don't worry, the great unwashed will never buy these puppies and invade "your" airspace en masse. Beyond the issue of plunking down $200K to buy one, most of us probably won't be able to afford the gas to run it either.
Opening Old Files
They should provide Creative Cloud access for free to everyone, to open files. Saving or otherwise making changes to files would be restricted to subscribers. That would solve the "can't open my files" problem, and I think would bolster their potential revenues (because otherwise, people will shy away from them if nothing else for this reason).
Aww, come on. T-Mobile has been great in offering this unbundled system for buying phones and paying them off over time (at zero interest, I believe). You can cancel the plan at any time, but you still have to pay for the phone that's in your possession. It should be obvious that if you buy something on credit (say, a phone), then you will have to pay off the loan.
Why do we waste our court's time on this? We should be going after the companies that really are cheating consumers out of millions each year through dodgy means: high-interest credit cards, banks full of hidden fees... and of course "free" handset offers that are coupled with high-priced two-year phone contracts.
I hope this doesn't get very far.
1. I chose GMail because my old ISP was falling apart and Google did a good job with the bear known as Email. I also use the K-9 IMAP client on my Android phone, for my non-GMail account. If MS (or anybody else) makes an email service as good as GMail, I will consider it.
2. I use Google Maps because it's better than the other services out there. There are many --- and I've tried them on my Android phone.
3. I use Google Search because no one else on Android has bothered to make an App that sends search their way. I don't think anyone has tried. I can't even change search engines on my Firefox. If there IS an anti-trust issue, this is where it would be.
4. I use Google's browser because (at the time I made the choice), nobody else had made one that works.
1. I never let anyone pet my dog, for any reason.
2. I would've knocked his iPad out of his hands, hopefully breaking the glass. Then I would've told him to get lost (without his iPad, of course).
A Solvable Problem
Cellphones don't (usually) just appear out of nowhere in a cell: they travel from one cell to the next. If you look at the cell history of a particular phone, I'm sure it's not hard to write a computer program that distinguishes between users hanging out in Dover, vs. users who actually got on a boat or train to head to France.
This technology could be used to bill UK users domestic rates, even if they happen to have connected to a French network from Dover.
An even better solution: implement EU-wide standards to remove roaming charges. Here in the USA, my T-Mobile offers free roaming anywhere in the country. Last summer, I called home to the East Coast from remote areas of Alaska, for no extra fee.
What a bunch of jerks.
Yes, what a bunch of jerks.
Results of this
If this is real, it will be pretty great. It will go a long way to making electric cars range and price-competitive with gasoline cars. And when I replace my electric bicycle's battery, it will give me a 90-mile range --- enough for a full day of touring.
Re: What a moron
What is climate? If you look at Jim Hansen's articles, climate is the AVERAGE weather you get. It's a bell curve dstribution. And he has shown that the bell curve we're getting this decade is shifted significantly warmer from the bell curve we had for the 1950-1980 period. Make of it what you will. (Look up "climate dice" to see this topic in greater detail)
Even if global warming has "stalled," it's still stalled at a level that is significantly warmer than when I was a child. And it doesn't take a genius to see that glaciers and ice sheets are melting at an alarming rate --- rates that in most cases are increasing, certainly nothing like a "stall" there.
And think about it... we've spent decades pumping CO2 into the atmosphere as fast as we can, and we've been able to measure increases in global temperature since 1980. And now the year 2012 is within the top 10 hottest years ever. We would most reasonably conclude that things are getting warmer, although there is some noise in the year-to-year signal. But instead, we use the fact that 2012 is not THE HOTTEST YEAR EVER to conclude that global warming has "stalled" and we have nothing to worry about, and we should keep burning as much coal as we can? Crazy... Only someone with a pre-determined agenda would make that conclusion.
Nice hypothesis. But actually... cutting pollution, perversely, INCREASE warming in the short term. Because all that SO2 we pump into the atmosphere actually reflects sunlight. All the pollution over China actually keeps China a little cooler than it would otherwise be.
But I agree, China is doing its best to add CO2 to the atmosphere as fast as it can. Although it's still way behind the USA, in per capita CO2 output.
Re: Riding Up the Down Escalator
Yes, we're nearing a maximum of sunspots. But that maximum is much lower than the maximum we had in the year 2000, really only moderate.
So... if sun spots have anything to do with T on earth (which they do), then it's quite reasonable to expect that we might not be getting yearly RECORD BREAKING temperatures this year, even as global warming continues. But if you could have today's CO2 with sunspots of year 2000, you'd see a different story. Just wait a few more years... as CO2 continues to build and we happen to get another solar peak, we will expect to see a lot of records broken.
Conclusion: if you want to be honest about measuring the direction of the T of our planet, you need to average over more than a couple of years. And if you ACTUALLY want to know the truth... why don't you look at all the available data, including ALL thermometer readings, as Mike Mann did? Oh yes, I know why.. because you don't like the conclusions that pop out so obviously. Nor do you like the fact that this procedure has been repeated many times, even by former climate deniers funded by Koch money, and the result has been the same each and every time.
