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Comment: Re:A little late (Score 2) 80

by PeterChenoweth (#37830662) Attached to: Epic Geomagnetic Storm Erupts
If you rely on Slashdot for breaking news, then yes, it's a little late.

If you're interested in catching the Aurora, there are several online resources that can alert you in various ways when conditions are favorable. The best one I know of is SpaceWeather.com, though they charge for the alerting service. I'm just on their free mailing list and they sent me an email yesterday at about 4:30 pm with a warning that a large CME had struck the earth yesterday morning and to be alert for aurora that evening. The peak of the show was at about 9pm here, so plenty of warning time. Not quite the same as the paid "get outside now!" alerts, but it works.

It was definitely visible here in Illinois. Though I've seen much better. You didn't miss much. Near the last solar max, we had a couple of spectacular aurora displays.

Comment: And there's the NFL... (Score 1) 167

by PeterChenoweth (#37141950) Attached to: PS3 Enjoys Retail-Wide Sales Spike After Price Cut
Not only was there the price drop, but DirecTV, Sony, & the NFL also just announced that the PS/3 will have access to the NFL Sunday Ticket for the 2011 NFL season.

Sunday Ticket on PS/3

For those that don't know, you pay $340/season and it lets you watch just about every NFL game. While the average Slashdotter may not care in the least, this is a pretty big deal for NFL fans who don't have DirecTV. I know of at least a couple of people who are planning on purchasing a PS/3 simply because they want the NFL Sunday Ticket.

There will undoubtedly be at least some uptick in PS/3 sales from fans of the NFL. The new $250 price is just added fuel to the fire.

Comment: Boo hoo (Score 1) 547

by PeterChenoweth (#35677150) Attached to: Tesla Sues BBC's <em>Top Gear</em> For Libel
Going by what Jeremy Clarkson says (the reviewer who did the Tesla piece, for those that don't know), I'd think every car manufacturer would have claims against Top Gear. Most BMW's are described as rubbish. Audi's are for male-roosters. French cars are all crap. Porsche 911's were designed by Hitler, nor have they changed since 1938. Most American cars are dreadful. Ford Mustang's have the rear suspension of an ox cart (true, that...). The old Saab 9-5 had enough torque to change the rotation of the earth. And on, and on, and on. It's what Top Gear does. The Tesla Roadster wasn't singled out.

Top Gear is 20% car information and 80% entertainment. Jeremy's work in particular is overwrought with irony and sarcasm. That's the way he is, and I and many others love it.

The piece on Tesla did nothing more than point out the "range anxiety" problem. That shouldn't have been unexpected. The fact is, Top Gear presents cars in a way that many people (350 million or so?) find entertaining. IIRC, they did have a few positive things to say about the Tesla while it was working. The handling and acceleration was good. But they did point out that after a thrashing on the track, they ran out of juice after ~55 miles. And then just like the battery-powered R/C cars of my youth, you're stuck inside for the next X-hours while the thing charges back up. That is the #1 problem with electric cars, and Top Gear did nothing more than to play on that issue.

Bottom line, if Tesla had wanted a rainbows-and-unicorns review of the Roadster, they should have called MotorWeek.

Comment: Re:Analogue Shutdown (Score 1) 286

by PeterChenoweth (#35220570) Attached to: TiVo To Brick All Remaining UK PVRs On June 1
They will get over it. There was a great deal of media coverage here in the US about the impending doom of converting to all-digital when we shut down analog broadcasts too. Lots of people griping about losing their analog TV's, much gnashing of teeth over having to buy converters. Hundreds of thousands of elderly left in the dark when their TV's suddenly stopped working. Fear!

Fast forward to now, a few years later; nary a peep. As with all change, people complain. Then they get over it and get on with their lives.
Image

Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Posted by samzenpus
from the paging-doctor-manners dept.
Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"

Comment: Re:Geeks miss the point again. (Score 0, Troll) 756

by PeterChenoweth (#30951966) Attached to: MSI Will Launch iPad Alternative

Multitasking is all very well, but having to open a task killer application to kill off background apps to free up memory is tiresome.

