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Comment Definitions so broad as to be pointless (Score 3, Insightful) 245

Their definitions almost allow grandma to count time sitting in a rocking chair on the porch watching the outside world as "consuming information". Lots of bits of data comming into those eyeballs. Or maybe even if she closes her eyes and starts daydreaming, those dreams count too. :-)

When a "report" spends a substantial amount of time explaining the notations for large numbers, it is a pretty clear sign that it isn't a very serious work.

PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment Worst summary ever (Score 1) 619

Well, ok, not really the worst, but only because the competition for worst slashdot summary is pretty intense. I don't think I'll bother to comment on the merits of the actual proposal. The summary says more about whoever wrote the summary than about the proposal.

No, the regulation does not "target your big-screen TVs for elimination." Those few who RFTA will note that it doesn't say anything close to that. I note that the summary says nothing about what the proposal actually does say.

And I see that the poster makes sure to throw in spurious knee-jerk words like "unelected bureaucrats" because that certainly constructively contributes to the debate. Why would one want to debate issues when you can instead throw epithets? Going to claim they are child molesters as well?

Anyone who starts out like this summary isn't worth arguing with. When you start by blatantly misstating the most basic of facts in the matter and then continue by using irrelevant epithets in hope of getting knee-jerk agreement, I don't think you are looking for reasoned debate.

Comment It isn't an exclusive or (Score 1) 183

You don't have to choose one or the other. I don't understand why so many presumably smart people here (well, ok...) pick on a problem of some backup method or other and then conclude that it is therefore not a choice. If you really care, you have multiple backup methods - not just multiple copies, but multiple methods. They then compensate for each other's weaknesses.

Well, security issues can be another matter, as having multiple methods doesn't help your security if one of them "leaks". But I'm talking about just being able to recover the data.

I use about 4 different backup methods - some regularly and some occasionally. Apple's Time machine is real handy and I have it on all the time. That's one local copy. Mozy Pro gives me something remote in case the house burns down or whatever. It also auto-runs regularly. If I'm about to do something with extra issues such as an OS upgrade, I first make sure I have a fresh full clone using SuperDuper. And files that I particularly care about I tend to have copied onto multiple machines. If any of those methods goes belly up for some reason, I've got the others. It takes three major failures (ok, only 2 if one of them is my house going) in quick sequence to loose anything - more to loose critical stuff.

For my mother-in-law, I have her set up with Mozy (free version works because she doesn't have over 2 GB of stuff that needs backup). That's because it will happen without her attention, which is really, really important. And it also happens without me having to remember to take care of it for her regularly. She doesn't have computer stuff critical enough to need much more. If Mozy goes, I'll set her up with something different. If her computer dies right around the same time as Mozy does, then she'd loose stuff, but she'd get over it.

Comment Re:Their site... (Score 4, Insightful) 454

Thinking that something "should be illegal" is not particularly close to it being illegal. It sounds to you that you are just saying that it is unethical. I agree with that, but the point was that a prior poster said he "considered this to be illegal", and the parent asked why it was illegal.

Saying it is unethical does not answer that question. You have to actually find a law that says it is illegal.

Likewise, asaul says that it is illegal because it is misleading. Again, he doesn't cite any law against being misleading.

Even blatantly lying is not, in general, illegal. There are cases where it is, but those are specific cases; there is no general law against lying. (Mom's law doesn't count here. :-))

There are laws against false advertising, which are probably the closest things to applicable ones here. But the standards applied to that in practice tend to be awfully lenient. (Heck, as far as I can tell, darn near all advertising attempts to give false impressions in at least some way. Apparently the lawyers don't use the same standards that I do, since I don't see darn near all advertising slapped down.)

Comment Re:US Customs Isn't Kind To US Citizens, Either (Score 2, Insightful) 1040

Amen. I'm a US citizen (by birth, and I've lived here all 59 years of my life). The border folk of my own country give me far more hassle than I've ever had with any other country. I don't even fit any particularly common "bad guy profile" (independent of any questions about the use of such profiles). I'm quite the nerdy, white middle-class American image. They don't pick on me in particular; its just that the way they are to most people is so much worse than the border folk of most other countries.

This summer I had my first trip to Russia. The cruise ship folk warned us about how painful the border folk were. This appeared to be mostly a push to buy the cruise ship tour excursion so that they could help you smooth it. I didn't do that; did have my own Visa. Went through the Russian officials more quickly and easily then the US ones when I returned home.

