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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

crackspackle Re:Exactly (278 comments)

One of the ways I always did homework and still use today is by pretending I am teaching someone else. This method works great for logical subjects like math or science where there are proofs, facts and well defined theories, less so for more disorganized and subjective material where rote memorization is required but it can work there too if I can get into the "story". It never fails to bring up, those "wait a minute" and "what now" and "why do it like that" questions I hated having on test day. At least in school, when I got to the point I could "teach" myself, I always made an A+.

about a month ago

Federal Agency Data-Mining Hundreds of Millions of Credit Card Accounts

crackspackle Re:I'm somewhat disturbed... (264 comments)

Better or Worse, getting more credit and using it responsibly is the key to getting even more credit, particularly the more difficult products like lines of credits, construction loans, restoration loans, business loans and so forth. It's also the key to getting higher balances on new and existing cards. After totally destroying my credit during college, the first card I got again had a $500 limit. 5 year later, I had three cards and about $20K and needed it all to pay for a European business trip that ultimately would be reimbursed by my employer.

A few more years, I had six cards and close to $100K. I also had a $220K mortgage on and $400K house. A builder was preparing to replace a beautiful field beside my house with 60 town homes. I knew I would hate it but that I could also rent my house out for much more than the payments, so I did and bought another $350K historic house with a $260K mortgage while keeping the other. Being almost 100 years old, it needed nearly $120K in work. I paid part in cash and got a line of credit for $60K to finish the job. Done and 8 months later, I refinance the $60K back into the first but the house was now worth $550K, so I made nearly 80K on the deal. I then closed the line of credit. I still have the six cards.

Yes, I've been fortunate but I make an average IT salary. Many can do much more, some may do less at first, but anyone can find a smart ways to use their credit and it pays to develop it. There are three basic rules: One, always pay on time. Two, try to show some but 1% utilization. Three, never close old credit. You can still pay off your cards and avoid interest on rule 2 by letting the statement cut and then paying. For rule 3, with time and a good record, you can probably get your provider to upgrade your card without changing it, so it never has to be closed.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Secure Your Parents' PC?

crackspackle Re:Keep my parents away from it. (408 comments)

Might wanna take out the CPU as well, just in case.

One might assume some 35 years after the advent of PC revolution, there are more than a few grey hairs running around like me with infinitely more knowledge on how to secure a computer than some smart mouth tweener. Having spent years securing their computers, I would not trust any child of mine to do a better job than I would and it's time to put the tired meme that kids know tech better than their parents to bed where it belongs.

about 4 months ago

In Three Years, Nearly 45% of All the Servers Will Ship To Cloud Providers

crackspackle Re:I want the "cloud" term to DIE. (152 comments)

Wrong. You can have private clouds, which are clouds you own. A "cloud" is just a term for interchangeable services which aren't tied to a particular piece of hardware.

No one knows the actual origin of the term "cloud computing" and what it means can legitimately be different depending on who you ask making the effectiveness of the term fairly useless. The only reason non-IT folk latch onto it is because there's a component of "I don't know what's going on" that they can understand and it makes it seem friendly. The op was merely pointing out why it's not.

BTW, the cloud symbol was most often used in the 90's on network diagrams to indicate frame-relay links between sites back before dedicated Internet access was common. There was an aspect of "don't know" associated with it because it used shared links, did not guarantee delivery and frequently had service interruptions. Wikipedia sites this as a possible origin of the term but I think it is the origin of the term having seen how suits quickly latched onto it when it was shown in demos and presentations. Not understanding was something they could grasp.

about 4 months ago

How Deadbeat Facebook Friends and Using ALL-CAPS Can Lower Your Credit Score

crackspackle Re:Kind of a warning sign actually (362 comments)

The problem is, how do you know whether the bank even uses that as a metric?

