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Comment Re:Remember tabs? (Score 1) 496

Same here search engine homepage is redundant. It occasionally gets annoying having pages from the last session open again. I like the google chrome homepage but I would want the option to have pages from a previous session load in new tabs behind it.

Pandora Stabilizes, No Longer Completely Free 268

AbyssWyrm writes "Yesterday, Pandora founder Tim Westergren announced that the music service was on safe ground once again, but will no longer be free for all users. Instead, it will be really cheap — for those with a free account, there will be a cap of 40 hours per month, and a user may pay a one-time fee of $0.99 to resume unlimited listening to music for a month. According to the blog entry, this will affect the top 10% of listeners. Certainly not a bad deal considering the price, and I suspect that Pandora is one of few free internet resources whose users are loyal enough to pay a small fee to keep it afloat. Pandora's future had been uncertain ever since the royalty rates for internet radio were increased in 2007."

Comment Re:depends (Score 1) 1137

I pay a similar amount for car insurance when I'm in Vermont. I go to school in Montreal where everything is closer together so it is more practical to bike. I think biking is fantastic. I can get most places as fast or faster than any other form of transportation. There is so much freedom to biking plus it can be good exercise and I'm actually outside.

Submission + - Full Circle Magazine - Issue 24 - The two year ann ( 1

mrmonday1 writes: Full Circle Magazine — the independent magazine for the Ubuntu community — is proud to announce the release of its two year anniversary, issue 24. And to celebrate their second birthday, issue 24 boats a more colourful layout and more pages. The 43 page PDF has articles on cron, programming in C, installing and configuring MAME and a new series of articles on Inkscape. You could also win one of three copies of Ubuntu Unleashed!

Comment "safest" (Score 1) 1010

What does this mean? Lets say there was some way to measure the safety of a system by the total number of ways somebody could gain unauthorized access, control, or generally do something related to the computer running the OS in question (vista) that the computers owner does not want. Obviously we can't measure this. If we could however there is still a second side to the equation.

There are a whole boat load more people using vista than any other os besides xp which ill ignore. Not getting into the type of people who use vista and whether they are inherently more likely to fall pray to safety failures. More people using vista mean more people trying to find safety flaws in vista. So you could say its more safe but at the same time the non-safe parts are more likely to be discovered and exploited at any point in time.

I don't pretend to know enough to really judge the safety or security of a system but this logic seems pretty strong to me. By using any non MS operating system you have safety in small numbers.

Comment price per unit energy (Score 1) 883

The economic efficiency of using wind, solar, geothermal and hydro the main renewable energy sources is not a clear cut issue. It depends highly on your particular situation. With oil prices so cheap they are clearly not as good of an option in terms of price per unit of energy output as they were 6 months ago. However there is a lot to consider here.

Hydro is wonderful it has a large onetime ecosystem rearrangement including displacing people but after this point it provides cheap reliable energy when you need it and a reservoir is essentially one of the best batteries we have today. Unfortunately most of the possible large hydro projects have already been built in developed countries.

Wind power is highly dependent on your location. There are many places where it is already an economically competitive energy source and many were it is not or will never be. It does not produce reliable energy however so it must be paired with some energy storage method or a more reliable source.

There are many types of solar energy technologies but mostly I think we are focused on those aimed at producing electricity. If you took all of the solar energy landing on the united states and converted it to electricity at 100% efficiency there is enough energy to meet the entire energy needs of the US roughly 500 times over. Of course solar photovoltaic panels are not very efficient (10-20% in practical uses) and we want sun for other things like growing plants. People are building some large solar plants in places where land is cheap and more people are putting them on their roofs but it is an unreliable source of energy like wind and my understanding is that its usually not very economically practical yet.

There are not very many places where it makes sense to use geothermal energy to create electrical energy. However it can serve as a great heater and cooler in most places.

One of the biggest factors in what energy source is economically practical is government subsidies. There are many more renewable energy projects happening these days because of large government subsidies. Governments can think in the long run and this makes a lot of sense. But currently the largest subsidies go to nonrenewable fossil fuels. If for example all energies had to pay for their environmental impact (say co2 output) rather than being subsidized by public governments renewable energies would become much more economically practical.

One nonrenewable energy source that is relatively friendly environmentally is nuclear. I see this as one of the few technologies that we can switch too quickly that has the potential to meet our energy needs. It won't last for ever especially if we try to do everything with it but there is also a lot of room for research. If we ever figure out how to gain energy from fission to there is a huge potential for energy there.

