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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

digitalhermit Get creative (182 comments)

I subsisted on Ramen and chicken pot pies because they were cheap (4/1$ for Ramen, 2/1$ for chicken pot pies). Even the cheapest dollar meal at the local fast food didn't have as many calories. But, no, I didn't worry about food all that much.

First thing is to learn to cook. It's generally cheaper to buy family portions and make your own than to buy individual meals. For example, a bag of rice is $10, but can act as bulk in many meals such as fried rice, chicken & rice, steamed rice with butter & onions.. Yeah, doesn't sound too appetizing, but it can be. Fried rice, for example, is easy to make. For about 20$ worth of ingredients, you can have 10 meals. Just need rice, an egg or two, onions, salami/pepperoni, etc.. You can buy a pack of miso for around $4. Add firm tofu ($3) or chicken chunks ($4) and dried seaweed ($3) and you can make soup for 10 people. Buying a bulk pack of 50 tacos will set you back around $10; add a couple pounds of beef (10$), lettuce (2$), cheese ($5), etc., and you can feed 10 people for $50 or so.

Next, use coupons and shop of two-for-one days. You can easily save 50% of your bill just by using coupons and shopping on the right days. Avoid individual meal items such as can soda and even White Castle burgers.

You can also show up at friends/relatives around dinner time but use that only as a last resort unless you're really tight with them. Make friends with someone who works at a pizza shop. I knew a guy in college who would take leftovers from the restaurant. At a Denny's, for example, he'd order a coffee. When people were about to leave he'd run up and ask if he could have their leftovers. Bizarre, but he saved a few bucks. He's also gotten pretty wealthy since those days so I guess it paid off. I figure that one day he'll find a way to end up in jail just so he could get a free meal and bunk. :/

Oh, and forget about corned beef. Back in my day it was cheap, around $1.50 a can. Now it's close to $6 a can. I remember many days eating corned beef and cabbage, corned beef and scrambled eggs, steamed corned beef, corned beef sandwiches. No more.

3 hours ago

Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

digitalhermit Missing the point? (914 comments)

This is about future societies. There was a time when we speculated about what our current policies meant for a far future society. These far futures have a way of creeping up on us, as did 1984 and the new millennium.

We take many of our current policies for granted and assume they are on an ideological high ground.

There was a time when killing the offspring of your enemy was once the moral thing to do. Arranged marriages were more common. Eight year old children once worked in factories. People still are thrown in jail for years for minor offences.

If we look at our current penal system, and what it moving towards, it's not that ethical. For one, private companies run most jails and they are motivated by profit, not rehabilitation. There are arguments on both sides of the capital punishment debate and each side holds apparently contrary thoughts on related subjects such as euthanasia and abortion. Now I'm not stating agreement with any particular side on the issue of punishment, but I think we should speculate. Speculations such as these, though they are otherwise useless, at least open the debate about our current system.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

digitalhermit Thank $DEITY for experienced programmers (379 comments)

We have one guy that understands build processes. I have done any serious code in years, but some of the crappy code I've seen is pretty horrid.

Here's an example:
Just over a year ago we had some Java developers doing some web code. This was on a Linux/pSeries hardware. I.e., it's a Power chip, not Intel/AMD. I was asked to install the JVM software by the developers. They gave me an Intel binary. OK, no prob. I asked them to send me the Power installation package. They responded that it was Java and the underlying hardware didn't matter. Oh really? One of the developers actually got pissy and started trying to explain that he ran it on his Windows machine and another guy ran it on his Mac. Tried again to explain the difference between the jvm executable and the jar but then I realized that if he didn't understand that, it wouldn't be much point.

The guy we brought in knows that. Lots of other things too.

about 1 month ago

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

digitalhermit Re:Why? (769 comments)

Screw Keurig. I got one of their machines for Christmas. Damned thing has already stopped working.

Going back to that 10 year old Mr. Coffee brewer.

It was convenient, but the aggravation of maintaining that piece of junk is not worth it.

about a month and a half ago

Amazon To Put Android In Set-top Box To Compete With Apple, Roku

digitalhermit No Chromecast? (104 comments)

If they would make a Chromecast app I'd be more than willing to buy movies through their service. I already have about 30 Google Play Movies titles but there are some titles in Amazon streaming that are not available. Until they make it viewable on my screen, I won't buy any more from them.

about 2 months ago

Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration

digitalhermit Re:Go Amish? (664 comments)

Web developers have a different level of acceptability than in aerospace. I remember a code review for a tiny bit of code that did almost nothing but flash an LED on a failure condition. Three engineers, from three different areas had to approve the change. There was a code review board. There was paperwork and signoffs. Documentation had to include test results, cert results, someone's firstborn and a blood sacrifice to Moloch. The unfortunate engineer that submitted the code had to *defend* it in front of a room full of people whose chief entertainment was watching software guys squirm ("They ain't real engineers" "Here's a quarter kid. Go buy a real degree.").


