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Comment M-Disc (Score 1) 385

I've been using Millenata MODISC for backing up my wife's tens of thousands of pics of the kids. Outside of our normal backup processes, about once a year I get a box of discs (not cheap but affordable) and pull off all of the past year's photos, then I tuck them into a fireproof safe and leave it under our deck. (I'm trying to protect against fire and theft more than anything else)

I also spot-check older discs and the ones from 4 years ago, when I started, are still readable. The discs are said to last 1000 years and I'll be happy with 2% of that...

Comment Stephen Baxter (Score 1) 218

Not sure why there are so many open questions about this find - I just finished reading "Proxima" by Stephen Baxter, and he described it pretty thoroughly... it's a red dwarf star which means the Goldilocks planet is tidally locked. But there's enough atmosphere to keep heat circulating, thus there is liquid water in the warm areas. A relatively simple but well-developed ecosystem exists including a reasonably intelligent species dubbed the Builders who live in harmony with the other plants and animals - possibly devolved from earlier, more technological stages. And there's a weird hatch, deep under Mercury - but I've said too much already...

Comment Re:Nonsense poll options (Score 4, Informative) 301

Not necessary. Here are some other possibilities:
1 Part of the name is real and the rest is a pseudonym or incomplete - this seems to be quite common.
2 Uses only initials
3 Have multiple fb accounts with one with a real name and one with a pseudonym (eg one personal and one work)
4 Shares an account with their partner and/or relative

Comment Copy of the Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 (Score 1) 221

I've had one of these for quite some time now, and it looks pretty much the same except more expensive and without the foot pedal option (great idea!)

The important thing is the software rather than the hardware which is meant to be able to detect the curvature of the pages on a bound book and adjust for it. It sort of works most of the time on the SV600 but it's not especially fast and neither is it entirely reliable.

I gave up on it mostly because the software for the Mac was pretty unreliable. I do note they release updates for it very regularly so maybe I should try it again as I haven't touched it in over half a year.


Comment There IS a decent way to use a smartphone... (Score 1) 508

I have to mildly disagree with point 6 - it's maybe not QUITE $20, but you can assemble a few components which will make a decent Android phone into something resembling a desktop.

First you need a Miracast dongle - they're available as low as $10-$15 on eBay, though the cheaper you go, the worse the performance can be (they all use the same chipset but some skimp on the antenna...). Second, get a microUSB OTG hub so you can plug in a commodity mouse and keyboard. Third, download Google Docs or get free MS-Office.

Assembly: Plug Miracast into HDMI input of old monitor (or use $5 HDMI-DVI adapter). Plug peripherals into hub and hub into phone.

And that's about it.

I did a lot of product research on these components during the first half of this year, intending to turn it into a pocket-sized product with a custom case and everything, before dropping the project due to lack of time. So I've bought half a dozen kinds of dongle, as well as virtually every folding Bluetooth keyboard on the market (none worked well enough to be worth it for me) and about half the pocketsized Bluetooth mice, and I've done a lot of testing.

Of course this depends a certain amount on the performance of your phone (Miracast does put a load on the CPU) and the availability of monitors and keyboards. But more and more offices are offering docking stations for roving/traveling employees' laptops, which was my intended target market.

As for underprivileged students, my own kids use 4-5 year old desktop PCs my employer gives away for free and every time they get an upgrade, their old ones go to our school for the less-privileged. I just gave away a Core2Quad Dell with 4GB RAM and a 320gig HD, monitor, and color inkjet, with Windows 7 Pro. Because that's what my office was giving away LAST YEAR...

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