top Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives
I can whole-heartedly recommend any cheap chromebook. They are basically completely support free, and can be reflashed in an instant.
I'm not sure how well they work with dial-up, but can't really see why they'd perform worse than any other modern browser.
I dont know how to hook them up to POTS line, though. But i guess there is some kind of solution for that.
On another note: where do they live that they don't have access to slightly higher-speed 3G internet? I've travelled through third world countries, and cell-phone-internet seems to be almost omnipresent in some form or another.
top Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts
Wouldn't it be easier to just have a capsule and a counterweight on a long rope of sorts, and spin/orbit it around an axle that is on the spaceship?
Why hasn't this been done yet? It would seem to me to be almost energy-neutral, since you would only have to compensate for the friction on the axle, once you get the capsules spining?
top Slashdot Talks WIth IBM Power Systems GM Doug Balog (Video)
I just wanted to say that I was pleasantly surprised that this guy seems relatively buzzword free and seems to know his stuff. Obviously he has his corporate agenda, but I would really like more higher-ups in big companies to do interviews like this.
top Ecuador To Forge Ahead With State-Backed Digital Currency
The Costa Rican Colon is actually not directly pegged to the USD.
It's a bit more complicated
about a month and a half ago
top Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
Yes, beta is really surprisingly horrible, and i really hope classic will remain an option.
<conspiracy>i bet the GNAA infiltrated dice, and made them create beta! (what have they been up to, anyhow?</conspiracy>
That being said, may I recommend some kind of diplomatic hybrid solution?
- make slashdot's CSS not suck, so that it is easily skin-able. Let US come up with funky themes in CSS form - and we can bet you that 'classic' will be one of the first ones to appear
- make slashdot more reddit-esque in the sense that everything should be API-accessible. That way, if you want to add some oh-so-great feature, you can just add an API call, an someone will mangle the CSS to reflect that. Hopefully, many new slashdot reader apps will pop up (including a decent mobile one! something like 'reddit is fun', but for slashdot!)
- you want to make more money? add that reddit 'give gold' option. They really seem to be making money of that over there, and it goes along nicely with the whole "karma" economy that slashdot basically started. I mean: you've got us all working for you, indirectly, because we all come here for the comments, which are made by us. So give us some additional way of cheering at each other for doing a good job, and make some money off of it!
- unicode! Hell - i make my living writing perl, and basic unicode is really not THAT hard. Geeez.
- if you want to make the whole place more modern and dynamic, you can always add bells & whistles like (unobstrusive) auto-updates and all that jazz. Hell, some CSS themes could even incorporate those obnoxious, but "modern" jQuery animations!
top Bill Gates Is Beginning To Dream the Thorium Dream
There's a fascinating video on the "Solve For X" site that follows this Thorium advocate around. It's very convincing!
top SSDs: The New King of the Data Center?
What a coincidence!
I am getting ready to transition our main DB servers (couple of GB mysql data) to SSD, but I simply dont want to trust it that much yet. So my plan is to set up RAID-1, with an SSD and another conventional drive. There seems to be this "--write-mostly" option that tells linux to preferably read from the SSD.
Anybody know if this is worth it? If it works? What kind of random access performance gains can i look forward to, running mysql on SSD?
I found it surprisingly hard to find any good data on these subjects.
top Bill Gates To Help China Build Traveling Wave Nuclear Reactor
Here's Bill Gates' TED presentation on this project from almost 2 years ago:
Even if half of this design works out as advertised, i think this would be awesome! Pity that the 'western world' wasn't interested in investing in it and trying it out....
top Favorite seasonal transition?
Living in Costa Rica, let me say that I really miss the 'classical' seasons. Here, we just have 6 months of dry time, followed by 6 months of rain in the afternoons. It's great for a couple of days, since the temperature is nice and cozy all year long, but it really does get boring after a while.
If I'd designed the climate here, I would've at least had the decency to switch between rain and dry every two weeks or so, to keep it interesting.
top How To Make Science Popular Again?
I agree, most of all with your first step, because IMHO, the others more or less follow naturally from critical thinking.
The problem is that all the conspiracy-nuts insist that they are the sole owners of - what THEY call - 'critical thinking'.
Why is there no obligatory class called 'critical thinking' in schools? Should be really easy to implement, and could easily made fun, i think.
top Utah Law Punishes Texters As Much As Drunks In Driving Fatalities
Actually in Germany we (used to?) have a similar law: it is legal to drive with relatively low BAC, and if you get stopped by a routine control operation, that's fine. But if you get stopped because your were driving in a way that might seem "adventurous" (stuff lke running a yellow light, speeding, weird manouvers) with the same low BAC level, you'd get fined.
top Ten Ways To Destroy a Hard Disk
Well, then they should've just nuked the site from orbit!
top Ten Things We Still Don't Understand About Humans
I recently discovered a
general list of unsolved problems, which I find fascinating. It's like a summary of the current limits of science and human knowledge and understanding.
