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Comment: Re:Pay Later: $199 down + $15/month (Score 1) 404

by Plekto (#43299417) Attached to: T-Mobile Ends Contracts and Subsidies

True. But those are games. The reviews and analysis by the ENTIRE media assumes that it's all about the iPhone. And how it's no "savings" at all versus the other providers. Also how T-Mobile has slower speeds and isn't as bleeding-edge.

And then there's the rest of us who see unlocked/jailbroken/etc phones of all shapes and sizes for cheap. With reasonable enough speed. And unlimited calls. Think about that. When was the last time any major carrier offered $50 unlimited calls? Let alone tossing a completely reasonable amount of data in on top of it?

I think it will force the competition to adjust their prices. And quickly.

Comment: Re:Pay Later: $199 down + $15/month (Score 1) 404

by Plekto (#43296019) Attached to: T-Mobile Ends Contracts and Subsidies

This of course assumes that you are yet another sheep who thinks that the only phone in the universe is an Apple product.

The real savings comes if you are smart and get an Android type device for $100 from a place that just sells phones (unlocked, no less). Then you have no contract and no payments, either. For the price of the old down-payment, you simply own the phone outright and get the $50 a month service. Win-win.

That the IPhone costs $650 is Apple's decision. In reality, it costs $200 to build. If you don't mind it not saying Apple on the front, you can get a phone made in the same area in China (where all the phones are made, sort of their version of Silicon Valley) for $150. The apps are now virtually identical on both markets anyways.

If you go to Europe, it's already like this. You buy an unlocked quad band phone and use it with whatever carrier you want. If you go to another country, you simply pop in a sim card and use it on that network. No idiocy, no hair-pulling. You don't buy an AT&T anything. You buy a Nokia or a Sony or a LG and use it with your carrier, the same as you buy a laptop and plug it into your internet when you get home.

Note - if you buy an iPhone anyways from T-Mobile, it's going to be unlocked/not tied to their service. That's a small plus as well, since it's not an option with AT&T.

Comment: Re:Christians, physicians and hospitals (Score 1, Insightful) 813

by Plekto (#42881157) Attached to: Missouri Legislation Redefines Science, Pushes Intelligent Design

Nothing conflicts at all. In fact if you believe that the universe was created *by* a God, then everything we observe must be part of how it was created. That is, religion IS science. Wrap your brain around that.

So why is there such a mess?

The religious institutions are against it as it lessens their power over the masses, which means less financial and political power as well. The fear is that science introduces a far more dangerous condition, which is critical thinking. The last thing they want to deal with is informed people who question their religion and practices. Most of which have nothing to do with the core beliefs but are designed to keep these same establishments in power.

Comment: Re:GW solution (Score 1) 264

by Plekto (#42851519) Attached to: Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

The issue with a permanent ring is the materials and scale versus pieces of debris like in a traditional ring. To be effective, it needs to be just above low orbit. This means either a large amount of fuel to keep it from crashing into the surface, or accepting that 5-10% will precipitate out per year into the atmosphere to burn up. It maintain it, it's easier to launch more materials into the ring than it is to try to fuel an artificial construct. There are of course many technical issues to overcome, but in theory, at least, we could do this within our lifetimes.

Comment: Re:GW solution (Score 1) 264

by Plekto (#42804163) Attached to: Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

It would require a ring of about ten orbital canons spaced around the Earth's equator, firing every hour for roughly 20 years. (assuming a 100KG shell with aluminum or similar reflective pieces in it).

Hopelessly impractical? Sure. But possible to actually do with our current technology. Maintaining it would require a much smaller fraction of the material.

Note - the U.N. has already passed a resolution on this, believe it or not. As it stands, it is illegal to create an artificial ring around the planet.

Comment: Re:GW solution (Score 1) 264

by Plekto (#42794035) Attached to: Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

I once calculated this out, in fact. We need to move the Earth a bit over 2 feet per year to outdistance projected solar warming as our sun ages. This is within theoretical limits of our technology to accomplish in the next few hundred years.

The other option is to make an artificial ring to block out about 1% of The Sun's energy.

Comment: Why Not Just Go Prepaid? (Score 1) 798

by Plekto (#42778367) Attached to: AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

AT&T and several other carriers have prepaid (Android) smartphones. I have one and simply didn't buy a data plan. So it doesn't work at all unless I am in a hotspot or similar free area and then I can turn the data on manually.

What many people don't realize is that it's not the carrier at fault here but Apple. Apple mandates in their contracts with the providers that every iPhone has to have a data plan included. So if you go to a different type/brand of smartphone, you're able to order services individually.

