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Comment: Re:They're NOT opposed to SOPA (Score 1) 231

by Steavis (#38402096) Attached to: Meet the Strange Bedfellows Who Could Stop SOPA

...we finally not only have job growth (albeit still weak), the unemployment rate dropped a percentage point, and I think probably will drop two or three more at least by next year's election.

No, we don't.. The unemployment rate (a percentage statistic) went down because people are leaving the work force (though some jobs were added). They've given up, retired, settled on lower-paying jobs, or whatever, but this notion that it's just a little weak is nonsense. The universe of eligible employees just got smaller. People are still losing their jobs, and none of these windbags are even discussing engineering a way to fix it.

And while I wouldn't vote for Newt, at least he at one point in his life uttered the phrase ''I would rather rely on engineers than diplomats...". It's a start.

Comment: NSF requires sharing already (Score 4, Informative) 138

by Steavis (#38282596) Attached to: Research Data: Share Early, Share Often
The NSF is now requiring this as part of grant applications. You have to have a data management plan that includes the public deposit of both the data and results from grant funded work. Other funding orgs are following suit.

This is a fairly major project at the university I work for, both from the in-process data management perspective (keeping field researchers from storing their only copies on thumbdrives and laptops) and from the long-term repository perspective for holding the data when the grant is completed (that's what I'm involved with).

Storage is cheap. Convincing university administrators to pay for keeping it accessible is another problem, but the NSF position is helping.

Comment: Only a few voice recorders? (Score 1) 314

by Steavis (#37486074) Attached to: I tend to keep random notes most often ...
Man, I thought the smartphone-tech-heavy /. crowd would be all over recording devices. I've carried a few different digital voice recorders over the years (Olympus, Sony, now my Droid) that I use during meetings. Nothing counters a co-worker, boss, or sales person better when they're telling you that you did it wrong than having their own voice describe exactly what you implemented. My boss knows I do it, and he has learned to be a little more understanding when something isn't exactly how or when he wanted it but *IS* how he described it. It's an excellent CYA tool for anyone potentially at the other end of the 'do what I meant, not what I said' gun.

That said, you need to make sure it's A) legal in your jurisdiction to record without a consent form and B) that when you use it to counter a 'you did this wrong' argument, you do it discreetly and not embarrass anyone (including your boss) in front of the entire department (unless they totally deserve it and you can do it without getting fired).

It's a little harder to search without a transcript or good organizational metadata, but if you know approximately what you're looking for it can be a lifesaver.

Plus you can sleep or play games in meetings and not get in trouble :).

Comment: Re:so long... (Score 1) 430

by Steavis (#31514650) Attached to: Toshiba Ends Incandescent Bulb Production After 120 Years
I don't know about him/her, but I bought six 10W CFLs to replace the 75W incandescent bulbs in my bedroom in 1988. Having a west-facing upstairs room in Arizona during the summer is hot enough without an extra 450W of space heat from lighting (along with my 286, some tube-based HAM gear, CRTs, etc.). Changing to CFL made a huge difference.

The CFLs I bought were made by Commercial Electric, and weren't the spiral type. These had four 4" glass 'rods', 3/8" in diameter, which were connected together in such a way as to make one continuous tube. They would flicker and blink for about a second when first turned on, but once lit were at full brightness (unlike the CFLs in my current home which take 30s to warm up). The tubes were also replaceable (they unplugged from the base with 2 pins) but I never had to replace one in the 12 years I lived there. It's been a long time, but I think they were actually for commercial lighting purposes, not residential. IIRC they were about $12/ea (1988 dollars).

I guess my point is that they have been around for a long time, just not cheaply. Oh, and the store was the Home Depot1/2 mile from where I lived at the time.

Comment: Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (Score 1) 643

by Steavis (#30163942) Attached to: Vulgar Comment On Newspaper Site Costs Man His Job

I believe in individual freedom, but I also don't want YOUR individual freedom to infringe on MY individual freedom.

That statement pretty well defines Libertarianism as it is understood by most; I'm free to do whatever I want, as long as it doesn't infringe on your freedom to do whatever you want.

I'm not trying to start a semantic flame war, and I agree that the definition of Liberalism has been warped (it seems now to mean "do what you want and someone else will pay for it"; your opinion may vary). That definition is what most people accept, however, and like most of its mirror philosophies on the right, it does not advocate individual freedom for everyone (it divides individuals into classes).

Comment: Re:Pussy. There, I said it. (Score 1) 643

by Steavis (#30162832) Attached to: Vulgar Comment On Newspaper Site Costs Man His Job

Liberalism is the idea that everyone should be free to do what they want to do.

I think the word you're looking for, at least in the USA, is "Libertarianism". Both the left (hate-speech/crime laws, social justice via tax code) and right (religiosity) routinely act counter to that idea, regardless of what their ideologues might say in public.

Comment: Re:Phantom power has it's use. (Score 1) 306

by Steavis (#26551727) Attached to: Energy Star Program Needs an Overhaul
If this is actually true, you should probably get it checked out by a licensed electrical contractor. You (or a neighbor) may have a loose or bad neutral connection that is causing the current to flow on the (usually grounded) coax lines. I've seen this before, and it can burn your house down (coax is not designed to carry house current on the shield). Electricity doesn't just take the "path of least resistance", it takes ALL paths that it can.

