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Comment Re:Purpose is not stated (Score 4, Informative) 362 sold both downloads as loss leaders. The 40p limit applies to the wholesale price, not the retail price.

  - I pay Amazon 29p
  - Amazon pays Sony 40p (or more?)
  - It counts towards the chart
  - Amazon hopes my retail experience was good, and I'll come back for more music downloads in future. This time at a profitable price.

Everybody's happy.

Comment Re:IE6? Really? (Score 1) 422

It really doesn't matter whether you make your site follow the lowest common denominator or, as you suggest, maintain multiple versions for different browsers. What it comes down to is spending time on creating new features or spending time catering to the bugs of IE6.

Yes, not supporting IE6 may cost you some part of your visitors, but how many visitors are you losing because of lack of development and modern features? That's not as easily measured and obviously depending on the type of site we're discussing, but in many cases I bet it's a lot more than 5-10%.


Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"

Comment The PICAXE chipset won't scare you away then (Score 1) 77

I don't know if it's popular in the US but it is in the UK and Australia. It's a series of super-easy PIC controllers that are very cheap and programed in a version of BASIC though a serial port, no special programmer circuitry required. They have A to D inputs and servo control outputs. They are great for school projects and Silicon Chip magazine always has lots of project articles for them. See

NASA Tests Flying Airbag 118

coondoggie writes "NASA is looking to reduce the deadly impact of helicopter crashes on their pilots and passengers with what the agency calls a high-tech honeycomb airbag known as a deployable energy absorber. So in order to test out its technology NASA dropped a small helicopter from a height of 35 feet to see whether its deployable energy absorber, made up of an expandable honeycomb cushion, could handle the stress. The test crash hit the ground at about 54MPH at a 33 degree angle, what NASA called a relatively severe helicopter crash."

Comment Re:Lithium limited? (Score 2, Informative) 211

depends. right now were're surface mining lithium salts from exposed salt flats. theres no telling how many rich veins of lithium salts are hiding in valleys or near aquifers. i'm sure someone is working on that, but until someone runs analysis on where those veins might be i doubt anyone could tell you. more than likely battery technology will move beyond lithium long before (100 years?) we run out of lithium "ore" you can just shovel off the ground and into the back of a truck (Seriously, do a google image search for "lithium ore" - they literally shovel it right off the ground into piles, and later into pickup trucks)

Comment Re:Monkey syntax errors aren't so bad (Score 0) 197

On an anecdote: A friend of mine told me that in South Africa, you see groups of monkeys roaming the streets like gangs. They come to the house, steal the food, and destroy everything.

But he saw them on the street, and a poor dog got into their way. They literally ripped the dog into pieces!
Bear in mind that they have a pull strength up to 1700 pounds!
So you can imagine the mess and gore of it. With blood and bowels all over the place.

No messin’ around with those little bastards! ^^

(Think about it: If we still were cavemen, then we'd be able to overpower even them. Sad that humans got so weak. :/)

Comment Mod parent up! (Score 1) 477

Well he's at +5 already, but he has it spot on.
When I talk to other programmers who can't see the value (or are lazy) in providing comments, I try to make it clear to them the comments are the RATIONALE for the piece of code. We know we can see a loop that iterates over a list, but why did Fred (who left before I started) write this module in the first place? He could have mentioned in a short blurb at the top that it updates a person's Mojo and that it's only used by the AustinPowers module, thus saving me time doing a global search on the thing. And given that I don't have any RATIONALE for Mojo.dll existing I sure as beans won't have any reference in AustinPowers saying the Mojo was moved into the YeahBaby common library because of some reason or other.
RATIONALE. The WHY of the code, as so neatly put by the op.

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux 206

dnaumov writes "FreeNAS, a popular, free NAS solution, is moving away from using FreeBSD as its underlying core OS and switching to Debian Linux. Version 0.8 of FreeNAS as well as all further releases are going to be based on Linux, while the FreeBSD-based 0.7 branch of FreeNAS is going into maintenance-only mode, according to main developer Volker Theile. A discussion about the switch, including comments from the developers, can be found on the FreeNAS SourceForge discussion forum. Some users applaud the change, which promises improved hardware compatibility, while others voice concerns regarding the future of their existing setups and lack of ZFS support in Linux."

Comment Old printers have more mechanicals than new ones (Score 2, Informative) 970

I would add to the parent's statement that bigger and more sophisticated printers yield more mechanical goodies that older printers, scanners and especially old office photocopiers have more mechanical 'guts' in them. As newer electronics became smarter the manufacturers could dispense with some of the moving parts (and why wouldn't they). A nice secondary use for the glass from an old photocopier is that being optically flat, they make a perfect surface plate for model engineering use, thus saving over $100 on a machined steel or granite one.

Comment Re:Don Box is a tool (Score 1) 496

Part of me agrees with this offhand statement. As someone who used to write C++ COM objects for banking risk management, I can honestly say COM is short for COMplex and COMplicated rather than Component Object Model. Table of vectors for function calls? Simple idea, terrible implementation. I spent more time doing the stupid COM plumbing then actually writing code that benefited the customer. And Don Box waxing lyrical about how wonderful and cool COM was in his book(s) just made me want to smack him in the face with a half-rotten tomato. At least one of the good things about .NET is that is works very well with legacy MS code, COM objects included.

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

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."

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