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Comment Re:Paranoid BUT - - (Score 1) 950

The strap in question goes around your chest, under your shirt, while you exercise. Mine is about 3 years old, gets worn for 2-3 running workouts per week, and gets washed about as often as my gym bag (i.e., hardly ever). Would YOU want to share one with 6 gym periods' worth of middle schoolers?

It's useful because you can glance at it as you run, rather than stopping and staring at your wrist for 30 seconds.

Also, it's a $100 wristwatch, not an EKG. I don't think it's going to detect much of anything, much less send wireless telemetry to the nefarious databases of the Mayo Clinic, Blue Cross, and the Obamarama Death Panel.

Comment Re:Ok? (Score 2, Insightful) 130

What kind of processing power do you need to analyze six million frames per second in real time? (Honest question, I don't know, but I'd imagine it's just as ridiculous as the storage requirement raised by GP.)

I suppose you could analyze every nth frame, but if you're looking for events that occur on the microsecond scale, you run the risk of missing it entirely.

Comment Re:pirate repellents (Score 1) 830

That could have worked a couple of years ago, when pirates were simply preying on easy targets at choke points. Now they're ranging quite far afield -- numerous incidents have taken place off the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania, and even in the Seychelles. You'd have to have a lot of Marines stationed in a lot of ports to cover everyone.

Granted, I would take a ship through that area without a contingent of Blackwater mercenaries on my payroll, but a technological solution would also help safeguard ships in other pirate-prone areas. It's not just a Somalian problem; ships also get hijacked in areas like the Strait of Malacca, Nigeria, and Brazil.

Comment Re:E-Stamps, the only way to reduce spam (Score 1) 251

(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money

It becomes the credit-card co's or ISP's problem, not yours. It's like any other $ transaction.

It's like any other transaction, including the ability to use stolen credit card and banking information. And how do they get that? From:

(X) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes

Maybe they would patch it if it cost them $.

No, they won't. When it comes to security, most people just don't get it. Really, it's mind-boggling, but a shocking amount of people think updates, non-admin users, virus scanners, etc. are "annoying" and won't use them, no matter how explicitly you explain the consequences.

The fact that a lot of Windows software is written by brain-damaged monkeys doesn't help, either. Wasn't that long ago that a lot of end-user software would croak and die if you ran it as a non-privileged user.

Comment OpenOffice benchmarks? Seriously? (Score 5, Insightful) 262

Is speed really the issue here? My LAPTOP was a bargain-barrel purchase 3 years ago and it has no problem running OpenOffice + FireFox + other standard software on either Ubuntu or XP.

What I care about is, "Which one is least likely to crash and make me lose my work?" That's always been my big complaint with the Windows versions of free software (GIMP comes to mind), not speed.

Comment Re:Are you that addicted to the internet? (Score 1) 303

No joke. $10 for airborne wifi doesn't sound so bad, until you think...

$10 for your 1-hour flight to Atlanta/Houston/wherever
$10+ for your 2-hour layover (most airports have wifi at $5+/hour these days)
$10 for your 2-hour flight to wherever

That's $30+ for your day's wifi. My monthly Internet bill isn't that much. I think I'll just bring a book...

Comment Re:How old? (Score 1) 432

I know what you mean. In my younger days, I really got around. It started with an installation of ZipSlack on the spare HD of an old jalopy. From there it was one whirlwhind fling after another -- Slackware, Debian (too religous), FreeBSD, Gentoo (too high-maintenance), KDE, Fluxbox (we were too young), even Enlightenment (hey... we've all got one).

Then, one day, I found Ubuntu. It settled in nicely, no drama, no constant haggling. We were happy together.

Then, it started to get boring. Soon, I began dual-booting, visiting Windows when I needed some fun and games. Lately, I've been trying every ISO that comes my way. Fedora, SUSE, even Solaris (think of what it could teach me!). But it's just all so empty. Maybe it's time to go home...

Comment Re:Keep Sun Independent! (Score 5, Insightful) 292

Online petitions work on companies like Facebook because pleasing as many random people as possible is their business model. A Web 2.0 company's product is its users. Nobody pays for Facebook as an end user -- the people paying for Facebook are paying for your ad views, marketing data, etc.

IBM and Sun shareholders, on the other hand, couldn't give less of a hoot about your feelings. Companies buy software based on a number of factors, but these factors always tie back to the bottom line. Are you going to stop visiting your favorite website because it would be using "IBM Glassfish" instead of "Sun Glassfish"?

Comment A simple technique taken to an extreme (Score 5, Informative) 80

He basically used a method reminiscent of a technique used by amateur astronomers to take pictures of planets and asteroids: take a lot of frames using a cheap webcam and stack them together, weeding out the bad ones as you go.

The principle behind it is pretty simple. When it comes to seeing nearby planets (Pluto and friends are obviously exceptions), telescopes are limited less by magnification and more by atmospheric distortion. What's not clear from the article is if this is a single frame grab (which is pretty cool but not an incredible technical feat) or if he managed to track it precisely enough to stack a few frames.

Comment Re:The recession is the best argument. (Score 1) 227

It's not just about sticker price, and "FOSS beyond Linux servers" is pretty broad.

I'm a tech writer/UI designer/sometimes web guy at a small (~75 employees) ISV. Our company uses, and even prefers, FOSS when it suits us. Our two head IT guys are Linux nerds like me, which helps.

Basically, the F/OSS software we use falls into one of several categories (this only includes the software I use in my roles, and that I encountered during a stint in QA).

  1. FOSS software that sees regular use.
    • Linux: It powers our web and mail servers. Our QA guys use Linux + VMWare to test our (Windows-based) server software. I've been offered a Linux workstation for a web-based project I'm working on, but XP+IIS may be the only solution.*
    • Audacity: We use this to record voice tracks for Captivate demos.
    • 7-zip: Every workstation has this.
    • Firefox: Again, the company standard.
    • Notepad++: A few of us have this for editing raw HTML/CSS/XML/etc.
    • OpenOffice: Don't get excited, Office 2003 is still our bread and butter. This lives on my secondary workstation for simple one-off tasks.
  2. OSS software that was tried but failed
    • GIMP: This was before I started at the company, and at the time it couldn't equal Paint Shop Pro (which is what we use now).
    • Scribus: We tried this before caving and purchasing FrameMaker 8. Scribus simply can't match the features or (more importantly) training resources of FrameMaker.

We also use Lotus Notes, which is based on Eclipse.

* I have 2 XP workstations so that I can run every product I might need to document, some of which must be run simultaneously on separate machines. Neither machine is up to spec for Xen or VMWare.

Comment Re:Scary Targets... (Score 2, Interesting) 272

You'd be surprised. It's easy enough for someone with just a bit of knowledge to read an article that raves about custom firmware, download said firmware, and flash the router. Plus, DD-WRT is configured rather poorly by default (doesn't everyone want telnet?) and is vulnerable to a rather elementary XSS exploit.

The XSS exploit can be prevented by logging out of the router when you're done, but here's the catch -- DD-WRT provides no logout button/link/etc. I recall someone suggesting it on the mailing list, and it earned them a good-ol' fanboy flaming. The solution, of course, is to close your browser -- but again, there are plenty of users out there who don't know that.

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Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984