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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

pspahn Re:Depends on the apocalypse (731 comments)

Oh shit! This is gonna be one of those "air-tight containers will no longer seal properly" kind of apocalypses? Crap. I guess my stash of plastic bins and trash bags is going to be useless. USELESS!!!

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

pspahn Re:Basic Electronics (731 comments)

Who says an EMP is a necessary part of an apocalypse?

about a week ago
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Racing To Contain Ebola

pspahn Re:Africa, eh? (112 comments)

it's like saying Florida when someone asks you what city you're from.

Yet, you argue that someone from Brazil should be called an American because the continent they come from is called South America. I'd buy that if they changed the country's name to "The Brazilian States of America".

about a week ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

pspahn Re:selective enforcement at it's finest. (325 comments)

A truck I bought after high school had several IAFF (firefighter organization) stickers in the window. I thought they looked pretty cool so they didn't bother me. The previous owner, however, told that I should keep them since cops will be more lenient if I am pulled over. His dad was a higher up in the fire department in that city and gave them to his son for this specific reason.

I was pulled over probably 3 or 4 times in that truck. Never got a ticket, which includes the time I charged over Donner Summit during a blizzard without snow chains and a bunch of drunken friends in the back (it was a 2WD truck).

Anecdotal? Sure. Did the stickers still do what I was told they would do? Absolutely.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

pspahn Re:PCs aint expensive (451 comments)

... tell the boss to stop being so cheap and upgrade to this decade

I heard the same argument from the Microsoft reseller that sold us a bunch of new machines with Win 8 on them so that we can have employees connect to an HP-UNIX server running a POS through a terminal emulator. Really. (I was mysteriously left out of this discussion ... the MS guys don't like me a whole lot).

We have a handful of registers that only work with the POS. Sure, employees can use them for web browsing here and there, but that is not a necessary feature of these machines. They exist to receive money from customers and keep the inventory accurate. Why in the world we needed new machines running Win 8 for this is beyond me, though, I imagine the MS resellers could drop a few buzzwords and make any average Joe think it necessary.

On a side note, my familiarity with Linux is limited to what I need to do to maintain some web servers. Can anyone point me in the direction of a free alternative to Reflections for HP (from Attachmate)? I am aware of QC Term, but it is not actively supported and it's rather buggy.

about two weeks ago
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

pspahn Re:I guess they don't want tourists (319 comments)

So if you live in SF and you want to stay out at a hotel one night, you can avoid the 14% tax by providing a copy of your lease to the concierge?

Oh my.

about two weeks ago
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SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

pspahn Re:I guess they don't want tourists (319 comments)

What about people that aren't tourists?

Are residents exempt from the 14% hotel tax? Do you have to be a San Francisco city/county resident to avoid this tax? What if you're from Daly City?

Preying on tourists is so common that residents of tourist towns often have to deal with it as well. As someone who has lived and still visits tourist areas regularly (despite not being a "tourist"), you get used to asking for "the discount" when you go to restaurants, shop at liquor stores, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Interview: John McAfee Answers Your Questions

pspahn Re:WOW (124 comments)

The guy was involved in dealing drugs and traveled in Central America. Don't you think you'd do the same as he in that type of situation? I don't think it's worthy of abhorrance to learn the intracacies of this type of travel. The drug dealing, on the other hand, that I can see how people might be opposed.

I am particularly intrigued by the creative use of press cards. Maybe /. could provide all of us an official press card as "documentation" in exchange for having to sift through all the garbage articles in order to get to a gem such as this.

*extends palm*

about two weeks ago
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Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

pspahn Exposed how? (137 comments)

Is exposure just a general "bathing" in sunlight? Is exposure light entering one's eyes and providing stimulation?

Does this have anything to do with the fact that I have always had a very high metabolism yet my sleep patterns rarely follow a daily/hourly routine. I do not wake/go to bed at the same time every day. I am generally awake for 18 hours, then sleep for 8, so I sort of have a 26 hour day, which, of course, causes a number of other problems, but hey, it is what it is.

about two weeks ago
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The 3D Economy — What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?

pspahn Re:What do the cartridges cost? (400 comments)

You do know that there are printer manufacturers that provide you with options for using economic ink refill systems. I haven't been able to demo it yet, but there are some options from Sign Warehouse that will allow our business to print our own signage and we can be economical with the ink since they offer an optional refill system.

about three weeks ago
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The 3D Economy — What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?

pspahn Re:Amazing (400 comments)

Well for commodity items - I get your point. However, my personal experience is owning a house that has a really unusual shelf pegs. Unusual in that they are simply not available.

This is essentially my thought. Our business has to constantly innovate new things that simply don't exist or they exist in ways that are not practical for us to test. If we're building a new set of projects for our facility, sometimes we need to adapt existing components and even then they don't always work.

