Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment I'm working on this problem too (Score 1) 262

I both work and play on computers. I sit in the same chair averaging about 14 to 16 hours a day. I've been sitting this long every day for about 15 years and the trouble it causes is no-longer subtle. I even bought a really nice (BodyBilt) chair to try and help my back but after a few years it hasn't helped all that much.

One of the main ways I've been able to get relief is by alternating between sitting at a desktop, and using a laptop in bed propped up with my elbows. This position tends to reverse the bulging disk issues that sitting causes, but it is a hard position to maintain for more than a few minutes without getting a stiff neck.

I began thinking out of the box recently and I've built myself a new "chair" based on maintaining the position of using a laptop in bed more comfortably, and at my desktop workstation. I have a prototype I use built out of lumber and spare parts I had around (I'm actually using it now). It keeps me at a slight incline and supports my feet to help keep the spine compressed which helps keep the bulging disks in check, and it works quite well. My arms rest on my normal desk and use my normal keyboard and mouse. I'm still working on a way to support the head comfortably, but any company looking to productize such a device would probably have an easy time with that problem. I'd really like to see some work in this area, since I suspect this is ergonomically far superior to sitting, but I fear it's too radical for companies to embrace.

The other option I'm exploring is a treadmill desk (I ordered one a few days ago). I have a standing desk, but standing still is just too uncomfortable for me to do for any appreciable amount of time. I'm hoping the motion of a treadmill desk will allow me to work longer without pain, as well as giving me some exercise.

Another thing I can recommend to anyone who has occasional back trouble is a Nada Chair Back-up. It's a simple little device for pulling your spine into position by strapping it to your knees. It definitely helps reverse the uneven pressure on your spine caused by sitting, and it has rescued me from back trouble many times. It's a cheap simple device, and I find it helps a lot when things get bad, but it's hard to wear it enough to keep things from getting bad in the first place.

Comment Re:Sorry Kendrick. Try again. (Score 1) 657

I think you are right that Kendrick got this wrong. I've been surprised by people's willingness to jump on the iPad bandwagon. The tablet computer is an old concept, and doing a respectable job of it has been within our grasp for some time now. In retrospect, I think the fuel behind the iPad's success was a huge pent up frustration with computers that constantly broke and while they had tons of power, couldn't do anything because software was hard to buy, expensive, and the security was so bad that computers rapidly and easily deteriorate into expensive useless crap.

Apple brought the combination of a way to distribute apps cheaply while ensuring quality and safety, and a general purpose easy to use computing device into this pool of pent-up demand and people went wild, despite the fact that when you look at it as just another computer platform, it doesn't compare all that well. The new for factor put it in a class by itself, and without comparisons it was hard to see how overpriced and weak the machines were. I think the i world will always have it's fans, but the newer generation of Android devices will cut it's market share dramatically. I have a Kindle fire, and just got a Nexus 7, and while with the Fire, I could see the appeal of an iPad, but with the Nexus it's gone.

The heavily Objective C based ecosystem of the i world seems like a natural deal-breaker for so many things that I think in the long run, many mobile apps will end up Android-only. The Android platform has figured out how to bridge the gap between programmer friendly java and resource efficiency to deliver the best of both worlds and with that they gain a much larger potential developer base, including many established corporate teams with existing code bases. The big advantage Apple has left is the closed hardware platform that limits the amount of testing and support needed by software vendors and ensures all devices in the ecosystem are high quality. That advantage comes saddled with some pretty heavy baggage that gets heavier as the number of units sold decreases though so as Android cuts into it's market, things start looking a lot worse for the iPad.

Comment Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (Score 1) 414

I have a linux box setup right now that spins up a few drives once a week to do a backup, then powers them down again when it's done. This is a feature that manufacturers should make into a consumer electronics device configured through a web interface, that sits idle on the network until it's backup time, then reaches out over the network and backs things up that it's configured to. A single drive solution would work for most people. Mine is an 8 drive raid 5 array, but I'm just cool like that.

Comment Re:What is the goal? (Score 1) 1799

End the wars and tax the rich for sure, but it's not just this.

We have an economy that is managed to maximize profits and investment returns, even when the tradeoff is economic health, jobs, and the rights of the people. At the behest of Wall Street, we've continually lowered trade barriers which has allowed corporations to make use of extremely inexpensive labor and make larger profits, but now 1/4 or Americans are unemployed or underemployed. We've allowed companies that should be competing with each other and forcing each other's prices and profits down, to merge and gouge their customers. We allowed Exxon and Mobile to merge, and now they've posted record profits and we're paying record high gas prices. Now they're trying to merge AT&T and T-Mobile, which will drive choice and competition down, prices up, and inevitably lead to a large number of layoffs. It's bad for everyone except stockholders. We need our government to serve *our* interests and to run the economy for *our* benefit, not for the 1% who win when jobs are lost but profits go up.

