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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

smooth wombat Re:There would have been one nice side effect (33 comments)

Maybe, maybe not. We know that companies, such as electrical suppliers, have extra equipment lying around for general maintenance and upgrade. Also, the people who manufacture these products have supplies on hand.

While it would be tedious, you would use this spare equipment to repair the most critical connections (from power plant to factories), thus enabling you to begin resupplying everyone else.

I'm not trying to minimize the nightmare scenario of getting things back up and running, only pointing out the path to get us there.

4 minutes ago

How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

smooth wombat There would have been one nice side effect (33 comments)

ISPs such as Verizon and Comcast would have been forced to upgrade their equipment which means some of the bottlenecks that currently exist wouldn't exist afterwards (though let's be honest, they will find some other excuse to keep speeds slow).

And yes, this is a Broken Window-type fallacy though in this case, it wasn't deliberate.

Also, there would be a temporary boost in productivity and spending as all this equipment, in general, is replaced though whether that would offset the loss of productivity and people having nervous breakdowns because of their Pavlovian need to check their email and texts every ten seconds is debatable.

37 minutes ago

Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

smooth wombat I'm confused (65 comments)

Aren't these two states, Tennessee and North Carolina, states who routinely harp on federal government interference in states rights?

Now they're asking the federal government to override what their own state governments have said.

Reminds me of Texas where that company blew up because they were storing exorbitant amounts of explosive materials and which had never bothered to be regulated because, you know, regulations are evil. Once the place blew up, Gov. Perry says "Texans take care of their own" then proceeded to whine how their request for federal disaster aid was (initially) rejected.

It would be nice if people had some sort of internal consistency. Either the federal government is too big and needs to stop weedling into state government, or it's not.

I can't wait to hear how those who say there is no need for net neutrality will react to their own states asking for just that.

about an hour ago

Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

smooth wombat Re:name and location tweeted... (566 comments)

Also, what type of asshole employee would separate a man from his two young children?

Here's the part most stories won't include about this incident. The father was an A passenger meaning he gets to board first. Southwest also has B and C classifications.

Someone called in to the talk show I was listening who was also an A passenger and explained the complete process. A passengers board first, then B and C. However, since the person had children, despite his A status, he would have boarded between the A and B groups. That is Southwest policy and has been since whenever.

This person attempted to circumvent the established policy by trying to pull a "Do you know who I am?" deal. All he had to do was wait for the A group to board then he could have boarded with his children.

Instead, he was an ass and publicly gave the name of a worker who was doing what company policy was, though she probably should have explained the policy since obviously this guy didn't know, or didn't care, what it was.

So there you have it. Asshole thinks they're someone important and tries to jump the line ends up being shown the door for his stupidity and whininess.

about an hour ago

Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

smooth wombat Yeah right, "diability claims" (130 comments)

How man of us have either seen commercials or heard about lawyers colluding with doctors to get people to claim "disability" with the SSA even when they have nothing wrong with them?

This is definitely one of those programs which needs heavy monitoring to weed out waste and fraud, along with military procurement.

True story along the same lines. My dad had to appear in court regarding a disability (non SSA) claim one of the company employees claimed they had and why they couldn't come back to work.

During testimony, a video was shown of this person, who claimed they injured their back, lifting bags of cement over his shoulder and climbing up a ladder to do work. Obviously his claims were rejected and he was fired, but I'm sure we can find thousands of people on SSA "disability" who are doing the same thing.


Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

smooth wombat Re:Mostly done by 1985... (182 comments)

there was always a tiny but measurable probability that trapped light and thus information could escape.

Isn't that the same thing as Hawking Radiation? I'm sure Dr. Hawking proposed and submitted work explaining the same thing.

In fact, here is what I am talking about.


Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

smooth wombat Re:now! (700 comments)

Windows 7 is notorious for always preparing to do something.

Preparing to download updates.

Preparing to install updates.

Preparing to restart machine.

Preparing to remove device.

Preparing to install device.

JFC! Just do it already. Stop preparing.

This is one of the most stark contrasts between XP and 7. XP didn't waste time preparing to do something, it just did it. In 7 you might as well go get lunch because it takes so long to do anything (or find anything for that matter because things are deliberately hidden.)

