Because of the discounts offered by the networks (in exchange for locking you into a contract), you are a very small minority. The market for directly bought phones is very small and no cell phone maker is willing to put effort into it.
No, because phone makers don't sell phones to us, they sell phones to the cell phone networks. And the cell phone networks don't want you to have control over your hardware. That's why you don't get root unless you crack the phone's security and force it to give you root.
Look for the ones with AMD chips, especially the E350s and E450s, as those come with HDMI out and most will hold 8Gb of RAM and do 1080P. A good place to start would be the Asus EEE "B" series, with B standing for Brazos. I have one and its fricking great, 4 years on and it still types well, gets nearly 4 hours on the battery and with 8Gb of RAM everything plays nice and smooth.
But if you want a really cheap media tank instead of using an old lappy look at th E350 barebone kits as I've seen them on sale at Amazon for around $100 with case, I've built quite a few of those as both media tanks and office boxes and they are really sweet, use less than 20w under load and will play just about any format. A word of advice though, if you get one make sure your player is set to use DXVA and get the codecs from either AMD or the excellent CCCP codec pack as the E series APUs are really designed for hardware video acceleration and not having that turned on ties a boat anchor to them system. Using a player without DXVA a 720p video was hitting 80% CPU while the same video with DXVA was using less than 15% so it makes a HUGE difference when it comes to performance.
As for TFA how anybody would trust some large megacorp after the Snowden revelations is frankly beyond me...I mean do you have ANY idea how easy it is to know pretty much everything about you simply by having your browsing history? Everything from what kind of porn you like to what medical issues you have and what beliefs you hold can be gleamed from that sooo easy its just not funny. This is why I have one company for mail, another for search, and made a throwaway account just for my android phone, giving ANY company THAT much info is just creepy.
Yet again you should just go AMD as you can buy the Jaguar based mini-PCs for cheaper, and since those are based on the same cores as the PS4 and XBone if you care any about gaming the coming games should be optimized for it.
And while we are on the subject of Jaguar and AMD since XP is about to EOL? Please please PLEASE get rid of those damned P4s already, okay? If there was a list of "world's dumbest computing ideas" I'd have to put that one at the top, it was slow, sucked insane amounts of power, and because of the crazy long pipelines one cache miss and it would slam on the brakes. The only thing worse was the Netburst Celeron as the teeny tiny cache made misses all but guaranteed.
What does that have to do with AMD and Jaguar? Simple the Bobcat, which the jag was based on can be had for just $65 so for less than $100 you can turn any power pig P4 into a MUCH nicer dual core PC capable of 1080P over HDMI. Simply pick up a PCI to IDE adapter so you can keep the original drives and tada! Dirt cheap upgrade.
One final note...why is everybody making such a big whoop over ChromeOS? We had this in the 90s folks, its called a "thin client" only frankly the 90s ones were better as they weren't controlled by a single company with STASI levels of information about their clients and whom may or may not be connected with the NSA. Hell even if they tell the NSA to fuck off they still consider you to be the PRODUCT and the advertisers the customers so its not like they have your best interests at heart. And do they still TiVo the shit out of them with UEFI? Funny how many here say "Oh M$ is teh evil!" yet I can take any Windows 8.1 laptop and be booting the instaler of anything from BSD to ReactOS in a couple minutes but last I looked the ChromeOS devices were so locked down the ONLY things you could run ere CERTAIN Linux distros and ONLY those that had the hacked loaders...shit, how is turning X86 into a game console NOT evil? Because that is what they did,they took the most standards compliant universal hardware on the planet and turned it into the original Xbox, where you gotta hack the thing just to run a limited amount of software.
And on the flip side you can now go to jail for a drawing of Lisa Simpson in an S&M outfit and thanks to their not being any way to make money many who would need a liver and kidney who aren't rich (and can bribe their way to the top like Steve jobs did) will die.
the problem is laws and common sense almost never go together and laws WILL be abused, look at the kids doing time for taking pics of their own bodies and sexting them to their SO. Do I trust BTC? Not really but frankly I trust the governments of the world to make just laws even less.
I immediately check the Celestia Motherlode.
The reason being that you can almost get a sense of how big something really is with it since it displays your distance to it in au (or ly, Kpc, Mpc).
I encourage you to try it, hit H then G to go to sol, then scroll away first to 1 au, then 10, etc. The sun is still quite bright at 1 ly.
Imagine how big that thing appears at 1 ly distance!
Is there some Looser of the Week competition going on on here that I don't know about?
Yep. You won. Congratulations.
How many times is it gonna be pointed out that Google IS MSFT of the 90s before folks notice its the same dance? EEE? Webkit for Blink, taking more and more of Android behind the proprietary wall (look up Android on Ars for a great set of articles on the behind the scenes of android) its the same fricking dance folks, we've been here and done that and just because a company says "Nooo, we aren't evil, nope, nuh uh" don't make it so. Hell you watch the ads for Halliburton you'd think its a company made of kittens and sunshine, don't make it so.
Maybe I'm wrong but I think its like a law of nature, company starts out cool, gets popular, and then when they reach #1 they get paranoid and start caring more about staying big cheese than on what got them there and turn nasty. After all once upon a time MSFT was just a software house that would happily sell to anybody, even had their own UNIX for a time, but they got to the top and went nasty. Google USED to be this cool mad scientist "throw it at the wall and see what happens" kind of company, now they actively ignore their users (How many have said "do not want" to G+ yet they keep bitchslapping you with it?) and pull douchey moves like this with pretty much zero advantage to anybody but themselves.
History is repeating folks, and i only hope enough notice it and take action before we end up with a half a decade of "This page requires Chrome x.x" because as someone who survived the IE era I can say without hesitation that having one company control the web? REALLY sucks.
