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Startup Turns Fixing Your Grandma's PC Into a Game 113

Posted by timothy
from the as-long-as-the-kids-like-grandma dept.
First time accepted submitter thecrazyivan writes "As companies like Reddit and Foursquare have shown, Internet users enjoy earning points in arbitrary social games. So why not apply that competitive motivation to something useful, like cleaning up the world's PCs? A startup called Jumpshot is raising funds to launch a new, friendlier form of computer security. Jumpshot is still in its infancy, but it seems to have excited plenty of users with its potential: The company launched a Kickstarter project and almost immediately raised nearly three times its funding goal."
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Startup Turns Fixing Your Grandma's PC Into a Game

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  • Better yet (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Teresita (982888)
    Put Linux on grandma's Windows 95 machine and turn it into a powerful workstation.
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      The typical Win95 machine was a Pentium 1 or 2 at 300 MHz with about 8 meg of RAM. I don't foresee any *user friendly* version of Linux working on that. This past week I couldn't get Ubuntu to run on 384MB (very slow). Getting it to work on grandma's 8MB machine would be a non-starter.

      The easier solution is to just buy a new laptop. Or a $200 netbook.

      • by Teresita (982888)
        8 meg of RAM was the minimum requirement to run Win95, not typical, which I would say was closer to 32 meg. Puppy Linux will run in 16 meg of RAM with a HD swap file (a little slow of course) and I can't think of a more user friendly OS than the ol' Pupster.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          8 meg of RAM was the minimum requirement to run Win95, not typical, which I would say was closer to 32 meg. Puppy Linux will run in 16 meg of RAM with a HD swap file (a little slow of course) and I can't think of a more user friendly OS than the ol' Pupster.

          How about the real question? Should Grannie use Vi or emacs on her CLI puppy Linux?

        • Don't forget about legacy systems upgraded from Win3.1 when figuring out the "typical" Win95 machine. He's off on his processors, too, since faster Pentiums and the Pentium II were only available shortly before Win98.

          I'd say his RAM figure is just about right or maybe 16MB (RAM was expensive back then) but his 300 MHz should be more like 166Mhz. I think Puppy GUI would run "okay" on this and text-only would do fine, but "powerful workstation" makes me think OP is just trolling...

        • by Anonymous Coward
          4 megs of RAM was the minimum for Win95 [microsoft.com]. 8 megs was recommended and I believe some Office 95 programs required 8. Your point stands though.
        • Problem: With anything less than 96MB RAM youre going to have an awfully hard time running Opera on Puppy, and without Opera youre going to have an awfully hard time doing anything on the internet.

        • by westlake (615356)

          8 meg of RAM was the minimum requirement to run Win95, not typical, which I would say was closer to 32 meg.

          The price of 32 MB of RAM in 1996 --- as advertised in BYTE was --- $550. Memory Prices (1957-2012) [jcmit.com]

          $756, adjusted for inflation (2010) The Inflation Calculator [westegg.com]

          I would be enormously surprised if the mass market Win 95 PC averaged more that 8 MB of RAM.

    • Re:Better yet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @04:18PM (#40725343) Journal

      Or even better get her an IPAD.

      Sorry, but not everyone wants to compile kernels and dealing with a driver breaking Xorg or the UI of Unity/Gnome-Shell. Asking her to find repositories for xfce defeats the purpose as she would not understand that nor need too.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Billly Gates (198444)

        Oh come on moderators.

        What is wrong with getting someone older who barely understands computers an IPAD? Doesn't that seem more practical?

        It does everything and is easier for grandma to use than a linux box to take pics, upload them to facebook, and write letters for her bingo club. The argument is silly as would be her dictating her software to you which would be IE 6, AOL, MS Works, which she probably uses and thinks is superior because she is familiar.

      • Compiling kernels? Dude, you're out of touch. I doubt that more than two or three percent of modern Linux users have ever even TRIED to compile a kernel.

      • by fatphil (181876)
        I've had linux on 4 machines (my workstation, my g/f's workstation, my internally-facing server, my externally-facing server) for the last decade or more. I've not compiled a kernel for them once in that time. What gives you the impression that die-hard linux users are obsessed with compiling their own kernels?

        And it's not that I'm incapable of configuring and compiling the linux kernel - I spend the last 3+ years compiling the linux kernel many times a day as part of my $DAYJOB.