2 days ago

New Mayhem Malware Targets Linux and UNIX-Like Servers

smooth wombat Re:Update yo software (166 comments)

For those who don't read articles, this appears to happen if you don't auto-update your software

So it's like Windows?

about a week ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

smooth wombat Re:I guess they won't need any more foreign Visas? (383 comments)

Programmers are massively underpaid compared to the skillset we need to do our jobs.

Considering the lousy end products I have to deal with on a daily basis, paying programmers more money won't improve the skillset. You want to be paid more money? Produce a better product.

As to the products I'm talking about, let's start with Oracle and SAP then move on to Microsoft itself, Apple, HP and Siemens to name the most used ones I deal with.

about a week ago

Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

smooth wombat Re:So... (310 comments)

If Lloyd Blankfein and others who attested to the veracity of their financial reports even after they were repeatedly warned their mark-to-market was completely unrealistic, which in turn led to the largest financial disaster in over 70 years, are not being prosecuted for false reporting, I don't see why the police should be.

Especially as in this case no one was harmed. Can't say the same thing about the millions who lost their money or homes, can you?

about two weeks ago

Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

smooth wombat Re:So (310 comments)

How is it reckless endangerment when the police were supposed to be in the area and did their job by investigating something suspicious?

about two weeks ago

Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different

smooth wombat Re:Cosmic Baking (79 comments)

But later, Earth got into drugs and became like Lindsey Lohan.

But drugs are cool. I'm always told how great it is to do drugs. Just look at Elvis, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cory Monteith, Dee Dee Ramone, Jim Morrison and whole host of others who extolled the virtues of drugs.

P.S. If Lohan would drink water instead of alcohol, she'd look (and feel) a lot better than she does.

about two weeks ago

The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere

smooth wombat Re:Lawn Dart Alert! (364 comments)

You need to qualify your statement about large quantities overcoming a qualitative difference with the following: had Hitler not ordered a full stop of the Panzers before they reached Moscow and given Russia six weeks to rearm, reorganize and regroup, Russia would not have been able to deliver the large quantities of tanks it eventually did.

Go read "Hitler's Panzers East" by Stolfi for a fantastic discussion of why Germany beat Russia in World War II except for the fact Hitler meddled in operational control.

Here's a brief synopsis: the German military laid out the plans necessary to defeat Russia before the winter set in. Without exception, they met every single objective in the time allotted and in some cases ahead of schedule.

Before the halt ordered by Hitler, there was only one remaining pocket of strong resistance in the South. Russia, at that point in time, had no other forces available to offer any significant resistance to the German armies anywhere in the country. Had he wanted to, Guderian could have literally driven his 2nd Panzer Army into the streets of Moscow in late August.

about two weeks ago

Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

smooth wombat Re:What's the point (353 comments)

Really, the best thing we can do now is to make sure everyone is healthy and educated and happy.

If the idea is to make people healthy so premiums go down, Obamneycare is a complete failure in that aspect since the smokers, obese, alcoholics and drug users don't have to change. They can continue doing what they're doing, secure in the knowledge that someone perfectly healthy, such as myself, is forced to cough up their money to pay for the bad choices these people make with their lives.

So, what other excuse are you going to use to try and justify having the government reach into my bank account if I don't pay for someone else's medical insurance?

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

smooth wombat Re:Hello Americans (340 comments)

and even then it wasn't really "dark", it was just mostly dark.

It's called light pollution. If the communities in your area would turn off their lights, you'd be surprised at how "dark" it really is.

about three weeks ago

Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

smooth wombat Very bad car analogy (255 comments)

The car analogy is so flawed it really should be removed from the story for this significant reason: cars are designed to move people and stuff. They can be used to commit crimes, but that is not their intended use.

Tor on the other hand, is explicitly designed to allow people to remain anonymous, to prevent detection. While honest people most certainly use Tor, so do criminals and it is because of Tor's intended purpose that the police are justifying their actions.

Before anyone flames me, I am not justifying what is taking place. I am only giving a much better explanation than that ridiculous car analogy for why this is taking place.

about three weeks ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

smooth wombat Simple solution (579 comments)

Put a small shield along the side of the timer so the drivers can't see the timer.

