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Canonical Could Switch To Rolling Releases For Ubuntu 14.04 and Beyond

natoochtoniket Re:They had better leave server LTS alone.. (222 comments)

I have a half dozen programmers and four (4) IT people, to support a site of several thousand hosts. Most of those hosts are in clusters, of course...

We have to verify and validate the software, put it on thousands of hosts, and then run it until the next upgrade. The name of the game is "stable". We don't want to upgrade the OS any more often than is absolutely required by the application.

Rolling releases are a complete non-starter for us. Sure, they are easier to support from the OS vendors perspective. But, they are absolutely unacceptable for customer whose primary business requirements for the platform are "stable" and "predictable".

about a year and a half ago
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EU Scientists Working On Laser To Rip a Hole In Spacetime

natoochtoniket Big Bang Bomb ? (575 comments)

Apparently, nuclear weapons are not powerful enough. They want a bigger bang. This won't end until we build the big-bang bomb.

Of course, they will have to test it.

more than 2 years ago
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IT Crises vs. Vacation: Sometimes It Isn't Pretty

natoochtoniket Vacation? How about WEEKENDS? (352 comments)

My current company, has no vacations. You simply tell them when you are not going to be there, and they decide if they want to fire you for the absence.

They also do not have weekends. On the Friday before each customary "3-day" weekend the owner declares an emergency that, somehow, MUST be finished by Tuesday.

No one wants to work there for very long. Turnover is very high. Projects don't get finished, precisely because of the turnover. Other projects do get "finished', but don't work, also because of the turnover

The owner doesn't seem to realize that he is sabotaging his own projects.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now

natoochtoniket Re:Smart people (618 comments)

You live in Spain.

In the USA, the price of cell phone service is much higher. The companies are extremely profitable.

more than 3 years ago
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New Mega-Leak Reveals Middle East Peace Process

natoochtoniket Truth wants to be free (760 comments)

The truth wants to be free. When the old media is full of lies and propaganda, the truth finds other outlets. This is not something that can be stopped or controlled. It will just happen, as it has just happened in previous generations.

By trying to stop it, the government and the old media (newspapers, radio, and TV) are merely contributing to the problem. By attacking wikileaks with silly trumped-up charges, they have not stopped anything. They have only guaranteed that the new media will develop diversity of paths.

Individuals who have knowledge, even documents, that they believe should be made public, will always find a way to do so. Before the "news" media became consolidated and controlled, they would just send it to the Washington Post or some other newspaper. Now, they will publish it themselves.

more than 3 years ago
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Proving 0.999... Is Equal To 1

natoochtoniket Re:Or (1260 comments)

As a mathematician who as studied both number theory and algebra, I find these threads quite entertaining. There is no call to hate anyone.

Every proof that I have ever taken seriously begins with precise statements of both the theorem that is to be proved, and the formal system in which it is to be proved. Everything depends on the choices of signature and axioms. I don't know what "0.3333..." means, otherwise.

If the symbol "." is defined to be an infix binary operator that discards the left operand, so that for all A,B, A.B=B, then "0.3333..." equals 3

about 4 years ago
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Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels?

natoochtoniket Software does it, too (1140 comments)

The people who produce software keep adding menu bars at the top and bottom. Right now, this firefox window with the slashdot page in it has THREE INCHES of menu bars at the top! Worse, this editing port is only TWO INCHES TALL.

A page of text on normal paper (in the US) is 11 inches tall by 8.5 wide. I want the actual text-port in my editors to be at least that tall. We can bitch about the hardware all we want, and be limited to the capability of the hardware that we buy.

But, for Pete's sake, why do we have to put so many of those horizontal friggin menu bars on every port?

I would like to see VERTICAL menu bars on the SIDES of the windows, and leave the top and bottom alone.

about 4 years ago
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Could Anti-Texting Laws Make Roads More Dangerous?

natoochtoniket Compare Drinking while Driving (709 comments)

We know that texting-while-driving is far more dangerous than driving while drunk.

We have decided, as a society, that driving while drunk is so dangerous that we have made it illegal, and impose stiff penalties. It isn't just illegal to drive while drunk. It is illegal to have an open container in the car. This is based on the reasonable assumption that, if there is an open container, the driver may take a drink and become impaired.