Institutions wouldn’t get this information straight from Facebook but would instead use one of the many smaller credit reporting agencies and if they make a negative decision based on this, they are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to disclose this to you. If that happens, the CRA is then required to provide you a copy of the report provided to the given company. They could try to lie and make up some other excuse but they wouldn’t get away with it many times before a pattern would emerge and they would open themselves up to huge lawsuits should they be caught doing it. It’s worth noting a lot of the smaller CRA’s have the same annual reporting requirements as do the big three and you can request a free report from them. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has a PDF that lists many of the smaller CRA’s and how you can contact them.

That said, I think that trying to plumb social networking information and deny credit is on par with redlining. It’s only started happening and I’ve heard of no legal challenges and I doubt the connections on any random social network can be completely separated from any of the factors that can’t be used to make credit decisions - race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age. IANAL, but it would seem just looking at it could greatly increase your risk for an ECOA lawsuit.

about 8 months ago

Despite Global Release, Breaking Bad Heavily Pirated

crackspackle Second Episode ? (443 comments)

Which is why the second episode of Breaking Bad's final season was aired globally within a few hours of each other yesterday evening.

Posted by Unknown Lamer on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @03:11AM

ME: Having heart attack, frantically searches for second episode of final season to torrent since I must have missed it only to realize this is Slashdot, where editors can't be bothered with facts, such as the second episode won't air until Sunday, August 18th .

about 8 months ago

In India, the Dot Dash Is Done

crackspackle Re:Chat rooms? (86 comments)

For an interesting take on why the telegraph led in part to the modern computer and how both work, read Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software" by Charles Petzold. He argues all the ideas needed to build a modern computer were known around the time telegraph use took off, and he uses those ideas to describe logic gates and put them together into a working computer.

In short, the relay was invented in 1835 as a way to extend telegraph runs further without requiring operators. Morse code, as the primary way to communicate, happened to also be a binary code that mapped letters to the equivalent of ones and zeros, dots and dashes. In 1854, George Boole published “An Investigation of the Laws of Thought”. Petzold stops there and essentially uses only those ideas to build his modern computer. It wasn’t recognized formally by anyone until 1937 when Claude Shannon published “A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits”. Even Charles Babbage had known of Boole’s work and the telegraph but did not see how it could have been better used to build his Difference Engine.

about 9 months ago

Wikimedia Rolls Out Its WYSIWYG Visual Editor For Logged-in Wikipedia Users

crackspackle Re:been using beta for a while (71 comments)

Here's the VisualEditor FAQ which states:

  • 24 June: A/B test on the English Wikipedia. VisualEditor is released by default to 50% of newly registered accounts.
  • 1 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to the English Wikipedia, available for all logged-in users.
  • 8 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to the English Wikipedia, available for anonymous and logged-in users.
  • 15 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to most large Wikipedia wikis, available for all users. Which wikis are in this list is still to be determined, but will definitely include Wikipedia in German, French and Italian.
  • 29 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to all other Wikipedia wikis, available for all users, minus a few wikis (such as the Chinese Wikipedia) where the VisualEditor does not yet work.

Also of interest from that FAQ is that the VisualEditor can be installed on any MediaWiki installation, including personal wikis. As a MediaWiki user at home, I've found it a cool way to journal and track a lot of personal projects but the limit to using it has always been remembering wiki markup. This will go a long way to eliminating that problem.

about 10 months ago

Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer

crackspackle Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (521 comments)

But you know what? It will never happen, because the gun banners DON"T CARE about addressing the base cause of violent crime, they just want to ban guns. Period.

You are being disingenuous. Both gun control and social welfare are most closely associated with liberals, not conservatives. Things that would help - equal access to education, social programs for at-risk youth, legalizing drugs, treatment instead of prison - where do you suppose they stand on those issues?

about a year ago

New Camera Inspired By Insect Eyes

crackspackle See Nova: Rise oh the Drones, January 23 2013 (35 comments)

This tech was discussed there. It. was created by a guy in his garage using harvested mobile phone cameras and is already being tested in drones by Homeland Security. Per the show, the actual level of detail is classified but they did show an example where the were able to monitor dozens of city blocks at the same time grid style and then choose any point on the grid and zoom in hi-def and see full detail of people walking on the ground, all using a single lens array.

about a year ago

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants

crackspackle Re:Tools (146 comments)

location data != communication data.

