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Comment Re:Another vote for build (Score 1) 234

It's true that companies with good support can make it very easy. Other companies can make it a nightmare.

Personally, I've never had a problem dealing with support when it came to individual components. If it doesn't work on arrival, retailers like Newegg will usually let you RMA it with no questions asked. Some manufacturers have great warranties, as well. Just recently I had a Sapphire graphics card that had a fan go out a year and a half after I bought it. They gave me no grief sending it in for a replacement.

Regardless of whether you pick pre-built or build your own, it's going to be a crapshoot in terms of how good support will be, unless you do a ton of research ahead of time. The nice part of building your own is that you generally have a lot more leeway in terms of what you can do without voiding your warranty. Your motherboard manufacturer isn't going to care that you put Linux on there, but the pre-built companies may take exception to blowing away whatever OS it comes with.

Comment Another vote for build (Score 1) 234

You're generally saving yourself trouble in the long run by building it yourself. As other have said, buying a pre-built system means you're going to have to worry about bloatware, firmware issues, and dealing with support if something goes wrong.

While it's true that you can find gaming systems for cheaper than you can build something yourself, it's almost impossible to beat the value of building it yourself. You can pick which components to spend big on, and which to scale back on. Pre-built systems will often have odd scaling issues between different parts.

For example, moving from a "medium" system to a "high-end" system may involve upgrading the video card and the CPU for $500. While it can be true that adding those two components individually does indeed add up to $500, you may get 90% of the performance increase from the video card. By building yourself, you can find the price/performance/features sweet spot for each individual component.

Good luck with your build!

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy - New York Times (

New York Times

Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of...
UPDATE 1-Microsoft's Gates to start multi-billion-dollar clean tech initiativeReuters
Bill Gates to Launch Multibillion-Dollar Clean Energy
Bill Gates said to launch multi-billion dollar clean energy tech initiative on ... Neowin
Engadget-Tech Times-Washington Examiner
all 47 news articles

Submission + - The First Online Purchase Was A Sting CD (Or Maybe It Was Weed) (

tedlistens writes: On August 11, 1994, 21-year-old Dan Kohn, founder of a pioneering, New Hampshire-based online commerce site, made his first web sale. His customer, a friend of his in Philadelphia, spent $12.48, plus shipping costs on Sting's CD "Ten Summoner's Tales," in a transaction protected by PGP encryption. "Even if the N.S.A. was listening in, they couldn't get his credit card number," Kohn told a New York Times reporter in an article about NetMarket the following day. According to a new short video about the history of online shopping, there were a few precedents, including a weed deal between grad students on the ARPANET and a 74-year-old British grandmother who in 1984 used a Videotex—essentially a TV connected to telephone lines—to order margarine, eggs, and cornflakes.

Submission + - Montana Newspaper Plans To Out Anonymous Cowards Retroactively writes: Eugene Volokh reports at the Washington Post that in a stunning policy shift, The Montana Standard, a daily newspaper in Butte, Montana, has decided to replace commenters' pseudonyms with their real names. "The kicker here is that the change is retroactive," writes Paul Alan Levy. "Apparently unwilling to part with the wealth of comments that are already posted on its web site under the old policy, but also, apparently, unwilling to configure its software so that comments posted before the new policy is implemented remain under the chosen screen names, the Standard announces that past comments will suddenly appear using the users’ real names unless users contact the paper no later than December 26 to ask that their comments be removed." "We have encountered consistent difficulty with posts that exceed the bounds of civil discourse — as have many sites where comments from anonymous posters are allowed," the paper stated in a November 12 editorial outlining the new real-name policy.

The paper's new policy has proven controversial among readers. "This is the end of open and honest comments on this site," wrote one user who goes by the name BGF. "It is easy to put your name to your comments if you are retired. But it is another thing altogether if you have to worry about upsetting your peers and bosses at work." The newspaper editor, David McCumber, says the he has extensively investigated the feasability of configuring the newspaper's software so that comments posted before the new policy is implemented remain under chosen screen names but was unfortunately told by his content-management software experts that such a configuration is impossible. "Based on that, I am trying to do what is most equitable to all of our readers," says McCumber. "When a relatively small city is at the center of your market, just about everybody commented about is known, and the anonymous comments sting."