I think it would be reasonable to decide, as a society, that texting-while-=driving is so dangerous that we should impose stiff penalties. And, it shouldn't just be illegal to drive while texting. It should be illegal to have an open texting device in the car. If there is an open texting device, the driver may look at it and become impaired. Many times, I have seen a teenager say "look at this", and hold his/her phone out so that another person can read it. If that other person happens to be a driver, the drivers attention is taken away from the driving.

I really don't have any problem with drivers who decide to kill themselves, other than perhaps that I get stuck paying part of the cost of the emergency services. I have a really big issue with drivers who try to kill me, by swerving their vehicles toward mine while driving at a high rate of speed. Recently, that has happened several times each day.

about 4 years ago
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Credit Cards That Think They Are Gadgets

natoochtoniket Re:I was idly thinking about this the other day (239 comments)

The "cash" economy includes lots of activity, not just illegal sales. Lots of "unbanked" people conduct all of their transactions in cash, and many of them can't or don't keep records. Think, lawn service, tree trimmers, the guy who sells water mellons fro the back of a pickup truck, the immigrant laborers who re-roof your house. A surprising fraction of people are illiterate (unable to read or write). An even larger fraction of all people are innumerate (unable to use numbers).

Without "cash", your lawn doesn't get mowed, your car doesn't get detailed, your trees don't get trimmed, you cannot buy fresh food, and your roof will leak. It isn't because you can't pay for them. It's because the sellers of those services cannot receive payment in any other form.

more than 4 years ago
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The Last Component To Fail In My Computer Was The...

natoochtoniket Keyboard, Trackball (715 comments)

I actually have worn out several mechanical input devices. I don't replace them when I get a new computer, just when they stop working. That has happened because of too many duty cycles, too much dirt got into the mechanism, and once because too much coffee got into the mechanism. Note that it doesn't take very much coffee -- less than one cup will kill a keyboard.

more than 4 years ago
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

natoochtoniket Re:They can stop hosting whoever they want ... (1695 comments)

Actually, it is not "legal to be the most racist business to exist in America". Discrimination on account of race or religion is illegal under the Civil Rights Act. That doesn't stop some people from being bigots. It is just that, when a good or service is offered for sale to the public, the seller may not refuse to sell to certain customrs because of the customers race or religion.

The Rackspace service is a public accommodation, in the sense that they offer the service for sale to the public. So they cannot discriminate on the basis of the religion of the customer. And, I'm sure they don't. However, they can and do put language in their contract that limits what can be posted on those web pages. Language that is designed and intended to incite violence or to harm another person, can be prohibited.

The Dover World Outreach Center web site clearly had a lot of that sort of language. I read it before the take-down.

more than 4 years ago
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Cooking For Geeks

natoochtoniket How to boil water (312 comments)

My personal favorite of all the introductory cookbooks I have ever seen is, "How to boil water",
( http://www.amazon.com/Boil-Water-Food-Network-Kitchens/dp/0696226863 ). It has labeled pictures of things you might find in a kitchen, so when a recipe says to use a "frying pan", you can go look at the picture and get the right thing out of the cabinet. The first recipe is "coffee". The next chapter is "things you can eat without having to cook them first".

more than 4 years ago
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Wireless Power Group Has 'Qi' Prototypes

natoochtoniket Re:Efficient? Better in any way? (117 comments)

It's not really about efficiency or financial savings. It's about consumer psychology. Of course, the big items have the big potential gains. But, big items cost big money to change. People don't spend big money until they know and understand the benefit. Little things have smaller potential gains,but can be implemented for little or no money. A PR campaign for a little thing educates the consumers about the issue, without threatening the consumers emotionally by telling them to spend a lot of money. Power adapters and light bulbs are the two major examples of such campaigns.

Getting people to change a light bulb is a little thing. It costs just a couple bucks, and takes just a few minutes. And, old light bulbs need to be replaced when they fail, anyway. The savings to one consumer by changing one light bulb is only a few bucks. But there is a big savings, both environmentally and economically, when you multiply by the number of light bulbs i the nation and the hours that they are normally operated.

Power adapters cost a little more to replace with high-efficiency units, but can be unplugged easily and for not cost. The campaign to get people to unplug power adapters isn't really going to save much power, because the newer units really don't use much power, and older units get replaced anyway whenever the phone gets replaced. The savings from 'unplugging' is also smaller because it takes labor, so most people just won't do it. So, there really isn't much actual power savings available. But, because "unplugging" is free, it is a non-threatening way to achieve some consumer education.

