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Comment Re:How do they do it? (Score 1) 80

IANAAEE (I am not an aeronautical EE?) but from my understanding, the FAA requires stringent testing of their equipment before it's allowed to be used below 10,000, where above, after takeoff and landing it is a bit more lax, on top of slow rule changes by the FAA such as allowing wi-fi to be used (which was likely the result of some lobbying by the industry). Most consumer electronics manufacturers don't want to bother with such testing for under 10k feet use, and even if they did airlines don't want to have to try to determine which are approved and which are not, so just have a blanket 'no electronic devices' policy. Gogo doesn't operate below 10k feet for one, but also, they do go through all that testing that allows them to operate in an aviation environment (they used to be aircell, which made inflight phones and such).

As for bandwidth, the fact of the mater is that domestic flights just are not that long (Gogo only covers domestic flights). Most people I have noticed don't feel inclined to pay $10 for a few hours of internet when they can just read a book, do a little off-line work, watch a movie, etc. That only leaves the hand full of people with an actual need, so it's just good old fashioned supply and demand. I fly between once and 4 times a month depending on work, and have only had to use it once, the speed was fine, certainly enough for the emails I need to do, but also for just browsing once I was done with work.

Security is of course as bad as any other public wi-fi (not very) so use a vpn or whatever usual security you would use.


City of Heroes Reaches Sunset, NCsoft Paying the Price 290

KingSkippus writes "At midnight Pacific on Saturday, December 1, NCsoft shut down the City of Heroes servers for the final time. Since announcing the closure, a group of players has been working hard to revive the game by getting attention from the gaming press, recognition from celebrities such as Sean Astin, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day, and assistance from fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Meanwhile, NCsoft has been drawing negative publicity, including a scathing article about the shutdown from local news site The Korea Times, noting that the game was earning $2.76 million per quarter and that 'it is hard to comprehend what NCsoft means when they say they closed it for strategic reasons.' NCsoft's stock price has fallen over 43% since the announcement in August, almost 30% below its previous 52-week low, right when investors were counting on the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 to help boost the company."

Comment Re:Thoughts (Score 1) 129

We spend almost as much on the NRO alone the NASA's whole budget and it only does one thing: spy satellites. NASA gets just a few billion more and does a whole range of things, rovers, space station, weather and aeronautics research, long term research in a verity of fields at what is suppose to be the vangaurd of US Science. So yes, I think there is something wrong with all this too.

National Reconnaissance Office Budget for 2010: ~$15 Billion
NASA Budget for 2010: $18.7 Billion

Comment Re:Love it, always fascinates me people who hate i (Score 1) 475

You raise an interesting point, in fact it's Standard Time and the change between I dislike. If we were a more rational race I think most people would prefer that normal business hours be 8-4, which is in essence all we do when we go to daylight savings time. Just dump the change and leave it that way through the winter.

Comment Exessive (Score 1) 259

But that's not why Sweden's being so tough on him in prison. Authorities believe he may have played a role in the hacking of Logica, a Swedish technology company with ties to the country's tax authorities.

What does it matter if there was another crime? Of course he should be tried and prosecuted if he committed a crime, but to give someone solitary confinement before he's even been charged for a non-violent crime seems completely excessive. If your justice system has people leaving it more dangerous and damaged when they came in, you are doing it wrong.

I suppose that not every country has an innocent until guilty system though, is this usual in Sweden?


How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025 717

concealment writes "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"

Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks 201

bcrowell writes "California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1052 and 1053, authored by state senator Darrell Steinberg, to create free textbooks for 50 core lower-division college courses. SB 1052 creates a California Open Education Resources Council, made up of faculty from the UC, Cal State, and community college systems. The council is supposed to pick 50 core courses. They are then to establish a 'competitive request-for-proposal process in which faculty members, publishers, and other interested parties would apply for funds to produce, in 2013, 50 high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials, meeting specified requirements.' The bill doesn't become operative unless the legislature funds it — a questionable process in California's current political situation. The books could be either newly produced (which seems unlikely, given the 1-year time frame stated) or existing ones that the state would buy or have free access to. Unlike former Gov. Schwarzenegger's failed K-12 free textbook program, this one specifically defines what it means by 'open source,' rather than using the term as a feel-good phrase; books have to be under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-SA?) license, in XML format. They're supposed to be modularized and conform to state and W3C accessibility guidelines. Faculty would not be required to use the free books."

Comment Apt (Score 1) 867

It's pretty much the quality of repositories that have guided which distro I've used. As a casual user (that is, I mostly use it on secondary computers for servers or MythTV,rather then my main desktop, nor am I a developer) compiling myself and dealing with dependencies is a huge pain. So to me, the quality of a distro is how easily I can add software without breaking things or finding it broken with a distro upgrade. So far, Apt seems to be best at that, and Canonical seems to best maintain their repository.

