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Comment: Why not both (Score 1) 866

by pacapaca (#41682115) Attached to: Parent Questions Mandatory High School Chemistry
The mandated courses hardly take up a student's entire schedule. I had plenty of time for all my mandated courses plus many electives, including most of the optional courses he listed (except poli-sci, boring!), and still had time to be a lab assistant for the chemistry teacher (yeah, I was that kid). What is this guy rabbiting on about and why should /. care about some idiot's blog? I don't agree with all the mandated "gen-ed" courses at the university level but that's a whole different argument.

Comment: Re:Computer Teacher? (Score 3, Informative) 317

by pacapaca (#41051819) Attached to: Your Favorite Technology That Didn't Come To Pass
I do some automation work on the side and there is a fairly large market for home and commercial automation already, and it is growing. There are a number of large vendors that do in fact supply everything from HVAC thermostats to AV receivers (as well as lighting, home theaters, touchpanels, etc), though I have never seen a request for a smart refrigerator (granted I haven't been doing this for long). Standards would be nice, but most projects buy their automation equipment from a single vendor (which have their own protocols), and communication with consumer devices (TVs, projectors, etc) is usually done with IR bugs and learning equipment, or if we're lucky, with serial connections.

It's still cost prohibitive for most consumers, but as with anything else tech the costs are only going down. Until then, there are plenty of rich guys that want to control their houses from their iPads!

Comment: Re:Best way to watch TV (Score 5, Interesting) 479

by pacapaca (#40461871) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?
Honestly I've found some of the best news and in-depth segments can be found on Al Jazeera which has free live streaming. Many of their English-speaking reporters/presenters are ex-BBC people and it's proper news (not the fluff found on most US "news" channels). There's even a plugin for integration with XBMC (and possibly others)... Definitely worth a look!

Comment: No complaints from me... (Score 1, Insightful) 329

by pacapaca (#40034107) Attached to: Comcast To Remove Data Cap, Implement Tiered Pricing
I'm a Comcast (internet only) customer and honestly I've been pretty happy with the service. The online data usage monitor is always under my router's monthly WAN traffic statistics which is a plus (not sure why the discrepancy though), and I've only had a cumulative ~12 hours of downtime in the year I've had the service (issues related to modem signal strengths). What I got out of this story is that there is no longer a hard cap (though I've never exceeded ~245gb) and I get an extra 50gb (very much welcomed) for the same price? What are we complaining about here?

Granted, it would be better if it were unlimited and I didn't have to ration my Netflix usage at the end of a heavy usage month, but $10/50gb seems reasonable enough to me...

America's Next Bomber: Unmanned, Unlimited Range, Aimed At China 400

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the solving-world-hunger-through-total-war dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. military is developing its next generation bomber with Chinese anti-access strategy — the ability to stop any enemy force from coming to fight with things like carrier killer missiles — in mind. The new bomber will replace older platforms like the 1950's B-52, the 1970's B-1, and 1990's B-2 stealth bomber. The new bomber will sport some unique qualities. It will have an option to be unmanned, will act similar to a UAV, have better stealth capabilities, will be connected to U.S. intelligence networks to create a 'smart' battlefield environment, and have near unlimited range thanks to in-air refueling."

Comment: Nothing to see here... (Score 1) 503

From TFA, "Peel said he had several returns after Christmas, then a few other returns and exchanges — all with a receipt." This implies he had a fair number of returns/exchanges before he was flagged by the system as a possible fraudster (~5+ in less than 4 months). Even if they were all legitimate, that's still a fair amount of expenses incurred by BB for dealing with just one customer. I despise Best Buy as much as the next ./'er, but for a failing company that claims to lose billions a year to fraudulent returns, this seems like a fair policy. If a single return prevented future returns for 90 days, things would be different, but that's not how this appears to be applied.

Comment: Re:I got my beta invite yesterday (Score 1) 241

by pacapaca (#38602134) Attached to: Microsoft To Offer <em>Flight</em> For Free This Spring
People absolutely do this with MS flight simulator. Third party modules (Squawkbox and FSInn) connect to networks of ATC/pilots on VATSIM or IVAO (there may be others), and I believe the same network can be used by X-Plane too. I have been an avid FS pilot since FS98 days and it encouraged me to get my private license and instrument rating. It was originally my preferred career goal to become an airline pilot, but then I came to my senses and majored in CS instead!

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen