* Posts by Matt Caldwell

34 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Mar 2007

Amazon confirms the terms of its declaration of war on Netflix

Matt Caldwell
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Netflix>Sliced Bread

My partner and I have netflix here in the states. Along with a DSL subscription, it provides tens of hours of content for us per month for very little cash - important for two young students. I don't know how Amazon could compete with it, there is more content than we could ever watch, and the service is vastly superior to cable in all ways imaginable (we got a $15 antenna to pick up local digital broadcasts like news). Every week we stumble across one or three new series we want to watch. My biggest complaint is that not enough content is available instant view, so we are limited to about 3 Doctor Who episodes per week, waiting on the Series 5 disks.

Apple gobbles world's flash memory

Matt Caldwell


the cost difference is due to the increased complexity of packing in twice the physical volume of chip, and the additional coding and controlling to address all that memory, plus the development costs for said added complexity, and of course a little more profit per unit for all this doesn't seem unwarranted either.

You want more capacity/functionality? You pay for it...

IE icon too familiar for Microsoft EU settlement?

Matt Caldwell

Well now...

I can't say that I have a problem with the use of the "e" logo. I'm surprised at the animosity shown toward the Opera browser though. Like the company or not (they are currently looking a bit silly) but the browser is quite good, I've been using it for years. The new version 10 is really nice, very clean, and customizable / compatible with any site I want to use including the secure site my Uni uses as well as my banking.

US lawmakers to de-silence electric cars

Matt Caldwell

Go for it...

I for one am all for this, if it is done right (which it wouldn't be anyway, if it gets passed at all, which I'm not gonna bet on). I'm a perfectly sighted and well hearing person, but I've almost been run over by electrics a couple times. Like yesterday for oxample....

11pm, just got off work. I'm walking through the parking garage. A car pulls out of the spot I was just about to step in front of. They couldn't have seen me, I was just coming from behind the other car Their lighst were still off. Engine made no noise. Just pulled out.

We're trained to use our ears at least as much as our eyes in avoiding cars.

Big and bendy e-ink displays on way

Matt Caldwell


Is it compatible with office suite files, or does it only support .pdf and .doc? Or worse, only .pdf and .docx?

Guess I'll have to convert things to .pdf, I love this idea, and want one about 5 years ago.

Ohio official sues e-vote vendor for sloppy counting

Matt Caldwell

As an Ohio voter...

I have used the Diebold machines. The ballot is an 8.5x11 piece of paper with bubbles to fill in with a #2 pencil just like the SATs. You feed it into a scanner that reads it, and if you haven't voted on all the topics/people or if you voted too many times it tells you and gives it back for correction. Once you hit "Accept" it reads and stores the votes and then deposits the paper ballot into a locked metal box built under the scanner. End of the day, take all the scanners back to base and plug 'em in, it prints the results. If there is a close one or a dispute, there are paper balltos still locked up to be counted by hand. Not too bad IMHO

Opera update fixes stability bugs

Matt Caldwell
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Well, yeah

I have used Opera for years, and love 9.5, its great, and very good performance. I've noticed that after an unspecific time it jumps to 100% usage of CPU as well. Not too cool.....I'm using it on a laptop. If they don't fix it at some point I'll have to switch. I realy like the features/setup/customizability, and as far as I can tell its about as good as firefox w/ security. But I had noticed 9.2 crashing occasionally too. They need a few tweaks yet I think.

Why Microhoo! is like, so, totally dead

Matt Caldwell


When was amanfrommars hired?

Ubuntu does bird beta

Matt Caldwell
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I'll definitely install it..

as a virtual machine. I'm still running Dapper and I see no reason to upgrade. I have a small partition with a Gutsy install. The only reason I have it is to put files on my iPod classic. libgpod2 compiled in dapper but I couldn't figure out how to make the system not use the libgpod0 which was in the repos. I liked some of the ways Gutsy was setup, but not enough to wipe my Dapper install just yet. I've had it for a year and a half, and EVERYTHING on my laptop works beautifully, I'm kinda hesitant to mess it up.

Anyway, I'll try Heron in a VM and probably upgrade once Its final and has been out for a while, maybe by June or so. I like that it is LTS, as through the school year I need something that works and is config'd.

So the torrent is coming in right now, and I'm pretty excited, but we'll see. If more things work out of the box than did with a fresh Dapper install then I'll give it a go. I just wish they had a convenient settings transfer app in the install that would carry over my themes, user directory, login screen, settings, etc. automatically.

