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Comments

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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

spaceyhackerlady ST:TNG (476 comments)

Star Trek: The Next Generation was generally well-done, with interesting charcerters and only a few clunker episodes.

I found Deep Space 9 an interesting concept let down by unimaginative writing.

I found Voyager unwatchable. Janeway came across as an affirmative action bureaucrat. A Captain is a monarch, not a bureaucrat. Patrick Stewart had played Shakespearean kings, and played Picard the same way. It worked. What Janeway needed was a good desk.

Sliders was a really interesting premise that ran out of steam. The same story every week. Yawn.

The X Files also started out well and also ran out of steam, descending in to torture porn.

Didn't watch any of the others, so no comment.

...laura

3 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

spaceyhackerlady Terminology, please! (392 comments)

There is strong encryption, and there is unbreakable encryption. They are not necessarily the same thing.

Strong encryption is theoretically breakable, but it is not computationally feasible to do so. What is computationally feasible changes with time. Look at how key-length standards for RSA have changed, for example.

One-time pad encryption, on the other hand, is not breakable. It doesn't matter how much computer power you throw at it: if you don't have the key, you can't read the message.

...laura

3 days ago
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New Year's Resolution for 2015

spaceyhackerlady My sacred tasks (214 comments)

Get a life.

Meet Cowboy Neal.

Once I've done these sacred tasks my life will be complete.

...laura

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

spaceyhackerlady If they don't work... (464 comments)

If progressives don't work, don't use them. They're not for everybody.

I bit the bullet last time I got new glasses and got progressives. My requirement was well-defined: I'm near-sighted, wear glasses when I need them (driving, flying) but with age I was experiencing eyestrain trying to read charts during flights, particularly at night. At first I found I was moving my head around a lot to find the sweet spot, but now that I've figured that out, I'm fine.

I don't use glasses for computer stuff. Set the monitor distance and resolution right, and wipe the nose prints off every now and then. :-)

...laura

about a month ago
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United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

spaceyhackerlady Whose problem is this, anyway? (349 comments)

The airlines exploit their customers with stupidly complicated fare structures and somebody finds a way for customers to exploit the airlines. This is a problem?

You don't need computers or web sites for this. Some years ago I moved from B.C. to Ontario. The travel agent (yes, it was a few years ago...) sold me a round-trip ticket from Vancouver to Toronto at a fraction of the cost of a one-way ticket. I didn't use the return leg. Is Air Canada going to sue me?

...laura

about a month ago
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What Northern Hemisphere Astronomers Are Missing From the Southern Hemisphere

spaceyhackerlady Re:I can see them too... (104 comments)

I live in Antigua, 17N, we just did a star gazing night out and all the stars mentioned in the article are quite visible.

I've observed from Costa Rica, at 10 degrees north, and the bulk of the southern hemisphere goodies are indeed observable. By a pleasant coincidence, the prime observing season for the Centaurus/Carina Milky Way (February to April) coincides with the dry season in much of the country. The Large Magellanic Cloud, however, is down in the murk from Costa Rica. The Small Magellanic Cloud and 47 Tucanae are worse. If you want to really observe the Magellanic Clouds you need a southern hemisphere location.

Many equatorial telescope mounts don't like being in the tropics either. I've played with the leg lengths on my G-11, and once tried putting a fork mount (an old 8" Celestron SCT) together backwards, in effect aligning it for -10 degrees south instead of 10 degrees north. It almost worked...

...laura

about 1 month ago
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What Northern Hemisphere Astronomers Are Missing From the Southern Hemisphere

spaceyhackerlady Been there, done that (104 comments)

Heading south is a very good thing for astronomers to do. It's like visiting another planet: lots of new stars and stuff, and the familiar constellations are all upside down.

I've observed from Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. My first view of the Eta Carinae region was from St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne. My first view of the Magellanic Clouds was from a highway rest area just south of Echuca, Victoria. One night at a motel in Forbes, NSW, I needed the bathroom in the wee hours and padded out to have a look. I knew the Sagittarius Milky Way would be out at that time of the night, but I couldn't find it at first. It was directly overhead.

Of course I went to Parkes. A nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do. :-)

I'm watching Top Gear in Patagonia, and while Argentina has better scenery, Australia has better weather. And much better roads.

...laura

about a month ago
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At 40, a person is ...

spaceyhackerlady Positives and negatives (286 comments)

I feel here are positives and negatives to being older.

The positive is a depth of experience. An inherent patience to work through problems, looking for the right answer. My boss can - and does - tell me "Laura, figure out XYZ and see if we can use it in our company." This will keep me busy for extended periods.

While it's not strictly age-related, I find many "younger" companies have views on work/life balance that are incompatible with my own. I do not eat, live and breathe my work. When I go on vacation I go, and make damned sure I'm out of cellphone coverage when I do.

Also, many "younger" companies have messages I do not believe in. A prime example is local media darlings HootSuite. Since I don't buy the problem, I can't be part of its "solution".

...laura

about a month ago
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New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

spaceyhackerlady A big boat! (116 comments)

I live in a port city and see lots of ships, but I'm not sure this baby could even enter the harbour here.

It's far bigger than what the Panama Canal can handle (maximum 290 meters long), as well as the Saint Lawrence Seaway (225 meters). The Panama Canal was designed for the largest ships of the day, RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.

...laura

about a month and a half ago
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3D Printer?

spaceyhackerlady Solution looking for a problem? (175 comments)

I'm intrigued at the possibilities, but haven't come up with a compelling reason to buy one.

