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Comment His other project -- (Score 2) 136

Not only does he use polling data to do a good job of predicting the races and the control of the US Senate/House (his track record here and a comparison of his model to Nate Silver), but he has, IMHO, excellent explanations of how the campaign managers are thinking and the likely impact of political news.

It is surprising to me that being located in Europe that he 1) cares and 2) is so wired into the US political scene. I hope he continues.

Comment MS does not want to improve compatibility with ODF (Score 2) 89

People want to stay with MS Office because the compatibility of other software with the complex OOXML format is not all that good. That locks people into MS Office. The ODF format is less complex and easier to implement, so presumably Microsoft can control how well Office reads and writes ODF files.

If ODF was the standard, then the question would be reversed from "how compatible is the alternative software with OOXML" to "how compatible is MS Office with ODF".

Microsoft understandably does not want to have to answer the second question.

Comment Umm Thats Microsoft (through Skype) (Score 1) 4

The site sayes "Microsoft (through Skype)". Will Microsoft continue to support it? Or is the history that a much smaller independent Skype thought standards were a good idea and as a division of Microsoft they are having second thoughts.

Hopefully it will be widely adopted. Too bad Apple is not on the list.

Comment Standing at a Laptop stand. (Score 1) 347

I got one of these adjustable laptop stands. and have been fairly happy with it, although I do not use it alot. It is easy to adjust up and down, but I just move or move it out of the way. In the winter putting my wrist on the metal did become uncomfortable as it conducted heat away, so I tucked some cloth under the laptop and over the bottom edge where my wrist touched. This is really a laptop only solution. The price seems to have gone up 50% since I got mine.

I never have tried it in bed but this might be the solution for jcborro.

Comment National Broadband Map (Score 1) 107

The feds (US) created the map you want as part of the Federal Stimulus program (NTIA BTOP

I am sure they did not get it all, because the carriers did not like to give up this information. They feel that knowledge of dark fiber would be helpful to their competitors but the feds made it a condition for the grants.

They put some of that information on line, although not in the way you want, as the National Broadband Map. I believe they are interested in public input to this map (where do the hills block the wireless signals, how far out does the DSL stop working)

I think you will find that almost all fiber in public right of way is paid. At least around here, you cannot plow in some fiber along side a state road with paying the DOT and you cannot put fiber into city conduit without paying the city. Now everyone can have their own opinion about what is a fair price for access, but I am sure that the carriers feel that they are paying their fair share for use of public right of way. Still the price to get the permissions lot by lot would have been much much more than what they are paying the local governments (and power companies?).

Classic Games (Games)

Interplay Ex-CEO Brian Fargo Kickstarts Wasteland II 122

New submitter 0111 1110 writes "Attempting to emulate Double Fine's success to fund another currently dead genre of computer game, Brian Fargo of Interplay fame has started a kickstarter project for a sequel to Wasteland, his1988 post-apocalyptic RPG which inspired Fallout. It will be turn-based and party-based, with a top-down perspective and 2D graphics. Fargo has managed to attract many of the original developers, such as Alan Pavlish and Mike Stackpole, as well as Jason Anderson, who was a designer for Fallout, and Mark Morgan, who did the music for Planescape: Torment and both of the original Fallout games. Fargo's goal has been set at $900,000. Anything above that will be used for additional game content. At $1.5 million he will offer an OS X version. An interview with Fargo by Rock, Paper, Shotgun provides some additional insight into what he and his group are planning, as does a video interview with Matt Barton."

Comment Re:Barcodes (Score 1) 170

I think Barcodes are a good idea, and as the grandparent of this comment mentions they could be on a fixed part of the car say the front right corner of the car. Magnetic signs would be reusable, although a white sheet of paper with blue tape holding it on would make it easy to find the barcode in an image. Then when the car trips a light beam at the start/finish line you can take one frame and the barcode will be approximately in the same location. I would argue in favor of 2d codes vs QR codes. If you use 2D barcodes so that the lines are horizontal, then the system could tolerate a fair amount of blur. Since you only need an identifying number for the car the ability of QR codes to code a good deal of data is not needed.