Vista SP1 downloaders bite back

Matt Caldwell

My $0.02

Well, I have used every MS OS except Vista, Slackware, Red Hat, and Ubuntu, not in any particular order.

By far my favorite OS is Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake). It works for me, I am comfortable in it, it works out of the box for most things, the rest I could get going pretty easily. All of the Microsoft OSes I've used worked better out of the box than Dapper, thats true. The problem is that it is for one reason only - drivers. If companies would make even a half-hearted attempt to support things in Linux it would be a million times better than it is now. (I still cannot believe that Lexmark does nothing with Linux at all, especially since it makes the Dell printers and Dells now ship with Ubuntu. I'd be pissed if I bought a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu and a Dell printer and they could not possibly work together.

I really liked Win2000 back in the day and XP pro got the job done for a while. That said, once I got comfortable in Linux and took a little bit of time to learn it, I love it much more than any MS product I have ever used. I know the argument is cliche, but I find it a lot more stable, flexible, useful, productive and comfortable than I ever did Windows. Switching to Linux can be like learning to use computers in general all over again.

I have never been able to do something under Windows that I could not under Linux. It might take some more time to figure out, but thats because you are using a new OS, fundamentally different.

For me, and OS shouldn't require "new equipment" or a powerful cmoputer to run, even XPs reqs were too much. An OS should be able to utilize those resources if available, and eye candy and extra features are great, I love them. But I can install Ubuntu on a brand new system and make use of all of its capabilities or I can install it on a ten year old system and it will run just fine, even be snappy to some extent and certanly usable if I use a little bit of sense when installing.

All that said, thinking back on my computing (pretty extensive) over the past 10-12 years I can definitely say that I like Linux a lot better and will probably never go back to a Microsoft product. I'm not going to say that MS is shit, etc; though you could make that case. But Linux can be shit for someone who does not know how to use it.

But, if you take the time to install a good distro and learn how to use it, the rewards will be great, and you will have a much more customizable, stable, fast computing experience.

Once again, just my thoughts and experience.

Australian man killed by suicide robot

Matt Caldwell

Has anybody found it?

I wanna know what he built other than "scary suicide 'robot'." But after google searching it all I can find is a band and this story twelve other places. Go figure.

X Prize comes to earth

Matt Caldwell


the speed (5 mph) will not be attractive, nor will all the batteries. So, it actually doesn't meet the criteria ;)

So what's the easiest box to hack - Vista, Ubuntu or OS X?

Matt Caldwell


I thought the main attractiveness of UNIX (and thus LINUX, the free copy) was that it was coded with multiple simultaneous users in mind, ie I thought it was not like Windows where they took a single user system and hacked multiuser capability (kinda) into its backdoor.

I'm positive that I have read this from multiple credible sources.

Ohio voting machines confiscated in criminal investigation

Matt Caldwell
Black Helicopters

Last time I voted in Ohio...

was about two weeks ago. The ballot was a two-sided piece of paper with 3 columns. You read the issue or the list of names and scratch in the circle beside the name of the candidate that you want with the pencil chained to the booth. Then you feed it into a Diebold reader fitted to the top of a big metal box.

Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems like a great way to hold an election.

1) Simple, easy to read ballot

2) Said ballot is easy to fill out

3) Electronic scanning of the ballots gives you an instant tally of votes, just like they have been doing for years, except instead of punching out a punch card for a "computer" made in the 1950's, it is an optically scannable piece of input for a more modern counter.

4) It drops your ballot into a sealed bin and keeps it safe - i.e. a paper trail that can be read/counted by humans if need be.

5) If you put a ballot in with more than one mark per race or with a race/issue left blank it tells you and gives you the change to get your ballot back out and finish/fix it.

Seems like it should work to me. Online voting and touch-screen shit really is pretty scary though.

US State puts violent videogames under scrutiny

Matt Caldwell
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So at 18 you can sign up or be drafted and take a bullet for your country in some god-forsaken desert...but you can't rent a car or drink a beer after a long day's work. How much sense does that make?

Russian serfs paid $3 a day to break CAPTCHAs

Matt Caldwell

What kills me...

is that this actually generates money. I cannot fathom that there are still computer-using-people on this earth who do anything but delete these as fast as they come in. Come on ppl, WTF???

(and we need a 'confused as hell' icon too, so tux instead because he keeps a lot of spyware off my machine)

Researchers probe Southern Ocean's icy depths

Matt Caldwell

You moron...

nobody has ever said anything about global cooling. They call it climate change because the place just doesn't get hotter. Some places get worse storms, some get less rain, and the whole place gets a bit deeper.

