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Comments

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Single-Celled Organism Converted Into Electronic Oscillator For Bio-Computing

Alan426 In related news ... (34 comments)

Development begins on a branch of Puppy Linux optimized for a 1.4 cHz Physarum processor.

about 4 months ago
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Goodyear's New State-of-the-Art Airship Makes Its First Flight

Alan426 Evolution of the GZ-22 Airship (66 comments)

Article fails to mention the company's previous attempt at semi-rigid airship design. Goodyear unveiled the GZ-22 with similar fanfare in 1989, then quietly crashed it a few months later.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?

Alan426 Re:Shredsort (195 comments)

I used to use a similar strategy when my kids were in diapers. Nobody's dumpster diving in *that* bag.

about 5 months ago
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Sex Offender Gets New Hearing After Hearing Officer Rants Against Arial Font

Alan426 Arial is the official font for some organizations (312 comments)

It's painful to watch, but US Army just made Arial the required typeface for all official correspondence. Arial is now a weapon system.

about 8 months ago
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Another Way Carriers Screw Customers: Premium SMS 'Errors'

Alan426 Re:Only because people are dumb (198 comments)

So, what do you do when they *don't* call back, and no notes are kept about the call? "Oh, I'm sorry, I have no record of that." How many times have you started over from scratch to solve the same problem?

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce?

Alan426 Mediator perspective (458 comments)

IAADM (I Am A Divorce Mediator).

I worked once with a couple who had a major point of contention over 10 years of family photos stored on the family computer. While he had physical possession of the computer, he claimed the hard drive failed so there was no way to recover the data. She claimed there *must* be a box of negatives somewhere. He responded they had shot only digital for the last several years. I asked if anyone had thought to keep backups for this irreplaceable community property. (of course not). I offered to refer them to a data recovery firm. (can't afford it, too many legal bills already).

Long and the short was, they spent many more $$$ paying their lawyers to litigate who gets to keep the dead hard drive.

Please, please, please, don't expect the law or the courts to solve this problem for you. Sit down together like adults and work it out!

more than 2 years ago
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DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses

Alan426 Contacts in the field (129 comments)

First thing I learned in the Army (well, not the first thing, but a very important thing) is you don't wear contacts in the field. Too unsanitary, incompatible with corrective inserts in gas mask, and fracking painful when you get a faceful of diesel smoke after being awake 24 hours. Plus, think it might be kind of awkward if your targeting display falls out of your eye on the ground?

more than 2 years ago
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Cell Phones Could Sniff Out Deadly Chemicals

Alan426 Re:Mass Panic? (136 comments)

AT&T will charge $9.95 a month if you want to receive toxic gas warnings.

more than 4 years ago
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Oracle Shuttering OpenSSO

Alan426 Dollar value for open source assets (128 comments)

Another way to look at this move is that open source projects have a significant dollar value, if for no other reason that the project may compete for market share with other products. One could certainly see the strategic benefit of supporting a "hard to kill" project to compete with a market leader. Now, we have an example of such a project becoming an acquisition target.

This is no different than a company which buys out their competitor for the purpose of "integrating" (e.g., shutting down) a competing product line. Luckily, unlike proprietary solutions, this project will fork back to the community and live on, albeit without Sun's corporate backing.

more than 4 years ago
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Learning and Maintaining a Large Inherited Codebase?

Alan426 Re:Done that.. (532 comments)

That seriously happened to me. Every time I look at that (unchanged after one year) website, I remember examples of undocumented hacks in there that made a nice proof of concept but were *never* intended for the production system. I feel a little bad at first, but then I remember why I left that job -- and chuckle.

more than 4 years ago
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Best Buy $39.95 "Optimization" At Best a Waste of Money

Alan426 Former Best Buy tech ... (504 comments)

I used to run an in-store tech department, back in the day when we wore black shirts and were "Techs" not "Geeks." I never had a moment's pause about selling my customer a $9.99 set-up service or $29.99 optimization. We gave a good service for the money, and spent quite a bit of time helping the customer learn a bit about their new computer. Which, for them, was a very big deal.

