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Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

aaarrrgggh Re:Make Yourself Known (63 comments)

I actually did. Granted, it was once, and 10 years ago, and I price checked when I got home. It was actually something useful that was difficult to find elsewhere at the time-- a curved shower rod.

I will miss sky mall. It's goofy stuff helped inspire a bit of creativity or at least make me smile on a flight. Just can't see how it would be possible for them to have an attachment rate of even 0.02%, two orders of magnitude than conventional advertising.

yesterday
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Why Run Linux On Macs?

aaarrrgggh Re:a better question (585 comments)

Apple seems to be crippled by GPL3 on a few things, which pisses me off as a Mac user. Samba is the obvious issue, but there are plenty of others. Yosemite was a bad upgrade. I do love the concept of integrating the various devices seamlessly, but it isn't quite there yet.

about a week ago
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Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

aaarrrgggh Re:And that people... (329 comments)

I'm proud of my SnapBack-esque pull backups set on a NAS drive. The NAS has backup priveledges on the laptops, and pulls data via rsync. The laptops have no access to the NAS drive except for ssh. Provides linked snapshots hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly. Just need to get a second drive running in a few months.

Only challenge is that since the laptops are OSX I don't copy the resource forks, but that could be addressed if I really cared...

about a week ago
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Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

aaarrrgggh Re:And that people... (329 comments)

Backup>Snapshot>Redundancy for disaster recovery. It is the reverse for operating issues.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Migrating a Router From Linux To *BSD?

aaarrrgggh Re:A few answers from the original AC (402 comments)

For item 4, you are still not addressing the vulnerability issues that adding Samba and a web server add to the equation.

Personally I am in a similar situation with this part, and will eventually get "extra" functions I have the router doing over to a NAS drive. (My NAS drive just needs to do pull-backups via rsync.) For Transmission, I personally would slap it on a Raspberry Pi or NAS drive in a DMZ off the router.

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

aaarrrgggh Re:Sad to hear (314 comments)

The Fry's near me isn't going to last that much longer, at least not in its current incarnation. Who knows how much longer the Fry Brothers will keep it going...

about two weeks ago
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Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

aaarrrgggh Re:Lost its way. (314 comments)

They failed to get on the Maker trend for sure, but the reason is simple-- there was better margin in phones. 20 Years ago they also failed to embrace the Internet; their catalog was originally a big part of their success and brand identity, and they lost that. Many of the products they carry are crap, and they dedicate 20% of the store to fairly obscure products.

I wish a SparkFun or Adafruit could take over Radio Shack in the retail world and be successful, but I can't imagine a scenario where that would work financially. Is there someone similar for Ham radio equipment and audio?

RIP RSH.

about two weeks ago
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Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux Or Windows On Quad-core AMD SoC

aaarrrgggh Re:Equally tiny UPS? (180 comments)

Closest product I have seen is a href="http://www.mini-box.com/picoUPS-100-12V-DC-micro-UPS-system-battery-backup-system">PicoUPS. Takes a 12v battery and maintains a constant DX output. With a standard 9Ah battery you could run most small devices for at least 8 hours.

Personally surprised that there aren't any 12V power supplies that can provide 3-4 regulted 2A outputs. Eliminate multiple wall warts and give yourself battery backup as well. I would love to have all the home networking gear and a NAS in one box with backup power. If you really want to get fancy, you could even have adjustable outputs.

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

aaarrrgggh Re:Schedule D?! (450 comments)

Audit risk. You might still get audited, but anecdotally the risk is substantially lower. If I pay $3k more to an accountant over 10 years and reduce my chances of being audited from 80% to 30% it is worth it to me. I don't think I am doing anything wrong, but I did notice strange output from TurboTax that I could never resolve, and my income level is higher now. If you are audited, the IRS WILL find things you are doing wrong, or that you can't prove you are doing right.

My wife's single-person corporation gets much less value from the CPA, but we do play a game there by paying her minimum wage and putting everything left into her 401k. It is legal and justifiable, but abnormal and likely to be flagged.

The progression seems to go (by income): Pen, Turbo Tax/HR Block, CPA, CPA + Tax Advisor... The thresholds have just shifted down a lot over the last couple years.

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

aaarrrgggh Re:Schedule D?! (450 comments)

The problem (looking at you, E*Trade!) is that the numbers between the Schedule D information (realized gains and losses) does not match the information needed to prepare form 8949. If you have any wash sales, it gets worse. So, the brokers report inconsistent numbers to the IRS. Sound like a good chance for an audit?

