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Comment I just made this browser for kids (Score 1) 742

I just finished this browser for kids and released it the other day. I use it with my three year old daughter so that she can use the web without encountering a lot of advertising or unapproved sites.

It still requires parental involvement but my daughter loves being able to browse and pick videos. It seems like kids are better with trackpads than with mice.

Comment Why does my accountant have me pay Use Tax? (Score 1) 377

Last year my accountant had us pay Use Tax on all our online purchases so we had to dig up all our records. I live in VA so my questions are:

1) Should I be bothering to pay Use Tax at all?
2) It is legal or enforceable by the state of Virginia?
3) Since it's interstate is it really a federal issue?
4) What if I don't "use" the purchases or I give them as gifts?

Comment Web TV Software (Score 1) 227

I made this Web TV software that essentially indexes shows from all over the world, including CBS, NBC, ABC and much more.

It works on Win/Mac (sorry, I have a Linux version in the works but right now there are playback problems). Most of the content is US/UK but much of it can be accessed from any location.

Anyway, the point is that it can't be blocked because it uses your system's default browser for playback. I don't agree with Google that it's the content provider's right to prevent playback on certain platforms: if it's free to watch online I should be able to watch it using any method I choose. But, knowing that networks can be jerks, I programmed our software to tap into the system's browsers and circumvent any potential problems.

It's no good for sitting on your couch in front of the TV but it's great for watching content on your computer. My wife and I cut our cable and disabled our two Tivos in favor of web in early 2010 after the initial release of this software and now we have $70/month to do whatever we want with. That's nearing $700 now that's in my hands, and I can't think of a single show I miss between my web TV and a netflix subscription.

Comment One of my favorite places (Score 2, Interesting) 140

I took my one year old daughter here on her first airplane trip and we had an absolute blast. I would rank this place as one of the coolest places I have ever been, and the absolute coolest museum ever. I did not encounter anything "dangerous" there that couldn't also be found on a standard playground. I'm looking forward to taking her back when she's 4 or 5 and can really enjoy it. I wish there were more places like the city museum.

Comment We are the answer. (Score 1) 1015

It's easy to know why an intelligent creature might come here in search of other intelligent life, in fact we know exactly why they would do it because it is the very same reason that we go out looking for intelligent life: curiosity. There don't need to be "resources" involved, or really any motive at all other than trying to understand our universe, how we got here, what is going to happen to us, and what other creatures share our fate.

Comment Boxee/Netflix/HDHomerun (Score 1) 304

I can't believe I'm not seeing more Boxee setups. I have had mine running great for a few months now, next month it will pay for itself.

Between Boxee's TV shows, my HD tuners recording over the air, and Netflix Streaming there isn't a single show I used to get via cable that I can't watch directly through Boxee now. In addition, there's cool stuff I've found through Boxee like EarthTouch and Revision3.

Here is the setup:

HD antenna in my upstairs bedroom, using the existing coaxial in my house to get the signal to the basement ($40)

HDHomerun network capture card ($120)

GB-PVR on a Windows machine or MythTV on Linux/Mac to record up to two shows at once (free)

1 TB networked USB drive to store recorded/burned/downloaded shows/movies ($100)

Existing windows/mac/linux box to run Boxee on (free to cheap). I found it pretty simple to hook up my Macbook Pro but am looking forward to the Boxee Box coming out soon.

If you have an iphone/touch you can use it as a networked controller for Boxee, which is cool and seems to impress people. Having pandora on the TV is also really nice. Since I'm running on the Macbook I can pick up and move it upstairs at any time, and the whole system is available from any networked computer in our house with Boxee installed. And to top it all off I can get live HD TV on any of those computers because the HD Homerun is networked!

Anyway it's ****ing awesome. : )

All this for $260 and starting next month I will be saving approximately $60/month on cable bills.

Comment Re:Just in case... (Score 1) 371

Is there any particular reason an alien species would be any nicer to other species than we are to other species?

I hope that when we reach the level of intelligence necessary to travel to other inhabited worlds we will have, in the process of obtaining that intelligence, learned that we should respect other species and do everything possible to prevent suffering in all living creatures.


The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Comment Amazon Ditched DRM? (Score 1) 200

Then why the Amazon Unbox DRM on my Tivo? I "rent" a movie, it's downloaded to my Tivo automatically. I have 30 days to watch it before it's deleted from my Tivo. Once I start watching it, I have to finish within 24 hours or it's deleted from my Tivo. Those stingy rules are the reason I don't rent from Amazon Unbox other than my initial test.

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What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. -- Bengamin Disraeli