Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Video Game Industry Starting To Feel Heat On Gun Massacres

CustomDesigned Re:The Stupidity, It Hurts! (1006 comments)

How long do you think the militia with the weapons it is legally allowed to own is going to last against the US military?

Well, how long did the Afghanistan militia hold out against the might of the Soviet military, followed by the might (not to mention "shock and awe") of the US military? Or do you think that we are pulling out because we "won"?

about a year and a half ago
top

Video Game Industry Starting To Feel Heat On Gun Massacres

CustomDesigned Re:The Stupidity, It Hurts! (1006 comments)

Or we could, you know, recognize that firearms are a significant force multiplier that make pulling off massacres like this far more trivial than they would be without these weapons.

Only when no one else has firearms.

about a year and a half ago
top

GNOME 3 Wins Linux Journal's Readers' Choice Award

CustomDesigned Re:There will be no GNOME 4. (378 comments)

Actually, I showed gnome3 to a Mac user from Ecuador (legal immigrant, but low on funds) who can't afford the required upgrade to his MacOSX. He was totally sold. So at least a few masses are flocking away. On the other hand, gnome2 users are a harder sell.

more than 2 years ago
top

I would soonest put my trust in a ...

CustomDesigned Re:Robotic chef (312 comments)

A lot of the task of using fresh ingredients has to do with "cutting out the bad spots". I'm pretty sure robotics will eventually be up to this, but at the present it can only recognize bad items in a collection (on a conveyor belt, for instance). I wouldn't trust a robot to cut up my tomatoes and onions. Now I'm wondering how many "bad spots" are in canned pumpkin...

more than 3 years ago
top

I would soonest put my trust in a ...

CustomDesigned Re:Robotic chef (312 comments)

While robotic chefs aren't very good at final prep, they do great on processing a great many ingredients. For instance, are you going to cut up, boil, strain, and puree pumpkins, or are you going to take a can of pumpkin from the pantry? Is your homemade pumpkin puree really better than the factory? If its got to be cooked and processed anyway, the factory does a good job. If it ought to be fresh, e.g. salsa, the factory does a lousy job. There is simply no canned salsa that can hold a candle to real fresh salsa.

So robotic chef is out, but robotic kitchen assistant is in.

more than 3 years ago
top

Rogers Shrinks Download Limits As Netflix Arrives

CustomDesigned This is the way it should work (281 comments)

The key is to have any easy way for users to monitor usage, so they can cut back, or get ready to pay more. Also important, is making the process of paying more a pleasant experience. No, you are not "punishing" the customer for using your service too much. In fact, you want to reward them by offering them an upgrade to a plan with a higher allowance, at a substantial discount over the "a la carte" overlimit charge. And, you should find the increased gross revenue rewarding enough to invest in equipment, cables, and peering to keep customers ever expanding bandwidth hunger fed, and your cash flow flowing.

Less important, but nice, is to honor QoS tags from the customer, not you, so that with a smart router (or linux box), they can watch a high def movie (high bandwidth), while chatting on VOIP (low latency), and downloading the entire 50G Fedora distro (batch).

more than 4 years ago
top

GOP Senators Move To Block FCC On Net Neutrality

CustomDesigned Justified Cynicism (709 comments)

When the civil rights act, written to explicitly prevent discrimination based on skin color, is used to justify federal discrimination based on skin color (with similar backward applications of the 1st and 2nd ammendments), it is somewhat justified (if cynical) to expect that a regulation written to explicitly prohibit internet censorship based on content, will be used to justify federal internet censorship based on content.

more than 4 years ago
top

Thermosphere Contraction Puzzles Scientists

CustomDesigned Obamao (200 comments)

I find putting "Mao eyes" is more appropriate.

more than 4 years ago
top

Poor Vision? There's an App For That

CustomDesigned HMO vs Real Insurance (146 comments)

While HMO plans are a choice people should be able to make, you should look into actual high deductible insurance. Our family of 6 pays $500/mo with a $5500/yr deductible. We pay "out of pocket" by depositing the money into a Health Savings Account (HSA) first, and paying from that. This deducts the expense on the same line as IRA contributions. Fully funding the HSA for the deductible, plus the premiums, is about the cost of HMO coverage with the same exclusions and tax benefits. BUT, if we don't spend the entire deductible from the HSA, the balance stays in the account which can be used for non-covered expenses (e.g. our plan doesn't cover dental) or saved for retirement (it can be used like an IRA after retirement age). Notice that if you hit the deductible (which our daughter did last year by breaking two fingers), your total premium plus "out of pocket" expense is about the same as HMO premiums.