Well thats the way I see it at least part of it. It might be in shells short term interest to ditch wind, solar, hydro but they may be limiting their lifespan.

Comment Re:An interesting quote from the article (Score 1) 936

I agree with you. He is right in the article that ubuntu (because ubuntu is what his article is about, linux references just confuse people) treats program update and installation fundamentally different than windows.

In his second article he learned about how repositories work which is great. What he did not learn was that all updates to the default repositories for a given version of ubuntu are limited to security fixes and bug fixes. There is no reason not to update. In fact not updating opens your computer up to greater security risks and increases the unintended behavior of programs.

If you want new versions of programs that include new features (ie openoffice 3.0 in his case) then you must enable the backports repository. If a program has not been backported you must add a new repository, find a nice recompiled .deb file or learn to compile yourself.

I think one of the most important things when introducing a person to ubuntu is preparing them for things like this that operate very differently than windows. There is logic behind most ubuntu behavior but if its not understood it only becomes frustrating.

Comment was the texting disruptive? (Score 1) 1246

It sounds to me like this kid was lying and disruptive. There is already quite a bit of discussion about the correct response when dealing with this sort of situation. What interested me with this story is the disruptive nature of texting.

Hypothetically a student could be in class texting and not be disruptive or bothersome to others (if there are no sounds from the phone and so on). Shouldn't the kid have the right to do that if they choose. I realize it means they will not be paying attention in class but that is their loss not anybody else's. A post above mention how some classes are required even when they are really a waste of time to some students shouldn't we allow these students to use their discretion? If this story was about anybody besides a public school student or a prisoner it would be ludicrous.

If kids are never allowed to learn how to use their freedoms aren't we just creating a society that will never know those freedoms exist?

Comment Re:Tux cant handle the Cuban heat. (Score 5, Insightful) 494

I agree that the connection of open source with Socialism in peoples minds and the negative effect this could have on its adoption worries me.

Beyond this though I am sick and tired of the irrational fear of socialism in the United States. Im not saying lets become the USSR that obviously did not work out so well but we are still stuck at a point were it is impossible to have rational discussion about anything that gets labeled as socialist. Its a giant hypocritical mess. Look at public roads thats a beautiful example of socialism central to our society.

I think generations of Americans have been conditioned/brainwashed to attack at the first mention of the word socialism before considering what is being proposed. The irony of it all is that public schools the major institution doing this brainwashing is a socialist model.

I don't believe that socialist systems work everywhere. I am a fervent capitalist and believe in designing free markets with appropriate incentives. All I want to do is be able to have a rational debate about plans that might contain socialist components without people freaking out.


Submission + - Ubuntu Wipes Windows 7 in Benchmarks. (

twitter writes: "Recent and controversial benchmarks for Windows 7 leave an important question unanswered, "Is it faster than GNU/Linux?" Here, at last, is a benchmark that pits Ubuntu, Vista and Windows 7 against each other on the same modern hardware. From install time to GUI efficiency, Ubuntu beats Windows and is often twice as fast. Where Windows 7 is competitive, the difference is something the average user would not notice. The average GNU/Linux user is now getting better absolute performance from their computer as well as better value than the average Windows user."

Comment Re:Survey says.... (Score 1) 821

Very interesting. Come to think of it I myself have a somewhat anal tendency to close windows, apps, and anything running that might distract or clutter up my computer. I guess I can see how people would be ok or even like this in a perverse sorta way.

MS could sell it as a feature!

"Get Windows starter edition with a built in 3 application limit. Minimizing distractions for the more productive worker."

Comment Re:Survey says.... (Score 1) 821

Your right I think many people would prefer to avoid the piracy route fortunately there are plenty of free software alternatives that are not purposefully crippled.

Am I right that it was the starter edition that only allowed 3 programs to run at once? Given the alternatives who in their right mind would pay for software like that?

With those crazy artificial restrictions I think it becomes much easier to understand peoples ambivalence towards piracy, although not easier to understand why they don't take free software route.

Comment Built trust, include and be transparent (Score 1) 1117

First to gain trust you must be very transparent about what you are doing. This includes stating explicitly what is and is not allowed and most importantly what abilities to monitor you will use and when. If possible include everyone in these decisions and use the whole system as a way to teach the children. If everyone has a way to give feedback (even anonymously) you will be much more aware of the general opinion.

Second I think restrictions during school hours may be acceptable but they should be at the ultimate minimum required by law out of school. Else the machines will be wasted.

The kids who really want to break through your restrictions will and you end up just punishing the wrong people.

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