goombah99 writes: BoingBoing which in recent years fell from iconoclast to after thought has now fully sold out in their recent make-over. Adds are included inline with articles without distinction. Stories now regurgitate press releases. I mourn the passing of this once great upstart magazine.
goombah99 writes: The USPS may not have gone forward with its plans to kill Saturday mail delivery, but Netflix isn't waiting. A few customers have noticed it's no longer processing shipments on Saturdays, opting for a five day schedule instead. Company spokesman Joris Evers tells Engadget that it's been transitioning in that direction over the past year and ended Saturday processing (usually a low volume day) entirely in early June.
goombah99 writes: If electrons are the lifeblood of a modern economy, copper makes up its blood vessels. In cables, wires, and contacts, copper is at the core of the electrical distribution system, from power stations to delicate electronics. As consumption has risen exponentially—reaching 17 million metric tons in 2012—miners have met the world's demand for 10,000 years. But that might soon change. A group of resource specialists has taken the first shot at projecting how much more copper miners will wring from the planet. Results of their model, described this month, show that production peaks by about midcentury even if copper is more abundant than most geologists believe. That would drive prices sky-high, trigger increased recycling, and force inferior substitutes for copper on the marketplace.
goombah99 writes: We've all seen how game makers copy each other's hot game, sometimes slavishly. Just when does a reimplementation become a copyright violation? Recently to learn objective c I implemented from scratch code for old Atari and Apple II games. As placeholders I initially screen grabbed some icons and sound effects from the original. The goal was to make it look and feel the Same not to improve it. The results were great and since I can't find these games anymore I thought I'd make them available. I got nervous about the copyrights in the icons and sounds so I replaced them with imitations that were intended to be similar. But that got me wondering if that was necessary and if it was what other aspects I might need to change? The game window layout? The scoring scheme? The game play? Would something as generic as pong be copyrighted? If not then what would make a game worthy of copyright ? Or Is copying games only something that rich folks with lawyers to stall C&D letters can do?
goombah99 writes: Brokerages where I keep my mutual funds are just password protected. They do sometimes ask extra security questions but these seem tissue thin (like "what's your favorite food?"). I can use above average passwords but then I need to write them down or put them in a key chain so I don't lose them. I fear key loggers or someone stealing my home computer or it's contents. Is there anything to stop people from draining your account if they have your password?
goombah99 writes: The initial response of geeks to the iphone 4s was a sort of Mehh. Which is odd considering one rarely hears of a computing device 2x faster than its nearest rival. Anadtech benched it and found the overall performance was about 2x faster than the new Galaxy S II phone. Indeed it's tied in speed with the ultra speedy Galaxy tablet yet runs at a slower processor speed for long battery life. The graphics boost is 6x that of the iphone 4. Then there is Siri, which how hard usefully accurate voice command is, ought to at least evince rubber necking to watch either a spectacular Apple boast fail or a surprising breakthrough. Then there's the fact that it not only sold out a rather large pre-release inventory but it managed to sell a million in 24 hours (to real people, not just into "channels". Yet various news organizations have called it a "letdown," a "dud," a "stumble," and a "gaffe." Geeks sometimes deride apple as nothing more than a pretty case, and yet here the only thing that didn't change is the look and feel. Are we geeks guilty of judging the book by the cover?
goombah99 writes: Benchmarks from Anadtech show that on both graphics and overall benchmarks the iphone 4s is about 2x faster than it's nearest competition: Samsungs's Galaxy S II. In graphics frames-per-second it is more than 6x faster than the iphone 4. Indeed, it is essentially equal in speed to the larger Galaxy II tablet, while running at slower clock speed for extended battery life. The apple A5 strategy looks like a category killer.
goombah99 writes: Nilay Patel makes a very cogent argument that software patents are not a bad thing at all. He argues that the problem is the Trolls. And his solution is not only simple, but actually exists and is well tested in other countries, such as Germany so it's pretty easy to evaluate if he's right. He squarely puts down common strawmen like "software algorithms are just math and you can't patent math". And he points out that patents bring methods in to the public domain, unlike the bad old days of trade secrets. In a few years even those seemingly "obvious" patents will be legally obvious and free to all, so in a way there is a clearing house process in effect that is de-encumbering entire fields, such as Amazon-like stores, in the long run. And when people are forced to work around patented methods they explore new more diverse methods, broadening our knowledge. His solution is mandatory licensing at reasonable rates of all patents not in active use by the holder. This allows universities to continue profiting from patents while encouraging people to license widely rather than sit back and wait to litigate when someone succeeds. The end of trolling is within reach.
goombah99 writes: Net Nanny is the well known software to shield young children just getting started on the internet. But I figure that maybe computer savvy folks have other solutions or things that can be layered on top. If there was a list of naughty sites one could of course toss that in a Host file but, having tried that approach, those lists can be pretty long (and thus slow) despite being incomplete and they don't filter by content just IP. The other problem is that they are not per-user so mommy and daddy can't browse freely. I don't mind paying and don't require an open source solution. But I do need one for a mac osx computer. All this goes without saying that supervision and participation are important but you can monitor every key stroke and page load even when you are in the same room. Almost every google phrase you can think of has some close by salacious analog: My 5 year old like Ben 10, and I encourage him to use logic to form his own search phases, but there are some naughty Ben's in the world apparently. What do slashdotters do?
goombah99 writes: Written mail in Victorian London was delivered and picked up 12 times in a 12 hour day. It also resembled e-mail in the way it was used. Messages often sought replies by the next postal pickup. And even the lazy practice of sharing links rather than writing a thoughtful letter became commonplace as people would send copies of previously read newspapers instead of writing. Like now, newspapers saw their circulations plummet as their content was shared freely this way. And as the price of mail droppped to negligible, junk mail was invented along with the 409 solicitations from strangers. All in all it seems like a good evidence that charging more for e-mail delivery would arguably cure its worst tendencies.
goombah99 writes: Written mail in Victorian London was delivered and picked up 12 times in a 12 hour day. It also resembled e-mail in the way it was used. Messages often sought replies by the next postal pickup. And even the lazy practice of sharing links rather than writing a thoughtful letter became commonplace as people would send copies of previously read newspapers instead of writing. Like now, newspapers saw their circulations shrink as their content was shared freely this way. And as the price of mail drop to negligible, junk mail was invented along with the 409 solicitations to strangers. All in all it seems like a good evidence that charging more for e-mail delivery would arguably cure its worst tendencies.
goombah99 writes: VOIP provider ooma offers no-charge, no-strings-attached, commercial-free, VOIP to anywhere in the US. While the service is free forever, you do have to buy their unit. Unlike Magic Jack or Skype, this is a stand-alone unit so it does not need your PC to operate and behaves like a regular hassle free phone. Moreover, reviews say the voice quality is consistently as good or better than Vonage, my current carrier. Since the price of the unit on Amazon is less than about 7 months of Vonage+taxes & fees, I'm thinking of making the jump. But somehow this seems too good to be true: given the quick payback period why is everyone not using this? So I'm asking Slashdot users about their experience. A summary and links to reviews can be found here and the most in depth ones are on Amazon. They claim there is no catch: it will stay free forever as long as ooma stays in business or your voip modem does not need to be replaced (e.g. you break it or want to upgrade it) I note that since 2005, there have been regular unfulfilled predictions they would shortly be out of business, but webmeters show their traffic has grown 450% in the last year and they are now up to about 1/8th Vonage's website traffic, so it seems like they have taken root. On the otherhand ooma's bundled services (voicemail, local calling, etc...) have changed from year to year so what you get depends on when you bought into it. Is there a catch?"