Ubuntu doesn't ship with patented codecs for many reasons, including the desire to promote non-encumbered options. They do make it quite easy to install them if you really need to, as explained here.
KDE on Fedora isn't too awful. It's gotten a lot better since about Fedora 19. In fact, it works much better for me than the default GNOME option. I believe KDE is handled by a dedicated team, so it's certainly not the afterthought it used to be. As for patented codecs, I just make sure RPM Fusion's non-free repo is enabled and I have access to cleanly packaged codecs as needed. Just install the gstreamer packages and you'll have everything you need.
You'll have a hard time finding a US-based or other major distribution supporting aac, h.264, and similar directly because of software patents that require payments to the license holder. It's why Ubuntu and Fedora both ship without that kind of support.
I have a 2011 Mazda 3 and am in California. My car doesn't have Daytime Running Lights. As far as I am aware, it's never been a legal requirement here, and likely not anywhere in the US. Some manufacturers offer them because of "safety", but it's not legally mandated.
I do agree with you on the light placement, some new models just aren't well designed in that area. Then again, I'm used to drivers not actually using their signals, so placement doesn't matter for that.
I'm not sure about the changes made with EFI booting, but for "classic" BIOS-mode booting, Windows does support multiple OS from its own bootloader. Check out info on the boot.ini (NTLDR). Heck, there's even a tool, EasyBCD, that will help you set up the booting options.
Of course, since most people that use desktops run only Windows, almost nobody has actually seen the Windows NT bootloader menu. Some of the people who used NT 3.51 or 4 might recognize it. In addition, since no consumer version of Windows until XP (the merge between the classic and NT codebases) supported multiboot, it's not a huge surprise that people don't know about this. That doesn't discount the practical issues too: editing boot.ini requires writing to an NTFS volume, which only really became possible on Linux with NTFS-3g, or you have to boot into Windows. If you were going to be using Linux primarily, it was much easier to just use lilo or grub for the bootloader.
John Romero, is that you?
My best guess is the user was thinking of the 25 pin DB connector Apple used for SCSI-1 equipment. It's really easy to confuse with a parallel port.
Three-way incandescent bulbs are still going to be sold under an allowance for specialty bulbs.
Modern LEDs are actually really good with dimmers, as long as you don't go for the ultra-cheap models. The cheap LEDs can't go as dim as the mid-price ones. I replaced some PARs in my hallway with store-brand Utilitech (Lowe's) LEDs and they work great with the dimmer I installed.
Personally, I can't complain about the color spectrum. If you're picky, Cree has their TW series that are really solid and project light just like the standard A19 incandescent to which people are familiar. The Cree bulbs even have real glass.
Wacom actually makes screens you can draw on, it's called the Cintiq. They are, however, quite a bit more expensive than the Surface Pro. Of course, the Surface Pro won't replace the larger model Cintiq devices.
The real problem is that the RT, which is the subject of the article, is a fancy tablet with a nice keyboard cover. There's no legacy application support, for obvious reasons to anyone reading Slashdot. There's no Wacom digitizer functionality. It does have Office, in the Desktop view. Microsoft failed on the RT by not having any obvious advantages over the major competitors in the space and by creating confusion between the RT, the Pro, and plain Windows 8. If a potential customer isn't sure which Windows tablet they need, they are just as likely to get an iPad or Android tablet because of the ecosystem those have.
Ingres is still supported and developed commercially by a company called Actian. They also have a GPL version of the database software you can download.
It's certainly not anything in high demand, but it seems that it's still commercially viable for now.
Yeah, the major US operators have done their best to make money no matter what way you go. If you pay full price for your phone or go for their subsidized offerings, you still have to pay $100/mo for service if you want a data plan. There is no service price difference either way. Often, you have to go on a two year contract either way as well. If you don't take their subsidized phone, they just make a better profit on you. That makes it advantageous for customers to upgrade every two years as there is no benefit to them for keeping an older device.
The only major operator that isn't that way is T-Mobile, where you got a lower price if you brought your own device. That was on their old "value" plans. Now they have fully unbundled the two things and you can get a phone with discount on an interest-free installment plan and choose whatever service you want. The downside is that T-Mobile has fairly poor coverage outside their major areas. I'm lucky to be in a region that has decent coverage with them. It will be interesting to see how the other majors respond to the new T-Mobile plans, but they might just be too big to care.
Of course, pre-paid MVNOs operate differently, but are subject to the whims of the majors upon whom they depend for connectivity.
I only wish such good mobile plans were here in the US, but the corporations have made sure to make it near impossible to happen.
In the US, out of the four major carriers, only one (T-Mobile) offers post-paid service that is cheaper if you bring your own device. For all the others, the monthly price is not affected by if you take a subsidized phone or not. This makes it advantageous to constantly "upgrade" your phone when the contract is up. Doing so does lock you into a contract with high early termination fees, discouraging you from leaving. The only advantage of being month-to-month with those carriers is if you are planning to switch. Also, given the fragmentation in spectrum usage in the US, switching carriers usually requires purchasing a compatible phone.
The MVNOs such as Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, TracFone/Straight Talk/Net10, and others operate a little differently and may offer lower prices if you bring your own unlocked device.
For pre-paid service, you usually have to pay for the phone up-front, so there is often no subsidized price.
I understand that the situation is different outside the US, so it might very well be cheaper in other countries to pay the full retail price of the device.