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Comment This was my Holy Grail - about two years ago (Score 2, Interesting) 609

This thread has lots of good suggestions for storage. I have a distant business relationship with Drobo, and think they're an interesting choice. I have a Windows Home Server as well, and find it to be a step-up from my previous Buffalo Terastation NAS box from a reliability and performance standpoint. I happen to also have a full-size tower and appreciate the simplicity of throwing lots of hard drives at the problem.

However, as formats switched from DVD to Blu-Ray and equivalent HD content, the economics shifted IMO as well. Given the both my Sony TV's, as well as both Tivo's can stream on-demand HD directly (Sony does it without annoying buffering by the way), and considering that I only rarely watch a movie more than once or twice, it's actually become more economically feasible to simply rent HD on demand for $4.99 a shot. There are still going to be a few Blu-Ray discs worth buying to own the content, and more than half of those seem to ship with a free digital copy for import into Window Media Player or iTunes. Even if you own all your HD content on disc now, it's probably worth your while to look into a hybrid model where you rent what you have a passing interest in, and buy/store those few things that either aren't available on demand, or that you have a more long-term interest in retaining.

Oh, and for the porn, a 2TB drive in a large tower should be more than sufficient. Windows 7 and Bit-locker full drive encryption doesn't impede HD playback on a reasonably speedy system. Although it is debatable whether or not 1080p is actually a good thing in some cases. Anyone want to go into business with me creating a unique line of porn-star body make-up to deal with pimples, waxing irritation, and razor-burn?

Comment Concerns = big waste of time (Score 2, Insightful) 578

Of all the things in the world to worry about, a fingerprint reading timeclock is very close to the bottom of the list. Your fingerprints are not stored, nor are they uploaded to some evil master government database. You fingerprints are not DNA. They can't be used to predict if you'll get colon cancer by age 50. Quite frankly, they're not even private. You leave them all over the place every single day. I don't think this rises to the level of concern of someone taking a picture of you and putting it on an ID card. And we all know about how much evil has been done with misappropriated badge ID photos.

Comment A few suggestions (Score 1) 766

First off, I don't have any skin in the game and don't care which OS you select. There are a number of fine choices. Of course, the topic itself invites a lot of trash-talk, but I would say most of it without proper context. I'm not hearing a whole lot about why one solution is better given that it will be run by non-technical people, and yet supported by you.

In an effort to be constructive, here's what I suggest. Assuming you run Windows now, if you don't already have a copy, download (for trial at least - but I think a purchase would be money well spent) a copy of VMware Workstation. Then you can install and compare a number of different Linux distros from the comfort of your own PC. I will also be good to have a reference version of the OS you choose installed and available to you if you'll be supporting folks who run it. I'd stick with mainstream distros purely from a pragmatic standpoint and a belief that popular distros like Ubuntu and OpenSUSE will continue to get a lot of care and attention. The top 3 or 4 distros are usually on most vendors hardware or software compatibility lists.

If it's not about cost, then Windows 7 is still an option you should keep on the table. Look and feel only speak to 'where is the calculator icon' type of questions. Where I find most non-technical people struggling is lacking in concepts and therefore lacking in context. The basic ideas behind Windows remain unchanged.

Anecdotally, in the distant past I helped migrate a small office of about a hundred folks from Mac OS 6.x to Windows as part of a larger corporate initiative. The Monday morning following the migration, one of the users had created a folder called "System" at the root of C:\, and dragged as much of the Windows folder as possible over to the new System folder. Thankfully, those were the days when you could still boot to DOS and clean up fairly simply. Still, we had never anticipated someone doing that, because we were focused on simply teaching them how to use the new systems. And yes, it was evil to migrate 100 Mac users to Windows, but that is beside the point.

Comment Re:What about all of our email account (Score 1) 356

never use the email address provided by your ISP *and* Web portal email works much better

It's a little presumptuous to make up random rules of thumb and offer them out as advice. Try a little supporting evidence such as...

"Web portal email works better because..."

"Portal xyz's offering was clearly viable and sustainable since your email address was first established so you should have gone with them instead..."

Sounds like your suggestions are aimed at someone who just bought their first PC at Best Buy yesterday. Give a little credit to the community.

Comment Company Name or Branding? (Score 1) 356

Just curious.... Is the company name changing or is this just branding of services? Will their various sports networks change as well? At least initially the commercials aren't saying "Comcast is now Xfinity". They're saying "Xfinity by Comcast". It mat be splitting hairs, but i think it worth understanding. Will subscribers with addresses get new @xfinity addresses? So far there hasn't been much to this discussion beyond the expected bashing Comcast takes upon mention @ /.

