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Comment Re:Keep the $1 and get rid of the coins (Score 1) 943

I would rather keep the $1 bill and get rid of all the coins. Put an end to all the $0.99 nonsense pricing and make taxes/tips easier to calculate. I don't even mind if they make it so all sales taxes round up to the nearest dollar. I'm tired of trying to find an efficient way to store and, later, spend coins. They weigh my pants down and cause the pockets to wear out sooner.


I've visited Europe a few times in the past few years, and in each case I find it a royal pain to figure out how to carry/sort the Euro Coins for small purchases. Carrying a coin pouch has been common in the past, but why should we revert to that today when bills are so much lighter? Then again, a cashless society would be even more efficient.

An ideal system in my head would be:
- Coins relegated to collectible souvenirs
- Add a half-dollar bill, and round all transactions to the nearest half-dollar (digital and physical for fairness)
- For the blind, consider giving each bill a slightly different size (Euro-style), or even better, texture.
- Use Tax Incentives/Banking regulation to accelerate the move to a primarily cashless society. Eventually, bills will only be used for small off-the-record transactions, kids allowances, senior citizens, and (maybe) tourists.
- Simplify electronic banking - specifically person-to-person transfers, including guaranteeing access to anonymous prepaid accounts (freedom of money = freedom of speech), and usage of cash will eventually disappear altogether.

Comment Re:Two points (Score 1) 376

That reminds me of once when I had a cheap antenna that only let me receive a handful of channels. One day I was cleaning up and forgot to reconnect the antenna, leading to the realization that the unconnected wire was just as effective as the antenna was! Suffice it to say, the next day I bought a new RS Flying Saucer antenna which worked well ... until I moved, and now need something better.

I have Comcast Internet, and typically I'm able to get half the broadcast channels via QAM, and the other half via OTA. Between them, I'm able to pick up most of the local stations ... and somehow there is little overlap between the two. If this change goes through, that will just add incentive for me to get a better antenna.

Comment Desktop,Laptop,Router,Phone, and LiveCDs (Score 1) 867

Desktop: Fedora (FC3 for a few months) -> Gentoo (~8 years until the MoBo died) => Ubuntu (due to lack of time) -> Debian (you know why) -> TBD
Laptop: Ubuntu -> Netbuntu -> Debian
LiveCDs: Knoppix (universal repair kit), Backtrack (cyber security training), and Networking Security Toolkit (network troubleshooting)
Router: OpenWRT

Android would also count - particularly if I ever take advantage of the Webtop mode on my Atrix to act as a full Linux environment.

Submission + - Olympics Free Online Streaming -- only if you pay for TV (cnn.com)

Digicrat writes: "First, the good news: It's finally possible to stream any Olympic event live online, on a tablet or from your smartphone. [...] The bad news is that anyone in the U.S. who wants to enjoy live streaming of the games needs to have a current cable, satellite or telco TV subscription that includes MSNBC and CNBC (for some areas this may mean be more than just basic cable)."

NBC apparently considers the Olympics live streaming a premium event those of us that have cut the cable cord are not fit to see, despite advertising "free online streaming," and including advertisements alongside the streams.

It is sad that paying for the privilege to watch programs with advertisements has become an accepted standard.

Comment Re:Seems like a tremendous waste (Score 1) 197

Actually, the original building at Cape Canaveral in which the Saturn V was assembled was repurposed for the space shuttle (which took up a fraction of the space.) It can easily be repurposed again.

FTFY. Each stage of the Saturn V was built and tested elsewhere before being shipped to Kennedy for final assembly.


Submission + - GameStop Wants To Sell Secondhand Digital Download Video Games (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "GameStop makes a killing selling used videogames, but what happens to that business model when digital distribution platforms run physical media out of town? That's not anything to worry about today, tomorrow, next week, or even next year, but at some point, GameStop will have to deal with the direction the games industry is headed, and it may already have a solution. GameStop CEO Paul Raines recently brought up the possibility of reselling used digital downloads."

Comment Re:Dilapidated infrastructure? (Score 1) 813

I suspect inertia has a lot to do with it. The northeast US was probably among the first, if not the first, major region in the world to have a 'modern' electric distribution system. As a result, there is likely a strong sense of the power lines have always been on utility poles, so they always should be.

Newer phone/cable/fios lines are buried because the public doesn't want more lines on poles, those companies want to ensure lower operating costs/higher-reliability, and, most importantly, I'm sure that burying low-voltage phone and fiber optic cables is a LOT safer, and therefore cheaper, than attempting to do the same for existing high-voltage power transmission lines which would have to be buried even deeper. If somebody accidentally cuts a fiber, some people lose service. If the same happens to a buried power line, somebody gets electrocuted.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 393

That's my understanding as well.

