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Comment Re: Love KDE (Score 5, Informative) 44

"KDE 5" likely won't see the same issue that KDE 4.0 did. KDE is looking to disband the concept of the "Software Compilation" (all KDE programs released on the same day as part of a big upgrade, ready or not) which caused the KDE 4.0 issue (4.0 libraries were ready, 4.0 applications were not). With "KDE 5", you get the Frameworks 5 libraries, and each KDE program will release updates when they are good and ready, sticking with version 4 libraries in the meantime.

Comment Re:No it inst? (Score 1) 439

"We all know an e-mail tax is infeasible,"
Do you not know how email works?
The tax would go to your ISP would would pass it to the consumer.
1 penny per 100 email. So not much at all.

I'm aware of how e-mail works down to the protocol level, but you can consider this my looking at the issue at a macro level. You can't work it into the e-mail protocol, for example, because e-mail is used the world over (very macro view). You can try to tax the transactions (e-mails sent), but how do you enforce this? Your suggestion of the ISP doing the taxing would work very well for anyone who uses their ISP's e-mail. But what about free e-mail services? Do they need to now charge the tax? Would free e-mail services become illegal? What if an American citizen uses an Australian-based free e-mail service? What if you and I have e-mail servers running on our home PC's and I send an e-mail to you? Would this be tax evasion?

I do relent that an e-mail tax could be feasible on a small level, but at the same time it would be easy to get around. Of course, most people wouldn't even know that there's such a tax, and it would be small enough and hidden on their bill that they wouldn't care.

" and sales tax for online purchases and for digital purchases are likely unavoidable forever,"

I'm one of those who do pay use tax, and I'm against too much taxation, but will admit that a national sales tax for online purchases would make it easier to ensure I'm not overpaying. As it is, I'm tracking whether I buy something from a seller within California or not within California or outside of California but big enough to be forced to collect sales tax...

" but here's hoping talk of taxing data usage doesn't work its way to Washington."
hmmm. I don't know. We may be in a situation where a tiny tax could go a very long way.

The problem here is, a long way to what? How likely is the money to be spent on something worthwhile, and how likely to be spent on something that's certainly a waste? (Not that this is any different than many taxes and fees we already see.)

Just my thoughts on it. Feel free to point out any flaws in my thinking!

Submission + - City Councilman: Bit/Email Tax Could Discourage Spam, Fund Post Office Functions (

Christopher Fritz writes: The Berkley, CA City Council recently met to discuss the closing of their downtown post office, in attempt to find a way to keep it from relocating. This included talk of "a very tiny tax" to help keep the US Post Office's vital functions going. The suggestion came from Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak: "There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email.” He says a one-hundredth of a cent per e-mail tax could discourage spam while not impacting the typical Internet user, and a sales tax on Internet transactions could help fund "vital functions that the post office serves."

We all know an e-mail tax is infeasible, and sales tax for online purchases and for digital purchases are likely unavoidable forever, but here's hoping talk of taxing data usage doesn't work its way to Washington.

Comment Available Now (Score 1) 511

Although it wasn't available earlier today, I see Amazon lists the game as "Available Now."

There's a disclaimer added:

Important Note on "SimCity"

Many customers are having issues connecting to the "SimCity" servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed. Please visit for more information.

Comment Re:not just child labor (Score 3, Interesting) 124

For anyone who's unfamiliar with this, and is curious, Greenpeace has a Guide to Greener Electronics.

[Greenpeace rep Casey Harrel] said in a Kotaku interview, that Nintendo (as Kotaku writes, "barely even attempt to submit, or make available, the information Greenpeace require to make accurate judgements." According to Casey (I think; Kotaku suddenly uses the name Corey): "Nintendo consistently scores the poorest on our Guide to Greener Electronics primarily because they donâ(TM)t submit, nor have any publicly available information, on over half the criteria that we use to assess company performance on the Guide."

In other words, Nintendo's "worst environmental record" is the equivalent of a database null. It's not "the worst", it's "unknown".

For the information Nintendo does put out, Greenpeace's rep does note, "those that they do have answers for, are quite poor."

In a response, Nintendo says, "We would like to assure customers that we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and are rigorous in our commitment to comply with all relevant laws relating to environmental and product safety, including avoiding the use of dangerous substances in our manufacturing processes and ensuring the safe disposal and recycling of materials."

Whether one loves or hates a company, it's a bit difficult to fault their abysmal environmental record just because they didn't fill out a third party company's survey.

Disclaimer: I'm a rational Nintendo fanboy. I love their products, but I can criticize Nintendo and their products as well.

Comment Re:Only like (Score 1) 144

I've had two monitors for over a year now, and KDE's always recognized if I unplug one and plug one back in. It always remembers and restores my configuration. No messing with xorg.conf (I don't even have an xorg.conf file), and no playing RandR, twinview, etc.

