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Comment Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 1) 402

A car, TV, and cell phone are prerequsites if you don't WANT to be poor in America.[snip] The $800 TV's (bought on credit, not with cash) should most definitely be in our living rooms

The consumer culture that is thriving in the USA, as made example in your comment, are part of the reason the middle class in the USA have to work harder each year as they gradually sink in the economic order. They allow themselves to be fooled by advertising and popular culture into buying things that are not necessary. You _have_ to buy the car because you _have_ to have your McMansion in the suburbs. You _have_ to have the TV because you _have_ to watch your soaps(and advertising). You _have_ to have a credit card because you _can't_ wait to buy that shiny new whosiewhatsit.

I'll agree that a cell phone is a modern convenience that makes a big difference, but the car and tv, the big house in the 'burbs, and the other trappings of popular middle-class life in the USA are what you need to make yourself poor. America's middle class is being consumed by it's consumerism, and it is so distracted that it doesn't seem able to notice.

Comment Not only 'a store of value' (Score 1) 398

Any currency has a wide range of roles, including storage of value. Since bitcoin is not a fiat currency, I might argue that the best uses for it are not necessarily in value storage, but in transactional freedom across politically defined boundaries. That's not to say that it can't hold value, since there are mechanisms in place with the objective to reduce inflation. In fact, it might do the opposite and deflate which could encourage hoarding. Since it is not available in the form of organizationally controlled physical objects and requires technological transaction support, it seems likely to be used less for small value impulse transactions than for considered, purposeful exchange. That's my guess, anyhow.

Comment Have a ball at work! (Score 1) 635

As many others have mentioned here already, ride your bike to work if you can... Many of us here in Amsterdam ride to work daily. There aren't any hills, but the wind can increase the effort significantly. Maybe you think you live too far away from your work, but if you are like most people, the distance is probably less than 30km (~19mi) and even more likely to be much closer than that. Make sure you dress for the ride and the weather so you'll be comfortable. You'll be a lot more likely to keep it up for the future. Watch out for cars on the way to work and get some really visible lights for the front and back. Once you're at work maybe your options are limited by space, noise, or expense or all three. That's the case for me. I use an exercise ball as a chair. It sounds odd and unproductive, but it keeps my core engaged all day long. I purchased the largest one I could find(60cm) and over-inflate it until it is pretty firm. At first my back 'hurt' since the muscles were tired, so I spent the first few weeks only part-time on the ball. I used to have back pain from slouching in a chair but I've been sitting on the ball for 3 years now and have been completely without back pain for the last 2,5 years.

Comment Re:No Good (Score 1) 553

For me, that would feel parasitic. I gave to the EFF anyhow, and directly instead of through the HIB. I don't want DRM on my computer, and wouldn't install these games even if they would work on my system (Linux only).

Maybe the best way to help the folks at HumbleBundle to find their way again is a nice email, instead of just sticking it to them.
To whom it may concern:

Thank you so much for the wonderful bundles that you have released over the years! I've been introduced to some great developers and found some nifty toys that I would not likely have found on my own. I think that you've done GREAT THINGS for the indie game developers out there and to the EFF, a charity I can really get behind! You've helped bring relevance and momentum to a section of the industry that has really deserved it, and emboldened new developers to pursue projects and create awesome things never seen before.

In the past I've purchased several versions of the humble bundle and promoted it to others. I haven't played many of the games past the first few minutes, but I've really felt like the HIB was an awesome new development in the promotion of games the major industry generally lacks.

With the release of the latest THQ bundle, I feel like the brand that you've built has been compromised in a significant way, and it seems that you've sold out to a part of the industry that is failing due to the choices it has made. Those common industry choices are WHY I do not buy games from THQ and similar:
THQ games are NOT developed to work on Linux or even Mac.
THQ games include DRM which is a disgusting offense to the customer.

Additionally, this bundle is undesirable and departs from my expectations of the Humble Bundle brand due to the fact that THQ is not an indie developer, and significantly, is only available through Steam instead of a direct download.

I believe that the Humble Bundle brand can be saved if you don't publish bundles of this type in the future. However, if you choose to follow the major games industry down this road, you will be going that way without those many of us who believe that the games industry can be turned around. THQ and it's ilk choose to reward their paying customers with mistrust and DRM. They choose to falsely belief that the Windows platform is the only viable one. They choose irrelevance and failure, and they deserve to get it. There may be good people working at this company, but they need to have ethical standards in whom they choose to work with. When companies like THQ fail, their employees are thereby freed to pursue work in industries where they can make a positive mark on the world.

As soon as you return to what we used to believe were your core principles, we will support you again. Please never release a bundle of this type again.

Thanks for the memories, and I wish you good luck in finding your way back to the good path.

Comment Re:Skype (Score 1) 212

Exactly. It's just not a problem any longer. I use Skype on 2 systems, Ubuntu 10.04 and Mint 12 all day long for business. I use the version from Skype's download page. Very rarely, if I have flashplayer running (e.g. Pandora in firefox) Skype will consume all available memory on the system before being killed off automatically. Otherwise, I have zero problems with it, including voice quality, video, shared desktop, files, etc. With ongoing excellent support and development of LibreOffice and Thunderbird, I'll never need to go back to window$ for my work environment. If I am asked to use some pre-compiled MS binary, Wine is better than ever and in increasingly rare occasions I use an XP VM. It's amusing that at our business it's the MS users that do the cursing at their machines, while the Linux users have it easy.
Hardware Hacking

A $25 PC On a USB Stick 352

KPexEA writes with this excerpt from "[Game developer David] Braben has developed a tiny USB stick PC that has an HDMI port on one end and a USB port on the other. You plug it into an HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the USB port, giving you a fully functioning machine running a version of Linux. The cost? $25. The hardware being offered is no slouch either. It uses a 700MHz ARM11 processor coupled with 128MB of RAM and runs OpenGL ES 2.0, allowing for decent graphics performance with 1080p output confirmed. ... We can expect it to run a range of Linux distributions, but it looks like Ubuntu may be the distro it ships with. That means it will handle web browsing, run office applications, and give the user a fully functional computer to play with as soon as it's plugged in. All that and it can be carried in your pocket or on a key chain."