I know, I know, the solution doesn't involve some convoluted, drawn out, highly technical, over-engineered process so it will never be implemented.

Instead, we'll go out of our way to find the most convoluted, drawn out, highly technical, over-engineered, and expensive, solution and claim we're making progress.

about three weeks ago

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

smooth wombat Re:Careful (116 comments) mean it has to be subsidized.

Yes, just like sugar, corn, soybeans and football stadiums.

Your point being. . .?

about three weeks ago

Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

smooth wombat Re:Cities looking for bench obstacles (119 comments)

Except rather than expend the time and energy to get a job, these folks spend the time and energy to find ways to thwart these devices.

Someone who lived out there told me in Seattle they have/had benches with seat dividers of different heights so the homeless can't just slap a board on top and go to sleep. These folks who don't want to exert too much effort at a job found the time, energy and resources to fashion blocks which will make the benches level.

Apparently leeching off others is preferable to using the same energy to find work.

about three weeks ago



Tom Baker: Dr. Who better than real life

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  about 9 months ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "With his long scarf and love of jelly babies, Baker's fourth Doctor remains one of the most instantly recognisable incarnations of the Time Lord. He is also the show's longest-serving star, having played the role from 1974 to 1981. He discussed his time with the series, how he got the role, the fan reactions (then and now) and related matters with the BBC.

Baker admits he never watched the show back then, while he was in it or even now, though he is looking forward to the upcoming 50th anniversary episode on November 23rd."

Confirmed: pop music too loud, sounds all the same

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  about 2 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "For some time, people have claimed that modern pop music is inherently too loud and bland. Rejoice for it has been confirmed, you were right all along.

Using an archive known as the Million Song Dataset, researchers at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used. Artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra noted, "We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse.""

Link to Original Source

Research shows IE users are dumber

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Many a joke is made at the expense of people who use Internet Explorer for their web browsing activities. You may now add that they are also dumber than those who use other browsers. As the graph on the page shows, those who use Internet Explorer are not only dumber, on average, than those who use other browsers, but that they are even dumber than they were five years ago (when the last survey took place).

It should be noted that those who use a browser other than IE have had their average IQ increase over the same time period. To view the entire report, use this link (pdf)."

Link to Original Source

(The real) Darth Vader speaks

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "In conjunction with the auction of an original Darth Vader costume from the time of The Empire Strikes Back, the BBC interviewed the man behind the mask, David Prowse.

When asked if he had any idea of how successful the film would become, Prowse replies:

"I thought I was doing a load of rubbish, I really did," he laughs. "You were wandering round looking at all these funny creatures and fantastic sets, but you had no idea what it would look like at the finish."

Prowse also notes he and James Earl Jones, the voice of Vader, have never met but have spoken on the phone a few times."

Link to Original Source

UK newspaper web sites to become nearly invisible

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Various web sites have tried to make readers pay for access to select parts of their sites. Now, in a bid to counter what he claims is theft of his material, Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sunday Times web sites will become essentially invisible to web users. Except for their homepages, no stories will show up on Google.

Starting in late June, Google and other search engines will be prevented from indexing and linking to stories. Registered users will still get free access until the cut off date."

The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates, 15 years later

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "It's been 15 years since Bill Gates wrote his book, The Road Ahead, in which he talks about how technology would shape the future. In the intervening years, technology has changed most aspects of our lives for better or worse. So how did Bill Gates do on his predictions? The Atlantic takes a look at the good and bad of some of his prognostications. Overall, it appears Bill let optimism guide his thoughts, except when it came to the Internet"
Link to Original Source

How porn drives tech

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "We have all heard how it was the adult industry which initially drove vcr sales and how it is the adult industry which readily embraces new technology. This article from CNN talks about all that and more, including the company who says it is able to bypass Apple's iPad restrictions on adult material. There is even some talk about using AI in the future to have interaction between the porn star and user.

As a side note, the article mentions a new adult movie in the works titled, "3D Zen and Sex" which the producer says "There will be many close-ups. It will look as if the actresses are only a few centimeters from the audience.""

FCC loses Net Neutrality case to Comcast

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 3-0 that the FCC does not have the authority to require internet providers to provide equal treatment to internet traffic over their networks.

