Small transactions will be on the (short term) honour system.
One of the big selling points Bitcoin proponents use to try to get businesses to accept them is that Bitcoins "have no chargebacks." It seems like having every transaction "be on the honor system" is a much, much worse situation than getting virtually-instantaneous confirmation for all transactions upfront and then getting hit with a chargeback every once in a while.
I[n] the days before we had electronic credit card verification the store would take an imprint and only find out later whether the card was good or not.
Yes, and businesses also used to accept personal checks. Have you tried to use one lately? I can't think of any businesses I regularly patronize that accept them today. It used to be that the businesses had to account for bounced checks and declined credit transactions in their business overhead which was ultimately passed on to consumers. By accepting only cash, credit and debit cards with instant electronic verification (my newest credit card doesn't even have the raised lettering for imprint machines since so few transactions use them these days) they can remove this overhead and cut their prices, making them more competitive in the free market.
There are no hard sci fi movies, at least from the past 20 years
Moon, which came out in 2009, is a good hard sci-fi film. If that isn't hard enough for you, check out 2004's Primer which is by far the "hardest" take on time travel yet (warning: you will need a guide to understand what's going on in most of the film).
I completely agree with this. One of the big problems with Valve attempting something like the SteamBox is Steam and games being tied to the Windows and OS X platforms. Apple definitely wouldn't allow a third party to use their OS and it's questionable whether Microsoft would let someone build a console on Windows technology that would compete with the Xbox. Not to mention that even if Microsoft did, consoles generally have a negative or very thin profit margin and paying for an OEM OS licenses on top of the cost of the hardware is the last thing you'd want to do in that circumstance.
From Valve's perspective, building a game console on Linux would be highly preferable to Windows because it would leave them in full control of the software stack without any license fees. Not to mention that a set baseline of hardware would allow them to do mitigate the biggest problem facing gaming on Linux (after game availability) which is the poor and inconsistent state of 3d graphics drivers by providing guarantees for what will work to developers.
If they are truly interested in building their own game console, porting Steam (and Source) to Linux would be a good first step.
Try paying less than 30$ a month for a cell phone service. i'd LOVE to have a service that charges me based on my use. i make two or three calls a WEEK, all to my girlfriend and all about 1 minute long. "I'm ready", "OK, i'm on my way". i send a text message every two or three days. i'm not a twelve year old girl who has to yammer constantly.
I live in the US and I pay $6.67 a month for cellular service.
I have pretty much the same usage patterns you do so like you a contract plan didn't/doesn't make sense for me. I looked at prepaid plans and also like you I was dismayed to see that all of them had expiring minutes, usually after 30 or 90 days. Then I found that T-Mobile has a "Gold Rewards" program for their prepaid service where if you get your account to $100 worth of minutes they don't expire for a full year. I went ahead and bought their cheapest handset and a $100 refill card right away, a $140 up-front investment but so far I've only had to buy two other $10 refill cards to keep my minutes and rewards membership from expiring which gets me to $6.67/mo (including the cost of my handset) for my service to date.
I've just calculated that at my current rate of use I have about 18 months of service left (including the refill card I will need to buy next year) by which time I will probably be ready to move to a contract plan. At that time my service will have cost $4.72/mo, or $3.61/mo excluding the cost of the handset.
Recent investments will yield a slight profit.