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Comment They Also Charge for SMS on Mi-Fi (Score 2, Interesting) 178

I've had a Mi-Fi (dedicated 3G Wi-Fi access point) from Verizon since the summer. Works great (trouble-free video conferencing from rural Virginia!), but there are consistently charges for SMS messages "received" -- which are not from anyone I know -- given that there's no way to retrieve them, seems kinda disingenuous.

Comment I don't often *reboot* but I do *boot* every day (Score 1) 596

I turn my computer off every night. It's good for it. It's good for the planet. Of course, all my code editing sessions are running inside screen on a server downstairs that we never turn off, so arguably I'm the schmuck wasting power using two computers all day and leaving one of them on all night.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Dell Power Edge 2950 Plays April Fools on ThinkGeek

Setting: Jacob finally gets to sleep at 5:15 this morning after 22 hours of uptime leading up to April Fools' Day at ThinkGeek HQ. Two hours later, his company phone starts making its "alert" sound.

7:15am

PHONE: Bleem!

SUPEREGO: Uh-oh! Somewhere, a server's in trouble!

JACOB opens eyes, looks at phone

PHONE: Bleem!

ID: I don't hear anything.

ID sings tonelessly: lalalala

PHONE: Bleem!

Input Devices

Submission + - Old-School Keyboard Makes Comeback Of Sorts (npr.org)

CharlotteShma writes: "Some old writer once said that in order to keep going, he needed to hear the scratch of the pen on the page. Some self-proclaimed keyboard aficionados would make the same argument for computer keyboards. Is it possible that the old "clicky" keyboards are making a comeback? Now that we've replaced the old buckling springs with rubber domes, our keyboards are only getting quieter and quieter. According to the people at Unicomp Inc., all keyboards made since the early 1990s are, frankly, no good. They still use and produce vintage IBM Model M keyboards in their small factory in Lexington, Kentucky. The IBM Model M keyboards are ugly, built like tanks, and, most importantly, with a spring under each key which clicks when you press it."

Comment Time for the Next Science Fiction Channel (Score 1) 798

I'm sorry that today isn't April 1st. I remember signing a petition to get the Sci-Fi channel carried by our local cable operator way back in the early 1990s. It's sad that they don't want to stick with us geeks who helped get them started.

Abandoning their niche isn't the way to gain ground, they should be bettering their niche instead. With the budget they currently spend on the CG equivalent of rubber monster movies, they could hire real SF writers to create high-quality Science Fiction -- less frequently than the crap, sure, but it would build an audience. Imagine two BSG series and no weekly monster movie. I think that's a win-win.

Seems like it's too late now. The old Sci-Fi is dead. Long live the new Sci-Fi (pass the petition, willya?).

Comment Re:Administrators only (Score 1) 90

Yup. I did this for my family when they first hooked their Windows PCs up to a persistent network; they don't have a password on the admin account, but they all know not to run programs there; they only use it if they can't install an app under their user accounts. It's been over a decade now, and no virus or malware issues. The only really annoying thing was that they started with XP home, and I had to configure their file perms with cacls and its bevy of ugly switches. *barf*

Comment Re:Nope. Never. (Score 1) 395

I do think Stephenson "gets it" but Cryptonomicon is less technically impressive after you notice how much of it was a fictionalization of David Kahn's excellent non-fiction work, The Codebreakers. Read them one after the other and you'll see what I mean.

Stephenson's one of my favorite authors; I've felt a compulsion to read passages from his books aloud to friends and family on many occasions. He has some bad habits, like the way his last chapters tend to splice all the loose ends together (no matter how insignificant) in the last chapter in a usually unsatisfying meltdown. FWIW, Anathem's ending is better than that -- and if you're interested in words and their origins, you shouldn't listen to the detractors, the vocabulary is part of the fun.

Comment Re:Battlestar analogies (Score 1) 799

Uh, Israel has large minorities of non-Jews. It's not a pure culture, and it doesn't herd people (though it does keep them out). Compare with the Muslim theocracies nearby (most of which *used* to have minority populations, especially of Zoroastrians and Jews in Persia (Iran)). See who you think is really doing the ethnic cleansing.

Comment iGala Already Exists -- $239 (Score 4, Interesting) 259

Well, I know that by posting this I officially brand myself as a corporate shill, but here's a device that runs Linux, has a touch screen, has an open API, and already exists and can be yours for $239:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/digital-photo-frames/b425/

And you can use it as a picture frame out of the box. =)

Comment Are you SURE it wasn't scanned? (Score 2, Interesting) 709

Here in Fairfax, Virginia, where I worked as an election officer, we had some older touch-screen machines (most of which failed at some point during the day) and a new paper-based fill-in-the-bubble ballot that used a scanner that was virtually invisible; as you slid the ballot into the box, a computer built into the lid of the ballot box scanned it. Very slick; the precinct gets an instant count, the ballots are re-countable, and voting can go on even if the computer bit fails. Plus, since people didn't have to have a computer in front of them to work on (or stare dumbly at) a ballot, many more people could vote at the same time.

The Internet

World's Smallest IPv6 Stack By Cisco, Atmel, SICS 287

B Rog writes "Cisco, Atmel, and the Swedish Institute of Computer Science have released uIPv6, the world's smallest IPv6 compliant IPv6 stack, as open source for the Contiki embedded operating system. The intent is to bring IP addresses to the masses by giving devices such as thermometers or lightbulbs an IPv6 stack. With a code size of 11 kilobytes and a dynamic memory usage of less than 2 kilobytes (yes, kilobytes!), it certainly fits the bill of the ultra-low-power microcontrollers typically used in such devices. When every lightbulb has an IP address, the vast address range of IPv6 sounds like a pretty good idea."

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