I didn't know that about Android. So the all-mighty, do-no-wrong Google endowed AndroidOS with one of the single most annoying features that has plagued Microsoft's PocketPC & WindowsMobile OS for the past decade. The inability to simply and effectively close apps without the use of a task-killer app.

That's hilarious.

PlayStation (Games)

Gran Turismo 5 Delayed 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the running-on-fumes dept.
RogueyWon writes "The Times is reporting that Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 5, likely to prove a key title for the PlayStation 3, has been delayed indefinitely, despite an expectation that it would be released relatively early in 2010. The delay seems likely to impact Sony's plans to bundle the game with the PlayStation 3 console in time for the important spring sales period in Japan."
Science

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Posted by timothy
from the ice-tractor-cometh dept.
Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

Comment: Re:4932% Growth - Imagine That (Score 1) 158

by PeterChenoweth (#30009016) Attached to: AT&amp;T's City-By-City Plan To Up Wireless Coverage
The *original* iPhone data plan is $20/month. And I say "is", because it's still a valid plan if you own an original iPhone. It's "unlimited" data (2G:Edge) and 200 text messages. AT&T's argument for being cheaper is because the original iPhone was (I think) the only PDA-like device they sold that could not take advantage of the 3G network. Ergo, it does not put as much demand on their network as a 3G device, and is thus bundled with a cheaper data plan.

The 3G and 3GS iPhone plans are priced exactly the same as every other AT&T PDA phone. That is, $30/month for "unlimited" data and NO text messages. Same as a Blackberry. Same as a WindowsMobile phone. Text Messaging is an additional charge with the iPhone 3G, & 3GS, just like it is with every other plan.

The only difference between an iPhone 3G/3GS plan and all the other PDA phones is that with a WindowsMobile/Blackberry data plan, you can "officially" add tethering to your data plan for +$30/month. AT&T doesn't allow you to add tethering to the iPhone plan. And since the iPhone technically *can* tether, the reason they don't allow it is because AT&T knows their network is strained as it is now. Adding a X-thousand geeks tethering their iPhones might just bring down the whole damn system. At least, that's what I was told by an AT&T employee that claimed to be in the know.

I won't argue that the prices are too expensive, or that the 5GB/month bandwidth cap is silly, but the newer iPhones are not given preferential treatment, data-plan wise.

Comment: Re:Doubt it's the "bloated codebase" (Score 1) 396

by PeterChenoweth (#28988779) Attached to: Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's To Blame?
The multi-touch trackpad works great in Windows, whether bootcamped or via VM. Right-click works, as does two-finger scrolling. However, I can't remember if pinch works for zooming in Windows.

Don't base your decision to buy, or not to buy a product based on what someone else thought they heard about a product.

Seriously, I have used Microsoft OS's since I was a kid, 20+ years ago. Up until about 2 years ago, I was a died-in-the-wool "Apple is crap" zealot. M$ fanboy all the way. Then Vista came along. And once I got a good look at W7 RC, I decided enough was enough. I have never been as pleased with my overall computing experience as I have been these past 6 months living with a Macbook Pro. Liberating, is about the best word for it. I still live in a Windows world at work, as that's what we do our .Net development in and what we have to support. But at home, it's a Mac, all the way.

Comment: Re:Doubt it's the "bloated codebase" (Score 4, Interesting) 396

by PeterChenoweth (#28971171) Attached to: Windows Drains MacBook's Battery; Who's To Blame?
Nope. There is. Keyboard backlighting works just fine on my MBP when bootcamped to XP. It does not, however, automatically adjust the keyboard backlight intensity with ambient lighting conditions as OSX does. One can still manually adjust the intensity with the keyboard buttons, if desired.

Come to think of it, I'm not actually sure the screen brightness adjusts dynamically in bootcamped XP either. It might be the same deal as the keyboard. I can't recall.

It could be little things like that adding up. Screen brightness is a major drain on battery power. It could be that since OSX can and does (by default anyway) aggressively ramp down the brightness whenever it can when on battery power, it's able to save more watts. Where if XP can't/doesn't do that (on an Apple), you'd get more of a battery drain. Just a thought.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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