US declares 1400-mile Pacific sat-shoot exclusion zone

Matt Caldwell

I think the point was missed...

NOTAMs are usually only suggestive even in U.S. airspace unless they specifically create a TFR (temp. flight restriction). NOTAMs aren't designed to create long-term no-fly-zones. Anyway, why would you have to sneak into the area, and why would anyone want to? By being in there you are the only one that stands a chance of getting a missile or satellite dumped on your head and if you get too close to the AGEIS cruisers I'm sure they'll let you know. Its too big an area to patrol, and so big why would they want to? Its for the benefit of everybody else, mostly commercial jets I'm sure.

Steve Fossett dead: Official

Matt Caldwell

Addition to: Not that big ???

Not only have they not been to Nevada, they don't have much experience/know much about aviation. General Aviation pilots don't have to wear a watch with a rescue beacon, most don't. Most planes do have an ELT (emergency transmitter) but debending on when the Citabra was manufactured it may not have had to have had one. Once active, the thing can't last too long anyway. Finally, even at 2000 foot above ground level things on the ground look very small. A 6000x100 foot runway looks like a popsicle stick about 3 feet away. Now keep that in mind and look for one very small aircraft smashed up somewhere in Nevada, which [i]is[/i] a big place and its very easy to assume they would probably not find him rather than that they would. Also, in a good part of the western US it is unsettled and so big that there is actually no ATC/radar coverage at all at the altitudes he probably would have been flying.

Opera screeches at Mozilla over security disclosure

Matt Caldwell

I think the point is....

that even if Opera in inefficient/bad at repairing bugs Mozilla shouldn't have released details of the bug as it puts innocent end users at risk.

Big Climate's strange 'science'

Matt Caldwell


This kind of thing really drives me nuts. There are about 10 guys worldwide who are [i]scientists[/i] that don't accept man-induced climate change. There is an overwhelming body of evidence to show that there is. Current climate change is nothing like previous cycles of warming and cooling, it is off the charts.

People here are (mostly) smart, you guys can look up the info yourselves, but the scariest thing about climate change is that it is so complex that it is hard to model, and it is definitely non-linear. Like every other non-linear system known to science (there are a lot of them, and they are not new), climate change has a critical point on the curve. Once we cross that point there is no going back. At least not by simply reversing the mechanism that took us that far. Thats right, what I'm saying is that once the atmosphere warms enough, enough ice melts, etcetera than if we could sequester every molecule of CO2 it won't make a damn bit of difference, we couldn't get things to go backward.

Screw the coat, I'm headed for the bunker anyway....

Polaroid to close instant film plants

Matt Caldwell


I'll be sad to see it go. End of an era and all that, plus my GF just bought a (n old, used) polaroid, she loves it, and I have to admit, the pics are kinda cool, looks like I was alive in the 70's.

Star Trek XI release knocked back to 2009

Matt Caldwell

Well you see...

Enterprise wasn't always the best and brightest with top-notch commanders. Kirk and his drinking buddies from college were just that damn good. Or something ;)

Hackers go after Excel

Matt Caldwell
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OpenOffice? No.

I love opensource, haven't run M$ for a couple years, blah, blah blah.

I'm sorry, but OOo doesn't cut it. The Spreadsheet program isn't as useful as Excel, the Doc Writer is about as good. I haven't used the Presentation much. The suite has a lot of potential, is almost there, in fact. It just doesn't quite get it for me.

OOo spreadsheet doesn't have the more complex stat analysis that I want it to be able to do (and that Excel can do) for working in the lab.

The one thing it does well is exchanging files with Genuine Micro$hite Software.

How about an Abiword/Gnumeric combo? Thats the ticket!

Honda offers FCX for '08, bitchslaps Google

Matt Caldwell

Missed the point...

Where we are right now, hydrogen is as (brown - as an opposite to green?) as burning fossil fuels. All this energy density stuff is really aside from the point too. The biggest reason all cars produced for last ten years haven't run off hydrogen is the creation/storage/transportation. We have H2 fuel cells and they work fine, we have highly efficient electric motors, but for powering the fuel cell there are two choices - buy bulk H2 at stations or manufacture it on the fly.

As for large scale liberation, electrolysis is too inefficient and the current method is, as pointed out above, still dependent on fossils and as brown as regular engines. We are researching this.