With our own 3D printing, we can simply develop our own components. They will likely be low run (though we will need more in the future, also low run) and custom enough that we aren't going to be able to do it cheaper than with our own equipment. I really like the fact that we won't have to rely on some other company to remain in business or remain selling a certain component.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

pspahn Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (455 comments)

I'd really hate to have to compare the ingredients in a can of Coca Cola sold at WalMart to a can sold at any other retailer.

I get it, buy a laptop at WalMart, get a better price because the video card is a knock-off; however, buy a can of Coca Cola and get a better price because they use ethylene glycol instead of HFCS?

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

pspahn Re:Customers may benefit... maybe (455 comments)

If you're east of the Rockies ...

To this day, I'm still pretty sure that nobody even knows where Denver is.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

pspahn Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (455 comments)

It's pretty well known at this point that Colorado is having a "Green Revolution", as they call it.

Two weeks ago, the start-up vaporizer company a friend of mine works for hosted a job fair. There were a few other companies there as well. In total, there was probably 15-20 jobs at the most that were looking to be filled. The company my friend works for was looking for a few night machine operators (running the CO2 extraction machines).

Apparently, word got out and there were hundreds of people that showed up to apply for only a handful of jobs. Most of these people were from out-of-state and had moved here because they see an opportunity here. From the sounds of it, nearly every single person was unqualified to operate these machines, so in the end it really did take hundreds of people to apply for only a few jobs simply because the expertise required is so niche.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

pspahn Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (455 comments)

I'm trying to decide if that is better or worse than a company forcing you to work > 40 hours/week and at the same time exempting you from earning overtime.

about three weeks ago
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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

pspahn Re:Distinction (367 comments)

I'd like to challenge you to wear that bluetooth thing all day long having a conversation with your needy wife or lonely mother where ever you are and whatever you're doing. These women will require you to be attentive and listen, so no cheating by calling POPCORN or something. If you're ordering from Starbucks, have a chat. If you're changing some poopy diapers, have a chat. Changing a flat tire, have a chat. Looking for an address on an unfamiliar street, have a chat.

At the end of the day, ask yourself, did it seem like those things were a bit more difficult due to the chats you were having all day?

about three weeks ago
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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

pspahn Re:Easy stats to pull (367 comments)

(I know people who bitch about other people using cell phones while walking or even sitting, which poses no harm to anybody.)

Yes, people like myself who have had to dodge one too many chatterboxes that think it's okay to just step into the street in front of someone riding a bicycle. After all, Brenda has a new boyfriend and she met him on Craigslist ... ewwww!

The fact is that people are too, "well that's only other people, that's not me!" and then they proceed to dial a phone call that could have easily waited until back at the office parking lot or whatever. The false sense of urgency people have simply because they can is getting ridiculous. I can accept that probably 1% of phone calls are actually urgent. What I can't accept is the 75% of calls that people think are ugent. What's the old saying, "Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part." Until it is determined that people will behave responsibly, other people will want to legislate that irresponsible behavior away from them. I don't think it has anything to do with "not being a part of their conversation" but rather that people would prefer to live in a world where they aren't surrounded by people chatting casually on a phone and being oblivious to the world around them.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

pspahn Re: No problem (423 comments)

This is the same FUD all those guys at the Microsoft shops always tell me. "You need to upgrade because it will be catastrophic if you don't."

Meanwhile, he's perfectly content selling upgrades from Win7 to Win8 on machines that do nothing but run an HP-UX terminal emulator running a basic inventory system. The irony in this is brilliant.

There is always going to be systems that were sold by a sales person. These systems will need to be updated. There are also going to be systems that were built in-house. These systems are also going to need to be upgraded. The difference between the two is who decides the upgrade path.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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I'm Quittin' the Life, Vincent.

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Let's say you had 12 hours to get up and leave your current life. No transportation, no cash, and only stuff around your house that you could carry (you can sell stuff). What makes the cut? Where do you go to, "walk the Earth"? What do you do?

Without any sensible regard for what you are leaving, how do you just up one night and start over the next day?"
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One incident exemplifying why Linux is not ready

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Preface: I am typically a fan of Linux and what makes it great. That said... So I had decided to make a short video to submit to the next Survivor casting call. It's only 30-60 seconds, so I came up with an idea and started recording. I used my EeePc netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 simply because it has worked well for me before when recording short videos. Had I known the problems I would encounter, I would be sleeping by now. Yes, this is a bit of a rant, but the point remains, things should simply not be this difficult and time consuming.

Upon loading up Cheese, I am finding that it, for some strange reason, is no longer working as it used to. Choppy video, poor recording, all around strange. It had worked perfectly fine last time I needed it. I think maybe it's some memory thing, or my hard disk is going wacky, but after some looking around, I find out that a lot of things broke between 9.04 and 10.04. Ugh. Ok. I spend a couple hours getting things working adequately.