One nasty aspect of the current Obamacare bill is phasing out HSA accounts by 2015 ("forcing" people to buy HMO coverage similarly to how people are "forced" to use public schools because of the tax induced expense of private school).

more than 4 years ago
top

Time To Take the Internet Seriously

CustomDesigned Government funded? (175 comments)

If HTTP based applications are a "human right", then people will demand government funding for them. The more government funds them, the more they will control the content. The more government controls the content, the less actually useful the "internet" will be.

more than 4 years ago
top

Time To Take the Internet Seriously

CustomDesigned Not really the internet (175 comments)

The article says "internet", but it really means "the HTTP based family of applications that use the internet". Sometimes a customer gets me by mistake when they need help because "their internet is down". I start to get mad because of self contradictory statements, but then I remember that they really mean, "my web browser stopped working". (You can tell I'm not really tech support because next I try to find out what browser they are using, and they are never able to tell me. Which means they are using IE.)

Having cleared that up, I can only see consolidation of HTTP applications under some super googly company (perhaps one the article writer envisions heading) as making things worse. I suggest that clutter in your web browser is not much different that clutter in your house. Get a book on Feng Shui or equivalent and start deleting the stuff that isn't helping you (making you happier, needed for work, etc).

P.S. I discovered a very important, but little known principle of error page design. If you put something in giant type at the top of the page, no one reads it. It you put it in little bitty 6 point type at the very bottom, everyone will read it. Even if they need to use their magnifier app. I can't explain it (it must have something to do with lawyers), but now that I know, I save a lot of frustration by putting the most important message in little bitty type at the bottom. (I still leave it at the top in big type also in case any old fashioned types like me see it.)

more than 4 years ago
top

The Environmental Impact of PHP Compared To C++ On Facebook

CustomDesigned Middle ground (752 comments)

The script languages like Perl/PHP/Python/Ruby are dynamic, and fill a role that C++ can never fill. Further, while GC can be added to C++, it changes the programming style so much that it is nearly another language (makes using 3rd party libraries tricky).

Java is a middle ground between C++ and script languages. It has the garbage collection, dynamic class loading, "safe" execution model and extensive libraries like PHP/Python/Ruby, but long running programs like web apps get compiled to optimized native code as they run. Yeah, the language has warts, but it is still more productive vs programmer time than C++.

more than 4 years ago
top

Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

CustomDesigned University: yes, Teachers: no (835 comments)

My daughters have been to Messiah College, PA and George Mason, VA, and NoVa Community College. All three schools have no problem with non-Windows as far as infrastructure (network access), administrative web pages, etc. The big problem has been that teachers will require students to purchase some specific Windows application for statistics or whatever (and not a really pervasive one like Matlab, either - 3 different statistics programs "that real professionals use" so far that I've never heard of). The corresponding courses are short on actually understanding the math, and long on memorizing the menu layout du jour of the app. I wonder if the teachers get kickbacks. The one bright spot was an Arabic course where the teacher used a Java Applet - which works beautifully for all concerned.

about 5 years ago
top

How 136 People Became 7 Million Illegal File-Sharers

CustomDesigned The really big hunch (313 comments)

is assuming file sharing == illegal file sharing. As others have pointed out, that alone makes the rest of the conclusions meaningless. My stat class said sample size should aim to be around sqrt of population. Of course, smaller samples just lower the confidence intervals. The 1000 people (sqrt(10^6)) is at least in the ball park for a population of 30 million.

about 5 years ago
top

Build Your Own $2.8M Petabyte Disk Array For $117k

CustomDesigned Not the whole cost (487 comments)

The $117K is just the computer hardware. You still need UPS, A/C, Power, and floor space. Add up those, and a reasonable profit, and I'll bet Amazon and EMC don't look so bad. But if you already have the infrastructure, and the marginal cost of adding the storage arrays is low, then the design could save money.

about 5 years ago
top

Entanglement Could Be a Deterministic Phenomenon

CustomDesigned Hidden variables and metaphysics (259 comments)

As I understand it, there are hidden variable theories completely in sync with experiment. But they are experimentally indistinguishable from true randomness - and hence serve no scientific purpose (although answering Einstein's famous objection, "God does not play dice"). A hidden variable theory where the "hidden" variables can be deduced by experiment "inside" the universe is no longer a truly "hidden" variable theory.

about 5 years ago
top

Pogo-Style Robot Legs Allow 9-Foot Bounces

CustomDesigned Good job... (42 comments)

We've invented a mechanical flea!

about 5 years ago
top

FTC Rules Outlawing Robocalls Go Into Effect Next Week

CustomDesigned Definition of "in writing"? (277 comments)