There are a ton of on the fly methods also being researched at the moment, but IMO this idea from Honda is a good one - if they can sell the home stations with it. It shouldn't flub the way the first poster said their last one did, H2 isn't available, regular gas is. If I could make H2 in my garage with a station and fill my car as needed that would be great. My gas bill would go up but I would save money on petrol. Presumably I could fill up at H2 stations also if I wished. It would probably cost about the same but it would be more convenient to me and when they find a way to produce H2 efficiently, I'd be ready. hydrogen is the best replacement we know about. Nukes under every hood? Hardly? Run everything from charged batteries? Just as silly. Hydrogen fuel cell tech is already here, used, reliable, ect. the problem with it is "How do we get hydrogen without starting with fossil fuels?"

As far as hydrogen infrastructure not being there, do you guys think it is there for everyone to be charging their cars every night? Yeah right, the source and lines would have to be tripled, at the least. And how do we produce that much electricity? Not without the same dependency on fossil fuels, and wind/solar/hydro/geothermal power on that scale is still a dream. Aside from fusion (which is still a pipe dream) hydrogen is the best route to go.

Honda to put ultracapacitors on the road in '08

Matt Caldwell

@ JonB

Well, the problem is that the capacitors will need recharged every 45 seconds or so, more if you push the accelerator much. Thats the point of having the H fuel cell on board. As for capacitor vs. batteries, the capacitors can deliver their sotred energy much faster than any battery, thus accel and up-hill performance should be better, at least thats what they hope. I think it sounds like a good enough idea, but the problem is still "How do you power the fuel cell?" Can't exactly carry a tank of H2 around and H2 production/storage is still expensive....

AOL axes another 2,000 jobs

Matt Caldwell


Interesting, I've never heard anyone else describe them as a good ISP. I'm just glad I don't get 5 or 6 floppys/CDs per month from them anymore. If I want costers or frisbees I can use one of the many bad or old burned discs I have lying around.

NASA mulls strap-on astronaut carrier

Matt Caldwell


Thats a great idea until one of the suits doesn't quite close correctly and you are stuck outside the rover with no air or pressure. Seems safer to use an airlock where you can find problems slowly and in a controlled environment. It is a great idea though, I just don't want to test it.

iRobot unveils new Roomba auto-vacuums

Matt Caldwell

Works fine

Ours actually does a better job than the 'big' vacuum.

'As I watch England turn into a quivering pile of dung'

Matt Caldwell

Not every American is a moron...

Well, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and start throwing insults, but I would like to point out that the majority of Americans aren't morons, or war-mongers, or greedy lying bastards. Those kinds of Americans are just the ones that are in charge of the government and the media. Its unfortunate, but true, and they are usually good enough at scamming the uneducated masses to stay in power.

Astronaut runs Boston marathon from space

Matt Caldwell


I realize some the oxygen gen. has had trouble, but I'm sure there is at least one backup. In addition, there are emergency canisters that release O2 via chemical reactions, and Worst case scenario they have an escape capsule. I seriously doubt the running consumed enough extra oxygen to put serious strain on their systems or they would not have done the event, plus the publicity is a great way to keep the public interested in space travel/exploration and the ISS.

UK crematoria eye heavyweight incinerators

Matt Caldwell


Here in America, nearly everyone uses Imperial. For nearly everything. Construction, bolts, distance, weight, its all imperial (except for scientists and academics/researchers). I myself prefer the SI system, but a lot of people (myself included) have no concept of SI in everyday life.

£15k model Vickers Valiant crashes and burns

Matt Caldwell

Never good.

Anytime a person's model crashes, it is a loss. I have noticed that many sites seem to emphasize the fact that it was a flight to prove the model's safety. As a modeler myself, I can say that nearly everyone in this takes safety very seriously, especially people who put this much money and time into it. Radio control systems are getting more resistant to interference every season and all sanctioned airfields have a frequency control plan. It is very sad that this guy's plane crashed, though I must admit I enjoy looking at the pictures. Many people I know have engines from the 70's still in great condition and over a thousand flights on balsa airframes. But I hope publicity does not paint the hobby itself in a negative light.

NASA ejects nappy-wearing astronaut

Matt Caldwell

Got away?

I seriously doubt she got off easy because she is in the military. If anything she got the short end of the stick. She was fired from NASA, sent back to the Navy in disgrace, and will definetly face a court martial. Military courts have a reputation for being more harsh (or at least conservative) than civilian courts a lot of the time.