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Comment Old fashioned but works... PHONE (Score 1) 327

I see no mention of whether the person has or does not have a landline or VOIP phone, but here is a possible solution: It is a phone that can be programmed to have hotbuttons. Some of the buttons can even have pictures inserted behind the button so an ailing parent or small child can simply push a button and the phone then dials the corresponding number. That number can be 911, a parent, etc... It also has a panic button dongle that can be worn and used in case of emergency. Good luck. That is a tough situation.

Comment Active vs Passive "Distractions" (Score 1) 208

I think the whole driving while "distracted" issue boils down to the type of distraction. My two cents... ACTIVE A phone call is an active engagement. You talk. The other person then talks. You are expecting feedback, so part of your brain is tuning in to receive that potential incoming response, therefore causing some people to not focus on other activities (such as driving). Another example would be texting. You get a text. You actively look at it, then respond back. PASSIVE A horrible song comes on the radio. You slightly lean forward and turn a physical knob or physical button to change the channel. You are not expecting further input form the radio. You just want it off of what is on there now. Another example would be turning the heater on/off. You just lean over, grab a dial, and turn it down. You are not expecting feedback from the heater other than for it to get hotter/colder. No unexpected feedback. Another example would be eating a hamburger. You have the hamburger in one hand and driving with the other. No need to look down at the hamburger or listen to the hamburger, it just is passively being eaten. Talking to another person IN THE SAME CAR could also be seen as passive. You are not trying to dial someone. You are not trying to hit a button to respond. You are just opening your mouth and talking. Those same systems that allow you to talk are not tied up with hand-eye coordination of driving. To counter that, if you have two kids in the back seat and they are fighting causing you to look up into the mirror while you talk, then that would switch to active and not passive.

Comment Do Not Want Desktop Reader (Score 2) 287

My problem is that I liked being able to dump all of my feeds into Google Reader as sort of a central storage, then use various iOS apps to read them later on. I do not have time to read them during the day, so a desktop application or web reader is useless to me. I just want a central convenient storage area for my feeds and a good mobile app to read them later that night. I will have to hold off moving my Google Reader feeds until I see where Reeder may be going with their app development.

Submission + - Ten pi-fect projects for your new Raspberry Pi (

iComp writes: "There was an article a while back, in Scientific American I think, that posed the question: given a super-powerful computer, with infinite computing power shoe-horned into a coke can, what would you do with it?*

The arrival of the Raspberry Pi (RPi) prompted a similar sort of question: given an (almost) disposable PC with late-1990s power, what would you do with it? Other than, of course, to use it as a cheap media centre.

Yes, yes, we all know it supposed purpose is to teach kids to code, but I mean, come on, where's the fun in that? If the target audience are anything like my two iPod junkies, then just learning to writing code is only going to interest the tiniest minority. Thankfully, it turns out that there's quite a lot you can do with your RPi. Which is important, because your average Linux head isn't going to persuade ten year olds to start pootling around with Scratch. But if a £29 PC is merely the gateway to doing other more exciting STUFF, then they may have to learn some coding to get it all to work."


Submission + - Modder proves SimCity can run offline indefinitely (

An anonymous reader writes: Ever since SimCity launched, there has been a suspicion that the need for the game to always be connected to a server was mainly a form of DRM, not for social game features and multiplayer. Then a Maxis developer came forward to confirm the game doesn’t actually need a server to function, suggesting the information coming out of EA wasn’t the whole truth. Now EA and Maxis have some explaining to do as a modder has managed to get the game running offline indefinitely.

Submission + - Microsoft cuts the price of Windows 8 and Office in response to slow sales. ( 1

whoever57 writes: A report in ExtremeTech (quoting an article in the Wall Street Journal) details price cuts that Microsft has made for sales of Windows 8 and Office to OEMs in response to slow adoption. According to the report, the price of a dual pack of Windows 8 and Office for touchscreen devices under 10.8 inches has been cut to only $30 from the prior price of $120. The Wall Street Journal attributes the claim to anaonymous sources, hwever, other sites, including Digitimes report information that tends to confirm the original claim.

