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Comment its always sunny somewhere (Score 1) 230

If the goal is just to collect sunlight 24 hours a day, you could just build solar power stations across the globe. It would be a heckuva lot cheaper than building one in space. But maybe that makes too much sense.

Another thought that comes to mind is that the loss in power during wireless transfer would be significant. I'd love to see the calculations that show that this is more practical than collecting the energy on different locations on the surface of the earth.

Lastly, with all this talk of "supposed" global warming, I don't think we are going to do ourselves any favors by pointing concentrated microwave beams at earth ;-)

Submission + - Two million passwords stolen: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter accounts affected (

roubles writes: Trustwave's "ethical" hackers have uncovered a massive world wide key logger hack that is phoning home website login credentials, email account credentials, ftp account credentials, secure shell credentials and remote desktop credentials.

An analysis of the stolen password data shows the most common password to by 123456, by far.

Comment 50% less destructible (Score 4, Insightful) 495

Whats the point of making the phones thinner and lighter when the first thing most people do is put them in huge rubber cases and screen protectors.

Its also interesting to note that people spend a a good amount of money on cases and screen protectors.

Even if an indestructible phone were larger, heavier, and more expensive out of the box than the average phone today, it may very well still be thinner, lighter and cheaper than the average phone + accessories.

Comment This mess could have been avoided... (Score 1) 382

.. if they had some sort of staggered entry to the website. A very simple rule such as only those born before 1950 can register in the first week, those born before 1960 in the second week and so on. This would have alleviated a lot of the traffic issues and given the developers some breathing room to fix bugs and scale their solution.

Controlling traffic, while you scale your solution, is not a novel concept. Gmail did this through an invitation system when it first started. Facebook only allowed certain universities at first etc...

Its strange but this reminds me of why, they say, we have mirrors in elevators. Folklore suggests that in the early days of high rises, people tended to have an unrealistic expectation of elevator speeds, probably, because they had nothing to do in the elevator. Adding mirrors in the elevators gave people something to do and took the pressure off the elevator engineers.

If people expected a government run web site to scale perfectly for millions of users within the first month of its deployment, those are very unrealistic expectations.

Comment What impact will online courses... (Score 1) 69

(in your view) have on the cost of a four year degree in the next 20 years? I am not speaking directly in context of Khan academy - but online courses in general at universities - as well.

Traditionally, the cost of a course is divided between the limited physically present students. With the advent of online universities and courses, that cost can be divided across students across many geographical boundaries. A student in his parent's basement in Malawi could theoretically take a Political Science course at Stanford. This has many advantages:

a) Universities can educate more students per semester per course - so they bring in more revenue.
b) Students don't have to pay for room and board - so it reduces the direct burden on the students.
c) Deserving students can take courses without having to go through the hell of getting a US visa.

For degrees (like Computer Science) that don't need much laboratory work (that you need to be physically present for), it seems to me that the cost of education should actually start to come down drastically with online courses - but I know I am missing something and big education is going to work hard to keep the fees up.

Comment my own dropbox in the cloud (Score 1) 304

I use windows live sync to synchronize one main folder (to rule them all) across all my machines. Then, from one of the machines, I periodically dump that folder onto a NAS. On the NAS I have a script running that does snapshot backups (like time machine) of that folder. Losing data from an accidental delete is far more likely than a hard drive crashing.

The only disadvantage is that the machine that dumps to my NAS has to be at home on my local LAN.

I am thinking of trying out Synology's DSM 4.0:

If it claims to do what they say it does, it should be like my own dropbox in the cloud. Then I can sync my one main folder across all my machines and my NAS. This eliminates the need for windows live sync - and I don't have to be at home to dump data to the NAS. I can also setup a script to make periodic snapshots of the folder. The only issue is currently the synology only has windows clients - and all my machines are macs... so I am still waiting to pull the trigger.

Comment They should concentrate their efforts... (Score 1) 457

...on adding actually useful features like built-in HD tele-presence (integrated with skype and/or google talk).

3D is a fad that, to me, adds very little value to the tv watching experience. Many noted movie critics have already called for the death of 3D. For instance:

Comment I have lived in a country with roundabouts... (Score 1) 1173

...specifically Bahrain, and they are now replacing their roundabouts with traffic light squares...

Roundabouts get specifically confusing when there are three lanes. The tricky part is say you want to take the left (third) exit at a three lane roundabout. You have to start out in the innermost lane, because that is the left lane, and then after you cross the first and second exit, you have to move into the right most lane. Now this is hard to do while you are driving around in a circle. People can't even change lanes safely on a straight road. Also, other people on the roundabout are playing the same musical chairs with the lanes to get off on their respective exits and there are some possible deadlock situations.

Also, in Bahrain when people take a driving test, the roundabout is one of the most dreaded parts. Its right up there with parallel parking.

I personally think Americans need to work on making roads safer not cheaper and faster.

Comment Re:to me gnome still has an edge... (Score 1) 344

What I was trying to say was that the UI looks like crap over VNC.

If you try it, you will notice small dots all over the screen. Here is one example screenshot I found:

Natively, I find the KDE4 UI very nice. A little futuristic, but nice. On older systems it runs slow. To me, the UI improvements from 3.5.X to KDE4 are not worth the loss of critical features like being able to run on old hardware, and being able to run out of the box over VNC.

Comment most people who setup xbmc... (Score 1) 87

...probably have a universal remote. What xbmc really needs is just a USB receiver. I wonder if they sell that receiver separately.

Also, from a hardware design perspective that receiver looks rather small. I think you would want to build this to have a very wide IR receiving angle. I would be interested in seeing this thing get tested in the real world.

Even with this remote, you may or may not be able to turn off/on your xbmc system from it. That depends on your motherboard/BIOS/processor.

I think, what XBMC really needs is official hardware, with a built in RF, IR receiver.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.