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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

cptdondo Re: The Dangers of the World (784 comments)

Statistically the US is far safer today than when you were growing up. And a kid has about a 20x greater chance of being abused by a cop than by a sex offender. And some 200x greater chance of being abused by mom than by a random stranger.

about two weeks ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

cptdondo Re:Cheaper (349 comments)

If you listen to the airlines, they have been losing money each and every year since 1947 or thereabouts. Yet they're still around, and their CEOs are making millions in bonuses and salaries. Something tells me that the airlines aren't quite telling the whole truth.

The bad airlines have died and rightfully so. But many of the others are making money, just whining about how hard it is to make money and provide decent service.

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

cptdondo Re:Airlines could surcharge for the actual journey (349 comments)

I bought and paid for a journey. In the business world, schedules change a lot. I change my itinerary a lot. I fly with airlines that understand that; Alaska and American are good work with in this regard. United is not. If an airline tried to charge me more for providing me less - I paid for 3 flights and I used 2 - how does that work out? What price would they use for the surchage? The price on the day I bought the ticket? The current price? Some other totally made up price?

The problem is that airline pricing is not based on cost, it's based on time of day, marketing, and apparently pixie dust. The airline can't go back and retroactively charge me some arbitrary cost since they can't explain how they arrive at that cost.

You might have a point with "conditions of carriage" but it would be marketing suicide for an airline to try to attempt this.

Much better that they just provide a sane marketing model.

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

cptdondo Re:Airlines could surcharge for the actual journey (349 comments)

As a frequent traveler, if an airline attempted to do this they would be sued, not just by me but by the millions of business people out there. I buy the ticket for a price. They can't come back and renegotiate the price after the fact.

Especially since the prices change on a day-to-day basis, and bear little to no relationship to actual cost.

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

cptdondo Re:Cheaper (349 comments)

Because air line ticket pricing makes no sense. Literally. I fly a lot (as in somewhere around 100K miles a year) and ticket pricing is pretty absurd. A one-way ticket can sometimes cost 3x what a round trip does to the same destination. Flying from my home airport (a small regional destination) can sometimes lower the price of the ticket, even though I fly one extra leg and 100 miles to a major airport.

United is by far the worst of the price abusers; one reason I no longer fly United. The last time I needed to make a route change, they wanted to charge me $250 for the change, and $1200 for the "additional fare". I bought a one-way on American for $350. Of course, walking away from the second leg is "against ticket policy" so as a good drone I was supposed to cough up $1450 to United.

In my experience no other airline gouges its customers as badly as United when it comes to these sorts of policies, so it does not surprise me that they are on this lawsuit. They are also on the bottom of nearly every customer satisfaction survey; maybe the two are related? Anyone at United listening? Hello?

about a month ago
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Microsoft Introduces .NET Core

cptdondo First.... (187 comments)

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Took long enough. So long that "winning" no longer matters.

about 2 months ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re:Remind me again (289 comments)

I think you have cause and effect backwards. "Liberals" run the schools in the ghettoes because the "conservatives" have all but abandonded the poor. The conservative attitude more and more is "If you're poor, you deserve to die, and don't expect me to lift a finger or spend a penny to help you."

The "conservatives" are all about preserving their own wealth and screwing everyone else.

The reality, however, is that the poor are often conservative white rural folks, who get equally screwed. And there are more rural white poor than urban ghetto poor.

So I stand by my earlier assessment; you have learned shockingly little about how society works.

about a month ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re:Remind me again (289 comments)

This way lies feudalism. The rich have the good schools, the poor are uneducated, and the gap will never close, in fact it will only grow. Eventually you have a Dickensian world where the rich live in splendor, and the poor die in the streets, uneducated, unable to rise above their station, because it takes money to run a decent school system.

If you're really "nearing 60 years old" then you have learned shockingly little of how a society works.

about a month ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re: Slashdot, once again... (289 comments)

Most of your rant aside. Texas is the 800 lb gorilla when it comes to school textbooks. Texas basically dictates the content of most school books, since Texas buys more school books than any other state, and thus imposes its will on the textbook publishers.

