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Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

nabsltd Re:I just want to... (184 comments)

We needed a new car back in 2012 and we decided on a 2012 Ford Escape.

Most of your complaints can be fixed with various tweaks listed in the manuals. For example, you don't have to listen to chimes because the key is in the switch. As for Sync, update the software (easy to do with a download to any USB stick) and you should be able to connect any Android at least for voice, but your phone has to support a later level of Bluetooth to support reading/sending texts using the car.

I can't help you on your satellite drop outs, as that's caused by brain-dead placement of the antenna by Ford. No, that thing sticking up at the back of your car is not the satellite antenna. The sat antenna is pretty much inside your glove compartment.

2 days ago
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Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

nabsltd Re:How Will I Even Notice? (275 comments)

What I'd expect is that the boxes where the ads were will be empty, but the layout of the website (tailored originally around those boxes) will be identical.

Competent CSS will result in the boxes being gone and the page re-flowing.

The Firefox add-on Stylish allows you to do this with any web site. I do it with Slashdot to make the comments fill my browser from left to right margin.

2 days ago
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Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

nabsltd Re:No trust (534 comments)

I don't really have an opinion on it, myself, but it seems to me that all of the arguments against systemd are based on factual errors (e.g., that it's monolithic, and therefore not UNIXy) and inertia, or on defects that are clearly just packaging/configuration bugs.

Read the rest of this comments and you'll find plenty of real bugs (su bugs when using systemd-logind, failure to mount degraded btrfs, etc.) that are treated by the systemd developers as "NOTABUG". Likewise, if the packagers can't get the configuration right, how do you expect end users to figure it out?

And, systemd is monolithic. Sure, it's a bunch of separate executables, but you need to run them all together or things break, which makes it all or nothing. And, yes, I keep hearing about "no, you can use any ntpd/logind/whateverd you want...you don't need to use the systemd version", but nobody has ever given an example of how to do this that doesn't involve keeping the systemd version at least installed on your system, and sometimes running beside your preferred version.

3 days ago
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Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

nabsltd Re:Go back in time 5 years (534 comments)

Having actually read what systemd does, I'm looking forward to seeing it on my machines.

The PR for systemd far exceeds the utility you actually gain. For some very limited sets of configuration, systemd offers features that just can't be done otherwise (or easily). Most of those cases are so convoluted that nobody ever wanted to do them anyway.

The one good thing that systemd does offer (better job control) is far offset by the design that makes it painful to configure anything that isn't standard, and even more painful to debug when something goes wrong. Examples of "something going wrong" often seem to include failure to mount a filesystem. Leaving out network security settings, this was almost always fixed before by editing /etc/fstab, typing "mount /foo" and moving on. Today, "mount /foo" invokes some systemd component to parse your /etc/fstab and do what it thinks you want done. Since it is impossible for systemd to know every option to every filesystem (and how they interact), this almost always means that systemd doesn't do what you really want (and what /etc/fstab says should happen).

I've used systemd, and it's painful and ugly, mainly because the documentation is either bad or non-existent. I suspect that right about the that RedHat 6 support is ending, systemd will finally be ready for production use.

3 days ago
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Battlestar Galactica Creator Glen A. Larson Dead At 77

nabsltd Re:Sci Fi Really Ages Quickly (186 comments)

it was filmed, with not a giant slug but a slightly overweight guy wearing (among other things) animal furs. It was cut because GL had formed the idea of Jabba being the giant slug for Jedi but he didn't want to reshoot the scene, so it was simply cut.

I think it was rightfully cut because it has the exact same dialog as the Greedo scene, and doesn't add anything to the story.

The Greedo scene, OTOH, shows Han to be a "the only fair fight is one I win" kind of guy, which makes him coming to help Luke at the Death Star even more important to his character.

about a week ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

nabsltd Re:Not news (134 comments)

He just doesn't know about some niche system from 40 years ago.

PLATO was many things, but not "niche".

I'm the same age as the SecEd, didn't go to "prestige" schools like he did, and still had access to systems running PLATO.

about a week ago
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Will Lyft and Uber's Shared-Ride Service Hurt Public Transit?

nabsltd Re:It's only worth it (237 comments)

With the Cost of Cars going up and up and becoming unattainable for many

I don't know if the price of a car is really a factor compared to previous years.

Today, about $14K will get you a new car that works fine for the daily commute. And, although you could have gotten a similar "entry-level" car in 2000 for the the same price adjusted for inflation (about $10K), that car would have a lot fewer standard features than today's cars. And, $10K in pay at the minimum wage rate in 2000 would be $14K today.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

nabsltd Re:First step is to collect data. (405 comments)

Yes, before I brought this question to Slashdot, I did my homework first. I've scoured logs, check RBLs, used wireshark, etc. It's definitely not a misconfiguration on my end or an issue with complaints resulting from spam.

One change you can make is to configure the outbound NAT from your mail server to appear to come from a different one of your static public IP addresses. Change your DNS to match, and see if that helps at all.

If it doesn't, then perhaps as others have said, you are collateral damage from nearby IP addresses. Has your IP block been allocated to you? If so, you can usually use the WHOIS info to convince the other end that you aren't related to the collateral IP address.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

nabsltd Re:First step is to collect data. (405 comments)

Yahoo spits out several messages:

Deferred: 421 4.7.1 [TS03] All messages from XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX will be permanently deferred; Retrying will NOT succeed.

Not that this will likely help you, but you're probably completely screwed, since Yahoo doesn't even care they are intentionally violating the RFC.

All 4xx response codes are for messages that can't be delivered right now, but some condition change will allow them to be delivered. The text of their message implies that the response code should have been a 5xx. This sort of behavior is usually done in response to spam (foolishly, since most spambots never retry) in an attempt to waste the resources of the sending server by causing it to retry.

The Microsoft response might be legitimate if their systems think that you are sending "too much" e-mail.

about two weeks ago
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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

nabsltd Re:Ok, they got ONE right... (257 comments)

My local brick and mortar store are automatically at a 7% price disadvantage because they have to include sales tax to items purchased where online retails don't.

No, your local brick and mortar store is at a 15-30% disadvantage simply because they charge a lot more for most things.

I just bought a gaming headset at a local B&M because I wasn't sure if it would work for me (comfort, quality, etc.) and wanted an easy return if I had to. For that, I paid 44% more than if I had purchase the item from Amazon. This is not an unusual situation, at least as far as tech is concerned, with Amazon, NewEgg, SuperBiiz, etc., all fighting for my online purchases.

Also, Amazon charges tax in my state, so that part doesn't even enter into the decision to buy online.

about two weeks ago
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Website Peeps Into 73,000 Unsecured Security Cameras Via Default Passwords

nabsltd Re:or read (321 comments)

It's not just an issue of understanding, it's apathy and laziness.

Yes, laziness on the part of the programmers of the device.

The default password should allow you to access exactly one function on the device: the "pick a username and password for a new admin" feature. Once that finishes, either the default password is set to cat < /dev/urandom > password_storage_file or else the default user is removed. In case you forget the username and password you set, the device can be reset to factory defaults using some sort of physical "reset" button.

about two weeks ago
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Website Peeps Into 73,000 Unsecured Security Cameras Via Default Passwords

nabsltd Re:Ethics (321 comments)

Just because a door is unlocked does not mean you may walk inside, even if it is to tell the owner their door is unlocked.

This is a good analogy, because it is impossible to tell if a door is unlocked (or if a camera has the default username/password) without trying to open the door.

So, what your advice boils down to is that you never can accurately inform someone their door (system) is unlocked..

about two weeks ago
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Big Data Knows When You Are About To Quit Your Job

nabsltd Re:Maybe, maybe not. (185 comments)

So you don't think that a combination of factors such as where you live, how much you get paid, relative market rates, current job market conditions, your recent payrises, your recent year end appraisal scores, where your partner works, your age, your time since last promotion or anything else the company has or can easily gain access to would be an indicator of how likely you are to leave?

Not for some jobs. In a lot of the tech world, the algorithm would be pretty much exactly as the GP listed, at least for talented people who are desired by employers.

And, what does the company do when "big data" says somebody is or isn't going to leave in the next year? If they use just that metric, the will find out that a lot of people who they thought weren't going to leave end up gone..."we don't need to give him that big of a raise...the computer says he won't leave anyway". Or, "hey, we better find a cheaper replacement for this guy, because he's leaving in the next year" will be a lot more likely than giving the guy what it takes to keep him.

Then, too, there's a lot of employees who won't ever leave their existing job because they can't do any better anywhere else. Sadly, many of those people are the ones that you might want to encourage to leave.

about two weeks ago
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CNN Anchors Caught On Camera Using Microsoft Surface As an iPad Stand

nabsltd Re:nfl forced to use surface (236 comments)

Given a choice, they'd still be using iPads.

This is the first season that any electronic device could be used by coaches and players during an NFL game. They weren't using iPads before...they were using steno pads.

about two weeks ago
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The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

nabsltd Re:There's a clue shortage (574 comments)

That's code for "we pay well under market", and are to be avoided.

One thing that hurts where I work is that we generally have 40-hour weeks, with at most 4-5 hours per month extra for maintenance (depending on the month, your group, ongoing projects, etc.).

So, although we do pay "under market value", the hourly wage is actually higher than a 50-hours-per-week-required job. Add in the fact that the commute is much better than most people's in this region, and you end up spending about 47 hours per week on "work" (including commute), compared to the area average of nearly 60.

about three weeks ago
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The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

nabsltd Re:There's a clue shortage (574 comments)

You're not logging into each individual server and firing off Windows Update every Patch Tuesday. In fact if you're wasting your time doing crap like that I would argue you're not a very good system administrator, because you're not learning and growing, you're simply caring and feeding.

Until that one time the automated patching system causes the critical server to fail in some way that could have been easily cleared if a human was watching.

Seriously, we automate all the patching we can, but some of the bizarre software running on our VMs means they have to be rebooted manually so that if something screws up, it can be fixed fast. And, yes, I know that for any critical service, there should be some sort of clustering, but generally I'm taking about VMs that interact with specific scientific instruments, and the vendor doesn't support any kind of high-availability. We also can't afford to spend $5M on an extra piece of hardware so that we can have a dev environment to test patches before rolling out to production.

The real problem is that although the OS image is consistent, we have so many apps that are installed on just one VM, and that ends up making every VM unique.

about three weeks ago
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New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

nabsltd Re:Old saying (249 comments)

You need a 4th one for the time. Without an accurate time reference, you can't determine distance to satellites.

Every GPS signal is the time...that's how it works.

The signal from different satellites (which includes the time, the satellite ID, and the satellite position) is enough by itself to give you everything you need, and by determining how long each signal took to reach the receiver, the position can be fixed.

You only need 3 satellites if your position is already generally known (i.e., what hemisphere), or if the receiver assumes you are reasonably close to sea level. With 4 satellites, you can get a fix with no previous knowledge of where you were. Four will also give you accurate altitude after a few iterations.

about three weeks ago
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Disney Patents a Piracy Free Search Engine

nabsltd Re:good (164 comments)

Good thing they patented it. Now nobody else will try to implement it.

Google's PageRank already implements some version of this, at the request of the **AA.

Basically, when Google receives a DMCA takedown for a site in its index (which it honors, even though it doesn't have to because it isn't hosting the content), that site gets down-ranked for at least some searches.

So, Disney—a member of the MPAA—now has a patent that gives Google a reason to stop doing what the MPAA asked it to do.

about three weeks ago
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It's Time To Revive Hypercard

nabsltd Re:For the rest of us (299 comments)

Even if Macs weren't so expensive, something cross-platform, like BASIC, would be better.

What made Hypercard so great is that it allowed you to build a fairly decent GUI with almost no work.

Although I agree that cross-platform is the way to go, without the ability to "draw" your windows and dialog boxes, it would be just like the original BASIC, where pretty much only geeks used it.

Visual Basic is a convoluted joke.

And yet, it's much closer to what a modern Hypercard should be like than most other dev environments.

about three weeks ago

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