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Comment Re:iPad (Score 5, Informative) 370

Seconded. My 85-year-old father has had an iPad literally from day 1. My brother was living with my parents when the iPad came out and he went to the nearby Apple store and got them both 1st gen iPads. My brother has since passed away and I updated his iPad to a 3rd gen model and got a matching model so I could help him out over the phone...something that has turned out to be almost unnecessary.

Yeah, it was a metric ton of money but thus far worth every penny. My mother is home-bound and my Dad is her primary caregiver. He greatly enjoys the iPad and has had no trouble using it. He has virtually abandoned his old Mac G5 tower. The iPad is a great social connection to his remaining college chums and keeps him in touch with the grandchildren on Facebook. He loves to play various word games like "Words with Friends."

To be fair, this could all be done with a modern Android-based tablet and I don't think my Dad would have any trouble with it but honestly I'm not going to change horses mid-stream. But the huge app base for iOS helps greatly plus a good deal of my brothers and sisters plus their children have iPads so things are just easier. I never thought I'd advocate for monoculture like this (or even appear to) but this has brought a great deal of joy into my Father's life as my Mother's health has gone downhill over the past few years. This alone has made the iPads worth every penny.

My advice: look at an iPad first but whatever you do don't cheap out.

Comment Re:Meh.... (Score 1) 1144

the shutdown makes no difference in my life, other than having to listen to a bunch of unemployed gov employees. While I sympathize with them due to the stresses that unemployment can cause, I also believe that 1) If you have been a gov employee long enough, you know that this can happen and could have been prepared for it, and 2) BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! that's what you get for choosing to work for a bunch of inept morons who have no interest in your well-being nor a good firm grasp on reality. ...

How exactly is this different from private sector work? Please, I have time. Having worked on both sides of the fence, neither appears to have a lock on inept morons.

Comment Re:When OS meant Computer (Score 1) 342

Spring Comdex in Atlanta? Thanks for the t-shirt! I remember that one since I followed Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer into the ballroom. At that time he did not have an entourage -- by Comdex 1995 he was surrounded by easily 75 folks and it was like watching a school of fish move about in a reef. I couldn't believe someone that wealthy had such a bad haircut. I still have my "Blue Ninja" t-shirt somewhere and a couple of copies of Warp still in the shrink-wrap although I plan to have the 6'x3' OS/2 banner draped over my coffin.

Comment Get an iPad (Score 5, Informative) 155

My father (now 83) got the original iPad literally the day it came out. Yes, it was expensive but he's really loved it. He plays online games with my sister, nieces and nephews. We set him up to stay logged on to facebook to get the latest grandbaby pictures from my nephew's wife. My brother taught him to buy ebooks, too. He loves to read and is an inveterate insomniac so this alone was worth it. Now if he can't sleep and nobody is awake to play Scrabble, he can download a new book that catches his interest.

He has a computer (old G5 Mac tower) but rarely uses it now since the iPad can be used virtually anywhere in his home.

It's also reduced the number of "how to" and troubleshooting calls we get from him. For an 83-YO former pastor he does pretty good technically and recently figured out how to properly install the OS/X drivers on his G5 for a scanner/printer on his own.

Short answer: by all means get an iPad. It has the richest set of games and social media connections. My $.02.

Comment Re:...congratulations... (Score 2) 1855

It's not a "solution" so much as closure for a raw wound in American history. I'm not sure you can fully appreciate that aspect of this moment. It's also about finishing a job that was started ten years ago. And finally it's about a very real projection of power to send a message to a section of the world that's full of leaders who grow their fan base on the notion of Western (not just American) weakness and moral corruption. I'm sorry you're so worried about blowback on your soil. It's a legitimate concern. But respectfully let me remind you that OBL and his group has demonstrated time and again that there are no civilians in this war and that any reason, no matter how flimsy, seems to be good enough for to commit a terrorist act. Everyone is fair game and that includes our friends, allies and neighbors in addition to a very significant number of Muslims. As callous as it sounds, I'm going to savor this moment. It is important. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself.

Secret Service Runs At "Six Sixes" Availability 248

PCM2 writes "ABC News is reporting that the US Secret Service is in dire need of server upgrades. 'Currently, 42 mission-oriented applications run on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating,' says one leaked memo. That finding was the result of an NSA study commissioned by the Secret Service to evaluate the severity of their computer problems. Curiously, upgrades to the Service's computers are being championed by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who says he's had 'concern for a while' about the issue."
Data Storage

"Limited Edition" SSD Has Fastest Storage Speed 122

Vigile writes "The idea of having a 'Limited Edition' solid state drive might seem counter-intuitive, but regardless of the naming, the new OCZ Vertex LE is based on the new Sandforce SSD controller that promises significant increases in performance, along with improved ability to detect and correct errors in the data stored in flash. While the initial Sandforce drive was called the 'Vertex 2 Pro' and included a super-capacitor for data integrity, the Vertex LE drops that feature to improve cost efficiency. In PC Perspectives's performance tests, the drive was able to best the Intel X25-M line in file creation and copying duties, had minimal fragmentation or slow-down effects, and was very competitive in IOs per second as well. It seems that current SSD manufacturers are all targeting Intel and the new Sandforce controller is likely the first to be up to the challenge."

Adobe Download Manager Installing Software Without Consent 98

"Not all is worth cheering about as Adobe turns 20," writes reader adeelarshad82, who excerpts from a story at PC Magazine's Security Watch: "Researcher Aviv Raff has found a problem in ADM (Adobe Download Manager) and the method through which it is delivered from The net effect of the problem is that a user can be tricked into downloading and installing software using ADM without actual consent. Tonight Adobe acknowledged the report and said they were working on the issue with Raff and NOS Microsystems, the company that wrote ADM."
PC Games (Games)

Valve's Battle Against Cheaters 336

wjousts writes "IEEE Spectrum takes a look behind the scenes at Valve's on-going efforts to battle cheaters in online games: 'Cheating is a superserious threat,' says [Steam's lead engineer, John] Cook. 'Cheating is more of a serious threat than piracy.' The company combats this with its own Valve Anti-Cheat System, which a user consents to install in the Steam subscriber agreement. Cook says the software gets around anti-virus programs by handling all the operations that require administrator access to the user's machine. So, how important is preventing cheating? How much privacy are you willing to sacrifice in the interests of a level playing field? 'Valve also looks for changes within the player's computer processor's memory, which might indicate that cheat code is running.'"

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

andylim writes " is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."

Disney Releases 3D Texture Mapper Source Code 83

dsavi writes "Ptex, Walt Disney Animation Studio's cutting-edge 3D texture mapping library which was first used on nearly every surface in the 2008 animated feature Bolt, was released under the BSD license on Friday. Quoting the announcement on 'We expect to follow Ptex with other open source projects that we hope the community will find beneficial. We will soon be launching a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology page under It will include links to our open source projects as will as a library of recent publications.' This looks good for open source 3D graphics."

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