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The Military

Soviets Built a Doomsday Machine; It's Still Alive 638

An anonymous reader points out a story in Wired introducing us to the Doomsday Machine built by the Soviet Union in the 1980s — and that remains active to this day. It was called "Perimeter." The article explains why the device was built, and why the Soviets considered it to be something that kept the peace, even though they never told the US about it. "[Reagan's] strategy worked. Moscow soon believed the new US leadership really was ready to fight a nuclear war. But the Soviets also became convinced that the US was now willing to start a nuclear war. ... A few months later, Reagan... announced that the US was going to develop a shield of lasers and nuclear weapons in space to defend against Soviet warheads. ... To Moscow it was the Death Star — and it confirmed that the US was planning an attack. ... By guaranteeing that Moscow could hit back, Perimeter was actually designed to keep an overeager Soviet military or civilian leader from launching prematurely during a crisis. The point, [an informant] says, was 'to cool down all these hotheads and extremists. No matter what was going to happen, there still would be revenge. Those who attack us will be punished.'"

Comment The death of the MP3 Player? (Score 0, Offtopic) 351

I no longer *need* my iPod or any MP3 player. I use an application called Orb that streams all of the media on my Windows desktop to my Cell Phone or any web browser. I don't have to worry about syncing my iPod to download media or running out of space on my iPod. As long as it's on my PC, I can stream it to my phone. Orb is free, but it uses the bandwidth of your home PC to stream out the media...which is fine for music and live TV or video on the cell phone. But the lower video quality is noticeable when you stream it to a desktop. I expect this to change as residential upload speeds will eventually go up.

Comment This is Standard (Score 1) 789

I'm not exactly a fan of AT&T/Cingular. I actually have service with Alltel (soon to be Verizon), but this is the same standard "deal" that everyone gives for buying a phone with a contract.

Looking at the new iPhone, the $200 price is actually cheaper than the 2 year contract price for the HTC Touch from Alltel/Verizon, which seems fair.

If you knew you would want a new phone in a year, then you should have paid the "1 year contract" price (or at least they used to offer that option).

At any rate, the price you paid for the phone was subsidized by your signing of the 2 year contract and you shouldn't expect another subsidized phone until your current contract runs out.

Comment Re:With Circuit City and CompUSA all but gone... (Score 1) 587

I don't know about NewEgg either. Their prices are not generally the best. Plus, I've received poor customer service from them recently. I'm guessing that they are simply beginning to enjoy their popularity and are starting to rely more on their reputation. My bad experience coupled with other stories has tarnished their image enough for me that I try to go elsewhere online if I can.

Comment Re:Outside (Score 1) 619

Read your contract. For the most part, the company that provides your service does so of their own will. The only thing is, you have money and normally they want to take it from you. If your cable company suddenly decided that they didn't want to offer cable tv to you, there's not much that you can do as long as they refund any service you have paid for that you won't be receiving.

Comment Re:They have lowered the burden of proof. (Score 1) 619

All they will do is send you a letter saying that they are no longer offering the service to you...you will likely see one of two approaches:

- A full refund for your "last month of service"
- A pro-rated refund for the remainder of your paid service (monthly in most cases)

It is entirely up to the company to decide who they want to do business with.

The problem is going to come if a company offers more than one service to a customer. In the case of a cable company, how likely is a customer that has had their internet access cut off going to be to keep their cable tv service?

I personally pay ~$40 for cable internet service, but my monthly cable bill is ~$120. I can guarantee you that if the cable company cuts off my cable internet, they will lose the whole $120 from me.

Businesses

Sun CEO Says NetApp Lied in Fear of Open Source 139

Lucas123 writes "In reaction to NetApp's patent infringement lawsuit against Sun, CEO Jonathan Schwartz today said in his blog that NetApp basically lied in its legal filing when it said Sun asked them for licensing fees for use of their ZFS file system technology. In a separate statement, Sun said NetApp's lawsuit is about fear over open-source ZFS technology as a competitive threat. 'The rise of the open-source community cannot be stifled by proprietary vendors. I guess not everyone's learned that lesson'."

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