Submission + - Parts of the SpaceX Falcon-9 Rocket found off the Isles of Scilly (

AppleHoshi writes: The BBC is reporting that a large chunk of the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket, which exploded shortly after take-off from Cape Canaveral earlier this year, has been found 4,000 miles away, in the sea off the Isles of Scilly. The BBC also hints that they may have discovered the cause of the failure, noting at two different places in the article that the Falcon-9 was "...sending a cargo ship to the International Space Station". No word from "Aunty" yet as to whether they attribute the failure to the inefficient aerodynamics, or just the weight of said ship, though.

Submission + - VR Empathy Machine links UN dignitaries with Syrian Refugees

An dochasac writes: So, you stood there in the dark all night long. Maybe you even slept in a tent in a frigid urban wasteland. But you got it. You are now the proud owner of the the latest Gear VR, Google Cardboard or Occulus Virtual Reality(VR) headset. As you recover from your night of sleeping rough, you're probably looking for worthwhile VR content.

The late film critic Roger Ebert considered movies to be like a machine that creates empathy. Filmmaker Chris Milk took this concept a step further when he brought his VR empathy machine to Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to film Clouds over Sidra. He hopes this will help us step into the moccasins of these vulnerable people and understand about the struggles of their daily lives and of their humanity. He has already taken his film to UN dignitaries and it did seem to change their perceptions of people like Sidra. Will it work for the rest of us?

Might our empathy gap be caused by the fact that communicating empathy requires more bandwidth than communicating the primitive emotions of fear, anger and despair?

"My name is Sidra. I am 12 years old... I have lived here in the Zaatari camp in Jordan for the last year and a half..."

Submission + - Data Breach!

Pax681 writes: Hungryhouse take away delivery service has suffered a data breach. I was informed after receiving text message to say my password had been changed.

Your password has been updated.If you did not make this change,please contact us on 02088199778

So I checked on the website and sure enough.. I could not log in. so I phoned them and I was told that About 10,000 passswords had been reset and that it was a "minor data breach" and if i wanted my account checked i could. I then asked if anyone had ordered anything since last night as that was my last known order. All was well. They are very much playing it down ... but we shall see, there nothing on the interwebs about it yet

Submission + - Will you be able to run a modern desktop environment in 2016 without systemd?

yeupou writes: Early this year, David Edmundson from KDE, concluded that "In many cases [systemd] allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it [systemd] as an optional extra defeats the main benefit". A perfectly sensible explanation. But, then, one might wonder to which point KDE would remain usable without systemd?

Recently, on one Devuan box, I noticed that KDE power management (Powerdevil) no longer supported suspend and hibernate. Since pm-utils was still there, for a while, I resorted to call pm-suspend directly, hoping it would get fixed at some point. But it did not. So I wrote a report myself. I was not expecting much. But neither was I expecting it to be immediately marked as RESOLVED and DOWNSTREAM, with a comment accusing the "Debian fork" I'm using to "ripe out" systemd without "coming with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides". I searched beforehand about the issue so I knew that the problem also occurred on some other Debian-based systems and that the bug seemed entirely tied to upower, an upstream software used by Powerdevil. So if anything, at least this bug should have been marked as UPSTREAM.

While no one dares (yet) to claim to write software only for systemd based operating system, it is obvious that it is now getting quite hard to get support otherwise. At the same time, bricks that worked for years without now just get ruined, since, as pointed out by Edmunson, adding systemd as "optional extra defeats its main benefit". So, is it likely that we'll still have in 2016 a modern desktop environment, without recent regressions, running without systemd?

Submission + - Neil degrasse Tyson causes firestorm with remarks on commercial space ( 1

MarkWhittington writes: In an interview published in The Verge, celebrity astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson touched off a firestorm when he suggested that commercial space was not going to lead the way to open up the high frontier. Tyson has started a live show that he calls "Delusions of Space Enthusiasts” in which he touched on, among other things, why the Apollo program did not lead to greater things in space exploration such as going to Mars. Tyson repeats conventional wisdom about Apollo and the Cold War. In any case, it is his remarks on commercial space that has caused the most irritation.