In the last company where I worked, they changed web code on the fly. The developer edited code directly on the web server. An refresh from the client browser during the update could mean that the look of the page changed one moment to the next. Hell, there was one time when the whole webroot directory was renamed on the live server so the new site could be installed. Too bad for anyone browsing the old page...

Pshaw... You aerospace guys think you live on the edge? Change review? Bwahahaaha. Regression testing? You kid. Dev/Test/Stage/Prod migration? What are you, five?

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

digitalhermit What's old is new (116 comments)

Back in the day, writers earned their keep from underwriters (subscribers). I believe that with tools like Blender, relatively inexpensive broadcast and DVD quality cameras, the ability to collaborate across the world, cheap/cloud storage, and a plethora of amazing stories, we could back to that model. I for one would welcome alternatives to big studio garbage that assumes that because it has a spaceship or an alien race (aliens that look exactly like humans, especially) we'll just buy tickets.

And we often do, because the other "choices" are "Bad Grandma" and "Teen Love Story".

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

digitalhermit Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (116 comments)

Some would argue that there are no genres. Everything is fluff around a few basic stories. Whether it was gods and warriors, kings, princesses or magical forests, the settings were just trappings around a quest or a boy meets girl or journey. I've heard folks argue that sci-fi requires some element of science to be truly sci-fi, but I think that precludes a lot of good fiction. There's a story about a machine that (placed railroads/mined/logged). It would be considered a folk tale today (or even a faux tale) but in its day might have the definition of sci-fi.

Anyhoo, one of my favorites new series is/was the BSG respin. I got lots and lots of flack for enjoying it. I consider excellent sci-fi, yet because it had religion and aspects of magic, many don't agree.

"Deep Impact" could be a variation of the Cyclops myths. Like the people on earth, they knew their death. How does a person deal with the knowledge of their future extinction? There are also many mythologies that foretell the end of the world. Whether by a Beast or a meteor, it explores similar ideas.

All said, I agree that much of what is called sci-fi today is drivel. Gorram Fox.

about 2 months ago

Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

digitalhermit I'm in IT, you insensitive clod. (717 comments)

We average about 50 hours a week, but there are weeks when it goes up to 60 or more. These aren't too often, however. Plus you know that scene in "Office Space" where we hear that there's a good amount of staring into space? There's some of that too. Take that out of my day and it's a more normal 40 hours of actual work.

The problem is in finding people. I interviewed over twenty candidates last year but no matter that the resumes read "Linux expert", many couldn't change a password expiration or expand an LV.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You To Tell Your Client That His "Expert" Is an Idiot?

digitalhermit Oh Hell (384 comments)

This happened to me. The boss man had "taken the initiative" and brought in a new consultant. The guy was an idiot. He opened tickets with the software vendor asking things like how to set the date on a Linux system. He told one of my co-workers that if the root password was lost, he'd need to boot with a rescue disk and do some trickery with /etc/shadow. Tasked with building a cluster, he failed miserably blaming it on poor documentation and other nonsense. I tried many times to tell the boss man that his consultant was an idiot but was told I was being "combative" despite the guy's obvious failings.

It all worked out though. As this guy's contract was being renewed, we asked him to show what he'd done. All the lies he'd told the boss man evaporated when it was revealed that his cluster was just a cluster fuck, his vaunted "remote management" system was really just a "yum install webmin" (left unconfigured), and he'd informed another co-worker not to reveal where he was sitting.

Even years after, the boss man still insisted that the contractor "had fooled everyone."

So no, if the boss is an idiot, you may as well just distance yourself from the idiot. Let him dig his own grave.

about 2 months ago

Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

digitalhermit Re:If there's one role model I want for my daughte (545 comments)

She seems to know her stuff. I show some of her videos to my daughter.

If someone cannot separate their libido from their technical and work related duties, then the problem is not Nixie Pixel's.

Does she lose credibility because she's attractive? I dunno. If anything, I'm more critical of the bubble-headed, "I played ResEvil so I'm a geek grrl!! lol" type. And actually, those types irritate the crap out of me. But looking at her vids, she has technical knowledge that's no worse than many others that I respect.

about 2 months ago

Price of Amazon Prime May Jump To $119 a Year

digitalhermit I'd buy it at $99, maybe not $119 (298 comments)

Having Prime makes me more likely to buy an item. In fact, when I search I generally click the "Prime" filter. Many of the items I won't buy without Prime because the extra shipping discourages me .It's not that I care all that much about the actual shipping cost, just the total price. When a retailer puts an artificially low price then tacks on a large shipping price then I get annoyed and don't buy from them. With Prime, I know the price I see is what I'll pay and have it there in two days.

