cashman73 writes: Bad news. My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to and electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got an iPad (fourth generation with Retina), and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with the iPad! Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using the iPad as her sole "computer" might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences with using the iPad or other tablets without a separate desktop computer connected to it?
cashman73 writes: "Weatherspark BETA is a new website that just launched offering some pretty detailed and in-depth weather charts, forecasts, and historical analysis going back to the late 1940s. Data is laid out in charts, graphs, and averages, and also has a visual map. According to the site's about page, it was started by a software engineer and a rocket scientist from the San Francisco Bay Area. It's still fairly new — the only major press on it at the moment is a lifehacker post and a KOMO News story."
cashman73 writes: Several media outlets, including the Sydney Morning Herald, Fox News, and the Daily Mail, report today that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has introduced legislation giving power to the President to shut down the Internet using a "kill switch" in times of "national emergency". The bill also describes the global internet as a US "national asset".
cashman73 writes: Several sources (NY magazine, Variety, The Big Money) are reporting that Nielsen is finally going to start measuring online TV viewing. You would think that this is a good idea, since many people are now watching TV programs on the internet. However, there's a catch: Nielsen's new service will only count viewings of a program with the same number of advertisements as the network TV model. So this immediately eliminates Hulu, as well as any shows watched via the network's own websites. As a matter of fact, it would currently only include Comcast's XFinity TV service, and TV Everywhere (which, so far, appears to be the equivalent of "Duke Nukem Forever" of television). So either, (a) everyone will rush out to watch their online TV on Comcast XFinity, so that they're viewing counts in the ratings (unlikely), or (b) Hulu and everyone else starts to put more advertisements on their shows (more likely, but would also probably mean the death of Hulu).
cashman73 writes: Amazon dropped a bomb on the publishing world Wednesday morning by announcing a new royalty program that will allow authors to earn 70 percent royalties from each e-book sold, but with a catch or two. The move will pay participating authors more per book than they typically earn from physical book sales so long as they agree to certain conditions—conditions that make it clear that Amazon is working on keeping the Kindle attractive in light of upcoming competition. Still, authors and publishers are split on how good this deal really is.
Amazon's old system will remain in place for those who don't want to participate in the new arrangement, but the carrot to upgrade is pretty attractive—a typical $8.99 book would pay an author $3.15 under the "standard" system, while an author or publisher would get $6.25 under the new 70 percent scheme.
The catch, however, is that authors or publishers must list their books for between $2.99 and $9.99 on the Kindle. A majority of Kindle books already fall into this range, but authors are able to set prices higher if they want, and some do.
The price must also be at least 20 percent below the lowest list price for the physical book, the book must be available in all geographical areas where the authors has rights, it must include all features of the Kindle store (including text-to-speech capabilities), and the Kindle price must be the same or below the price offered at other e-book stores.
cashman73 writes: "The National Law Journal currently has an interesting article (premium access required; summary here) covering a new type of lawsuit, in which employees are suing over time spent booting [up] their computers. Apparently, some employers don't think that their employees should be paid during the 15-30 minutes that it takes Windows Vista to boot up every morning, because all that takes is for the employee to press a button and then go take a smoke or coffee break instead of doing actual work. I thought it would be interesting to get the opinions of the Slashdot community on this matter; should you get paid while your computer boots up? Or is Microsoft robbing us of valuable work-time every day?"
cashman73 writes: The New York Times currently has an article that provides some interesting insights into why past U.S. Presidents have not been able to converse directly via email in cyberspace. Even George W. Bush had to give up his G94B@aol.com account prior to moving into the White House in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, which puts any of his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review and the threat of subpoenas. The problem is, Barack Obama has become quite "addicted" to his Blackberry. Now, the question is, will the President-Elect maintain the status quo and give this up, are will he try and push to keep connected, and finally give us Slashdotters, "change we can believe in"?
cashman73 writes: Finally coming out with a robot that Slashdotters can actually appreciate, Sega is set to debut it's new female robot. Meet E.M.A., which stands for "Eternal, Maiden, Actualization". She walks, talks, offers company cards to passers by, and even has a love mode in which she'll lean forward for a kiss when owners' heads come in close proximity. She'll sell for $175, though only on sale in Japan,...
cashman73 writes: "Apple has officially announced the next generation iPhone, available July 11. It includes 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App store. And it costs less than your first iPhone, at $199 for the 8 GB model and $299 for the 16 GB model."
cashman73 writes: I recently came across this article from the February 27, 1995, issue of Newsweek. In it, Clifford Stoll discusses this "new" thing that was just becoming popular at the time, known as the Internet. And proceeds to tell us why it will never really change society and the way in which we live. While he did get a few things right, like more or less correctly describing Usenet as a, "cacophany [that] more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harassment, and anonymous threats", he was dead wrong on others. For example, he didn't see that we'd ever replace newspapers with internet websites, or that we'd ever purchase and read books online (a la Amazon & Kindle). He described reading a book online as, "an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can't tote that laptop to the beach."
He also described the internet as a, "wasteland of unfiltered data", and told us about this difficulties in trying to hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar, in the pre-Google and pre-Wikipedia era. And then he talks about the failures of the internet in the realm of political campaigning, citing one local government official who put up all his campaign releases online, only to get 30 hits. How shocked he must be today, seeing websites for every major political candidate, from US President on down to local city mayor elections, not to forget about all of the video out there, like the CNN/Youtube debates!
His comments on computers in the classroom were sort of a mixed bag, stating that computers will never replace teachers, but also failing to see how computers will be utilized in the classroom today.
In the end, the thing he argues most as the reason why this new internet thing would never really take off, is the lack of human contact, citing that computer networks isolated us more. He even goes on to say that a, "network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee." Which is interesting because, while he makes a valid point about the lack of in-person contact via the internet, he failed to predict that those same friends that met over coffee in 1995, would still be meeting for coffee today AND accessing the internet via the coffee shop's wireless internet to chat with other friends online.
cashman73 writes: "EW.com's Mark Harris has an interesting article tackling sci-fi's big problem today of remakes and reimaginations, and wonders where all the original ideas and content are these days? In the past several years, the biggest sci-fi projects haven't been original ideas, but instead, remakes and continuations of old ideas: more Star Wars movies, and a long-anticipated Star Wars television show, Star Trek being produced ad nauseum (not heeding Bones McCoy's famous proclamation that, "It's dead, Jim", a new Battlestar Galactica series (although good, it's still a remake of an old 1970s show), and even making a movie based on childhood, 1980s toys (e.g. the Transformers). So where are all the new ideas these days? Why can't Hollywood keep "boldly going where no one has gone before", instead of giving us the same stuff in new packaging?"
cashman73 writes: "Well, sort of. An independently produced webisode of Star Trek: The Continuining Mission will be released on the website on December 25, 2007. Created by Andy Tyrer and Sebastian Prooth in July 2007, ST:TCM is a non-profit, monthly release, downloadable audio programme set in the fictional universe of Star Trek. The series follows the adventures of the Trieste class starship, USS Montana (NCC-1786), under the command of Starfleet veteran, Captain Paul Edwards (read about the rest of the crew here).
CNN.com also has a story on this new web series here."