Submission + - Why Car Salesmen Don't Want to Sell Electric Cars writes: Matt Richtel writes in the NYT that one big reason there are only about 330,000 electric vehicles on the road is that car dealers show little enthusiasm for putting consumers into electric cars. Industry insiders say that electric vehicles do not offer dealers the same profits as gas-powered cars, they take more time to sell because of the explaining required, and electric vehicles may require less maintenance, undermining the biggest source of dealer profits — their service departments. Some electric car buyers have said they felt as if they were the ones doing the selling. Chelsea Dell made an appointment to test-drive a used Volt but when she arrived, she said, a salesman told her that the car hadn’t been washed, and that he had instead readied a less expensive, gas-powered car. “I was ready to pull the trigger, and they were trying to muscle me into a Chevy Sonic,” says Dell. “The thing I was baffled at was that the Volt was a lot more expensive.” Marc Deutsch, Nissan’s business development manager for electric vehicles says some salespeople just can’t rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. A salesperson “can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf,” Deutsch says. “It’s a lot of work for a little pay.”

Jared Allen says that service is crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn’t want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service. Maybe that helps explains the experience of Robert Kast, who last year leased a Volkswagen e-Golf from a local dealer. He said the salesman offered him a $15-per-month maintenance package that included service for oil changes, belt repair and water pumps. “I said: ‘You know it doesn’t have any of those things,’” Mr. Kast recalled. He said the salesman excused himself to go confirm this with his manager. Of the whole experience, Mr. Kast, 61, said: “I knew a whole lot more about the car than anyone in the building.” "Until selling a plug-in electric car is as quick and easy as selling any other vehicle that nets the dealer the same profit, many dealers will avoid them, for very logical and understandable reasons," says John Voelker. "That means that the appropriate question should be directed to makers of electric cars: What are you doing to make selling electric cars as profitable and painless for your dealers as selling gasoline or diesel vehicles?"

Submission + - Even the Dumbest Ransomware Is Almost Unremovable on Smart TVs ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently even the easiest-to-remove ransomware is painfully hard to uninstall from smart TVs, if they're running on the AndroidOS platform, and almost all are. This didn't happen in a real-world scenario (yet), and was only a PoC test by Symantec. The researcher managed to remove the ransomware just because he enabled the Android ADB tool beforehand, knowing he would infect the TV with the ransomware.

"Without this option enabled, and if I was less experienced user, I’d probably still be locked out of my smart TV, making it a large and expensive paper weight," said the researcher.

Via: Softpedia

Submission + - Another Giant XKCD Comics Experiment

Dave Knott writes: XKCD creator Randall Munroe has decided to celebrate the release of his new book, Thing Explainer, by creating a "small game" called Hoverboard. In actuality, it is a gigantic scrolling comic in the same style as his previous Click And Drag. However, this time there is a game element as one navigates the comic. Explore giant starships and volcanoes, or search for hidden lairs, all in the name of finding as many hidden gold coins as possible.

Submission + - The Tamagochi Singularity Made Real: Infinite Tamagochi Living on the Internet (

szczys writes: Everyone loves Tamagochi, little electronic keychains spawned in the 90's let you raise your digital pets. Some time ago, XKCD made a quip about an internet based matrix of thousands of these digital entities. That quip is now a reality thanks to elite hardware hacker Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM). In his recent talk called The Tamagochi Singularity at the Hackaday SuperConference he revealed that he had built an infinite network of virtual Tamagochi by implementing the original hardware as a virtual machine. This included developing AI to keep them happy, and developing a protocol to emulate their IR interactions. But he went even further, hacking an original keychain to use wirelessly as a console which can look in on any of the virtual Tamagochi living on his underground network. This full-stack process is unparalleled in just about every facet: complexity, speed of implementation, awesome factor, and will surely spark legions of other Tamagochi Matrices.

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!