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Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

Fencepost Shopping list appliance (110 comments)

Ignoring all the people advocating A) Linux or B) Trash 'em you can turn them into decent little shopping list gadgets for people if they have decent battery life still. Avoid anything that requires Internet or other connections at all - just turn off any wireless, etc. becasue you may not have the battery for it anyway and you certainly don't have the software/updates.

HandyShopper was a great program for Palm and Windows Mobile back in the day, is free and still available: http://chrisant.home.comcast.net/~chrisant/hs3/hs3.htm

It's most useful for people who shop at multiple stores, because one of the useful features is tracking pricing for the same item across stores and showing you when it's cheaper elsewhere.

5 days ago
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Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure

Fencepost If only the licenses were easier to get.... (461 comments)

If they were easier to get I'd happily cough up the $75 to become an officially licensed exotic dancer, but the county referenced when I first saw this story a few days ago looked like it'd be a pain unless you were actually an employee of one of the businesses.

Of course, if I did this my wife might actually demand that I dance for her and that could just be ugly all around. I am not a man built for a stripper pole.

about a month ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

Plenty of people care, but the available actions aren't something they're willing to do. IIRC, when Obama tried to close it, the Republicans basically required that there could be NO money spent by the military on ANY activities related to moving the prisoners at Guantanamo into US prisons, or to shut down the base itself.

Obama might be able to do something along the lines of finding another country (or non-governmental organization/NGO?) and inviting them to join in the management of Gitmo, then simply not replace any troops whose tours of duty expired. However, that would not be a terribly quick process, it would undoubtedly be stopped by Republicans threatening to shut down all military spending again, and it would then leave whoever the third-party was effectively in charge of the base, at which point they could simply release all of the prisoners (including the Super-Terrorists too dangerous for US Supermax prisons) if they so desired.

And as a side effect it would completely guarantee (rather than 95% confidence) that absolutely *nothing* could be accomplished during the remainder of his presidency.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

You and towermac have both been asserting that Obama has been talking about/said he would do an amnesty, and yet when asked neither of you has provided any kind of citation.

This marks you as unreliable trolls repeating unverified claims, unless of course you'd like to actually, oh, *provide* some citations.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

By doing so he put the burden of keeping it open squarely on the Republicans. It's a battle I believe he could win, but the cost of doing so would be too high - the remaining option for closing it would be to simply abandon it, presumably with some third party not controlled by Congress available to handle the release of the prisoners since Congress mandated that they couldn't be transferred to prisons within the US. It would be a solution nobody would find acceptable.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

Actually I have to give credit to Fox here, looks like that court case reference I made is as badly distorted from reality as the McDonald's coffee case mentions usually are. Mea culpa.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

I will repeat my basic request from elsewhere: please provide me with a citation from a reputable source. Breitbart.com, rushlimbaugh.com and any organization that has argued in court that they aren't a "news" company but an infotainment company (e.g. Fox News) are not "reputable" without further citations.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

You're quite right, he didn't say Fox, and I should have included breitbart.com and rushlimbaugh.com in my list. There seems to be little basis for the claim, just as there was little basis for it when it went around in 2010 and 2012.

I regard it as being like Obama's clear desire to implement incredibly strong gun control and take away all weapons and ammo, as evidenced by his deceptively avoiding anything related to gun control.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re: the filibuster (401 comments)

I'll note that the Dems changed the rules so you don't need the 60 votes to override for TWO things: A) Judicial nominations below the Supreme Court level and B) Executive nominations below the cabinet level and in no other situations.

There were no changes to the filibuster for legislation (though personally I'd have loved to see it change from 60 votes to stop debate over to 40 votes to continue debate), and Mitch McConnell has indicated in the past that he doesn't see changing that should he become Majority Leader this fall.

As for the filibuster, I'd love to see it change just on the basis of "If you say you want to continue debate, don't say that then leave town." I'm fine with continuing "debate" (not that they ever actually debate the items they're delaying/killing), but by god if you're going to do it you'd better care enough to actually stick around.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

I forgot to mention why this doesn't even pass the sniff test - Using what authority?

(gratuitous insult removed) even if Obama wanted to "grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the US," he has no legal authority to do so. The administration does have the ability to change where enforcement is happening, which is why there's so much dispute over Obama's policies on deportations - the numbers are up, but the enforcement has in many cases shifted to border enforcement, recent immigrants and those convicted of (charged with?) crimes more than long-term residents.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

So can you document this? Anything that starts with "Fox News tells me that Obama is thinking about...." is immediately suspect, because honestly A) who in the administration would be talking much with Fox and B) why would you believe anything that Fox talking heads tell you without independently verifying it?

I don't know why you're so upset anyway, Fox News told me that Mitch McConnell is thinking about cheating on his wife with that sexy young tortoise at the DC zoo, and Chris Christie is thinking about having a stromboli.

about a month and a half ago
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

Fencepost Re:News For Nerds? (401 comments)

Yeah, thos morans!

Seriously, can you actually elaborate in anything more intelligible than regurgitated Alex Jones or Glenn Beck talking points? Perhaps something with anything verifiable behind it?

about a month and a half ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

Fencepost Re:Jamming unlinced spectrum is illegal? (278 comments)

So would you have had a problem with someone irritated by this (say, a group of CS students, or perhaps someone on campus leasing facilities for a conference) firing up something to spam all of your connections with deauth packets? Because clearly your conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with doing so.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

Fencepost Re:Mikrotik (238 comments)

We've started putting Mikrotik routers in some small offices as replacements for older Linksys/Cisco VPN routers, and while they're powerful I'd definitely dispute the "easy to use" for anyone not a networking pro.