Yet... :-)

...laura

about a month and a half ago
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I prefer my turkey ...

spaceyhackerlady Home grown is the best (189 comments)

My sister used to raise her own turkeys. Up close they looked like something from a paleontology textbook, but they were still good-natured, very curious creatures. They would always come up to you and inspect you, talking all the time. Maybe they were just demanding food. Dunno.

They ate good stuff, they had a big enough pen that they could run around to their heart's content, they were basically happy turkeys. And it showed: they had a wonderful flavour and a nice texture.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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What is your computer most often plugged into?

spaceyhackerlady Depends on what I'm plugging in (236 comments)

Basic plug strip for the cord that comes out of my computer. I don't have a cord coming out of my armpit... :-)

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

spaceyhackerlady Swedish stuff and Canadian stuff (642 comments)

I remember a few years ago seeing the 1960s Canadian TV series Wojeck, and it carried a viewer discretion warning that the standards for personal and professional relationships had changed since the program was produced. There was a certain element of "like, duh!", but somebody had thought about it, and I had no problem with it.

Fast forward to the present day. I'm watching Swedish sci-fi show Äcta Människor ("Real Humans" in English). It quietly avoids any gratuitous sex or violence, but there is lots of non-gratuitous sex and violence, as integral parts of the plot. Like all Scandinavian shows it has interesting female characters who do in fact talk to each other about something other than men. That's the sort of culture they want, it's one I admire, and I'm cool with it.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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I'm most interested in robots that will...

spaceyhackerlady Automate basic jobs, but... (307 comments)

Automate basic jobs, so I can talk to humans.

I view this as an extension of using cruise control in a car, or an autopilot in a plane. Let robots do what they're good at, so humans can do what they are good at.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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I expect to be conventionally alive ...

spaceyhackerlady 25 years (187 comments)

My Dad was 68 when he died. My Mom was 75. I'm 53 now. If I significantly outlive either of them I will be surprised.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

spaceyhackerlady A colossal waste of time and resources (613 comments)

I think it's completely pointless.

At the latitude where I live, the sun sets after 2100 PDT in the summer. That would still be 2000 PST, with an hour and a half of twilight after that. What more do people want?

In the winter the sun sets at 1600 PST. Even 1700 PDT wouldn't buy much, particularly since that would mean sunrise at 0900 PDT.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Cutting the Cord? Time Warner Loses 184,000 TV Subscribers In One Quarter

spaceyhackerlady Cut the cord a while ago (392 comments)

I looked carefully at my viewing habits, concluded I was paying a fortune for the two or three channels I actually watched, and decided there had to be a better way. The major drop in the quality of the content didn't help.

I now have over-the-air TV for local news, iTunes, Netflix and Acorn, DVDs, and stream stuff. This includes a U.K. VPN account to circumvent BBC and ITV geoblocking. It all works fine.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Apple 1 Sells At Auction For $905,000

spaceyhackerlady Re:Retro computers as DIY kits? (81 comments)

There's probably a business in making retro computers as DIY kits. Sure, some company would have to re-manufacture the parts that couldn't be made at home and with small runs the parts wouldn't be cheap, but there is a hobbyist market out there.

Yup.

There are often limits on authenticity, either due to parts availability (e.g. TTL ICs), or for convenience (modern monitors, keyboards).

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

spaceyhackerlady Re:I'm a pilot (406 comments)

Well, then you're a pretty crappy pilot if you don't have it memorized by now.

I've made a point of not memorizing checklists. Good pilots always work from their printed checklists. It lessens the chance of missing something.

...laura

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Little boxes around the edge of the data centre?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 2 years ago

spaceyhackerlady (462530) writes "We're looking at some new development, and a big question mark is the little boxes around the edge of the data centre — the NTP servers, the monitoring boxes, the stuff that supports and interfaces with the Big Iron that does the real work.

The last time I visited a hosting farm I saw shelves of Mac Minis, but that was 5 years ago. What do people like now for their little support boxes?"
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Cool embedded computers?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 6 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I had a long talk with my boss yesterday about some possible new projects, and several involved deploying little embedded computers to do interesting things.

I've played with several tiny embedded Linux-based SBCs. My fave so far is Gumstix, but what other cool ones should I know about? The main requirements are ethernet and RS-232 serial I/O. Audio plus enough MIPS for some DSP is nice to have. Linux, naturally. This is Slashdot, after all. :-)

What tiny embedded Linux computers have you messed with lately?"
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spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "Our Marketing manager has had the brainwave that we should be more aggressive with our competition, so he decided that we should adopt Klingon culture around the office, effective April 1. This includes porting our systems to Var'aq, the official Klingon programming language. Something to do with killing (or at least maiming) the competition, he says.

Has anybody ever done this with a mainly Java-based system? Any good migration tools out there?

Qapla'!

...laura"
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spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spaceyhackerlady writes "I have several spam honeypot email addresses, and one of them recently started receiving spam from a Canadian discount warehouse store, Costco.

The emails have most of the usual hallmarks of spam, right down to the note at the bottom that says they're sending it because I requested it. Yeah, right.

I've asked when and how a non-existent person could sign up for spam, and have only gotten a form letter saying they don't have that information. Again, yeah, right.

So, Slashdotters, how would you tell a legit company that they have either been had by spammers, or that they've pulled a really idiotic stunt.

...laura, in no danger of being a Costco customer"

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