Comment Useless Study (Score 1) 392

It's incomprehensible that the question is even contemplated 'does it exist?' - Of course it does. However, the 'where' is the easiest part of the equation. The more important questions of 'when to start looking for it' and 'what to do when you locate it' are never even mentioned in passing.

Comment Re:Why not have a pc / netbook that can do more fo (Score 1) 115

But would you agree that it's just not feasible with current technology to replace the textbook? I mean e-ink displays with color can't be that far off.

Yes and no. I think you make a valid point, and yet the hybrid technology proposed in the article is an important step in the right direction. What I'm resistant to is the argument against moving in the direction of digital textbooks altogether in the absence of a perfect product. Color e-ink certainly sounds like a nice future, but in the meantime I think we need to get products in people's hands that start to turn the battleship. There will be a lot of infrastructure and process required to convert the textbook market into a viable digital system. What are we waiting for?

Comment Re:Why not have a pc / netbook that can do more fo (Score 1) 115

I think we're losing sight of the bigger picture here. What we're talking about is the possibility to make a significant change in the delivery of classroom text, and unbelievably the arguments against the *potential* for doing so are sounding much like the argument in favor of postal mail versus email. What about the tons of paper saved every year? The reduced barrier to publishing material? The ability to update inaccurate information mid-semester? I'm just a little speechless that people are readily naysayers about the matter, and/or are having a technology discussion instead of a discussion of the use case.

How exactly does the cost evaporate when you factor in the cost of an e-reader? Doesn't it seem that should this idea come to fruition that market forces will make this a no-brainer? It seems to me that the cost of an e-reader is on par with about a single semester's worth of textbooks. Subtract the cost of printing and distribution from the price of each e-book and you'll have no problem finding a way to make more money for the publisher and yet cost less money overall for the student assuming an e-reader can survive an average of four semesters or so.

I think the main theme is that laptops, netbooks, or tablets alone aren't perfectly suited for e-books and the needs of the student. Ideally, we'll have a solution someday that combines everything the student needs into one device. This article shows signs that the industry is finally acknowledging the need for a specialty product.

Comment Re:Why not have a pc / netbook that can do more fo (Score 2, Informative) 115

Why even get that when I can take a book out of the library for a lot less?

Because students tend to not check textbooks out of libraries. They buy them for the semester at considerable expense, and then have to lug them around all day. Or did you miss the use-case that this article is about?

Comment The first thing that came to mind... (Score 5, Interesting) 333

...are the notorious 'employee discount codes' that vendors such as Dell and other have employed. A few years back I was looking to buy a new LCD and had a Dell in mind when I remembered my company had a discount code. So I dug it up, and used the instructions provided to logon to the 'discount' site (the mechanics of doing so may be different today.) To my surprise, I found that the 'discounted' price of the monitor was several hundred dollars more than just the plain ol' Dell site. WTF? How do you advertise a code and process as a discount, and then the merchandise therein is actually priced higher than your regular price from your main site? I'm glad I double checked before hitting the purchase button.

Comment Re:Tax (Score 2, Informative) 619

Currently, the entirety of the American people are helping to prop up this '8th largest economy'.

How exactly is that? The federal government wouldn't even extend a $7B loan to California recently, while Californian federal income taxes spent propping up AIG alone have far exceeded that sum. Cite one extra penny that's been diverted to California if you can.

Comment Re:Usefulness (Score 1) 627

Here's an honest question, why is a laser better than a high caliber bullet?

Speed of light. No need to lead the target. You can use a low powered aiming laser to paint the target. Whenever you shoot something painted, you hit it. 186K Mps > 1K Mph

By the way, we could make a boatload of money selling these things in Afghanistan. Economy problems solved.

Comment Ok, now I'll show you mine (Score 1) 628

Two computers. One is a relatively high-powered PC suitable for gaming, etc. The other is a work laptop. Two displays, both connected to the PC. Primary display (27") for use as main PC. Secondary display (22") is typically used fullscreen for either A) work laptop running RDP, B) Linux VM via VMware Workstation 7, C) HDTV via Slingbox HD, or D) an actual secondary display for my main PC.

The beauty is that I don't need a KVM switch, and I can treat everything more or less like one big cloud. Hey, that's it. I've got the world's first personal cloud. Hold on while I patent my process and method of watching hockey while pretending to do work.

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