Riding Up the Down Escalator
The logic of this article makes about as much sense as measuring the temperature at night, and using the results to claim that global warming has been stalled for the last 12 hours.
Look at this graph:
Solar output has been declining for much of the past decade. That decline has counteracted increased forcing due to increased CO2, leading deniers to claim that "global warming is stalled" for the past decade. Unfortunately for all of us, global warming is almost certainly going to un-stall as solar output increases over the next decade --- since it's pretty clear that this solar output thing is cyclical. Expect a series of scorcher years.
With its late-to-market products commanding miniscule market share, it is doubtful whether MS will ever become relevant in the tablet space. This is just one more reason they will fail. Anyone who wants freedom to install any software they like will be Android. Anyone who doesn't care will buy Apple.
Why would anyone bother to jailbreak a Windows RT tablet? If you want a tablet that you can run anything on, just get an Android. Nobody's forcing you to install dodgy software, but you can if you like.
Ubuntu in the Workplace?
Whatever your views on this behavior from an OS and Richard Stallman... I can't think of any workplace environments that would be happy with this stuff on their employees' desktops. We use a lot of Mac and Linux on our desktops at work, and Ubuntu is now NOT one of the options.
Good to Hear..
The article was small-minded, bigoted, and practically condoned domestic abuse. But reading the sheer number of enlightened comments and reasoned discussion was really a breath of fresh air. It looks like things really are getting better (slowly) for the trans community.
This is Google-
Your iMac desktop computer doesn't run on batteries. Nor is portability a primary issue.
The Marketing Strategy
So.... you have this phone you're going to sell with a $70/mo data plan. And you're trying to sell it to children and young adults.
What's wrong with this picture?
Thin matters in smartphones and tablets (to a point), and even in laptops. But desktop computers? The previous-generation iMac with built-in DVD drive was more functional.
Proud Android Owner
Apple makes great stuff. I don't own an iPhone for one reason: their restrictive policies in which THEY reserve the right to decide what I can and cannot run on MY phone. Watching numerous iTunes app rejection dramas play out over the years has confirmed my decision to go with Android. That is far more important in the end than whether or not my Samsung phone retains its bounce-back scrolling feature.
It's Not Just Extinction
"But far more dramatic changes in the climate have been experienced within the past 20,000 years, Lilley contends, with humans able to draw on far more primitive technological resources, and yet survive."
There's a difference between avoiding extinction and avoiding decimation of human society as we know it today. The challenge isn't just to keep SOME human beings alive in a changing climate, it is to keep ALL 7+ BILLION of them alive. A much harder problem.
Still a big honkin' company
Even at today's share price, FB is still worth $50b. That's about what Goldman Sachs valued it at in January 2011. Anyone who got in before then could still be making a ton of money, even at $19/share.
What will be interesting is to see if these early investors sell or not. If they're selling, it's because they don't think FB has much more potential, and they want to take their profits and run.
This has absolutely no civilian use, especially not with $100/barrel oil. The Concorde was never more than a niche product because it was a total gas guzzler. High-bypass turbofans, turboprops, blended wingtips and similar technology are the wave of the future, not hypersonic transport.
Why Sea Ice Matters
It's true, melting sea ice will have no perceptible direct impact on sea level. But ice reflects 70%+ of the sunlight it receives, whereas open water reflects only 30%. The arctic receives sunlight 24/7 in the summer with few clouds to block it: that is more energy from the sun than the tropics during the summer months! Without ice to reflect the sunlight and insulate the ocean, the Arctic ocean would become more like a tropical sea during the summer months! And THAT is the real problem: remove the sea ice, and you set up a whole chain reaction of effects that result in a significantly warmer arctic, changed ocean currents, etc. All of which ultimately contributes to the astonishing melting of Greenland we have been observing in recent years.
There is an open standard for social networking, it's called Disapora. But without billions of advertising dollars behind it (fueled by invasive privacy policies), it will be slow going and is in no means guaranteed of success.
Ever hear of that company known as Seagate? Put all the photos and documents on your hard drive. Use a long-lasting format, such as those from the OpenDocument Foundation or MS .doc/.docx, or PDF. Keep your photos as .jpg. Configure automatic backups for your hard drive, and keep at least one backup off-site.
I've hung onto things for the last 20 years this way, I fully expect to be able to deliver tens of thousands of photos to my child as well. Sorry if it is "boring" or "90's." Automobiles are "boring" and "early 20th century" but they still work great for what they were designed for.
Google Calling the Kettle Black
Google is crying foul here? What about Android, where their built-in browser is about the only thing that works. Even worse, it is just not possible on Android to choose any search engine other than Google. Nor is it possible to turn off cookies and take other privacy measures that are possible with (say) Firefox on the desktop.
We all know Android isn't really open like, say, Ubuntu. But in the 1990's, Windows was the "open" alternative to the Mac, and it was open enough to win handsomely. Moreover, Windows was, and has always been, more open than iOS today. Microsoft never tried to dictate which third-party programs you can and cannot run on your Windows box.
