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Comment Synergy (Score 5, Informative) 628

I use 2 computers with 3 monitors. One machine is my linux desktop driving a pair of monitors. The other computer is my windows laptop driving a 3rd monitor. The windows laptop lets me run all the corporate required windows only programs comfortably. I run synergy across them, so that I use a single keyboard/mouse/cut&paste buffer across both machines. It lets me have all the utility of linux desktop, while still running Outlook and other IT mandated software tools.

From a workflow point of view, the windows machine is often my "communications" gateway -- it runs my email and IM clients, as well as acting as the persistent reference window when working on tasks that spawn multiple virtual desktops. The linux machine is where I do all my real work.

I've been very pleased with how smoothly this works.

Games Accounts Becoming Mandatory For WoW 234

An anonymous reader tips news that Blizzard will be requiring all World of Warcraft players to use accounts to log into the game starting on November 11th. After that time, players who don't switch will be unable to play the game. Some time after the transition is complete, players will be able to "participate in cross-realm chat in World of Warcraft, create real-life friends lists, and communicate across different games." More details on the new and what it will do are available in our Blizzcon wrap-up and interviews from August. Naturally, the idea that the new is getting closer to deployment has sparked speculation that the StarCraft II beta might come along soon.

Comment Backend machines (Score 1) 79

So I look at this and think "some machine, some where has to be running the code". When you play flash games, all the work is being done on your local machine. When I play wow, its pegging a 2ghz processor to the extent it slows other things running in the background noticeably. When you start doing complex work in photoshop, your limitation is often the amount of memory in the machine running it. While this is awesome for streaming content from remote servers, I really question the ability to provide the server resources to run these applications in any sort of high volume situation. What would the system requirements be to be able to run 10,000+ users through a single machine?

Comment Cubicles (Score 1) 392

My preference for how to work is with a closed door with sufficient sound isolation that I can play music without disturbing others. My current employer's 5 ft cube walls, with no doors, near a well traffic'd hallway probably halves my productivity through a mix of frequent distractions and folks stopping in to chat.

It is important to have good intragroup communications. The challenge is doing it in such a fashion that it does not cause undue loss of productivity. The best group I've worked in used an internal IRC server extensively -- including have social channels as well as official channels. It allowed people to be chatty, without the chat causing active interruptions of work. Face to face meetings were still needed, but they were used sparingly.

Comment Incomplete calculations (Score 2, Insightful) 1137

This study is comparing apples and oranges.

The study assumes you are getting rid of your car to use public transit. There are so many things that are not public transit accessible that still require a car that they are not putting any replacement cost in for.

In Boston, a rental car for a weekend with insurance is ~$300. I use my car 3 weekends a month to travel outside of public transit range. Adding in the cost of getting a rental each weekend and suddenly 12.6k I'm saving is reduced by 7.8k (plus fuel costs and a lot of overhead dealing with rentals). The study is assuming depreciation of the car -- which likely means its assuming a purchase of new car. The cost conscious folks are either purchasing used cars or driving cars for far longer than a normal depreciation period.

And this doesn't even count the opportunity cost of travel time. I live in a near suburb (Arlington) and work in Cambridge. I can walk/bus to the T, and take the T to work. It takes about 1.25 hours each way. It takes me 20 minutes each way driving. I value the ~2 hours per day I save by driving pretty highly. Admittedly, if I have to drive during rush hours, my commute goes to 45-50 minutes each way and public transit becomes much more attractive.


Submission + - Which foreigner's buying your congressman?

broohaha writes: "The Justice Department has launched a searchable online database that tracks the activities of foreign governments and companies lobbying the U.S. government. Previously, people seeking this information had to phone the Justice Department or visit its office in person to get public disclosure documents, which representatives of foreign entities are required to provide under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. Passed in 1938, FARA requires all individuals acting as agents of foreign entities in a political or quasi-political capacity to disclose their relationship, activities, receipts and payments supporting the activities. Under a federal law enacted in 1995, Congress also requires lobbyists working for American companies, associations and other entities to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches. Those public documents are available online through a Senate Web site. The new Justice Department site also provides links to lobbying statutes, semiannual reports to Congress and access to registration forms for filing purposes."
Data Storage

Submission + - A new global memory card standard (

Lucas123 writes: "The Technology Research Institute has approved a new memory card standard called the Multiple Interface Card (miCard). The card will make transferring pictures, songs and other data between electronic gadgets and PCs easier. Twelve Taiwanese companies are preparing to manufacture the new miCard. 'The compatibility with both USB and MMC slots means most users won't need separate card readers anymore. MMC cards fit most consumer electronics, while USB connections are built into a wide range of IT hardware, including laptops, desktops, printers and home entertainment gear.'"

Submission + - Presidential Directive Gives Unprecidented Control (

An anonymous reader writes: From : — " Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency "

The link from the White house above brings you a Presidential Directive that would allow unprecedented control over the functions of the government — given to the office of the President, in case of an emergency of "mass" proportions.

This policy: "prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency."

And seems to effectively allow the President to usurp the system of checks and balances without oversight.

Does this give the Office of the President too much power?


Submission + - How Hollywood Got A Canadian Movie Piracy Law

An anonymous reader writes: The Canadian government will introduce anti-camcording legislation today, accompanied by a high profile press conference featuring government ministers and lobbyists. Canadian law prof Michael Geist has released a short video demonstrating how Canada caved to Hollywood lobbying in only six months.
United States

Submission + - US no longer first in technology

illeism writes: C|Net and USA Today are reporting that the US has fallen behind as a technology leader.
From the C|Net article

Denmark is now the world's most tech-savvy country, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. It's the first time the Scandinavian country has topped the list. Denmark — the land that brought you Legos — knocked out the United States, which fell from first last year to seventh this year, behind Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Iceland, the United Kingdom and Norway round out the top 10.

Submission + - Portugal Celebrates Massive Solar Plant

SolarPower writes: A project slated to become the world's largest-producing solar power plant was inaugurated Wednesday in Portugal, though construction actually began last summer. The 11-megawatt 61 million euro ($78.5 million) plant, a joint project of U.S. and Portuguese energy companies, spreads across a 150-acre hillside in Serpa, 124 miles southeast of Lisbon.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.