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Comment Re:Don't forget (Score 2) 330

The problem with this argument is that there isn't really a price difference between smart and dumb TVs anymore. While the failure point argument is valid, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you never use the smart features then those parts are not going to have a high failure rate.

More importantly, if you do buy a smart TV and chose not to use its features you will want to make sure you spend some time with the remote in the store. You'll want to either check it out in a store that doesn't have wifi or that allows you to disable it on the TV to test it out. Find out how well it works as a simple screen. Is it quick to switch between inputs? Is the remote good enough or does it at least support using a Harmony replacement? Are interfaces slow because the software on it is too heavy?

Basically, I'm advocating that you just don't care what features the TV has that you don't use and instead find the cheapest set where the features you do want to use work well. If that set has smart features, don't use them and you probably won't have an issue.

Comment Re:If yes then what ? (Score 1) 389

I'm not sure having more than one option is necessary because we have hundreds of institutions and any one of them could try this while I'm sure many would stay with the system they have. I also don't think it's necessary for the author to list more solutions than the one he favors, if there are other alternatives out there let other editorials sing their praises. This doesn't give you only one choice, it gives you a choice between the proposed system and the status quo.

Comment Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 602

Further - no viable light bulb replacements will work with dimmer switches (Which my house has many).

If you restrict this to cheap CFL or first-generation LED bulbs then the statement is true. But a simple search of Amazon for "dimmable LED bulb" will return several different brands, including the brand Feit that I have in my dining room that work perfectly with the dimmer switch in it. Further, they were cheap enough that if they last twice as long as the incandescent bulbs they replace they'll still come out cheaper.

I don't want to convince you to start using LED bulbs again, but the lack of dimmable bulbs is not a good reason to avoid them.

Comment Only Oracle Filed (Score 4, Informative) 198

"This week, however, Microsoft, EMC, Oracle and Netapp have filed for appeal and seek to reverse the ruling."

This isn't quite right. The case is between Oracle and Google, the other companies have no standing. Instead, Microsoft, EMC, and Netapp have filed an amicus brief in support of Oracle. They're all companies who stand to benefit from Copyright protection on their APIs.

Comment Re:Time to shut down the WTO (Score 2) 327

They're not being overruled. The law in the US is allowed to stand and is completely unaffected by this. Instead, because the US has broken a treaty Antigua no long must abide by US Copyrights, which are considered foreign law to Antigua. It doesn't harm democracy that another country is allowed to govern itself. Why should the US law be preferred to Antigua's?

Comment Re:British police rarely carry weapons (Score 1) 292

The war on drugs is only part of it. Mandatory sentencing extends beyond drug charges. Many gun violations have mandatory sentencing as well, which is in part because of the war on drugs and in part because of the proliferation of guns. Very few people are in jail due to a few grams of marijuana, that wouldn't be enough for intent to distribute. But yes, our prison industry has done very well for itself, that much is true regardless.

Comment Re:An old phone, or better an old iPad (Score 1) 682

I use my N7 every day. I have a profile for my son, but I only bother to let him use it when we go on trips. I think it's a little under-powered for some games, but I would actually shy away from games in this situation. The second generation N7 seems to fix the issue of being under-powered, and it's still cheap enough to be a safe bet for kids.

I agree with you on taking the device away being the best form of control, but I also think that's a bad solution in this case. You don't want a device that needs to be taken away being your main form of communication with your child. That gives the other parent an excuse to control when and how you communicate. I don't know exactly why this dad can't see his son very often (and I won't buy the claims made by AC in other threads), but it's probably best to avoid any conflict if possible. Though, I suppose I wouldn't condone some of the specific stuff the OP mentions, like any plans for this child to take a smartphone to kindergarten.

Google really does need to improve parental controls. Apple's system not only provides a better solution for parents, but also for schools. I think part of the problem is that Apple profits off device sales, but Google only profits off of device use, so anything that restricts the use of the device may harm Google's ability to make money off of it.

Comment An old phone, or better an old iPad (Score 4, Informative) 682

When my son was 4 I gave him my Droid Incredible, which was deactivated when I upgraded. He liked it, and would play angry birds sometimes. He also took pictures (the camera isn't great but it's better than pretty much any kid's camera available) and listened to music on it. It was pretty impressive the way he customized the device, too.

My friend gave his son, who is a little younger, an iPod Touch and an iPad around the same time. I know his son uses his devices more than mine.

