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Comment Re:SSD storage? (Score 2) 914

While limited writes are certainly a factor, they probably aren't going to be a major issue for basic consumer use.

Most SSD storage drivers these days automatically spread the writes around the drive, so to hit the write limit you will need to write the equivalent of the capacity of the drive multiplied by the write limit of any particular register. Assuming 2 million write cycles per register, and the low-end 256 GB drive, that's 500,000 TB of writing before you burn out every register. Obviously the user would see some degradation before that, but there's still lots of room to play with.

Some more sample calculations are available here: http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html


Millions In China Live In Energy Efficient Caves 210

Hugh Pickens writes "Barbara Demick reports in the LA Times that more than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province, where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option. The better caves protrude from mountains and are reinforced with brick masonry. Some are connected laterally so a family can have several chambers. Electricity and even running water can be brought in. 'Most aren't so fancy, but I've seen some really beautiful caves: high ceilings and spacious with a nice yard out front where you can exercise and sit in the sun,' says Ren, who works as a driver in the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian. 'It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's quiet and safe.' In recent years, architects have been reappraising the cave in environmental terms, and they like what they see. 'It is energy efficient. The farmers can save their arable land for planting if they build their houses in the slope. It doesn't take much money or skill to build,' says Liu Jiaping, director of the Green Architecture Research Center in Xian and perhaps the leading expert on cave living. Liu helped design and develop a modernized version of traditional cave dwellings that in 2006 was a finalist for a World Habitat Award, sponsored by a British foundation dedicated to sustainable housing. Meanwhile, a thriving market around Yanan means a cave with three rooms and a bathroom (a total of 750 square feet) can be advertised for sale at $46,000. 'Life is easy and comfortable here. I don't need to climb stairs. I have everything I need,' says 76-year-old Ma Liangshui. 'I've lived all my life in caves, and I can't imagine anything different.'"

Comment Re:Translation from Canadian CorpoSpeak (Score 3, Informative) 404

Neither Rogers or Bell offer anything but cell phones in over half the country. If you live in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba in the west, and much of eastern Canada as well, you cannot get TV or Internet via Rogers with the exception of 3/4g at 500mb for $50 a month. It is the same with Bell.
But you claim to have an idea of Canadian culture.

Just because a company does not operate nation-wide, that does not mean that it cannot be a monopoly/duopoly. You just need to change your market definition from "Canada-wide Internet Access" to "Internet Access in B.C." or "Internet Access in Ontario." In fact, Shaw and Rogers did a swap back in 2000 to concentrate their networks along these lines: http://www.businessedge.ca/archives/article.cfm/shaw-and-rogers-in-4-billion-swap-4992

What the original poster meant was that, in any given market in Canada, there are at most two companies then own lines into someone's home. If you're in BC, it's Telus and Shaw. If you're in Ontario, it's Bell and Rogers. In any case, these two companies are doing their best to ensure there is not a third line coming into the house, so they can keep their prices artificially high for as long as possible.

Comment Re:Pathfinder driven? (Score 3, Informative) 309

While the PDF is not free, the core content is freely available on the Internet as a "Reference Document" under the terms of the Open Game License. Paizo hosts all of the details from most of their books themselves (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/), but there are many other websites that reproduce and compile details from different sources, including third party content (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ is one).

Under the terms of the license, all of the core rules can be re-packaged and sold in your own game. Only the proper names unique to the Pathfinder setting (characters, deities, etc) are copyrighted and cannot be used.

Comment Re:Deceptive Summary (Score 1) 282

Although you are correct in that it is not a literal power outage, it is far more than just the "INTARWEBS", because so much in the North depends on Satellite communication.

From the article:
"People in Iqaluit are reporting they are without cell phone service and long-distance calling, bank machines and debit-card machines. At least one bank in the city has not opened today as a result. Flights are also being delayed."


The State of UK Broadband — Not So Fast 279

Barence writes "The deplorable speed of British broadband connections has been revealed in the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, which show that 42.3% of broadband connections are slower than 2Mb/sec. More worryingly, the ONS statistics are based on the connection's headline speed, not actual throughput, which means that many more British broadband connections are effectively below the 2Mb/sec barrier. Better still, a separate report issued yesterday by Ofcom revealed that the majority of broadband users had no idea about the speed of their connection anyway."

A Web App For Real-Time Collaborative Writing 157

adamengst writes in with good news for anyone who needs to collaborate remotely on a writing or editing project — coding too. It's especially good news for those using Windows and Linux. Mac users have had SubEthaEdit for a few years now. With EtherPad, two or more people can edit a document and see all the edits simultaneously. EtherPad's main differences from SubEthaEdit: it's a Web application that de facto supports many platforms without the need for a central Mac OS X host; and it's free. Here is a comparison of EtherPad and SubEthaEdit.
Classic Games (Games)

Perfecting a Tron Game 63

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a review of an old but entertaining freeware Tron game called Armagetron . The author heaps praise on the game for its "beautiful simplicity" and its exciting multiplayer options. More screenshots and a wiki are available on the game's website. Quoting: "It's all about speed, really. You might think driving in clever geometric patterns would win you the game, but speed is the real the alpha and the omega of Armagetron. See, if you can drive parallel to old enemy trails for long enough to get your speed up to two times, three times or even four times more than your starting speed then you become a hunter of men. It becomes within your power to dart off towards other players, overtake them, and take a couple of quick turns that mean your trail boxes them into a tiny space."

Comment Amazon has been beta a similar idea for a while (Score 1) 209

Amazon has been beta testing running Windows servers on EC2, and from what I've heard from Amazon, one of the challenges is creating a Microsoft license that will allow Microsoft to capture revenue from this and similar projects elsewhere.

I wouldn't be surprised if they used a business model similar to Red Hat's cloud image, where Red Hat gets a tiny payment for every hour the server is running.


Mars Lander's Robot Arm Shuts Down To Save Itself 214

Cowards Anonymous passes along a PCWorld article that begins, "The robotic arm on the Mars Lander found itself in a tough position over the weekend. After receiving instructions for a movement that would have damaged its wrist, the robotic arm recognized the problem, tried to rectify it and then shut down before it could damage itself, according to Ray Arvidson, a co-investigator for the Mars Lander's robotic arm team and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis."

Open Source Killing Commercial Developer Tools 742

jexrand recommends an interview with John De Goes in which he argues: "The tools market is dead. Open source killed it." The software developer turned president of N-BRAIN explains the effect that open source has had on the developer tools market, and how this forced the company to release the personal edition of UNA free of charge. According to De Goes, selling a source-code editor, even a very good one, is all but impossible in the post-open source era, especially given that, "Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE." N-BRAIN's decision is but one in a string of similar announcements from tools companies announcing the free release of their previously commercial development tools.

Real Programs don't use shared text. Otherwise, how can they use functions for scratch space after they are finished calling them?