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T-Mobile Ends Contracts and Subsidies

Plekto Re:Pay Later: $199 down + $15/month (404 comments)

True. But those are games. The reviews and analysis by the ENTIRE media assumes that it's all about the iPhone. And how it's no "savings" at all versus the other providers. Also how T-Mobile has slower speeds and isn't as bleeding-edge.

And then there's the rest of us who see unlocked/jailbroken/etc phones of all shapes and sizes for cheap. With reasonable enough speed. And unlimited calls. Think about that. When was the last time any major carrier offered $50 unlimited calls? Let alone tossing a completely reasonable amount of data in on top of it?

I think it will force the competition to adjust their prices. And quickly.

about a year and a half ago
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T-Mobile Ends Contracts and Subsidies

Plekto Re:Pay Later: $199 down + $15/month (404 comments)

This of course assumes that you are yet another sheep who thinks that the only phone in the universe is an Apple product.

The real savings comes if you are smart and get an Android type device for $100 from a place that just sells phones (unlocked, no less). Then you have no contract and no payments, either. For the price of the old down-payment, you simply own the phone outright and get the $50 a month service. Win-win.

That the IPhone costs $650 is Apple's decision. In reality, it costs $200 to build. If you don't mind it not saying Apple on the front, you can get a phone made in the same area in China (where all the phones are made, sort of their version of Silicon Valley) for $150. The apps are now virtually identical on both markets anyways.

If you go to Europe, it's already like this. You buy an unlocked quad band phone and use it with whatever carrier you want. If you go to another country, you simply pop in a sim card and use it on that network. No idiocy, no hair-pulling. You don't buy an AT&T anything. You buy a Nokia or a Sony or a LG and use it with your carrier, the same as you buy a laptop and plug it into your internet when you get home.

Note - if you buy an iPhone anyways from T-Mobile, it's going to be unlocked/not tied to their service. That's a small plus as well, since it's not an option with AT&T.

about a year and a half ago
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Missouri Legislation Redefines Science, Pushes Intelligent Design

Plekto Re:Christians, physicians and hospitals (813 comments)

Nothing conflicts at all. In fact if you believe that the universe was created *by* a God, then everything we observe must be part of how it was created. That is, religion IS science. Wrap your brain around that.

So why is there such a mess?

The religious institutions are against it as it lessens their power over the masses, which means less financial and political power as well. The fear is that science introduces a far more dangerous condition, which is critical thinking. The last thing they want to deal with is informed people who question their religion and practices. Most of which have nothing to do with the core beliefs but are designed to keep these same establishments in power.

about 2 years ago
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Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

Plekto Re:GW solution (264 comments)

The issue with a permanent ring is the materials and scale versus pieces of debris like in a traditional ring. To be effective, it needs to be just above low orbit. This means either a large amount of fuel to keep it from crashing into the surface, or accepting that 5-10% will precipitate out per year into the atmosphere to burn up. It maintain it, it's easier to launch more materials into the ring than it is to try to fuel an artificial construct. There are of course many technical issues to overcome, but in theory, at least, we could do this within our lifetimes.

about 2 years ago
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Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

Plekto Re:GW solution (264 comments)

It would require a ring of about ten orbital canons spaced around the Earth's equator, firing every hour for roughly 20 years. (assuming a 100KG shell with aluminum or similar reflective pieces in it).

Hopelessly impractical? Sure. But possible to actually do with our current technology. Maintaining it would require a much smaller fraction of the material.

Note - the U.N. has already passed a resolution on this, believe it or not. As it stands, it is illegal to create an artificial ring around the planet.

about 2 years ago
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Updated Model Puts Earth On the Edge of the Habitable Zone

Plekto Re:GW solution (264 comments)

I once calculated this out, in fact. We need to move the Earth a bit over 2 feet per year to outdistance projected solar warming as our sun ages. This is within theoretical limits of our technology to accomplish in the next few hundred years.

The other option is to make an artificial ring to block out about 1% of The Sun's energy.

about 2 years ago
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AT&T: Don't Want a Data Plan for That Smartphone? Too Bad.

