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Comment It's missing the full picture (Score 3, Interesting) 199

Currently it is incredibly energy intensive to separate hydrogen from oxygen. What power plant is powering the separator? If it's anything but nuclear, hydro, solar or wind, then it's powered by whatever fossil fuel is doing the separation, and at a much lower efficiency than simply putting diesel fuel into a diesel-electric or directly powering an electric train by overhead catenary. In the end you're just centralizing the pollution.

If the separator is run by a non-fossil fuel source, then more power to them.

Comment Depends on the scope (Score 1) 305

if it is directed only at street level storefront space on University Ave (downtown) and surrounding areas, that's fine. If including the office space around downtown - that's dumb.

Palo Alto has done many dumber things, such as declaring itself a "Nuclear Free Zone". No nucleii allowed!

The zero growth advocacy and climate is similar to Santa Cruz. Their housing crisis is their own creation. The classic hippies vs. techies war.

People who have lived in Palo Alto for a very long time are understandably pissed that it isn't the town they moved into 40 years ago. I remember it before the first tech boom. University Avenue was mainly a place for Stanford Students to unwind at the local restaurants and sushi joints. Some nice independent bookstores and the Varsity Theater. It was a cleaned up but not super busy downtown.

Comment QuickBase is awesome... (Score 2) 163

...but the price is not. They have no serious competitors as far as I can tell, the market is screaming for competition. If you need to build a network-accessible database driven application that runs in a browser, it's really, really slick.

I was involved with a project to build a type of customer database using QuckBase - it would track and follow a customer's project all the way to completion, and multiple people with different roles could interact with it in various ways. Imagine Filemaker Pro or MS Access on steroids and network enabled.

To earn our business, QBase reps basically built the bones of the program in realtime as we chatted on the phone and watched via webex, for free and gave us a month to play with it at no cost. After that it was around $300 per month, so out of range of individuals but fine for businesses that can justify it with revenue.

I think there is a huge future for this market that's waiting to be tapped further. Right now it's a bit of a monopoly.

Comment I'd like to see... (Score 1) 148

"Dr." Nick Begich attend the open house, and for someone to be rolling video on him. He is singularly responsible for the conspiracy theories via his book "Real Angels Don't Play This HAARP".

Not that, as most people here say, it would change any minds. They merely move the goal posts or say that everything really worthwhile has been hidden from view during the open house, or misrepresented. Conspiracy theorists don't want to learn, they just want to be right.

Comment Re:I stopped Win 7 updates long ago (Score 1) 275

I also stopped after the first few Win 7 service packs - everything's running great. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. They got all the major stuff ironed out early. I have not had a crash or a problem in many years.

This is fine for a home user who runs with noscript and adblock plus and is very careful in general with security. I wouldn't try to force that paradigm on my family or anyone not a serious computer enthusiast, however.

Comment Mostly junk... (Score 3, Informative) 83

I played with and also searched for various titles. Mostly it is endless demo scene disks, demo versions of games and many of them don't work properly. The ones that do load play sound erratically, the emulator timing ramps up and down like a record with variable speed playback.

There were some really amazing games on the Amiga, and you're not going to get the sense of what it was like here. No Psygnosis games, and I couldn't get even the Turrican Demo to work properly. Plus no options that I can see for scanline emulation, the line doubling looks pretty bad and doesn't present what it actually looked like on a CRT monitor.

The fascinating thing which is hard to realize now is that when games like "Shadow of the Beast" came out in 1986, the PC / DOS crowd was still largely on 16 color CGA with no sound beyond beeps and clicks unless you bought an expensive add on sound card like a Turtle beach. The Macintosh was just discovering color. We were enjoying arcade quality graphics and sound as far back as the Amiga 1,000 thanks to a set of discreet graphics and sound chips. (Paula, Agnes, Denise etc.) It was heady times and a great time to be an Amiga user, from the mid-80s till the early 90s.

Comment Shouldn't a good ad-blocker be undetectable? (Score 2) 534

A good ad-blocker should let the page think it is being rendered exactly as requested, but actually removing the display of the ads to the user.

What manner of Javascript trickery or feedback loops do large site owners use to try to get around that?

It seems like the paradigm needs to be a sort of sandbox for the page and its anti-adblocker scripting, and then the page is delivered to the user sans ads completely unknowingly to the page.

I guess the one thing Facebook could do to make it very hard to remove the ads is to make them look exactly like a user post. you would need a sort of fingerprinting as another poster mentioned to get around it.