Now I have some video that I want to move over to my main machine running Win 7 to edit and polish. I assume at first that the .ogv files from my netbook will import into something (I had done it before, somehow). I find out I assumed wrong. I spend another hour or so looking around for software to convert it into something usable. Try a couple things, and end up trying to simply use VLC to convert it (on both ends, Ubuntu and Win 7). Movie doesn't play. I try other web cam programs, all had problems.

It's now about six hours later, and I have yet to record a video on my netbook and get that video loaded and ready to edit on my Windows machine (and play correctly). This is just ridiculous. I'm not saying that it can't be done, I know it can be done, I've done it before. The problem is that this is a task I don't do on a regular basis (at least on Linux), so just getting things to a point where I can function has taken hours. I'm sorry, but this is such a slap in the face that shows how primitive and unusable Linux is for a majority of end users. A similar situation in a commercial OS would have taken minutes to get going. I have to say, Linux can often be nothing but an endless search through forums, wikis, docs, etc. just looking to find the answer to why something isn't working, only to find out there's another problem that will occur subsequently."
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Ask Slashdot: Your online education experience

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "I am currently enrolled at a very well-known online school. I was hesitant when I enrolled. It is now more than a year later, and I am regretting my decision (not surprisingly, huh?) The main problem I have is that I am not learning anything. I have several years experience with web design, yet I was not allowed to bypass Intro to Web Design 1. Similarly, there are other classes on my list that will teach me very little I don't already know, yet will cost me money all the same.

Now, I do have a great desire to learn and to further myself academically, but I just don't see much value in continuing to take classes I could have aced in 9th grade. It is also difficult when fellow classmates clearly have very little intelligence and our online discussions remind me of an AOL chat room. What online education programs have /. readers been happy and successful with? I am interested specifically in Information Security programs, and while it is possible to simply attend a local school in person, I would much prefer an online environment as it seems like a more natural medium considering the content of my studies."
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Ask Slashdot: General Macro Recorder for Windows?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "While I've never really needed a way to quickly change windows states, I was recently inspired by the thought. What methods can I use to quickly record and store the different states my desktop is in while doing different tasks? Between work, school, and life I find that I am often using several different "desktops" depending on what I am working on. At one point I might be writing a paper in OpenOffice, along with several browsers open to common research sites, my grading rubric, etc. At other times I will have Notepad++, Firebug, Inkscape, Aptana, etc. open. Then there's the chill out mode, where I have some music playing, a browser, or other meaningless things just to waste time.

I think it would be terrific if I could set my desktop to one state, take a snapshot, and then have a single icon to double-click that will restore that state when needed. Why I have never really thought of this earlier is beyond me, but I would imagine there are a bunch of ways /. readers accomplish this seemingly simple task."
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What is wrong with SSD servers?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  about 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "As the process of launching our "best web site makeover, 2010" continues, I am now looking at who to host our new best digital friend. The development guys that are building our custom theme, in some discussions, recommend their own SSD hosting because of its lightning quick ability to perform transactions. At the same time, other discussions lean towards, "I don't know, there's something wrong with those SSD servers, they keep crashing."

Another hosting company tells me that they discontinued their SSD package because it was crashing too often.

Is there something fundamentally wrong with SSD drives in a server environment? It's not like these companies are using anything less than the best SSD drives money can buy. Are they simply wearing out or becoming unreliable too quickly in lighting fast environments?"
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Where is the academic Wikipedia?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  about 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Over the past year of my belated higher-education experience, one thing has frustrated me significantly more than any of the classes I have taken. Citing sources and the availability of credible information online. Yes, I do online school. Yes, they have an online library full of great articles. However, there is an exceptional lack of organized information available covering basic concepts. Wikipedia is often my jumping off point even when I have access to the same information in my class' text.

We have not yet arrived at the point when Wikipedia is appropriate to cite simply because there is fear in the academic community that the information is incorrect. In my experience, Wikipedia is nearly always accurate when dealing with non-political topics. If I want some basic information about the function of potassium in the body or a listing of selection control structures, why should I doubt what Wikipedia has to offer?

So I suppose I'm wondering, where is the academic version of Wikipedia? Okay, you might say it's at my local library, but is that acceptable in this day and age? I like to study at home most of the time, which is the primary reason I chose online classes. I routinely spend a disproportionate amount of time searching far and wide for a credible source of information (even basic facts) versus the time I spend actually learning and writing a paper. For example, a paper I just finished (and that inspired me to ask /.) took me about 3-4 hours to write, and roughly half of that time was spent simply searching for a source of credible text. I completely understand the need to have credible sources, but should it take that much time, especially when I already have the facts needed?"
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Ask Slashdot: How to Counter a Domain Squatter?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Recently, our small business has decided to finally put the "our website sucks" reality to bed. We are working hard on getting a modern, polished, and effective web site up and running. Today, however, it came to my attention that one of our local competitors (who has a history of stealing our innovations) has registered a domain name identical to ours except for "the" at the beginning. When arriving at their squatted domain, it implies to the user that we have gone out of business and then redirects them to their website (which is equally as crappy as ours).

