Apple To Discontinue Xserve
The bizarre thing about the Mac Mini Server is that it's a $1000 hardware box, that if you want to upgrade the OS on it, a new version of OS X Server will cost you $500.
$500 to update a $1000 computer? That's more than a bit odd.
All of Gopherspace Available For Download
Yeah, I was going to make a similar comment, since I was a sysadmin at the University of Minnesota during the later Gopher years (what I call "the pathetic self-pity era".) Highlights included being required to run a Gopher server (since until late '97 all official department content was supposed to made available on Gopher as well as HTTP, we had this bastard of a server called GN that would serve the same content to both), suffering through the "Gopher World Tour", listening to several of the Gopher team carp about how this WWW thing was overrated and people would come back to Gopher, etc.
I think the best is when, in 1996, someone from the computer lab told me I shouldn't be telling my users about Netscape, I should be showing them TurboGopher VR.
FairPort Accused of Faking Network Readiness Test
That's been my experience as well. Fairpoint has, sadly, shown me how good Comcast is.
My latest FP problem? My service goes out completely every time it rains. They insist it must be my internal wiring, even if I'm hooking up directly to the NID, so the problem is on their side of the demarc. But since my NID is inside, I have to agree to pay $65 for them to come out, and then if and when they come out, if it's not raining, there's no problem, and they refuse to troubleshoot.
Add to that the bizarre billing problems, and I'm thinking Vonage.
The Decline of the Landline
While I agree 100% that Fairpoint sucks (I've had no end of ridiculous billing problems from them since February...), Verizon sucked in a lot of ways as well, especially for those of us up in the rural parts of the state. Despite literally having a Verizon fiber bundle running over my land, I was never able to even get decent dialtone service from them, and as far as DSL or other high-speed service? Their official answer was that we'd never get it. Ever.
The phone companies are in the situation they are in since they didn't plan for the future. For more than a decade it's been clear that voice services were going to cell and VOIP, and they sat there and didn't figure out how to handle the infrastructure costs to stay competitive in the long run.
If comcast can run service to my place, so could Verizon and Fairpoint.
The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping?
New Hampshire. No sales tax or use tax here. And the legislature is discussing a bill to ban businesses from collecting use tax for other states, since Massachusetts is trying to force retailers with presence in both MA and NH to collect use tax on all sales to MA residents from NH stores. (Disclaimer, we do have an 8% "Room and Meals Tax" on prepared food and hotel rooms...)
Montana, Oregon, Delaware, and Alaska have no sales/use tax either at the state level, but some of these have locally-applied sales taxes.
The End of Tax-Free Internet Shopping?
Several things both me about these proposals that occasionally get floated around:
1. They make the implicit assumption that everyone has a sales or use tax, and that people are avoiding it. That may be true in many cases, but not mine, since my state has neither. I don't
2. Similarly, it's unfair for businesses operating here. For a business located purely in my state, it's not a fair burden for them to have to calculate and collect use tax for any of the hundred (cities, counties, states, and various other revenue districts) that someone might be in when they click their mouse to order. I don't mind the "nexus" argument for sales tax (hey, the company chose to set up shop in a state? Then you can learn the tax rules and when to collect them), but extending it to use tax isn't fair. If a state really feels they need a use tax, it should be their responsibility to figure out how to collect it, and not involve companies that don't even have nexus in their state.
3. They talk about simplifying it, but there's already enough cases that I can this not working correctly (person in state A buys a gift from vendor in state B for shipment (from state C) to the recipient in State D).
I say get rid of the sales tax. They aren't necessary, we've got several states (including my own) that get along just fine without them.
Designer Accused of Copying His Own Work By Stock Art Website
95% of what I post to various photo sharing websites, under any license, is cropped. Mostly since it looks better cropped, but a nice secondary effect of this is that I have part of the image that no infringer can have.
I already have enough problems with images I post publicy
NASA Tests Heaviest Chute Drop Ever
For work, I regularly spend time out at Yuma Proving Ground, and 50,000 lbs isn't that much larger than some of the other existing systems being tested by the military.
Para-Flite's MegaFly, for example, is a 30,000 lb payload guided parachute system (GPS-steered to land at a designated LZ), with a variant of it being tested up to, IIRC, 42,000 lbs, with 50,000 lbs being a goal. It's still basically a development system, but similar systems are regularly used for 8,000 and 10,000 lb payloads.
Granted, airdrop aerodynamic issues are different than booster recovery issues, but it's still worth noting that 50,000 lbs isn't necessarily as huge as it seems relative to the existing technology.
Dealing With Dialup
Well, I'm in a similar situation (rural NH). No DSL for at least the next several years. No cable (they quoted almost $10k last time, and even at that, I can't get them to do an install). Attempts at EVDO and the like have been spotty at best. And satellite was difficult due to line-of-sight issues and dish placement.
I ended up placing the dish well away from the main house (with a nice fence around it, you can't even see it from outside the property), and using a wireless repeater to get a decent signal at the house.
Or do what I did for several years, which is accept that living in some nice but somewhat remote/restricted, has some downsides, 56k dialup being one of them.
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