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Slashback: Ghana, Graphics, Tumors 151

News for those in the (large?) corner of the giant Venn diagram we all inhabit blessed with both a noticable social consience and computer skills, as well as the time to devote to some travel abroad; Good news for everyone whose number travels with them; a tad more on background of the 3dfx merger; and what appears to be the unraveling of eToys. All below, in tonight's Slashback.

The few, the proud, the advententurous, the dorky. Elvis Maximus writes: "Geekcorps has been mentioned here before and met with some interest. Their first batch of volunteers are winding up their tours in Ghana, and the Industry Standard has run a nice piece on their experiences. This is an interesting effort that deserves some attention."

Congratulations (and admiration) to those who participated in this. GeekCorps is good stuff.

Remember, saliva causes stomach cancer ... ByteHog points to this AP story about the alleged connection between cell phone use and cancer, writing: "Kinda interesting, but I'm still going to be wearing tinfoil around my head whenever I make a call ..."

This issue has been raised for years, with no clear winner. The upshot from this study is a data point for the null hypothesis, but inevitably this will drag on, and the next study to become famous will probably be one that contradicts this. Don your tin-foil, kneepads and breathing masks, until fatality is cured.

Resistance is futile, for now. Fervent writes: "Gamecenter has an interesting article on why 3DFX collapsed. Among the reason cited: the proprietary API Glide, not allowing OEM's to sell Voodoo hardware, and NVidia's agressive product cycle." This makes an intersting followup to the recent announcement of the absorption of 3dfx by NVidia.

Play, play, play, and be gone with ye! Greyfox writes: "According to USA Today Etoys is putting itself up for sale. It's the standard dot com failure story. It'd be delicious irony if the folks running the Etoy domain they sued a while back bought their domain name." DarkKnight points to this link at CNETas well.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Ghana, Graphics, Tumors

Comments Filter:
  • Yes, I think that the purchase of STB was the downfall of 3dfx. STB always made dislikable cards, anyway; their stupid 'STB Vision' crap fouled up more than one system that I've seen. I can just see some poor suit somewhere holding his head in his hands and going 'Why, oh, why did I buy STB?'

    I'm not sure I'd blame it on the lateness of the V3. I think that reputation could have held them through that one, if they hadn't gone with STB... 'course, maybe without STB they'd have been on time?

    It's interesting that the V3 did show up on-board in Dell systems for a while. Makes me wonder why they did that, and yet not the old style 'buy our chips' deals.

    Ah, well... I suppose we could speculate like that for a long long time...
  • I have no real information on this, and at the risk of sounding like a troll, the obvious answer is YES, especially if you look at how many games support glide these days!
  • Vassily's quote is fine and dandy. Disclaimer have to be done in a way that they can be read, and so that a "resonable man" can understand their purpose. "Literally frying your brain" is a phrase that sounds great as a warning that something BAD could happen--and it's more easily read, and thus more likely to be read, than boring all-caps EULA legalese.
  • "Rodent studies are essentially useless"

    Pull your head out of your ass. Rodents are used because they are very close to humans in several aspects: digestion, excretion, immune response, physiology, anatomy etc. Rodents are used because they're CHEAP. And, you can do studies with sucessive generations. So, you see, it's a damn good thing they don't live as long as humans. If they did, they wouldn't be used for experimentation. Where do you think half the drugs developed came from? They don't test new things on people right away - they use mice/rats.

    "Besides, what causes cancer in rats doesn't necessarily cause cancer in humans".

    I bet'cha all 226 of those were carcinogenic to humans - ranging from mild to severe. Remember, we're all mammals. Physiology is physiology. Ever notice how they group animals together? Birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals... All mammals have a liver, a brain, etc.

    The fact that you can irradiate a rat is a good thing. You can simulate YEARS of exposure over a course of a couple weeks.

    The study should not be criticized for its use of rats or mice. You need to look at the scientific process. Examine their methodology. Perhaps someone messed up the statistics? Was it a controlled environment? Are there confounding variables? Example: to do this properly, they would need to expose the rats/mice over the course of their lifetime with comparable doses of radiation that a human would recieve.

  • Hey, troll, I've got one word for you: Texas.

    (To spell it out: You can find brutality and superstition anywhere. Especially in countries that still have the death penalty. Right beside that, you can find freedom, justice, and science. Life is complex; deal with it.)

  • There is indeed a very good reason for getting third world countries on the internet. The internet is becomming our global communications network, and every human on this planet should be able to communicate, and know what's going on in their world. On the internet, I can make my opinions known. In a rainforest in Ghana, with no communications equipment whatsoever, I have no chance to contribue to a world bigger than the one I live in, with trees and rain and animals and the few people around me. This isn't inherently bad, and many people I'm sure are happy this way, but many people have so much more to contribute to the world, and have a calling other than that. What about all those undiscovered geeks down there? Anyway, that was rather rant, but I'm very excited about what geekcorps is doing. The internet will be less and less about money and commercialism in the near future, and will become more about communication and media, but that only really works if we can get more of the world on it! Go geekcorps, and I'll be applying in a few weeks, count on it!

    Joshua

    Terradot [terradot.org]

  • I used to have only my trusty cell phone until recently when I moved into a new apartment and was required to have a landline hooked up for the stupid door intercom (which, wouldn't you know, is operated by Uncle Bell), otherwise I would have stuck with just the cell. With their newfound mass popularity, cell phones are cheaper than ever and so it the airtime. Buying the hardware is cheaper than the installation fees for a landline, and you can get a very nice cell for less than the cost of a basic LCD display desk phone. The only thing that's tricky with a cell is dial-up net access, but the advent of broadband greatly alleviates this little hitch. I still harass the building management every month when I pay the rent, begging them to get rid of the old crappy intercom and get a better cheaper cell-friendly system. It costs me about 30$ (canadian) for a landline that serves nearly no purpose except to unlock the front door for the pizza guy and to crank up my stats on mp3.com *wink*. Once again, Bell sucks!
  • This project isn't about turning the average Ghanaian into a happy websurfer. It's about giving the average Ghanaian a chance at a decent job, or his business a chance at success.

    In my mind it's more about giving the average Ghanian a window to the world outside Ghana, about giving them a voice in the global communications network of this planet. This is an important thing, I think. I'd never heard of Geekcorps before, but I find myself rather excited and intrigued by the idea.

    Terradot [terradot.org]

  • A perspective on the latter days of 3dfx from the perspective of a disgruntled shareholder: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13929930&so rt=threaded
  • There are not many free electrons floating around in your brain.

    No? There are certainly ions involved in signal propagation down axons. Where do all the electrons go?
  • > It's worth pointing out that, while sometimes the company outlives its cash, the stockholders almost never do.

    Whelp, Stockmaster has the chart for MSFT [stockmaster.com]. Could you run up the anticipated date for us?

    It's not quite so nearly monotonic as the dot coms you list, but it's still not the kind of thing that cheers stockholders.

    --
  • This person hit the nail on the head. In keeping with a 600+ year tradition, the white is about to fuck the black once again.

    If any white person (or country) wanted to truly help an African, and by 'help' I mean with no strings attached, said white would feed said African or teach said African how to grow food. Instead, whitey always plants the seed of his own profit on African soil. Any 'gift' to Africa always has some string attached, such as an explicit (or implicit) agreement that will favor whitey sooner or later. For examples, foreign aid never comes without 'encouragement' to have a western-style government, or to house our troops, or to get addicted to our tobacco or our coca-cola (leading cause of diabetes worldwide). So, five years from now we'll be farming out our web design to a Ghanan for $1/hr, but he won't be able to afford our overpriced cancer drugs. It's like slavery, but enough money changes hands to make it appear not to be.