Comcast had challenged a 2008 FCC order which banned it from blocking the use of BitTorrent by some of its subscribers. It claimed it was throttling traffic to protect all of its users from network congestion.

The FCC had argued the rule was intended to prevent providers from favoring one online content provider over another and had used net neutrality guidelines in implementing the rule.

For the legal reasoning behind the ruling, see this article from Leagle."

EMI cannot unbundle Pink Floyd songs

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Before the advent of iTunes and MP3s, EMI and Pink Floyd entered into a contract which stated that EMI could not unbundle individual songs from their original album settings. This was insisted upon by the members of Pink Floyd who wanted to retain artistic control of their works which they considered "seamless" pieces of music.

However, with the advent of digital downloads, EMI has been selling individual songs through its online store. Pink Floyd sued, claiming EMI was violating the contract, whereas EMI said the contract only applied to physical albums, not Internet sales.

Judge Andrew Morritt backed the band, saying the contract protected "the artistic integrity of the albums." Judge Morritt also ruled EMI is "not entitled to exploit recordings by online distribution or by any other means other than the complete original album without Pink Floyd's consent.""

40 years ago, the Internet was born

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "October 29, 1969. A day that will live in infamy. On that day in history, the first known message was sent over a computer network. The person who witnessed the 'birth' of Internet? Leonard Kleinrock, a professor of computer science at the University of California-Los Angeles.

CNN has a short interview with Kleinrock which discusses the importance of his message as well as his take on the pace of modern technology, privacy, his continued work on the development of the internet and other related issues.

That first message sent? It was intended to be l-o-g and sent to a computer at Stanford Research Institute, but at the moment he sent the letter g, the SRI host crashed so all that was officially sent was lo."

Artist destroyed evidence in fair use lawsuit

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "As a follow-up to this story, artist Shepard Fairey has now admitted he used the original picture the AP claimed he used as the basis for his iconic red, white and blue image of Obama, underlined with the caption "HOPE" and not a different photo as he initially claimed. Fairey said that he tried to cover up his error by submitting false images and deleting others. As a result, his attorneys have said they intend to withdraw from the case and said the artist had misled them by fabricating information and destroying other material.

At the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh on Saturday night for the opening of an exhibit of his works, Fairey said that the error should not be viewed as "premeditated and sinister.""

Link to Original Source

New piece of human evolution puzzle unveiled

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smooth wombat writes "It's taken 15 years, but in the October 2nd special edition of the magazine Science, 11 papers by 47 authors from 10 countries reveal their findings on the newest addition to the human evolutionary tree. Officially named Ardipithecus ramidus, but nicknamed Ardi, the potential human ancestor lived 1.4 million before the celebrated Lucy skeleton and is also more complete with 125 pieces of its skeleton found.

An interesting aspect of the skeleton is that it bears little resemblance to humans closest living primate ancestor, chimpanzees. As anthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy states in the article:

"It's clear that humans are not merely a slight modification of chimps, despite their genomic similarity.""

Link to Original Source

NASA running low on fuel for space exploration

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "With the end of the Cold War came warmer relations with old adversaries, increased trade and a world less worried about nuclear war. It also brought with it an unexpected downside: lack of nuclear fuel to power deep space probes. Without this fuel, probes beyond Jupiter won't work because there isn't enough sunlight to use solar panels which probes closer to the sun use.

The fuel NASA relies on to power deep space probes is plutonium-238. This isotope is the result of nuclear weaponry and since the United States has not made a nuclear device in 20 years, the supply has run out. For now, NASA is using Soviet supplies but they too are almost exhausted.

It is estimated it will cost at least $150 million to resume making the 11 pounds per year that is needed for space probes."

Link to Original Source

GM and Segway team up

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "While GM might be on the verge of bankruptcy, it has teamed with Segway to produce a prototype product which goes by the name of P.U.M.A., or Personal Urban Mobility and Access. Think of it as a souped-up Segway with an enclosed two-seat compartment. It can travel up to 35 miles per hour and go 35 miles on a single charge.

The price of the vehicle is estimated to be about one quarter of a traditional car. In addition, technology will allow vehicle-to-vehicle communication to help avoid traffic problems and potentially allow the vehicle to navigate itself through city streets. The estimated date for final development is sometime in 2012."

