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Comment: Any opinions about DragonFly BSD? (Score 1) 260

by billstewart (#48432029) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop?

I'm looking for a small desktop BSD, something that runs Xorg and fits in a GB or less of disk, so I can run multiples of them as virtual machines. I need some kind of browser that can run YouTube, plus ssh, and otherwise I don't much care what it does, but small disk is good.

Comment: Security, but also YouTube (Score 1) 260

by billstewart (#48432021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop?

Yeah, there are some websites you might want to go to that still need Flash or some equally ugly support to get video to work. Right now I've been trying to get SliTaz Linux to let me watch YouTube as well as finding the right operating system and VMware settings to make the display resizeable, but I'm also trying out DragonFly BSD (still at the "installing Xorg" stage.)

Comment: Home File Servers (Score 1) 97

by billstewart (#48431983) Attached to: Intel Planning Thumb-Sized PCs For Next Year

I hope they at least let you mount disk drives using Samba or NFS or whatever from your own file server at home, in addition to whatever walled-garden functionality they may be selling. Much of their target market is going to include people who have those, either purpose-built servers or terabyte-disk USB/Ethernet external drives or their old Windows box with file sharing turned on.

Comment: That's why I mine Dogecoins (Score 1) 45

Ok, some jerk actually managed to steal enough Dogecoins a few months ago to be worth actual money, which is so not the point of Dogecoin. I mine them partly because they're worth basically zero while still being cryptographically interesting; six months of one CPU on my old lab PC might have added up to 25 cents, but it's still in the "Reddit tip jar" range, not the "So wow! Many money!" range even though I have much coins.

Comment: Exploding Rockets vs. Nuclear Power (Score 0) 483

by billstewart (#48424193) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Once you get the rocket safely out past Earth's orbit, most of us hippies aren't too worried about it.

The problem is getting it there - what percentage of space launches fail? Way more than zero, and we don't want plutonium-powered reactors on an exploding rocket, even if ETGs really are about as safe as you can get for nuclear power generation.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 2) 134

Candidate Obama gave great, inspiring speeches, but wasn't that good at real-time conversation. (President Obama not so much.) Dubya Bush always looked like a deer in the headlights, amazed that he was getting away with what he said and hoping nobody would ask questions about it.

But the guy who was really good? Bill Clinton. He was always on, always quick thinking, always had a good comeback for anything, lots of fun to listen to. Sure, he was lying through his teeth half the time, but he knew which half it was, and he did it with a smile that said that he knew that you knew he was lying, and that he'd make the game worth playing, and he usually did.

Comment: What we had in the 70s (Score 1) 134

If he's 50, he was born in 1964, so he might have gone to college before Apple II's became widespread. But when I was in high school from 1972-1974, we had time-sharing access to a PDP-11 at the nearby state university (with one teletype shared for the entire school), so by 8 years later it's likely he had something a lot fancier. My wife's high school didn't have that - they used punch cards, which got batch-processed weekly.

I first encountered PLATO in college, and it had Notesfiles (which contributed significantly to the evolution of Usenet, as well as Lotus Notes), and the coolest-ever Star Trek game.

The Almighty Buck

Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-everybody-loves-new-taxes dept.
jfruh writes: Last year, a bipartisan coalition helped get the Main Street Fairness Act approved by the U.S. Senate. The bill would have allowed state and local governments to collect sales taxes on Internet sales by companies in different jurisdictions. But House Speaker John Boehner, a longtime opponent of Internet taxes, won't bring the matter to a vote in the House before the end of the year, which should kill it for the immediate future.

Philae Lands Successfully On Comet 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the amazing-job-folks dept.
The European Space Agency has confirmed that the Philae probe has successfully landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and established contact with headquarters. The harpoons have deployed and reeled in the slack, and the landing gear has retracted. (Edit: They're now saying the harpoons didn't fire after all.) There are no photos from the surface yet, but the Rosetta probe snapped this picture of Philae after initial separation, and Philae took this picture of Rosetta. Emily Lakdawalla has a timeline of the operation (cached). She notes that there was a problem with the gas thruster mounted on top of the lander. The purpose of the thruster was to keep the lander on the comet after landing, since there was a very real possibility that it could bounce off. (The comet's local gravity is only about 10^-3 m/s^2.) The pins that were supposed to puncture the wax seal on the jet were unable to do so for reasons unknown. Still, the jet did not seem to be necessary. The official ESA Rosetta site will be continually updating as more data comes back.

Comment: Re:More RAM is easy for A/A+, Faster is Hard (Score 2) 107

by billstewart (#48366561) Attached to: Eben Upton Explains the Raspberry Pi Model A+'s Redesign

In the US, the Pi was $25 for the A (now $20 for A+), and $35 for the B (which is what I actually bought, but this discussion is mainly about the A/A+.) The Beaglebone currently runs $52-55 online, and has 4GB memory instead of 2GB (it was getting hard for them to find 2GB parts), and the processor's been updated a bit since last fall when I looked at it (it's also a newer ARM core than the Pi uses.) The catch is that if you want to do 1920x1280 video, you only get 24Hz, vs. 60 for the Pi, which affects using it as a media platform. (But if you don't care about that, yeah, it's a great deal, especially now that it has more RAM.)

Comment: More RAM is easy for A/A+, Faster is Hard (Score 3, Interesting) 107

by billstewart (#48353239) Attached to: Eben Upton Explains the Raspberry Pi Model A+'s Redesign

The Model A boards have 256MB, the Model B have 512MB. They could have put 512MB in the Model A, but it would have cost them a bit more and they were trying to make it cheaper. (I still wish they'd done it.)

But one reason the board is so cheap is that it's using a System On A Chip that's designed for other applications, not custom for them, so making it faster, or using a newer ARM instruction set, or (apparently) putting more than 512MB on the board would be hard, requiring a major redesign and increasing costs. For instance, the BeagleBone Black costs about twice as much, and while it uses a faster CPU with a newer instruction set, the video processing part is slower, so it's not a total win.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.