    I'd rather be a unix freak than a freaky eunuch
  • The study of 891 people did find a slightly increased risk for a rare type of brain cancer, but the researchers said it was not statistically significant.

    Why the hell does the media report "effects" that aren't statistically significant? A study also has a 50% chance of finding a non-significant correlation between cell phone use and below-average penis size (assuming penis size and cell phone use are unrelated--if they are related, YMMV). This is just alarmism (kinda like my use of bolding above :-). Science journalists should be required to take stats courses in journalism school.

    "Since most solid tumors take 10 to 15 years to develop, it is probably too soon to see an effect"

    If you did a study of the effect of smoking on people who have only been smoking for three years, it would be almost impossible for scientists to prove that smoking is harmful [snip] The same could apply to cell phones.


    I am not an oncologist, but what you are saying sounds quite reasonable. Given that it takes 10 - 15 years for cancer to develop, any studies that do find a correlation between cell phone usage must be crap, since cell phones haven't been around that long. Now, since there's no evidence that cell phones are carcinogenic (how could there be if cancer takes longer to develop than cell phones have been around), why are we worrying?

    Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation at lower power levels. Compare this to the natural radioactivity and cosmic radiation which you're constantly exposed to (which is certainly ionizing). Now, without any reliable evidence to suggest a significant risk, why should we be concerned about cell phones? I think this whole scare has stemmed out of BYRS (Bourgeois Yuppie Resentment Syndrome), and not science.

  • [[ If I were a cell manufacturer, I'd add a liability wavier with every phone. ]]

    Maybe. Until there's any reason to think that cell phones really do cause cancer, why give people ideas?

    Regardless, such a wavier could note that the chances of future research revealing a non-zero cancer risk can be bounded by present research to be pretty dern low.

    For details, see the FAQ file Cellular Phone Antennas (Base Stations) and Human Health [mcw.edu] maintained by Doc Moulder, prof of Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

    (There are a number of other useful EMF FAQs available at the same site.)
    --

  • by DHartung ( 13689 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:55PM (#547643) Homepage
    Ghana is a country with an average wage of only $160 per year. Out of a total population of 20 million, some 20 thousand are online. Why are we creating charities to get such nations online? Isn't that like forming a charity to send them Beluga Caviar? We should surely be concentrating on building their infrastructure in the proper way, and try to bring them through the industrial revolution first.

    Your post reminds me of the posts in response to stories about 100" monitors that ask "what Quake player has the money?" when the product isn't even intended for retail.

    This project isn't about turning the average Ghanaian into a happy websurfer. It's about giving the average Ghanaian a chance at a decent job, or his business a chance at success.

    Don't discount third-world countries just because they haven't developed, say, an automobile industry: the time for that is past. That strategy was tried by the World Bank in 2nd tier countries like Brazil and India in the 1960s with disastrous results. Unregulated manufacturers polluted, the products were inferior to other markets, and the only people who made money were the bankers.

    India has gotten smart. They never caught up industrially with the West. Jumping from agrarian to industrial proved expensive and futile. Instead, they've concentrated on the Second Industrial Revolution, building technical schools that turn out skilled programmers by the metric ton. These knowledge workers find work in outsourcing firms, or travel to the West for high-paying jobs. The resource that India is wisely exploiting here is its people.

    It worries me to see that companies such as Shell and BT are contributing funds to send IT technicians there, when what we should be doing is sending agricultural experts and trying to attract magnates of industry

    Another poorly considered policy of the latter half of Century Twenty was building Third World countries into agricultural exporters. Many of those countries could not feed their own people, and did not have the infrastructure or resources to support an exporting food industry. Once again, the bankers made money. The people often ended up poorer and hungrier. The grain available from traditional heartlands like the US and Russia was of higher quality and easily shipped. (Actually this fiasco largely predated the industrialization fiasco.)

    Don't underestimate the ingenuity and inventiveness found in "third world" countries. Some of them are building out their telecommunications by skipping the 19th (copper) and 20th (fiber) century and jumping straight to the 21st (wireless). They don't have any installed base to protect. Innovations like "texting" (SMS messaging) and wacky computer virii have sprung from the Phillippines.

    Dooming third world countries to another century of building up their economies "the hard way" is typical exclusivist Western thinking.

    As the west moves towards an increasingly service based economy, there are opportunities for countries such as Ghana to grab onto our coattails and provide our manufacturing capabilty, before moving up to join us.

    Perhaps. But they'd have to compete with already-cheap industrial powers like Mexico and China. Meanwhile, they have few resources, no industrial infrastructure, and it's enormously expensive to build.

    Why, again, do they HAVE to have an industrial 20th century economy before they can move into the 21st? What does that gain them? What does it gain us? So in whose interest is it for them to build an old-style manufacturing base? Yep.

    You'd make a great IMF banker a generation ago.
    ----
  • Sounds like someone's got a case of cell envy. :) Some of us have put two and two together and realized that it's cheaper to have a cell phone with a good calling plan than it is to have a cell phone _and_ a land line.

    The last time I moved, it took the phone company over a week to tell me why they failed to install my phone line. Apparently they had to dig a trench. Somewhere. Not sure where but it would definately take at least a month (this was from the person in charge of scheduling the area's work crews). I told 'em to get bent, traded in my old analog phone for digital, and haven't missed PacBell for a second. That was 1.5 years ago.

    I'm not the only one doing this. My grandfather uses his cell phone exclusively when calling me because what's local on his cell phone is long distance on the land line. My dad's considering making the change as well. Several friends have decided it'll be part of their next move just for the simplicity if nothing else. When I got my phone, I was in and out in half an hour. When's the last time you had a "traditional" phone up and running that fast? :)

    About the only reasons to keep a phone line these days are for internet access (assuming you can't/won't get a cablemodem) and fax machines.

  • Why must a country go through the mess of an industrial revolution to recieve the benefits of other, newer technologies?

    --
  • You can do similar studies on a fairly large number of animal subjects (e.g. stick a Nokia webphone in a rat cages -- there's where corporate funding is useful).

    Simultaneously, you could measure how long it takes the rats to figure out ebay and see if there is an increased amount of cancer cells in the brains of the rats when they keel over.

    More seriously, you could attempt to model the RF output of the phones on a human's head to that of a rat and see useful data in a little less time.

  • Our Univ. class has an unwritten rule. If your cell phone interrupts the prof, at the end of the class you have to stand on your desk and do the chicken dance. So far, it has only been enacted(sp?) three or four times. They are going to try to apply this rule to the entire department.
  • I actually interviewed there once (didnt get the job which seems a good thing now). Their waiting room was like a toy store. Big giant chairs, train sets and toys lying around.
    The people that started etoys were the same people that used to run linux.com years ago.
  • Can you really call those bricks portable phones?
    Well, let's see. Were they phones? Yes. Where they portable? Yes. Did they use celluar technology? Yes. Golly, I think we can indeed call them portable phones, even cellular phones if you like.
    If the backround radiation is more damaging/higher power than what cell phones produce...
    The whole point is that lower power may not indicate less damaging when considering long-term cumulative effects. No question but that some cosmic ray muon zapping through you has more power than a photon from your cellphone, but you get a lot more of those photons and they interact with your tissues very differently. Long-period low-frequency EM exposure and periodic exposure to single high-energy particles are incommensurable quantities. We cannot make any conclusions about the former based on our knowledge of the latter.