I don't use the Prime video service because it sucks. I can't watch it on AppleTV or Chromecast natively and selection is quite poor.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Reimagine a Library?

digitalhermit "Catalog Store" concept (231 comments)

You know, I'm really old fashioned and like to browse books. Electronic browsing is not quite the same, however. What I have thought about doing:

On laminated plastic boards, about the height and width of a standard paperback but about as thick as a piece of cardboard, print out the covers of all sorts of books front and back. Use an RFID or QR Code sticker that can retrieve the book from the digital library. Place all the "books" on a browseable shelf. As a kid, browsing the local used book store or library was one of the few pleasures I could afford. I think this would meld the convenience and cost savings of a digital library with the fun of browsing a physical item.

about 3 months ago

Code Is Not Literature

digitalhermit Other people's code? I can't even figure out mine! (240 comments)

Perl jokes aside, I have some old code written in everything from bash to C to R to Java. The common theme among these absolutely stunning pieces of literature is how incomprehensible some of it can be just a few months later. Sure, good code is self documenting, good code reads like a sentence, a proper module fits on one page of screen (I have a 24" display with better than 1920x1080 resolution, btw) but if my code were indeed prose, it would cause eyes to bleed, to hemorrhage, to explode in a fantastic fountain of blood and aqueous fluid.

Sometimes I wrote bits of code without knowing that there were easier ways. I may do a "for item in $(ls *.csv)" instead of the proper "for item in *.csv" or some furious hackery to manually rotate 20x10 matrix into a 10x20 (single command in several languages), or try to parse an XML file by regex'ing and other madness... Sometimes I was drunk. There was one class where the instructor didn't like "showoffs" so code had to be written using only the commands that were covered in the lecture. The resulting code from that class was horrid. One of my earliest bits of code from the 80s sent escape sequences to a printer and there are several strings with non-ASCII characters. There is no way to understand the code without knowing the printer. I have similar code for an Atari that stored music in a BASIC string. That might be possible to decode only if one understood how the Atari made sound.

about 3 months ago

Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

digitalhermit Why do they all fight technology? (261 comments)

All of these media "giants" became giants because they offered alternatives. Yet, they all think that their business model will be eternal. The studios fought against cassette tape recorders, VCRs, video rentals, streaming TV, MP3s, torrents, iTunes, time shifting. In other words, anything that made it more convenient for viewers to -- you know -- view their content was seen as something horrible. If they had their way, we would adjust our schedules around the 6PM Tuesday timeslot to watch some sitcom. Why do they fight technology so fiercely when they should be embracing it? Find out what people like to do and offer a solution... Or, develop a new way and people will flock to it.

about 4 months ago

Experian Sold Social Security Numbers To ID Theft Service

digitalhermit Can I form a subsidiary too? (390 comments)

Oh, wow. TFA looks more than just noise, but we don't know how true it is yet. That said, I've seen so many articles about companies disclaiming liability because the crimes were committed by a partner or subsidiary. I want to do that too. After all, if companies get the benefits of personhood, I think people should get the benefits that corporations do too. I'll spin off a subsidiary person. He'll do all the crimes (cutting off mattress tags, walking on the "Don't Walk", eating oatmeal without a spoon) and I can benefit. When someone bothers to check, I can raise up the mini-me and have them throw him in jail. I'll keep the profits.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing?

digitalhermit R, Perl, some C (465 comments)

I run lots of statistical analyses. Most of the code is in R with some wrappers in Perl and some specific libraries in C. The R and Perl code is pretty much all my own. The C is almost entirely open source software with very minor changes to specify different libraries (I'm experimenting with some GPU computing code from NVidia). Most of the people who are doing similar things are using Python with R (or more specifically, the people I know who are doing the same thing are using Python/R).

An average run with a given data set takes approximately 20 minutes to complete on an 8-core AMD 8160. About 80% of the run is multi-threaded and all cores are pegged. The last bit is constrained mainly by network and disk speed.

You may consider using something like Java/Hadoop depending on your data and compute requirements. Though my Java code is just a step above the level of a grunting walrus, I've found that the performance is actually not that bad and can be pretty good in some cases.


about 6 months ago



Law school retroactively boosts grades

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  more than 3 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "A law school is retroactively boosting grades for current and former students in order to assist them in this tough job market (and to fend off some lawsuits from students). I wonder if I can get my former schools to bump up my GPA too?"
Link to Original Source

UMX 1.3.4b released

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  about 4 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "By design, CodeForce has just released version 1.3.4b of the Universal Management CrossConnect (UMX) protocol.

UMX allows any administrator, on any platform, to perform complex system administrator functions using native front-end tools. Though quite obviously a boon to highly technical system administrators, UMX has also gained quite a following with the PHB types as it has proven itself to drastically reduce resource management costs. For the first time, an MCSE, RHCE or a MacOSX administrator can administer *any* UMX-compatible system using tools they are already familiar with."

Link to Original Source

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  more than 7 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "Just a dose of interesting science for the day: SCIENTISTS have discovered species of shrimp, mussel and clam living at temperatures near boiling point three kilometres down in the equatorial Atlantic. I was particularly impressed by this line: "Scientists who have eaten them say the shrimp are foul-tasting because of the amount of hydrogen sulphide in their bodies." Link is here."


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