And last I checked, with the exception of Austin, most of Texas is definitely not "liberal". You have to wonder when "conservatives" find textbooks whose content is driven by one of the most conservative states too "liberal".

Unfortunately most modern "conservatism" boils down to "I don't like it, it must be liberal, and we all know that liberal is a bad thing."

about 2 months ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re:What the hell is... (289 comments)

Seeing as the state has laws that limit the teaching of contraception, do you really think they have a "human sexual health" class in public schools? Unless it's taught at church on Sunday.

about 2 months ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re: Slashdot, once again... (289 comments)

OK, so show me one schoolboard that ripped pages out of a book because it didn't conform to a liberal agenda, whatever that is.

about 2 months ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

cptdondo Re:Baby meet bathwater (289 comments)

The law says:

"... childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion".

So according to the schoolboard, contraception == abortion.

about 2 months ago
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Behind Apple's Sapphire Screen Debacle

cptdondo Re:Then don't sign the contract (189 comments)

But GT signed up for this. When I had my small business, we turned down big contracts regularly. You can't have a single client be 90% of your business, because if anything glitches,you're out of business. We would never take on a job that was more than half of our annual revenues, and we only took on one job like that at a time, filling the rest of the calendar with smaller jobs.

about 2 months ago
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

cptdondo Re:Can Iowa handle a circus that large? (433 comments)

And by today's standards he would be a RINO, a carpetbagger, and probably a few other choice words. Let's not forget he raised taxes, let illegals stay, and a whole bunch of other things that are anathema to the current rightwing nutjob movement.

about 2 months ago
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6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine

cptdondo Re:6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine (109 comments)

And you must not be thinking of the Russians famously defecating in the hallways of the Czechoslovak National Museum after ransacking it and destroying what they could not steal in 1967.

Tell me about reverence by the Russians for anything other than vodka.

about 3 months ago
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Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

cptdondo Re:Moral Imperialism (475 comments)

But weren't CP laws enacted to protect victims? and to punish those that abuse said victims?

Since there are no victims, doesn't seem to me to even meet the common-sense definition of a crime.

about 3 months ago
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No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

cptdondo Re:May I suggest (334 comments)

Not really. These are backwoods weapons that see little to no maintenance. They don't get depot cleaning and parts aren't available. (Check out where and how the rangers operate).

I shoot bolt action rifles and after a while you need to strip the bolts and clean them. The Lee Enfields may not see that for years if ever, and they still have to shoot, since the Ranger's life probably depends on it.

So it's not "almost any brand" since few brands have that kind of reliability and track record.

it's going to be a hard decision.

about 3 months ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

cptdondo Re:Gates (839 comments)

"Progressive" is newspeak for "regressive". There's no practical way to pull off a "progressive tax" on consumption, unless you charge everyone the highest tax rate and then refund it at the end of tax year. Still, the wealthiest would find ways to exempt themselves from the biggest hit; buy that yacht in Ireland instead of New England. Hey, overseas purchases are excluded, right?

about 3 months ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

cptdondo Re:Gates (839 comments)

Except that consumption tax is usually designed to hit the poorest the hardest, and have little to no impact on the wealthiest. For example, sales tax is capped on cars in some states, others exclude yachts from sales tax, while many tax milk and bread. So someone who spends 50% of their hourly take home on food gets taxed on 50% of their income, but someone else who only spends 0.05% on food only gets taxed on that 0.05% of their income as many luxury items are excluded from consumption taxes.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Subscription billing for a small business

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cptdondo (59460) writes "I'm working on a small startup that will need to bill for a subscription service. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what is needed to get a small subscription service going. The startup has simple needs — people sign up, commit to pay a monthly fee, and they get a service. If they quit paying, their account is suspended. And if they try to use the service, they're told why.

Seems that most services out there are designed for large, complex businesses and few have a simple interface for connecting the billing system to service. I have not found any that will put account status into an ldap database, which could be used for user authentication. Where is the equivalent of the Amazon or E-Bay storefront for a small subscription service?"
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How to track a complex project?

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

cptdondo (59460) writes "I'm working on a complex project that has many different facets. I've flowcharted the process but my management is asking for a Gantt chart to show the time element. Traditional Gantt charts lose the if-then-else constructs that are essential for tracking this project. I have multiple ways of achieving a specific milestone, depending on availability of external resources, grant funding, bond issues subject to political votes, and so on. I can't represent this complexity in a Gantt chart; at the same time a flow chart loses the time elemnt that's so central to Gantt charts (and to my management).

So, fellow slashdotters, how do you manage a complex project with many mutually exlusive paths? How do you present this structure to non-techinical management? And how do you track it when it changes almost daily and certainly weekly?"
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Installing linux on old hardware

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 5 years ago

cptdondo (59460) writes "I've got an old laptop that I've been trying to resurrect. It has a 486 CPU, 28 MB RAM, 720 MB HD, a 1.44MB floppy drive, and 640x480 VESA video. It does not have a CD, USB, or a network port. It has PCMCIA and i have a network card for that.

My goal is to get a minimal GUI that lets me run a basic browser like Dillo and open a couple of xterms.

I've spent the last few days trying to find a linux distro that will work on that machine. I've done a lot of work on OpenWRT, so naturally I though that would work, but X appears to be broken in the recent builds — I can't get the keyboard to work. (OK, not surprising; OpenWRT is made to run on wifi Access Point hardware which doesn't have a keyboard...)

All of the "mini" distros come as a live CD; useless on a machine without a CD-ROM. Ditto for the USB images.

I'm also finding that the definition of a "mini" distro has gotten to the point of "It fits on a 3GB partition and needs 128 MB RAM to run."

Has linux really become that bloated? Do we really need 2.2 GB of cruft to bring up a simple X session? Is there a distro that provides direct ext2 images instead of live CDs?"
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From Cathedral to a Bazaar in government?

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  about 6 years ago

cptdondo writes "I work for a mid-size municipal government. While we are fairly progressive for a government, many of our managers are Cathedral builders. They've been there for a long time, they hold sacred the belief that if they stop cranking the world will come to a screeching halt, and they believe that the unwashed masses must not know too much of the inner sacred workings of City Hall.

Some of us are bazaar goers. We believe that there is a great opportunity to apply the lessons of open source to local government. We think we can co-opt our citizens' group to be members of the process rather than adversaries. We believe that the tools developed by the open source community can be applied, to some measure, to the workings of government.

It's been suggested by some of the more subversive members of our management staff that we put together a presentation on how this could be done. So of course we begin with prior art:

Has this ever been done? Has anyone co-opted citizens' groups to solve the problems of local government using the tools and concepts of open source? Does anyone know of a local government where the internal workings were freely available to the public? What tools were used? What was the reaction? Was it accepted or rejected?"
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Solar clls for daily use

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cptdondo writes "My brother-in-law asked me about the latest in solar cells. He's got a good-size sailboat and wants to put in a solar charger. As the resident family geek I should have the answers, but I had to admin total ignorance. So what's the latest consumer technology in solar cells? Any cool mobile solar installations out there? Any power management schemes people are using to power stuff on boats and in RVs?"
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The hunt for Jim Gray

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cptdondo writes "It looked like a fine day for a sail. On Sunday, January 28, 2007, Microsoft researcher Jim Gray woke up on his boat, a red 40-foot fiberglass cruiser called Tenacious. The water in Gashouse Cove, a cozy marina in San Francisco Bay, was nearly flat. The 63-year-old programmer phoned his wife, Donna Carnes, who was on an annual vacation with friends in Wisconsin. He said he was heading out to the Farallon Islands, a wildlife refuge 27 miles offshore, to scatter the ashes of his mother, Ann, who died in October. more...."

Journals

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Programming for kids

cptdondo cptdondo writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I know this has come up before. My 10 year old has been playing some basic flash games, and wants to learn how to "make a game". I have kturtle installed, and I expect that might keep him interested for about a week. Then what?

What good tools are there to allow a normal, curious 10 year old to write something with a fairly quick return on the time invested? I know someone is going to say that I should launch him straight in to perl, or C++, or something. Not happening. Those days are long gone. I need something that can create visual bang quickly and easily, and scale up to allow him to build a simple flight simulator (stick drawing of a plane, a horizon, and keyboard for pitch/yaw/roll).

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