        However, you are right, gran
        • I've had linux on 4 machines (my workstation, my g/f's workstation, my internally-facing server, my externally-facing server) for the last decade or more. I've not compiled a kernel for them once in that time. What gives you the impression that die-hard linux users are obsessed with compiling their own kernels?

          And it's not that I'm incapable of configuring and compiling the linux kernel - I spend the last 3+ years compiling the linux kernel many times a day as part of my $DAYJOB.

          However, you are right, grandma probably does have a fairly limited technical capability, so an iPad would probably be preferable for her.

          I had to recompile the kernel all the time on my laptop with Ubuntu. Apt-Get update would put a patch that would cause my wifi to go in and out everytime. This is because Linux lacks an ABI. So I would have to apply the patch and manually recompile it to get it to work. Then the patch was incompatible with the newer libc library and I had to put WIndows back on it :-(

          I can't recommend this to a grandma for that reason. Linux requires a ton of work unless your hardware is specifically designed for it or you

          • My cheap, randomly selected (for cheapest price) hardware begs to differ. I've run custom computers since 1995 and Linux since 2003, only had to recompile kernels when I was in my Gentoo phase, and never again since Ubuntu. My hardware is ANYTHING but specifically designed for Linux, and it changes regularly. My friends have a similar experience, but they spend more time dual-booting windows for games.

            Are you saying we are REALLY lucky?

            On the other hand, if the person is a pure consumer and doesn't produce

      • Compile kernels? Add extra repos just for XFCE?

        Maybe you should actually try using Ubuntu sometime before commenting about how it works.

        • Grandma: What is an XFCE? Fix my desktop I can't find the blue E! Where are my basket weaving letters on the desktop? Why can't i minimize a Window etc.

          I do not mean this as flame-bait at all. Just find it irritating someone mentioned linux and was serious. I switched back to Windows last year as I was tired of Ubuntu breaking something in an upgrade and I hated the new crippled gui's.

          Something simple, easy, and wont get infected. A tablet fits the bill and easily enables grandma to do this. PCs do get infe

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Yes because Linux runs on RMS' smiles and Linus pixie dust and not actual CPU cycles or RAM on anything.

      Seriously do you have ANY idea how shitty the average Win95 PC was? If you had a 60MHz frankly you were doing good, and 8Mb of RAM was just kicking unless you were just insanely rich.

      The problem i have with this whole idea is this: Whose gonna watch the watchers? Do you have any idea how much sensitive info people have on their PCs nowadays? If you are lucky the malware didn't get everything but I can

  • Better off useing the free tools that are good.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...because it's strangely missing from the summary and article. (An attempt to not /. them, maybe?)

    http://www.jumpshot.com/ [jumpshot.com]

  • My grandma doesn't have a PC, you insensitive clod.

  • Riiighht.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @04:01PM (#40725265)

    So people are going to let strangers delete files on their computers. And this is supposed to *improve* security? Ummm, is it only me who sees the extreme irony in this plan?

    • So people are going to let strangers delete files on their computers. And this is supposed to *improve* security? Ummm, is it only me who sees the extreme irony in this plan?

      Isn't that exactly what anti-virus and malware removal software does?

      • But it is different. It is web based!

        I interviewed for a guy a year or two ago under the delusion he was going to get rich. He discovered the secret dlls in Windows and would run a VB app in IE at his site and it would put the correct dlls back after removing malware! I laughed and the interview did nto go well after that.

        Everyone including spammers and scammers like that mycleanPC crap that pisses us off. I feel sorry for his investors.

    • by Guppy (12314)

      from the as-long-as-the-kids-like-grandma dept.

      Just wait until 4chan learns what they can do to grandma's PC. This isn't going to end well.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Yeah, I'm not so sure I'm going to trust a USB stick to work some magic when I could just use known-good utilities and practices to solve these problems. Or, better, just buy the non-tech-savvy in my life who don't have the slightest clue and just need to play casual games, surf, use email an iMac (which is what I did on Mother's Day for my mom a couple years ago). Yeah, it's a little bit of the dark-side, but I've never received a single tech call and everything works just fine.

  • Get of my lawn, maybe, but if I'm dropping $10,000 to help a startup I'd like to own part of the startup. Dropping $185 for early access to something that interests you makes some sense, but $10,000 just for a bunch of items and "prestige"? I could see if it was a charitable cause or something, but this...? Why?

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      So don't pledge that much? It's not like there aren't other options.