Link to Original Source

Growing a flower in lunar gravity

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "If everything goes according to plan, an experiment designed to test if plants can grow in the limited lunar gravity will hitch a ride with a competitor for the Google Lunar X Prize. The press release from Paragon Space Development Corporation outlines its partnership with Odyssey Moon to be the first to grow a plant on another world. In addition to the experiment, Paragon will be helping Odyssey with the thermal control system and lander design. To win the prize, Odyssey must land its craft on the lunar surface by the end of 2014.

More details about the experiment, and obstacles to overcome, may be found in this MSNBC article."

Link to Original Source

Ads which change based on who you are

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Reminiscent of scenes from Minority Report, advertisers are starting to use technology which identifies who is looking at ads on video screens and change the ads accordingly.

Using small cameras embedded in the screens or along the edge, software determines who is looking at ads, for how long, what gender they are, approximate age and in some cases, your ethnicity. If the software identifies you as a young male, they might show ads for video games. For a young woman, cosmetics.

The manufacturers say their systems can accurately determine gender 85 to 90 percent of the time, while accuracy for the other measures continues to be refined."

Kids charged with hacking dad's PC

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Two children, aged 22 and 25, have been charged with more than 450 computer crimes including interception, disclosure or use of an electronic communication and unlawful use of a computer. The only reason the two were found out is because their dad was found dead in January of this year and the state police investigation found the violations.

The son admitted to installing a key logger program to 'hack' into their dad's email account and they also secretly installed GPS devices on their dad's car because they were convinced he was leading a double life. Their parents marriage was falling apart and they were sure their dad had a mistress on the side.

The children have not actually been charged with murdering their father, only their computer activities which were done with their mother's knowledge. However, according to State Trooper Robert Kirby, "This was not a random crime," he said. "We're not revealing anybody as suspects, but Mister Ingle was killed definitely by someone he knows — well.""

Grave and remains of Copernicus found

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "After a four year search, both the grave and remains of Nicolaus Copernicus have been found. Both a priest and astronomer, it was Copernicus' theories which identified the Sun, not the Earth, as the center of the universe.

From the article:

Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski told a news conference that forensic facial reconstruction of the skull that his team found in 2005 buried in a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Frombork, Poland, bears striking resemblance to existing portraits of Copernicus.

The reconstruction shows a broken nose and other features that resemble a self-portrait of Copernicus, and the skull bears a cut mark above the left eye that corresponds with a scar shown in the painting."

Design your own laptop

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "Jumping on the bandwagon of user-generated content, Intel has teamed up with Asus to allow people to design their own laptops. The two companies on Wednesday unveiled a new Web site,, where consumers can work with each other and the tech companies to design netbooks, notebooks or gaming notebooks.

Users share ideas, make recommendations and vote on suggestions. There are even three "conversation groups" where the companies will offer prizes to select participants "for their creative role" in the project.

Some of the suggestions in the article are somewhat interesting but I'm not sure I'd want a laptop with hair that grows."

International spam ring shut down

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smooth wombat (796938) writes "An international spam ring with ties to Australia, New Zealand, China, India and the United States is in the process of being shut down. Finances of members in the United States are being frozen using the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 while the FBI is pursuing criminal charges. The group sent spam advertising male enhancement herbs and other items using a botnet composed of 35,000 computers able to send 10 billion emails per day.

How well was this ring doing? The F.T.C. (Federal Trade Commission) monitored the groups finances and found in one month alone, they had cleared $400,000 in VISA charges."



Woz: Android is better

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 2 years ago

All you Apple fanboys prepare to gnash your teeth, rip out your hair and throw tantrums, the Woz has spoken.

Essentially, Android is more versatile and does things better than the iPhone, including Siri which apparently has problems connecting Woz to one of his favorite steak houses. Woz also doesn't like the fact the you need a connection, at all times, to get voice commands to work.

In short, the iPhone seems to be a violation of Rule #1 of the Three Rules of IT That Should Never Be Broken: never let programmers design your applications.

Woz also isn't thrilled about the short battery life, though Android has its own problems with battery life.


It's official: Google sucks like Microsoft

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

No, not in the search field. Bing has that sown up quite nicely. I'm talking about getting the version of the software you want.

I had a request to install Google Earth on some machines here at work. Why, don't know considering who will be using it but that's my orders and I carry them out.

So I go to and get the message that I can download Google Earth 6. I select the option and find that 6 is a beta but, and this is key, they do offer the stable 5.2 version.

Obviously I select the stable version because this is a production environment. I also uncheck installing of Chrome and making Chrome my default browser.

I check the "Yes, I Agree" option and right before I click the button to download I notice something. My option for 5.2 is not available. In fact, I am now forced to download the version I didn't want.

Thinking I'm missing something, I go through the entire process again but this time, I watch how the screen changes before my eyes.

Yup, it doesn't matter if I want the 5.2 version, Google is going to force the 6 version on me. In addition, I am forced, yes, forced, to accept that Earth will check for updates automatically. I cannot unselect this option. There was another option I could not unselect but I'm so pissed I can't remember what it was.

So I forgo getting the beta and ask around at work until I find someone who has kept one of the old installers to use.

So there you have it. Google is officially as sucky as Microsoft when it comes down to getting the file you want.

This is precisely why I don't have gmail or signed up for anything Google-related. I don't want them to tell me what I want, I know what I want. Don't tell me otherwise.


/. is once again screwed up

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Ok, so the title isn't telling you anything you didn't already know. However, this is a somewhat critical issue for those of us who get mod points.

Apparently, even though I have set my threshold to -1, I don't see anything below 1.

Having searched through all the nooks and crannies of the craptacular 2.0 (or is it 3.0 now?) version, there are no other settings to set to see low posters.

Normally this wouldn't be an issue as most people at 0 or -1 are just trolling, but on occasion there is that one comment which is unfairly knocked and I like to upgrade them.

Yeah, I COULD send an email and ask that this be looked into, but what are the chances that this would be given a high priority when one considers how much they listened to people about the new design.

So for now, those of you who get a 0 or -1 mod, sorry, I can't help you.


Just a quick Fox News faux paus

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

We all realize that Fox's distortion of reality is well known. We also know that terms such as "homicide bomber" or "homicide shooter" are an attempt to "update" ones vocabulary.

However, it seems that in their effort to widen their distortion field, they have unilaterally removed an entire country from the world map.

I give you (via Minyanville), the new map of the Middle East


It's that time again. The Japanese Auto Show booth babes are back

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

*first turn on javascript so I can write in Journal*

Once again we are graced by the sights of young, nubile asian women in what are mostly Hooters outfits. Oh, and there are cars in some of the pictures as well.

Photo link

*turns off javascript when done posting*


Creating domain list is bullshit Microsoft!

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Trying to get newly imaged machines on the network is an exercise in bullshit. After the initial settings (turn off restore points, turn off OS selection, etc) and restarting, without exception when I changed from local machine to network the message about creating the domain list comes up.

Bullshit, bullshit, BULLSHIT! There is no need to create the ENTIRE domain list when all you need is to log onto your local domain. Having to wait MINUTES for the information to be updated is just BULLSHIT!

It's like dealing with the bad programming of certain games (*cough*Alpha Centauri*cough*). I don't give a flying fuck if the odds are against me. Make the fucking attack! I've turned off all notifications, just fucking attack.

It's the same thing with this shitty domain list creation. Just fucking log onto the current domain. There is only one option. Create the list later.

And while I'm pissed off, fix this shitty Journal system. You don't need javascript to write in a form field. Stop trying to make things edgy and 2.0ey. This is why I changed from 2.0 back to 1.0, ok Taco? This is my message. Simplicity. Not a continuous bombardment of moving and flying out menus, threads and whatnot.

Fuck I hate programmers. This is why I will never be involved in a project dealing with programming something. I don't want my name associated with this shit.

And no, I did not get things off my chest. This is only the beginning.


Anime women are real!

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

From time to time I mention the Japanese and the unique differences they have compared to us (most aren't obese for instance). From time to time I also mention finding articles related to anime such a life-size Gundam or the Argo.

This time, I have come across something so disturbing (in a good way) that it truly boggles the mind. I'm sure you are all familiar with anime and the characters therein. If not by name, you can at least recognize when you see an anime-drawn character. In particular, the women of anime are drawn as having HUGE round eyes (except if they're evil in which case the almond shape persists), thin, lithe bodies and possibly lots of bouncy hair.

In that regard, I give you a real anime woman! No, not the first picture, the second. And third. And fourth. And so on. The main page for her is

So who is she? Believe it or not, she works at the Wakatsuki Chinatsu concession in the teen paradise of Shibuya 109. At least according to this article from whence I came across her blog.

Seriously, does she or does she not look EXACTLY like the women of anime (including the adult variety)?

I don't read kanji but if you hover of the various links, you can at least get an idea of where you're going. Start below the Hair Nail link to see the articles and the associated pictures.


Tron Legacy = Fail

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

As a rule, I don't watch commercials. As soon as I see one, I change the channel. However, there are a few that I do watch and with the sequel to Tron coming out, I've noticed a few promoting the movie.

Let me say straight away that if the commercials are representative of the movie, the remake is a failure. With the exception of blue and red lighting around the edge of things, everything I've seen leads me to believe this is going to be one big shitfest of explosions interspersed with some touchy-feely scenes (though one apparently doesn't get to touch Olivia Wilde).

And speaking of Olivia, the few words I've heard her speak are delivered in as bland a style as is possible. There doesn't seem to be any emotion behind her words.

While the first movie was ground breaking, this one seems to another in a long line of movies which takes a perfectly good story and tramples the lineage into dust. I'm looking at you Transformers. >:

Based solely on the commercials, I fail to see one redeeming reason to watch it unless it comes out on television.


The Argo is real!

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Depending on your definition of "real". For those of you who watched the original broadcast series, StarBlazers was probably the first anime you saw. You watched as they fired the Wave Motion Gun for the first time and saw it obliterate a floating island. You held your breath as the relentless assault of the Gamalons threatened to destroy them. Your eyes, like mine, were probably as big as saucers as they found out they had to go into the Gamalon homeworld and take them out before they could acquire the device from Trelana.*

Now, for a mere $277, you can own The Argo. Well, a 1:625 scale model at least. One thing it has going for it is that it's metal, not plastic. Judging by the picture, it seems to be very true to the series.

I still have a soft spot for the final confrontation of The Argo inside planet Gamalon. When I decide to watch the show, I do so at night, lights off, volume up. The effect of The Argo's main guns firing every which way, the exploding bombs and rockets trying to find their mark, the sound of everything, is something that I thoroughly enjoy.


Mozilla takes a page from /.

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Installed a new PC for one of the higher ups and was going through the process of configuring the newest version of Firefox (3.6.11). I wasn't able to do a copy and paste into the new, empty, profile directory of the users profile so I had to create one from scratch. After that, I figured it was easier to just go to the four web sites and rebookmark them rather than trying to do a copy and paste.

However, in my travels, I found that the option to not submit crash reports would not stay unchecked. I would uncheck it, click OK then come back in and it was rechecked.

I don't want to submit crash reports from this user's PC. They wouldn't know what to do with them anyway.

So I went to look for the 3.6.10 version. Found the ftp link but get this server message:

ISA Server: extended error message :

200 Switching to Binary mode.
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
550 Permission denied.

If one follows Mozilla's own directions on how to get an older version, you can't (at least I can't). Add in the fact that a simple checkbox won't stay unchecked and that when you delete some of the extraneous entries in the bookmark directory you are still left with lines, one begins to wonder if Taco and Company are giving advice to the Mozilla folks.

No, I'm not submitting a bug report. I'm not creating ANOTHER account somewhere just to let them know. This is my bug report. Anyone with connections or who has an account can submit it for me.

And more P.S. Taco

Your journal system still sucks. Having to turn on javascript is asinine. Get off yours and drop this nonsense!


I guess there's someone who will fall for this

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Everyone reading this should be aware of what the Nigerian 419 Scam is all about. You've probably received one or two of them (I've only ever received one). As more and more people wise up (or the older ones die off, depending on your point of view), these scams, while still raking in millions, are becoming less and less effective.

So, in good Evolutionary style, those who want to make you part with your money have come up with their newest ploy. I give you, the Enron letter.

