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Comment leaving aside the potential for abuse... (Score 1) 87

Do you think that as long as an organization lets us know that "People will be able to track the aircraft online whenever they're used in order to learn where and why they were deployed" we should allow the creepy, annoying presence of machines buzzing around our visual and sonic spheres?


Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux Or Windows On Quad-core AMD SoC 180

DeviceGuru writes CompuLab has unveiled a tiny 'Fitlet' mini-PC that runs Linux or Windows on a dual- or quad-core 64-bit AMD x86 SoC (with integrated Radeon R3 or R2 GPU), clocked at up to 1.6GHz, and offering extensive I/O, along with modular internal expansion options. The rugged, reconfigurable 4.25 x 3.25 x 0.95 in. system will also form the basis of a pre-configured 'MintBox Mini' model, available in Q2 in partnership with the Linux Mint project. To put things in perspective, CompuLab says the Fitlet is three times smaller than the Celeron Intel NUC.

Comment Re:And how is this different than a bank? (Score 1) 436

Except banks should be able to transfer all your assets, if not in cash, at least in some form (given a reasonable amount of notice in any reasonably likely situation) by calling in investments. They are constrained by regulations and audit scrutiny, etc., It's going to be hard for privately-held, internationally cloaked Full Tilt to get customers' money back out of their exec's pockets.

Comment Re:But... (Score 1, Interesting) 456

The Greater Internet Jerkwad Theory:
Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Jerkwad

As TheGratefulNet suggests, anonymity is very important. At least in the sense that we value intellectual freedom. Sometimes the quality/range/expressive power of the discussion improves too, so I guess we need it as a comunication tool. I don't know that we NEED tons of anonymity to survive as a species, but it does seem like one of the more enlightened human rights and a good thing to try to preserve.

For now, we have plenty of technologies and forums supporting some degree of anonymity, and I don't see them going away just because Google+ landed on the individuation side. Bad news (for + users): Google+ will lose some userbase and some amount of the good things that anonymous communication can foster. Good news (for lovers of aliases-based communication): some other, less-omniscient service will get a market opportunity they wouldn't have had if Google+ allowed aliases.

FWIW, I have a + alias-as-name and will probably drop 'em like Friendster if they make me change it. I already have a RealIdentity-style social network. (On Facebook. For now. Can't wait to try the Great Opensource Distributed Social Network that I know one of y'all is going to invent.)

Comment Re:Wow, back to the future (Score 1) 180

Comparing vector to raster is like apples and oranges, but that's an interesting observation... the choke point for graphics has shifted way up. it's because vectors are like blueprints (and the cpu cycles are like fantastic builders) whereas raster is a less-dimensional structure that can be easily displayed and copied, but not easily manipulated.

Comment Re:Reality Distortion (Score 1) 476

I don't think your black-and-white line test is a good one. The eye treats parallel lines specially.

For me, I can't distinguish lines from gray starting at about 30 inches from my 72-dpi laptop monitor.

By your test, I wouldn't fail to distinguish until 80" away. Or is my math off?


Power Beaming For UAVs and Space Elevators 137

An anonymous reader writes "The idea of power beaming — using lasers or microwaves to transmit usable energy over great distances — has been around for decades. But recent advances in cheaper, more energy-efficient diode lasers have made power beaming commercially viable. LaserMotive, based in Kent, WA, is best known for winning the Level 1 prize of the NASA Power Beaming Challenge at the Space Elevator Games last November. In a new interview with Xconomy, LaserMotive co-founder Tom Nugent, who previously worked on the 'photonic fence' mosquito-zapping project at Intellectual Ventures, talks about gearing up for Level 2 of the NASA competition, slated for later this year. What's more, LaserMotive is trying to build a real business around beaming power to unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensors and military bases, and other locations where it's impractical to run a wire, change batteries, or truck in fuel. The ultimate goal is to beam large amounts of solar power to Earth."

"Can you program?" "Well, I'm literate, if that's what you mean!"