    Note that I'm not saying that evidence for cell-phone cancer is there, or not there, only that you cannot logically dismiss the possibility out-of-hand on the basis you're claiming.

    A hundred or so people die every year by having their beds collapse on them or through some other mechanical failure while sleeping.
    Hmm, makes me glad to sleep on a simple futon.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • Complete line:

    Radiation! Yes indeed! You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-bock, do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you... pernicious nonsense!

    Everyone go buy it on DVD and listen to the commentary.
  • Don't underestimate the ingenuity and inventiveness found in "third world" countries. Some of them are building out their telecommunications by skipping the 19th (copper) and 20th (fiber) century and jumping straight to the 21st (wireless). Problems: Wireless is not the panacea you think it is. First of all the connection is subject to interference, weather, variable but usually high latency, etc. Plus it is of limited bandwidth. It can be considered a form of pollution if overdone.(see cell phone subject)

    Fiber is the only way were going to get to the 21st century, it just takes longer to get it installed. These countries are going for whats economical and fast.

  • It would be even better to see etoys sell it's self on ebay.
  • Actually, the above should me re-moderated as "Funny" instead. Even though they have a 17% growth, it is not nearly enough to get investors interested, and on their own power... well, since they are just burning cash away, and don't have anyware to get it from except for the tiny stream of revenue... they are doomed to run out of cash in March. In other words, they are officially screwed. And, if you understand that, you ought to understand that the reply sounds really funny rather than "Interesting". :)

    burn, e-toys, burn...
    ----------------------------------------- --------
  • In Russia we have a saying "The spoon is valuable, but only if it's available by the dinner time" Horrible translation, but that's the way it is with idioms. The idea is that, if you server a spoon when the dinner is pretty much over, you're late. :(

    Isn't that the case here? I though glide was proprietary, or at least way too long, and that's why it was not (or could not be) embraced by everybody in the industry.
    --------------------------------------- ----------
  • by Minstrel78 ( 28344 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:10PM (#547655)
    Is that the study was conducted between 1996 and 1998 (IIRC - I saw discussion about this on the news today) and the average person in the study used their cell phone 2.5 hours per MONTH.

    I'd say that more research needs to be done about this, as cell phones are much much more common today than they were even 2 years ago. Not only that, but it is not uncommon for some people to use cell phones over 2 hours every day.
  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @04:04PM (#547656) Homepage
    so...cell phone users are gonna get cancer eh.

    this is fabulous news for smokers - we got over that whole "oh shit, i could get cancer" thing a looooong time ago.

    of course, this probably means that "cellers" are going to have to go to designated "celling" sections...and they'll have to associate with other "cellers" as non-cellers think it's a disgusting habit (you can SMELL all the gadgets they have. and their houses are littered with computers and other electronics!! peew!)


    FluX
    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One sad thing about the apparent demise of eToys is that they were probably the largest e-commerce site running on mostly open source software. It's been reported before that they use Linux, Apache, and Perl to run their site.
  • It's my understanding that STB is one of the few hardware vendors who participated in the X Consortium who had anything to do with 'commodity' PC Components.

    I have always liked using STB cards with XFree86. They're just good hardware.
  • I'm sending this from my Palm Pilot, which is connected (14.4k) to a Motorola StarTAC phone. This phone is rated best in radiation tests, because a large part of the phone is in between you and that lethal antenae. It is made even safer by the fact that it is setting 3 feet away from me. The Palm makes for a barely usable, if slow, internet experience.

    Note that I wrote this with my tounge planted firmly in my cheek. I don't -completely- believe the research about the supposed dangers. I just wanted a chance to post from this thing.
  • I'd have said it was an appreciation of Irony myself. Etoys was a big butthole about the whole Etoy thing (And Etoy was there first and all...) If the Etoy guys can afford to buy the Etoys domain name and that domain name is for sale, that's a lot different than Etoys suing Etoy out of theirs.
  • by bobm ( 53783 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @04:29PM (#547661)
    Now I'm confused, they did 17% more business this year than last year but missed estimates of 119% growth. My gawd, what a bunch of fools.

    Isn't 17% growth decent anymore? Unrealistic growth is going to be traced to the real cause of the recession. If you grow at 17% a year isn't that enough. What growth is needed to make a viable business?
  • ``Since most solid tumors take 10 to 15 years to develop, it is probably too soon to see an effect,'' Lai said.

    I know very little about cancer (except for a bit about Gliomlastoma Multiforme [nih.gov]), but experience suggests that there are some quite deadly forms of cancer (brain and otherwise) that take significantly less than a decade to develop.

    Some life-threatening tumors can form in less than a month or so, and others in less than six months.

    I guess what bothers me, is that I am less concerned about the impact of the 10-15 year growth tumors. That suggests to me that they are very non-aggressive and could be discovered early and effectively treated.

    What frightens me are the highly aggressive forms of cancer that that appear out of nowhere, and can cripple or kill someone within six months.

    I'm not sure what my point is, really, and I have no reason to doubt Dr. Lai's credentials, but I feel like his closing statement in the article subtly suggests that the risk of cancer is pretty low and if it does strike, it is a slow process.

    In some cases, it's not.
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • Whoa, that Deathwatch site is some scary stuff. I mean, I expected to see Etoys (death date Apr 1, 2001) and Priceline (death date Mar 18, 2001)...but PSINet (Feb 27, 2001)? MP3.com (May 6, 2001)? Salon (Jan 14, 2001)? Worldgate (Nov 27, 2001)?

    You have hundreds of companies listed there. If your predictions are accurate, there really is a recession heading this way, at least in the information/internet sector.
  • The damage done by the legel BS etoys pulled is far worse than good they have done by using Open Source software.

    The damage done? What damage was that? Pulling a lame website down for a few weeks? Have you spent a lot of time reading the insightful commentary at etoy.com since they went back up? It's about 99% Flash.

    Its not like etoys was a great developer either, so they used Open Source, and didn't really contribute anything back.

    And how would you know this? Do you spend a lot of time working on mod_perl? Do you track the patches to CPAN modules sent in by eToys employees? Did you ask VA Linux or the Apache foundation what they did with the money they received from eToys?

    You don't know what you're talking about.

  • I wonder if they'll be selling off any of that sweet equipment, cheap. I could use a "new" box...
    --
  • look at the treatment the west nile virus has received, compared to something like asthma. huge amounts of money were spent to eradicate any possible west nile contamination, because some 'rich' person could be infected. all the while 'poor' asthma sufferers (urban dwellers, where cockroaches cause asthma more) are ignored. this is because poor people are worth less than rich people, so your comment does not take that into account when talking about failing beds (rich people can afford higher quality beds, but use cell phones).
  • >A study also has a 50% chance
    >of finding a non-significant
    >correlation between cell phone use
    >and below-average penis size.

    Now THIS I would buy.
  • Huh. Well, maybe if they prove that using a cell phone several hours a day increases your chance of cancer, maybe that will be an incentive to get them to unglue the phone from their ear occasionally. I hardly see how that could hurt.

    Say what you want, but nobody needs a cell phone, and they certainly don't need it for hours a day. And I prefer to give the morons on the road one less thing to be distracted by.

  • Just a note, when the whole etoy/etoys chaos was going on a friend of mine was trying to get a job and one of the places he looked at was etoys. Apparently when he was talking to the person doing the hiring she said that the lawsuit was their major source of publicity. I am glad they went under, on some level they wanted publicity from it all, maybe that was the the only reason they did it at all.
  • what the fuck does "contrastion" mean?