    • It's a Wall Street Conspiracy to condition kids to work for points instead of money. On the other hand, it could be the much needed push to transition us to Star Trek economics, which would be really bad for Wall Street. So this game is really like a metaphor for life. The Man wants you to work for free, until everybody does work for free and nobody can afford to pay The Man any more. At which point there is a huge recession, and the next thing you know, you are going back in time to try and save a whale.

      Th

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        it's a Wall Street Conspiracy to condition kids to work for points instead of money.

        Given you sig I'd expect you to realize sillness of that statement. Wall Street pulled that one off along time ago with the creation of the "Federal Reserve Note" We have all been just working for "points" for 100 years now. Many people don't have any 'money' and I expect some have never even handled any.

    • Get of my lawn, maybe, but if I'm dropping $10,000 to help a startup I'd like to own part of the startup. Dropping $185 for early access to something that interests you makes some sense, but $10,000 just for a bunch of items and "prestige"? I could see if it was a charitable cause or something, but this...? Why?

      Seconded.

      You want 10 G's to start your "business?" fine, I'll trade you for a majority stake.

      • 10G for a MAJORITY stake? No one can accuse you of being a greedy bastard, can they? "Sure kid, you need money to get started in life? Fine, here's a few bucks, but I own everything you ever make in the future!"

        Maybe try a smaller donation option, or better yet, just leave it for a better person to do.

        • 10G for a MAJORITY stake? No one can accuse you of being a greedy bastard, can they?

          Greedy? Hardly - just not stupid with my money.

          What's the real value of the company? Sales figures? Profits for the last 2 years? Is there even $10,000 worth of assets, so if the plan goes tits-up I can get my investment back?

          See, these are the sort of questions people who aren't failures in life know to ask, before handing over 5-figure amounts to dumbfucks who are too lazy to get jobs and fund their own stupid idea (yea, I think it's a stupid idea to boot).

          "Sure kid, you need money to get started in life? Fine, here's a few bucks, but I own everything you ever make in the future!"

          Would you have preferred I just said, "Fuck you

          • "Better person" translates to someone who is willing to give a helping hand when one is needed. Obviously, you don't fall into that category.

            Uhhh - what "startup" has a two year history to look at? You did mention "absolute fucking moron", not I. How do YOU define "startup"?

            Now, let's cut to the chase here. I can't afford to donate ten grand, and obviously, you can't either. IF you don't think this startup is going anywhere, don't donate ANYTHING. On the other hand, IF you think a startup might go som

  • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @04:19PM (#40725353) Homepage
    Hey, I want in! I can create a kickstarter project and give it a cool name. It'll save the world! Enhance productivity! Save kittens! It's a social media internet plugin with synergistic fladoodles to map space age polymers with THE CLOUD for amazing geotargeted ad space and unlimited business opportunities for expansion and growth. And it's written in haskell and assembly, motherfucker, years ahead of it's time. I have my business plan all thought out:

    1. Raise money through kickstarter
    2. Finish writing business plan
    3. ?
    4. Profit!
  • First off Grannies barely know how to use a computer at all. How would they find this site? Do they even know what malware is? For those that do they are terrified of clicking links as we told them ads and links are bad right?

    The last few years infections are so bad the most effective way is to do a full rewipe. Many corporations do that too even for minor software issues as they do not have time to fix it. Rootkits are bad and permanent slowdowns result even if the bug is removed due to the damage.

    It sound

    • If this product works as advertised, I see it as more something *I* hold on to and bring over to Granny's. Or just something I buy for Granny. Or something that comes included with Granny's new PC.

      That way I don't have to waste my life with free tech support. And yeah, I could do a reinstall, but then I have to worry about where the heck Granny keeps all her videos and copy those over (all over the place, but SHE knows where they all are...kinda), whether she can find her favorite programs afterwards (e.g

      • That way I don't have to waste my life with free tech support.

        If you honestly consider spending time with your grandmother, who is likely not long for this world, as "wasting your life," I feel really, really sorry for you, dude.

        your granny, too.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The time you spend fixing her computer could be used to actually do something with her instead.

    • First off Grannies barely know how to use a computer at all. How would they find this site?

      If Gran is 65 now, she was 48 when Win 7 was released and 34 when the IBM PC was released.

      In 1971, a third of all working women in the United States were secretaries, and they could see that word processing would have an impact on their careers. Some manufacturers, according to a Times article, urged that "the concept of 'word processing' could be the answer to Women's Lib advocates' prayers. Word processing will replace the 'traditional' secretary and give women new administrative roles in business and industry."