Submission + - Cryptographers Break Commonly Used RC4 Cipher For Web Encryption (

Sparrowvsrevolution writes: At the Fast Software Encryption conference in Singapore earlier this week, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dan Bernstein presented a method for breaking TLS and SSL web encryption when it's combined with the popular stream cipher RC4 invented by Ron Rivest in 1987. Bernstein demonstrated that when the same message is encrypted enough times--about a billion--comparing the ciphertext can allow the message to be deciphered. While that sounds impractical, Bernstein argued it can be achieved with a compromised website, a malicious ad or a hijacked router.

It's long been suspected that RC4 had weakness based on biases in how it generates random numbers. But sites have nonetheless been moving back to the scheme in response to news of vulnerabilities in AES and Triple DES exploited by recent cryptographic attacks like BEAST and Lucky 13, both of which showed flaws in SSL and TLS in combination with block ciphers. With the news of RC4's insecurity it now seems that it's likely safer to stick with those more modern ciphers and depend on browser vendors to patch the flaws used by those other attacks.


Submission + - Google removing ad-blockers from Play (

SirJorgelOfBorgel writes: It appears Google has begun removing ad-blocker apps for Android from the Play store, citing breached of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement. The apps would be welcome back as soon as they no longer violated the agreement, though that doesn't seem possible while keeping the apps' core functionality intact.

Comment Business or Pleasure? (Score 1) 658

I guess my answer would have to be whether I was traveling "for business or pleasure". In other words, do I time travel to go and see things I personally want to see? Or to alter/observer time in order to make a profit? If I wanted to make a profit 100 years back or forward would be the best bet. Anything more than that and chaos/fate would have its way with it all. The neat thing is that this question reminded me of a book I read years ago called "Pilgrim" by Saberhagen. A rogue time traveler decides to go back in time to gather ancient relics and works of art to make a fortune for himself. It all goes fairly well until he starts trying to sell his goods in the late 20th century when carbon dating blows his scam out of the water. "What?!? What do you mean this 2,000 yr old vase is only 5 yrs old?" So he then tries to grab goods and store them in "safe houses" where they can sit undisturbed for years (naturally aging to avoid carbon dating issues), and then swoop in years later to gather them once they have been "time cooked". That then causes things to get even more crazy as you start having early Asian dynasty vases appearing in found Aztec tombs and the like. Wacky little story. Not groundbreaking or epic, but fairly fun. Think of it as a "Dr. Who crossed with a Ferengi" type of story.

Comment Personal Experiment (Score 1) 448

This post hits close to home... A year or so ago (pre-Unity), I decided to try an experiment around the office. We had some desktop users who were claiming to need a notebook for things (travel, presentations, etc...). We have tons of old notebooks that we cannot donate or trash yet due to the specifics of the funding they were purchased with. I took a couple of the old notebooks and prepped them with Ubuntu then themed it to resemble Windows (was not going for a 100% duplication). "My Computer", "My Documents", etc... Put appropriate shortcuts on the desktop and handed it over to a couple of users to try out. Now keep in mind the office had not yet switched to Windows 7. With the exception of the IT group the rest of the office was XP. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I had scheduled a "check up" to see how things were going. I was getting worried because I had not heard anything out of most of them. My guess was they freaked out and just did not use the notebooks. Instead I found out that they really like their "new, fast computers". They especially liked the non-Ribbon interface of Open Office over what they had seen from Office 2010. Now a few things to point out... These were typical “worker drone” users here. No special software like AutoCad, Photoshop, etc is needed in their daily work. Give them a web browser and “Office” and they have what they need. I did have a problem getting the notebooks to print to a networked Ricoh copier/scanner/kitchensink device, but the Ricoh was brand new at the time so that might not be an issue if it was a little older. All in all the experiment worked out much better than I expected. All except one of the users wanted to keep their notebooks around, so since they were working ok we let them until it came time for us to change out the dept’s computers to Win 7. When we changed over, they received notebooks with docking stations instead of desktops so there was no need for the linux notebooks. This might be an anomaly instead of the rule, but considering the target users, it all worked out better than I expected. I have not tried a similar experiment since Unity came around. I think that would cause a much more "alien" feel to it than the older version of Ubuntu did. Not that users can't get used to it, but if one of the goals is to minimize distraction and alienation, then I don't think Unity will help matters much.

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