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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

Michael Meissner Remember film cameras (478 comments)

Not all cameras need electronics, so any device that tries to make current digital cameras not take a picture can be subverted. You can record images on silver nitrate (i.e. film) with a purely mechanical camera. If you take time to learn it, you can even learn appropriate settings to use without using a photo meter of any kind. When you are in the darkroom developing the images, you can shorten or lengthen the time if your exposure was a bit off. The execution of murderess Ruth Snyder was captured with the aid of a miniature plate camera custom-strapped to the ankle of Tom Howard, a Chicago Tribune photographer working in cooperation with the Tribune-owned New York Daily News.

about 7 months ago

Giving GNOME 3 a GNOME 2 Look

Michael Meissner Gnome3 is only part of my problem (181 comments)

Right now, I have 3 systems. An aging dual core Dell D620 laptop with Intel graphics, a new dual core Lenovo E430 laptop with i3 chip and Intel graphics meant to replace the Dell, and a HP Pavilion p7-1233w Fusion A8-5500 Quad-Core 3.2GHz with builtin Radeon graphics that replaced 2 other desktops that went belly up.

The Dell is stuck at Fedora 14. Anything newer brings in gnome3 and the system crashes when a 3D operation is done. I've tried Fedora 15 and 17, and could not get it configured to avoid the crashes in the Intel graphics system. I configured to use the fallback system, but something isn't right, and it still crashes. So I've kept it locked at Fedora 14.

I could run Gnome3 on the HP, and I hated it. I don't want windows bouncing around, I want to have 8 workspaces that I get to with keyboard shotcuts, I want focus to automatically turned on as I move the mouse over the window without clicking, I want to have static panels with drawers that I can specify where each thing goes. I eventually turned on the fallback gnome mode, and it allowed me to configure many of the things I use all of the time in Gnome2, but there are still lots of things I can't figure out how to do with the time I spent looking at the documentation. I played with Mate under Fedora 17, and I wasn't happy with it. While gnome fallback mode is a pale imatation of gnome2, eventually I will want the stuff I've been accustomed to having in my desktop for the past 10 years or so. I have the commands and shortcuts burned into my finger tips.

I've been trying off and on to get Fedora 18 installed on the Lenovo, and every so often the screen gets garbage on it, and the system hangs. Because of gnome3, this time I went with XFCE, and while it doesn't have everything I had in gnome2, it had enough that I could tolerate it for the time being. I have tried all of the BIOS configuration options, tried it with/without the Intel video driver, but I'm giving up on Fedora. Instead, I plan on installing Centos 6.4 (essentially RHEL 6) using the basic video driver. I had this working at one point, but decided to give Fedora one more try. Before buying the laptop, I did check around and did not find people with the kinds of problems I've been having with it. I really, really hope I don't have to load my Windows 7 OS that came with the laptop and run Linux as a virtual machine.

about a year ago

Are Lenovo's ThinkPads Getting Worse?

Michael Meissner I just bought an E-430 (271 comments)

FWIW, I've used a T61p and then a W510/W520 at work. Granted the dual graphics card on the recent W machines is a pain, but once I got past the installation phase, I don't have to worry about it, as I don't run eye-candy that needs all of the 3D stuff. I just pulled the trigger on an E430 for a personal laptop to replace an aging Dell D620. Note, in general, I don't use the system as a laptop but more of a desktop replacement with external monitor, keyboard, and mous, but there are times when I do travel with the system. For traveling, I found I prefer dealing with a 14" screen over a 15.4" screen, let alone a 17" screen. I also wanted the Windows that came pre-installed be Windows 7 instead of 8 for the few times I need to deal with Windows, but have the system with a new enough processor that KVM would work well in the system. I did avoid most of the consumer end of the line when looking at Lenovos and kept more to the business end of things. Hopefully the Edge part of thinkpads is a reasonable machine.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Video Monitors For Areas That Are Off the Grid?

Michael Meissner Re:Do you have a sign? (340 comments)

Yes, I was thinking of Alice's restaurant also.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

Michael Meissner Re:IBM1130 FORTRAN, APL, Assembly (632 comments)

My high school got an IBM 1130 for the fall of 1971 and offered 2 courses: 1) Computer and 2) Advanced Computer. We had 3 card punch machines in the same room. In the first class we learned FORTRAN 4 and APL.

Was your high school Baltimore Polytechnic Institute? It sounds like the exact same setup and time-frame that I had. I went to BPI in 1971-1973 before moving to Alexandria Minnesota where I graduated in 1975. At this stage, I unfortunately don't remember much about it, nor anybody in the classes, but we may have been classmates.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Cell Phone Carrier In the US?

Michael Meissner Re:True (375 comments)

I would have to agree. It also doesn't hurt that you can tether on their network for free, and there's really not a whole hell of a lot they can do about it.

If you are talking about t-mobile, that used to be true with my LG Optimus T phone (and various Nokia non-smartphones before that), but I just upgraded to a Galaxy S II, and they now hit me with a $5/month tethering fee.

about 2 years ago

Fedora 18 To Feature the GNOME2 Fork MATE

Michael Meissner Re:Supporting older computers (202 comments)

If you're literally doing update/upgrade, you're taking the riskier approach. The way with the best chance of actually working is to do a complete new install, adjust settings to your liking (you kept records of what you did last time, right?), and then struggle with porting over stuff from F14 not available under F17. If you have the room, setting up for dual boot of F14/F17 gives the best chance of having everything work.

I never do an update as is. For the last 20-30 years, on most every UNIX and Linux system I've worked on, I have at least two root partitions, and a data partition. I always install a new version in a new partition, twiddle until I like it, and then change the default. At the moment, I did a minimal install, and it sort of worked, and then did yum install's for all of the various things I use, and switch over to using the home partition. For things like gnome, etc. I have an OS abstraction directory (/meissner) and my home files have symlinks to the abstraction directory. This means when I try out say Fedora 17, I clone the directory from the existing systeam, and any changes won't affect my settings for Fedora 14. The switch from grub to grub2 is an annoyance, just like when I switched from lilo to grub. But for me, the big thing is the Intel 945GM chip that my laptop uses is no longer supported for the default usage, and I have to figure out how to whack gnome3 not to use it.

more than 2 years ago

Fedora 18 To Feature the GNOME2 Fork MATE

Michael Meissner Supporting older computers (202 comments)

Given how many decent, albeit old, chips covered by the Gnome 3 blacklist - this shouldn't be a surprise.

Yes, I'm in Fedora update hell right now. My Dell D620 laptop is running Fedora 14, and I was trying to update to Fedora 17, had it hang after downloading all of the stuff I used on F14. The reason I'm trying to upgrade now, is I want to switch to Arduino 1.0 instead of 0.22, and the newer avrdude will not work on the old system.

more than 2 years ago

RIM May Need To Write Off $1 Billion In Inventory

Michael Meissner Re:HP should buy them (220 comments)

In the past perhaps, but blackberry recently caved into demands from India to allow security to tap into RIM messages. So, I don't see them as being secure any more.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Hobbyist-Ready LCD Touch Panel For Embedded Projects?

Michael Meissner Re:The point? (142 comments)

Ok, not too hard to find touch LCD panels online, but I wonder just what is the point of this device you are attempting to make?

I would imagine the point is the OP wants to build something him/herself.

There are so many products in just about the size you are looking for I have to wonder why not either go with one of those products, either as the final device or a basis to create the device you want out of it?

Well for one thing, building things has its own rewards. But also, a lot of times commerical products don't necessarily have the bells and whistles you want. The way I read the OP's post, he was already at the hobbiest electronics stage, and presumably wanted to advance beyond the simple blinky light stage. He/she wanted to know what was available in terms of displays.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Hobbyist-Ready LCD Touch Panel For Embedded Projects?