      The rudimentary Wang 1200 machine was the precursor of the Wang Office Information System (OIS), introduced in 1976. It was a true office machine, affordable by organizations such as medium-sized law firms, and easily learned and operated by secretarial staff.

      Word processor [wikipedia.org]

      • My father was a programmer in the 1970s. He hired the guy who invented the BBS for a project he was working on for an IBM 370 mainframe. He was a rebel and was one of the first IT managers to recommend switching from mainframe to IBM XT PCs with DOS before it was fashionable.

        What does he prefer to use today? An IPAD. He knows how to turn on his aging XP machine but he does not know the newest fads and is paranoid about malware but is smart enough to use Firefox after reading about it in the New York Times.

  • How stupid do you have to be to give these idiots money?
    • Considerably less stupid than giving your money to a major bank, thereby enabling the bank to anally rape you with endless charges and fees. With this deal, you MIGHT see something good happen. Hell, donate a little bit to a hundred startups, and you're sure to see something good come of one or two of them. The bank? Not so much, unless you consider it "good" to help pay for another incompetent bank officer's unearned bonus at the end of the year.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        When one puts money in a bank, one gets services in return. Giving money to startups, one gets nothing in return. Absolutely nothing. Even if some of these stupid Kickstarter projects actually do what they say they'll do (look through them... most don't), you still get absolutely nothing out of it. You may help some twit make a whole lot of money, but you won't see a single dime of it. I agree with the GP. You'd have to be really stupid to give these guys money.
  • by chazchaz101 (871891) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @04:35PM (#40725445)
    So as far as I can tell, even after reading the so called technical explanation, it reboots the computer into Linux and then downloads magic buzzword driven pixie dust from the cloud, thus allowing it to solve all your computer problems.
  • How Valve and Intel optimize Linux for gaming may be more speed winning than watching grandma walk down the stairs.

    Phoronix has a summary of what tools Valve and Intel use for optimizing Linux for gaming needs (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTE0NDE):

    Finding Bottlenecks In Your Linux Game, Application
    If you are curious how Valve and Intel improved the OpenGL performance of their Mesa driver and also at the same time finding areas for performance optimizations within the Source Engin

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @05:26PM (#40725759)

    When I have to fix the PC, I just want to fix the PC. Please spare me any attempt to make a boring game out of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RicktheBrick (588466)
      A few night ago I was on my computer using firefox browser. It was late so when I saw a pop up message stating I had a virus and I should download a program called windows web commander to get rid of it, I did. Since I was running microsoft's security essentials, I thought I was protected. But after seting up the program, I soon discovered that the program windows web commander was the virus. It would not let me do anything. I would start a browser up to look up information about the program and it w
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm sorry, but Microsoft Security Essentials can't protect against stupid.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If Microsoft and the top antivirus companies which release software over the Internet can't solve this problem, how is some static software on a USB stick going to do the trick? Then again, people who buy software because it comes on a USB stick shaped like a cartoon character will be getting what they deserve.

  • by juventasone (517959) on Saturday July 21, 2012 @06:56PM (#40726207)

    It's really not a game, just a reward system, similar to Slashdot karma.

    The removal concept isn't new either; if you use any OS (typically Windows PE or Linux live) that isn't the infected one, it makes everything much easier. The most interesting thing about all of it is their patent-pending "one-time modification to the Windows bootloader". Not exactly something you want to get wrong, but I think it's a serious step in the right direction.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @02:34AM (#40728133)

    Install computer with windows - crapware from a disk. install all updates possible, get all the basic need to have software make image, either hard disk or just restore point

    when grandma starts sending out korean bride/porn links, restore, have dinner. Move on with life.

    I was a computer tech since the days of the 386, till about 2005 ... the only time anyone was requiring that I repair their shited up OS instead of doing it the better way of reinstalling fresh, was when they were loaded down with pirate software that someone else installed for them with a bum copy of windows, no disk's

    Its a waste of everyone's time, the machine still runs like ass, the virus / malware comes back, you end up spending a shit ton of time just for the fucker to come back a week later, with an angry customer threatening you cause their computer is back to shit out of luck all because of some 200$ program they copied from work cant be lost or they will die

    fuck that, and fuck them

  • There are already a great many malware removal programs that fail to remove malware. If it was as simple as running a scanning and removal program, malware would not be a problem and technicians would be eating ramen noodles. I highly doubt that this startup is going to have the magic bullet, that the best security products can't seem to find.

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