The biggest effect is that it gets consumers to think about the power that they use in their houses. After a consumer understands the potential savings, they become more willing to spend some capital to get more of those savings.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown

natoochtoniket Re:Surge Protectors (404 comments)

Actually, I did have surge protection on the light bulbs, I just didn't realize it. To understand why, it helps to understand how surge protectors actually work.

The electric circuit in a house is a buss with four conductors (+, -, neutral, and ground). The + and - conductors normally supply current from the service entrance breaker/fuse panel to each device. The neutral conductor returns the current from each device back to the panel. The ground is for safety, and does not normally carry any current. Surge protectors work by placing a varister between two conductors of that buss. If the voltage difference between the two conductors is low (say, below a few hundred volts), the varister has high resistance and does not short the circuit. But, if the voltage difference between the two conductors is high, the varister has low resistance, and creates a 'short' between the two conductors. The short provides a low-resistance path for the surge, so more current goes through the varister, and less current goes through other devices on the buss.

All of the varisters in a circuit work in parallel to protect the whole circuit. That is, any surge protector on the "+" side of the main panel, helps to protect everything on that side. And, any protector on the "-" side, helps to protect everything on that side. If you have a hundred varisters on the (+, ground) path in your house, even though they are physically divided into a dozen different boxes, and supplied by different breakers or fuses, the current from a surge on the + conductor flows through all of them in parallel to reach ground.

Of course, the shorter the path to a device, the sooner the surge reaches that device. Electricity flows through copper wire at a speed of a just about 1 foot per nanosecond. So, if the varister is located closer to the source of the surge than some other device, the surge gets to the varister before it gets to the device, and shorts through the varister before it damages the device. Optimal protection is achieved by placing the surge protection varisters at the source of the surge, which is typically at the service-entrance.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown

natoochtoniket Re:Surge Protectors (404 comments)

I live in South Florida, otherwise known as the lightning storm capital of the world.

Several years ago, lightning hit the pole behind the house. We know it hit that pole because the top of the pole caught fire, in addition to damaging some of the power-company equipment. In my neighbors house, every single electrical device got completely fried. In my house, the only damage was one of the heating elements in the hot-water heater. Not even a light bulb.

I have always has surge protectors on literally everything that could be protected. One under each desk. One under each TV and stereo. One behind the microwave in the kitchen. One behind the refrigerator. The washing machine. Literally, every 110 volt plug in the house. For the computers, the UPS units were even plugged into surge protectors.

After the first lighting strike, I decided I didn't want to buy a new hot water heater again so soon. And, I wanted to protect a few other 220-volt things. So, I found a "whole house surge protector" and got it installed. The thing attaches to the breaker panel at the service entrance. It has varisters on all 6 pairs from ( +, -, neutral, ground ), and it weighs about ten pounds. And, I upgraded some of the little surge protectors to UPSs, for the non-computer devices that we don't like to reboot very often, like the TVs.

Two years later, we had another lightning strike. This one hit the same pole, which caught fire again. My house had no damage at all. Nothing. Three other houses on the street got everything fried, again.

After that, I read up on surge protectors. Turns out, all of the varisters in a circuit work in parallel to protect the whole circuit. If you have a hundred varisters on the (+, ground) path in your hours, even though they are divided into a couple dozen different boxes, the current from a surge on the + conductor flows through all of them in parallel to reach ground.

Seems I may be guilty of overkill on the surge protection. All total, I probably spent close to $1000 on surge protectors. But then, I haven't had to buy any new appliances after lightning strikes, either.

more than 4 years ago
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Tech's Dark Secret, It's All About Age

natoochtoniket Productivity (602 comments)

A lot of people seem to think that programmer productivity has something to do with lines of code produced. That misconception gets propagated by uninformed managers, who are basically looking for something that is easy to measure.

In reality, productivity has more to do with achieving required behaviors with a minimum of code-writing. When a fresh-out writes 3000 lines of code, discards or changes 2900 of them, and ends up with a 700 line program that only sort-of works and only remotely resembles the design, after 10 weeks of working 70 hours a week, is that really productive? If an older guy thinks about the problem for two weeks, spends a day or two writing docs, writes a couple pages of code in one morning, tests it that afternoon, tweeks it a little the next morning, spends another day improving comments and updating docs, and has the whole thing finished and solid in 3 weeks, is that really less productive?