The customer was paying for 10 minutes of my time -- and the 15+ years of experience that let me do a job in 10 minutes that would have taken them four hours of reading directions and waiting on hold.

The biggest mistake is assuming a service isn't worth good money to the general public just because it's easy and fun for you.

more than 4 years ago
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The Twelve Most Tarnished Brands In Tech

Alan426 Re:HP (430 comments)

Which is far better than huge, bloated printer drivers that constantly *need* updating (cough ... Canon!).

more than 4 years ago
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City Laws Only Available Via $200 License

Alan426 Re:Do people on a jury have to pay $200 as well? (411 comments)

Juries are triers of fact, not of law. Jurors are not supposed to interpret the law as they see fit -- they follow the instructions given them by the judge. This is why lawyers make lousy jurors. IANAL but I play one on TV

more than 4 years ago
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Australian Student Balloon Rises 100,000 Feet, With a Digital Camera

Alan426 Re:So what... (174 comments)

Your little brother?

more than 4 years ago
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Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits?

Alan426 Re:CiviCRM (186 comments)

I built a customized Drupal/CiviCRM deployment for our small (11 staff, 45 volunteers) nonprofit. Written in PHP, it is a very flexible system. However, you will spend a lot of time chasing bugs and dealing with a poorly documented codebase. For my next project, I'm staying away from CiviCRM until the project matures a bit more. CiviCRM doesn't integrate with Outlook. It does have it's own web-based mail client, but it's clunky and no one in your shop will want to give up Outlook for it. It does integrate nicely with PayPal. Needed to hack at it a bit to get it working, but once it was set up, worked like a charm. If you're on Drupal or Joomla anyway, and you have a development server available for testing, I say go for it. If you want something that will work "out of the box," look elsewhere.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Netflix invests hugely in on-demand content

Alan426 Alan426 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Alan426 (962302) writes "The New York Times reports that Netflix has entered a deal worth about $900 million over five years to acquire the online distribution rights for new releases from three major Hollywood studios.

The Epix deal will add new releases like "Iron Man" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" to Netflix's catalog, greatly enhancing the streaming service that the company markets to subscribers as part of an $8.99 package that also includes DVD deliveries. It was the second film deal for Netflix this summer, coming a month after a pact with Relativity Media, the firm run by Ryan Kavanaugh.

All the more reason for /.ers to cancel their subscriptions to cable tv. But how long will it be before streaming video becomes a premium paid service?"

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Online Storage & File Sync Launches Linux Clie

Alan426 Alan426 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Alan426 (962302) writes "PC Magazine featured an online file-synchronization application for Fedora, Ubuntu, Mac, and Windows. From the article:

Dropbox, one of the many file-synchronization and online-backup combo tools to debut this year is finally ready for the masses to sign up; no more invite required. The basic service is free and includes 2GB of storage space online. Maybe even better news: Dropbox now has Linux clients (for Fedora Core 9 and Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04), which it says is functionally the same as what you get on Mac and Windows. You won't find that yet with the competition.

The web site has a nice explanation, with diagrams. The product sets up a hot folder and background processes to sync with a central server. Storage is free up to 2GB, US$9.99/month or $99/year for up to 50GB."
Link to Original Source

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VMS Dinosaurs Stall Seattle Schools

Alan426 Alan426 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Alan426 (962302) writes "School reform in Seattle is blocked — by two aging VAXen. If only there were some way they could run this old, proprietary software on a PC! Maybe someone will invent a magical box to replace these mainframes. Flashback to 1992.

From the article:

An aging computer — so old that the University of Washington has an early model on display as a museum piece — stands between the Seattle School Board and the changes it wants to make in how the district assigns students to schools. The computer, called a VAX, was first sold in the late 1970s. The district still uses two VAXes of late-'80s to mid-90s vintage. They use old-fashioned disks and stand about 5 feet tall. Staff members sometimes look for used replacement parts on eBay.
"

Link to Original Source

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