Anonymous coward is right. So far, the courts are pretty much saying that police have the right to use location data from electronic devices to track criminals without a warrant. In this case, police appear to be using the mobile tower as only a way to find the exact location of the suspect. Per the article, he was immobile which means the police would not have a precise fix on where he was without forcing his phone to switch communication to at least one other tower. So long as that's all the police did, the courts would probably have no problem with it.

1 year,21 days

Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable To Drinkers

crackspackle Re:Such resentment! (350 comments)

It prevents people from seeking or discovering or creating actual solutions if they already believe God gave the perfect solution

If it doesn't work for you, find another solution. If it does work, then why bother ? No one has ever put up AA to be the cure.

to some philandering scam artist in the thirties.

Philandering ? Maybe. Scan artist... He was a stock market prior to the Great Depression but it's all about as relevant as the state of the nation was to Clinton getting a blowjob.

It's religion,

There are no priests, no compunction to believe in a god, no churches, no tax breaks, and no privileged conversation. How is that a religion ?

and by preventing actual progress, it actually kills people like one.

Can you cite one example where it stopped progress ? It's not a perfect solution but it's helped a great many people who would have died otherwise. That some still do while tragic, isn't a sensible reason to stop using it as the tool it is, any more than ignoring the possibilities this vaccine could have. It's easy to see though with this vaccine, it could lead to worse addictions (relatively speaking) as people compensate for the loss of alcohol by using harder drugs.

That is why I hate it. Yes. Hate. I hate what destroys society and drags us all down into ignorance. Is that not reason enough?

From Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation”.

about a year ago

Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable To Drinkers

crackspackle Re:Just What the Criminal Justice System Ordered (350 comments)

Alright, I'll bite and even post under my id since heck, you still don't have a clue who I am. It's obvious either yourself or someone you know was "forced" into AA and hatted it. Tha's fine. Some like me, do like it and I credit it with helping me to stay sober over 14 years.

Better an injection that lasts 6 months and can teach a person self control in the mean time than a sentence to a cult-like organization

I agree no one should be forced by the courts to attend AA, however, that's a problem with the court system itself. No one in AA is asking for it. Judges probably use it as an alternative to other measures because out of all the options, it's the one most readily available. The average American city has over a thousand meetings each week spread all over the calendar.

that convinces you that you're destined to die unless you attend their fruity little club until the end of your life

No, the general dogma is that you will die (sooner) from alcoholism if you don't quit drinking. Of course, no one can say what will happen to any one individual any more than one can say smoking will cause you to get cancer so many in AA prefer to say "jails, institutions or death" which is more to the point. At the very least, continued use very, very rarely has a positive outcome.

AA's success rate is no better than the spontaneous rate of remission (doing nothing at all)

No one has found a viable scientific way to determine the efficacy of AA. Some people never stay sober. Others do. Of those that do, many move on. Some decide they hate AA and find other ways to quit. More power to them. What AA does offer is a very large group of alcoholics who have remained sober for extended periods.

Yet it's worshiped as a solution because A: it's free and B: proselytization is part of the program.

A self help group for drunks tries to help drunks. That's the way it works. Proselytization suggests someone is trying to convert you to their belief with the particular idea that it's the one, true way. No one in AA will ever tell you that, at least the ones following the principles. The traditions state "we are a program of attraction, not promotion." In AA, we share our stories and anyone is free to pick and choose which parts if any they find useful and leave the rest behind. As far as the free part, you argue that ???

Popularity != quality. Fucking cancerous boil of a religion on the ass of science.

