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Comment Re:really? (Score 2) 115

If you are planning on taking Bitcoins in payment for some real product then you want some assurance that you can sell the Bitcoins for more than the cost of that product. You get this implicitly with established currencies, because they have reasonably stable inflation rates and, most importantly, those inflation rates are usually tied to your local economy and so the value of the currency doesn't alter in terms of what you can buy with it in the short term (if you're hoarding significant amounts of currency, rather than investing it in your business, for example using it to pay your employees or buy stock then you're a currency speculator and so have different requirements). With an immature and volatile currency like Bitcoin, you effectively need to buy Bitcoin futures or have some other entity underwrite your Bitcoins.

If you want to be in the business of offering payment services that accept Bitcoins, then you want to be able to do this underwriting. People will be a lot more willing to accept Bitcoins if you can say 'the value of BTC fluctuates relative to USD, but we guarantee that we will always buy them at this exchange rate. If you use this exchange rate for setting your prices then you will never suffer from these fluctuations'. To be able to do this (and not make huge losses), you need to be able to influence the market price by buying and selling in large quantities and by avoiding selling when the price is too low. Having a large initial stash of Bitcoin helps with this.

Comment Re:Dear God WHY? (Score 3, Funny) 143

Paper doesn't scale very well. I have a repository for a project that's been going on for a few years and has a few hundred photos of whiteboards. Trying to find one is almost impossible because there's no full-text search for photos of whiteboards. If you don't need diagrams, then running OpenEtherPad with a machine connected to the projector as a client and just saving the output is much better, but I've not found a good equivalent that supports drawing (especially not free-form drawing on a tablet or whiteboard and then automatically recognising shapes and handwriting, as the Newton's drawing program did 20 years ago).

Comment Re:Longevity (Score 1) 196

The youngest CFL I've replaced was, I think, 3 years old. I left most of them behind when I moved house after living in the same place for 7 years and most of the CFLs had never been replaced since I installed them shortly after moving in. I was a poor student back then, so all of them were the absolute cheapest that I could find.

Comment Re:4/$2.50 (Score 1) 196

Maybe you're not looking very hard. Typical incandescents get 16 lumens per Watt, CFLs get 60 lm/W. That means that your 100W incandescent would generate around 1600lm, and you'd need a 26W CFL for equivalent. That's not a round figure, but 25W is and a 10 second search tells me I can pick up 25W spiral CFLs which are about the same size as an incandescent for around £5.

I was actually a bit surprised by those numbers (maybe Wikipedia is wrong?), because I found that the light level increased when I replaced a pair of 100W incandescents with 18W CFLs around 10 years ago. I mostly now buy 12W ones, because they're cheap and the fact that they're much brighter per Watt than incandescents means that I can put them in lights that are only rated for a 40W bulb and have more of them.

That said, I started using CFLs about 16 years ago (largely because I got tired of replacing bulbs). The first generation ones were noticeably dimmer after 2-3 years (but had already paid for themselves in energy savings, so were just demoted to lamps that didn't want to be as bright). The first ones died after 5-6 years. Since then, I've not bought a light fitting that doesn't comfortably fit a large CFL bulb. Most lampshades do, so it's only the smaller free-standing ones that are a problem. I like the Japanese-style ones that are a vertical cylinder of paper and these will happily take CFLs that are brighter than 60W incandescents, but won't take anything hotter than a 40W incandescent.

Comment Re:Political/Moral (Score 4, Informative) 305

No one cares how much students in the UK protest, because they don't vote. Students are a demographic with one of the worst turnouts in elections. For allegedly intelligent people, it's surprising how few seem to realise the correlation between this and getting shafted by their elected officials. Go back to the '60s, and they had a lot more influence because they were much more likely to vote.

Comment Re:A popular laptop OS? (Score 1) 133

Only if you've got a really old printer. Remember, DOS predates abstraction layers and clean printer APIs. You print from DOS by opening the serial or parallel port and sending some data over it. If you've got a DOS program that can print to PostScript printers, then you're better off printing to a file from DOSBox and then printing the result from the host OS.

That said, there's little reason to use most DOS business applications these days. There are typically open source alternatives that are far better as they aren't written with such tight resource constraints in mind and can reuse GUI toolkits and so on (again, remember that DOS programs had to come with their own embedded GUI system and for most of them 4MB of RAM was a lot - a modern program can use more than that for the window buffer). I still occasionally fire up the Psion Series 3A emulator in DOSBox (if you tweak it a bit, it will run at 640x480) and use the spreadsheet though, because I've not found another one that's as easy to use with just a keyboard and constantly moving my hand from keyboard to mouse becomes annoying.

Comment Re:Can I play Descent on it? (Score 2) 133

EA released Command and Conquer Gold as a free download a few years ago. That's the Windows 95 version using the Red Alert engine (so high-resolution 640x480 graphics!), but with the same game as the original. It ran quite nicely in WINE when I tried it (a long time go now, may need an old version as WINE doesn't monotonically improve, but according to the apps db it works fine and is rated 'gold', which seems appropriate...).

Comment Re:Best DOS game... (Score 1) 133

As a game? I vaguely recall enjoying Doom on release more than Quake on release. I enjoyed Duke Nukem 3D a lot more than either. The thing that made Quake special wasn't the game, it was that it was an off-the-shelf game engine with a free SDK. All of the game-specific behaviour (including things like the flight paths of projectiles) was contained in a bytecode file that had the source and compiler provided. For a while, I had about 500MB of mods for Quake installed (the game itself was around 50MB). Doom had all of the game behaviour hard coded, so all that mods could do was change the visual appearance. People wrote rally games and flight simulators in the Quake engine as mods. There was nothing like QTank, AirQuake, Quake Horrorshow, or Quake Rally for Doom. There definitely wasn't anything like Team Fortress, which accounted for the majority of the time I spent playing Quake.

Comment Re:Good? (Score 1) 273

I tried taking a shuttle to the Minneapolis Hilton on my last trip to the US. I was told it would be there in 20 minutes and would take 25 minutes. For a tenth the price, there's a light rail service that runs every 15 minutes, takes about 25 minutes, and stops 5 minutes walk (or, for the exceptionally lazy, a short free bus ride) away from the hotel. I arrived at the hotel at about the same time as the shuttle. Given the price of the flight and the room, I'd have been happy to spend the money for the shuttle if it had got me there faster, but paying ten times as much for no time saving (and to sit in a more cramped form of transport - the light rail had loads of space, the shuttle was packed) didn't appeal.

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