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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Laptop With a Keypad That Doesn't Suck

The_REAL_DZA Dell Studio 17 (300 comments)

After using a Dell laptop for work for several years, when my wife needed a laptop for school we shopped the Dell selection first and were very pleased in-store with the Studio line: 17" display, "full size" keyboard (as a developer with large hands it's not really "full size", but close enough...), good battery life, and the keypad is placed exactly where your right hand expects it to be (not a little higher, or a little lower, than the "home" row, but just right!) I inherited it as my "work" machine when she injured her knee and needed something lighter to lug around campus, and we got her a Dell notebook -- her chief complaint was the loss of the keypad! The lone (but not trivial) drawback is that there's no real "break" key on the keyboard, and for some apps Ctrl-C just doesn't cut it. As such, when working with certain apps I plug-in an external USB keyboard just to have access to a Break key. Other than that, and the ~$800 price, it's a dream machine. Oh, one more thing I just discovered quite by accident: last weekend I either hit the wrong button on the RedBox or it just screwed up and gave me a blue-ray disk instead of the standard DVD our living room player wants/needs. After trying unsuccessfully to get it to play in the living room, I tried popping it into he Studio laptop (this was before I realized it was blue-ray, or I wouldn't have even tried it...) and...surprise!! Played it just fine. Who knew?!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?

The_REAL_DZA Lock the refrigerator!! (480 comments)

Nearly all good advice so far, both those who offer encouragement to take it seriously and those who insist you must enjoy the "alternate" routine.
The one bit of advice I can think of that nobody else has hit upon was to warn you about that big metal box full of food just steps away from your new workspace. Sure, "at work" there's probably a vending machine or cafeteria nearby, or at least a coffee shop or fast-food joint right around the corner, but there you have to buy a pack of crackers or an ice cream sandwich or whatever. "At home" you have all your favorite foods, conveniently located right beside you, and you already own each and every delicious morsel! It's already yours, you bought it and brought it home for the express purpose of eating it, and if you aren't careful you can easily add a brand new "freshman 15" every few weeks or so.

Trust me, I speak from experience.

more than 2 years ago

TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters

The_REAL_DZA Re:Better late than never? (117 comments)

"Sovereign Immunity" is nothing more than the government denying responsibility for some action it takes. Usually this works to everyone's advantage (government would grind to a halt under the crushing weight of lawsuits over mangled front-end-alignments by potholes in the nation's roadways, for instance) but when a double-standard set up by government allows one arm of the government to act in a manner that willfully disregards the rights and/or safety of the people in general (let alone the government's own employees) while simultaneously requiring (through another arm of that same government) those same activities to be strictly monitored and regulated when performed by private industry, then we should all cry "Foul!" (and no, I'm not calling for the deregulation of private industry, btw -- I simply think it would be nice for us to all play by the same rules. Congress included!)

more than 2 years ago

TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters

The_REAL_DZA Re:really?! (117 comments)

From the Wikipedia article on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (yeah, I know, I know...):

Definition of "search"
In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs only when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable. In Katz, the Supreme Court ruled that a search had occurred when the government wiretapped a telephone booth.[20] The Court's reasoning was that 1) the defendant expected that his phonebooth conversation would not be broadcast to the wider world and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable. This is a threshold question in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, since the Fourth Amendment only protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If no search or seizure has occurred, the court ends its analysis.

Stop and frisk
Under Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968), law enforcement officers are permitted to conduct a limited warrantless search on a level of suspicion less than probable cause under certain circumstances. In Terry, the Supreme Court ruled that when a police officer witnesses "unusual conduct" that leads that officer to reasonably believe "that criminal activity may be afoot", that the suspicious person has a weapon and that the person is presently dangerous to the officer or others, the officer may conduct a "pat-down search" (or "frisk") to determine whether the person is carrying a weapon. To conduct a frisk, officers must be able to point to specific and articulatory facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant their actions. A vague hunch will not do. Such a search must be temporary and questioning must be limited to the purpose of the stop (e.g., officers who stop a person because they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the person was driving a stolen car, cannot, after confirming that it is not stolen, compel the person to answer questions about anything else, such as the possession of contraband).[21]

So, clearly travelers

  1. 1) Have no "reasonable expectation of privacy"
  2. 2) Should understand that traveling by air constitutes "suspicious" and "unusual" conduct

Personally, I think we should hit 'em where it counts the most: in their pocketbooks. If all travelers simply chose another mode of transportation they would VERY rapidly find themselves with several quite influential allies: the airlines, the "hospitality industry", etc. (and yes, there ARE practical alternatives, at least for "domestic" travel: driving is still possible despite our rapidly deteriorating network of interstate highways and besides that people just don't ask themselves this question enough anymore anyway!)

more than 2 years ago

TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters

The_REAL_DZA Better late than never? (117 comments)

More like "I'll believe it when I see it" -- someone somewhere (probably the DOJ) will "realize" that just admitting the possibility there's any risk of cancer from their "radiation scanners" opens them up to a zillion liability suits and the iron wall will come back down because denial is their chief weapon. That and fear, of course ('cause it sure ain't surprise...or a ruthless efficiency, etc.!!!)

more than 2 years ago

Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space

The_REAL_DZA Re:Nothing... (362 comments)

We can't even be sure that the probes won't hit a glass dome.

Maybe they already did a long time ago and the "Voyager Anomaly" is just a floating-point-error in the Matrix...

more than 3 years ago

Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space

The_REAL_DZA Re:won't fly forever (362 comments)

RIAA doesn't own the copyright to any music.

Just the souls of many unfortunate artists.

more than 3 years ago

Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space

The_REAL_DZA Re:Let me say (362 comments)

You know, they weren't club-wielding savages in loincloths back then.

Stone knives and bearskins, son, stone knives and bearskins. And that's the way we liked it, too! None of this mamby-pamby object-oriented whoopsiedoodle; we entered our code changes by tapping out ones and zeros under a microscope (optical, of course, you insensitive clod!) using a cat's whisker. Why, I'd give you a real old-school lesson in how-to-get-it-done-and-done-right-the-first-time-ness, but I've gotta go chase some darned kids outta my yard!!

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose a Windows Laptop?

The_REAL_DZA Know when to quit (898 comments)

My best advice is the same advice I give on buying ANYTHING from a new car to an ice cream cone: once you've made your decision and bought something, just enjoy it and quit shopping them. Watching for sales, trying out the display models in stores, comparing prices and features online, even asking your friends what they bought and how much they paid -- all that is for before you buy and continuing to do that after the fact will only lead to frustration (because there's always going to be a lower price or a flashier gizmo in a few days or weeks and unless you're prepared to constantly be in "shopping mode" knowing about it will do you no good at all.)

more than 3 years ago

Trek Tech That Most Needs To Be Invented Before I Die:

The_REAL_DZA .25M/day AKA: "a good start" (633 comments)

We would need to send about a quarter million people off the planet every day just to balance population growth

Even from where I sit (a fairly "rural" setting; you have to go >100 miles to find a building over 20 stories tall, and within a one-mile radius cows outnumber humans 2:1...) there're just too many people under foot (and that sentiment isn't just salted by the recently passed "holiday shopping season"; I feel that way in the summertime too -- how you city slickers can stand it I can't imagine!) Decreasing the population by ~2M/week would indeed thin the herd over time (unless you *just* sent newborn babies off-planet -- who themselves might thank us later, btw, but the other occupants of the galaxy would likely complain about our diaper disposal methods...)
In all seriousness, though, every "migration" in history has been followed (within several generations) by a period of "prosperity" (yes, the "pioneers" themselves suffered mightily, but their great-great-grandchildren and their descendants enjoyed the fruits of their ancestors' labors) and each of those "migrations" was enabled by a game-changing advance in transportation technology (whether it be trans-oceanic ships, wagons, steam-engines, etc.)

We've gone "west" as far as we can; the only direction left to go is "up" (and the sooner the better!)

more than 3 years ago

Swiss Bank Has 43-Page Dress Code

The_REAL_DZA Did not RTFA, but... (212 comments)

In true /. spirit I chose to not actually read the article, but just from Tasha26's synopsis I would tend to agree that one should avoid wearing garlic- or onion-based dishes to work.

more than 3 years ago

Between Christmas and New Year's, I'll take ...

The_REAL_DZA "Holiday" drinking observation (422 comments)

I, too, am a non-drinker, but I've often made this observation about "holiday" drinkers: New Years' drunks are drunk because they feel they ought to drink but Christmas drunks are drunk because they feel they need to drink. And in both cases, while you definitely don't want them behind the wheel of their car, putting them inside your car isn't a great idea either -- sometimes the payback for being the "designated driver" lasts until your next trade-in...

more than 3 years ago

Perelman Urged To Accept $1m Prize

The_REAL_DZA Umm, so what you're saying is... (421 comments)

...that a million dollars isn't exactly a lot of money these days, eh?

more than 4 years ago

Contributors Leaving Wikipedia In Record Numbers

The_REAL_DZA Maybe they really ARE dead!! (632 comments)

I mean, did anyone bother to do an environmental impact study before launching something with such worldwide and long-term impact?

