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Comment: Western Electric (Score 1) 473

by Nethead (#46791457) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Well, anything by them but specifically the Model 500 telephone set.

63 years old and still works just like it came out of the factory. The only maintenance is a bit of cleaning with soapy water and tapping the microphone against something hard every few years to pack the carbon granules.

Also remarkable is that it will still work on just about any phone system in the world. That's a long lasting communication standard.

Another great line of products were pre-1990 Motorola two way radios. They were build almost as well as the WE stuff.

Comment: Re:Shame this happened (Score 5, Informative) 122

by kamapuaa (#46785961) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

It doesn't *have* to be done. There's a gigantic number of seeds which are commercially available already, there's many government and private organizations safeguarding these seeds, and the amount of patented seeds is comparatively insignificant. In addition, modern farming operations don't save seeds for future crops.

In fact, the basic idea behind Monsanto controlling the seed supply has been standard industry practice for 50+ years. Most vegetables commercially grown are F1 hybrids. In 1960, 99% of corn grown was an F1 hybrid. If you buy a Better Boy Tomato, an F1 hybrid also popular for home gardening, there will be little variation between the plants grown. However, the seed from these plants will be unusable. Peas and beans pollinate their own flowers, so for these plants such a strategy isn't practical. However, that doesn't mean the death of the species - even if most commercially grown tomatoes are F1 hybrids where the seeds are unusable, of course there's still a million variety of tomatoes which may be planted from seed (with a little care) and are easily available.

This is a symbolic marketing/propaganda move against Monsanto. Monsanto developed a soybean that is invulnerable to the safe, cheap, and environmentally benign herbicide Round-Up. They sell seeds with a contract stipulation that the seeds not be re-sown (again, normal farming practice is to buy all seed anyway), and won a lawsuit against a farmer who intentionally grow a Monsanto crop without paying Monsanto- he would buy the Monsanto crop for the first planting of the year, and use saved seed for the second planting of the year.

This group imagines that it's hard to find seeds that aren't patented, or at least that it will be in the future, to make some point that you shouldn't be allowed to patent seeds because think of how horrible it would be if you needed to deal with Monsanto to plant a carrot. However, if that future does come to pass, this wouldn't really help - you'd need something with the infrastructure to supply huge amounts of seeds, not just supply fun little seed packets to home gardeners.

Comment: Re:Partial statistics (Score 1) 117

by kamapuaa (#46782371) Attached to: Steam's Most Popular Games

People are willing to spend $2000 on a gaming PC and then will pirate a $30 piece of software, so obviously these are people who are willing to pay for games on some level...the idea that nobody pirates as an alternative to buying strikes me as ludicrous, because the people who are most into piracy today are the sort of people who spent all their money on computer games a decade ago.

And it's believable to me that if all "Game of Thrones" torrents became unavailable, more than a few people would be motivated to subscribe to HBO.

Comment: Re:Useful Idiot (Score 2, Funny) 377

He probably could have tried legal measures to implement reform if it was actually more important to him than being famous

He wants more than fame, he wants to establish Russia as a global power, again. Problem is, his economy is mostly natural resourced exporting - which means it's pretty weak on manufacturing or services.

United States

FBI Drone Deployment Timeline 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-and-where dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FBI insists that it uses drone technology to conduct surveillance in 'very limited circumstances.' What those particular circumstances are remain a mystery, particularly since the Bureau refuses to identify instances where agents deployed unmanned aerial vehicles, even as far back as 2006. In a letter to Senator Ron Paul last July, the FBI indicated that it had used drones a total of ten times since late 2006—eight criminal cases and two national security cases—and had authorized drone deployments in three additional cases, but did not actually fly them. The sole specific case where the FBI is willing to confirm using a drone was in February 2013, as surveillance support for a child kidnapping case in Alabama. New documents obtained by MuckRock as part of the Drone Census flesh out the timeline of FBI drone deployments in detail that was previously unavailable. While heavily redacted—censors deemed even basic facts that were already public about the Alabama case to be too sensitive for release, apparently—these flight orders, after action reviews and mission reports contain new details of FBI drone flights."

Comment: a million in my birth year is $8M now (Score 1) 453

by peter303 (#46774005) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires
We had a decade of high inflation in the 1970s that contribute almost half of the dollar depreciation since my birth. I think my 'birth million" would feel like a real million, i.e. a decent retirement at any age. A millionaire in all those silly 1960s sitcoms was a real millionaire! conversely my fathers coworkers felt OK if they retired with a $100K or two.

Comment: Apples simple GUI one of breakthroughs (Score 1) 266

by peter303 (#46772375) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago
Most of the previous tablet GUIs tried to cram the complexity of multiwindow destop on to a small tablet screen. Apple mainly enlarged the simpler, single-window phone GUI. Samsung is hawking side-by-side Android screens this year. But you really dont want to get all that much more complex than that.