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How Japan Plans To Build Orbital Solar Power Stations

roubles its always sunny somewhere (230 comments)

If the goal is just to collect sunlight 24 hours a day, you could just build solar power stations across the globe. It would be a heckuva lot cheaper than building one in space. But maybe that makes too much sense.

Another thought that comes to mind is that the loss in power during wireless transfer would be significant. I'd love to see the calculations that show that this is more practical than collecting the energy on different locations on the surface of the earth.

Lastly, with all this talk of "supposed" global warming, I don't think we are going to do ourselves any favors by pointing concentrated microwave beams at earth ;-)

about 7 months ago
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I wish my cell phone was...

roubles 50% less destructible (495 comments)

Whats the point of making the phones thinner and lighter when the first thing most people do is put them in huge rubber cases and screen protectors.

Its also interesting to note that people spend a a good amount of money on cases and screen protectors.

Even if an indestructible phone were larger, heavier, and more expensive out of the box than the average phone today, it may very well still be thinner, lighter and cheaper than the average phone + accessories.

1 year,9 hours
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Obamacare Website Fixes Could Take Two Weeks Or Two Months

roubles This mess could have been avoided... (382 comments)

.. if they had some sort of staggered entry to the website. A very simple rule such as only those born before 1950 can register in the first week, those born before 1960 in the second week and so on. This would have alleviated a lot of the traffic issues and given the developers some breathing room to fix bugs and scale their solution.

Controlling traffic, while you scale your solution, is not a novel concept. Gmail did this through an invitation system when it first started. Facebook only allowed certain universities at first etc...

Its strange but this reminds me of why, they say, we have mirrors in elevators. Folklore suggests that in the early days of high rises, people tended to have an unrealistic expectation of elevator speeds, probably, because they had nothing to do in the elevator. Adding mirrors in the elevators gave people something to do and took the pressure off the elevator engineers.

If people expected a government run web site to scale perfectly for millions of users within the first month of its deployment, those are very unrealistic expectations.

about a year ago
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Interviews: Ask Lead Developer Ben Kamens About Khan Academy

roubles What impact will online courses... (69 comments)

(in your view) have on the cost of a four year degree in the next 20 years? I am not speaking directly in context of Khan academy - but online courses in general at universities - as well.

Traditionally, the cost of a course is divided between the limited physically present students. With the advent of online universities and courses, that cost can be divided across students across many geographical boundaries. A student in his parent's basement in Malawi could theoretically take a Political Science course at Stanford. This has many advantages:

a) Universities can educate more students per semester per course - so they bring in more revenue.
b) Students don't have to pay for room and board - so it reduces the direct burden on the students.
c) Deserving students can take courses without having to go through the hell of getting a US visa.

For degrees (like Computer Science) that don't need much laboratory work (that you need to be physically present for), it seems to me that the cost of education should actually start to come down drastically with online courses - but I know I am missing something and big education is going to work hard to keep the fees up.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: It's World Backup Day; How Do You Back Up?

roubles my own dropbox in the cloud (304 comments)

I use windows live sync to synchronize one main folder (to rule them all) across all my machines. Then, from one of the machines, I periodically dump that folder onto a NAS. On the NAS I have a script running that does snapshot backups (like time machine) of that folder. Losing data from an accidental delete is far more likely than a hard drive crashing.

The only disadvantage is that the machine that dumps to my NAS has to be at home on my local LAN.

I am thinking of trying out Synology's DSM 4.0: http://www.synology.com/dsm/index.php?lang=enu

If it claims to do what they say it does, it should be like my own dropbox in the cloud. Then I can sync my one main folder across all my machines and my NAS. This eliminates the need for windows live sync - and I don't have to be at home to dump data to the NAS. I can also setup a script to make periodic snapshots of the folder. The only issue is currently the synology only has windows clients - and all my machines are macs... so I am still waiting to pull the trigger.

more than 2 years ago
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Roundabout Revolution Sweeping US

roubles I have lived in a country with roundabouts... (1173 comments)

...specifically Bahrain, and they are now replacing their roundabouts with traffic light squares...

Roundabouts get specifically confusing when there are three lanes. The tricky part is say you want to take the left (third) exit at a three lane roundabout. You have to start out in the innermost lane, because that is the left lane, and then after you cross the first and second exit, you have to move into the right most lane. Now this is hard to do while you are driving around in a circle. People can't even change lanes safely on a straight road. Also, other people on the roundabout are playing the same musical chairs with the lanes to get off on their respective exits and there are some possible deadlock situations.

Also, in Bahrain when people take a driving test, the roundabout is one of the most dreaded parts. Its right up there with parallel parking.

I personally think Americans need to work on making roads safer not cheaper and faster.

more than 3 years ago
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Bizarre Porn Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks

roubles I think a poll is in order... (964 comments)

Asking the slashdot community what wifi security protocol they employ for their home wireless network. I would be interested to see how many people are not on some variant of WPA2.

more than 3 years ago
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GNOME vs. KDE: the Latest Round

roubles Re:to me gnome still has an edge... (344 comments)

What I was trying to say was that the UI looks like crap over VNC.

