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Comment Re:Maybe people living in the rural US need a real (Score 1) 604

The economics aren't that simple nor is the environmental impact. Many people tend to mix suburbs with rural and they're not the same thing. Until we get to the point where its cost effective to raise all of the food needed by city inhabitants within city limits we're going to need rural areas. Its certainly possible to raise that much food but I don't believe you could do it without dramatically changing the American diet. I don't see Americans saying good bye to hamburgers (made from beef) any time soon. If don't think we should subsidize rural broadband then you might think we should stop subsidizing electricity (which is were all of these subsidizes originated in the US). In that case everyone in the US whether that person lives in a rural, suburban, or urban area, will pay a lot more for for food.

Comment Al Franken ever visit rural US? (Score 2) 604

I have mixed emotions about Network Neutrality. The concept has some good points, but there are large down sides as well. The worst thing is AFAIK no one has ever found a case that would be affected by most of the proposals I've seen posted. The closest I have seen was a telco blocking Vonage's SIP registration ports several years back, which the FCC caught. Neither AT&T nor Verizon are major rural players and mobile is most certainly not the way people in rural areas get their broadband. Perhaps the Senator should go a little further off the highway to see how people are connecting. FIXED wireless (Alvarion, Tranzeo, Canopy, etc), DSL, DOCSIS cable, and a surprising amount of FTTx but damn little mobile broadband.

Earth

MIT Unveils Portable, Solar-Powered Water Desalination System 117

An anonymous reader writes "A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Field and Space Robotic Laboratory has designed a new solar-powered water desalination system to provide drinking water to disaster zones and disadvantaged parts of the planet. Desalination systems often require a lot of energy and a large infrastructure to support them, but MIT's compact system is able to cope due to its ingenious design. The system's photovoltaic panel is able to generate power for the pump, which in turn pushes undrinkable seawater through a permeable membrane. MIT's prototype can reportedly produce 80 gallons of drinking water per day, depending on weather conditions."
Image

Cooking With Your USB Ports 188

tekgoblin writes "Wow, I would never have thought to try and cook food with the power that a standard USB port provides, but someone did. A standard port provides 5V of power, give or take a little. I am not even sure what it takes to heat a small hotplate, but I am sure it is more than 5V. It looks like the guy tied together around 30 USB cables powered by his PC to power this small hotplate. But believe it or not, it seems to have cooked the meat perfectly."

Comment Re:Great Game (Score 4, Informative) 399

I agree, but they also caught a ton of grief over it. I have acquaintances that refused to touch Civ4 specifically because of the inclusion of religion. Interestingly the people I know who felt that way fell into both the very religious (in this case fundamentalist Christians) and in the very non-religious (strident atheist in this case).

Comment Re:Amazing how uninformed the author is (Score 1) 322

Pardon my bluntness, but have you ever negotiated a franchise? I have and they are far from being government subsidies in any way, shape, or form. Now, I don't work with the Comcast's of the world but I do work with lots of smaller cable and phone companies and there are cases where the government _does_ provide assistance, most often under Carrier of Last Resort obligations. That is what those annoying Universal Service Funds we all pay go to support. If you want to understand CoLR read the intro in this PDF
http://www.nrri.org/pubs/telecommunications/COLR_july09-10.pdf

In my experience CoLR is a mixed bag, most of the big guys (AT&T, Qwest, Verizon, etc) hate CoLR and lose money on it most of the time while a lot of the rural telco's do ok (which the big guys hate too). Having said all of that I can't think of case where a cable company has been held to CoLR requirements, though I certainly couldn't say it hasn't happened its also certainly not common.

Comment Amazing how uninformed the author is (Score 2, Insightful) 322

The problem with the author's position is that no one is asking for open access to the "Internet". They are asking for open access to networks that were privately funded, like Comcast's _access_ network. The government didn't help AT&T (or any of the component companies SBC, Bellsouth, etc) run copper lines to houses nor wire fiber to digital loop carriers in neighborhoods. The government was of course deeply involved in the initial build of the Internet and did in fact try to give it to the original AT&T (who declined because they didn't think it was commercially viable), but none of that infrastructure is in service nor has it been for a very long time. No one has a complaint about getting access to the Internet. Google and all of the other commercial entities asking for open access don't care about access to the core, they have that in spades already, what they want is a guarantee that people who built _access_ networks can't charge them for sending their content over those networks. I personally see merit on both sides of this position, but the author of the Techdirt article is dead wrong.

Comment Re:Good move (Score 1) 295

I know I personally bought 2 copies of Civ IV, I have no idea where my copy of Civ III is, and I like playing older games. Steam = much easier access to my games. That may or may not be true for everyone, but then again not everyone is married to compulsive organizer who puts things where they make sense for her but are incomprehensible for me.

Comment Good move (Score 2, Insightful) 295

Good move, kudos to Sid and company for ignoring the idiotic knee jerk reactions seen on some message boards I won't mention. Requiring occasional (I have gone at least 2 weeks before) access back to Steam as opposed to having to keep track of some number of CD's _and_ being able to have the game installed on multiple PC's is a net positive IMNHO. The improved matchmaking sounds like icing on the cake.

