As far as I know there isn't actually any requirement by the network to proxy anything, and I've been able to disable it from the system settings on all of my devices since I learned about the proxy. I'm not sure if you have any access to the configuration for your wireless modem, but you might be able to disable it from there.
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I'm not really sure what all of the hate for device scripting is about, Android is surprisingly scripting-friendly, and it actually has some viable end results.
The second component is transformed into a CAPTCHA image and then protected using evolution of a two-dimensional dynamical system close to a phase transition, in such a way that standard brute-force attacks become ineffective. We expect our approach to have wide applications for authentication and encryption technologies.
From some quick testing the CAPTCHAs are reused so I'm not all too sure it does this successfully, but it's an interesting idea nevertheless.
Unless you're exclusively playing Solitaire, you're probably not going to be able to play most games in a virtual machine, at least on a Linux host. I have a Windows XP VM that I run in both VirtualBox and VMware, and I've had very limited success playing games in either. VirtualBox can barely handle 3D graphics at all (though its support has improved significantly in the last couple of years), and VMware's acceleration, while significantly more stable, is awfully slow.
Unless the situation is for some reason better on OS X, bootcamp is probably the only reasonable solution. Parallels likely wouldn't be any better than just using Wine, considering it uses Wine's Direct3D libraries.
Alternatively, of course, you can just use wine - which works so commonly now that there's really no reason to waste your system resources with the overhead cost of a virtual machine. Even when system resources aren't an issue, VMs are never as fast as native code, and for that reason alone are a poor choice.
When Wine works, though, it runs pretty darn fast and generally doesn't cause too many issues. It's really rare for me to find a game that isn't compatible anymore. The last I couldn't run that comes to mind is League of Legends, but it seems that within the last week since I checked there's been a new workaround that fixes it.
Overall, Wine is considerably more capable than it used to be. I generally don't even have to question whether most apps will run anymore, because the answer is, more often than not, "yes".
I still use it on my laptop despite its control panel but I now use a combination of XFCE and Kwin on my desktop. I spent ages searching for a DE that would "just work" and XFCE does exactly that.
I'm not really sure what's wrong with the filesystem APIs, at least for simple (and even a lot of advanced) IO. Off the top of my head the only exception I can think of is that filesystem attributes and the like were a load of garbage in Java 6, but supposedly the situation is much better in 7.
As for graphics, I did (and still do) work a lot with Java2D, and for the most part it's worked flawlessly on both Windows and Linux. I've run into a couple of platform specific bugs in the past but they would generally be fixed within a couple of patches, and even then were easy to work around. I can't vouch for 3D stuff as I haven't written too much myself, but there's a large number of libraries that have seen some serious cross-platform success.
I'll admit, it isn't "write once, run anywhere", but if you're on any of the major platforms (Windows, Linux, OSX, BSD to some degree) the number of real issues is pretty minimal, and even OpenJDK works pretty damn well. I'll hate on Oracle as much as the next guy, but the influence I see from them on day-to-day independent coding is next to nothing. Apart from the uglier Oracle-themed icons and doc pages, at any rate.
I've been using them as well. Went with them for their low-cost Xen hosting and don't have any regrets. A general VPS tip I've had to learn the hard way: avoid anything OpenVZ. The shared kernel causes lots of problems, especially if the host machine isn't too well maintained.
One host I used about a year ago couldn't keep their server's clock in-sync at all, eventually the time drifted so much that it broke our Google Apps authentication and brought down email access for the entire building for a couple hours, which we eventually had to fix with a poor software hack. They were impossible to contact, and because it was an OpenVZ VPS, the VM clock was shared with the host, so we couldn't fix the time on our own. Not an issue, as far as I know, with Xen / KVM hosts.
From what I've read, the cheaper hosts tend to use OpenVZ because they can oversell the server memory a lot easier. Not an issue for Xen / KVM hosts, which is why I'm now using ThrustVPS for all of my personal stuff now - they're the cheapest/best-reviewed Xen host I could find.
VEX again comes fairly close. You can program it with EasyC, which works very well for teaching to kids and I think would work great for letting the kids become more independent after a short time.
I've never seen an independent kit that offers reasonable ease of use. I've worked with quite a few, and for the most part none of them will satisfy the requirements. They generally are difficult to set up, and require lots of soldering, etc. While great for those interested, they wouldn't work very well for kids working independently. Essentially, the focus is on the electronics side rather than the software side, while the more mainstream kits (Mindstorms, VEX) tend to be more about software and construction (with pre-made parts) rather than electronics.
If that's not an option, I'd still recommend Mindstorms. It's more expensive, sure, but it really is leaps and bounds better than the alternatives. Younger kids (late elementary through middle school, 10 - 14 or so), tend to struggle with some of the less-developed kits, particularly if they lack a large community. Mindstorms is a great development kit, as you can see from all the
If that's still out of budget, VEX may be somewhat less expensive. I believe kits run about $200 and there's still a large community and yearly competitors and challenges to participate in. It's not quite the same community as FIRST, though.
Basically, there's no cheap way to get a (good) robotics kit. Even homebrew stuff (Arduino and the like), is going to be $100 at the absolute minimum. The cheapest way is to find a local team, or perhaps try starting one - many schools districts offer funding, support, or even full kits for new teams, in addition to lots of FIRST scholarships.
Disclaimer: I mentor FLL (Mindstorms) and FRC teams, after having been on several myself through middle and high school.
The House of Representative's Judiciary Committee stalled today for their vote of the SOPA bill. This stall comes with a lot of discussion and debate about potential amendments to the bill itself. SOPA is one of the more controversial bills going through congress right now(Along with the NDAA bill). There was no final vote on the bill today, as there had been expected. Several Representatives have voiced many concerns about the bill, and gives hope that the bill will be killed in the committee. However, there are still Representatives in support of the bill. Those Representatives pointed out that if DNS was targeted, infringing websites would still be accessible, but only through the IP address.
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