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Comment Just researched this for my kids (Score 3, Interesting) 313 313

I've done a lot of research on this, and the Nokia Asha 501 is the best dumb phone I've found: http://amzn.to/1HncbcC

I purchased it because it was the most smartphone-like phone on which AT&T does not require a data plan (my definition of dumb phone, yours may vary). The battery lasts a few days when using it mostly for music and internet, or a couple weeks (!) when using it for calls only. It's small, but not too small to be useful. With it's built-in WiFi, it's the only dumbphone that I know that will do Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Email, and even a small number of games.

This is not going to touch any iPhone or Android phone by a long shot, but for the price it does pretty well.

Comment Re:An Odd Bird (Score 1) 110 110

Stephenson's books have gotten worse and worse as he's gotten older. Usually authors improve as they age, not put out dreck like Cryptonomicon.

Dreck? Odd, I thought Cryptonomicon was quite good -- possibly his best, or at least in a close race with Snow Crash. Diamond Age was quite good too, though I wasn't crazy about the ending. Zodiac was very good as well.

Anathem, on the other hand... I was really excited for it to come out, as I'd read every other Stpehenson work at that point. It's literally one of the only books in my entire life that I started but did not finish. I got maybe 30% of the way through, and I just couldn't get into the story at all. The characters didn't give me any reason to be interested in them, at least not enough to slog through the last 4 inches of that monster tome.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 2) 180 180

How about a dead-man's switch, like the ones worn when you drive a WaveRunner or SnowMobile? It might be a physical lanyard, or a more modern approach could be Bluetooth based. When the BT dongle/wristband/whatever that you are wearing gets more than the range of Bluetooth away from the laptop, it auto-locks.

Comment As tech advances, are we at the mercy of extremism (Score 1) 244 244

I've noticed a trend that as technology advances, the ability for a single person (or small group) to wreak havoc grows larger and larger. 9/11 taught us that a mere dozen motivated crazy people can kill over 3000. Nuclear technology falling into the wrong hands could endanger many times more. Now imagine a similar scenario in the far future, with virtually unlimited computing power and advanced technology such as the power to fab any weapon or create any pathogen. A single madman may be able to cause death or destruction on a national or even global scale. What options are there for preventing this?

Like punning, programming is a play on words.

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