Comment MoCA (Score 1) 608

I can't believe someone hasn't already pointed out MoCA its what Verizon is using for their in house wiring for FioS installs. You will need an adapter per device, which is kind of a drag since they are ~ $150.00 or so, but the 1.1 spec offers 175 mbps of through put.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_over_Coax_Alliance

http://www.ecost.com/detail.aspx?edp=44551040&source=k232270&cm_mmc=Affiliates-_-Performics-_-k232270-_-Primary

Comment Re:What you really need to know (Score 1) 34

You're pretty sad, if I cared enough to do more than laugh at your paranoia I _might_ get a bit irritated but all I can think of when I read your post(s) is an aspiring Limbaugh wannabe. I wonder if your face is as red as I imagine it to be ;p Your only instance of "harm" is pure user error in one case and idiocy in the other. Your assertion that Steam doesn't support resuming updates is false. Of course your available bandwidth will affect how fast you can pull said updates or other content(including backups), but that is analogous to have a requirement that you have a working CD ROM drive to play back the media you would have purchased for boxed software. Is it the fault of the software vendor that you don't have a working drive (or damaged media)?

You _were_ able to get your content and complaining about having to have a broadband connection to do so is laughable. Which is more onerous to the user, having to maintain install media, all of which have a definable shelf life in years, as well as the drives to read said media or to simply have an IP connection? I know that I have personally lost a hell of a lot more CD ROM's, floppies, and DVD's with content I "owned" than I have ever had or seen reported for people losing access to content via Steam. That's also true of the other major online game retailers like GOG and DirecttoDrive.

Again, please show some evidence of actual harm. You can dislike phoning home, but it is one of the trade offs to address publisher concerns. I can demonstrate the harm of using physical media both to the user themselves and to society as a whole, all you've shown is that you were inconvenienced when you lacked a broadband connection. Are you old enough to remember the alternatives for piracy prevention? DRM now and before that having to keep manuals so you could refer to page so and so and find word number 12 in paragraph 2.

Comment Re:What you really need to know (Score 1) 34

What paranoia? Where in my comment does it look like I think everyone is out to get me? We're talking about one company's plot to screw everyone, it's quite the opposite. Reading comprehension? YOU FAIL IT

Really, is that the best you can do this morning? You must have skipped breakfast. What actual harm(s) have you or anyone else experienced from using Steam? Quick, point out all of the complaints of Valve abusing their customer...sadly (for you) despite the millions of Steam users you can't find them. You can find complaints about some of the of patches and software quality they have put out but that isn't an indication of their (in your eyes) plot to "screw everyone". BTW, in your paranoid version of the universe what is Steam's motivation for abusing their customers? I mean, they are already one of the most successful online software distributions companies on the planet. Why would they want to do something to jeopardize that?

That has nothing to do with anything. I am not required to trust them when I buy an installable software product, unlike a Steam-powered game, because I can simply install from the media and use the software. If I cannot do so, I am protected by California state law, and may return the product regardless of the store's policies on software returns; my state protects me from defective merchandise. In fact, by state law, I may return it under any warranty to any outlet which sells the same product. Since the original warranty covers the product's ability to work at all (though nothing else) I can take it back any ol' place.

So you were happy with the rootkit that SOE installed because you could return the software (though the rootkit would remain) but you're unhappy with Steam. Why is it that you believe that the California law wouldn't apply to Steam purchases? The licenses for the games are identical to the boxed versions... This is nothing more than a red herring, you can return games under Steam and you have no more and no fewer rights as a software licensee than you would have if you purchased a boxed copy.

My phone can operate in standalone mode. It's called airplane mode. Nice try though, son.

Next time try harder to be insulting, you might actually pull it of but you seem to lack the imagination. I have to ask, when your phone is in standalone mode do you call yourself? While the device (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc) might have functions that it can be used for when it's not connected to its network it most certainly cannot be used as a phone. The analogy is appropriate here since its another piece of technology that not only requires a network connection it requires one from a specific provider or one that has an agreement with your specific provider, as opposed to a generic IP connection that Steam needs.

Steam is spyware.

Really? Want to point out a rootkit or user level monitoring software that Steam has installed? How about some evidence? Sony and others (hence the question about other software vendors) have done this exactly, but Steam does not.

Comment Re:What you really need to know (Score 2, Insightful) 34

Please, hold the paranoia. Do you trust any of your software vendors? Really? Do you worry about the phone company (VOIP or traditional POTS) listening to your calls or perhaps the fact that your phone can't operate in standalone mode? IMO Valve has found a happy medium between user concerns and publisher concerns. Both groups have legitimate areas to worry about as well as less legitimate ones but Valve hasn't installed spy ware (AFAIK) for any publisher. You can play your games without having to connect to Steam, I have a laptop that seldom if ever actually connects to the service and its saved huge amounts of natural resources by being one of (if not the) most popular platforms for buying games without boxes and packaging materials.

Submission + - To Open Source or not 1

An anonymous reader writes: I am interested to possibly opensourcing a project that we have been working on for a while. The product is an online Service for the Paramedical Industry, but I have misgivings about whether this will work.
Reasons for Open Sourcing:
1. We are working with medical data and I believe open code will provide a better security implementations than closed code.
2. Our business model is to charge our clients for a service we provide based on the number of clients they have. So, clients who have the desire to get to grips with the product and run it themselves can just do it, but if they want to make use of our service, the cost is marginal and reasonable. I feel confident that we justify our revenue.
But I am concerned:
1. Firstly, we don't want our competitors to take our code and run an online service with it.
2. I also don't know how good our legal protection is in the Netherlands where we developed the product. How much will it cost us to enforce an OSS licensing agreement such as the GPL?
3. Lastly, should we consider a new or modified licensing agreement that will effectively opensource the product for our direct clients but stop our competitors from running a service with it (sadly, the better our code, the more dangerous this option becomes).

What are our options? We want to do the right thing.
Idle

Hand Written Clock 86

a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."

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