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Worst Design Ever? Plastic Clamshell Packaging

Rick17JJ Re:It's not the packaging, it's the seal (398 comments)

The knobs and levers of our old 1971 Volvo were very well laid out ergonomically. I could easily find and operate any of the controls, by feel, without taking my eyes of the road. The knobs were all large enough for someone wearing winter gloves to easily operate. The knobs and levers typically provide non-visual feedback with clicks or the sound of a fan, or the feel of moving parts.

By comparison, my 1992 GMC Sierra pickup truck has a collection of buttons all grouped together in one small area of the dash. To adjust the heating or cooling temperature, I need to find and then hold down the appropriate button for several seconds, while watching the temperature setting slowly scroll across the small display. While holding that button, I need to look back and forth several times, between the small display and the road. Unlike the old Volvo, there is no feedback in the form of sound or how the controls feel.

When I occasionally find myself having to drive a much newer car or truck, their controls are so complex and confusing, that even the controls on my old 1992 pickup truck seem simple and easy to use by comparison.

about 2 years ago

BSA Claims Half of PC Users Are Pirates

Rick17JJ Re:I use Linux (585 comments)

I use Linux and other free software such as LibreOffice, Firefox, GIMP, Gramps, Recoll, Mirage, and various other free programs. Like you, I do not have any need for pirated software. I use the Synaptic package manager to easily download and install whatever free programs I want, directly from the official Ubuntu repositories.

Free programs such as those, are properly licensed under one of several free software licenses such as the GPL, LGPL, MPL, or some other similar license.

I have also purchased and installed the Linux versions of a couple of commercial programs, such as Autopano Giga. But other than those two exceptions, I do not use commercial software on this computer.

It gives me the warm fuzzies, knowing that almost all of the software I use, is properly licensed under various free software licenses such as the GPL, LGPL, or the MPL. I do not need to worry about what companies such as Microsoft or the Business Software Alliance (BSA) think. Fuck them, and their annoying attitude.

more than 2 years ago

Gimp 2.8 Finally Released

Rick17JJ Re:The Name (737 comments)

Several years ago, a husband once brought his handicapped wife to a Linux users group meeting. Another women in the group briefly said something about the GIMP. The handicapped older woman than angrily demanded that her husband take her home at once. She incorrectly thought the other younger woman had disparagingly referred to her as being a gimp.

When I was in high school, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a couple of guys I knew used the word gimp as slang for a handicapped person. I have not heard the word used since then.

For those who have not heard the word gimp before, here is a link to a short article that uses the word several times:

more than 2 years ago

Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off

Rick17JJ Re:Yep, it's all about the apps (1264 comments)

On my desktop computer at home, Linux has been meeting my needs quite satisfactorily for a number of years now. Like you, I do not need any commercial, non-Linux programs such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, or some game. Instead, various free open-source programs, such as LibreOffice, Gimp, Gramps, Firefox, and others, meet my needs just fine. At home, I do not care what the de facto industry standard programs are.

I no longer feel the need to dual-boot between Linux and Windows, so on this computer and several previous computers, have never had Windows installed. I have Kubuntu Linux installed instead.

One not so well known commercial program that I have purchased and installed is the Linux version of the Autopano Giga image-stitching program. I use it for splicing photos together.

The needs of many business users and home users, may be different than mine, but for my needs, I prefer Linux.

more than 2 years ago

Study Finds 1 in 10 Used Hard Drives Contains Old Personal Data

Rick17JJ Re:Whoopdie-doo (111 comments)

I could start by inserting the free Darik’s Boot and Nuke self booting CD, and wiping then hard drive. Then just to be extra thorough, I could shoot it several times with my .357 magnum. After that, I could take it back home and drop it off of a nearby hundred foot high cliff a couple of times. That should be more than adequate.

As BluBrick mentions, there are various alternatives to using a gun. After wiping the hard drive with Darik's boot and Nuke, I suppose I could just whack it repeatedly with the pointed end of our thick, heavy, 7 foot long steel digging bar, that I occasionally use for prying loose large rocks when digging by hand. The long, heavy steel bar, is an alternative to using a pick, when inserted into a crack, and prying loose large rocks.

A few blows with a sledge hammer would probably also smash the hard drive adequately.

Here is the link for getting the free Darik's Boot and Nuke self booting CD:

more than 2 years ago

Most Game Console Power Draw Comes From Time Spent Idling

Rick17JJ Re:My desktop computer uses about half as much pow (249 comments)

When I did the above post, I had not yet noticed where it said that the consoles got better with later revisions. So, it sounds like they probably are not as much different from my desktop computer now. When, I get a chance, I will read one or both of the linked articles to see what they have to say.

A laptop or notebook computer would probably use even less than my computer. As far as I can tell, my desktop computer does not seem to be set to go into a sleep mode. Only my flatscreen monitor clearly goes into sleep mode. However, most of the time the CPU cores are running at about half speed. My knowledge about all that is pretty limited. It is when doing something like posting on Slashdot, that my computer uses 71 W plus 38 W for the monitor.

I had to post very quickly, without reading the linked articles, before going off to do a couple of errands.

more than 2 years ago

Most Game Console Power Draw Comes From Time Spent Idling

Rick17JJ My desktop computer uses about half as much power (249 comments)

Just for comparison my desktop computer is drawing 71 Watts right now, with the flatscreen monitor drawing an additional 38 Watts. The monitor eventually drops down to using about 1 Watt when it is in the sleep mode. At the moment I have my computer plugged into a Kill-A-Watt meter. I have occasionally had the monitor also plugged into a Kill-A-Watt meter.

I have an Intel i7 processor and am using Kubuntu Linux on this desktop computer. Of course, it uses more power than that I work it harder.

more than 2 years ago

Technology Makes It Harder To Save Money

Rick17JJ Re:you can save a ton of $ (320 comments)

I am not really a sports fan, and have never had much interest in having cable TV or satellite TV. Instead of cable, I use a converter box to watch a few digital antenna channels on my old mid-1990s era analog 13 inch TV set.

I have never had much interest in downloading music, and have never done so.

I do own a cell phone, but rarely ever use it. I do not use any extra features such as text messaging.

I now finally have a DSL connection, but up until about 5 years ago, all I had was 26.4k dial-up. I have never used social media. I do occasionally buy and download an occasional e-book for my Kindle. I use Linux and other open source software on my home computer, which is free. I do not spend much on software.

I have continued to have steady secure employment over the last several decades, so I could afford to have cable TV, and to download music, if I really wanted it. But, I am just not interested in having either.

more than 2 years ago

Expect Mandatory 'Big Brother' Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

Rick17JJ Re:Your Car Likely Has A Black Box ALREADY (628 comments)

I live upstairs from where I work, so even without using my bicycle I do not use much gasoline or put many miles per year on my truck. Several grocery stores are within about 4 miles or so from home, so I do not use much gasoline driving to and from the grocery store. I also do much of my shopping at, which does not require my having to drive anywhere.

It usually takes about 25 years, to put enough miles on my car or truck to wear one out. I have been planning to have the engine on my 1992 GMC truck overhauled, whenever the engine wears out sometime in the next 10 years or so. After that, I plan to drive it for another 20 to 25 years. So, I might need to buy a new car or truck in about the year 2030 to 2040 time frame.

I have occasionally thought about possibly getting suitable racks on my bicycle (or even a bicycle trailer), so that it could carry several bags of groceries. Then, if I used my bicycle for the short trips to and from the grocery store, I would rarely ever need to drive my truck at all. In that case, I would drive so few miles per year, that I would die of old age, long before my truck ever wears out.

I am not a serious bicyclist, so I don't know if using my bicycle for grocery shopping would be practical or not. For any of those 3 grocery stores, a major portion of the route would be on the nearby dirt hiking/bicycling trails, with only one major intersection with that has stop light. If I were to do that, I am thinking that it might be best to use an inexpensive old used bicycle, which is hardly worth stealing, and then lock it up in front of the stores front window, or in front of one of their security cameras.

I am a slightly overweight middle-aged guy who could use the exercise anyway.

more than 2 years ago

Mandatory Brake-Override Proposed For All Cars

Rick17JJ Re:Just turn off the car? (911 comments)

The first two cars I had did not have power steering, which was common back then, in cars which weighed less than about 3,000 pounds. The heavier full-sized cars and trucks had more of a need have power steering, although even on them, it was sometimes an extra cost option.

A few decades ago, I used to occasionally drive an old 1959 dump truck, which did not have power steering. At about 20 MPH or above it was no problem, but at 5 mph it took a lot of muscle power using both arms. That was especially true when the truck was fully loaded.

more than 2 years ago

Mandatory Brake-Override Proposed For All Cars

Rick17JJ Re:Just turn off the car? (911 comments)

I have a 5-speed manual transmission and a clutch pedal on my old pickup truck. I have never owned a car or truck that had an automatic transmission.

I prefer driving a stick shift except in heavy slow stop and go traffic. But, we do not get that kind of traffic in the smaller city in Northern Arizona where I live, so a stick shift is what I prefer. When I have occasionally had to rent a car, I find it very boring to just press the gas pedal and go, without having to use my left foot and right hand to shift gears.

more than 2 years ago

Mandatory Brake-Override Proposed For All Cars

Rick17JJ Re:Just turn off the car? (911 comments)

I once had the power steering fail on a 1968 Jeep Wagoneer, but did not lose control. I was still able to steer, but had to use far more muscle power. I was going around some curves on a mountain road at the time. For some reason, losing the power steering was far worse than driving a vehicle which did not have power steering.

Despite not having power steering, I drove it back home and then later over to the mechanic. It was no big deal. As a teenage guy, I was strong enough be able to be able drive it without the power in the power steering. An elderly woman, probably would not have had the strength to do that.

A fan belt for the power steering had broken. Fortunately, the water pump and probably the alternator were on the other fan belt, so they were still working.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: It's World Backup Day; How Do You Back Up?

Rick17JJ External drive in my safety deposit box (304 comments)

I have a small wallet sized external drive that I keep in my safety deposit at the bank. Every couple of months, I go to the bank and switch it with my other external drive which has a more recent backup. Then I take the other external drive home. By having two external drives, I can avoid having to make an extra trip back to the bank, each time.

I also have a slightly larger sized external drive that I keep at home for doing more frequent backups. The other smaller wallet sized external drive in my safety deposit box, is my off site backup. There is always the slight chance that the external drive at home could be lost through a burglary or fire. I use a total of three different external drives for doing the regular backups on my home computer.

On my Linux desktop computer at home, I use the rsync command to regularly update the backups on each of my three external drives.

Another off site option that I have considered, is keeping an encrypted backup on an external drive at a nearby older relatives house.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Home Testing For Solar Roof Coverage?

Rick17JJ Summer to winter changes for elevation of the sun (85 comments)

The sun is actually higher in the sky during the summer than during the winter, so that what gets shaded by the trees, would vary depending upon the time of the year. For example, it is possible to design the size the roof overhang, combined with the size of the home’s windows, such sunlight enters the windows during the cold winter, but not during the hot summer. For solar panels on the roof (or ground or wherever), a similar seasonal change of the location of the shadow from the oak trees, would also occur.

The latitude where you live would also affect those calculations significantly, and would also affect the ideal angle for mounting the solar panels.

I have seen a few websites and solar books which briefly describe how to calculate some of those angles, but I am not an expert. I just have somewhat of an interest in the subject. One such somewhat similar calculation that I have seen described in a couple of solar books, is how to size a roof overhang, so that the windows are totally in the shade during the hot summer, but receiving full sunlight during the cold winter. As I recall, the homes latitude was also taken into consideration.

more than 2 years ago

You're Driving All Wrong, Says NHTSA

Rick17JJ Re:This means nothing to me! (756 comments)

My 20 year old pickup truck does not have airbags or anti-lock brakes. For the most part, I still drive the way I was taught in back in drivers-ed, in the late 1960s. However, contrary to what I was taught, I frequently do get lazy and rest my thumbs on the steering wheel spokes. That leaves my hands just barely above the 9 and 3 positions.

I hope my 20 year old truck keeps running reliably for quite a few more years. Until then, either position on the steering wheel should be OK.

I always wear my seatbelt, so I have never been concerned about not having airbags. It also helps that I am a careful driver who has never had never had an accident.

more than 2 years ago

30K WordPress Blogs Infected With the Latest Malware Scam

Rick17JJ Re:Method of infection (104 comments)

A number of years ago, I encountered a fake Microsoft security warning while using my Linux computer. It said that Microsoft had detected viruses and spyware on my computer. This was on a Linux computer that did not have any Microsoft products installed on it.

It offered to do a free online scan of my hard drive. Despite clicking on No, a progress bar appeared as it started to do a fake scan of my hard drive. After about 60 seconds, it said that it had finished scanning my drive C. It then said that several different viruses and types of spyware had been detected in both my registry and on drive C. The funny thing is that Linux does not have a registry and also does not use drive letters to designate hard drive partitions.

It listed the names of several viruses that my Linux computer was supposedly infected with. Despite knowing that the test was bogus, I looked up those virus names out of curiosity, and found they were all Windows only viruses. Their scareware ad then offered to sell me their antivirus product, to remove the viruses and spyware.

My understanding is that most desktop users of Linux, have never felt the need to use antivirus software, because Linux viruses have never been a problem.

Despite their supposedly thorough scan of my registry and drive C, they had not noticed that I was not using Windows. Has anyone bothered yet to make a Linux version of their scareware ads?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is an Acceptable Broadband Latency?

Rick17JJ Re:Latency (396 comments)

I also did the test again just now, using my Windows XP computer instead of my Linux computer. I got the same 80 ms results again with either computer.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is an Acceptable Broadband Latency?

Rick17JJ Re:Latency (396 comments)

Adding to what I just said above, says 80 ms for my connection. Their nearest test server is in Tucson, Arizona, which is about 200 miles from where I live.

Their results for pinging my computer were 80 ms. The download speed was 1.45 Mbps and upload speed was 0.47 Mbps.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is an Acceptable Broadband Latency?

Rick17JJ Re:Latency (396 comments)

I have a CenturyLink DSL connection here in Arizona. My knowledge about networking is somewhat limited, but when I ping, I get 106 ms. is only 65.7 ms, and is 116 ms.

When I ping the DNS address that is listed on the configuration page for my DSL modem, I get 57.1 ms (that test result is not included below).

At the moment the firewalls in my DSL modem and on my computer are set to not allow a response to being pinged, so I was not able to test their response time. These ping tests were done from my Linux Desktop computer, at home. I have a 1.5 Mbps/576 Kbps DSL connection from CenturyLink.

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_req=1 ttl=54 time=106 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=2 ttl=54 time=106 ms

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=57 time=65.8 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=57 time=65.7 ms

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=247 time=116 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=247 time=116 ms

more than 2 years ago

Car Hacking Concerns On the Rise

Rick17JJ Re:Thanks, fellow slashdotters! (95 comments)

I prefer the basic simplicity of the controls on many of the older vehicles. On my dad's old 1971 Volvo, I did not have to take my eyes off of the road to adjust the defroster, heater, air-conditioner, or radio. I knew where each knob and lever was, without looking, and could easily adjust them by feel.

I still drive a 20 year old pick-up truck which still runs reliably and looks like new. The controls are not as simple as the 1971 Volvo, but they are very simple compared to newer cars. My only criticism is that it has a few too many identical, closely spaced, buttons on the dash.

I do not have a GPS or On-Star. I open the door with a key. It has a 5-speed manual transmission, and I do not have power windows or power locks. The gauges are all analog. I can easily put it or out of 4 wheel drive or low range, by feel and sound, by using the lever on the floor (not buttons). The cruise control can be operated by feel, without looking.

I always wear my seatbelt, and I am not concerned about the lack of air-bags. Living in Arizona, where we do not get very much rain or snow, I am not concerned about the lack of ABS.

The AM/FM radio was unnecessarily complicated to operate while driving, so when it quit working about 15 years ago, I did not bother having it fixed. I preferred how, the radios in my two previous cars both had the far simpler old fashioned setup of just two large knobs and 5 push buttons. There was one push button for each of my favorite stations.

I have never owned a car with an automatic transmission and prefer having a stick shift. When driving an automatic, it bothers me, not having anything for my right arm and left foot to do when accelerating. It also makes driving boring when you can just press the gas peddle and the car or truck just goes.

Having just a large floor mat instead of carpeting is an advantage in the truck, because I can easily wipe away muddy footprints, with a damp cloth.

I hope to keep driving my simple old truck for many more years.

more than 2 years ago


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