Contrary to the bulk of these responses, both children were up to the task of having and caring for a modern touchscreen device. You'll want to slap on a good case, and you need to know you can trust your child with it, but they're fine.

As for the recommendation... Well, this is an area where Android is playing catch-up with iOS. iOS has lots of parental controls so you can lock down default apps and prevent installation of unauthorized apps. I don't think either OS is particularly easier to learn, but the ability to control some aspects of the OS might make this an easier sell to the child's other parent, or just easier to monitor for you. If you get an Android device, I suggest you get one that can use the user profile features in Android 4.3 (it was added in 4.2 but there's more control in 4.3.)

However, I'm not sure a phone is really necessary. In fact, I think a phone would be more likely to be dragged around when not needed and more easily lost. It's more likely to become a nuisance. Since your son won't be with you, you have to consider the people he will be with. You don't want the device to become a problem and be taken away.

I would suggest an older device, this way it's less of a loss if it's broken or lost. At this point, you could easily get an older iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. A first generation Nexus 7 isn't a bad choice either. I'd go with one of the tablets, personally. They're better for video chats.

Comment Re:Hey MA programmers! Move to NH. (Score 1) 364

This is likely a maneuver against such tax-sheltering movements. By taxing consulting you remove some of the incentive to use consultants versus having in-house employees. Not much, but it's there. Chances are if your consultancy wants to do business with an MA company they will be subject to this tax on their services.

Comment Re:Keep your guard up (Score 5, Insightful) 393

What's missing from the article is a comparison of actual sales numbers. The RIAA members are bringing less revenue in but selling more music. That's because people are paying less and digital suppliers are taking a larger cut than traditional retailers. That's what the whole digital revolution was really about, people reacted not just to free music, but to the greed and abusive pricing models of the industry.

Another piece that's missing from the article is that independent music sales now make up a far larger portion of the industry. While some of these numbers are likely to be included in a report like this, many of them are not because the independent artists are not members. The overall music industry may well have eclipsed 1999 revenue a few years ago, but we wouldn't know because only the label revenues are counted.

In short, I think you're right. The industry pines for the days when buying a copy of their works required a physical copy, not just because of bundling though.

Comment Re:WTF?!?!?! (Score 1) 347

Oddly, I read this and thought the exact opposite. Most of the deals I've seen on Slickdeals since Black Friday have been in the 50- to 80-cents-per-gigabyte range. The latest deal, posted just yesterday, had an Intel 180GB SSD for $100 after rebate. That's 55-cents-per-gigabyte. That's only one deal site, so I'm sure there's other deals that I've missed.

The store doesn't matter so much as the price. Where you shop has become less important than how you shop. If you're only focusing on a few retailers, and not leveraging the Internet to comparison shop and crowdsource deal opportunities, then I'm sure SSD prices are still quite high.

Comment Re:Treaties (Score 2) 154

And yet, none of that pertains to this treaty at all. There's not even a need to defend the US and its actions here, because this entire argument is a derailment of the primary one: whether or not the US should sign this treaty. Instead we're ranting about completely unrelated treaties on topics that hold no bearing to this discussion. The only tidbit of the entire rant we can apply is that the US does not always consider itself beholden to treaties it signs.

If we apply the only relevant part back to the actual topic what are we left with? Well, I would say that your standpoint is a great argument against signing this treaty. This is because any effort to hand control of the core systems that support the world wide web must be binding and complete. If the US is not going to honor those then what will happen when we have competing regulatory agencies and systems? I don't think it will be pretty.

It's interesting that the only useful nugget of that rant seems to work in favor the US actions, considering the rest of the rant is against it.

Comment Re:No change, in other words (Score 1) 445

I think the biggest difference is the amount of integration that the factory systems now have. For instance, in one of my cars the stereo controls the bluetooth system, and to my understanding there is not an aftermarket head unit that supports this. If I choose to put an aftermarket head unit in my car I forfeit the built-in hands-free bluetooth and steering wheel controls. For other vehicles this is even more of an issue: some are integrated such that much of the vehicle's functionality is built into the same interface. Switching out components to support newer technologies is not going to work on such vehicles. I wouldn't want an aftermarket head unit that can't control my digital HVAC settings.

Another difference is that the technologies you listed were largely application-specific technologies with set standards. Smartphones are complex systems with few set standards. Yes, the individual features that these phones support may have standards (emphasis on may), but the phones themselves likely have little more than a defacto standard and it is the manufacturer's/OS developer's whim on when those will change. The iPhone changes much more rapidly than a music-specific format does.

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