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Comment: Themes too mature (Score 0, Offtopic) 602

by Exp315 (#34049642) Attached to: BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled
This is sad news. I thought Caprica was even better than BSG, one of the best new SF-themed shows. Compare this to major network drivel like "No Ordinary Family", a cartoon remake.

My own opinion is that the themes in the show were too mature. They were aimed at viewers over the age of 12. Future writers are probably learning that lesson.

Comment: Re:Visa Gift Cards (Score 1) 242

by Exp315 (#33100950) Attached to: Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service?
These gift cards are widely available for purchase everywhere, but there are many problems with them:

1. Fee to buy (usually about $3)
2. Balance is drawn down by "account maintenance" fees after 6 months and expires in about 18 months.
3. Restrictions on how it can be used for items such as restaurant bills (must allow 15% margin for tip?!!)
4. Can't be used in many places that a real Visa can be used

I can't see any good use for them. You'd be wasting your money for small online purchases.

Comment: Misleading figures (Score 1, Interesting) 438

by Exp315 (#32883448) Attached to: Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid
How easily the misleading figures slide past and become accepted truth when nobody questions them. "The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets."? Hardly. Current 50" Panasonic plasma TV on calibrated power settings: 215.57 watts (source CNET.com). Your math is off by a factor of 2.

Comment: Re:Use ACDSee, it'll do what you want (Score 1) 326

by Exp315 (#32564550) Attached to: A File-Centric Photo Manager?
I like ACDSee, and I do appreciate the ability to export the database in xml format, but that's only really useful if you have other software that can read and use the xml data. I think many of the responders here in this thread are missing the original point, which is that it would be nice to store the extended data in the photo file itself so that it goes along with the photo file when you move it, and it should be in standard fields so that most other software can understand it. There is no single "best" solution out there for photo gallery or photo editing software - there are many different solutions with different advantages and disadvantages, and not much convergence happening yet. The practice of storing extended information in a separate proprietary database that can't be exchanged between software packages is a crippling weakness which makes uses unwilling to invest a lot of time and effort in creating the extended data. I did find a few packages in my own search that store extended information in the files, but they were expensive and had their own quirks and limitations.

Comment: Experiment now (Score 1) 347

by Exp315 (#31895484) Attached to: Life Recorder
If you want to experiment with this on the cheap, you can get a sub-$20 mini-cam from many online sources that records VGA-res video and sound to a microSD card for about an hour on a battery charge (battery being the limiting factor at the moment). I often use mine as a dash-cam in the car (to provide a video record in case of a traffic accident), or as a sports cam. I've thought of using it to secretly record meetings or transactions where a future dispute might arise, but haven't done so because of legal concerns.

Comment: Unique IDs are there, but unused (Score 1) 185

by Exp315 (#30656438) Attached to: Kodak Wireless Picture Frames Open To Public
I have the Kodak W1020 10" WiFi frame. It does have a unique serial number which is available on the web interface. When I signed up for FrameChannel, I had to provide a 4-digit ID displayed by the frame (don't remember now what it was, or whether it was related to the serial number or the MAC address, and it can't be displayed again without re-initializing the frame). To connect to my Kodak Gallery online account, I had to provide the frame with my email address and password. To sign in to FrameChannel on the web, I have to provide a username and password. In the My FrameChannel Advanced Settings there is a 4-digit PIN number (purpose undocumented).

So, in summary, every bit of capability needed for security is there, awaiting a quick firmware update. It was just a bit of carelessness that FrameChannel didn't think hard enough about security in the first place. I'm willing to forgive this as long as they get together with Kodak quickly and issue a security update - it's a pretty new service, and they are still evolving rapidly. I certainly would never put any private/confidential photos on a web server of any kind. Anyone that does is naive to think it's secure. But I don't want morons defacing my frame contents.

Comment: Former Saab owner feels a bit nostalgic (Score 1) 438

by Exp315 (#30504396) Attached to: A Requiem For Saab
I owned a Saab 900 for 20 years, and honestly it was a great car, if a bit quirky. For every weird design feature that didn't work (e.g., the famous ignition key on the floor between the seats, the gear-drive water pump on top of the engine in my model), there were others that did work (the huge hatchback, the alternator also on top of the engine).

Two of my favorite Saab stories:

Someone once described the design of the Saab 900 as "it's as if you described a 4-wheeled Earth vehicle to a bunch of Martian engineers, and they tried to replicate it from your description".

I don't know if it's true or not, but there was a news story that a bank robber tried to carjack a woman's Saab 900 as she was getting into it outside the bank, but couldn't figure out where the ignition key went in and was forced to abandon it.

Comment: Re:10% improvement isn't that much (Score 1) 269

by Exp315 (#30402336) Attached to: Lotus Teases With a Fuel-Agnostic Two-Stroke Engine
Flex fuel engines are the norm for new cars in Brazil now (meaning gasoline/alcohol, not diesel). But there's a flaw in this picture: Drivers quickly discover which fuel is cheaper and offers a longer range (gasoline), and that's what they use exclusively. So in practice the advantage is more theoretical than actual.

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