Plekto Why Not Just Go Prepaid? (798 comments)

AT&T and several other carriers have prepaid (Android) smartphones. I have one and simply didn't buy a data plan. So it doesn't work at all unless I am in a hotspot or similar free area and then I can turn the data on manually.

What many people don't realize is that it's not the carrier at fault here but Apple. Apple mandates in their contracts with the providers that every iPhone has to have a data plan included. So if you go to a different type/brand of smartphone, you're able to order services individually.

AT&T's prepaid service is actually quite decent. I bought an Android phone for $99 and that was that. I can go to the app store, buy programs, use the GPS, the FM radio (it's not web-based radio), and have all of the functions of a smartphone other than data. For not a dime per month. Essentially I have a $99 iPod Touch since the apps are identical in almost every case.

Verizon doesn't have prepaid smartphones. None of the 10 cent a minute options are real smartphones. If you get a tablet or smartphone, they require a data plan.

T-Mobile does let you do this. But their phones are much more money, typically.

NOTE - you usually must buy a phone that is prepaid. Many can be upgraded to full service but almost none of the contracted/full service phones can be downgraded to prepaid. This isn't a technological problem but a contractual one with the phone makers and the providers. Yes, the prepaid can be downgraded and upgraded each month as you need them to be, if that's what you desire.

about 2 years ago
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NASA Says Asteroid Will Buzz Earth Closer Than Many Satellites

Plekto Re:No chance of striking Earth (225 comments)

The interesting thing is that even if it was going to hit the Earth, they would still be telling us the exact same thing most likely due to how our Governments view the need to "protect" us for our own good.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards?

Plekto What about a LED Sign? (242 comments)

Perhaps I'm getting old, but way before we had plasma TVs and LED/LCD TVs, we had these LED signs that displayed information in just about every business and storefront window.

Now they have full color versions of these, even. And for the simpler ones, the energy usage is measured in watts. As in no more than a standard light bulb or two. The question is, exactly how much writing needs to "change" every 15 minutes or so? If it's just a few lines, a few of those red LED signs/scrolling displays stacked together would work perfectly.

about 2 years ago
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How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

Plekto Re:"security" (314 comments)

One way that they did this at one company that I worked for had every machine was in a metal cage/box. It covered the floppy and CD drives, but the cover over them could be opened with a key.

IT had physical access, but users had none. Just the machine and the files on the server. Zero security issues in the time I was there. Keeping the employees off of the internet was all that was really required. (plus everyone now has phones so let them do their own wi-fi)

about 2 years ago
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How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

Plekto Re:"security" (314 comments)

Heh.

But the old idea of keeping work and pleasure separate is still the right one. If you keep both computer systems from each other, you keep most of the problems from happening.

The only potential issue might be email, but that's usually simple enough to deal with as an IT administrator.

about 2 years ago
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How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment?

Plekto Re:"security" (314 comments)

True, but I think the OP was talking about something that was connected to the outside world/internet.

The truth, though, is that nothing connected to the outside world will ever be secure. At best you minimize your damage. But you can absolutely ensure that users don't do as many stupid things. For instance, you can disable the USB ports and remove the CD and floppy drive from your machines. Then just and run them as terminals. No issues with flash drives or CDs. Then you can of course nuke all internet browsing.

The solution that my last employer provided was an open wi-fi connection for everyone to share that was for phones and such only and 100% not connected in any way (separate ISP and hard line even) to the main server. They could do all of their idiocy on that connection and sure, it was slow and sucked, but there was no way into the servers. Only the IT department's machine had outside access. Not perfect, but far better than letting every employee use the same system.

about 2 years ago
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Slashdot Asks: SATA DVD Drives That Don't Suck for CD Ripping?

Plekto How I fixed my machine (330 comments)

I had the same problem. Windows doesn't play along nicely with multiple SATA drives sometimes. Especially if you have RAID in the mix or different types of hardware (IDE and SATA and so on). It kept having cache and access and speed issues. Eventually it started dropping the DVD drive or reporting that it was merely a CD drive. I was pulling my hair out.

