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Comment Makes Sense to Me... (Score 1) 1199

You wouldn't hire somebody who was actively trying to slit their wrists... Tobacco users are actively making a choice to do something that is unquestionably unhealthy. By excluding such a population from your bargaining unit, you've likely significantly lowered your insurance premiums. This saves both employees and employer money and leads to more governmental efficiency in a time when revenues in state and local governments are definitely hurting. Ban smokers or lay off a cop?

Submission + - Will Our Descendants Ever Get Lost? 1

andylim writes: An article on explores how mapping services are quickly becoming the focus of all the major players in the mobile industry. Citing Apple's recent job ad for an iPhone Software Engineer to join its Maps team and Google's addition of turn-by-turn driving for its Android app, the author explains that location and mapping will be at the heart of mobile phones in the future. As mapping technology becomes more and more ubiquitous though and we all use our phones to navigate then is it likely that the concept of being lost will get lost itself?

Submission + - SPAM: Tech companies had lots to be sorry for in 2009

alphadogg writes: Kanye West, President Obama and David Letterman grabbed headlines this year when they apologized for assorted ill-advised acts or rash statements. But they more than met their match in the high tech industry, where big names from Amazon to Apple to Microsoft were forced to issue mea culpas in the wake of bad and worse decisions. Here's a recap of what the tech industry has been most sorry about in 2009, including copies of their apology letters.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - What's the best tool for remembering passwords? 15

StonyCreekBare writes: Lately I've been re-thinking my personal security practices. Somehow having my Firefox "fill in" passwords automatically for me when I go to my bank's site seems sub-optimal should my laptop be stolen. Keeping passwords for all the varied sites on the computer in a plain-text file seems unwise as well. Keeping them in my brain is a prescription for disaster, as my brain is increasingly leaky. A paper notepad likewise has it's disadvantages.

I have looked at a number of password managers, password "vaults" and so on. The number of tools out there is a bit overwhelming. Magic Password Generator add-in for Firefox seems competent but is tied to Firefox, and I have other places and applications I want passwords. Plus I might be accessing my sites from other computers which do not have it installed.

The ideal tool in my mind should be something that is independent of any application, browser or computer, something that is easily carried, but which if lost poses no risk of compromise.

What does the Slashdot crowd like in Password tools?

Submission + - "2012" a Miscalculation; actual calendar ends 2220 ( 2

boombaard writes: "News is spreading quickly here that scientists writing in a (Dutch) popular science periodical (google translation linked) have debunked the 2012 date featuring so prominently in doomsday predictions/speculation across the web. On 2012-12-21, the sun will appear where you would normally be able to see the 'galactic equator' of the Milky Way; an occurrence deemed special because it happens 'only' once every 25.800 years, on the winter solstice. However, even if you ignore the fact that there is no actual galactic equator, just an observed one, and that the visual effect is pretty much the same for an entire decade surrounding that date, there are major problems with the way the Maya Calendar is being read by doomsday prophets.

Because written records were almost all destroyed by 16th-century Spaniards, quite a lot of guesswork surrounds the translation of their calendar to ours, and it appears something went very wrong with the calculations. The Mayas used 4 different calendars, all of different lengths, with the longest of which counting out ages of roughly 5200 years. Figuring out how these relate to 'our' calendars is a big problem, which scientists had thought they had figured out about a century ago. (That's where the 2012 date, which now turns out to be almost 2 centuries out of date, comes from.) However, A German geologist showed in 2005 (in his dissertation) that the proposed correlation to GMT didn't fit with a lot of Mayan-observed events that we know about, and calculated that a roughly 208 year correction was needed, meaning the soonest the Mayan Calendar can end is in 2220.

The final blow was arguably the thesis that nature scientist Andreas Fuls three years ago doctorate at the Technical University Berlin. Fuls pointed out that the GMT-correlation not consistent with a preserved Mayan table on which the positions of Venus are listed. And so there is more, such as inscriptions and objects in time of Goodman, Martinez and Thompson were not detected or outdated. By adding to it all, comes from a very different Fuls dating: one that 208 years has shifted. The end of the long count by the correlation is only about two centuries, at 21, 22 or December 23, 2220. "It is the only option," says Fuls if you ask him about it. (Google translation)

Until then, it would appear we are quite safe, except from Hollywood."

XBox (Games)

Submission + - What to do with a free XBox 360 Pro? 1

OzPeter writes: Last week I won an XBox 360 Pro, however I am not a gamer and after looking at the current MS offerings I am not tempted to become one.

But I am in the market for a Media Center PC that I can use for streaming TV shows off the 'net as well as general web browsing and displaying the video through the HDMI port. With that in mind I again looked at MS and saw that they seemed to have positioned the XBox as an adjunct to a separate Windows Media Center PC and not as a stand alone unit (which is not what I want). So once again I did some more research into the XBox homebrew scene and discovered things like Xbox Linux. But after reading that site it is apparent that MS is trying to beat down the homebrewers and I am left wondering how much hassle it would be to go down that path.

So my question is how should I re-purpose my XBox? is it worthwhile doing the Homebrew/Linux option (and can anyone share any experiences)? Are there other ways of re-purposing the device that I haven't considered? Or should I just keep it boxed up as a Christmas present for a favourite nephew?

Submission + - Would you trust an insurance company's "drive- (

ramen99 writes: Our new car insurance company offered us discounts for our teenage driver if we agree to install a "drive-cam" that records driving habits and wirelessly transmits video footage to a "neutral driving coach" for evaluation and comment. While this might be great to monitor a new teen driver, it will also monitor other adult drivers. The insurance company claims that they would NEVER use any information obtained to consider changes in insurance rates, but that really sounds unbelievable. Would you give up your privacy to save some dough? Installation is free, and the camera mounts just under the rear-view mirror, but something seems fishy about this...

Submission + - Introducing Young Children to Computers with FOSS 6

puroresu writes: For my 5th birthday, my parents bought me my first computer. Being introduced to computers at an early age meant that by the time I started any formal computing education in school, I was reasonably familiar with much of the material in the curriculum. It also allowed me to develop skills such as touch typing. And of course, having access to tons of educational software and games was a bonus!

Fast forward twenty years and I find myself looking to buy an inexpensive computer for my fiancée's five year old son. I'm keen to introduce him to Linux and FOSS in general and I'd like to know how other /.ers have gone about this with their own children. How have you encouraged development of keyboard skills? Have you discovered some great educational software? Games particularly suited to younger children? Colourful themes and icon sets which appeal to younger users? Are there any other factors I should take into consideration?

Submission + - BOINC exceeds 2 teraflop barrier 1

Myrrh writes: "Though an official announcement has not yet been made, it would appear that for the first time, the BOINC project as a whole has exceeded two teraFLOPS performance. According to last month's Top500 list of supercomputers, BOINC's performance is now beating that of the fastest supercomputer, RoadRunner, by a factor of about one-third. Not too shabby!"

Submission + - Volunteering Programming for Dummies 1

Tios writes: I've been studying programming languages (C++, Java, C, Visual Basic) on my own with the self-guided basic textbooks and tutorials and am starting to get tired of working with examples that are not put in real use. I'm motivated to utilize my programming potential but I've not had an experience programming in a team environment with lead developers, mentors, or collaborators. If finding a programming job isn't an option, I wonder if I could volunteer programming in an open-source community... If this is a good idea, how do I start? What are resources out there that could get myself oriented in volunteering? What kind of projects that is basic with supportive team/mentor for me to develop, practice, learn, and contribute?

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