Comment IMDB etc. (Score 1) 136

Aahh. and look how fast that page loads, devoid of all the needless crap we pile on now.

I don't have a grey beard (it wasn't THAT long ago and I was young) but I do remember downloading the entire IMDB as a file and parsing it with a reader. They would post periodic updates.

I was also the designer of the original set of icon buttons for web version of IMDB, which were made on my Amiga. Good times.


Comment What's the use? (Score 2) 44

What good does extra speed do when there are very low data caps, at least here in the US?

Right now the typical account gievs you 1 - 3 GB per month. Pretty easy to burn though in no time watching a few videos.

Their new account tier 'adjustments' announced a few days ago change nothing.

If higher speeds are to be useful, and mobile streaming is to be useful, they need to do away with the data caps again. Right now we're starting to see a very non-neutrality focusd solution where certain companies streaming services are exempt from the data count. This is a problem when the little indie streaming station I want to listen to is not included. Listener supported indie radio outlets like and Radio Paradise are left out in the cold, shutting out diversity. I can't listen to them in my car, only at home.

Many people feel that data caps are strictly a business decision, and not a technical issue. Which means that there is not enough competition in the cellular wireless sphere. The barrier to entry in this market is very high so it's not surprising.

Comment A nuanced problem (Score 1) 126

This is an interesting issue because it's become so complex. To browse privately and still allow a website to function has become a difficult prospect.

You want each website to work, but you don't want any cookies or other data from one site to be able to be read by another. So individually sandboxed pages and cookies are the idea. Even if you block third party tracking cookies, other sites might be looking for cookies set by other discreet sites, not just cookies from tracking firms. The problem is so many sites use third party services for photo and sometimes entire article syndication that it's very difficult to tear everything apart. It's almost a case by case basis.

The worst offenders are news sites. Browsing with noscript, the list of third party URLs sometimes scrolls off the page. It can be difficult to pick through the content and find the correct one to enable an embedded video to play, for example.

For now I browse with noscript and adblock plus and occasionally private windows, but noscript is not an option for anything but serious enthusiasts who are willing to pick through all the trash to get what they want.

Browsing without an ad blocker and noscript on most sites is like sex without protection. You might be looking on that one day when a mainstream ad network has become infected with malware, and oops, you're fucked! I'm not against advertising but how you can trust any of it when so many ad networks have been compromised in the past, repeatedly?

Comment Re:HomeSeer (Score 1) 183

I second Homeseer as the local server of choice that will work with a variety of PLC (power line carrier devices) such as Insteon products (more modern X-10 equivalent) and security systems, thermostats. etc.

It's extremely powerful as you can do pretty much anything with the scripting language, or just stay within the confines of the UI and make some very flexible ladder logic and timed events.

To access the system remotely, open a port on your firewall for it and use a dynamic DNS service to make sure you have consistent access to it. That's all.

I ran a Homeseer setup with Insteon light switches and outlets about 10 years ago and even then it was pretty neat. Haven't gotten back into it lately, just hasn't been a priority for me.

Also it looks like Insteon themselves have started to make UI control for mobile devices, don't know if it talks to a central server but I imagine it does because aunt prudence isn't gonna know anything about port forwarding.

Comment Re:Winamp (Score 4, Informative) 267

Winamp supports playlists that are separate from the files themselves. You can drag songs into a playlist and save that playlist as a .M3U text-based file, which is a widely recognized format.

In any case you know where all your data is and it's not wrapped up in a bloated, proprietary interface.

It's easy to edit a playlist to remove songs you're bored with, rearrange it, save multiple versions. It does not allow for behavior such as "play me all the music I haven't heard in a while" but I tend to know my collection well enough that I know what I want to hear. For those of us who grew up with album based music we already have it organized in our heads that way. I realize that this is now old school, but it's what's comfortable for me. I am guessing that this method of organizing music will die out with my generation.

In the garage I use a 15 year old throwaway laptop just to play music, and it works very well running Winamp's very light footprint.

Comment Re:Winamp (Score 4, Insightful) 267

I continue to use Winamp to this day. I like organizing my music files directly as files and folders. I never understood the attraction of a piece of software that slurped in all your music haphazardly and piled it all together trying to rely on ID3 information to sort it out. Easy enough to create playlists in Winamp via drag and drop.

In my car I use a thumbdrive organized by folders, navigated with the car's entertainment unit. Fortunately most manufacturers are still supporting this method.

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