I get it. You hate AA. Like most haters, it's because of the "God" factor. No doubt your familiar "god of your own understanding" and "higher power" part and while Penn and Teller's rock and tree schtick is funny, most atheists, anti-theists, or agnostics choose Group Of Drunks. Religious people tend to choose whatever deity fits their religion. I went to AA because I was not able to quite on my own. People also hate the "powerless over alcohol" part but the previous self-truth pretty much defines that. AA offers the support of many other drunks who have overcome their addiction, all of whom at the point I went in had better ideas about how to stay sober than I did. Total self-reliance to quit would imply that I never so much as even considered any other ideas about quitting drinking let alone took any anabuse, naltrexone or this vaccine, should it become available. As you pointed out, I would have had to spontaneously quit on my own, something at the point I was at would not have happened.

Thank god for scientific solutions like this that can finally put the nail the the quackery coffin,

Like it or not, you can't deny their are people who stay sober using AA. It's never been offered up as a solution to the physical aspect of craving nor any of it's causes nor put forth as a medicine to cure drunks and as such can't be called quakery. It's obviously involves beliefs that you do not espouse, but there are plenty who do and stay sober by them.

but you can bet your ass twelve steppers and their ilk will be out in (often anonymous) force, trying to get this banned or at least lobbying against it's use.

I assume you pulled this last bit of derisiveness out of your ass. AA has never tried to stand in the way of scientific progress related to finding a cure for alcoholism, nor have they advocated one not use any available medicine to help them overcome their addiction. What you do is between your doctor and you. AA is there to help alcoholics, period. That's why tradition ten states "Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A.name ought never be drawn into public controversy.". That also applies to religion as well as politics, in case you are misinformed.

about a year ago

Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA

crackspackle Re:Sounds improbable (513 comments)

I do agree that police need to be careful with DNA evidence and not use it as proof of guilt where it implies no such thing, but that does not seem to be the case here.

You can't even say that for sure here. I've played with a cigarette lighter before and the one thing I recall is I quickly rubbed my thumb raw. Needless to say, a lot of DNA came off in the process. If the girl did use the lighter after him, that could easily explain his DNA embedded in her fingers, but the fact it would have ended up on her fingers could explain it ending up a lot of other places too. Ever rub your eyes, blow your nose, scratch your crotch or wipe your ... well, you get the idea. Who knows what the girl did with the lighter or what she did afterwards either.

Add to that, the guy is 44 years old and has never committed a crime nor even been a suspect until now. Granted, he was 31 when the crime occurred but he was quite old even for the type of behavior required to commit such a brutal crime to come to the surface. The fact nothing is known of him since would make it even more unusual.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do I De-Dupe a System With 4.2 Million Files?

crackspackle If You're Like Me (440 comments)

The problem started with a complete lack of discipline. I had numerous systems over the years and never really thought I needed to bother with any tracking or control system to manage my home data. I kept way to many minor revisions of the same file, often forking them over different systems. As time past and rebuilt systems, I could no longer remember where all the critical stuff was so I'd create tar or zip archives over huge swaths of the file system just in case. I eventually decided to clean up like you are now when I had over 11 million files. I am down to less than half a million now. While I know there are still effective duplicates, at least the size is what I consider manageable. For the stuff from my past, I think this is all I can hope for; however, I've now learned the importance of organization, documentation and version control so I don't have this problem again in the future.

Before even starting to de-duplicate, I recommend organizing your files in a consistent folder structure. Download wikimedia and start a wiki documenting what you're doing with your systems. The more notes you make, the easier it will be to reconstruct work you've done as time passes. Do this for your other day to day work as well. Get git and start using it for all your code and scripts. Let git manage the history and set it up to automatically duplicate changes on at least one other backup system. Use rsync to do likewise on your new directory structure. Force yourself to stop making any change you consider worth keeping outside of these areas. If you take these steps, you'll likely not have this problem again, at least on the same scope. You'll also find it a heck of a lot easier to decommission or rebuild home systems and you won't have to worry about "saving" data if one of them craps out.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?