Uninformed managers reward the guy who works 80 hours a week and writes lots of bugs. The buggy code needs to be fixed, which then requires heroic amounts of overtime. They reward the overtime, without understanding why it was needed. By contrast, the guy who gets it right the first time, and doesn't need to fix it, doesn't have to work those silly hours. The uninformed managers also do not understand why a program doesn't need to be fixed, and why overtime is not really needed, and so the better programmers are not usually rewarded.

Programming is about function and behavior, not lines of code.

Just for fun, I sometimes run 'uncrustify' on a mess of old code, or change a variable name, before doing a small logic change. My nontechnical director gets a report that counts the lines in each commit.

more than 4 years ago
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Look-Alike Tubes Lead To Hospital Deaths

natoochtoniket Re:How about (520 comments)

The gay and lesbian hospital association demands nothing less than 100 percent tolerance.

The G&L association even has the solution for color blindness. Six-color stripes, like the rainbow-flag, should be more than enough colors on each item so that even color blind people can tell them apart. Just make some of the stripes wide, and some narrow, like bar-codes.

This could be intuitive, to minimize the training: A wide red-stripe means it has something to do with blood. A wide green-stripe means it has something to do with oxygen. Blue for water. Purple for suction. etc.

more than 4 years ago
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'Wi-Fi Illness' Spreads To Ontario Public Schools

natoochtoniket Re: Lighting (663 comments)

Lighting is often the real problem.

The old "T-10" type of fluorescent lights actually flicker at 60 hertz, because they use "magnetic" ballasts operating at the same frequency as the AC electricity supply. The 60 hertz frequency is fast enough that most humans don't notice the flickering, but slow enough to cause eye strain. The new "T-8" type of fluorescent lights flicker at a much higher rate, near 20,000 hertz, which does not cause eye strain.

Many building have far too much light, particularly buildings with the older T-10 fluorescent lights. There was a period of many years when more light was assumed to be better than less light, so many older buildings (most schools) have far too much light. Bright light causes glare, which causes eye strain and headaches.

The headaches and other effects of bad lighting, either flickering or high intensity, are exacerbated when people are looking at computer screens for extended periods. This effect is made worse by the fact that many video displays are preset to emit maximum intensity, to make them brighter so customers will notice them in the store.

For more information, see: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/eye_discomfort.html

Reduce the light to about 1 watt per square foot; replace T-10 fixtures with T-8, turn down the brightness of computers screens, and watch the headaches disappear.

In the bargain, you will save money. Replacing the old T-10 fixtures with T-8 fixtures will reduce electricity usage for lighting by about 40%, even at the same intensity. Reducing the number of fixtures in each room, to reduce the intensity, also reduces electricity usage.

more than 4 years ago
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Data Storage Capacity Mostly Wasted In Data Center

natoochtoniket IO'/second count matters, too (165 comments)

There are two numbers that matter for storage systems. One is the raw number of gigabytes that can be stored. The other is the number of IO's that can be performed in a second. The first limits the size of the collected data. The second limits how many new transactions can be processed per time period. That, in turn, determines how many pennies we can accept from our customers during a busy hour.

We size our systems to hit performance targets that are set in terms of transactions per second, not just gigabytes. Using round numbers, if a disk model can do 1000 IO/second, and we need 10,000 IO/second for a particular table, then we need at least 10 disks for that table (not counting mirrors). We often use the smallest disks we can buy, because we don't need the extra gigs. If the data volume doesn't ever fill up the gigabyte capacity of the disks, that's ok. Whenever the system uses all of the available IO's-per-second, we think about adding more disks.

Occasionally a new SA doesn't understand this, sees a bunch of "empty" space in a subsystem, and configures something to use that space. When that happens, we then have to scramble, as the problem is not usually discovered until the next busy day.

more than 4 years ago
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NASA's Juno, Armored Tank Heading For Jupiter

natoochtoniket Re:Is there an engineer or scientist in the house? (185 comments)

I suspect you are essentially correct about the mass of the assembly, as compared to the mass of one side or component. I also thought that, perhaps, the sides might not all be of equal shape, size, or thickness. The shape may have more or fewer than six faces, or even some curves. Even if it is a polygon, it still doesn't have to be regular. Also, if one side will be toward the sun most of the time, that side might be thicker than the others. Similarly, if another side is to be oriented away from the primary radiation source most of the time, it might be thinner.

Somehow, these "popular" articles seem to leave out the interesting parts. In trying to simplify the presentation, they manage to leave out enough actual information, that the result is actually made even more confusing.

more than 4 years ago

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