Comment You might check Ultrasurf (Score 1) 103

Ultrasurf was developed to evade the Great Firewall of China. I would not be surprised if Turkey is getting consultation from China. There is a wired article at

A good starting point for UltraSurf and some of the other options is a consortium of several organizations including the folks behind gTunnel which is at:

Their web site has not been updated very recently, but I don't know how the individual organizations are doing.

Comment WiscNet was second target (Score 5, Informative) 259

The real target here was the federal stimulus money (NTIA, BTOP) that was being used to create coops in Wisconsin. The Building Community Capacity through Broadband project which would have connected together anchor institutions (city and county governments, libraries, schools, hospitals) and allow them to buy bandwidth wholesale rather than retail. That did not sit too well with some telecom folks and in the press they are saying that the University should not compete with the private sector. Well the University has to get bandwith in most of the state anyway to feed the various Univ of Wisc campuses. So including some school systems in the process makes sense if you believe in efficiency and cost savings. Gov Walker is "open for business" so he does not believe in government efficiency.

WiscNet was, as I understand it a secondary concern, although the telecoms have wanted it to die for a decades. It is the same pattern of schools banding together and riding together on common infrastructure. ATT would like that to go away with WiscNet in favor of Badgernet which they run or even better, from their point of view, to sell everyone T-1 lines retail.

This is the second effort for this. The first successful effort (from ATT's perspective) was to give back $37 million of the same stimulus money (NTIA, BTOP) for a different state run project. The spin there was that the Feds did not want to give the money to a private company. But insiders tell me that it was not the feds but ATT. ( wisconsins-stimulus-rejection-too-many-strings-or-too-much-scrutiny)

Comment Re:As seen on reddit & facebook. (Score 1) 1148

I don't know. An AP story suggests that Dai-ichi Unit 1 has leaked radiation and possibly there has been another radiation leak at the Onagawa units. I agree that they survived a good deal and the leaks are not reported to be large, but it seems they already have failed to completely contain the radiation, and unfortunately its not over yet.

Mozilla Rolls Out Firefox 3.6 RC, Nears Final 145

CWmike writes "Mozilla has shipped a release candidate build of Firefox 3.6 that, barring problems, will become the final, finished version of the upgrade. Firefox 3.6 RC1, which followed a run of betas that started in early November, features nearly 100 bug fixes from the fifth beta that Mozilla issued Dec. 17. The fixes resolved numerous crash bugs, including one that brought down the browser when it was steered to Yahoo's front page. Another fix removed a small amount of code owned by Microsoft from Firefox. The code was pointed out by a Mozilla contributor, and after digging, another developer found the original Microsoft license agreement. 'Amusingly enough, it's actually really permissive. Really the only part that's problematic is the agreement to "include the copyright notice ... on your product label and as a part of the sign-on message for your software product,"' wrote Kyle Huey on Mozilla's Bugzilla. Even so, others working on the bug said the code needed to be replaced with Mozilla's own."

Comment Re:As Clifford Stoll Said (Score 1) 290

And how many kids that did not play Oregon Trail know that people ever got in wagons and had a hard time getting to the West. (Where is the West anyway? Why didn't they just fly or take the bus?) I do not suggest that Oregon Trail was great for teaching history. It was not. But it did teach some history.

Civilization is a better example. I have run programs that used Civilization with close to realistic maps and poor middle school kids. Did they become historians - No. But did they have a better idea of the map of the world and how technology changed with different era's in world history. Well Yea. Did they find it hard to learn. Surprisingly yes.

I guess it depends on where you are, what looks like progress?


Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

The State of Ruby VMs — Ruby Renaissance 89

igrigorik writes "In the short span of just a couple of years, the Ruby VM space has evolved to more than just a handful of choices: MRI, JRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius, MagLev, REE and BlueRuby. Four of these VMs will hit 1.0 status in the upcoming year and will open up entirely new possibilities for the language — Mac apps via MacRuby, Ruby in the browser via Silverlight, object persistence via Smalltalk VM, and so forth. This article takes a detailed look at the past year, the progress of each project, and where the community is heading. It's an exciting time to be a Rubyist."

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