Redhat (starting 5.2) > SuSE > Open SuSE > Debian > Ubuntu

Comment Re:To what end? (Score 2) 266

Compelling reasons: well, for starters, that colony would be insurance against an extinction-level asteroid impact here on Earth. So there's that.

I think wanting Mars-tronauts to be "productive" and whinging about the cost and the "enormous expense of keeping them alive" somewhat disqualifies you from this conversation.

I believe that we absolutely should and must continue exploring the universe, continue with probes, satellites and occasionally maned space flight. However the idea of manifest destiny is purely ego. The universe doesn't need us. It won't miss us when we are gone whether we populated one planet or a trillion.

Our advancement and betterment is for our benefit alone. I can't really see how throwing ourselves off the planet on chemical rockets to live in tin cans leads to the betterment of anybody. It takes time, resources and energy from sciences that could have vastly greater long term benefits. Yes, it might help us get a head start on future engineering hurdles, and helps improve public interest, but frankly, the really interesting stuff is going to be happening down here on earth for a good while longer. If we bite it as a race, so what? If we don't, then we have only the benefits of our long-term investments to reap.


Florida Researchers Create Shortest Light Pulse Ever Recorded 76

SchrodingerZ writes "Researchers at the University of Central Florida have created the shortest laser pulse ever recorded, lasting only 67 attoseconds. An attosecond is a mere quintillionith of a single second (1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000). The record-breaking project was run by UCF Professor Zenghu Chang, using an extreme ultraviolet laser pulse. '"Dr. Chang's success in making ever-shorter light pulses helps open a new door to a previously hidden world, where we can watch electrons move in atoms and molecules, and follow chemical reactions as they take place," said Michael Johnson, the dean of the UCF College of Sciences and a physicist.' Its hoped that these short laser blasts will pave the way to better understand quantum mechanics in ways we have never before witnessed. In 2008 the previous record was set at 80 attoseconds, the pulse created at the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany."

Verizon Bases $5 Fee To Not Publish Your Phone Number On 'Systems and IT' Costs 331

coondoggie writes "Let's say that for whatever reason, you'd rather your telephone number not be published. If you are a Verizon customer, that privacy privilege will cost you $5 a month. And how does Verizon justify such a significant fee for such an insignificant service? 'The cost charged to offer unlisted phone numbers is chiefly systems and IT based,' a media relations spokesman for the company tells Network World. (Asking the same question of online customer service elicited a predictably unenlightening response.) Sixty dollars a year to keep an unpublished number unpublished? Does that seem plausible?"

Facebook and Wal-Mart Join Forces 127

Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Wal-Mart — the retail king of Big Data analytics — will be meeting Mark Zuckerberg for two days in Bentonville, to 'deepen' their relationship with Facebook. The CEO-level strategy summit is intended to bolster the relationship between the world's No. 1 social network and the world's largest retailer. Wal-Mart has been left in the dust online by the behemoth Amazon. An alliance may be poised to challenge this dominance, particularly in light of Amazon's planned foray into same-day delivery nationwide. The companies share James Breyer, who sits on the boards of both Facebook and Wal-Mart. Adding another angle to this, Yahoo's new CEO, Marissa Mayer, was elected to Wal-Mart's board in early June, while she was still at Google. Earlier this month, Facebook and Yahoo settled a patent dispute and announced plans to form another 'strategic alliance' involving advertising and distribution. The implications for online privacy in this series of relationships are uncertain."

Comment Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (Score 1) 250

Besides the independence that people below have noted, I also think it's a big difference between being state-run and party-run. Having connections to the state isn't a bad thing, having direct connections with just one party is. The powerful, one party countries like China blur that distinction, and so a lot of people have come to think of them as one of the same, but they are not.

There are numerous examples of decent state owned media outlets with as even of a slant as any other outlet, if not more so. On the flip side, there are several news outlets right here in the States even that though privately owned, have heavy ties to one party that are more political platform and awful new sources.

Comment Re:Depends on the music (Score 1) 405

I realized this about game and movie music a while ago. It's specifically written -not- to be distracting. It's supposed to highlight action or stir an emotion without taking away the attention of the viewer so it really works great for that kind of work.

Really though, it's just as often that i want a little distracted doing work. If I'm doing something repetitive or a bit mind-numbing, I want something that is going to be just distracting enough that my mind doesn't wander without interfering with my other work. Or if it's late afternoon and my productivity is at a low anyway, music that takes some of my attention but keeps me awake is better then silence. I guess the point being is sometimes a little distraction is a good thing, and music is probably a better distraction then Slashdot as far as productivity goes.

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Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson