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Ask Slashdot: Good Technology Conferences To Attend?

Optic7 VMworld (131 comments)

I believe I heard that VMworld is now the largest IT infrastructure conference in the world. If you are already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn stuff and meet people. If you're not already steeped in virtualization, it's a wonderful conference to learn where the IT world is moving, and in fact has largely already moved to.

about a month and a half ago

Ridley Scott to Produce Philip K Dick's The Man In the High Castle

Optic7 Re:Blade Runner's script had little to do with Rid (144 comments)

I watched a documentary about movie art direction and production design, and they had an extended segment about the art design of Blade Runner, interviewing the people involved, etc. One thing that they said that was unusual about the film, and hard to replicate, is that there was some kind of a strike (perhaps writer's guild) around the time that they were pre-producing the film, so they had a much larger amount of time to design and plan the look of the movie than the usual, so they really went to town on it. I think the look of the film shows the extra attention to detail that was given.

about 2 months ago

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

Optic7 Re:Vote (200 comments)

You believe in Lord Vader, don't you?

about 2 months ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Optic7 Did religion or suppression of it have any role? (619 comments)

What an interesting coincidence. I was having a conversation with my dad this last weekend about just this subject. He proposed his theory that people in, for example, countries like Russia and China were less ethical than in other countries because of the purging of religion that happened in those two examples, within recent history. This surprised me because he's a fairly liberal-thinking person, although he has become more religious as he gets older. I think of myself as agnostic for the most part, but after giving it some thought, I wonder if he might have a point.

What do you think? Did the suppression of religion in those countries reduce the level of ethics? Can ethics effectively spread and be maintained among a large population without a broad system of organized religion?

about 2 months ago

Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

Optic7 Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

You forgot to add promoting comprehensive, real-world sex education from an early age, if you don't like abortions.

Although it has nothing to do with religion in general, but more with culture and what specific sub-type of religion people follow. Case in point being Scandinavian countries which are ostensibly Christian, but have the type of sex education I mentioned, a much healthier and natural attitude towards sex, and a much lower incidence of unwanted pregnancies as a result of both.

about 3 months ago

FTC Says T-Mobile Made Hundreds of Millions From Bogus SMS Charges

Optic7 Re:T-Mobile's Reponse (110 comments)

I had almost exactly the same experience as you did: $10 charges showed up on my t-mobile bill from some random bogus premium service. I called them up, they refunded me, and offered to put a block on those types of premium services on my account, which I accepted. Problem solved for me, but I feel bad for anyone who doesn't or didn't review their mobile phone bills. I would imagine that other carriers are subject to the same "premium" text service scams, by the way.

about 3 months ago

Why Snowden Did Right

Optic7 Re:One more blowout (348 comments)

Jack Devine is the subject of the sentence, so the article is saying that Aldrich Ames was Devine's former colleague, not Snowden's:

Jack Devine, a former CIA director of operations, said he did not believe Snowden had been a spy, but that he shared many psychological characteristics of American traitors such as his former colleague Aldrich Ames, who spent years betraying secrets to Russia and is now serving life in prison.

about 4 months ago

eBay Compromised

Optic7 Re:I've had it with these motherfucking breaches! (193 comments)

Thanks for the idea, and I'll check if my bank offers something similar for my credit card. But I'm going to stick with credit cards from now on. I realize now that there's a reason why banks seem to try to push us to use debit cards every change they get.

Here's an article describing why:

I say screw them, at least until they pull their heads out of their asses and give us secure cards (chip and pin).

about 4 months ago

eBay Compromised

Optic7 I've had it with these motherfucking breaches! (193 comments)

I'm getting so tired of these. It seems like every few months now I'm getting affected by one. Last year my bank replaced my debit card three times (Adobe breach, Target breach, and who knows what the third one was)! Consequently, I'm no longer using my debit card as a debit card, but only at ATMs. I use my credit card for any card-based purchases now. But it doesn't stop. You name it: zappos breach, dropbox breach, a breach at an old community college I attended years ago, and probably others that I've forgotten about in the last year or two. Fuck me running.

By the way, the stories about this breach claim that no financial data was compromised. That's fine, except that the data that was compromised may be used for identity theft: your name, date of birth, and street address. I'm pretty much getting ready to use the option that the credit reporting agencies offer to lock down my credit so that no one can obtain credit in my name without me unlocking it. It's a pain, but I don't think it's a choice anymore at the rate these breaches are going.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

Optic7 Re:Age (466 comments)

That's reassuring. Thanks for the reply!

about 4 months ago

Adobe Creative Cloud Services Offline (Again?)

Optic7 Re:NO Photoshop for you! (164 comments)

Except you just happened to be come up for renewal on the authentication right now. Then you are screwed. How many thousands of clients will that probably be?

about 4 months ago

Orca Identified As 103 Years Old

Optic7 Re:Want to swim with dolphins? Better do it now. (194 comments)

I'm taking my wife on vacation to a resort. She has always wanted to swim with dolphins, and given the recent hate mongering about captive cetaceans I anticipate it the opportunity will be lost forever in the US within 15 years. So, we definitely made this a must-do activity on this trip. It's unfortunate our kids won't have the same opportunities.

Be careful what you wish for. I'm guessing that you haven't seen one of the many videos of dolphins aggressively trying to have sex with humans? Some people even call it dolphin rape.
Here's one of those videos (for real, not a rickroll): (also look at the other related videos on that page of similar dolphin activities. I, for one, would not want to take my wife or any kids to swim with them.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

Optic7 Re:Age (466 comments)

That's really interesting. I've thought about doing the same if I were to find myself looking for a job, as I have premature grey hair. It's nice to know that it has the effect I guessed it might have. My question though is what happens after you get the job and you decide not to keep your hair dyed, or if your roots become noticeable? Has that happened to you, and did you get any weird looks or changes in attitude or treatment from co-workers or bosses?

about 4 months ago

The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

Optic7 Re:I'm assuming here... (769 comments)

I think it's well established now through various supreme court decisions that the only way left to enact real campaign contribution reform in the USA is through a constitutional amendment. Support one of the various organizations that are pushing for that:


Lots more links on how to address all facets of the problem here:

about 5 months ago

Update on the March of Progress: How Slashdot's New Look Is Shaping Up

Optic7 Agreed (237 comments)

I also want to add my vote against this design. I'm not a web designer, so can't give detailed suggestions about the design, but I agree with what tooyoung described above and with what valdrax described below, along with a few others. I think it boils down to:

Too much white space - use the screen as much as possible for the relevant information.
Not enough information - where is all the info on replies, post numbers, relationship, uid number, etc?
Loss of functionality - how do I open an entire branch of a thread to read? How do I even change my account settings?

Achievements? Really? Is this an xbox fansite now?

Sorry, but the new design is pretty terrible.

PS: Why does my post lose the blank lines I added between paragraphs?

about 8 months ago

Federal Court Kills Net Neutrality, Says FCC Lacks Authority.

Optic7 Re:See what happens when leftists are in Charge? (383 comments)

Sorry, but I have to add one more vote for this "cause" of the crisis being right-wing propaganda.

The requirement to make loans to low-income people had little to do with how the sub-prime crisis went down. Instead it was mostly caused by greed in just about every sector. Here are a couple of links with a lot more details: - a great radio documentary, including first hand accounts of what was happening on the ground (i.e. people making money tons of money) when the whole bubble exploded. - all the details you could want.

about 8 months ago

Patent Troll Bill Clears House With Huge Majority

Optic7 Re:there's got to be a catch (138 comments)

I agree with a lot of what you say, but in the interest of correcting a misconception for those with short memories, Google created AdSense LOOONG before they bought DoubleClick (apparently 2003 vs. 2007). In fact, the US and EU governments had to analyze and approve the deal for fear of a monopoly, since Google was already an advertising behemoth (IIRC, the number one internet advertising company) by the time they became interested in DoubleClick. In other words, DoubleClick would just serve as icing on their AdSense advertising cake.

about 10 months ago

Would-Be Tesla Owners Jump Through Hoops To Skirt Wacky Texas Rules

Optic7 Isn't this whole thing against Texas law? (470 comments)

They have a "free enterprise and antitrust act" in their state's laws that appears to me to cover exactly this kind of situation:

Sec. 15.04. PURPOSE AND CONSTRUCTION. The purpose of this Act is to maintain and promote economic competition in trade and commerce occurring wholly or partly within the State of Texas and to provide the benefits of that competition to consumers in the state. The provisions of this Act shall be construed to accomplish this purpose and shall be construed in harmony with federal judicial interpretations of comparable federal antitrust statutes to the extent consistent with this purpose.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: As a Programmer/Geek, Should I Learn Business?

Optic7 Good idea for anyone who works - learn on your own (167 comments)

Learning about business is probably a good idea for anyone who works for a living, and possibly others.

I decided to this recently and went back and forth with the idea of going for an MBA, but realized that the return on my investment of money and time to get it would not be worth it, so I decided to learn on my own.

The first book that I'm reading for that purpose, and I'm glad that it is, is "The Personal MBA: Master The Art of Business" by Josh Kaufman. This has been excellent so far, giving a concise introduction from scratch to what seems to me like a complete A to Z of business topics, and providing pointers to where to learn more. The writing is clear, and I have actually been enjoying reading it.

After reading that, you can branch out into more specialized books on topics about which you would like to learn more. The author of the book above has read thousands of books on business and other related topics and points you to the ones that he believes are worth your time.

Good luck!

about a year ago

Glenn Greenwald Leaves the Guardian To Start His Own Site

Optic7 IT'S A TRAP! (94 comments)

Hmmm... this once in a lifetime journalistic opportunity wouldn't happen to require him to take a quick little trip to the US or to some other US-associated (most of the developed world) country, would it? I'm thinking of the "you've won a prize!" traps that the police sets up once in a while to trap people that have arrest warrants.

about a year ago



Ask Slashdot: How to get old commercial software to be open-sourced?

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "Many gamers have probably dreamed about the idea of an old favorite game or other no longer supported or developed commercial software being converted to an open-source license so that it could be updated to add new features, support new hardware, other operating systems, etc. However, this type of change of license seems exceedingly rare, unless the copyright holder itself decides on its own that it would be beneficial. The only examples I could think of or was able to find in a brief internet search were Blender (3D animation software that had its source code bought from creditors after a crowd-funding campaign) and Warzone 2100 (Game that had its source code released after a successful petition). With those two examples of different strategies in mind, have any of you ever participated in any efforts of this kind, and what did you learn from it that may be useful to someone else attempting the same thing? Even if you have not participated, do you have any suggestions or ideas that may be useful to such an effort?"

Verizon and Cable Cos Enter Deal That May Freeze C

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "A series of three articles at GigaOm describes an ominous telecommunications business deal that is taking place which will likely have a large impact on the future of competition in both the wireless and broadband markets in the United States:

"Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are selling off the spectrum remnants of their stillborn wireless venture, SpectrumCo, to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion. The deal would allow Verizon to double-up on its LTE network — in some regions triple up — creating huge overhead for future mobile broadband growth."

For a variety of reasons the government will be less likely to attempt to block this deal, in contrast with how they have handled AT&T's $39 Billion bid to buy T-Mobile, even though the deal, which includes secret agreements among the companies involved, shows signs that it will virtually eliminate any new or real competition for internet access in the US:

"This is the crystalline moment when the division of the marketplace becomes completely clear, even to people who haven't been paying attention. VZ and ATT get wireless; cable gets wires; consumers are stuck. Wireless, like wired high-speed access already wholly dominated by the cable companies, is a natural monopoly service at this point, with incredibly high barriers to entry — so high that even current players, like T-Mo, are having trouble making it. Clearwire [WiMax] has nowhere to go at this point. So we have the worst of all worlds: no competition, and no regulatory oversight.""

Link to Original Source

Gel Found to Reduce AIDS Risk in Women

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "A medical trial in South Africa has found that a gel containing an antiretroviral drug has significantly reduced the risk of women contracting HIV up to 54% compared to placebo depending on how closely the women followed the protocol. The best article about it that I have found so far has been at the Washington Post:

"The material came packed in syringe-like applicators. A woman was instructed to inject the gel into her vagina no more than 12 hours before intercourse and again within 12 hours afterward (but with no more than two applications in a 24-hour period). Each woman got a monthly AIDS test, and the researchers collected used and unused applicators to verify the women's reports of whether they were using them.

At the end of 2 1/2 years, there were 98 infections in the 889 women. The HIV incidence, measured as the number of new infections for every 100 "women years" in the study, was 5.6 in the volunteers using the tenofovir gel and 9.1 in those with the placebo gel.

That amounted to a prevention effectiveness of 39 percent. Among women who said they used the gel for at least 80 percent of episodes of intercourse, the effectiveness was 54 percent.""

Link to Original Source

Major Voter Protection Effort Launched For 2008

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "With early voting,registration and absentee deadlines looming, Election Protection launched its 2008 general election efforts today. The nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, representing more than 100 organizations and the full spectrum of American citizens, will undertake the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken to empower voters to make sure their vote counts this November 4.

They will be needing volunteers, so here's a chance for all Slashdotters to participate and help us all have a smoother election this time around. If you would like to know more about the organization, the New York Times recently wrote about them (linked through Google in order to avoid the New York Times login)."

Link to Original Source

Transitioning From Windows Admin To Linux Admin?

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "I've been a Windows IT guy for many years, doing my fair bit of systems and network admin, deskside support, etc. I find myself increasingly tired and bored with with the Windows IT world so have been looking for a change. I looked at Cisco and even got my CCNA but find the pure networking stuff kind of dull as well. I've had a long-time interest in Unix and Linux, but never did much about it other than play with it occasionally and install a few different distros, and nothing much beyond that. Now I'm seriously thinking about jumping into Linux admin work with both feet and seeing what happens.

My question is what do you think is the best way to make such a transition? I'm currently studying for the LPI certification, and also plan on doing LFS based on recommendations I've read from fellow Slashdotters. But would anyone hire me as even a junior Linux admin without having any real-world business experience with it? What are some things that would increase my chances of that happening? Is there anything else, any other avenues that I'm not thinking of?

How the heck do you get started in a Linux admin career?"

Gnucash 2.2.0 released, now stable for windows

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "I just happened to visit Gnucash's site to download it and noticed that they have just released the new stable version, 2.2.0, today. This also marks the first stable Gnucash release for Windows. It seems that the Windows port is also the main feature of this new release. If you are not familiar with Gnucash, it is an open source alternative to Quicken and Microsoft Money. Visit their website to read more, or head straight for the downloads."
Link to Original Source

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "NPR reports that a new study by Harvard and the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that nutrition studies funded by food companies are almost eight times more likely to reach a conclusion beneficial to the food companies than similar, independently funded studies. New Scientist has also done a story on this, if you prefer to read instead of listen to the NPR story."

Optic7 Optic7 writes  |  about 8 years ago

Optic7 (688717) writes "Given the interest garnered here by stories about classic adventure games, Slashdot readers are sure to be interested to hear that 1up is reporting that Sierra is about to release compilations of all of their famous and classic adventure games series either this Friday or Monday. The series compilations to be released include: King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry.

I hope they don't forget to do this for Quest for Glory as well."


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