Did anyone do a double-blind study to make sure Wikipedia wasn't emitting harmful radiation/gasses/particles/etc?!?!

Was there even a government committee chartered to keep watch to make sure the millions of school children who access it every day weren't harmed?


Maybe Wikipedia should be shuttered until we can get a "still alive" from at least a majority of the "tens of thousands of editors" who have gone "dead" -- if even a sample of those who don't respond turn out to actually be dead then we should consider the very real possibility that Wikipedia might somehow be at fault. Remember: just because we don't see a correlation doesn't necessarily mean there isn't one.

more than 4 years ago

Recession Pushes More Workers To Steal Data

The_REAL_DZA Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (280 comments)

"[self-righteous pissing and moaning, etc.] I've gathered up the passwords to the products we make and have been using them as part of my pitch to the competition."

I'm reminded of what I once heard a lady say on the subject of dating married men: "If he'll do it to them he'll eventually do it to you." In your case: any company who'll hire someone based on what they can illegally/immorally bring to the table will treat them like the crap they are when what they brought to the table is used up.

more than 4 years ago

Recession Pushes More Workers To Steal Data

The_REAL_DZA Causality error (280 comments)

"Causality error" in that they've mistaken the (observed) effect as a "cause". The fact is, the "global recession" has merely revealed a decline in workers' "ethics" that was already there and which had been forming for at least the past several decades. Despite what the talking heads (in both media and the government) are saying, this "economic downturn" is nowhere near as bad as the "Great Depression"; this according to the many "oldsters" I am in frequent conversation with -- my own parents included -- who actually lived through the period rather than merely learning about it from the history books -- and their recollections do not include such a widespread deterioration in the "morals" (their word -- read "ethics") of the population (and yes there were notable exceptions, some accounts of which are a little scary even to modern ears, but by and large people -- at least in this part of the country -- still left their doors unlocked at night; I triple-locked my doors almost religiously during even the much lauded "economic boom time" of just a few years ago!!) Poverty does not cause crime any more than crime causes poverty (including but not by any means limited to the "victims" of Mr. Madoff -- their poverty was caused by a mixture of greed and stupidity.)

more than 4 years ago

Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams

The_REAL_DZA Re:and yet NYC still has traffic jams (882 comments)

"...never match speeds with someone in the lane next to you...

That is annoying (especially on the relatively narrow "two-lane-divided-highway" -vs- the typical interstate), but I'll gladly take that over the guy who plays

"I'll just drive along here in your blind spot until you forget about me"

EVERY car has one to several blind spots (the bigger the vehicle the bigger the blind spot(s), etc.) and at least if the bonehead is right beside you you've got a snowball's chance of noticing him when you go to change lanes for the guy riding your bumper.

btw, I've maintained that Slashdot's approaching the "tipping point" towards AI for years now, and yet another proof is in the captcha for this post: "evasion" ....spooky!

more than 5 years ago

6000-Year-Old Tomb Complex Discovered

The_REAL_DZA Re:crop mark != crop circle (83 comments)

There's two reasons now to fear the British government!

Quite right! Two reasons to fear the British government:

  1. Fear
  2. Surprise
  3. A ruthless efficiency!

more than 5 years ago

Passengers Cheat Flu Scan With Fever Reducers

The_REAL_DZA Re:Pointless (299 comments)

Hmph, as if the lizard people didn't target the thermal scanner operators' union for infiltration first!!

more than 5 years ago

Passengers Cheat Flu Scan With Fever Reducers

The_REAL_DZA Re:simple, they were tracked down as sources (299 comments)

...Most people don't even know that they do such things at some airports

Speaking just from my experience almost six years ago at the Shanghai International Airport, it's pretty hard to miss: first they ask you to sign a card stating that you have not taken a bunch of fever reducer, then they set up the thermal scanner on one end of the sprawling airport and the check-in desk at the other, and give you ten minutes to run (and I do mean run -- my travelling party looked like we were trying to re-enact a certain rent-a-car commercial from bygone days) from one end of the place to the other and back again with all your luggage (because the luggage check is the next thing you get to do after that -- we were all amazed that a dozen sweaty Americans (it was November and they just, culturally, seem to have a different idea of what a "comfortable" temperature is) running around like maniacs didn't set off some kind of alarm. Looking back, the "thermal imaging camera" didn't bear any labels attesting to that -- it could just as well have belonged to the Chinese equivalent of "Candid Camera", and if so I'm sure they got a good laugh...

more than 5 years ago


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