Michael Meissner Adruino displays (142 comments)

I am just starting to get into Arduino programming, and I see various sellers. I tend to be more interested in the 2.4 and 2.2" diagonal LCD, many of which have touch screens than the larger ones. Lets see: Adafruit has a 2.8" LCD + touchscreen for $40 (though it is on backorder); I see various ebay sellers (e4u2011, isecsv110, yyli666 are ones I've marked) have 2.4" displays + touchscreen + SD reader for $20.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos?

Michael Meissner Print permance (350 comments)

The usual place that talks about print permance is Wilhelm Research: In general, the answer for home printing is the HP or Epson pigment printers with the appropriate papers, and UV blocking. However, I would tend to think that the only way forward is to backup the digital media, and backup early, backup often. You want the photos stored on your own backups that you control, stored as standard JPG images at full resolution. You want multiple backups, spread phsyically across different media and stored in different locations. You do want to think about cloud or other remote backups, in case something like Hurricane Katrina comes through and wipes out your whole town and surrounding area. In any backup system, you want to plan for at least every 5 years of recopying files from the old media to new media, as the media evolves.

more than 2 years ago

IBM Tops "Most Patents List" For 19th Straight Year

Michael Meissner Re:Why do IBM employees patent? (47 comments)

While I am an IBM employee, I don't speak for them. That being said, for people in the technical tracks, one of the things that management looks at when making the decision to promote somebody, is what kind of patents have they done or been a part of. At the lower levels, it may not matter as much, but as you get higher in the ranks, it becomes much harder to get promoted if you don't have patents.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Inexpensive VPS Provider?

Michael Meissner Re:Dreamhost (375 comments)

I've been a dreamhost customer for about 6 years now (shared web server though, not VPS), and I've been very happy with them. One of the reasons I went with them originally was I could update my web site with ssh instead of having to use FTP. I use their host as a CVS server (through SSH), and I remember you could also set it up as a SVN server (maybe GIT by now).

more than 2 years ago

AMD To Lay Off 10% of Global Workforce

Michael Meissner AMD layoffs (224 comments)

I was laid off by AMD 3 years ago. I hope the people affected will eventually land on their feet and go on with their lives. Even three years ago, AMD was getting into the bunker mentality of just trying to survive. The trouble is they made some missteps starting with Barcelona and Bulldozer, and Intel has woken up and become much more competitive.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?

Michael Meissner Lenovo makes thinkpads now (708 comments)

IBM sold the laptop business to Lenovo a few years ago. I am currently moving from a Thinkpad T61 to a Thinkpad W520, and currently only the integrated screen drivers work for me out of the box, which means I can't plug in my external monitor.

more than 2 years ago

Jumentum Introduces a Single-Chip Linux System

Michael Meissner Re:PAL/NTSC? (76 comments)

For use in the field you probably want a small screen. I use a $40 MP4 player (JXD 969) that takes video input to provide remote viewing for my digital camera. Sure the resolution is only QVGA (320x240), that is what my camera's A/V output produces. Sure maybe in a few years, these devices will go away, but it is likely the system mentioned in the OP will also be enhanced, or their will be new systems.

more than 2 years ago

Is the Rise of Wearable Electronics Finally Here?

Michael Meissner Re:HMDs (98 comments)

That's why having a standard replaceable battery is important. So many of these devices either have batteries that are soldered in, or are unique to the manufacturer and will be hard to come by when either the manufacturer goes out of business or makes the next generation of new shiny that uses a different battery type. The JXD 696 that I mentioned earlier for instance takes a Nokia 5C battery that is very common (my previous cell phone in fact used it). Unfortunately, it looks like the newer generation of JXD portable music/video players now have a soldered in battery.

On the other hand, 5v (usb) charging is pretty common, and you can get cell phone recharger batteries fairly cheaply, and just carry a few for use during the day, and recharge at night (assuming you have power at night). The Energizer Energi to Go is one such unit. There are 9v and 12v power packs as well if your unit needs more juice.

more than 3 years ago


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