    FluX
    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • ...is about 12-16 programmers, depending on body weight.
  • What a load of crap. Just giving people food solves the problem for exactly as long as the food lasts. Just teaching people to produce food allows the population to increase until the food production mechanism no longer keeps pace with the population, again with ghastly results. Much as with welfare here, there is no solution except for creating the vision, infrastructure and methodology for the people to PRODUCE something that the rest of the 'world' will PAY FOR. If you (and "you" can mean an individual, a demographic stratum or most of the population of a nation) do not create VALUE for others then you will never be anything than a charity case.
  • Start the bidding at $1 and the first few thousand can dream...
  • by tbo ( 35008 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @04:57PM (#547675) Journal
    Rodent studies are essentially useless. The human skull is much thicker than that of a rat, and so the amount of radiation transmitted is different. Also, rats don't live nearly as long as humans. Brain tumours that take 10 - 15 years to develop in humans are obviously going to behave differently (if they happen at all) in rodents. You could try to correct for all this, but then you're really getting onto thin ice...

    Besides, what causes cancer in rats doesn't necessarily cause cancer in humans. I remember hearing about a study of 226 known rodent carcinogens. Each substance was tested on both rats and mice. Something like 96 were carcinogenic in mice but not in rats, and 50-odd were carcinogenic in rats but not mice. Kinda makes you wonder if rodent studies have any relevancy to humans.

    You could also strap phones to monkey heads, but you'd probably run into a lot of trouble there, and it would still take 10 - 15 years. You can't increase power levels to "speed up" the tests or "amplify" the effect because, at some threshold, you start running into significant heating effects that simply aren't an issue at lower levels.
  • You're giving me a major '80s flashback. What a great flick that was. Alex Cox, if I remember correctly. I was too callow to really appreciate that dialogue, back then. I remember the soundtrack, too -- I burned out a couple of cassette tapes (Pre-MP3 piracy scheme, kids) with repeated listenings.
  • But at least they'll leave behind a nice building.

    Ah yes.

    Another case of "Live fast. Die Young. Leave a good-looking corpse"
  • Need is a relative word. You only need food if you care about living. You only need shelter if the weather sucks. You only need a cell phone if you have to communicate from places where there are no phones. Many people need to do this as part of their jobs or for other reasons. If it's required for your job, then I think it's safe to use the word "need".

    People have been distracted while driving by many things for many years. The same argument was used against radios, and could be applied to makeup, food, coffee... Funny how nobody's trying to ban drinking coffee while driving, or talking while driving.

    As for people talking in public, what does it matter if people are talking on the phone or just to someone beside them?

    Cell phones ringing in theatres, yes, that's evil, but that's just idiots who don't RTFM and put their phone on silent-vibrate mode (mine always is).
  • Yes. Golly, I think we can indeed call them portable phones, even cellular phones if you like.

    I thought it was obvious I was being sarcastic. I guess not. My point was that nobody used them nearly as much as people use cell phones now, and the technology is significantly different, so data from them isn't very relevant. Modern cell phones haven't been around as long.

    The whole point is that lower power may not indicate less damaging when considering long-term cumulative effects. No question but that some cosmic ray muon zapping through you has more power than a photon from your cellphone, but you get a lot more of those photons and they interact with your tissues very differently. Long-period low-frequency EM exposure and periodic exposure to single high-energy particles are incommensurable quantities. We cannot make any conclusions about the former based on our knowledge of the latter.

    Argh, where to start... You missed my point, and you made a few errors. I was trying to compare risks not the actual radiation. Given that background radiation is long-term, is always present, and is ionizing, whereas cell phone radiation is only occasional, it seems likely to be much less dangerous. Also, you confuse energy and power. Power is the rate of energy. Cell phone radiation probably has more power than background radiation, but the individual photons have much less energy, so much less, in fact, that they are not capable of ionizing anything. This means that they can probably only do damage through thermal effects, but half a watt isn't much heat...

    Note [snip] that you cannot logically dismiss the possibility out-of-hand on the basis you're claiming.

    I admit it is a possibilty, I'm just pointing out that it is so unlikely, and the risk so small, that it shouldn't concern anyone.

    Hmm, makes me glad to sleep on a simple futon.

    Just wait until you have to move with the damn thing. It will get you then :-)
  • Getting the .tv country TLD hooked this country up. [bbc.co.uk] Not only are they getting paid, they can afford their UN dues, upgrade infrastructure, import much needed food, and cut their reliance on offshore 900 phone sex numbers for income. Not a perfect solution, but closer to teaching someone to fish than handing them a trout.

    ...try to bring them through the industrial revolution first...As the west moves towards an increasingly service based economy, there are opportunities for countries such as Ghana to grab onto our coattails and provide our manufacturing capabilty, before moving up to join us.

    So you're saying they have to slog through fossil fuel dependency and be our manufacturing bitches until they are worthy to have access to our vaunted technonogy? What condescending crap. Saying that since only .1% of the population is currently online they won't benefit from increased access is like saying since only .1% of them can read (just an example, not a fact) they won't need books or schools.

  • I'd like to propose a study into the social habits of cellphone users themselves. Maybe looking at the subconscious need to have one without real consideration for the actual need.

    Mind you, I'm not by any means saying that the phones are in anyway evil. I don't have one myself, but there will come a day when I'll get one. Patricularly if I can get good PDA functions built in for a decent price (I badly need little electronic devices to think for me).

    Mind you, I do hold something against them in the effect they've had on HDD prices by using up supplies of capacitors.

    BYRS (Bourgeois Yuppie Resentment Syndrome) - Really? Do you still think that cellphones are a yuppie item? Because they're about as common and cheap as an imitation Rolex these days.

    The thing that bothers me on both a logical and sociological level is the desire to be immediately contactable everywhere.

    Here's a replay of what I heard coming from one of the stalls in a public mens toilet:


    "Ring Ring"

    Hello?

    Yeah Greg here.

    Where am I?

    Well... actually I'm taking a dump in the McDonalds toilets at the moment...

    *laughs*

    Yeah, you can call me back. I'll let you know how it went.

    Bye.


    Okay... So what is it exactly that makes that situation desirable to anyone?



    "How much truth can advertising buy?" - iNsuRge [insurge.com.au] - AK47
  • Rodent studies are useful as a filter, to tell you what bears closer inspection, but trying to conclude anything about effects of X on humans based on rodent studies is pure crap.

    I bet'cha all 226 of those were carcinogenic to humans - ranging from mild to severe. Remember, we're all mammals.

    Rats are closely related to mice, yet the study found significant differences in their reactions to suspected carcinogens. Now are humans more closely related to rats than mice are? I don't think so. There are millions of years of evolution seperating us from Rodenta.

    You can simulate YEARS of exposure over a course of a couple weeks.

    This is so fucking stupid I can't believe it, especially since I explained why this was wrong in my last post. Here's another, simpler explanation for you.

    Gee Mikey, I wonder if low-level microwaves are bad for rats.


    I don't know, Steve. I don't want to wait a year to do a real study, so let's just put little Pinkey in the microwave.

    [Power]-[9]-[Time]-[5]-[0]-[0]-[Start] -[whirrrrrrrrr-BOOM]

    Wow, Pinkey's head blew up! I guess low-level microwaves are bad.


    Do you get it now? Many, many things are bad above a certain threshold, but harmless or even beneficial at lower levels (think vitamins). That's why claiming that low, normal levels of X are carcinogenic in humans based on rodent studies with super-high levels is Bad Science.

