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Comment: Re:Meh to Android. (Score 1) 117

by c41rn (#37249296) Attached to: CyanogenMod Shows Off Android On the HP TouchPad

For what it's worth, the Cyanogen guys said they plan to make it a dual-boot option, allowing TouchPad owners to continue to use WebOS alongside Android. I was lucky enough to pick up a TouchPad, and I've been pleasantly surprised by WebOS. Out of the box, it was extremely disappointing (the WiFi wouldn't work for more than 30 sec at a time), but it's been outstanding after upgrading to 3.0.2.

Is Preware to WebOS what Cyanogen Mod is to Android? I'll have to check that out, thanks!

Comment: Re:No seatbelt (Score 5, Insightful) 187

by c41rn (#36508292) Attached to: Analog Designer Bob Pease Dies In Car Crash
Indeed. Pease crashed on Pierce Rd. in Saratoga and I had a very close call myself several years back near the intersection of Pierce Rd. and Hwy 9 in my 1967 VW Karmann Ghia, so I have some experience here. The early VWs (up to 1969 for the Ghia, and I think '70 for the Beetles) had swing axle rear ends that jack up the rear end in turns so that the tires are riding on their edges. Since the engines are in the back, this causes the car to lose control very quickly on tight turns like those on Pierce Rd. and Hwy 9. After '69/70 or so, VW put IRS in their vehicles to fix this problem, keeping the wheels relatively perpendicular to the road in turns.

IIRC, it was the swing axle rear ends in the Corvairs that led to Nader's "Unsafe at any speed" suit.

This is a bit off topic, but having a technical discussion about the cause of the crash is probably what Pease would do too ;) Rest in peace.

Comment: GRAMPS, PHPGedView and Legacy (Score 2) 292

by c41rn (#34611188) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?
I've been researching my family tree for over 10 years now and I've tried very many genealogy software programs. Choosing an open source genealogy program was extremely important to me since all the research I've done could be lost if it were locked up in a proprietary file format that is inaccessible 20 years from now. However, it is equally important that my genealogy database be easily accessible by as many family members as possible - family members who may not be very computer literate.

GRAMPS is an outstanding piece of software. When I first began using it a few years ago, it was a little rough and it was difficult to install on Windows. This made it great for me while running Ubuntu, but difficult for me to recommend to family members. It seems to have much better support now under Linux, Windows and Mac. It also uses an open XML-based file format that at least one working group is looking at as the basis for an updated standard to replace the aging GEDCOM format. I think this is definitely the candidate for best OSS Genealogy.

PHPGedView is another good, open-source, web-based genealogy package. This is a good one to use if you're planning to build your family tree collaboratively among several family members. My biggest complaint about it is that it's a little clunky looking and some family members seem a bit intimidated by it, so they don't make changes or additions when they could. I began building a new theme and layout for it, but I put it on hold when I felt like it was taking time from working on the family history itself. Of course, it also requires that you have a server to host it on.

A similar online family tree is Wikitree.com. It looks promising, but I haven't yet found a good way to sync changes between it and my local genealogy software. It's still in its infancy though.

All that said, my favorite genealogy software is the closed-source Legacy Family Tree. The standard edition is free and the full "deluxe" version is inexpensive. Unfortunately, it's Windows only (I've had mixed luck running it through WINE). It's advantage though is that it's very easy to install and use and has some powerful tools for sourcing and merging trees. It also creates some very impressive, customizable family tree charts that can be saved in a variety of formats or printed through their mail-order service. It also saves your genealogy database in several formats including GEDCOM.

Ancestry.com is the necessary evil of the genealogy world. They have many records on their site that aren't available elsewhere on line, but they have made quite a few business decisions over the years that don't sit well with many family historians. They also produce the "Family Tree Maker" software which I recommend avoiding.

Comment: Re:Galaxy |= LCARS (Score 1) 210

by c41rn (#33612708) Attached to: Samsung's Galaxy Tab Android Tablet Now Official
There's an Android Tricorder app that I've got on my Nexus One. It's easily one of my favorite apps - I use it to check all the phone's functions and the basic environmental data can be used to replace many other basic apps (Wifi searching, GPS/compass data, Accelerometer for leveling, etc.). The LCARS theme is the icing on the cake.

