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Comment Driving inefficiently another issue... (Score 2) 891

Simple observation quickly shows many people are clueless to the effect of their driving styles on their fuel economy as well. Full throttle rush towards the next red light, slam on brakes, stop....repeat. Highway driving? Absolutely positive HAVE to achieve that 10 foot gain on the guy beside you, even if it means changing lanes and mashing on the accelerator only to inevitably end up following another car and having to slow down. Again, repeat....over and over and over again.

Simple driving style changes can yield the average driver a HUGE increase in fuel mileage, but until the "I'm more important than everybody else, I need to be in front of you and get there as fast as humanly possible, screw you all" attitude of many of todays drivers change, all the technology advances in the world won't help if the idiots behind the wheel just continue to operate the vehicles in a basically inefficient fashion.

Comment Driving is not a right. (Score 0) 643

Some people have forgotten that driving on public roads is a privilege, not a right.

Accordingly, if you do something stupid, you damn well deserve to be held accountable for it. The "OMG ONOZ THE INSURANCE COMPANIES SEE MY PRIVATE BLACK BOX DATA!!" freakouts shouldn't fly with anyone who has a basic sense of respect for the privilege.

Comment Re:Carefully placed.... (Score 1) 296

That would have been my suggestion as well. A carefully placed old iPhone 3G hardwired into the electrical system (to ensure it stays charged) with Find My iPhone enabled would do the trick, and be quite slick at that - you could track it on anything from a desktop computer, another iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, or heck, basically anything with a web browser.

Yes, there's a recurring monthly fee associated with that for the underlying cellular service, but I don't think that there's many options for this sort of system that won't carry a fee of one sort or another.

Comment Re:Hmmm.... (Score 1) 444

Polymer note lifespan is widely accepted to be about 5 years.

Given I just found a coin in my jeans from 1957 which is still in regular circulation, I think your suggestion that the two even remote compare in overall longevity remains flawed. Plenty of original 1987 $1.00 "Loonies" are still in circulation - at at 23+ years old. To replace the $1.00 and $2.00 coins with polymer would still mean that they would have been replaced at least 4 times over that same span of time, and every 5 years after that you add another replacement cycle.

To equate it to my 1957 coin in my jeans, a polymer equivalent would have had to have been replaced more than 20 times already.

Coins can easily last decades under regular circulation, and centuries with light circulation. Polymer will never match that no matter how hard you try.

Comment Re:Maybe currentcost (Score 1) 172

I own a CurrentCost ENVI. The current cost units do have basic device-level drivers for OSX but the interface software required to upload the data to Google Powermeter is (sadly) Windows only. It's one of the biggest gripes in the CurrentCost message forums but the developers appear complacent on the subject.

As such I've been forced to run Windows 24/7 via Parallels with the sole task of running the Google Powermeter application in Windows instead of OSX. Frustrating.

Frustration aside, I do like the unit, but I discovered shortly after my purchase that it only partially supports tiered pricing - it does support two tiers (day and night) with selectable rates and times, but our local utility uses three tiers with each coming into effect at various times of day - off peak, mid peak, and full peak. The ENVI has no ability to be programmed to support this - what I did was program it for the "average" price between mid=peak and on-peak so that it is at least relatively close on the price display.

I'm hoping eventually GPM will also add more options - it supports only *one* tarrif rate, making it even less useful for calculating pricing. It does graph the information nicely though.

Comment Penalizing legal uses? (Score 1, Interesting) 352

Here in Canada we pay a huge levy on blank CD media, MP3 players, and virtually any other media capable of holding music. This "goes into a fund to pay musicians and songwriters for revenues lost from consumers' personal copying. ", as per the Cnet article here

Therefore, this shutdown is infringing on my legal right to download music.

Meh, there's always ISOhunt, or like everyone else has already said, plenty of other choices.

Comment Re:Why not store the data on phone permanent memor (Score 2, Informative) 304

I'll admit to having one of the original (and second version) of the Sidekick (They were called the Hiptop everywhere else except the USA) and the idea of storing everything on the cloud seemed great at the time - through several device upgrades, warranty replacements, and other hardware changes everything just automagically restored to the new phone within 10-15 minutes of switching the SIM.

One should add that the devices themselves are designed to "Play dead" when the battery gets low and shut down while still maintaining enough power to ensure the volatile ram holding the devices local cache of data remains intact. It's only if the battery is fully exhausted to the point of not being able to accomplish this, or a critical error/OS crash (The dreaded "red X of death") is encountered is the volatile ram actually in danger of being erased.