Then I got an external Firewire case. Problems dropped to ZERO. I tried USB but it was too slow and it conflicted like crazy. But evidently firewire uses its own bus and controller that's separate from the rest of the idiocy (being based upon SCSI technology). I can plug it in and out and it always works. My burner is a bog-standard $30 ASUS burner. My software is happy as a clam with it. I've burned Apple, Windows, and Linux CDs as well as made bit-for-bit copies of the latter (which isn't even a recognized format by Windows). Coasters are a result of bad media if it happens.

about 2 years ago
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GOP Study Committee Director Disowns Brief Attacking Current IP Law

Plekto Re:of course (176 comments)

It's even worse that you think.

We think of it as the companies being donors. With people in Congress calling and asking for money. But the reality is that the companies come TO the politician first and say "we'll give this money to either you or your opponent - you decide." It's not the officials asking for donations for their election/re-election efforts. It's an outright threat by the corporations to keep their "workers" in Congress in line. We're going to give you this money and you'll accept it - or we'll find someone who will.

93% of the time, the candidate with more money wins. That isn't a threat, it's a promise that you'll be unemployed if you piss off your masters.

about 2 years ago
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The Downside of Warp Drives: Annihilating Whole Star Systems When You Arrive

Plekto Re:Duh (235 comments)

Since most of extra-solar space is empty (outside the area where there is a large concentration of solar winds), if you went short distances, you could probably only cause a localized shock-wave. So it might take, say, 10 or 20 jumps to get to the nearest star safely. You'd have to exit and enter the systems on each end somewhere outside its ort cloud, most likely. Considering the potential time savings, though, it's a no-brainer to try to build one of these. Half a year to get to the jump destination plus a few hours per jump. Sure beats slow-boating it for decades.

about 2 years ago
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Artificial Muscles Pack a Mean Punch

Plekto Re:Starship Troopers here we come. (139 comments)

They did at least get the idea of an oppressive media-driven corporatocracy right. But we're talking about 3 minutes, total, of the entire pile of offal. Given the movie's length, that gives is about a 2% success rate.

If the remake is even close to 25% accurate, it'll be seen as an icon of the genre. It's one of the few times that you actually want a remake of a movie. Plastic and foam kind of don't make for a believable experience. Nor does a casting job from hell. Or effects that Lucas did better 20 years earlier.

As for the muscles, it's an impressive step towards real artificial limbs. With that sort of efficiency and speed, that means a human-strength model would be extremely light and use an extremely compact power source. Sure, you'd have to recharge your arm or leg once every day or two, but that's nothing. In fact, with recent advancements in wearable power generation technology, it might be self-recharging as long as you're outside.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

Plekto Re:And if you buy 1lb of flour (562 comments)

The problem was entirely with the local phone company in my case. I had a new line straight to the box, new lines put under the hours, and all new equipment put in. And still, static. (DSL line worked, but if I can head massive static on the phone, it's certainly affecting the DSL as well) So if the OP is suffering from 20% more usage than his router is reporting, he very well might be dealing with bad lines or equipment as well.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

Plekto Re:And if you buy 1lb of flour (562 comments)

The OP was in a fairly rural state, though, so he's probably lucky to get 256K if he's outside of town. Add in old equipment along the chain and maybe a crappy install on top of that, and I can see 20% overhead and/or losses.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

Plekto Re:And if you buy 1lb of flour (562 comments)

Correct. But they are almost certainly calculating it correctly. There's the data, the headers, any background traffic. Gaming does this a lot, btw. Tons of tiny little wasteful packets and the system constantly asking for updates/pinging/etc. Downloading a torrent is even more crazy - you can send an astonishing amount of traffic back and forth by the time you get even a single small file. Add in some dropped packets when the telephone is being used and there you go.

When I had DSL, if I started talking on the land line, my speed would drop into the dirt. I could hear static on the phone as well. DSL works over amazing distances, but he might be struggling to get even 256K. Note - old wiring in the house also does this. Most proper installs run a new line from the pole directly to the computer. A lot, though, especially if you are in an apartment, do not. Given how crappy DSL generally is, I can see a 20% overhead quite easily.

But, it's certainly not ethical, either, to be counting this towards a cap, especially if there is no non-capped option available. (well, there always is - via their business service, but that's a whole other wad of butt-hurt).