    Examine their methodology.

    They're using rodents. We want to know about humans. At best, their results should suggest an area for further research. They don't tell you how humans react to X.

  • My wife and I cut out the land line about 6 months ago. We each have a cell phone. More convenient, more features, and only a tad more money for 2 separate numbers. It's great.

    We ended up putting a land line back in for our small business, and now a ReplayTV uses it too. But if not for the small biz we'd be land line free.

    Screw the phone company! Oh, er, wait... Screw the land line division!
  • by tbo ( 35008 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @05:12PM (#547686) Journal
    Say what you want, but nobody needs a cell phone,

    Say what I want? OK, you're an arrogant prick for thinking you know other people's needs better than they do. That feels much better, thank you.

    Your car breaks down on a remote road. Nobody is driving by. It's cold. You need a cell phone to call for help. A lot of people get phones to keep in their cars for emergency situations.

    You could just as easily say nobody needs a phone, either. In some sense, all you really need is food and shelter, but that doesn't make all of modern civilization bad. I'd say you're a serious luddite, and are suffering from BYRS (Bourgeois Yuppie Resentment Syndrome).

    I happen to have a cell phone instead of a regular phone, because it's about the same cost as a land line, and is more convenient. Radiation risks? Ha! I'm a physics student. I laugh at your 0.5 watts of non-ionizing radiation. If I have anything to worry about, it's working at the local particle accelerator [triumf.ca] for 4 months next summer. :-)
  • Just because the experiment doesn't cover all cases doesn't mean the results are flawed. In fact, a "patchwork" of studies that covers all cases with a little overlap is more to be trusted than a single monolithic "definitive" answer-type study.

    In any case, how on earth could they get the statistical sample for usage of significantly over 3 years?

    As for your third flaw--it isn't even a valid point! Unless it is your claim that people who are "potentially developing" tumor or have undiagnosed tumors are somehow over-represented in the mobile-phone-using group? On the contrary, I would expect that the group that owns the mobile phones is also the same groups that can afford the quality doctors who would find serious health problems early on. In other words, I would expect mobile phone usage to have a mild correlation to people who FIND OUT they have brain cancer--the people who can't afford the phones also can't afford the doctors.
    --
    MailOne [openone.com]
  • I faced a bit of a dilema this holiday shopping season. I wanted to pick up an educational game for younger friend of mine, but couldn't find it locally. Searching the major toystore websites provided me with only etoys carrying the game. As much as i wanted to give this game as a gift, i couldn't bring myself to buy anything from etoys. I was about to give up and look for something else for the young lady, but happened upon a site that carried the game. The site had been down/flooded when i looked earlier, but this time came up. The game was 5 dollars higher at this site than at etoys, and i spent quite a bit on shipping due to finding it at the last minute, but I feel it is money well spent if the money goes to a competitor of etoys. my principles are worth more than 25 bucks, for now atleast. technoid
  • by Pravada ( 217899 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @05:31PM (#547689)
    Er...
    Countries export what they are rich in (standard Ricardian view of trade). India has over a billion people, it is very easy for them to export what we think are significant amounts of people, but to their overall population, it isn't even a drop in the bucket. Ghana (or most third world nations) doesn't have this luxury. Anyway, the only way a thriving IT industry is going to develop is if the base infrastructure is there already, which in most third-world countries, it isn't. (Bangalore is an exception, and unlike many parts of India in that respect.)

    What works for an India -- and we have no idea if this focus on IT is going to work or is just a blip on the overall economic radar -- may not work for the rest of the developing world. Most countries have far more important things to do than "jumping straight to the 21st [century]," like educating or improving health or infrastructure. Remember, the Phillipines and Ghana are on two VERY different points in their development paths, and it is difficult to draw conclusions for one based on another.

    I'm not disagreeing that a lot of industrialization can be skipped if done correctly. Every country does not need a car industry, et al. However, countries should first educate most of their population, before trying to jump ahead into high tech. Having an educated minority really only benefits that minority, unless you believe in trickle-down. However, a broadly educated population is often a good impetus for growth - look at South Korea or Taiwan.

    --------
  • but wasn't Glide open source? and wasn't it quite easy to use (better than what was available when it was launched)?
    --
    Peace,
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • Given that it takes 10 - 15 years for cancer to develop, any studies that do find a correlation between cell phone usage must be crap, since cell phones haven't been around that long.

    Funny, my first programming job was at a company that did consulting in the cell phone industry. That was 10 years ago. Yeah, every self-important yuppie scumbag didn't yet have one attached to his or her ear, but they were around.

    Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation at lower power levels. Compare this to the natural radioactivity and cosmic radiation which you're constantly exposed to (which is certainly ionizing).
    Yes, which is why you shouldn't compare the two. It's like trying to compare the immediate and obvious effects of being shot in the head with a bullet with the subtle cummulative effects of repeated head contact in sports - the former is obviously a Bad Thing, the latter can be harmless but there's definitely a danger level. Figuring out what that danger level is can be tricky.
    Now, without any reliable evidence to suggest a significant risk, why should we be concerned about cell phones?
    Risk analysis involves not only the odds of an incident, but the loss per incident. The odds of cell-phone related cancers may seem, based on available data, to be low, but a brain tumor loses real big.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • We dont like patents --- but opensource licensing is ok.
    Patents are patents. Licensing is copyright. They're two different things. We like copyright (as long as fair use, right of first sale and the like are respected). We don't like patents. There's nothing inconsistant with that position.

    We like opensource and dont like propriatory software but napster is ok.
    Nobody ever said we like Napster as proprietary software. We (or at least several folks in the community) like Napster as a service provider, and those of us who object use our own (free) versions of their software. Nobody ever said we can't like a company just because they put out a proprietary product, either -- it's a strike against them, sure, but it doesn't mean thou-art-evil. Many of us work for places that write proprietary software, remember. It's not a Good Thing, but it's no sentence of damnation -- remember, we like copyright, which means people should have the right to put whatever license they want on their own code.

    In short, we're not hypocrites, as much fun as it may be to paint us that way, as long as you understand our positions.

  • I don't get it. Electromagnetic waves from cellphones are just photons of energy of several micro-electron-volts (900MHz => 3 micro eV). This is not enough to ionize an atom, not even enough to excite vibration or rotation into a molecule. I mean, visible light is also electromagnetic radiation, with much higher energy than cellphone radiation and I haven't heard of anyone getting brain tumor from being outside too much. Exposure from sunlight is probably much more powerful -- about 0.1 Watts/sq.cm. of skin. Oh well, may be some weird resonant effect on biological tissue, if cellphone EM causes brain tumors indeed.

  • Thats all we need is a bunch of underskilled H1B visa holders. Stay home and tend to your goats.
  • I cannot smoke at work so I do not want you jepordizing my health with your damn cell phone, we need a few more laws.
  • Funny, my first programming job was at a company that did consulting in the cell phone industry. That was 10 years ago.

    Can you really call those bricks portable phones? Nobody used them anywhere near as much as people do now, and frequencies and power levels used have changed since then. I should have said modern cell phones, so sue me...

    Yes, which is why you shouldn't compare the two.

    Um, why not (your analogy sucks, BTW)? If the backround radiation is more damaging/higher power than what cell phones produce, than we can probably ignore the cell phones. There isn't any solid evidence for cell phones causing cancer, nor is there a reasonable mechanism by which low-level non-ionizing radiation could cause cancer. Until somebody comes up with a well-done study showing a strong correlation, I won't worry.