I have no doubt that there are issues out there, but multiple monitors works flawlessly with my one video card and two matching monitors on KDE 4.9. But, as I say, I've only had two monitors for about a year or so, meaning I can't speaking for the years before then.

Comment Re:It Varies (Score 4, Informative) 353

the wrong type of leaves on the track

I need to know what kind of leaves can stop a train...

I wondered this, too, so I did a Google search, and found this story: "The villain leaves that stop trains"

It's that time of year again, the season of mellow autumn tints - and those leaves on the line which will soon bring chaos to rail commuters.

Martin Buckland, of the environmental consultancy ADAS, who is vegetation adviser to Railtrack, is in no doubt: "There are six species of trees which cause most trouble and they are the ones we are targeting." Together or individually, says Mr Buckland, the Sinister Six produce the seemingly impermeable track coating which scientific analysis has identified as "insoluble, lignified cellulostic material containing glue-like proteins and other protoplastic compounds."

"Between mid-October and mid-November it's these trees that will make life difficult." Mr Buckland profiles the culprits and gives his own "squidge rating".

The article finishes with a listing of the "Sinister Six": Ash, Horse Chestnut, Lime, Sycamore, Poplar, and Sweet Chestnut.

Comment Re:An E-Reader that Doesn't Suck sometimes? (Score 2) 415

Back-lighting. These should be ideal for reading in bed, but because they also need a lamp turned on I might as well stay with a book. I'd assumed that the screen would illuminate itself somehow for reading after dark.

Check into the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. I haven't used it myself (it was announced a week or two after I bought the Simple Touch). Reviews generally praise it. In practice it's probably similar to a back-light, and it can be turned on and off, and I believe I've read the brightness is adjustable.

Page turns - maybe these were older models, but it drove me crazy that every page turn required a blank of the screen followed by a redraw of the new page.

I have an older reader (Boox) which has the screen issue you're referring to. My Simple Touch does a black screen fill every six page turns, but it's quite fast, and may be more tolerable. (The Simple Touch has an eInk Pearl display, a Kindle or other reader with the same display probably rate of screen refresh and speed.)

Lack of touch screen I'm used to swiping my phone screen - the "dead" screen on the e-readers drove me insane - always hunting for the darned page turn button, or cursoring through (not very well designed) menus.

The Simple Touch uses a touch screen (alongside page-turn buttons). I don't know if any Kindles do. (As much as I like Amazon, I went the Nook route due to epub support, so I'm not familiar with the latest Kindle releases.)

All in all it seemed to me that each of the e-readers seemed primitive compared to my Nexus S.

I've never used a smartphone, and I've only handled a tablet long enough to set one up for someone else, so I can't compare the reading experience with them. I do find eInk easier on my eyes. (Computer monitors are better for skimming than reading for me.)

The Simple Touch does have issues where the touch screen doesn't seem to be calibrated well enough, and where tapping on the screen to bring up the dictionary doesn't do anything. It's by no means perfect.

On the vendor tie-in part, I do buy books through Barnes & Noble, but I strip the DRM off before loading them onto the Nook, which makes them essentially non-vendor books as far as the Nook is concerned. However, that's not the same as library loans. I've never looked into library loan support for the Nook, so I can't comment on that one.

Comment Re:Awesome! (Score 3, Informative) 409

For those who, like I, were curious, here is an article about chicken with teeth:

Mutant Chicken Grows Alligatorlike Teeth.

Some interesting lines:

... Matthew Harris of the University of Wisconsin noticed that the beak of a mutant chicken embryo he was examining had fallen off. Upon closer examination of the snubbed beak, he found tiny bumps and protuberances along its edge that looked like teeth--alligator teeth to be specific.

The mutant chickens Harris studied bear a recessive trait dubbed talpid. This trait is lethal, meaning that such mutants are never born, but some incubate in eggs as long as 18 days.

... a chicken's underlying ability to grow teeth derives from a common ancestor with alligators--archosaurs--that is more recent than the one linking birds and mammals. Nevertheless, the underlying genetic mechanism that produces teeth in mice, alligators and mutant chickens remains the same.

Exactly how the mutation causes the chickens to sprout teeth is unknown, Fallon notes, but a similar effect can be produced in normal chickens. Harris proved this by engineering a virus to mimic the molecular signals of the mutation and caused normal chickens to briefly develop teeth that were then reabsorbed into the beak.

Comment Re:WordStar? (Score 1) 101

Google gives me a bunch of .ws domain web sites with that search, but nothing about WS-*.[1] Including helps, but only very little.

A search for WS-* oauth returns more relevant results.

Bing (which I don't use as Google usually gives me more useful results) on a search of "ws-*" has "List of web service specifications - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" as the fourth result.

Both Bing and Google give useful suggestions in the dropdown when typing "ws-*" into the search box.

[1] Google results will of course vary by user's location.

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