Presumably, "opt-in" counts as "in writing", and my library will continue to robocall to announce that my book on hold is available. But on the flip side, I can see all sorts of obscure checkboxes when you order online that enable robocalls should you not notice and check/uncheck them.

about 5 years ago

Submissions

CustomDesigned hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

top

Passive Obsessive Checking Disorder

CustomDesigned CustomDesigned writes  |  more than 4 years ago

In the standard distributed monitoring described in the Nagios docs, check results flow one way - from leaf to root. I needed something a little different - peer to peer distributed monitoring. There are several problems that drive this need. One is checking public services. Our nagios server runs in the same tiny backroom "data center" as the public web server. It can check things internally, but can't check that the general public can actually get to hosts and services that are up internally. Another is that we have larger customers who manage their own network. Our nagios server rightly does not have direct access to all the internal services that need to be checked.

One way to handle both problems is to use nagios remote plugin execution (nrpe) to run the problematic tests on another server. However, our larger customer also wants his own nagios server, with only his network. Having our server monitor the same network via nrpe would be redundant, so I decided to try the peer to peer distributed approach. Each nagios server has a mix of active and passive services. The active services come in transmitting and non-transmitting forms. Both systems are first configured as "regional servers" according to the standard model. Then, I add "obsess_over_host 0" and "obsess_over_service 0" to the root host and service templates on the central server. Specific hosts and service to be sent to the customer's nagios are marked with "obsess_over_host 1" (similarly for service). In nagios, "obsessing" over a host or service means to run a script with each check. For a distributed setup, that script sends the check results to another nagios server (usually via send_nsca).

I added passive-host and passive-service templates:

define host {
                name passive-host
                use linux-server
                active_checks_enabled 0
                notifications_enabled 1
                freshness_threshold 3600
                check_freshness 1
                obsess_over_host 0
                register 0
}
define service {
                name passive-service
                use generic-service
                obsess_over_service 0
                active_checks_enabled 0
                notifications_enabled 1
                check_freshness 1
                freshness_threshold 93600
                check_command check_dummy!3 "No passive update yet"
                register 0
}

and used these for the hosts and services to be check by the other nagios server.

Actually, originally they did not have the "obsess_over_host 0" (and for service) entries, and this led to my passive obsessive checking disorder problem. The symptom was that the log showed passive check results coming in continuously, with checks for the same host or service a second apart, not every 5 minutes as configured. I got frustrated and stayed up late, and finally after sleeping on it realized the problem. A passive check triggers the nagios "obsessive compulsive" behaviour the same as an active check. And this is actually a feature, because you might want to relay the passive checks on to yet another nagios server. I just need to turn off obsessing for the passive hosts and services to prevent a feedback loop between the systems.

top

"Green" drives fubar servers

CustomDesigned CustomDesigned writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Laptop hard drives have long come with power saving features. This makes sense for laptops, which are generally single user systems. I just had the misfortune of installing a pair of "green" WD5000AADS-00M2B0 drives in a server. I soon noticed the problem of rapidly rising Load_cycle_count acknowledged at the WDC Faq.

The fundamental problem with these "green" drives is that they assume a single user system. This was an OK assumption for laptops, but it is rather annoying for a desktop drive. I suppose a desktop can be single user, but I guess we have carefully buy "server" drives instead of "desktop" drives now. Just like you have to buy a "server" desktop to get ECC. While the WDC suggestions to tune logging and setting laptop_mode for linux (which they don't mention) can produce periods of inactivity for a single user long enough to be compatible with "IntelliPower", they are ineffective on a server with multiple virtual machines, or on a SAN server, with many clients, or even on a busy email server.

For laptop drives, power saving could be disabled on linux via "hdparm -B 255". This doesn't work for the new "green" desktop drives. The inactivity timer of this model seems to be set at 8 seconds, so I wrote a simple C program to read a sector from each drive every 8 seconds in O_DIRECT mode (to bypass caching). WDC provides a DOS utility to adjust the inactivity timer - setting a very high value effectively disables it. Unfortunately, these drives were in the field before I noticed the problem.

top

Obstack and embedded allocation

CustomDesigned CustomDesigned writes  |  more than 8 years ago The old libg++ library had a class called Obstack, which implemented multiple LIFO storage arenas. I have found it invaluable, and brought it forward into the STL age.

top

CustomDesigned CustomDesigned writes  |  more than 10 years ago A lady at my church who works professionally with ADD/ADHD kids reports that she has found caffeine with no sugar to work as well as more expensive drugs in some (many) cases. It is certainly safer and worth a try when you get a chance. No soda - unsweetened tea or coffee. Aspartame often has its own side effects. I will ask her about dose if you are interested.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>