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Comment Adessor Ergonomic (Score 2) 452

I'm not sure you have to spend a lot of money to get a great keyboard. I've been using an Adesso keyboards for about 5-6 years (Tru-Form Media Contoured Ergonomic Keyboard (PCK-208B)).

I haven't had to replace one of these, and they're truly ergonomic. I switched to an ergonomic keyboard after writing my dissertation gave me pain in my wrists using a standard keyboard. Getting used to an ergonomic keyboard makes a world of difference for wrist pain, and it's completely natural to switch back to a conventional keyboard. I'd also be careful in buying Microsoft ergonomic keyboards. These tend to separate the left- and right-hand keys, but do not slant the keys to match the natural angle of your hands when typing. The above Adesso keyboard (and keyboards from other manufacturers) have angled keys that more closely match the natural orientation of your hands when typing.

Another great input interface is the trackball. I use the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball. I've found that keeping your mouse arm stationary goes a long way for wrist and arm pain too. These take a bit of getting used to, but they're well worth the commitment. The only drawback is that I have to clean my trackball once every couple of days.

Submission + - White House Petition Signatures Needed for Helium Supply Closure (

An anonymous reader writes: With the pending closure of the Federal Helium Reserve on October 7, 2013, we are facing a loss in the availability of 42% of the US crude Helium supply and 1/3 for the world's supply. Helium's unique physical properties make it vital for scientific research, medicine, hospitals and manufacturing, and greatly reducing its availability will have a devastating impact on these industries. We are requesting your help by signing our We the People petition to the White House.

Comment A shocking statement (Score 4, Insightful) 692

No one would argue that Steve Jobs made important contributions to modern computing. However, it's hardly surprising that a CEO, such as Ellison, would have an inflated perception of the importance of one individual (i.e. the CEO) to the success of a company. If he didn't believe that, then it would be hard to justify the millions he pays himself every year.

Comment I don't think this will work (Score 2) 40

And this is why: regular people aren't qualified to evaluate good research. They also aren't qualified to evaluate research progress. I don't think you can produce a sustainable system for funding without review from your peers. You need experts to look at a carefully designed research project and decide whether it's feasible, worth the investment and whether the researchers are qualified to do the work. A system built without peer review may be successful at first, but ultimately, it will lead to disappointment and wasted money. (That said, it would be better if there were a mechanism to donate your money directly to the NSF and NIH extramural research funding agencies with targets for, say, AIDS research or superconductors.)

Submission + - Free Multi-user Remote Desktop Management

digitalderbs writes: I'm setting up a research lab in physical chemistry, and as part of my setup, I'd like to get a server with 8-12 cores that can be used by my students and post-docs. I'd like to give desktop (GUI) access to each of my users so that they may use software licensed only for that computer. I've tried X-forwarding with ssh on a fast network, and performance is definitely an issue. I'm looking for a free (and preferrably open sourced) system for managing multiple remote desktop sessions. VNC is of course the standard, and it works well but, from what I can tell, lacks multi-user session management. The NoMachine NX server works wonderfully on both low and high latency networks, but it's limited to two concurrent users. Alternative NX server implementations exist, including FreeNX, x2go and Google's neatx. What are your recommendations for remote desktop management client and server software for 6-12 concurrent users over a high (100Mbps) or low (1Mbps) bandwidth connection?

Comment Spotify a promising alternative to Pandora (Score 3, Informative) 170

I had a 1 year subscription to Pandora, and last month, I switched to Spotify. I found Pandora's rotations to be too limited for a given radio station. With Spotify, you can listen to whole albums and actually choose what you'll listen to. It has a related artist radio function, just like Pandora, and if you pay the $10/month subscription, you can download all of these tracks to portable devices like iPods--up to ~3300 or so tracks offline at a time. Now, instead of buying a few CDs (which I may or may not like), I'll just download them to my iPod with my Spotify premium subscription. Their collection has only been limiting in very few cases for me.

note: I'm not affiliated with Spotify. I'm just very happy with the switch, and I think more people would do online streaming--whether video or audio--if they had access to vast collections of media and the ability to watch or listen offline.

Comment I don't use it for the encryption (Score 5, Insightful) 601

I've been using PGP for a few years, and on the odd occasion, I'll send an encrypted email to myself. Part of the problem is that no one knows how to use PHP. I've been sending email to thousands of people in an academic setting, and I've only encountered one other person using PGP.

The reason I keep using PGP, however, is because of digital signing: there's a good guarantee that signed messages were actually sent by me. Headers are fairly trivial to spoof. With PGP, a 'hacker' can only impersonate me if they have access to the private key, which requires physical or ssh access, and he or she must be able to decrypt that key.

That said, I wish more people would encrypt their messages. This should be a no-brainer in a lot of fields, including human rights and for health and human services, and I think the barrier to commit to email encryption is still too great.

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley