While it probably won't appeal to many Slashdot readers, the ESPN show, "Pardon the Interruption," is of similar style and caliber. The hosts, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser, were both veteran staff writers for the Washington Post (and were still active for the first several seasons), and their opinions are consistently well developed and expressed. Even my wife, who only watches the occasional big game, enjoys watching the show.
Just go watch some old episodes of Julia Child or anything by Jacques Pepin. If you're an Amazon Prime member, all 10 seasons of Julia Child's "The French Chef" are available for instant viewing.
If you prefer to read, then the same two people are both great choices. While all of Julia's books are worth reading in my opinion, the first volume of "The Art of French Cooking" and "The Way to Cook" (which she considered her magnum opus) are excellent. Julia doesn't just provide recipes, but she explains techniques (dice vs chop vs mince vs etc.) and rational (i.e. why drying meat before browning is critical).
On the Jacques Pepin side, his Complete Technique is like a textbook for how to cook anything. The best part is there's literally thousands of photos of how to do every step. As the book is really just a translation of his two french books ("La Technique" & "La Methode") there are some parts that might not be too applicable for most Americans, but overall it's well worth a read.
I would also add, "CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed" by Shirley O. Corriher to the list. It explains rational behind why things work the way they do (i.e. why lard or shortening produce a flakier crust than butter). It doesn't shy away from details, discussing things like Maillard reactions, and the recipes are well chosen to focus on what's being described and tasty too.
Installing Gentoo is not difficult per se, but it's certainly an effective way to learn low level system administration and a lot about the Linux ecosystem. Now of course it's entirely possible to install Gentoo and not take away anything from it (i.e. just mindlessly copy-and-paste from the Gentoo Handbook and never attempt to understand what's going on), but even if you just apply minimal effort, it's a great way to learn a lot about Linux.
For example, a typical Stage 3 install will involve manually partionioning (possibly even using RAID/LVM), formating a FS, loop back mounting, chrooting, compiling a kernel, installing GRUB, adding users/groups, networking, cron, etc. That's just off the top of my head. If you make a mistake (like I did installing GRUB manually the first time), you can learn a whole lot more when you try to fix it.
Gentoo also has excellent documentation and, by virtue of being an niche/ethusiast distro, a much more advanced user base compared to most Linux distributions. I'm not saying there aren't folks on other distros that know more than someone using Gentoo, but on average, most Gentoo users (especially those active in their forums) tend to be fairly advanced users.
Finally, Gentoo is extremely flexible, so if you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty, it's certainly possible. Although Stage 1 installs (where you bootstrap your compiler) are no longer officially supported, there's active threads in the official forums on how to do it. If you want to play in the embedded space, Gentoo has one of the best cross-compiling systems out there (a benefit of being source based).
The long and short of it is, installing Gentoo is a great way for someone sincerely interested to learn a lot about Linux.
In my personal experience, using a tablet or phone as a remote over using an actual, dedicated universal remote is one of those things that's better in theory than in practice. This is primarily due to these remotes having a tendency to walk away from the entertainment room, the relatively poor battery life (hours vs days), and the lack of intelligent help & context switching (compared to a Harmony). I can't speak for "ILink", but Logitech has their actual Harmony remotes down to a science. I never understood why someone would spend so much on a remote until I finally bit the bullet and got one (880), and I can honestly say it's one of my best investments in my home entertainment system. Beyond just being able to build macros, it does great things like having an interactive help for when one of the steps fails -- this is fantastic for folks like my wife who no longer needs to know what input the TV & the receiver needs to be set to, what to turn on/change when she wants to watch a bluray, etc. I liked my 880 so much that I grabbed a Harmony One last year. Also, if you're price conscious like me, you can regularly find refurbs for $100 and new ones on sale for $130 around Black Friday. I have no association with Logitech, but the Harmony line is really fantastic.
I believe they missed a big opportunity by not delivering a Verizon LTE capable phone in the $350-$450 range. There is a significant portion of users who are still grandfathered on to "unlimited" data that are approaching upgrade time (e.g., early adopters who bought VZW's first LTE phone, the HTC Thunderbolt back in Dec 2010). There's a large market of people that would choose an unsubsidized LTE Nexus 4 which lets them keep unlimited data for that price. The competitive subsidized phones (i.e. GS3 or Note 2) would only be about $200 or so less but would cost the user their unlimited data plan which a lot of people value more than $200.
I personally believe that the only way for RIM to survive is to pull a Sega, exit the hardware business, and become a software company. Their email software is the best mobile client I've ever used and in the time I've had five BB's, I've also had several Windows Mobile Std/Pro (Moto Q, Q9M, Samsung Saga), iOS (iPod Touch), and Android (HTC Eris, Thunderbolt) devices (but no Windows Phone 7) so I do have something to compare to. The only email client that I could comfortably manage 100+ emails a day is the BB. If they do go the software route, I would hope they strongly control which hardware they will run on so as to control the CX.
Sorry to report, Nick Denton _started_ Lifehacker. It was always a Gawker property. Kind of tainted it for me.
Interesting, I work in downtown SF and live in the East Bay and have no problem getting a full day out of a charge on my Tbolt. I picked up the phone around launch, and on the original stock firmware, battery life was pretty abysmal. I'm currently running a custom rom (Liquid Thunderbread 2.6), and now easily get a day on normal use (including roughly an hour of continuous browsing on BART each workday). My wife has the same phone and can get a couple days (she works in the East Bay and uses the Internet much less than I). She also uses a custom rom (Liquid Smooth 3.2), so that may be the difference (I believe both our phones use the "SMARTASS" governor and a clemsyn kernel).
While I agree with your post in general, your example of "a file server with a small set of files" isn't the best example of a case for a SSD. If that "small set of files" can fit into RAM, then a SSD isn't going to buy you much benefit outside of initially being quicker to read the data into memory. However file servers really are data set dependent, so without knowing the details, it's hard to say what's the best upgrade.
RAM is definitely not always the most beneficial upgrade for personal computers. Adding RAM definitely suffers diminishing returns to scale (which is generally true with everything, but RAM benefits seem to diminish more rapidly). It has been my experience that RAM beyond 4GB is much less beneficial than a SSD for typical personal computer usage. For example I upgraded my personal laptop from a 7200 RPM drive to a SSD and from 4GB to 8GB, and the SSD improvement is significantly more noticeable.