After some brief research, it appears that there are two "legal" paths to follow. Hiring a lawyer or going through Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy. Both are somewhat cost prohibitive at this point, and it seems silly to have to fork over thousands of dollars to resolve something that has likely cost us plenty of business as it is. What alternative options do we have for resolving this? Can we send them a generic cease-and-desist? DMCA? Anonymous? Chinese flesh searchers? I'm hoping that we can employ some type of Barbara Streisand spin on this, as we have a long history of being an honest business that doesn't use these kind of deceptive practices to lure customers."
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Making sense of web development

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "I am working on getting a new website built for our small retail/wholesale tree nursery. I have spent time discussing our project with several local development firms, and am a bit surprised to find that every single one of them uses a different platform for building sites. One is developing their own CMS based on rails. One uses Expression Engine and Magento. One uses a proprietary CMS that incurs annual licensing fees (which includes other stuff like a sign package and plant photo database).

While any ecommerce aspects will not be used immediately, we want to plan ahead and make sure we will be able to turn that on once the time comes. We will be working with an existing .csv database (exported from an ancient HP-UX box) that we want to incorporate into a web product catalog. Blogging and news updates are also necessary.

I am adamant that we are allowed full control over what we pay for, and any type of licensing that will restrict our ability to take our site elsewhere in the future is not acceptable. I will also be taking over (more or less) full-time management of the site at some point once the groundwork is built.

Our budget, while not completely inadequate, should be sufficient enough to get us what we want or at least on the right track (about $5000). I am also willing and able to do much of the menial tasks like entering all the products, uploading new images, changing banners, etc.

Here's the big question. If for whatever reason the design firm we choose isn't around in five years, or we decide to choose someone else, how can we avoid being stuck with a website that isn't portable? Aside from that, what are some other things we should be concerned with when deciding on a CMS we want to incorporate?"
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Educational PCs - C7, Atom, Nano?

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

pspahn (1175617) writes "Another school year has arrived, and with it more disappointing news about our budget. Our small special ed treatment facility barely has enough cash laying around to pay for new books and supplies, so forget about equipping our classrooms with computers and internet access. I have been looking into ultra low cost PCs for some time now, out of personal interest as well as professional necessity. With the emergence of sleek Linux distros and low power CPUs, I feel the time is nearing for a move to be made. I am planning on forking out a chunk of my modest salary on a new desktop for my class. My hope is that it will draw some attention, and that a cheap PC in every class would follow. I was planning on buying a gPC, but have noticed that there are some new options incorporating Intel Atom as well as some soon to be offered options utilizing the VIA Nano. Which of these CPUs fits best into our educational environment? Low cost is obviously the biggest concern here, though nobody wants to invest in computers that are poorly built and prone to malfunction. Are there any other options I haven't considered?"
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MMO educational opportunites

pspahn pspahn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

pspahn writes "I felt this was worth it's own thread, even though it's an idea I generated in a nearby thread. This is also a post meant more for CCP bigwigs to read, hopefully they do. I have spent a few years on Eve, on and off (which explains my terrible SP/month ratio), and in that time I have realized (along with everyone else) that Eve has a few very noteworthy life lessons to teach. How can an 'experience' like Eve NOT teach kids that trust is one of the most important aspects of life. Working in a facility that tries to teach these wayward kids, I have learned that trust is the main fundamental issue when it comes down to it. Kids don't trust their parents, who they see as purely authoritative, which they associate with teacher, and cops, and anyone else higher up on the food chain for that matter. If they were to become involved with a legitimate corp in Eve, with legitimate goals, don't you think that would help prepare them for the real world in more than a few ways? The fact is, Eve is a harsh reality in most aspects. There are people left and right trying to rip you off. There are people left and right who are genuinely good people. Then there are those (like myself), who are both. I honestly think that exposing some of these kids would be a true benefit to their life lesson plan. Not to mention, there would be a great excuse to keep them afterschool, teaching them about computers (which very few of them have). So, I suppose the question is, would CCP be interested in donating half a dozen accounts to some kids? It's as simple as that. I can worry about how to get them a decent computer and internet access. I'm sure there are many who disagree with this sort of 'method' of expanding the knowledge of our youth, but I can tell you, I work with them every day, and I think it could do a lot of good. I'm going to submit this to slashdot as well, because this really is a question/topic worth investigating."

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