Comment: Re:Buffalo Technology gets my vote. (Score 1) 344

by c41rn (#31970604) Attached to: Open Source Router To Replace WRT54GL?
I second the vote for Buffalo. I've been running my WHR-HP-G54 for a couple years with no problems and I've been using the Tomato firmware.

I was just shopping last night for a similar router that would support 802.11n and I found the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH router. It looks like this router supports DD-WRT and it appears that it will even ship with DD-WRT as the default firmware in a month or two. That's what I'll be buying.

Comment: Re:This is going to be what killed hulu (Score 1) 191

by c41rn (#28490907) Attached to: The Simpsons Worth More Per Viewer On Hulu Than On Fox

While an ad is playing on Hulu, there are two buttons to the left of the video: "Like ad" and "Dislike ad". These are only visible in the windowed video though, not full screen. I make a point of clicking on the "Dislike ad" button any time a commercial is too loud and/or obnoxious like the [rum company] ad you are referring to. I don't know if Hulu tracks these clicks on a per user basis, but after clicking on the "dislike ad" button a few times, I don't see that ad any more. Even if it doesn't track it on a per-user basis, I'd like to at least believe that it sends Hulu and advertisers the message that we won't tolerate these kinds of games.

It is the incessant, obnoxious commercials on cable TV that lead to me disconnecting it as soon as I learned about Hulu. Now I've been spreading the word about Hulu and even my older parents and some retirees I know are using it rather than pay for cable.

Comment: Re:and who's going to CARE? (Score 5, Informative) 281

by c41rn (#27250585) Attached to: Diebold Admits Flaw In Voting Software
I don't know if you were going for sarcasm or missed it in the article, but the machines in question (the flawed machines in Humboldt County) ARE optical scan machines. They are made by Diebold and they have software flaws that cause errors in how the votes are tabulated. For example, their software was in some cases dropping the entire first batch of scanned ballots (batch 0).

However, it is precisely because they are optical scan ballots - with a paper trail - that led to the flaw being found. Mitch Trachtenberg, a volunteer AFAIK, was able to scan all of the ballots post-election and tabulate them using his own open-source software. The discrepancy between his results and the official results is what led to the discovery of the flaw in Diebold's software.

I'm glad that they were using optical-scan ballots and that they saved the paper copies (and made them accessible), but it's still vulnerable to software flaws, "errors", etc., even if it is optical scan.

Comment: Re:windoze 7 (Score 3, Informative) 496

by c41rn (#26977059) Attached to: The Hard Upgrade Path From XP To Vista To Win 7

I would still have to boot into windows to update my Iphone, and use Itunes. I have gone completely legit in the music, movie and software areas and I like being able to download DRM free music whenever I feel like it. Bottom line, you can't do that with Linux.

For what it's worth, I've been buying DRM free music from Amazon using Ubuntu for a while now. They even offer a handy downloader for Linux.

Comment: Re:Chemicals (Score 4, Informative) 1334

by c41rn (#24571941) Attached to: Home Science Under Attack In Massachusetts
For what it's worth, the comments in the linked article say, "What Victor Deeb was working on is the elimination of Bisphenol A, Bisphenol F, (used in container closure coatings) PVC, pthalates (used in food container sealants) BisPhenol A, Bisphenol F and pthalates ( carcinogens) have been detected in baby food, and Dioxin( a very powerful carcinogen the product of incinerating food container closure to recover the metal) from the environment"
Education

Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games 153

Posted by Zonk
from the play-faster-dangit dept.
BusylikeBum writes "Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell. The board game can take just too long, she said. Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass. 'A lot of times, you don't play games because they take so long.' Board game makers are heeding pleas of parents like Hastings and introducing games tailored to busy lives and shorter attention spans that take only about 20 minutes to play." This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.
Science

Harvesting Energy in the Sky 261

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pie-in-the-sky dept.
withoutfeathers writes "The Economist magazine has an article on Flying wind farms. Mind you, we're not talking about ordinary, terrestrial windmills here. We're talking about actual airborne — up to 10km in the sky — wind farms intended to harvest the immense supply of energy in the jet stream. On the surface, the idea seems a little eccentric but, in fact, San Diego (California, US) based Sky WindPower has, apparently, thought their concept through pretty thoroughly and believes they can not only make this work, but do so profitably. The article discusses several other ideas for high-flying wind farming including a Dutch proposal to use pairs of kites to drive a generator."

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