TFA was ridiculous.
top Neuron Path Discovery May Change Our Conception of Itching
I just thought of an experiment:
Assuming your tinnitus is a near-constant frequency sine wave, what happens if you try to cancel the imaginary sound out using an external sound?
I have no idea whether it's even possible to try to sync soundwaves that exactly by hand/mind, but maybe you can hear/perceive some interference, at least?
I'm not saying that this could be a cure for tinnitus, but me, at least, would be fascinated if imaginary sounds can interfere and maybe even cancel out physical sounds...
top Licensing Dispute Threatens Future of Skype
On a related note: there used to be this nice open source skype-alternative (using SIP and all that) called openwengo, but i cant find it anymore. the company also offered a flash based SIP client (wengovisio), and a flash-based teleconferencing thing (wengomeetings), but i cant find any of them anymore. quite a pity.
a little side-rant: the person that designed the SIP protocol in such an incredibly NAT-unfriendly manner should be drawn and quartered. I know there are work-arounds, but i blame this NAT-unfriendliness for the rise of skype, and now we're stuck with that nonstandard closed protocol crap. I think it was the glorious idea of incorporating the IP addresses inside the SIP packets, or something like that. sigh.
on a related note: whatever happened to Google's open-source VoIP thingy that incorporated with XMPP/Jabber? I think it was called 'Jingle', but I haven't heard a lot about it since then. And what protocol is Google using for their video-chat in gmail?
top Hackable In-Car GPS Unit?
Gosmore. It's extremely(!) basic, but kinda works, once you figure out the controls. I;m using it on a very shitty Navigon unit here in Costa Rica. Little bonus: you can save you GPS traces, and add POIs, and then afterwards incorporate them back into the OSM database.
There seem to be other programs, though
top 45-Year-Old Modem Used To Surf the Web
I am assuming that it's a 'regular' modem answering the call on the other side - could somebidy explain to me how the two can handshake and sync, then? I always thought that the handshake/syncing part would at least require a bit of 'intelligence' from the modems involved?
top HP Recalls 70,000 Laptop Batteries
What the heck is wrong with HP, or specifically, with the morons that designed the dv6000 series, of which i am a 'proud' (meh!) owner?
This laptop had its internatl power circuitry fry (HP acknowledges this, and offers a free mail-in repair, even after warranty), the Wifi-mini-PCI card simply disappeared completely (under Windows and linux), and chooses to re-appear aprox. once a month (HP acknowledges this, and IIRC also offers a free off-warranty repair for this. Both of these symptoms happened to a friend's DV9000, too. And now the battery is a fire hazard? I know i am spoiled because my last laptop was a good old indestructible Thinkpad A30 (well, the GPU has some problems, but after so many years, i'd say that's forgivable). But i will be sure not to buy an HP again, until i hear some VERY good news about their engineering skills.
top Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans
AFAIK, the catholic church explicitly says that science and faith should not contradict one another. The only thing they 'cherry pick' as not being allowed as being a result from evolution is the human 'soul' (whatever that is). I think that this move was really smart, since even Neuroscientists and Cognitive Scientists have a bit of a problem defining what 'soul', 'intelligence' or 'consciousness' is supposed to be, exactly, so the catholic church at least delayed the next big phase of contradiction between science in faith for a long while, and will always be able to pull some philosophy-of-mind trick later on to reconcile the two.
I believe that any 'spiritual element' of the human beings logically must, of course, be an epiphenomenon of the hardware which in turn evolved naturally. But I still think that the Vatican's definition was a very smart move.
top When Does It Become OK To Make Games About a War?
I think it's a lot less black-and-white than this:
I once heard a talk from an ex-Nazi in Germany, and - even though he admitted his and the german's guilt without restraint - tried to at least explain what was going on in the following way:
He said that, yes, when someone asks him why basically nobody did anything to stop the holocaust, the best way to describe it was to say "we didn't really know about it!". But it's a different form of 'not knowing'. Sure, one could see the train-transports going to the concentration camps. Or the rounding up of jews in cities. But it's a natural psychological (irrational) defense mechanism to SOMEHOW try to think that maybe they wont be killed or tortured. So he asked the audience what they would answer when, 50 years from now, our grandkids ask us why we didn't save the africans that get slaughtered every couple of years in some uprising or genocide. Sure - we certainly do 'know' about it. But it's a different kind of 'knowing', since we try to distanciate ourselves from this reality, because it's just to harsh once you really grok how screwed up this whole situation is. Better to tuck it a away in some dark corner of your mind, and try to ignore it. It's a bit like HHGTTG's 'Somebody elses problem field'.
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