As far as so-called security goes, if someone in my family mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again, agents of my own government would be a lot higher on my list of likely culprits than foreign terrorists. I don't really run around every day worried about either possibility (and I don't even brink my tin foil hat with me when I travel), but I sure know which one is higher on my concern list.

Comment Re:Server vs. client (Score 3, Insightful) 270

The server market is competitive - very much so (as I presume you are well aware). That makes the situation very much different. Most of the reason why we need net neutrality rules is the lack of competitiveness in the ISP market. If the market were really competitive, to the extent that Joe Blow customer (such as me) could realistically tell his ISP to go jump in a lake, then we wouldn't need net neutrality rules. Market competition would indeed do the job.

If I tell my ISP to go jump, I'm back to dialup... or I suppose I could get Satellite, but that's pretty worthless for anything interactive. It is clear that I'm far from alone and am closer to typical in this.

Market competition doesn't work when there is a small group that controls the market and there are substantial barriers to entry by others. That is really the crux of the whole matter, and the part that the big players who do control most of the ISP market would like to distract people from. It does make a difference - a huge one.

Comment Re:The Franklin Institute isn't what it used to be (Score 1) 435

If the Franklin has gone downhill, then either it used to be darned good or maybe it was just recently. I was at the Franklin not too many years ago... well... time does seem to zip by.... I suppose it must have been on the order of 5 years though it still seems recent. I recall being quite impressed by it. Before reading the above post, I was going to post and say that the Franklin sets a pretty high standard.

Lots of good recommendations elsewhere in the thread. All I can do is second some of them, including the exploratorium in San Francisco and Balboa Park in San Diego. Of course, it has been longer since I've been to them - more like 10 to 15 years, so I suppose they could possibly have gone downhill as well.

Comment Re:No shit (Score 1) 432

Speaking of NASA (which your signature did), I retired from NASA a few years ago. Our own systems were regularly coming up with things like cert warnings because the security people were too clueless to do their job correctly. More than once I called the computer security folk to complain about a certificate warning from their own systems. They were surprised that I had bothered to call; I was told I was just supposed to ignore messages like that. When that's the line you get from the so-called security professionals, little wonder that the average Joe doesn't do better. (Yes, the computer security folk at the particular NASA site I worked at were spectacularly clueless about pretty much everything, probably more so than at other NASA sites.)

It obviously hasn't improved since I left either. Just a few months ago, I got a call asking me to log into a system to review some management BS about one of the programs I had written when I worked there. Same problems. I was tempted to tell them that NASA systems were one thing, but that I declined to override security warnings like that on my home systems, where I have important things like banking information. They wouldn't have understood, though.

Not that NASA is alone. I've seen the same kinds of things from banks. Sigh.

Comment Re:Why not a laptop? (Score 1) 263

I've got a laptop computer. I also have a Kindle. No way is the laptop even close to an adequate substitute. I plan to bring both on a cruise I'm going on starting next week. My Kindle is not the DX, and I'm not at all sure whether I'd prefer the DX or not, but your comments have nothing in particular to do with the DX either. I'm not going to just repeat all the sales blub stuff in detail. That is all readily available. I don't know whether you never read it, or perhaps the Kindle just isn't for you. I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean it is for nobody. In very short...

The Kindle (non-DX) is sized and shaped about like a paperback (particularly if you get the leather cover - recommended). This is clearly intentional, and it works well. You can tote it around just like a paperback; my wife throws it in her purse just like one. It is a whole lot more handy than my laptop. It is also a *LOT* easier on the eyes than a laptop screen. And yes, I can indeed read it outside in the desert sun here in lighting conditions where it would be hard to even tell whether my laptop was on. Since the epaper screen is a large chunk of the cost of the thing, its properties are important to consider. Yes, if you don't value those properties, you aren't going to value the Kindle.

Its battery life is measured in days instead of hours (caveat: that's with the wireless off, which makes a huge difference; keep the wireless off if you aren't using it). And my aging eyes appreciate that I can select the font size instead of being stuck with whatever tiny font a book printer used.

Most of the books I have on it so far are free ones, though my wife has bought a few, and we'll probably skim Amazon and buy a few more today.

One negative. I don't think the interface for things like newspapers is very convenient. I tried the free trial subscriptions to a few papers, but then I dropped them. The material is there, but it just isn't presented in a way that I find very handy. With either a physical paper or the web, you immediately see what the "big" stories are. Sometimes that's all you want. You don't get that with the Kindle.

Yes, I could carry a dozen books or so on my upcoming cruise. Well, I could carry them until all the extra weight got to me, which it would. Or I could carry my one KIndle. I'm bringing the Kindle.

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