P.S. You still haven't fixed the glitch in your Journal system, Taco. One still has to enable javascript to write a title. I deal with incompetency, stupidity and laziness from my co-workers on a daily basis. I shouldn't have to deal with it on a web site which is supposedly run by folks in the know.


I have a software firm named after me!

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Ok, so it's not really named after me, but I was looking for a decent pizza place in lower Manhattan (if you know of any, let me know) and happened to see the following name at 55 Broad Street:

Wombat Financial Software

Funny how those things come about, isn't it?

And what is it with this javascript requirement to write in the journal. Come on Taco, quit being like your proverbial namesake (shitty).


See, we're not luddites!

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

First, let me say that /. is becoming more and more annoying as it tries to be on the cutting edge of shit for its web design. I had to turn on javascript to write this as not having it turned on wouldn't let me type anything.

With that little bit out of the way, nearly everyone I told the following piece about me seems shocked, especially when it is revealed that I am employed in the IT field. What is so shocking that people's mouths fall to ground in surprise? What is so unbelievable that they have to call their friends to spread the news?

I don't own a cell phone. Just as some on here will say they don't have cable, I don't own a cell phone. My job doesn't require it, nor do I want or need one. I don't want people to be able to contact me at a moment's notice. I most certainly don't people to be able to track me down.

And I'm not the only one. As the following article relates, many people, of both high and low stature, don't have cell phones. And it's not because they're luddites. They don't have one because they don't need one. Which is something I have said all along. The number of people who truly need a cell phone is insignificant compared to those who own one (or more) phones. Besides, as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne says in the article, "He says he has never overheard a cell conversation that wasn't banal."

So when you find out someone doesn't own a cell phone, don't think they're living in a backwards mentality. Think of them as being on the cutting edge of being a power broker.


Gundams are finally here

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I'm not talking about some reproduction made in the basement of an agoraphobic teenager. No, I'm talking life-size, possibly functional, Gundams. You know, the kind that go bang and boom as they destroy things.

For your viewing pleasure: Gundam!


The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates, 15 years later

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

It's been 15 years since Bill Gates wrote his book, The Road Ahead, in which he talks about how technology would shape the future. In the intervening years, technology has changed most aspects of our lives for better or worse. So how did Bill Gates do on his predictions? The Atlantic takes a look at the good and bad of some of his prognostications. Overall, it appears Bill let optimism guide his thoughts, except when it came to the Internet"


Finally, a use for cigarettes

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Go ahead, get on my case about harping about the evils of smoking. You may like to smoke, but I don't want you around me when you do. And if do you come around me, take a shower first. Just don't expect a good night kiss.

With that out of the way, it seems the country with the largest amount of smokers has potentially come up with a use for the filters of used cigarettes. You drop them in water, extract the volatiles from the water and use those volatiles to coat the inside of oil pipes and prevent them from rusting.

Weird, huh? Use known carcinogens to prevent pipes which carry oil from springing leaks. Who knew?!


You know you're bored when...

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

you're too lazy to write porn.

Yes, on rare occasions I write porn. Not well and not often, but enough to satisfy some people who frequent Literotica.

Currently, I am caught up on work stuff, too lazy to study for my quiz on Saturday and too bored to continue working on one of three different stories.

People talk about depression being bad (I'm not depressed). It's not. It's the boredom.


It would be nice...

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

if there was one time I could take a piss and not have someone else stop by. It's not that I'm shy, but dealing with people all day makes one want a moment of peace and quiet.

Standing there and having someone else come in and go take a dump with noises like something from Dr. Seuss does not allow one to decompress. Nor is it possible when someone comes in and tries to talk to you (yes ladies, there is a code in the bathroom). Of course there's always 'The Whistler'. Annoying is the word that comes to mind.

Peace and quiet are one of the two reasons bathrooms exist. If only solitude would be a third reason.


Never had a teacher like this

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

With Sunday being Pi Day, CNN is running a quick blurb about the whole affair. That's not what caught my eye (don't care about the day anyway).

No, what caught my attention was the picture they use(d) to accompany the story. For your reference.

If only...


Headlines that need a bit more work

smooth wombat smooth wombat writes  |  more than 4 years ago

This was the headline for a story on The Japan Times Online web site:

JBA sketches out plan for bj-league, JBL merger

It makes you think, don't it?

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