    Risk analysis involves not only the odds of an incident, but the loss per incident. The odds of cell-phone related cancers may seem, based on available data, to be low, but a brain tumor loses real big.

    A hundred or so people die every year by having their beds collapse on them or through some other mechanical failure while sleeping. Nobody stresses about that, but death is about the biggest loss you can take (and what a way to go). Once the odds of dying (over your lifetime) from a particular cause drop below 1 in 10,000, it's probably not going to worry you, especially since there are better things to stress about. Keep risks in perspective.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @08:38PM (#547699) Homepage
    Sounds like their prediction of when they run out of money agrees with ours on Downside's Deathwatch. [downside.com] We run a Perl program to compute, from SEC 10-K and 10-Q filings, when dot-coms will run out of cash. It's really dumb; it just computes when the cash runs out. And it works embarassingly well.

    It's worth pointing out that, while sometimes the company outlives its cash, the stockholders almost never do. There are a number of ways a cash-short company can stave off bankruptcy, but from a stockholder perspective, they all suck. More on this at Downside [downside.com] if you're interested.

    Etoys stock is at 1/4 today, down from a high of 40. If you had invested $1000 in Etoys stock at the high, you would now have $6.25.

  • Salon (Jan 14, 2001)?

    Actually, as I noted on Deathwatch, Salon made some errors in their 10-Q filing with the SEC that make them look worse off than they are. They need to file a revised 10-Q.

  • > Microsoft could operate for about two years using only cash on hand. That's excluding earnings and equity, and they have a lot of each.

    Still,
    • that's only about twice as long as some of the dotcoms listed on the deathwatch site; and
    • as Animats said at the top of this thread -
      It's worth pointing out that, while sometimes the company outlives its cash, the stockholders almost never do. There are a number of ways a cash-short company can stave off bankruptcy, but from a stockholder perspective, they all suck.
    Contrary to what the unwashed masses believe, MS is (and long has been) more about money than about software, and in particular has been very much about stocks. In that light, it might be educative to see MS given the same analysis as the dotcoms, which we all know are seriously ill.

    --
  • by flieghund ( 31725 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @06:11PM (#547713) Homepage

    ...Really. <g> But at least they'll leave behind a nice building. I drive by it every day on my way to/from work, and I watched as they built it over the last year. If you're near the Westside (West Los Angeles/Santa Monica), and you like the high-tech postmodern architecture look, I'd highly recommend swinging by. It's located on the south side of Olympic Boulevard between Bundy and Centinela. I haven't been inside, so I can't attest for the interior layout, but the exterior is great. If anyone has any information about the building (who designed it, whether it follows sustainability guidelines, etc.), I'd appreciate the info.

  • but wasn't Glide open source?

    Yes, it was once released as free software. There was even a project to port it to DJGPP (a DOS version of GCC).

    wasn't it quite easy to use (better than what was available when it was launched)?

    Glide beat even DirectEcch 5 in just about every way.


    Tetris on drugs, NES music, and GNOME vs. KDE Bingo [pineight.com].
  • i question the entire notion of the west being a role model for third world countries. that third world contries need to take the exact same route to success that we took is indeed pretty stupid.

    the facts are that we know these countries have very bad problems that we don't have over here. but we should admit, at least as a starting point, that we have no freakin' clue whatsoever how they should solve their problems. we don't.

    i think grass-roots things like Geekcorps are in fact the only way we can help. they don't pretend to have an all-encompassing solution to all problems OR a five year plan on how to change everything. instead, they help where they can and they certainly don't do any damage. which can absolutely not be said for attempts at industrialization - those often did more harm than good.

    humility, please. learn from the mistakes of the past.
  • Actually I never took part in any boycott, but if what you say is true, then you are completely right and I apologize for being so pessimistic.
  • Like most other dotcoms they were populated by incompetent black turtleneck wearing mocha-java-frappchino swilling artsy fartsy band wagon jumping marketroid foosball playing leeches that wouldn't have known their ass from a hole in the ground but somehow managed to get out of their respective colleges with a degree in snake oil sales.

    "Look man, we're gonna IPO! Give yourself a raise."

    "$250k?"

    "Whatever!!! We're gonna be so rich!"

    "Do we have a product?"

    "Damned if I know. Let's get on the concorde and fly to Europe to celebrate."

    [frame sequence with blue bars, top and bottom]
    [cue that catchy IBM 'ebiz' tune]
    [duhn duhnduhnduhn duhn duh...]

    To much BS not enough reality.

    -- kwashiorkor --
    Leaps in Logic
    should not be confused with
  • I was born and grew up in Zambia...

    After college I plan to go back and teach computer science. And here's why.

    People in American businesses don't use computers because it's fun or because they like the pretty graphics. People use computers because at a very fundamental level they allow you to do business more efficiently. Cheaper, faster, better...

    In Africa we don't just need food and medicine for the needs of today. We need to plan ahead. To create a sustainable business infrastructure so we can compete on a global market place.

    The things you mentioned are a part of this. Computers are another part.

    Think about this for a second. In 1995 you couldn't assume by default that people had email addresses. But email has become necesary for business today.

    Today there are still people who can't type faster than they can write by hand. Tomorrow we will assume by default that any educated person can type faster than they can write and at least do some basic programming.

    Computers aren't caviar, they're water... You just can't do business with out them.

  • by bonzoesc ( 155812 ) <<ten.yelrekecyrb> <ta> <yelrekb>> on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:12PM (#547727) Homepage
    when they failed to deliver their much-touted Voodoo 3 card after nVidia released the TNT2, which is superior in all aspects, except for Glide compatibility. Considering that 3dfx never really was able to recover from this folly, and their purchase of STB allowing them to stop shipping mass amounts of cheap chips to other card manufacturers, they were the cause of their own demise.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • by Chuck Flynn ( 265247 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:13PM (#547728)
    Three major flaws with the study, actually:

    The average number of years of cellphone use among participants is only 3 years.

    The study covers analog phones, not the newer digital models, which may produce different effects.

    It looks only at people who are already diagnosed with brain tumors, and not those who may be potentially developing them or whose tumors go undiagnosed.

    The news is good for those of us who are using cellphones regardless of their possible consequences, but it's disappointing that better studies aren't being conducted. We need a study that looks at longer-term use (say 6 years) and which keeps up to date with the latest devices the same way the general population is doing. Unfortunately, such proper studies are years off.

  • And it would be even funnier than that to see eBay put itself up for sale on itself.
  • Ghana is a country with an average wage of only $160 per year. Out of a total population of 20 million, some 20 thousand are online. Why are we creating charities to get such nations online? Isn't that like forming a charity to send them Beluga Caviar? We should surely be concentrating on building their infrastructure in the proper way, and try to bring them through the industrial revolution first.

    It worries me to see that companies such as Shell and BT are contributing funds to send IT technicians there, when what we should be doing is sending agricultural experts and trying to attract magnates of industry.

    As the west moves towards an increasingly service based economy, there are opportunities for countries such as Ghana to grab onto our coattails and provide our manufacturing capabilty, before moving up to join us.

    Lets not do things back to front here.

    KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.

  • I must first state that I am not a native Zambian. I was born there and have lived there for most of my life and in many ways consider it my home. But I have an American passport.

    As an American in Zambia I was raised never to state any political views whether negative or positive about Zambian affairs. I still feel this is a wise rule to live by.

