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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...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/...

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.

Jolyon

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...

Comment Re:Mdisk - advertised to last 100 years (Score 1) 174

MO-DISC (or Milleniata) discs are what I use for offline storage. They're not THAT expensive - I only do a backup onto them once per year (Time Machine to an onsite server for everyday), and so far my wife's annual output of photos and video can be coaxed to fit onto a box of 10 DVDs, for roughly $35-40ish

I put 'em in a fire-resistant waterproof portable safe hidden elsewhere on the property, and consider myself safe from lightning/flood, theft and a few similar gotchas. I originally had a plan to put a wee server in at a friend's house several km away, and do reciprocal backups that way. But it's only recently that the bandwidth for that has been affordable (in Australia) and the above solution makes me feel safe enough that I haven't gotten around to it.

I don't need them to last 100 years, I just don't want to be surprised by bad DVD+R dye or whatever in 3-5 years as has been the case with other types of burned discs. I've never been able to get a straight answer on how long burned DVDs can be expected to last, but the MO-Disc people claim 1,000 years and I'll be happy with 2% of that.

If DVD readers go away in a decade, they won't go away WITHOUT WARNING - I'll have time to move data onto holographic crystals or whatever replaces them. After all, we can still buy floppy drives and VHS tape decks and vinyl record turntables... Plus I can also put everything we've done onto a 500GB drive and toss that into the fire safe, while I'm at it.

I've been doing this for a few years now and so far all the earlier stuff remains readable when I pull 'em out every first-week-of-January...

Comment Re:Statistics without control group? (Score 2) 706

I did some basic stats on this.

There are in Canada about 11 suicides per 100,000 people per year. The Ashley Madison list contains 33 million names. So, on an average year with 33 million random people there are over 3,600 suicides, equating to 10 per day (based on Canadian stats)

So these 2 are well within normal expected rates of suicide for this size of a group. Unless I've bollocked up my stats somewhere in which case please tell me.

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