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Chrome Will End XP Support in 2015; Firefox Has No Plans To Stop

marphod Re:From my cold dead hands... (257 comments)

I think you may be missing the point.

I don't want to buy a new OS. I don't want to give Microsoft money for a OS that I don't want to use and am locked into because one software package I use is Windows-only. I certainly don't want to be forced to get new hardware in order to pay money for something I don't want to use.

While my CPU and GPU aren't breaking any records (Intel Q9550, GeForce 9400GT) and I may have other minor issues[1], I'm also not feeling any need to upgrade. I don't do high end games, my primary OS is a Linux flavor, my compiler works fine for my development work, and except for when an application goes rogue and eats CPU or RAM, my 4 VMs run fine with 4G Ram. One of those VMs is Windows (XP 64bit), running on a license I happened to get with my hardware. I use the windows VM for 2 reasons -- one, for a decent OCR package[2], and two, one of the media servers I use is a Windows-only package[3].

If these ran well under WINE, I'd ditch windows in a heart beat

Would I like to be using Windows 7 rather than XP? Sure. If a license fell into my lap, I'd upgrade. However, I look at my windows partition in much the same way I look at dental work -- of course, I would rather getting Novocaine before dental surgery, it is a nicer option than not, but I'd rather not have to have dental work in the first place.

[1] - In particular, I'm rather annoyed that while my CPU supports it, the motherboard doesn't do VT-d,
[2] - I spent over 2 months trying to train Tesseract and Cuneiform to a workable state. I re-wrote significant parts of a UI front-end to make them play nice together and to select the best recognition from either engine. Best I could get was a recognition accuracy on my bank statements of 75% by _character_, much less word or line. And there still isn't an reasonable way to do document formatting replication in the recognized text.
[3] Yes, yes, I use closed-source software. I am a Bad Geek. Can we please move on?

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Go Paperless At Home?

marphod Jams and MultiFeeds - Live with it (311 comments)

I've got a Canon GS-50, and over the past month have made the transition from huge amounts of papers to everything digitized.

My solution for multi feeds and jams? Notice, recover, and rescan. It honestly doesn't take that much longer. You will want to keep a quick eye on every page, anyways, in case of poor scans, off-perpendicular feeds, OCR-recognition failures (not so much the accuracy of the text, but the analysis confusing a block of text with graphics), and to trim blank or excess pages (page 8 of a 7-page duplex document, or page 2 of my financial statements which are the exact same notices 10 years running). Fire and forget would be lovely, but it doesn't happen.

It isn't like I only have a few things to scan, either. I have more than 15 kilos (33lbs) of documents to shred, plus the ~4 kilos (9lbs) I've already shredded and about another 10 kilos (22lbs) of scanned papers that don't need to be shredded before recycling (e.g. college club annuals). For the record, there are about 100 pages of standard 8.5x11 paper to the lbs (220 pages to the kilo -- equal to about 6500 sheets -- although many of the pages were significantly smaller like checks and the 'keep for your records' portion of bills).

It took less than a month at a couple hours a day to handle approximately 12,000 page-faces (lots of duplex pages, and the total sheet count is closer to 9,000 given how many were undersized pages).

---

Is it worth keeping old records? That depends. Some of these documents (e.g. my mother's living will, my house's deed) I need to keep a physical copy around regardless. Although this leaves me a copy on hand and I can put the original in a safe-deposit box. Some of these documents have limited lifespans (did I really need to scan the bank statements escrow account for my former tenant who moved out years ago? Probably not). Others are good to have forever -- I've looked up phone numbers from phone bills 15 years old, to get back in touch with someone. I need to keep many of my investments receipts so I can deal with taxes when they are sold.

For me, it is much easier to be a pack-rat of electronic files that fit onto a USB key, than to have stacks of papers around the house. If you don't have that much paperwork, don't need to store it indefinitely, or don't have the MustKeepEverything instinct, it probably isn't worth it to scan everything.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?

marphod Lots of Options (363 comments)

There are plenty of science museums throughout the country. The Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) has more specific information, including a search engine, at http://www.astc.org/sciencecenters/find.php
These museums run a range from natural history (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly), science museums for the general public (Boston's Museum of Science), Planetariums (Barlow Planetarium at UW Fox Valley), harder science museums (Harvard museum of Natural History, Woods Hole Oceanographic, National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO), Transportation (North Carolina Transportation Museum), Aerospace (Virginia Air & Space Center), Medicine (International Museum of Surgical Science), botanical garden (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Florida), and even a Presidential Library (McKinley's in Canton OH).

Similarly, it may be worth checking out the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which other than having the obvious members, has a number of science centers included (Boston's MoS, California Science Center, etc.).

Beyond those, there are some obvious choices. The Smithsonian and other DC museums have plenty of geek options. 'Air and Space' (including the annex at Dulles) and Natural History are the 2 obvious ones. International Spy Museum is another. In Boston, you could include a campus tour of MIT along with the various local museums and the Mapparium. Any of the various NASA visitor centers across the country (Houston or Cape Canaveral are probably the best options of those). For just impressive engineering, the Hoover Damn, and the CN Tower (Yeah, technically Canada. Although if you're going from Boston or NYC to Chicago, that can be on the route). Also the Golden Gate, Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), and Empire State Building, as well.

If you are interested in anatomy and physiology, you could look up where Body Worlds or Bodies: The Exhibition (or one of the competitors) is being exhibited.

Depending on when and where you go, you can also have the trip coincide with major SF/Fantasy conventions (Dragon*Con, PAX, GenCon, etc.).

Add in UCB Berkeley's Cyclotron, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Spaceport America or Mojave Air and Space Port, an atomic museum (National Museum of Nuclear Science and History or Los Almos Historical Museum), and a pilgrimage to a Silicon Valley site (the Apple Museum?), and it should be fairly complete.

more than 2 years ago
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FBI Instructs Wikipedia To Drop FBI Seal

marphod FBI Logo on the FBI Website (485 comments)

I'll admit, I couldn't find a high-res image on the FBI seal in the 2 minutes I spent searching there, but the seal isn't overly complex, doesn't have micro text or any other anti-counterfeiting features.

However, this image, http://www.fbi.gov/libref/historic/fbiseal/images/fbiseal-02-02.gif, is a fairly decent image and can easily be used to produce a better, larger image. (The image is slightly obfuscated by the web page dis-allowing right clicks. Good going, guys. Security by obscurity for the Win. I mean Lose.)

However, more interesting to me is this high-res image: http://www.fbi.gov/multimedia/images/equipment/badge&gun.jpg

A high resolution image of an FBI badge. Yeah. They're concerned that a web image of their seal can be used illegally, but a badge? That's nothing to worry about. Move along.

about 4 years ago
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Police Seize Computers From Gizmodo Editor

marphod Re:Journalist? (1204 comments)

Is there a federal exemption to search and seizure of property of a journalist? no.

Is there a state exemption in California to search and seizure of property of a journalist? Yes.

Was the search warrant executed a warrant issued by a federal bench? No.

Read the article and the response; the response cites California state law by statute. A simple web search will confirm that the quoted law is, in fact, accurate.

To me, an educated layman, it seems obvious that the warrant was invalid. There may be new case law since 2006 that changes the legal precedent, but without that, the warrant is not valid, prima facia.

more than 4 years ago
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Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games

marphod Speaking of German Games (153 comments)

This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

Well, first, it is more than the past few years. Settlers of Catan was one of the earliest BIG cross over games. I was playing it since college, means the cross over started about a decade ago.

Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.

(On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

And I STILL can't find anyonre to play Kingmaker with me, and very few who play Magic Realm.

more than 7 years ago

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