AT&T's prepaid service is actually quite decent. I bought an Android phone for $99 and that was that. I can go to the app store, buy programs, use the GPS, the FM radio (it's not web-based radio), and have all of the functions of a smartphone other than data. For not a dime per month. Essentially I have a $99 iPod Touch since the apps are identical in almost every case.

Verizon doesn't have prepaid smartphones. None of the 10 cent a minute options are real smartphones. If you get a tablet or smartphone, they require a data plan.

T-Mobile does let you do this. But their phones are much more money, typically.

NOTE - you usually must buy a phone that is prepaid. Many can be upgraded to full service but almost none of the contracted/full service phones can be downgraded to prepaid. This isn't a technological problem but a contractual one with the phone makers and the providers. Yes, the prepaid can be downgraded and upgraded each month as you need them to be, if that's what you desire.

Comment: What about a LED Sign? (Score 1) 242

by Plekto (#42707605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards?

Perhaps I'm getting old, but way before we had plasma TVs and LED/LCD TVs, we had these LED signs that displayed information in just about every business and storefront window.

Now they have full color versions of these, even. And for the simpler ones, the energy usage is measured in watts. As in no more than a standard light bulb or two. The question is, exactly how much writing needs to "change" every 15 minutes or so? If it's just a few lines, a few of those red LED signs/scrolling displays stacked together would work perfectly.

Comment: Re:"security" (Score 1) 314

by Plekto (#42427743) Attached to: How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

One way that they did this at one company that I worked for had every machine was in a metal cage/box. It covered the floppy and CD drives, but the cover over them could be opened with a key.

IT had physical access, but users had none. Just the machine and the files on the server. Zero security issues in the time I was there. Keeping the employees off of the internet was all that was really required. (plus everyone now has phones so let them do their own wi-fi)

Comment: Re:"security" (Score 1) 314

by Plekto (#42397053) Attached to: How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

True, but I think the OP was talking about something that was connected to the outside world/internet.

The truth, though, is that nothing connected to the outside world will ever be secure. At best you minimize your damage. But you can absolutely ensure that users don't do as many stupid things. For instance, you can disable the USB ports and remove the CD and floppy drive from your machines. Then just and run them as terminals. No issues with flash drives or CDs. Then you can of course nuke all internet browsing.

The solution that my last employer provided was an open wi-fi connection for everyone to share that was for phones and such only and 100% not connected in any way (separate ISP and hard line even) to the main server. They could do all of their idiocy on that connection and sure, it was slow and sucked, but there was no way into the servers. Only the IT department's machine had outside access. Not perfect, but far better than letting every employee use the same system.

Comment: How I fixed my machine (Score 1) 330

by Plekto (#42164513) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: SATA DVD Drives That Don't Suck for CD Ripping?

I had the same problem. Windows doesn't play along nicely with multiple SATA drives sometimes. Especially if you have RAID in the mix or different types of hardware (IDE and SATA and so on). It kept having cache and access and speed issues. Eventually it started dropping the DVD drive or reporting that it was merely a CD drive. I was pulling my hair out.

Then I got an external Firewire case. Problems dropped to ZERO. I tried USB but it was too slow and it conflicted like crazy. But evidently firewire uses its own bus and controller that's separate from the rest of the idiocy (being based upon SCSI technology). I can plug it in and out and it always works. My burner is a bog-standard $30 ASUS burner. My software is happy as a clam with it. I've burned Apple, Windows, and Linux CDs as well as made bit-for-bit copies of the latter (which isn't even a recognized format by Windows). Coasters are a result of bad media if it happens.

Comment: Re:of course (Score 4, Insightful) 176

by Plekto (#42020171) Attached to: GOP Study Committee Director Disowns Brief Attacking Current IP Law

It's even worse that you think.

We think of it as the companies being donors. With people in Congress calling and asking for money. But the reality is that the companies come TO the politician first and say "we'll give this money to either you or your opponent - you decide." It's not the officials asking for donations for their election/re-election efforts. It's an outright threat by the corporations to keep their "workers" in Congress in line. We're going to give you this money and you'll accept it - or we'll find someone who will.

93% of the time, the candidate with more money wins. That isn't a threat, it's a promise that you'll be unemployed if you piss off your masters.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 235

Since most of extra-solar space is empty (outside the area where there is a large concentration of solar winds), if you went short distances, you could probably only cause a localized shock-wave. So it might take, say, 10 or 20 jumps to get to the nearest star safely. You'd have to exit and enter the systems on each end somewhere outside its ort cloud, most likely. Considering the potential time savings, though, it's a no-brainer to try to build one of these. Half a year to get to the jump destination plus a few hours per jump. Sure beats slow-boating it for decades.

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