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Comment Re:Daily (Score 1) 266

I agree that Time Machine is very simple, straightforward and handy. I've used it to both restore files and settings after a hard drive replacement, as well as find an older version of a current file.

I currently have a Mac Mini Server with a 2TB external drive. Time Machine backups of the Mac Mini Server go on the drive. Additionally, with my wife and I have user accounts on the server, so our Macbook Air/Pro laptops are also "Time Machined" to the external drive thru the server. The only worries I have are: 1) the external drive simultaneously failing with one of the Time Machined Macs (not too likely?), and 2) the house catching fire (also not very likely?)

I simply don't have an off-site backup. Is that foolish? I've thought about putting an identical Mac Mini Server / 2TB setup off-site about 10 miles away at my in-laws' house, but is that really necessary? Does Time Machine work over the internet?

Comment Re:Fascinating Proposition (Score 1) 480

Parent post recommended a high-quality bed, and specifically mentioned Select Comfort (Sleep Number) by name.

My wife and I purchased a Sleep Number bed a little over 2 years ago. I have mixed feelings. The positive side is that we each have control over the firmness/softness of our respective sides of the bed. Therefore, we sleep great. Having that customizability is infinitely better than our prior bed which was too soft for me and too firm for her. If you have someone sharing your bed, "sleep number" is the way to go to keep you both happy, if you have differing opinions on mattress firmness/softness.

Now for the bad. Two years ago, we purchased the Select Comfort Sleep Number 7000 series, king size, for around $4000. Honestly, I'm disappointed with what came in the boxes. As you assemble the bed yourself, you realize that you're looking at a trivial amount of material. Now, maybe the fully assembled bed is worth more than the sum of its parts, but $4000 is a lot of money.

At the time that we were considering the Sleep Number bed made by Select Comfort, my internet research revealed the Sleep Better Store, which essentially is a copycat company who makes an adjustable air-mattress style bed, but because they don't have showrooms, high-pressure sales people, etc., and only sell via telephone and internet, they purportedly offer comparable products at much lower prices. However, my wife was seduced by the branding and name-recognition that Select Comfort has garnered over the years through its showrooms, TV commercials, and QVC appearances, so we went with the "name brand". Having seen what really goes into the construction of one of these beds, I will strongly lobby for the Sleep Better or some other copycat brand in the future in order to save some money. I think the key is the adjustability of firmness provided by the air chambers. Heck, I suspect that you could be very happy by going with an "entry level" Sleep Number-style bed and putting a nice featherbed or other plush mattress cover on top, rather than going with the super-expsensive "top of the line" models....

Just my two cents.

Comment TuneCore is great! (Score 3, Interesting) 291

In law school, a bunch of us formed "The Learned Hands" and laid down some tracks. I had seen an ad for TuneCore somewhere on the web, so we uploaded our album for distribution. Sadly, having graduated school, the band no longer exists, but it's cool to say that our original music has been heard in Germany and the UK (Someone streamed "Ten Point Buck" and "Sleepy Hollow").

My experience with TuneCore was great! The initial costs were very low - I think it's like a dollar per track, and a dollar per online music store. And what do you know, our music is available on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, eMusic, all over the world! Depending on the vendor, you get one or two cents every time the song is streamed, and for downloads, it's usually 65% or 70% of the purchase price. Uploaded the tracks in FLAC format too, actually, and everything turned out swell.

This is the type of innovation that is changing the music industry, and I don't think the RIAA knows how to, or even can, keep up.

1. Record your album in your garage/basement
2. Upload your tracks to TuneCore for distribution
3. ???
4. Profit!

The problem for my band has been step three, since we no longer officially exist (Singers are in CO and Philly, bassist in VT, and I'm moving to BFE), but we did sell 3 copies on AmazonMP3 and a few tracks on iTunes, plus about $0.76 worth of streaming on Napster and Rhapsody.

In conclusion, TuneCore allows Joe Sixpack to (sort of) achieve his rockstar dreams, at least in terms of getting the music out there and making it available.

Submission + - What is an "average" user?

rueger writes: "I'm working with a medium sized non-profit with several hundred members. We make extensive use of web resources and discussion lists. Our challenge is figuring out what level of support an "average" user needs. We like to to package help and support in ways that a actually teach end users to be self sufficient, but are struggling to decide how far that goes.

We're trying to establish a minimum skills and knowledge level that it is assumed that end users will have. Some are obvious — knowing how to surf the web in a browser and click on links. Knowing how to write and reply to e-mail. Word and Excel.

What we find though is that some things which we assume are widely known — like using CTRL-click to choose multiple items in a list — are a mystery to many users. As well, there are some people who for whatever reason just can't understand written instructions. And others who simply freeze when presented with a screen full of things that they have never seen before.

Right now we're bouncing between beginner level detail for the truly unskilled, and complaints from more experienced users that the instructions are "too long." In extreme cases we wind up phoning people and walking them though how to use our web based discussion lists. (Which admittedly are using a software package that sucks.)

So my question is: what are the minimum skills that are assumed for an "average" end user?"

Submission + - ISP Deletes Your Audio & Video Files Nightly (

Mike writes: "Australian ISP Exetel automatically deletes ALL of your hosted audio and video files every single night in a ham-handed attempt to fight piracy. All mp3, mpg, mpeg, avi, wma and "any other multi media file type" is deleted by their robot scanner script. To prevent this you have to email them and "request to be excluded from the scan script". The presumption is that you're guilty by default if, for example, you dare to upload an AVI of your child's first steps. Is this insane, or what? How long will Exetel stay in business treating their paying customers this way?"

Submission + - Thin Clients: Eco-Friendly Alternative to PCs (

mrcgran writes: "This report is month-old, but still interesting: 'Using thin clients instead of conventional PCs would lower energy consumption by 51 percent and reduce CO2 emissions, concludes a recent study by the Fraunhofer Institute. The study compared thin clients to conventional business PCs. "The financial savings are significant but the impact on cutting CO2 emissions is what's really impressive. Saving 2.45 billion pounds of CO2 emissions would remove the equivalent impact of 106,521 average U.S. households each year."' Lots of Linux thin clients are springing up. Would you replace your conventional PC for one of them?"

Submission + - Free Speech Takes a Hit in 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus'

theodp writes: "The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' banner. Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 5-4 ruling. Faring better with litigation was the student's father, who was awarded $200,000 after being fired over his son's legal fight by the company that insures the Juneau schools."

Submission + - Solar Panels to get Real Cheap Real Fast (

hankmt writes: "A worldwide shortage of silicon has kept prices of solar panels high. But as new technology comes to market and new silicon manufacturing plants go online all over the world, the market will have surplus of silicon and the price of solar panels will likely drop by over 40% in the next three years!"

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.