This is what they are fighting for. For capitalism, real capitalism that rewards hard work by skilled people who are serving customers needs, not this rigged system we have that exclusively rewards owning things and cheating the market.

Comment Clearly wrong-headed (Score 4, Interesting) 392

As someone who lives in one of the two states with no sales tax, this idea can go screw itself.

As someone who believes sales taxes are regressive and unfair, I can say that my fondest hope is that the internet finally forces the rest of the states to eliminate their unfair sales taxes and I welcome Amazon to move to my state and just tell everyone demanding sales taxes to fornicate themselves with an iron stick.

Comment Re:Still No Deaths From Radiation (Score 1) 206

Exactly! No deaths! Nuclear Power is dangerous and can kill you which puts it in the same category as breathing and eating. The question isn't is it dangerous: the question is, how dangerous is it.

Air travel is dangerous. Plane crashes kill people spectacularly and when something goes wrong it's a media field day, but thanks to tireless championing by the industry with definitive statistics backing them up, most people know air travel is extremely safe.

Nuclear power is in a similar predicament. When something goes wrong, it's global news. People are irrationally terrified by something that's extremely safe. Look at the statistics for deaths involved in power generation and you find coal is extremely unsafe by comparison, even if we discard it's emissions, which we shouldn't. Oil is also quite deadly. Look at the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the 11 dead, plus the health impact on everyone exposed to the oil dispersants, which may lead to hundreds more premature deaths. Still, you don't hear people calling for us to shut down all oil production, do you?

Lets stop being irrational and look at actual numbers:

Here's a list of Death Rate (in deaths per TWh) by Energy Source:
161 Coal (world average)
36 Oil
15 Coal (USA only)
12 Biofuel/Biomass
12 Peat
4 Natural Gas
0.44 Solar (rooftop)
0.15 Wind
0.10 Hydro
0.04 Nuclear

Think about the monumental difference this represents. Oil has 900 times as many people die per TWh generated. Even Hydro and Wind kill people at a higher rate than Nuclear, and this is while all of the issues outlined in this book are going on. It's also too late to claim that nuclear is actually unsafe, we just haven't had anything bad happen. This place got hit by an earthquake, a tsunami, faulty equipment, incompetence, greed, three meltdowns, and *still* nobody died. Chernobyl blew it's roof off leaving the naked fission reaction exposed to the sky, and only 67 people died. It's not great, but that many people die in an average week mining coal in China. We've been through enough Nuclear disasters to know what they're like, and they aren't all that bad. The great thing about this technology is it's extremely vocal about it's danger. You can wear little devices, and carry little meters that beep at you to tell you how much radiation you are being exposed to. You can detect radiation instantly from miles away, and you can detect even the most minute quantities from thousands of miles away. We know exactly when and where the danger is. and we know how to deal with it when it does.

Nuclear isn't perfect, but it's big problem is it's cost, not it's danger. It's super safe, we;re essentially burning rocks, but that safety is expensive.

Comment Re:The "I Told You So" Thread? (Score 1) 664

Would it be the one that survived a magnitude 9 earthquake, a tsunami, melted down and still hasn't killed anyone? Is that the one they were talking about?

Get some perspective. Safety is relative. Power generation by other means kills people. Lots of people. All the time. Every year they die. Not so with nuclear. Is there danger? Of course, but that danger is wildly less than the danger from other sources. It's like plane crashes though. It's big news when anything goes wrong so you hear about it. The danger is interesting and mysterious, and so we think about it more. Meanwhile, people die by the hundreds every year in coal mines and nobody gives two shits.

Comment Re:The "I Told You So" Thread? (Score 2) 664

Wait.. are you saying that Nuclear power isn't safe? Check the numbers again... Nuclear is insanely safe. Coal kills more people each year than Nuclear has ever. The only rational reason not to replace all coal production with nuclear is because it's too expensive. And it *is* too expensive. If we fix that problem (and we've got some great prospects as far as that goes) it will be a phenomenal improvement. Everyone will be able to breathe a little easier... literally.

"Nuclear at any cost" isn't a bad idea. The cost of using coal, oil, and natural gas for electricity generation is very high and a lot of that cost is displaced and not reflected in the economics of running a power plant. Every bit we use for electricity generation isn't available to fuel cars and power home heating. Nuclear is expensive, but not as expensive as relying on and securing foreign sources of energy and all the health and environmental issues caused by coal. Obviously, nobody wants to get irradiated, but the risk of that is wildly exaggerated. To put things in perspective, a coal plant puts out more radioactive waste per unit energy produced than a nuclear plant does.

