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Comment The things IBM made... (Score 5, Interesting) 189

I worked for a large organization in Chicago that had the "gold" IBM support contract back in the early 90s; they would show up at 2 am Sunday morning to replace a keyboard if necessary. Our main contact was a guy who had been with the company for 30+ years and he would mention some of the things he'd had to fix, in addition to the standard computer stuff: scales for weighing meat in the meat packing district and the thing that was most surprising: the clock on the Wrigley Building. Apparently IBM didn't actually out-and-out make the clock mechanism but had bought some company that had and they inherited the support contract. He mentioned having to get some gears specially made when it broke down.

The thing I thought was so ahead of its time was the wireless device he had that was essentially a large, two-line blackberry that he'd carry on his shoulder with a strap; it would beep and he'd flip the cover open, read the message, then type some sort of response. I remember he'd use it to order parts and within an hour(!) another guy would show up with them, a new ps/2 mouse, a monitor, or a reel-to-reel tape drive for the as/400. I was surprised IBM never thought to market that device; much like Apple is reluctant to talk about their ipod touch-based POS terminals, he wasn't too keen about showing it off or even talking about it.

Comment Where would all the content come from? (Score 5, Insightful) 577

Apple just recently announced Final Cut Pro X, they've revamped XCode, and they're heavy into LLVM and clang. Doesn't seem like they're ditching the Mac any time soon. An iPad with iMovie is fine, just like Garageband is fine (and a lot of fun to use!), but for my next $100 million dollar blockbuster, I'm going to want more robust tools.
All the content consumed on an iphone, ipad,etc., has got to originate from somewhere, and I think apple would be happy to have both ends of the spectrum: the content producers and the content consumers.

Submission + - Duke Nukem Has Gone Gold (

wandazulu writes: According to Ars: " is a grand day: Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold.

"Duke Nukem Forever is the game that was once thought to be unshipppable, and yet here we are, on the precipice of history," said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. "Today marks an amazing day in the annals of gaming lore, the day where the legend of Duke Nukem Forever is finally complete and it takes that final step towards becoming a reality."


Submission + - Oracle Database Now On Amazon Web Services (

CWmike writes: Oracle's database is now available for deployment on Amazon Web Services, the companies announced Tuesday, but with some key limitations. Customers can choose from 'license included' and BYOL (bring your own license) pricing. The first model is priced starting at 16 cents per hour, while the latter starts at 11 cents per hour. Only Oracle Standard Edition One, a feature-limited version of the database, is available under the license-included model. Standard Edition or the flagship Enterprise Edition customers must bring their own licenses. Database replication, which is key for fault tolerance, isn't available yet for Oracle on Amazon, but will be added at some point, Amazon said. 'Mainly, this isn't for production usage," analyst Curt Monash said in a blog post Tuesday. But there might be exceptions, such as with applications that are intended to have a short lifespan in support of a specific project, as well as when 'an application is small enough, or the situation is sufficiently desperate, that any inefficiencies are outweighed by convenience.'

Comment Re:Michael Crichton had this idea in the 80s (Score 1) 140

Funny...I was just going to post this, but thanks for reminding me of the name. As I recall, it was a short story (I want to say I read it in Life, of all places), about a "hot shot" programmer who ignores another, older, programmer who wants to show him this cool new tech he's been working on. Suffice to say the hot-shot programmer gets seduced into selling the company secrets and, this is the part I remember most vividly, does it in a motel room, using a modem, and while he's waiting wanders down the hall to the coke machine.

He gets into hot water when the "secrets" turns out to be pictures of kids or something, and the older guy and the boss tell him that he's not only fired, but probably will have to sell the fancy car he bought to pay back the guys he was trying to sell the secrets to. Suffice to say, the way he's caught is that he didn't type the password in the "right" way, just like TFA (presumably...didn't pay to read it) mentions, and gets caught in a honey pot.

The weird thing is that I have never forgotten the idea of being identified by how you type, and every time I use the keyboard that story just flashes in and out, after all this time.

Comment Re:The Xanadu Project? (Score 4, Informative) 357

What's worse is that they did release something that they themselves said was essentially a watered-down, "test" application (sorry, can't remember its name). It made Lotus Notes seem like Notepad by comparison; if that was the "watered down" version of Xanadu, then it seems clear that Xanadu is something only this guy would be able to fully understand...or use.

Comment Um...yum? (Score 1) 201

Given the protective gear necessary to handle these peppers, I'm assuming they aren't going to be available to the home consumer at the local co-op. Even if the home consumer got ahold of one of these, it seems like its mere presence in the kitchen would render chili and salsa essentially inedible; what would I do with one of these, really?

Comment What's the deal? (Score 1) 279

I know several people who are very happy about this news, and I admit I actually have no idea who he is or what series this is the next book of. I know, Google is my friend, etc., but what I'm really asking is, and this is the perfect place to ask, "Why should I read this series, especially given that it seems he seems takes an awful lot of time to complete a book". Sounds like he'd give Knuth a run for his money.

I'm honestly not trolling: I'm really interested and am just looking for more subjective information about what this whole series is "about", and what people like about it.

Okay, I'll turn in my geek card now.

Comment App store! (Score 1) 239

...Said somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but also seriously: turn it into a one-stop-shop for all things FSF/Open source, etc., that users can just get, a la the Android and Apple app stores. Such an app store would include things like Blender, GCC, LibreOffice, Linux itself (multiple flavors), all the way down to code files.

The store could be configured so that it would be easy to donate to the projects, even if you don't actually download the program, with them taking a small cut (a la the Apple app store) to provide the exposure.

The key thing, in my mind, is that there are just so many awesome programs out there, and it's hard to keep track of them all; one simple site, structured well, would go, in my mind, so far to raising the visibility of many projects that are just as good, if not better, than commercial apps, but don't have any easy way to get their software in front of users.

Comment Re:hmm (Score 5, Insightful) 368

What's interesting is that it seems Apple's product announcements are the only remaining tech that gets everyone talking, whether pro or against, people do talk about it. Dell might have released half a dozen new systems last week, but who'd know? I was in a tmobile store the other day and saw a number of Android-based handsets that I hadn't heard of. And even though I consider myself a geek, I have very little idea what the Xoom is, other than a Motorola tablet, and more to the point, why should I care?

I'm not saying that we should care about Apple product announcements, but Apple seems to be the only ones who can generate any significant buzz about whatever it is they're announcing.

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