Therefore all the warnings about not letting the phones go "dead" or turning them off are a bit misleading since, excluding one of the two above situations everything is actually safe, but it's not without warrant since I'm sure MS/Danger are going to try to "backwards restore" whatever is salvageable.

Furthermore, since the OS is locked down extremely tight there's no (to my understanding, admittedly a few years old now) method of locally backing up a Sidekicks data. Contacts stored on the device can be backed up to the SIM card one at a time (with only the basic name/phone data, all other extraneous data such as profile pics, etc will not be included) but it was tedious to accomplish (one contact at a time) and the average Sidekick user (read as teen/clueless) probably has no idea how to do it anyways.

Comment How about updating USB camcorder support then? (Score 4, Informative) 820

If they're on the way to eventually eliminating Firewire I sure hope that Apple has plans to update USB support for more camcorders then.

I have a JVC hard drive camcorder that is USB and iMovie has absolutely no idea what to do with it when I plug it into any of my Macs. It seems thatt if I had chosen a camcorder with Firewire instead (which Apple themselves trumpeted as the thing to do) I'd have had no issues.



Submission + - SOA could change the way you buy electricity (

StonyandCher writes: "Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with IBM as a partner, have built a demonstration network called GridWise that showed how an event-driven service-oriented architecture (SOA) can be used to build a power marketplace that lets residential and commercial customers change their electricity consumption nearly in real time, based on price and other factors. During the yearlong, Energy Department-sponsored marketplace demonstration, customers spent less money on power, and utilities easily accommodated spikes in demand without affecting service levels. The marketplace ran on an IBM WebSphere Application Server at PNNL and received data in real time from various Web services about electricity's current wholesale price and most recent closing price, as well as whether those prices were trending up or down. It communicated with specialized, "smart" appliances at participants' sites via IBM-developed middleware built within what IBM calls its event-driven architecture (EDA) framework and running on the WebSphere server. The EDA middleware provided the link between the transaction-oriented marketplace and the more physical world of the controls-based appliances."

Submission + - Boot Camp Pulled for OS X 10.4 Users (

RulerOf writes: In a not-so-surprising move amidst the anticipation surrounding the impending release of OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple has pulled the Boot Camp 1.4 Beta from their web site. It will from now on presumably only be usable as a fully released product, bundled with Leopard. Of course, this doesn't leave current Boot Camp users in the dust; from the article:

"Not to worry, though: if you've used Boot Camp [...] your Windows partition should continue to work just like it [used] to. Remember, however, that Apple will ignore any problems you might encounter, and the Boot Camp utility itself will stop working."

This comes on the heels of a previous announcement at the beginning of the month, where v1.2 of Boot Camp expired on October 1st.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Bill Gates Denied Visa to Nigeria ( 1

Xight writes: "Gizmodo recently wrote an article about Nigeria recently denying Bill Gates a visa to travel there on his recent trip to Africa proving that money can't get you everything. Whats even more amusing is that he was at "initially denied the Microsoft kingpin's application on the premise that they required proof he would not reside in Nigeria indefinitely, causing a strain on social services and a general nuisance for immigration.". I guess those Nigerian 419 scams really do pay off for them."

Submission + - Non Windows for Dummies?

Oshawapilot writes: "Despite my best efforts to avoid it (Firefox, adequate spyware, virus and registry protection, etc) a relatives Windows XP machine has once again come to the point where it's unusable. This time around it decided to eat the TCP/IP stack, a problem that despite a great deal of effort to fix, has persisted to the point of being a lost cause.

Frankly I'm tired of reinstalling (or bandaging) Windows only to eventually reach this seemingly inevitable conclusion once again in the future.

That said, I'm looking for Linux alternatives. The catch is that the end user in question is by no means an OS savvy individual, so it needs to simply work — all the time, every time.

My (albeit limited) experiences with some of the Linux distro's in the past is that they work OK out of the box, but you still need to be somewhat Linux savvy in order to accomplish such seemingly simple tasks like installing new peripherals, for example.

I need a system that she could plug a new digital camera or printer she might buy into, and not have it turn into command-line hell in order to configure it and actually get it to work.

My first thought was to tell her to simply go and buy a Mac, but that's not financially in the options list at this time.

Tell me, Slashdot readers — is there a realistic option?"

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