Comment: Re:Charge at night (Score 2, Informative) 582

by Steavis (#24297331) Attached to: GM, Utilities Partner To Advance Plug-In Hybrids
With regard to point #2, I (as a residential customer) already pay different rates depending on the hour here in AZ. SRP, one of our local utilities, has a time-of-use system with a digital meter they can read and program remotely. Currently it only has 2 rate schedules, but it can support up to four.

During on-peak (1pm - 8pm; M-F) power is twice what the standard rate payers pay. But it's less than half during off-peak hours and we've tried to shift most of our usage to those times. Laundry, dishes, A/C, lighting, pool pump, etc. are all timed to run during off-peak only as much as possible. All lighting is CF or LED (even the night-lights).

Granted, when it's 115F outside the A/C will run some. But we pre-cool way down before 1pm, and let it rise as much as is tolerable with ceiling fans on (between 83-85F as it's fairly dry here). The result is a power bill about half of my similarly sized neighbors. It's fairly easy to compare in tract houses where they're all the same anyway :).
Desktops (Apple)

Psystar Offers $399 "OpenMac" Computer 615

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dead-before-it-even-got-started dept.
mytrip writes to tell us that Psystar has announced a new line of Intel-based computers that promise to run an unmodified version of Mac OS X "Leopard". Unfortunately almost immediately after the launch their website went down and as of this story remains unaccessible. "Astute readers may well hear this news and ask themselves if it doesn't sound like a Mac clone, something whose time came -- during Gil Amelio's tenure at Apple -- and went shortly after current CEO Steve Jobs assumed the helm at the company. [...] It definitely defies the EULA for Mac OS X, which specifies that the purchaser of a legal copy of Leopard is entitled to install the operating system on an Apple-branded computer. If you buy the $399 OpenMac, you can check the EULA yourself if you also buy the pre-install option, as the company includes a retail copy of Leopard with your purchase."
Data Storage

Google Releases Paper on Disk Reliability 267

Posted by Zonk
from the fun-saturday-night-reading dept.
oski4410 writes "The Google engineers just published a paper on Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population. Based on a study of 100,000 disk drives over 5 years they find some interesting stuff. To quote from the abstract: 'Our analysis identifies several parameters from the drive's self monitoring facility (SMART) that correlate highly with failures. Despite this high correlation, we conclude that models based on SMART parameters alone are unlikely to be useful for predicting individual drive failures. Surprisingly, we found that temperature and activity levels were much less correlated with drive failures than previously reported.'"
Google

+ - Google Search Screws Over SomethingAwful.com

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "You may have heard of the humour website SomethingAwful.com. Apparently, for all of their long history they've been having a problem where their website is listed far down Google's results (often last) for searches related to the site (such as the names of features and articles on the site). For example, when I google for "Photoshop Phriday", the site isn't in the first ten pages of results, despite the fact that Google has indexed the relevent page. In fact, the first result is a noproxy.us proxied version of the relevant page, and the rest of the results are blog and forum entries referring to Something Awful. (Results are apparently better on many non-English versions of Google, however.)

It's far from clear what's causing this; the site's PageRank is apparently fine. Attempts to contact Google have fallen on deaf ears and dumb autoresponders. The site was even recently redesigned in the hope of fixing the problem, with no luck so far. Is the world's most popular search engine really this broken, and how much money are people bringing in from knowing the black magic to work around it?"
Media

+ - Macrovisions Letter to Steve Jobs

Submitted by Martix
Martix (666) writes "To Steve Jobs and the Digital Entertainment Industry:

I would like to start by thanking Steve Jobs for offering his provocative perspective on the role of digital rights management (DRM) in the electronic content marketplace and for bringing to the forefront an issue of great importance to both the industry and consumers. Macrovision has been in the content protection industry for more than 20 years, working closely with content owners of many types, including the major Hollywood studios, to help navigate the transition from physical to digital distribution. We have been involved with and have supported both prevention technologies and DRM that are on literally billions of copies of music, movies, games, software and other content forms, as well as hundreds of millions of devices across the world.

Can Read more hear http://www.macrovision.com/company/news/drm/respon se_letter.shtml"
Businesses

+ - Piracy worked for us

Submitted by
dorianm
dorianm writes "Piracy worked for us, Romanian president tells Gates

BUCHAREST (Reuters) — Pirated Microsoft Corp software helped Romania to build a vibrant technology industry, Romanian President Traian Basescu told the company's co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday.

Basescu was meeting the software giant's chairman in Bucharest to celebrate the opening of a Microsoft global technical center in the Romanian capital.

"Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania," Basescu said during a joint news conference with Gates.

"It helped Romanians improve their creative capacity in the IT industry, which has become famous around the world ... Ten years ago, it was an investment in Romania's friendship with Microsoft and with Bill Gates."

Gates made no comment.

Former communist Romania, which has just joined the European Union, introduced anti-piracy legislation 10 years ago but copyright infringements are still rampant.

Experts say some 70 percent of software used in Romania is pirated, and salesmen still visit office buildings in central Bucharest to sell pirated CDs and DVDs.

Foreign investors say Romania's IT sector is one of most promising industries in the fast-growing economy thanks to high level of technical education in Romania, low wages and the country's thriving underworld of computers hackers.

Source: Washington Post"

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