I think Android's got a great long-term future, even if it is never more open than today.
Macs ARE Different
Not radically different? Sorry, Macs are physically the best-constructed laptops out there. Nobody else even attempts the unibody construction. I've had many laptops, and my Mac hardware has been the best. And it keeps going, and going too.
Most of the "inherent advantages" of tablets listed in this article are simply due to the use of inefficient x86 processors in laptops. Laptops will get the battery life advantage too when they start using ARM. Apple will lead the way, and then everyone else will scramble to catch up.
Not so fast...
There's a difference between scientists spouting off random predictions, and scientists publishing peer-reviewed research. Let's look at some of the past peer-reviewed publications. For example, Jim Hansen's paper on CO2 and climate change from 1981. (Hansen is considered "climate alarmist enemy number 1" by the climate change denial cabal). His predictions from 1981 have been pretty spot-on, actually a little on the LOW side. I think that's pretty remarkable.
Sure, the Earth hasn't been fried yet (and hopefully never will). But 10 years is a blink of an eye in geological time. If Hansen's predictions continue to hold true for the next 30 years, we'll be dealing with some serious consequences.
Re: Look at history (geological that is)
"There have been both warmer and colder times (whether global or local). There have been times with more rain and less rain. There has been more CO2 in the air and less etc.etc. What we're seeing here has all happened before and will happen again in the future. Climate change (in general) is perfectly normal and part of the natural cycle for the Earth as has been shown for millions of years. "
As was pointed out, "There has never been this high level of CO2 in the atmosphere in the history of human evolution." That means, it is not clear that the biosphere will be able to sustain 7 billion people as the climate shifts far more rapidly than many species can adapt.
Another problem with this argument is that the last time CO2 levels were really high and the Earth was really warm, the sun was 10% dimmer than it is today. We need lower CO2 levels now than in the distant past in order to just maintain the SAME climate.
The Real Science
Yet another cherry-picked fact, mis-represented by Lewis Page in support of a pre-determined agenda. There is no debate that glaciers worldwide are retreating at an alarming rate: this is immediately evident from numerous before-and-after photos.
The Himalayan glaciers are remote, and not so well studied because they are remote and hard to access. The recent data showing that they are not currently shrinking is therefore incredibly valuable. We can speculate why, of course, but that doesn't negate the well established fact that glaciers worldwide are retreating at an alarming rate.
Mass balance of a glacier is a complex interplay between many factors, including temperature and snowfall. Increased snowfall could cause glaciers to advance even in the face of warmer climate. Increased precipitation (thus snowfall) is the Himilayas could easily be caused by a warmer Indian Ocean: more water evaporates, so more snow falls in the mountains.
Speculation aside, more work is require to get the story on what's going on here. It's interesting science. But that does not negate the main story of glacial retreat, or anthropogenic climate change, or what we might need to do about it.
Amazon may have a lot of e-book market share. But they got there by being a price leader. As long as there is effective competition in the e-book market, they will not be able to simply jack up prices, Apple style. And right now, I see plenty of competition. Amazon may sell a lot of Kindles, but Apple sells at least as many iPads.
I think Apple was just trying to use their monopoly position in iPad to leverage into controlling the eBook market. Which MOST DEFINITELY runs afoul of anti-trust laws.
Good luck to the poor Jurors who will undoubtedly end up spending months away from their jobs on this case.
Mac or FORTRAN?
Looks like they're trying to catch the cool that is all the rage at Apple these days. Unfortunately, they don't have the designers that Apple has, or the cool cachet. Instead, they mistakenly send developers back to the land of FORTRAN 77 --- all-caps and Black-and-White.
It would be funny, if it weren't a company the size of Microsoft doing it.
One more casualty of the Internet...
along with newspaper classified ads, neighborhood record stores, etc. Why would I ever pay to get my papers printed? I do everything electronically with PDFs these days. The old journal business model is a total dinosaur.
Not Really a Bubble
According to the latest info I could get, Apple's P/E ratio is 16 or 17. That is not usually considered a bubble. So... I must conclude that Apple's high price is justified by its enormous profits.
Will those profits continue? They are based on high market share and high margins, both of which will likely drop in the future. Will Apple find another blockbuster product to maintain such a high level of profitability? Nobody knows...
Can someone please explain to me how manned missions to Mars would EVER be profitable? What on Earth could justify spending all those billions to send people to Mars (and maybe back)?
If it Ain't Broke....
I don't see what bitcoin is supposed to do (for the normal legitimate user who pays taxes) that would improve on our traditional banking system. And I see plenty of downsides.
Large populations evolve more slowly than small ones. At 7 billion, the human population is incredibly large, probably larger than any mammal population in the past. So we're not evolving anywhere very fast at this point.
This could be changed either if the human population overall shrinks substantially, or if we stop traveling around the globe (which we've been doing, as far as evolution is concerned, for the past 30K+ years). Neither is very likely in the near term.
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