crackspackle Not Much About Your Needs (479 comments)

If all you want to do is cut the cord and don't want to waste time with too many technical details and have lots of money, buy a new television. Most come with DLNA servers built in and all the standalone library devices you may want to add can support it. They also support most of the major streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Youtube. As well, most can do wireless and some even have DVR functionality built in for recording over the air broadcasts.

about 2 years ago

NoSQL Document Storage Benefits and Drawbacks

crackspackle Re:What is document storage? (96 comments)

What is the point of document storage in a noSQL database? If you're not going to store docs in a RDBMS, why not just store them in a filesystem? What is the point of Mongo or whatever this stuff is?

They are JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) documents and you can query into fields of the object-document without the database having to read the whole "document" in the same way you can read rows based on some set of columns in an RDBMS. Given objects like { a = { b,c } } or just d = f you could read a.b where = c or just d where = f. It's multidimensional as opposed to the flat column format of an RDBMS. Unfortunately, their are no data types, constraints, foreign keys or triggers. Data integrity has to be done in programatically

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Make My Own Hardware Multimedia Player?

crackspackle Re:XBMC (140 comments)

Unless you're really dead set on DIY, I recommend the Xtreamer Ultra for $399, available on Amazon. From the blurb "Xtreamer ULTRA Mini-ITX SFF HTPC (1.8 GHZ Intel Atom Dual-Core D525, nVidia ION 2, 4GB DDR3, HDMI 1.4a) Includes Remote, Mini Wireless Keyboard w/ Trackpad, PLUS XBMC and Boxee Configured and Ready to Go!", so it's a full PC and a very small, nice and quiet one at that.

The Ultra comes without a hard drive, but it has a 2.5 bay where you can add an HDD or SSD. I did the former. It boots off a custom version of Ubuntu running an offshoot of Grub2 called Berg that gives you a nice graphical menu to choose among XBMC, Boxee, Linux, or any x86 OS you choose to install. Transferring the OS to a hard drive and adding more is easy. I added Fedora and Windows 7 for the heck of it and both run great. Even 1080p video over my gigabyte LAN runs perfectly.. They are now also offering the Ultra2, a souped up version with WiFi capability built in.

about 2 years ago

The Consoles Are Dying, Says Developer

crackspackle Console Advantages: (309 comments)

1) Ease of use. Connects easily into nearly any home AV setup. 2) A functional and useable control scheme. 3) Common Platform means games work out of the box. The iPhone and iPad technically have the third advantage due to Apple's excessive control, while every other smart phone OS does not. A PC has the second advantage but not the rest. I wouldn't think either group of devices has a chance against the consoles unless they can offer all three, but even then a hidden advantage of a console is that it just sits there ready to go. I wouldn't want to un-dock my smart device only to lose it/drop it on the sidewalk and be out of business at home too. I suppose I could just buy one and leave it connected but guess what ? Then it's just a console.

more than 2 years ago

Details of Initial "Disc to Digital" Program Emerge

crackspackle Re:Call me when... (201 comments)

Hollywood has finally realized they stand a better chance protecting their content, even if only for a short while, by getting rid of all physical media and going with electronic distribution only. Yes, nearly every DRM scheme will probably be hacked but that doesn't happen instantaneously and when it does, all they have to do is change to a new scheme. What surprises me is that Walmart is charging for this service. They are simply authorizing your account to view a movie based on whether you own the disc. They should give you the best available HD copy for free on the likely chance you will start to buy or rent other movies through them. More importantly, people would probably use the service because it's "free" and that would help the studios make the digital only transition.