Some of the issue is that there are so many things you can change, unless you're very knowledgeable you're not going to know what to do (or refrain from doing) in a bunch of areas. You can go down the path of "I have a recipe and I will follow it exactly!" and basically copy/paste commands while changing passwords, but there are how-to articles that go back 6+ years and multiple versions, and many of them no longer apply. Setting up remote user VPN connections is also kind of a pain, in that you have to go to a half dozen different areas to configure different bits and pieces. Much of that setup is one-time even if you're setting up a bunch of remote users, but if you're only setting up one, then you still have to do all of it.

For someone wanting a home router that he can OpenVPN into (for road warrior use from coffee shops), I'd recommend getting something you can run OpenWRT on and just using that (get plenty of flash); I'm sure Tomato and DD-WRT are also decent choices, I just moved away from DD-WRT because I felt like there was a little too much "magic" going into it. I don't want to have to worry about whether I'm running the Brainslayer or EKO branch or whether I'm running build 12345 or have to roll back to 12332 because it's more stable/doesn't brick routers/whatever any more than I want to water-cool a Celeron and put a fart-can tailpipe on it.

about 3 months ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

Fencepost SEC filing: "Millions lost. No Details. Ask NSA." (223 comments)

I wonder how charges like that could be reported on legally-required documents for publicly traded companies.

"USA Federal gov't fines: $10M*

* Details not available. Ask the NSA, maybe they'll tell you."

about 3 months ago
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How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi?

Fencepost 10, more than I expected (260 comments)

But not all of them are connected at the same time.

2 phones
2 tablets
2 Chumbies (yes, still)
1 desktop PC
3 ThinkPads, one in daily use, one being prepped to ship off to my father, one currently only occasional use. I'll get another back from my dad after he switches over to the new one - he's using a loaner from me right now.

Also connected are a second desktop PC, a Linux desktop/backup server, and a printer/multifunction.

Christ, no wonder the local power utility tells me my electricity usage is 25% higher than the average for the neighborhood.

about 4 months ago
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Kolab.org Groupware 3.3 Release Adds Tags, Notes, and Dozens of Other Features

Fencepost For those not familiar with it.... (26 comments)

Kolab is a "groupware" server bundle, including an IMAP based mail system, calendaring, etc. The UI is Roundcube, a browser-based mail client (PHP on backend, lots of AJAX in the browser). Some of what you're seeing here is enhancements and extensions to Roundcube to bring it closer to the capabilities of a "fat" mail/groupware client.

If you need in-house email/groupware on a budget, it's not a bad choice - it's actively developed and hasn't had some of the drama and ownership shuffles of similar products such as Zimbra and Scalix. My (possibly incorrect) understanding is that Kolab is an open source project/product with a supported enterprise version available rather than an enterprise product with a "community" open source version available.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Fencepost Training videos? (199 comments)

If writing (or getting people to write) user documentation is hard, perhaps you can put together good video tutorials on how to use many/most/all of the features in each module. You can even get developers to actually do the video demonstrations, because it gives them a chance to show off their cool new accomplishments. You can probably get people to do replacement narration as well, both for developers who don't do a good job narrating (language issues, accents, mush-mouth mumblers, etc.) and for alternative languages.

Put those videos up on Youtube or Vimeo, perhaps even annotate them with links to the official docs (such as they may be), with notes about features not demonstrated in that video, or with links to related training videos.

Then you can point to those videos not just for training materials, but as marketing/demo items.

about 4 months ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Fencepost Re:I believe solar thermal does benefit from scale (409 comments)

Good god, is the delta-T why my coffee keeps getting cold?!? I thought it was ice gremlins peeing in it!

I have no particular knowledge of or attachment to any particular energy storage method. Heck, if you want to use Scotsmen and inflatable sheep and can make it work, go for it. I'm very sorry I didn't mention flywheels as well, though I have to admit they always make me think of an article I read once on "spin testing to destruction" and the subsequent launching of a spin test chamber lid through multiple floors of a building and out to a parking lot. As a result of that, I'd like to add in materials fatigue as a factor you should be keeping in mind for your infinite charge cycles. I'd also be curious about the energy storage density per cubic meter of the containment vessel.

I couldn't begin to give you numbers for construction of any of these, though I imagine that air- or vacuum-insulated containment vessels for molten materials probably wouldn't be that different in cost from containment vessels for very heavy flywheels spinning at thousands of RPMs in vacuum. The details and costs of the storage medium in either case would likely be dwarfed by all of the other costs associated with building an energy generation or storage facility of any sort.

Is thermal storage inefficient? Absolutely! Are there ways to reduce that inefficiency? Absolutely! Are there possible synergies (e.g. can you combine thermal with building-size molten salt batteries)? Maybe!

If I had all the answers to what was the best energy storage option, would I be dinking around on Slashdot on Sunday afternoon?

about 4 months ago
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Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

Fencepost Re:I believe solar thermal does benefit from scale (409 comments)

Straight conversion efficiency isn't the only factor that matters by a long shot, and might not even be the most important factor. Maximum charge cycles / lifespan strikes me as important. Cost of materials. Safety. Regulatory complications. A 10% loss in efficiency is probably worth it to go from 3,000 charge cycles to 10000.

about 4 months ago

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