What's even better than "Nuclear at any cost" though, is ultra-cheap nuclear. It's probably possible and if we hadn't had our heads in the sand for 50 years we'd probably have had it by now.

Comment Re:For me, and many of my fellow college students. (Score 4, Interesting) 697

I agree completely. I have both Netflix and a big old school DVR setup (3 replaytv's, 2 local servers running DVarchive to archive shows permanently and a cable hookup.) We just started in on Netflix a few months back and I have to say, I really like where that is going. Having the technology in my home to store things locally and share them around the house with ethernet in real time is cool, but my machines are aging and there is no modern equivalent. I'd much rather have a larger library full of pristine digital copies stored offsite and streamed whenever I want them. My daughter who is 6 grew up able to watch her favorite shows whenever she wanted. The replays I have are the old school ones before the media companies sued the automatic commercial skip out of them, but its not perfect and I much prefer the way Netflix just has none.

That said, cable companies and media producers understand that their model is at risk of being undermined and the price for Netflix to come up to being on-par with cable in terms of show availability is going to be steep. They won't be able to do it at $10 a month, thats for sure.

Still, if I could pay Netflix what I pay the cable company today (about $70 a month) and get all the same shows streamable any time from any of my TVs or computers with no commercials, it would be a no-brainer. I'd toss all my replays and all my archived shows and convert over in a second.

Ultimately, I think standard cable television is doomed. Nobody wants their content delivered that way. The cable companies will fight with everything in their power, but at the end of the day, you're going to be paying them for internet and internet only eventually. That's why the caps are showing up everywhere. They're deathly afraid of this, but like a good internet, it will eventually simply route around any attempts at censorship.

Comment This will be *good* for movies (Score 1) 335

The author is crazy. Streaming HD to the home is barely possible under the best of conditions right now. A 3x overall internet capacity increase would make this realistic and selling movies on the internet is going to make the movie companies billions. It's going to destroy some businesses but it won't be the movie companies. Personally, I think it's time for the old Qwest commercial to become reality.
Social Networks

Game Distribution Platforms Becoming Annoyingly Common 349

The Escapist's Shamus Young recently posted an article complaining about the proliferation of distribution platforms and social networks for video games. None of the companies who make these are "quite sure how games will be sold and played ten years from now," he writes, "but they all know they want to be the ones running the community or selling the titles." Young continues, "Remember how these systems usually work: The program sets itself up to run when Windows starts, and it must be running if you want to play the game. If you follow this scheme to its logical conclusion, you'll see that the system tray of every gaming PC would eventually end up clogged with loaders, patchers, helpers, and monitors. Every publisher would have a program for serving up content, connecting players, managing digital licenses, performing patches, and (most importantly) selling stuff. Some people don't mind having 'just one more' program running in the background. But what happens when you have programs from Valve, Stardock, Activision, 2k Games, Take-Two, Codemasters, Microsoft, Eidos, and Ubisoft? Sure, you could disable them. But then when you fire the thing up to play a game, it will want to spend fifteen minutes patching itself and the game before it will let you in. And imagine how fun it would be juggling accounts for all of them."

Comment Re:Good. (Score 4, Insightful) 284

This is not simply a company furthering it's own agenda and competing as companies do. They intentionally break the rules and systematically use anti-competitive, sneaky, underhanded and illegal activity to further their agenda. Most people have to work with Microsoft in some way to get our jobs done but that doesn't mean we have to pretend they aren't evil.

Comment Re:On board batteries fine, but 277 volt? (Score 1) 155

It's more than this though. 277 volt is 3 phase power. Unlike your standard home wiring which is 1/2 phase, 3 phase power always has voltage on it somewhere. 1 or 2 phase power has times where it has no voltage and computers need constant power. Because of this, three phase power supplies shouldn't have to go through as much work to smooth out the output power they should be more efficient. I'm not sure about this because I can't find anyone selling them.

Comment Re:Yeah, he wants big cheap pixels (Score 1) 549

I've told Windows XP it has a 120 dpi screen and it adjusts everything to be a bit bigger. Vista won't let me though.

Rather than lowering resolution we need more "zoom in on everything" options. Displaying things bigger on higher resolution screens allows for higher quality and legibility than dropping the resolution down. Processing power is high enough that high quality pixel expanding algorithms can take care of non-scalable features and more and more, things are scalable now. The ones that are look far better at high resolution, displayed big.

Also, glasses are for weenies. Real men have 30" 2560x1600 screens, hit Ctrl-+ and squint a lot.

Slashdot Top Deals

The "cutting edge" is getting rather dull. -- Andy Purshottam