more than 2 years ago



Supreme Court Decides Your Silence May Be Used Against You

crackspackle crackspackle writes  |  about 10 months ago

crackspackle (759472) writes "The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Texas earlier today in a murder trial where the defendant whom prior to be taken into custody, had been questioned by the police and choose to remain silent on key questions, This fact was bought up at trial and used to convict him. Most of us have seen at least enough cop shows to know police must read a suspect their Miranda rights when placing them in custody. The issue was a bit murkier here in that the defendant had not yet been detained and while we all probably thought the freedom from self-incrimination was an implicit right as stated in the Constitution, apparently SCOTUS now thinks you have to claim that right or at least be properly mirandized first."
Link to Original Source

Weaponizable Police UAV Now Operational in Texas

crackspackle crackspackle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crackspackle (759472) writes "The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in suburban Houston, Texas is preparing to launch operations with a newly received Vanguard Defense Industries Shadowhawk MK-III unmanned aerial vehicle, paid for by grant money received by the Department of Homeland Security. The MK-III is a product marketed for both military and law enforcement applications. Michael Buscher, chief executive officer of manufacturer Vanguard Defense Industries, said this is the first local law enforcement agency to buy one of his units. "The aircraft has the capability to have a number of different systems on board. Mostly, for law enforcement, we focus on what we call less lethal systems," he said, including Tazers that can send a jolt to a criminal on the ground or a gun that fires bean bags known as a "stun baton.You have a stun baton where you can actually engage somebody at altitude with the aircraft. A stun baton would essentially disable a suspect," he said. "To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County," Sheriff Tommy Gage said. The MK-III also has more lethal options available, capable of carrying either a 40mm or 37mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun with laser designator. Sheriff Gage has stated he has no immediate plans to outfit his drone with weapons."
Link to Original Source

Google Books on iPad Gone, Others May Follow

crackspackle crackspackle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crackspackle (759472) writes "Apple changed the iOS terms of services back in February requiring all in-app puchases to go through the Apple App Store and thus be subject to Apple's 30% cut, but did not immediately begin enforcing the rule. It appeared they had softened their stance until this morning when the new rule seems to have taken affect. Google Books is now gone. Other eReaders like the Nook, Kindle, WSJ and Kobo have been updated to remove direct sales links but questions remain about how long they will continue to support their apps. Since many, including myself, use the iPad primarily as an ereader, is Apple shooting themselves in the foot with this decision ?"
Link to Original Source

Snow Falls on The Most Arid Desert on Earth

crackspackle crackspackle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

crackspackle (759472) writes "The Atacama desert region, a vast expanse of land stretching 600 miles along the Pacific coast of South America from Peru to Chile, is know as the dryest region on earth, receiving only .04 inches (1mm) of rain per year. Many weather stations located in the region have no recorded precipitation during their existence. Sterile from the lack of rainfall, sparsely inhabited, and virtually free from electromagnetic and light interference, the desert hosts several major astronomical observatories. The other-worldy location is also popular among sci-fi film makers, and is a prominent test site for NASA's planned Mars mission. This week, the Atacama received 32 inches of snow, stranding motorists along the Pan-American highway and other roads, prompting numerous rescues. Footage of the snow is available on the BBC"
Link to Original Source

Travel Agents Staging Comeback Over Travel Sites

crackspackle crackspackle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

crackspackle (759472) writes "Travel agents are making comeback as more and more even Internet-savvy users are returning to them, having found it hard to navigate the myriad of options available when booking through travel sites. Many of those returning to agents appear to go for the personalized knowledge agents possess in answering the question "what can I expect". I know from experience I have always had a sense of dread showing up at a hotel booked based on impersonal user ratings and while on the whole the experience has been good, I invariably find other places that would have been better during my stay.

On a related note, Internet commerce as a whole has undoubtedly brought more products for more options to more people than ever before, but even being fairly knowledgeable on how to find the right product sometimes doesn't help. Often I can't find a site to drill down deep enough to get to the product that is right for me and I find myself returning to a brick-and-mortar store even though they have fewer options. Better and more uniform search tools would help but for the foreseeable future, they won't surpass having a knowledgeable sales staff and tangible displays for most products. Perhaps I should no longer discount the value a physical presence brings."


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