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Comment Re:Good timing on the review (Score 1) 122

Drupal, as would most any other PHP app like Joomla or Wordpress, works fine under lighttp and nginx. The effort goes intro translating whatever apache-centric config for the tool into lighttp or nginx config, and this effort would be required regardless of whether you use Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress, etc.

Indeed, I run a Drupal portal under nginx + fastcgi-php + sqlite to get fast page loads.

Comment Re:Drupal is impossible unless you're a consultant (Score 4, Informative) 130

There is a excellent calendar module right here, which leverages heavily off of functionality provided by other modules (as is Drupal convention). From a standpoint of functionality, available features, and extendability, it's better than anything I found with Joomla.

Here's a screencast tutorial:

I've used this module extensively, out-of-the-box most of the time, and yes, I do so as a paid consultant from time to time.

Besides that, since Drupal tries to provide a framework for anyone and everyone to contribute pieces via 3rd-party modules, it will be as chaotic, diverse, and even inscrutable as one would expect a bazaar to be. Still, it enables that bazaar to exist in the first place.

Comment Heavy Industry sans taxing? (Score 1) 151

I'm amazed that data centers have yet to acknowledged (as regulated) as heavy industry, what with their power consumption, size, and even pollution via hot air expelled from massive cooling plants. It was rarely surprising when GM, Ford and Chrysler would relocate their plants to capitalize on laxer environmental regulation, cheaper labor, or lower taxes. Somehow it's surprising when Microsoft feels similar motivations to move its massive plants?

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 891

If simply rolling along a public paved surface (whether powered or not) becomes a taxable event, then why limit it just to cars?

Despite the heroic efforts of the selfless folks in your local transportation lobby, roads, bridges, and other elements of the asphalt jungle are still really darned expensive. Each penny you can squeeze out to offset the destructive effects of every tire rotation is one less 1/1000th of a pothole, the lobby would like you to know.

Perhaps the better response is "Something that might get more Americans to ride pedal-operated aircraft." Very little lateral traversal of pavement there.

Comment Re:Here's a *really* innovative idea for them: (Score 1) 71

Unfortunately, this wireless service is basically subsidized by revenue from wired customers. Comcast is not expecting to meet its expected profit margins by offering this service, so the company assuages its apprehensions by binding the service to its existing customer base (who no doubt are thrilled about the opportunity to pay Comcast even more money).

Sure, you could ask insightful questions like "Gee, are Comcast's expected profit margins maybe not sustainable?" or "Don't you see the potential size of a wireless-only customer base?" However, you're likely to get a more coherent answer to these questions from a brick wall than from Comcast.

Comment heavier-than-air propulsion w/o rockets possible (Score 2, Interesting) 296

A 20km-tall inflatable structure is indeed admirable, and a realistic step in the right direction towards building real super-structures like a space elevator, a floating Buckyball, etc.

An novel approach for non-rocket launch, which may be more possible with the current state of technology than a space elevator (in that it requires less quantity of unobtanium), is a launch loop. It uses reactive centrifugal force to hold itself aloft.

Comment Tiny squid serrver for wifi mesh (Score 1) 346

I'm playing with mesh node wifi routers, setting up a small mesh near where I live.

Something like this would be awesome as an itty-bitty squid server, to cache users' commonly browsed web content within the mesh itself. The open question would be whether the cache itself should reside entirely on a RAM disk to keep down access times, or whether the flash disk is fast enough. I'm guessing the former.

Comment Re:And then... (Score 1) 409

Yes, the last mile tends to be the most expensive segment of any conventional resident broadband scheme in this country, because of our infrastructure's unhealthy dependence on unsustainable, top-down approaches. Why does every wired home need a twisted pair and associated telephone pole forest when ad-hoc wireless schemes like mesh node wifi could suffice for perhaps 80-90% of people affected?

Federally subsidized DSL, should it ever come about, would indeed increase broadband access in direly underserved markets like the inner cities and rural communities. But it would be expensive (we'd just be using taxpayer $$$ to further build out the top-down systems described above), it would most certainly not be competitive or innovative, and the actual details of its implementation would still be left to the very same telco monopolies we gripe about now.

Wireless technologies like mesh node wifi, WiMax, possibly even White Space, whenever that appears, could readily serve urban and suburban markets. We already use churches, post offices, school, etc as neighborhood polling places, why not also as uplinks for the local wireless broadband presence? It also need not be gov't mediated. Imagine running these wireless presences as neighborhood co-ops, similar to the century-old tradition of agricultural co-ops, or even wireless kibbutzes.

And for rural communities, why not approaches like the Tribal Digital Village?
This is a local community wireless network serving a tribal community in the mountains of Southern California, using community wifi technology and high-speed backhauls to the uplink on the coast.

Comment So how abundant are the raw materials? (Score 1) 369

Lest we steer ourselves into a another precarious situation like the current one with fossil fuels, perhaps it would be good to look at the issues with acquiring necessary raw materials, should the current domestic battery market expand by an order of magnitude.

Assuming many of the batteries manufactured still require cobalt, then increasing the demand of that material by 10x would almost certainly place peculiar political demands on the country that provides most of the world's cobalt: the Congo. To paraphrase a commenter on the original article, will we end up "bringing democracy" to the Congo as we just did in Iraq?

What about cadmium? NiCd Batteries already represent the majority of the world's use of cadmium. It's a by-product of zinc manufacturing, and poisonous in high concentration. Following a trend already everpresent the local auto industry, more manufactured cadmium comes from our neighbors to the North and South than from us, even tho we have the largest market of the 3 countries. To what extent would existing environmental problems with cadmium manufacture be exacerbated by the damand increasing 10x?

Finally there is nickel. The company that provides 20% of the world's supply, Norilsk Nickel, also happens to reside in one of the world's most polluted areas. How would both the local environmental damage, AND the US's relationship with Russia, be altered by a 10x increase our demand for nickel?

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