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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

jddj Re:Urban legend? (294 comments)

Can't comment on exactly _this_ plan for doomsday, but my Dad was a highly-placed official in the Post Office Department/Postal Service during the 60s-80s, and there was a CoG (Continuity of Government) plan, at least for leadership.

Don't ask me who they thought was going to deliver the mail.

Dad was supposed to abandon the family and head for a specific place in the mountains 90 or so miles west of the city. (There was plenty DC traffic in the '60s, but it wasn't anything like it is today - and the exurbs weren't crowded with townhomes, Costcos and Ferrari dealers).

Dad had his instructions, and while he was a good soldier, I seem to recall he told me he couldn't have left us. Knowing the man, I think that's right.

Besides, the plan was destined for obsolescence once MIRVs and multiple H-Bomb city-busters were developed. There's just no way to survive something like that and have remaining anything like the civilization we enjoy.

2 days ago

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

jddj Damn... (329 comments)


about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?

jddj Related: the sound of a thrown telephone. (790 comments)

I mean a heavy Western Electric Bakelite phone with a corded handset, a dial and a bell. Makes a magnificent clatter that ends with a ding. Nothing quite like it.

about two weeks ago

Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

jddj Re:Any actual examples? (598 comments)

Broken DAAP music server playing - can no longer play music with iTunes from my streaming server (since like iTunes 10).

The rest of iTunes - plenty more comments detail this.

Usability: removal of the scroll arrows from the UI. If you're not on a multitouch pad, or a wheely mouse, hey, just get used to it. F.U. Apple.

Intentional removal of their OWN Fax Modem (yes, a software issue, as the Fax Modem dongle did its processing on the Mac CPU). Only found out about this item I only kept around to receive rare faxes when I suddenly needed to receive a fax. Doesn't work, and doesn't say why: upgrading the OS was enough to break it forever. Would've been nice to hear that BEFORE I upgraded.

Apple Mail: steaming pile of turd. I've had Apple Mail mistakenly associate emails with an account identity, then when I delete that identity, all the mail goes away with it. Have had Apple Mail silently mangle emails for months before I found out. Wish there were some other option other than this featureless pile of feces, but there's really not anything that's both better and less buggy. Eudora was, but it's been out of maintenance for maybe a decade.

Breakage of their legacy software: In the last month I've been moving a huge pile of offline CD and DVD stuff back to magnetic storage (since it's cheap now), and am amazed that so many presentation/multimedia/game/video titles will never run again, because Apple has dropped their Classic and Rosetta emulators. Stuff of a similar vintage could probably be at least opened on Windows (if not actually run well).

AppleLink>eWorld>iTools>.mac>mobile me>iCloud: Apple has shown a complete inability to focus on maintaining online services. They announce an infrastructure, allow users to build something significant on it, then shut it off without a thought. #epicfail. I wouldn't trust Apple with any of my data online.

There's plenty more wrong. The list goes on...

about three weeks ago

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

jddj They're gonna need a bigger clown car. (433 comments)

There is nobody, in any party, who I see on the horizon that I'm excited to vote for.

Can't give the electorate something to run from - got to give 'em something to run to. And I haven't seen it yet.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

jddj Re:Wrong, just wrong. (195 comments)

Mood pareant down for poro spleeling.11!!!

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

jddj Re:Nothing made after 2000 (195 comments)

No. Really, no.

VW owners with a VAG-COM can do a number of tunes, mods and adaptations with just the software and the cable.

Modern cars run a CAN BUS (Car Area Network) and you can probably do a great deal on a number of vehicles. Certainly VW and Audi, but I can't imagine the rest of the industry is sitting still.

A VAG-COM is just about standard equipment for a VW owner who does his/her own repairs. Wouldn't think of doing more than regular maintenance without it. And for some of that (flushing brake fluid, f.e.), it's still necessary.

about 2 months ago

Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

jddj Re:It wasn't just PLATO (134 comments)

I was actually in Junior High at Williamsburg JHS at the time - 8th grade. The "Dialcom" name is familiar - I could be wrong about it being a CDC machine.

Our math teachers were pretty baffled, but trying to put a brave face on kicking off our computer education. There was a lot of "hope I don't break this thing" hesitation. There were a few hardy souls there who really helped us get started.

It appalled me when I got to college in '77 that I had to go backwards to punch cards and JCL for Fortran. Ugh.

I spent a lot of time on the "Career Center" time shared HP (IIRC) in high school at Yorktown, via an ADM-3A glass tube terminal, and on their HP 9830A "Calculator" (really, a low-end mini/microcomputer). Loved that 32-character dot-matrix display!

about 2 months ago

Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

jddj It wasn't just PLATO (134 comments)

I learned my first line-number BASIC (*ptui!*) on an ASR-33 teletype via time-sharing on a Control Data system in public school in Arlington, VA in 1975.

I wrote dumb exponentiation loop programs about Ben, and how his rats would take over the city.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

jddj Your company's education budget (182 comments)

If you don't need other training or certification classes, and actually are learning from your conferences, have your manager use her education budget to send you.

