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Submission + - Canada Post announces the end of home delivery

Lev13than writes: Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery, raising the price of a letter to $1 and cutting 8,000 jobs to cope with dwindling volume and a projected loss of $1B/year by 2020. About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door. Deliveries will remain weekdays-only and business will be unaffected (at least for now). Much like the USPS, Canada Post is mandated to be self-funded, but 5% annual volume declines and rising costs are taking their toll.

Comment Mercury Pots (Score 4, Interesting) 43

Reminds me of the chapter in Neal Stephenson's The Confusion (part of The Baroque Cycle). Japanese mercury vendors try to disable the Minerva (an armed merchant vessel) by filling its cargo hold with half-filled pots of mercury, rather than filling them to the brim. The idea is that the sloshing in the hull would resonate with the waves at the entrance to the harbour and slow the ship enough to be captured (or something to that effect). There's a discussion of whether Stephenson got the science correct here.

Comment Commercial media is just not all that important (Score 1) 191

My late father-in-law was a DJ. We have several boxes of his LPs, 45s and reel to reel tapes in the garage. Would you like them? If you call now I'll throw in a few milk crates of our VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs at no extra cost.

In contrast, we also have 40 years or so of 8mm/VHS family video that he put on DVD before his death. DVD isn't perfect, but those get backed up and have been shared with family.

Comment Go OTA (Score 5, Informative) 328

What about using an antenna? I cut cable about 7 years ago - everything comes in on Mythbuntu via an HDHR hooked up to a small roof-mounted antenna. We get about 30 channels OTA with no excess compression and no copy protection. Everything else comes in over the net (Netflix and "other").

You don't say what metro area you are in or whether you are living in an antenna-friendly building but you've already got 90% of the gear you need. Lots of info on the web about how to make the jump. You may have already investigated OTA, but if not you definitely should.

Submission + - Lament of the Beanie Baby Collector (

Lev13than writes: In a plush lesson on supply & demand, the 1990s phenomenon of $10 Beanie Baby toys that resold for upwards of $10,000 each are now languishing on eBay for as low as $0.40 per toy. The Toronto Star revisited the subject of a 1997 cover story, the then-10-year old "investor" Mike Garard. Now, 15 years later, Garard is grown up, and some of those rare Beanies once worth thousands, well, “You can’t even get 20 bucks,” he says. At the height of the craze, Garard’s father told him to sell the animals, but he couldn’t part with them. He estimated he had four or five of the rare ones worth $7,500 to $10,000. When high school came, he hid them away. “It’s not the most impressive thing if you’ve got a girlfriend coming over and you’ve got a ton of stuffed animals all over the place,” Garard said.

Comment What's your vector, Victor? (Score 2) 221

So they replaced pixels with a two-dimensional grid of sqare vectors that scale in width and height to grid width(or height) divided by the number of square vectors on the grid?

Actually just skimmed TFA and it looks like they have an interesting model - they separate the three channels and then fit vector "contours" around the different levels of brightness for each channel. The finer you need control, the more contours you add and the more explicitly you define the the polygons. Looks like a promising, workable solution.

Comment What's out of scope? (Score 3, Interesting) 78

Almost anything you can do or use today has an open source option. You have open source options for everything from your operating system to your chat app. You can read open source textbooks, cookbooks and encyclopedias. You can even build an open source airplane or brew your own free beer (free beer as in free speech, not free beer as in free beer).

Given all these options, what part(s) of your life would you be unwilling to open source? Your children's education? Vaccines? A pacemaker? If so, what would your test be for deciding that a closed-source option is the only choice?

Comment Diamond juice (Score 5, Interesting) 267

"Down there," said Golg, "I could show you real gold, real silver, real diamonds."

"Bosh!" said Jill rudely. "As if we didn't know that we're below the deepest mines even here."

"Yes," said Golg. "I have heard of those little scratches in the crust that you Topdwellers call mines. But
that's where you get dead gold, dead silver, dead gems. Down in Bism we have them alive and growing.
There I'll pick you bunches of rubies that you can eat and squeeze you a cup full of diamond-juice. You
won't care much about fingering the cold, dead treasures of your shallow mines after you have tasted the
live ones of Bism."

"My father went to the world's end," said Rilian thoughtfully. "It would be a marvellous thing if his son
went to the bottom of the world."

Comment Re:-2000 Lines Of Code (Score 5, Insightful) 304

point is, just cause you can manage it, doesnt mean 10,000,000 lines of code is really something to brag about, especially for something that feels as cheap as quickbooks (though it does a ok job if your accountant cant use excel and must have things that visually represent checks)

If your accountant is using Excel to run your books that means it's time to get a new accountant.

Comment Re:junkweb has always been there (Score 3, Interesting) 181

1990's people used to email this crap to each other. stupid pictures and the dumb dancing baby animation
with the rise of facebook and other social networking people share this crap and its more viral. and the sites that carry it found a way to monetize on the junk

And before the internet it was all done with photocopiers, fax machines, (to a much lesser extent) VCRs and (even more rarely) BBSs. People used to keep binders full of these things at their desks. Before photocopiers showed up it was done via mimeograph, and one assumes that before that people were tracing boobs through eight layers of carbon paper.

Just as porn is at the forefront of all consumer technology, any office technology gets immediately co-opted for cartoons, kittens and breasts.

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