Note - the OP really needs to get cable or something without the insanity. DSL is always the choice of last-resort.

about 2 years ago
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

Plekto Re:Screw that... (396 comments)

It's almost certainly a bit of debris from the shield and/or lander. If you look at the high definition video, you see the thing slam into the surface right before Curiosity lands and it looks like it hit hard, with a huge plume of dust and debris. Fragments could have reached a few miles from the looks of it.

Or it could be a screw. (arm falls off as it reaches for the item. Camera is now looking at an arm and a screw.)

Trust me on this. There's nothing on Mars. After millions of years being irradiated, it's as lifeless as the Moon except *maybe* at the poles where some bacteria or viruses survived. note - the Moon is similar in that it's covered in a blanket of dust, but below the dust is pretty much normal rock.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Governor Brown Vetoes His Own Party's Budget

Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Plekto (1018050) writes "In a move that's sure to cause massive in-fighting within his own party, California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed his own party's budget proposal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7dHqjhJz8k
Jerry Brown's Statement on the California Budget Veto

While this isn't news, I found the video that is referenced in most of the articles online. It's very hard to find."

Link to Original Source
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Shout! Factory Acquires MST3K Original Series

Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Plekto (1018050) writes "http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=317

LOS ANGELES, CA — Adding to its expansive library of comedic TV offerings, Shout! Factory secured the worldwide home entertainment and digital download rights to the long running American cult television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K.) This announcement was made by Shout! Factory President Garson Foos.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Shout! Factory will be the exclusive worldwide home entertainment and digital media distributor for Mystery Science Theater 3000 branded properties which include a vast library of original episodes that have never-been-available on DVD or for digital download."

Link to Original Source
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Ice-free Arctic could be here in 23 years

Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Plekto (1018050) writes "Ice-free Arctic could be here in 23 years

* David Adam, environment correspondent
* The Guardian
* Wednesday September 5 2007

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were "stunned" by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia's Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030...

****
Full article at URL below."

Link to Original Source
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Arctic Ice Melting At Unprecedented Rate

Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Plekto writes "Scientists have announced the Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at record lows. The Guardian newspaper reports experts are stunned by the loss of ice. An area almost twice as big as England disappeared in the last week alone. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030. So much ice has melted this summer that the Northwest passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the Northeast passage along Russia's Arctic coast could open later this month.
****

I found this on DemocracyNow this morning.

The original article:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/sep/04/ climatechange"

Link to Original Source
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Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Plekto writes "http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/53230/

Original article:
"While most observers are focused on the U.S. Congress as it continues to issue new rubber stamps to legitimize Bush's permanent designs on Iraq, nationalists in the Iraqi parliament — now representing a majority of the body — continue to make progress toward bringing an end to their country's occupation."

Quick summary:
The Iraqi Congress voted on a binding resolution that forces them to take a general vote on the continuation of our presence there. Our contract is up for renewal in a few months and it's extremely unlikely that it will be renewed at that time."
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Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Plekto writes "http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/3951/asus_introd uces_new

I ran across this last night, but it evidently is slow to get out into the news.

Go to the ASUS site and select "global" as your area — there's an area on the left bottom side of the screen that you can click to bring up a nice bit of animation(the site's all JAVA, so I can't provide a direct link).

Prices will be $199-$299 — and it's not marketed as a OLPC, but a small basic laptop aimed at the younger crowds/college students/etc — who need more than a PDA but don't want it to be huge, either. It reminds me a lot of the Toshiba Libretto. Just under a pound."
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Plekto Plekto writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Plekto (1018050) writes "Basically, this guy was talking about firearms with his friend at work. He decided to buy a gun. Nothing wrong with that — so was talking it over with his friend and decided to get a .22 for target shooting(paper targets and such at a range). This is a typical choice for someone who wants to learn how to shoot as their first firearm. His co-worker overheard and complained. Management fired him in a what's becoming all to typical knee-jerk reaction.

It's pretty appalling how low our society has sunk if you aren't even allowed to talk about your 2nd Amendment rights in public anymore.

http://threepanelsoul.com/view.php?date=2007-04-20

http://threepanelsoul.com/view.php?date=2007-04-24

He runs a webcomic and made a couple of strips about what happened. Welcome to the new America."

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