If you try it, you will notice small dots all over the screen. Here is one example screenshot I found: http://www.vigneras.name/pierre/wp/wp-content/uploads/screenshot5.png

Natively, I find the KDE4 UI very nice. A little futuristic, but nice. On older systems it runs slow. To me, the UI improvements from 3.5.X to KDE4 are not worth the loss of critical features like being able to run on old hardware, and being able to run out of the box over VNC.

more than 3 years ago
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XBMC Gets a Dedicated Remote

roubles most people who setup xbmc... (87 comments)

...probably have a universal remote. What xbmc really needs is just a USB receiver. I wonder if they sell that receiver separately.

Also, from a hardware design perspective that receiver looks rather small. I think you would want to build this to have a very wide IR receiving angle. I would be interested in seeing this thing get tested in the real world.

Even with this remote, you may or may not be able to turn off/on your xbmc system from it. That depends on your motherboard/BIOS/processor.

I think, what XBMC really needs is official hardware, with a built in RF, IR receiver.

more than 3 years ago
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Mars Journal Issue Inspires Hundreds of One-Way Trip Volunteers

roubles In my mind... (475 comments)

I am already there.

more than 3 years ago
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Dropbox 1.0 Finally Released

roubles dropbox is still lacking some very basic features (307 comments)

1) Every piece of data you sync has to _also_ be synced online. So, then you're restricted to the amount of online storage you pay for.
What if you want to sync tonnes of storage between computer(s), and only sync a small amount of stuff online. This is not supported in dropbox, and I don't think ever will be because marketing won't want it to change. Today I use Windows live sync (or live mesh) for this purpose and it works.

2) The last time I checked, you could only sync one folder. The drop box folder. They cannot sync multiple folders: http://forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?id=5088
This is just lame. I don't think people would like to change their backup directory structure to comply with dropbox's basic/naive/bad design decisions.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Announces New iPods, iTunes 10, Social Network, AppleTV

roubles appletv = fail (579 comments)

* You can not mount a network hard drive (without hacking it)
* You can not mount a usb hard drive (without hacking it)
* Format support is very limited. For example: you can not play xvid, divx and a bunch of other formats
I think you're currently better off connecting a computer to your tv and run VLC on it... unless of course you like apple dictating what technology and media you have access to.

more than 4 years ago
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Behind the Special Effects of Inception

roubles the whole thing was a dream (196 comments)

mal is alive in the real world... and she's trying to wake cobb up...

more than 4 years ago
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Firefox Tab Candy Alpha

roubles Basic tab managment features missing... (189 comments)

Firefox (vanilla) currently lacks _very_ basic tab management features like:
* Multi-row tabs
* Undo Closed tab(s)
* Properly highlighting current tab
* Highlighting of unread tabs
* Tab context menu is missing:
**** Duplicate Tab
**** Close other tabs
* Some sort of smart grouping of tabs like: Tree Style Tabs
* Tab counter
* Auto refresh tabs
* Highlighting of the following kinds of tabs is missing:
**** Current tab
**** Tabs that refreshed and not been read
* Some sort of smart aging of tabs
* Ability to be able to read tab titles that exceeds the tab width (fisheye tab extension)
* Intelligently grouping tabs (by domain for starters)
* Preview open tabs
* Text search through open tabs

All of the above are available via firefox extensions. And I understand the argument to keep them outside the main browser to eliminate bloat and enhance security.

However, it seems like firefox product management has (finally) realized that more and more users have a ton of tabs open, and they finally need to add tab management features inherently in the browser. But why add something like tab candy, when there is so much else they can start by adding that will enhance productivity? Why start with something that is so complex and bug-prone? I would try to get the low hanging fruit first and then learn from those experiences.

If I were managing a competitive browser (like IE or Chrome), then implementing most of the above would, I believe, put a massive dent in firefox's user base (at least the power users would be gone).

For the record: My tab counter tells me I have 95 tabs open right now, some from work, some for online shopping, some for email, some open for info guilt (wikipedia, gizmodo, slashdot, other blogs), some for news and so on...

more than 4 years ago
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Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

roubles How to avoid this change (1124 comments)

1) Get a mac
2) Switch to Chrome
3) Do not upgrade firefox ever again

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Two million passwords stolen: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter accounts affected

roubles roubles writes  |  about a year ago

roubles (716740) writes "Trustwave's "ethical" hackers have uncovered a massive world wide key logger hack that is phoning home website login credentials, email account credentials, ftp account credentials, secure shell credentials and remote desktop credentials.

An analysis of the stolen password data shows the most common password to by 123456, by far."

Link to Original Source
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Beginning of the end of the era of antibiotics

roubles roubles writes  |  more than 3 years ago

roubles writes "Several news organizations are reporting on the prevalence of multidrug-resistant and NDM-1 positive bacteria found in samples taken from tap and seepage water in New Delhi.

The NDM-1 gene makes bacteria resistant to most, if not all, present day antibiotics."

Link to Original Source

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