If that is the case, I don't understand why it's the individual Linux distros that are buying the signature for the bootloader. Wouldn't it make more sense for w/e foundation is maintaining the bootloader of choice (which works with all Linux distros without tweaking), to compile and sign their own binaries that the smaller distros could then distribute?

Yes, it violates a distros ideals of compiling everything from source internally (or the Gentoo philosophy of the user compiling everything), but the bootloader isn't really a part of the core distribution anyway, just a tool necessary to boot it.

Comment Re:No, the answer is "never" (Score 1) 267

How about the (admittedly unlikely) case of a known bomb threat in a given region with a cell phone as its remote detonator? Or perhaps a known threat/disaster in an enclosed and highly crowded space where controlling information is necessary to prevent panic and facilitate an orderly evacuation?

The key is that such capabilities should only be exercised under extreme conditions where lives are in danger -- but never for mere political expediency (ie: impeding a legitimate protest).

Comment Re:Good for some... (Score 1) 743

My thoughts exactly. In fact, things would be far simpler if we actually had our homes wired up with DC power. Except for the appliances and legacy light fixtures, I doubt there's a single device left that's not using an AC->DC adapter of some form, though of course there's still quite a range of voltages coming out of those adapters.

I've recently started experimenting with various forms of the cheap LED strips myself. A single strip isn't quite as bright as a traditional fixture, but combining a few together and distributing them around the room can be quite effective.

My current project involves placing a strip on the inside of a wood trim that I mounted over my bar-counter (using custom brackets made on a friend's 3D printer). A single indirect strip provides adequate light for eating, and I suspect that will be enough to read by once I add the second direct-view strip. As a bonus, it looks great to - or at least it will once I finish hiding the power supply/cable.

For those that are interested, just search for "led strip" on Amazon. Average price is $35 for the RGB Kit (/w remote + power supply), or $15 for a single-color bright strips (power supply not included).

Comment Re:Perl rocks! - but the goal is most important (Score 2) 525

+1, though I was ~13 when I started learning Perl myself and it remains my favorite (if sometimes under-appreciated) language.

More important than the language though is the end goal. For me, I had no interest in Perl at that age, it was merely a means to an end-- in my case a login system for my Starcraft Clan.

Start by identifying what the kid is interested in and/or wants to build, then find the right tool that they can learn in order to achieve their goal.

Comment Re:Cablecard support? (Score 3, Informative) 144

Unfortunately that's one issue outside the scope of the mythtv project.

The HDHomeRun Prime technically does support CableCARD usage with Linux - but only for stations marked as "copy freely." If your cable provider decides to place any more restrictive copy flags on it (now or later), then your out of luck.

To make things even more annoying, even if you have an Xbox360 to use as a supplement for those premium channels, it can't tune the encrypted stations live without a Win7 box to serve as a pass-through.

Cable companies want above else for you to use their hardware and their services (DVR, cable box, etc) and are still fighting tooth and nail to cripple competing services on every front.

Comment Re:Why would they want to decrease revenue? (Score 1) 269

If they can send a firmware update to the phone, then they can brick it. All they'd need to do is push a special (invalid) update only to that one user, who would then need to be dumb enough to accept it if the update can't be remotely forced.

Realistically though, I think bricking is overkill in this case - by definition if its bricked, the phone should not be recoverable if there was a mistake.

All they need to do is log the phones unique ID, add it to a list shared by all carriers using compatible technology and prevent any such phone from being activated on their network. I believe the Europeans have already been doing this for years - with both smart and dumb phones. Some non-GSM US carriers will do this as well (except for the sharing-the-lists part).

Bonus points if they go to the effort of (with a court warrant) letting the phone on anyway as a type of "honeypot" while they remotely activate the GPS to track the thief.

Comment Re:Idea: If patent changes hands, becomes public (Score 1) 46

This might be a crackpot idea but it just popped into my head so I haven't thought it through...

As a compromise to combat patent trolls, litigation, the stifling of innovation, etc., how about changing the law so that once a patent changes hands it enters the public domain or ceases to be. It's imperfect, but has many benefits.

It would protect the initial inventor/patentor. You wouldn't have the same outcry as if you banned patents all together. However, is also a limitation as it would not stop litigation brought on by the original inventor. But it would put an end to patent trolls and would enable patents to enter the public domain at a much quicker rate. Sure, patent transactions would slow, but it's not unthinkable that a company would purchase a patent to protect itself from a lawsuit knowing that that very purchase will destroy the patent.

I like that idea, though having it expire immediately upon changing hands would just prevent them from being sold in the first place. I think a far better solution (as in easier to get legislated) would be to impose a "half-life" on patents. Each time a Patent is sold/transferred the remaining time until the patent expires is cut in half. A win-win all around.

For that matter, such a rule would work nicely for copyrights to. Particularly if the half-life rules are crafted to apply to biological people and not corporations. So if an author/artist passes away and the copyright is passed on instead of entering the public domain, the remaining duration is at least cut in half.

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