    However, if there is one thing that I wish America would do to help Zambia it would be to forgive all the debt that Zambia accumulated in the 1980's. They already have forgiven around 2 billion but there is still 6.5 billion that Zambia owes. About half to the IMF. 6.5 billion dollars is not a lot of money for the United States but for a country of 9 million people where the average person makes $300 a year it is an impossible amount.

    The average zambian should not be held responsible for this because they only recieved a tiny fraction of this money.

    One thing I'm gratefull for is that when Zambia had a terrible drought in the mid 1990's America sent a lot of food to us. Otherwise many people would have starved.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:19PM (#547735) Homepage
    half baked gogglebox doogooders telling everybody it's bad for you.
    pernicious nonsense.
    a guy could take a hundred chest xrays a year.
    ought ta have em too. . .
  • by VFVTHUNTER ( 66253 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:20PM (#547738) Homepage
    As I was driving home from work today, there was a piece on NPR about the (lack of any ) link between cell phones and cancer. The MD interviewed stated there was no link between cell phones, the amount of time one used one (mins/day), an increase in temporal lobe cancer (thats the part of the brain where the cell phone goes, or even a correlation between the side of the head a user held the phone to and an increased risk. Research is out in this months JAMA, with the results of a different study (same result, no correlation) due out in the New England JM on January 11th. However, he did say that no long term (over ten years) are as yet available.
  • by Dacta ( 24628 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @06:52PM (#547741)

    They needed that 119% growth to break even. Like most other .com's, they are running out of the money they raised in their IPO, but they still need to pay the bills.

    Because their profit margins are razor thin, the only way to get enough money to stop the cash-burn is to sell lots of stuff.

    That's how they do their estimates of growth: How much growth do we need to break even? 115%? Okay, well if we grow 119%, then we will even make a profit - lets say we are going to do that. Obviously, it has as much resemblance to reality as their initial stock price.

  • I think it is almost impossible that every employee thought that what the company was doing was right, but it doesn't mean that the major desicion makers (which is being referred to as "the company" here) intentionally created a lawsuit for the sake of publicity.
  • Let's assume for a second that nVidia doesn't completly kill off 3dfx. nVidia doesn't make boards, just the chips. They sell the chips elsewhere and go through all that licencing and other stuff that goes along with it. 3dfx did the same back in its heyday. 3dfx bought up STB, makers of arguably the best RIVA128 and RIVATNT boards, so it could quit the licencing and chipselling gig. I'm sure the idea sounded appealing. Take out a competetor's major bedfellow and gain some factories to boot. They would have STB as an in-house fab gig. They could also take stabs at some of the companies that made deals with both companies - Canopus, Hercules/Guilemot, etc.

    Now in a bizarre twist of fate, nVidia sweeps in and cuts 3dfx's head off. nVidia stuck to the chip-selling and licencing guns, and out shot a self-wounded chip designer, aquiring the technologies, patents, STB (what's left of it, which isn't much), and of course, the trademarked brandname "3dfx" which may very well be the heart of this deal.

    So like I said, let's assume nVidia cauterizes 3dfx's wounds. First of all, I doubt that nVidia won't be changing its plans just yet. It will still be in the chip-selling/licencing thing. But with another company that can make boards for them, on top of all their bedfellows (ASUS, Hercules, et al.), they'll be much stiffer competition for the contendors that do both chip design and board manufacturing. ATI has been wanting to step up in the 3D market, but still has a foothold all over the mobile video and OEM markets, and there's always been Matrox who has its niches (and some decent 3D hardware to boot, although they don't have much to compete with the GeForce2). Even though ATI and Matrox don't have anything that really matches up with a GeForce2Ultra, they're much bigger, and diverse that nVidia or 3dfx ever are/were. This is why 3dfx died - it wanted to go head to head with the larger beasts but didn't have much to strike with.

    I would go as far as to say maybe we should expect to see 3dfx boards with NV chips at their core. After all, the 3dfx is a trusted name in the industry. I doubt we'll see it die out completly, but it definitly won't be what it once was.

    I'd been using my old Canopus Voodoo2 for days. The on-board Fan (cutting edge at the time!) made horrible sounds, and driver stability sucked - the reference drivers sucked because Canopus tweaked with the Ref. design, and Canopus sucked for refuseing to release updated drivers after they ditched the 3D Market (they still make Video Editing hardware, but I've heard rumors they'll be pursuing the 3D market again with nVidia). Still, it played Q3A (for half-an hour at best, but hey it was better than my Canopus TNT board). My parents bought me a GeForce2MX board, and I haven't looked back. That MX chip is something else, lemme tell ya. For the price, it sure packs one badass rendered punch. I'll tell ya, I was almost tempted to grab a Voodoo5 5000, but I wanted to do more homework on it. Found something on SharkeyExtreme that showed every GF2MX chip outperformed the V5 hands down, and every board costed at least $50 less than a V5.

    Wow, am I glad I did my homework. Half-Life at 1024x768 pumped out of a Pentium II 266. Never once thought that could happen. 800x600x32 in Q3:A, now (tho a bit glitchy at 25-40 FPS - I'll bet a Mobo/Processor upgrade'd fix that up-GF2MX likes AGP 2.0, and my crummy 440LX Mobo is too damn old). I was only doin 640x480x16 with my V2 (25FPS at Best! HA!).

    Kagenin
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Okay, I'm a little bit tired of everyone acting as if there were no internal logic to the .com goldrush. I wasn't involved, but I can see the logic: Amazon is the logic. Amazon would not be "Amazon" if they did not spend and lose huge amounts in their early years. If they had grown incrementally, Borders or Barnes and Noble would have eaten their lunch.

    By losing hand over fist, they gained a significant first mover advantage which has kept rivals out of the money. You do not apply the same strategies to a sprint and to a marathon. Gaining traction in the .com world is a sprint.

    It's pretty clear that *some* of the rules in the new economy are truly different than in the old one. Look at how easy (even now) it is to get capital compared to ten years ago. The .com enterneurs made a bet that the rules had changed more radically than they had. They lost the bet. It's always easy to sit back and laugh at those who bet on change and lose. But the companies that win big are those that bet on change and win.
  • wait...maybe if the geekcorps volunteered at etoys by selling 3dfx cards and cell phones, we could pull this .com back into the black!

    and maybe not.

    ITS RAINING .com'S!

  • If I were a cell manufacturer, I'd include a statement with every phone: "There is an as-yet-indeterminant risk of literally frying your brain if you hold this device to your head when using it. If you want to be safer, we suggest you either use a headset, or purchase one of our expensive new Bluetooth-enabled phones with a snazzy wireless headset. If you ignore our warning and develop noggin rot, it's your own damned fault." It would have to be put in more genteel and dense legalese, but words to this effect. (Of course, when voters aren't responsible for not punching their ballots, this may or may not save them from liability ...)
  • by James_G ( 71902 ) <<james> <at> <globalmegacorp.org>> on Tuesday December 19, 2000 @03:29PM (#547764)
    The Los Angeles-based toy retailer blamed poor sales on "a harsh retail climate" caused by concerns over the economy, current attitudes toward Internet retailing, and consumers who have been "meaningfully distracted by the presidential election and its aftermath."

    "... and that mean slashdot site. They keep picking on us, and global warming! It affected out sales! Yeah, that's the ticket! And.. my dog ate all the orders! My car broke down! I had to go out of town, There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN'T OUR FAULT!!! *whine* *whine*"

    Or, another dot.bomb with no business plan? You decide.

  • On some level I agree. I'm not sure how things are in Ghana, but if people are starving and dying of cureable diseases at a high rate, that should certainly have a high priority.

