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Comment What is this going to mean for me, the end-user? (Score 3, Insightful) 161

I'm not a programmer or a hardware hacker. I don't know anything about soldering circuit boards. I'm just a guy who likes to surf the net, write stories, play games, hang out on-line, and so on. What is the availability of this $15 device going to mean for me?

I mean, at least (as far as) I know the Raspberry Pi is going to be producing fully-realized devices that I can buy, plug in a keyboard and monitor and Ethernet cable, and I'm done. It sounds like this project is just about building a circuit board. And while it's nice it will be 40% cheaper and three times as fast, I'd like to know what I could do with it if someone came up to me on the street and handed me one.

Comment Do your raunchy songs ever get you into trouble? (Score 1) 122

Your body of work seems to have a remarkable split personality. A lot of your songs are perfectly kid-friendly, while others are rather raunchy. ("It's the first of May, first of May...") Does that ever get you into trouble?

For example, do you ever look out into the audience at one of your posted adults-only shows and see kids? If so, what have you done? Have you ever had to decide on the spur of the moment to "redact" an R-rated song from your playlist at a show?

Comment Springfield, Missouri has them too (Score 1) 124

Well, not "caves" per se, but we do have the Springfield Underground, an extensive system of underground limestone quarries, the mined-out parts of which have been converted into office, data hosting, warehousing, and manufacturing space. (Here's a video tour.)

I've been in it. It's pretty impressive.

Comment E-book consumers aren't that happy either (Score 1) 174

For what it's worth, it's generated ill-will on the part of e-book consumers, too, many of whom feel this whole thing is yet another instance of the continued cluelessness over e-books that they've had to endure for the past ten years, and who feel that authors and publishers are deliberately ignoring them or misrepresenting their positions.

A couple of examples:

"Maybe we should be hurting the authors" by Ficbot
"The Amazon/Macmillan blow-up: An e-book lover's appeal for understanding" by me

Comment Re:Thought Crime Cliché (Score 1) 673

I'd tend to agree with you. There are a number of things I enjoy reading or writing or playing video games about that I wouldn't dream of doing in real life. Skydiving, for instance.

But there are certain hot-button topics where you just don't want to take chances. Where even if you only screw up one time out of a thousand, it costs innocent lives. Ask the Secret Service how seriously they take even "obvious" jokes about threatening the President or his family, for instance.

Right or wrong, perceived threats to children are one of those hot buttons. (In fact, you could argue that, from an evolutionary standpoint, it's vital to overreact to threats to children.) There's a reason "won't somebody think of the children?" is such a cliché, and that's because it's true.

Comment Re:Thought Crime Cliché (Score 0) 673

I think the theory is that "child porn" of any kind, including cartoon character or virtual, promotes the child-molesting mindset in a child-porn fan. So, even cartoon kiddie porn might make it more likely that the viewer might go and molest a real kid someday.

Not saying it's right, but just that I seem to remember hearing that's what the theory was.


Submission + - Donate $20 to help Haiti, get $1481 in RPGs (

Robotech_Master writes: Digital RPG vendor DriveThruRPG is offering $1481 in cover price of RPG e-content in exchange for a $20 donation to Doctors Without Borders. (DriveThru is also matching $5 and $10 donations.) The content includes many popular indy RPGs, as well as the Firefly RPG, 'Serenity', that would cost $30 all by itself. Due to high load on DriveThruRPG's servers, downloads are being delayed to up to 3 business days after the donation. Still, it's a great deal for any gamer—even those who otherwise couldn't care less about the Haiti earthquake. At time of submission, DriveThruRPG has raised just over $75,000 so far.

Comment Re:Not just being grumpy (Score 2, Informative) 159

That's exactly right. The only reason the OLPC group set out to design the XO in the first place was that there were no computers in that size and price range at the time. They simply did not exist.

Well, now they exist. Cherrypal is selling them. They're not going to have the same kind of standardized architecture that the XO does, but nonetheless they're Real Live Computers that can run real operating systems (and by "real operating systems" I of course mean Linux).

OLPC ought to be putting educational software on those rather than blowing more money chasing this touchscreen pipe dream.

Comment Re:Low price attempts are good PR (Score 1) 159

To be fair, the approaches of the two projects are a bit different. OLPC is like the Apple of the third-world-laptop world. They're designing a specific set of hardware, and tailoring not just an OS but a specific educational software suite to run on it.

Cherrypal is like the PC, taking the "beige box" approach of just buy or throw together any old thing, all it has to do is access the Internet. Let the organizations who buy it come up with their own curricula.

(And by the way, my interview with the chairman of Cherrypal is now up on TeleRead.)

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