White House Releases Trusted Internet ID Plan 229

angry tapir writes "From the Computerworld article: 'the U.S. government will coordinate private-sector efforts to create trusted identification systems for the Internet, with the goal of giving consumers and businesses multiple options for authenticating identity online, according to a plan released by President Barack Obama's administration.'"

Ex-MS GM Can't Work 'Anywhere In the World' For Salesforce 282

theodp writes "Be careful before you sign a Microsoft non-compete agreement, kids. GeekWire reports that King County Superior Court Judge Kimberley Prochnau has enjoined former Microsoft General Manager Matthew Miszewski from 'working in a marketing role in's public or commercial sector anywhere in the world.' So what did onetime Wisconsin State CIO Miszewski do to warrant the global ban? 'He was a major evangelist for Microsoft,' explained Judge Prochnau, who added that the 'thrust of the order is to preclude him from being the evangelist for that he was for Microsoft.' Microsoft, which has warned Congress that restricting the flow of talent is ruinous to America, said in a statement that the company is pleased with the ruling."
The Internet

China Calls Out US On Internet Freedom 338

rsmiller510 writes "In an interesting case of the pot calling the kettle black, the Chinese government released a report criticizing the US government of being hypocrites where Internet freedom was concerned — criticizing others for cracking down, yet circling the wagons when it involves US internal security (WikiLeaks anyone?). And the Chinese might have a point."

A Look At the World's Dwindling Food Supply 570

An anonymous reader writes "The UK's Government Office of Science has released a report titled 'The Future of Food and Farming' which takes a look at, among other related concerns, how to continue to feed a global population that is on pace to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. 'The report calls for more innovation to increase production. That means using the potential benefits of GM crops and other biotech approaches, although these won't be a cure-all. There's room for improvement on the consumption end, too, as 30 percent of food never makes it into a human stomach; in the developed world, we let produce slowly rot in the backs of our fridges, and the in developing world, farm wastage causes a similar problem. ... Rising energy prices influence food security, with a correlation between food price and oil price that has become stronger over time, first increasing food production costs, and later by encouraging the diversion of food stocks into biofuel production.'"

Can You Beat a Computer At Rock-Paper-Scissors? 292

tekgoblin writes "The New York Times has created a game that uses artificial intelligence to outsmart you. It uses a simple game called Rock-Paper-Scissors which is pretty much known by everyone on the planet by now. The computer tries to mimic human reasoning by building on simple rules and statistical averages. So based on the rules of the game and your previous moves, the computer tries to make predictions on your next move. The game has 2 modes, the first being Novice, where the computer learns the game from scratch, and Veteran, where the computer has experience of over 200,000 rounds of previous experience."
Classic Games (Games)

Futureproofing Artifacts: Spacewar! 1962 In HTML5 175

trebonian writes "In 1997 we posted a playable version of the Spacewar!, the first graphical computer game. Spacewar! was written by Russell et al at MIT in the early '60s. We did not re-implement the game. Rather, we found the original source code, rebuilt it to get an authentic binary and ran it on a PDP-1 emulator that we wrote in Java. We chose Java to implement the PDP-1 because we believed at the time — correctly as it turned out — that a Java version would survive the browser wars. Also, it would not require any effort to keep it running on all platforms well past the turn of the millennium, and through the traffic peaks of Spacewar's 40th and 45th birthday. It's now getting close to 15 years later. We would not want to bet that in another 15 years a Java program will still run on the latest popular platforms. As a hedge to the future, and in an effort to continue the preservation of this significant digital artifact, we've now ported the PDP-1 emulator to Javascript/HTML5. This should see the game through Spacewar!'s 50th (and hopefully 60th) birthday. Expect another update around 2025."

Scientists Cleared of Misusing Global Warming Data 541

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The NY Times reports that an inquiry by the Commerce Department's inspector general has found no evidence that NOAA scientists manipulated climate data (reg. may be required) to buttress evidence in support of global warming after climate change skeptics contended that e-mail messages between climate scientists that were stolen and circulated on the Internet in late 2009 showed that scientists were manipulating or withholding information to advance the theory that the earth is warming as a result of human activity. 'None of the investigations have found any evidence to question the ethics of our scientists or raise doubts about NOAA's understanding of climate change science,' says Mary Glackin, the agency's deputy undersecretary for operations. The inquiry, requested last May by Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who has challenged the science underlying human-induced climate change, comes at a critical moment for NOAA, as some newly empowered Republican House members seek to rein in the EPA's plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, often contending that the science underpinning global warming is flawed. Inhofe says the report (PDF) was far from a clean bill of health for the agency, and that contrary to its executive summary, showed that the scientists 'engaged in data manipulation.'"

Talking To Computers? 395

merlock18 writes "Is it un-natural to talk to a computer? After discussing the outcome of the Jeopardy game with some colleagues, they seem to think it is mildly 'scary' to talk to a computer and have it competently talk back. Is this what everyone thinks? I was thinking to myself how much I would like to be able to even tell my computer to open programs by telling it vocally. A simple idea that I am fairly surprised is not common. Am I a minority in this one? Do people just not like the idea of talking (without cursing) to a computer, let alone have it act or reply? Would anyone else be interested in building their own mini-Watson, or is this just scary?"

House Fails To Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers 284

schwit1 writes "The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public. The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013."

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.