If she doesn't have an education budget, why the hell not? Their investment in you is probably large enough to warrant it, and they'd BETTER be budgeting for it, vs. throwing the occasional wad of cash out there. You're cheaper to train up to a new internal position than to find someone new and start from scratch.

Provided you're not going to the Shriner's convention for the water balloons and the little cars (unless you're in the water balloon or little car industry) education and conferences are normal, expected business expenses.

If you're in the US and the company won't send you, you can deduct your own purchase of the conference and associated costs from your taxes as "unreimbursed business expense" - BUT NOTE that there's a threshold that has to be met: I forget the number, but I think you can only deduct unreimbursed bix expense greater than 7% of your salary. So if you are $5 higher than that 7% mark, you deduct $5.00.

The begging thing might make your taxes complicated...

about 4 months ago

Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

jddj Re:Lie. (191 comments)

Look, where would ./ be if posters read TFA?

Looks to me like the ./ summary is claiming something that the ZDNet article does not. So yeah, not a lie on Cook's part, or not one the ZDNet article demonstrates anyway.

I still wouldn't trust any company not to hand over my information to the government. Lavabit was one hell of an exception, and one geeks the world over should be proud of.

Neither would I trust that email content I didn't personally encrypt with my own keys couldn't be seen by others.

Apple doesn't have to be relaying email for others in order for Apple to be able to see the contents of all SMTP traffic that transits or terminates at their mail servers. SSL for SMTP means nothing if the mail server is pwned or intentionally logging stuff due to a business mandate or government subpoena or pressure.

So Tim Cook didn't tell that particular lie. Good. But "We don't read your email" is an assertion, and one generally impossible to prove true (though more easily possible to prove false, given a certain amount of evidence).

about 4 months ago

Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

jddj Lie. (191 comments)

Since when is anyone's SMTP email secure in transit, when is anyone running a mailserver unable to read the mail?

Since when is any company immune from subpoena or contempt of court?

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

jddj Re: Look at this one... (154 comments)

God, I love my BarcaLounger Craftsman II. It's beautiful and comfy. Probably awful for my back, but as a chair to flop with a laptop, wonderful.

The tall-ish wooden arms make it crap for noodling on a guitar, and the arms slope, so no good for a place to put a soda. You'll want a side table. You`ll have to improvise a place for an outlet strip, but hell, if it's a laptop, you need to exercise the battery for maximum working life anyway, right? Or attach the outlet to the side table and leave your georgeous chair unscathed.

There are knockoffs of this chair, that look just like it, but aren't nearly as comfy. I know: I wanted to buy a knockoff 'cuz it was convenient, would ship with the rest of our furniture, but no, had to go back for the real thing, haven't regretted it for a minute.

If the family ever comes apart, we'll negotiate for most everything in the house, but not this chair. it's coming with me.

It's part of the "Woodland Reserve" collection in "Vintage Reserve" on BarcaLounger's very 1990s-looking web site, http://www.barcalounger.com/

about 5 months ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

jddj Re: Simple. (368 comments)


That's the awful piece of crap I called out below. It's cheap but sounds like boiled shit. 60Hz hum, loud enough to obscure conversation, hiss, level match problems, AWFUL!

Buy the JK Audio QuickTap if you need something like this that works.

about 6 months ago

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

jddj I have to record calls for a living... (368 comments)

I do stakeholder and user interviews, and may not be able to predict what telephony equipment I'll find at a site.

I realize you're asking for a smartphone or VOIP app, but what I've come to rely on is the JK Audio QuickTap: http://www.jkaudio.com/quickta... - it can record both sides from virtually ANY corded-handset phone. Sounds great, it's a passive device, so no batteries, no AC, it's little and comes with the adapters you need for a pocket recorder (like the Olympus recorder I use, but works with a PC/Mac input as well...).

This works nearly anyplace, and sounds great. Whatever you do, DO NOT try the Radio Shack device for cheap cheap that claims to do the same thing. The Radio Shack device has a little switch on it. Position 1 is "Suck", and Position 2 is "Suck Differently". You buy this thing and you've hosed yourself.

Full disc: I don't sell these, have no ownership, employment or other stake with JK Audio: they just make tools that work when I desperately need 'em to, and I love 'em.

about 6 months ago

Animal Behaviour Specialists Map Out the Social Networks of Cows

jddj What I wanna know... (66 comments)

...is what the ad revenue looks like on RuminantBook.

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

jddj Cisco? (194 comments)

Cisco has been working hard to productize video conferencing, and has hardware and software solutions for it, from telepresence suites down to desk phones with screens, as well as applications.

Don't know all about the fit and price, but probably worth a look: might beat a duct-taped solution where no onsite maintenance is required.

about 6 months ago



Slashdot the victim of peering problems on Comcast?

jddj jddj writes  |  about 9 months ago

jddj (1085169) writes "Not sure how to tell you guys, but Slashdot won't load on my Comcast internet. Everything else appears fine. This has been going on all day (Tuesday).