I have DVD backups nearly a decade old but I follow two VERY important rules...1.- Take a few discs from each batch at random and test them every 6 months or so, if a disc has any read errors? that batch needs replacing. 2.- the most important of all...AVOID CRAP DVDs!!!! Now just because its cheap does NOT mean they are crap, likewise expensive doesn't always mean good. I've had no problems with the memorex and amazon basics for example. The brands I actively avoid are Ilo,Best Buy/Staples store brands, and while Rosewill are fine for DVDs you hand to people I don't think I'd want to trust them long term.
So follow those simple rules, along with the common sense keeping them in a dark cool place and your DVD backups will easily outlast your desire to keep the old junk backed up. As for TFA? Like for like is really the only way to go with that much data. Buy a pile of HDDs (most will say 4Tb but you can buy 2 2Tb for the price of a single 4Tb so that would be the smart money) and slap 'em in a full size case with a cheap board to be the controller/server and Bob's your uncle. For a board I'd probably go with this. Its cheap, plenty of SATA and more importantly 3 PCIe 1x slots for adding more SATA. For a backup/file server it'd be just perfect.
Not really worried about self driving vehicles. It's just not going to happen, sans strong AI and huge changes in liability law.
Don't need strong AI. In fact, effective self-driving vehicles exist *now*, although they need a little more polish to become practical for general use. Liability is the big road block, but the pressure to implement this technology will be great enough that something will be done.
Sorry, bullshit. If you believe those "tests" I have a bridge you may be interested in, those tests are DESIGNED by the companies! What I trust is my own two eyes and I have gamer customers. Translate that as "must have the giant ePeen rig!" customers so they are NOT buying shit and as little as 6 months ago I was shitcanning brand new drives by Intel and Samsung.
And I noticed you tapdanced around the topic very well, kudos. The topic was the WITHOUT WARNING part which the latest and greatest? STILL NOT FIXED. When it dies, which it WILL die, everything fails sooner or later, whether you like it or not thanks to SMART the customers have on average up to a week before the average HDD shits itself, the SSD? NO WARNING, no data can be saved, its all just fucking gone forever. That is unacceptable.
And again in a perfect world everyone would have backups...but if we lived in a perfect world I would be king and we wouldn't need SMART because everyone would have backups that are current and could just swap drives on fail...not a perfect world Billy, not even close. If simply telling folks to follow best practices actually worked there wouldn't be any viruses, 419 scams, trojans, hell most IT guys wouldn't have a job because nothing would ever break.
So you can scream "backup!" forever that isn't gonna change reality which is frankly against you. Reality is you have to make things that work in SPITE of the user, not with the assistance of the user, and SSDs? Not there yet. Will they get there? Maybe, or maybe something new will blow it away, but as long as there is a real chance they can just flip the switch and lose all their work, pics of their dead grandma, everything they actually care about? Then sorry but its gonna be treated as something for gamers, not grandma and Joe and jane and grandma frankly buy more gear than you, which is why damned near every desktop and laptop you see in every B&M on the planet? NOT with SSD.
Throwing a flag, bullshit on the field. You see Billy there is a teeny tiny itty bitty problem with SSD that none of the companies will talk about...they shit themselves WITHOUT WARNING.
Now can a HDD shit itself without warning? Yes but frankly since the coming of SMART its pretty damned rare, instead you get what I had last week, with SMART screaming on boot and a sector scan showing sectors failing. Final result? I was able to get more than 95% of the user's data off the failing drive, with the only thing being lost that which was actually on the failed sectors themselves.
Let us compare that to an SSD failure, shall we? Oh look, all your shit is gone, NO WARNING and no chance in hell of saving anything...wow, sucks to be you huh? I'm sure you'll talk about "cloud backups" or some such bullshit, yeah with the data caps? Hope daddy gave you a trust fund because that shit isn't gonna work on your average residential line in the USA, and in a perfect world people would have backups...and I would have a billion dollars and be woken up every morning by my Alyson Hannigan sexbot who blows me while I eat steak in bed...ain't no perfect world Billy.
So until the SSD OEMs can create an SSD that gives you an "Oh shit I'm gonna die soon" warning all it takes is one person they know getting an SSD shit itself scenario before it turns off everybody they know. BTW if you can show me where I can get a 1Tb SSD for $60 I'd be grateful, as my customers (which are Joe and Jane average BTW) are going through data like crap through a goose, those little 64Gb and 128gb SSDs ain't gonna cut it. Have you SEEN the size of files the average camcorder puts out today? Camera? Hell we now have 41MP fricking smartphones dude, where all that data gonna go? Sure as hell ain't going to the cloud, not with TW/Comcrap merging, by the time the corp buyouts are done you'll be lucky if you get 50Gb a month and then ONLY to the shitty websites, gotta pay those dividends and bonuses ya know.
Seriously guys like you REALLY ought to have to work at a mom&pop shop at least one month every 5 years so that the corporate bullshit don't rot your brain. Sure when you have $100K+ storage budgets throwing several tens of thousands on fatty SSDs with RAID ain't no thing but that is about as fucking far from reality in the consumers space, which just FYI curbstomps corp when it comes to market size just FYI, than it is from here to Mars.
Or maybe, just maybe, nobody there knew WTF they were doing? It was an online exchange for Magic:The Gathering trading ya know, dealing with cryptocurrency? Not exactly in the same ballpark as trading cards, not even the same sport.
The moral of the story? Just because a company gets huge does NOT mean they know WTF they are doing, or are even competent in the field, it just makes 'em big, that's all. I'm sure they were secure as hell when it came to Magic:The Gathering trading, why anybody thought that meant they were able to deal with cryptocurrency? fuck if I know.