I pay $350 so my accountant can write "various." He is taken much more seriously than I am. Back when I used TurboTax, I had to make a spreadsheet to generate a TXF file to import in... various would be much better.

about two weeks ago
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The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

aaarrrgggh Re:I worked for a corp with a 30 day retention pol (177 comments)

I get about 10GB of email a year, and do my best to purge what I can up front, but also try hard to save everything. Most of the girth is due to file attachments... And yes they really should have been saved to the file server, but sometimes it is missed. Little obscure pieces of information often come up as being useful years later-- one recent example was trying to figure out how certain financial information was derived 5 years ago.

But the bottom line is 99% of the information stored will never be used again after 6 months. Automatic expiry assignments would be cool, but wow that would be tough to track.

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

aaarrrgggh Re:A fool and his money are soon parted (450 comments)

And, as an engineer, if you understand the mathematical term "combine," then you should not be touching your own taxes...

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

aaarrrgggh Re:A fool and his money are soon parted (450 comments)

If you have capital gains it isn't really worth preparing yourself anymore. If you are in the top 5% of earners it isn't worth preparing yourself. If you have anything (legitimate) that makes you an audit risk you shouldn't prepare yourself.

For the first two years I used a CPA I needed to prepare everything myself, give him the information he requested, let him do his magic, check his magic, get changes made, repeat. Everyone should know enough to understand how the calculations work and go from there; if your tax is too high or too low, ask a lot of questions!

about two weeks ago
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Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

aaarrrgggh Re:Schedule D?! (450 comments)

No, but you tend to have more complex tax status... and to the GP's point, you really should be using a CPA. As worthless as my CPA is, I am happy to pay the $350 for him to dump my information into his program.

As for why the change... it is what the market will bear. It is a pain to do Schedule D and the accompanying forms now.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

aaarrrgggh Re:Insteon (189 comments)

I use Insteon at home as well. Budget $75 per control point, and $500 for the controller. I use the ISY controller, and it is a piece of junk, but it does the job. There isn't the variety of sensors, switches, devices, and accessories I wish there was, some older devices are a pain with low-power loads, and the plug-in devices are generally a pain in the ass. Programming is clunky, but not that hard.

I still haven't put it into our vacation home, holding out for something better. Two years later, still no progress...

My biggest complaint is that it is hard to "extend" Insteon. I wish I could integrate with Sonos, and I wish I had a simpler way to do a password-free web interface. (Hard, not impossible if you really want to work for it...)

about two weeks ago
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Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

aaarrrgggh Re:Perfect? Really? (340 comments)

Can you really be out-played algorithmically? The two computers would have different sets of data to work from as a base point. Any additional information you can glean from your opponents can improve the decision tree, so having two hands in the game and coordinating poses a substantial advantage.

about two weeks ago
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Inside Cryptowall 2.0 Ransomware

aaarrrgggh Re:Cyptowall is very sophisticated (181 comments)

Most of the NAS drives out there have a Linux shell available. We rsync from there whenever possible, and the workstation or server does not have rights to the NAS box.

Nothing is perfect, and the ransomeware might figure out ways to skirt these protections. It really comes down to defense in depth against different threats-- multiple types of backups. The concern I have now is out of space challenges once encryption starts.

about three weeks ago
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Extreme Heat Knocks Out Internet In Australia

aaarrrgggh Re:Statement from CTO of iiNet (103 comments)

0.4% design temperature for Perth is 36.2C. A DX system with condensers on the roof would be designed for a temporary stature of 41-43C typically. Once you get much above that, there isn't much you can do with DX; you will overload your compressors quickly. A cooling tower should be more robust, but your envelope load could have exceeded the primary system capacity.

Typically in extreme temperatures a Tier 3 data center will need to eat into its redundancy for cooling. Tier 4 facilities should be more robust, but you would not expect 2N redundancy when you have record temperatures.

As for load balancing and other edge conditions, it really depends on how heavily loaded a facility/portfolio is. What I expect happened was one part of their facility went down with a "hot spot" that didn't have adequate redundancy in the first place. It is an edge condition that likely required more capital than it was worth to resolve.

about three weeks ago
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Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Shrinking Storage Space In iOS 8

aaarrrgggh Re:Entitlement (325 comments)

I generally love everything Apple does and makes. That said, they botched iOS 8 from a user perspective. Everyone I know who had a small flash went and deleted all their apps and data first so they could download the update. They needed to tell people that they could do a tethered upgrade and use less space for the upgrade.

The way they did it reinforces the "upgrades are bad" mentality which is dangerous. Apple can do better.

about three weeks ago
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Hunting For a Tech Job In 2015

aaarrrgggh Getter by better if you have skills... (174 comments)

The only people we hire now have relevant experience and skills in our very specific field, and experience commensurate for the position we are posting. We have sadly given up on new graduates; they are too flakey, having never held an actual job before, and needing substantial training to get to a point where they can generate revenue... and leave. Now is a great time for people that graduated around 2010, found a job in their field at terrible pay, and are now ready for an actual career.

about three weeks ago

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