Happening on multiple machines and mobiles on my home LAN. If I switch the same machine over to my VPN with a same-city exit point, Slashdot loads near-instantly in the same browser, same connection — just tunnelled over VPN.

Not a DNS problem, already checked. Loads fairly quickly on 4G LTE-connected mobile phone on VZW.

Ought to look into it..."

Link to Original Source

DroidX Does - have a self-destruct tab

jddj jddj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jddj (1085169) writes "New in the box, Motorola's new DroidX has a plastic tab on the back that says "PULL^". Owners that follow that instruction pull the plastic backing with the serial number and service ID out of the phone, and in the process immediately void their warranties (confirmed by talking to Motorola and Verizon). This is happening a lot. Our story and a picture link in the journal article."
Link to Original Source

jddj jddj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jddj (1085169) writes "A USAF airman suffered second-degree burns during a testing exercise for a "non-lethal" weapon in south Georgia (the US state, not the nation) this week. The "Active Denial System" uses a beam of RF energy to make men, women and children in its path feel like they're about to catch fire.

The weapon is designed for crowd control, and is presently planned for use in Afghanistan. Curious minds wonder how long it'll be before the now-emerging western police states begin to use it for dispersal of lawful demonstrations — or even to prevent them by force of intimidation.

(NB: I initially thought this looked like it might go under "Wireless Networking", but thought better and filed under "Education". I'm thinking Pavlov. Are you?)"



DroidX does: have a self-destruct tab. Verizon: you voided your warranty

jddj jddj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

As I write, my very geeky wife is involved in one of those sisyphean discussions with a phone company CSR.

Until an hour ago, she was delighted that her new DroidX had arrived, and that she was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate few with the latest hot phone.

On the back, in the battery compartment, the DroidX has a little tag that says "Pull". It looks a great deal like the tabs that manufacturers put in electronic devices to protect a factory battery from discharging before purchase. So my wife pulls. When she follows the phone's instructions, the insulation panel with the serial number and other phone ID information comes out of the phone completely, tearing the pull-tab in the process.

So she calls Verizon. Verizon's take: Not only did she "cut the sticker" (she did no such thing, it tore a bit when she pulled it), not only is it "her fault" (for following the instructions printed on the phone), but now Verizon claims the phone's warranty has been voided, and her only option is to buy yet another brand new phone.

And get this: since she's "voided her warranty" by following the instructions printed on the tab, she's no longer allowed the 30-day evaluation period. She's stuck with paying $500 for the phone AND a two-year get-out fee if we want to run screaming from this unforgivable customer service experience. We think. It's complicated. There were a few other options, all of which are lousy outcomes for us, and involved us spending more money on this brand new phone. We haven't even turned it on yet.

Wife's in tears. Son's in tears because everyone else is upset. Can this be the out-of-box experience Motorola had planned for us?

My wife says: "I think we've come to a point where companies have gotten so big they don't have to care about the individual customer. When you're as big as the GNP of a small country, a $500 phone doesn't seem like a big deal. When the policy is written, they try to write it so no one can get around the policy, even when it would make sense. No one is given autonomy to go outside the policy, even when it would make sense. And nobody that has the authority to make a change is even aware that the situation occurs unless it reaches the media. As companies get larger and larger, this is just gonna get worse".

Why do phone companies try so hard to drive away subscribers with top-tier data plans who buy the top-of-the-line phone?

Won't thousands of other people make exactly the same mistake with the phone?

By the way: the tab? It's to pull the battery out of the phone. Don't ask me why they couldn't just put in a little fingernail notch.

Updated July 21 1PM EDT -

Motorola has also confirmed that following the instruction to pull the tab voids the phone's warranty.

We're not the only ones who pulled the tab as instructed.

Updated July 22 4:41 PM EDT -

I'm going to guess that this problem will mainly show up for folks who've had their DroidX phones shipped to them. These phones ship without an installed battery and no explanation for the tab. Folks who buy the phone at the store will typically have the salesperson install the battery, and the first time they'll encounter the tab is in the act of popping the battery out of the phone.

To clarify - we think the phone will work just fine. The part that's made us so mad is that the warranty is now gone. What happens if something does go wrong?

Updated July 24 12:35 AM EDT - Resolved? Maybe...

The Mrs. spoke to a different rep from Motorola yesterday who said "Huh? That doesn't sound right. Hang on while I check with support...No, Verizon is crazy, you didn't void your warranty...".

That sounds pretty good, but he had no way to put it in writing. He did ask the Mrs. to call back Verizon with the Moto case number to help straighten out their support desk, and suggested he'd look into getting Moto's story straight.

That's some relief - the Mrs. is using her DroidX at last, and is mollified, and the youngun is sleeping well tonight.

BUT - we have recent verbal assurance from Moto that the warranty is not void, and prior text assurance from Moto that it is void. That's not the happiest of resolutions. Would like to say we're done, but would rather hear policy from Moto and Verizon that clears this all up.

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