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Russian Team Prepares To Penetrate Lake Vostok

sdaemon Re:Wait a minute... (237 comments)

Yeah but that movie sucked. I'd prefer to reference The Thing.

more than 3 years ago
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IT and Health Care

sdaemon speaking as an IT provider to health care (294 comments)

I work as an outsourced IT contractor in the Atlanta area, and a large number of my clients are hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and so forth. The main reasons I see for them not wanting to adopt increased IT infrastructure to enhance record-keeping abilities are:

1) Budget. Health care has been one of the most resilient industries in the current recession, but no one can afford to not watch their spending these days.
2) Reliability. It doesn't work 100% of the time. It might, if you added enough redundancy, but then you're running into problem 1) again.
3) Politics. I don't know of a single hospital that doesn't have serious political infighting. This bleeds over into the budget issue again...who gets how much of the budget for what projects, who gets what access levels within the system, and so forth. IT tends to be looked on as an unwelcome but necessary expense, kind of like the power bill. If there isn't an obvious fire or immediate pressing need, getting funds for improving performance or reliability is very difficult. And if there *IS* an obvious fire or immediate pressing need, they're upset that you hadn't already prevented the problem with the budget you've had thus far. It's a catch 22.

I see these as being problems with getting all sorts of industries to incorporate better IT... the medical field is just a big obvious one right now with all the efforts to improve compliance with standards, and the efforts to control the rising costs. The answer I wish I could give to ALL of them is simply: "shit breaks. pay the cost of having it break less, or deal with it breaking. but it will always break. having a plan B is always going to be a good idea."

more than 5 years ago
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EFF Busts Illegitimate Subdomain Patent

sdaemon extra cash? (96 comments)

what is this "extra cash" of which you speak?

more than 5 years ago
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Sunspot Activity Continues To Drop

sdaemon Re:Bad news for Amateur Radio (435 comments)

I agree :) My morse skills aren't much past the 5wpm I needed to get my extra a few years ago, but I'm pretty darn proud of my 5wpm. If it really hits the fan, morse works through a radio, through an intercom, through a car horn, through a flashlight, through just about anything...

more than 5 years ago
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Sunspot Activity Continues To Drop

sdaemon Re:Bad news for Amateur Radio (435 comments)

There's plenty of theories about where the HAM moniker comes from. I've never really been terribly concerned with the true origins of the name. I still type it as HAM, though, because "Ham" and "ham" just look wrong to me.

more than 5 years ago
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Sunspot Activity Continues To Drop

sdaemon Re:Bad news for Amateur Radio (435 comments)

You are correct, bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere is primarily for longer-range HF communications. However, when you're in a hurricane zone trying to communicate with NOAA, or at least with relay stations (many of whom are in FL or TX), being limited to 50-100 miles hurts. This was an issue during Hurricane Katrina, when sunspots were low, band conditions were terrible, and communications in and out were sporadic. I was manning the Georgia Tech radio room for a good bit during that time. The phone kept ringing off the hook with people trying to use us to get word about their loved ones in the disaster zone. Conditions were so limited, however, that most radio nets working the area were restricted to immediate lifesaving traffic only. Health and welfare traffic had to go through normal channels, like the red cross, which meant days or weeks of waiting.

Sunspots being low impacts radio communication within the US, not just across the globe.

more than 5 years ago
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Sunspot Activity Continues To Drop

sdaemon Bad news for Amateur Radio (435 comments)

I realize that HAM radio is a bit of an anachronism in the eyes of most slashdot readers, but it's still the most viable medium for emergency communications. Unfortunately, with sunspot activity being so low, HF communications become very limited. Whole bands of RF spectrum are almost unusable, because the E-layer of the ionosphere can no longer bounce higher frequencies of radio waves. 40m wavelength and lower tend to still be usable, 20m is come-and-go, and 17m and higher become sporadic or completely unusable.

I'm 31, I've been a HAM for 6 years. My cell phone often doesn't get coverage where I roam, and my power and internet and landline phone have been knocked out by storms and provider mistakes. Radio works when all else fails... ...but sometimes it works better than others!

more than 5 years ago
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Sci Fi Channel Becoming Less Geek-Centric "SyFy"

sdaemon Sci-Fi got written off years ago. (798 comments)

Sci-Fi to fans: "No, it's SyFy!"
Fans to Sci-Fi: "EetADik. You never should have canceled Farscape."

more than 5 years ago
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Why Use Virtual Memory In Modern Systems?

sdaemon Finally! A use for my CS degree! (983 comments)

I can finally put my CS degree to good use, answering the same questions students would ask the TAs in basic OS and systems-level programming courses! ...except that the other comments have already answered the question. So, in true CS fashion, I will be lazy and refrain from duplicating effort ;)

Laziness is a virtue! (And that's on-topic, because a lazy paging algorithm is a good paging algorithm).

more than 5 years ago
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Houses With Tails

sdaemon Any real benefit? (307 comments)

It seems to me that taking the responsibility for the line away from the Telecoms is asking for more problems when something breaks. It's bad enough already when they have to be talked into rolling a truck to fix an issue on lines they maintain. With privately held fiber, I really don't see any advantage. The Telecom, or a private contractor, would still have to be called whenever the private fiber had issues. This seems like it would add middlemen and fingerpointing without really giving any benefit.

more than 5 years ago
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Urine Passes NASA Taste Test

sdaemon Re:A very necessary step (404 comments)

You're right, we should all just curl up and wait to die I guess.

more than 5 years ago
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Urine Passes NASA Taste Test

sdaemon Re:A very necessary step (404 comments)

Technically, if the ground has any moisture, you can do that without the piss :)

more than 5 years ago
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Urine Passes NASA Taste Test

sdaemon A very necessary step (404 comments)

If we're to survive as a species, in the long run, we have to get off this rock. Permanently. And unless we perfect some form of cryo-sleep or faster than light travel (possibly even if we DO perfect those), we're going to need some means of recycling our own waste products into usable substances.

I've been in situations where the only water available for drinking also happened to be the local wild animals' mudhole. Animal urine and fecal matter were most certainly present, but there was no other water for miles in any direction. So it was scooped up, run through a rag to skim off any solids, run through an activated charcoal filter to purify it, pumped full of iodine to kill any microbes that might have survived the charcoal filtration, then turned into koolaid to mask the taste. Survival situations will do wonders for changing what you are and are not willing to drink. I was fortunate that I had all that equipment for purification. Those living in third world nations don't have the option of stocking up at the local REI.

And I imagine space travelers heading for outer worlds, asteroid belts, or other star systems will have their options pretty limited as well :)

more than 5 years ago

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