    OTOH, holding the high end down generally *doesn't* pull the low end up. Many people made arguments similar to yours during the Apollo Moon missions. I dare say that if it weren't for the tremendous ammount of "spinoff" research associated with the space race, we might not be surfing Slashdot and having this discussion today and the economy might be a lot worse.

    Also, there is no need for 3rd world development to parallel the development of the west by evolving through the industrial revolution to the technical. This has been demonstrated by the quick adoption of wireless technology in some countries--bypassing the copper stage of the communications industry.

  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2000 @04:43AM (#547768) Homepage
    We (The Danish University of Agriculture) has a large number of students from developing countries, including Ghana. This is paid for mostly by foreign aid programs. I.e. we are helping to create native experts. We also have research programs in various devoloping nations, in order to finding ways to improve crop production using the locally available means, often paid through the same programs.

    However, one problem is that we lose contact with out students once they graduate, so we can't use them to distribute information about new methods from the research programs to the national farming communities. An IT network would help them to stay in touch with us, and thus up to date with the research. It will also make it easier for them to use the specialized expertice of our people, and vice-versa.
  • Bah, you don't have to install that Vision crap... the Lightspeed 128 was a great card in it's day, it served me well in Windows and X and console (nice built in console fonts). I still have it laying around as a spare.

    "Free your mind and your ass will follow"

  • I'm an international development professional currently working in Egypt on a girls' education project. At other phases of my career I have worked on microcredit and small business development, all fairly "traditional" development interventions.

    So do I think bringing IT to developing countries a waste of resources? Absolutely not. In fact, in my judgement, it is the single most important unmet need in international development today. Why? Because IT poses both a significant danger and a wonderful opportunity for the economies of these countries.

    The developing world does not need an industrial revolution in the sense that we experienced it in the West. The world no longer works that way. Someone mentioned the automobile industry, and this is actually a great example of what I am talking about.

    Go to a local new car dealer and pick a car -- any car, of any make or model. Take it apart and organize the parts by country of origin. You will have a great many piles of parts, and I will be very surprised if you find that more than 40% of them are from any one country. Certainly you will not find that most of the parts in that car came from the car's country of "manufacture." On top of that, many of the parts will be composed of raw materials from another country entirely.

    Take apart the same make and model that came off the production line six months earlier, and I expect you will find many of the parts are from different countries than they were in the first car you took apart. You will also have a really pissed-off car lot owner.

    This is basically just comparative advantage taken to extreme. We can take it to these extremes because we have transportation and communication technology that makes it feasible for a producer of a big ticket item like a car to get bids from all over the world for parts that meet its specifications and transport them quickly and reliably to the place of manufacture. This ability in turn creates pressure on the car manufacturer to do just that, because if it is not searching far and wide to save money on components, its competitors will.

    As we've seen from the recent B2B boom on the Internet, the same resources are now becoming available and affordable to manufacturers of less complex, less expensive goods.

    So does it make sense to start a Ghanaian car industry? Probably not. But it might make sense to produce particular components of cars, computers, and other goods that Ghanaian manufacturers are well-positioned to produce.

    But without access to the kinds of technologies that would allow (in this example) Ghanaian producers to communicate directly with potential customers and competitors to determine specifications and market prices, and to make sales, such an industry is impossible. And Ghanaian producers could not hope to match the efficiencies of, say, Taiwanese producers, without access to IT.

    On the other hand, with access to what are now relatively inexpensive information technologies, producers in developing countries have an unprecedented opportunity to compete with the big boys without having their huge capital investment. You've seen the IBM commercial where the Japanese company gets a bid from a small producer in Texas? Well, that producer could just as well be in Accra, or Cairo, or Almaty. If the technology is available in those places.

    The same is true even for unprocessed agricultural commodities. These are traditionally exported through middlemen based in the developed world. But with modern communication technologies, developing-country producers can access those markets and make contacts directly, improving the prices it can get for those commodities. The flip side to this is that without those technologies, the need for middlemen either will price the commodity out of the market or will provide the producer with an even smaller return for its goods.

    There are many other excellent arguments for promoting IT in developing countries, but for me this is the killer, and it is not specific to one class of countries. All countries have an interest in the forces that move export markets. Haiti exports. Burma exports. Ethiopia exports. With access to the modern tools that have transformed the Western economy over the last 5-10 years, they could have a chance at a better economic situation than ever before. Without access to those technologies, they're trapped.

    -

  • This is a good point. The original poster talked about sending agriculture experts instead of technology experts. Ag experts are, of course, necessary, but not sufficient, and they use IT like everyone else.

    Most people are at least familiar in passing with the famine cycle in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia). One of the problems was that farmers would get a lousy harvest and be forced to eat the next year's seed crop just to stay alive. Then ag experts from donor countries gave them bags of new seeds -- not necessarily what the farmers had been planting, but whatever happened to be on hand.

    Often, these failed the following year. Some farmers would get good results, others would not, and would be forced to eat the whole crop and it would start all over again.

    After this happened a few times, the US Agency for International Development commissioned a GIS survey of the area, taking into account soil types, elevation, rainfall, etc. It turned out that the Horn of Africa is a crazy quilt of these factors, to a much greater degree than most other parts of the world. A crop that might grow well on one farm might grow very poorly on another just a few miles away. The new GIS was to be used in future seed distributions (though in truth I do not know what became of this and whether it was successful or not).

    -

  • Ok, I am Mr. Technology-Skeptical Curmudgeon,

    I have always sort of thought that if rich "western" countries want to help "underdeveloped" countries, they should do it in a way that is the least interfering. E.g., simply giving money to the country to let *it* figure out what it wants to do (yes, yes, that is given a somewhat democratic non-corrupt government...). This is as opposed to forcing the government to adopt certain policies, or letting western industry come in to exploit and pollute the country.

    Being a native Zambian...what are your opinions on this sort of imperialistic industrialization of underdeveloped countries? I don't know much about Zambia, or other African nations, but Africa was once host to large and prosperous civilizations. Why, in the last few hundred years, has Africa appeared to devolve into a "third world" state?

    I ask these questions, because as people of non-western underdeveloped states, some unfortunately on the recieving end of western "help", know, there are significant trade-offs and certainly penalties for allowing western influence and control, and embracing the global economy. Is the west wrongheadedly (or in many cases intentionally) influencing poorer countries for the worse, or for their own benefit, or to remake them in its image? Or am I just a crank, and the west is really percieved as some saintly benefactor who is just enriching and saving these countries?

    (Yes, I use a lot of quotes around things that people have inherent assumptions about but probably shouldn't)
  • ----RANT----
    i kinda wish that long term exposure to cell phones did cause cancer. then all the fscking people could focus more on their driving than the oh so important conversation that cannot wait until they are at their destination.
    i understand that sometimes it's necessary for people to get in touch with you, but it really pisses me off when i'm sitting in a class and i hear someones cellphone go off.
    if i'm ever a professor, i'll state on the first day of class that the person who forgets to turn off thier cell phone (or what ever it is that people are using then) will be failed.
    ----/RANT----

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • jafac's quoting one of the greatest movies ever, "Repo Man".

    -Isaac

  • > Like I've said before in my previous posts, is NVidia just letting Glide die off?

    Yes. _NO_ game developers are doing Glide development: It's all D3D v8 (PC/Xbox), OpenGL (PC), and/or consoles propeitary API (PS2/DC/etc).

    Of course Glide won't completely die, since it is Open Source. It will be up to the "amateur's" to keep it alive.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

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