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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

spaceyhackerlady People who can think and learn (388 comments)

I'm guided by the experience of the airlines. While you must, obviously, have the right sort of pilot's license, they also want a four year university degree. Not because it necessarily enhances your flying, but because it shows you can learn and accomplish things. If you can learn and accomplish things, and know your way around computers, I'd love to talk to you.

The big problem at most places I've worked is getting promising resumes past HR people who only count buzzwords.

...laura

yesterday
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New Release of MINIX 3 For x86 and ARM Is NetBSD Compatible

spaceyhackerlady Let's be different (91 comments)

I've followed Minix development with interest. The internal architecture is different from most OSs out there. Not different for the sake of being different, but different to show different solutions to problems. The way we do things in Linux et al is powerful, but it's not the only way.

I haven't come up with a compelling reason to use it in my work (yet... :-), but I install each new release on a virtual machine and play with it.

...laura

yesterday
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To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

spaceyhackerlady Re:Trolleybus (486 comments)

We have trolleybuses here in Vancouver, too. Vancouver isn't as hilly as San Francisco, but it's far from flat. Our electricity is relatively cheap and comes from dams. So no carbon footprint.

The new diesel buses are all hybrids.

...laura

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

spaceyhackerlady Customers going postal (813 comments)

The quality of service no longer meets customer requirements, and customers are rebelling. The airlines and airports have done their best to remove any aspect of comfort or pleasure from air travel, and customers, the people who actually pay the bills, have had enough.

Entitled attitudes don't help. I ended up with bruised knees on a British Airways flight from the person ahead of me refusing to negotiate on seat reclining, with the flight attendants refusing to mediate. On a American flight the passenger next to me went ballistic and very loudly demanded to be reseated, because I was wearing perfume.

On my last long-haul flight (Vancouver to London) I did an on-the-spot upgrade to premium economy and had a good flight. I had cashed in credit card points for the ticket, so the extra $$$ was money well-spent.

I think diverting is a lousy way to handle customer disputes, but it scares me that the airlines may start accepting this as part of the cost of doing business...

...laura

about two weeks ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

spaceyhackerlady Somewhere south, I think... (246 comments)

I've been to Australia and New Zealand, but want to go further south: the Falklands or Patagonia. I know the Falklands look like Newfoundland with penguins, and I know Ushuaia is horizontal rain/sleet all year, but I want to see it for myself.

...laura

about a month ago
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My degree of colorblindness:

spaceyhackerlady 100% on Ishihara (267 comments)

I do Ishihara every time I renew my aviation medical certificate.

To respect the spirit of the test I make a point of not memorizing the numbers, and always call the number at a glance.

Some years ago I had a colleague who chose such odd colour combinations for her clothes we wondered if she had issues in this area. This is indeed unusual in a woman, but it happens.

...laura

about a month and a half ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

spaceyhackerlady Re:Radicalization (868 comments)

Israel's policy has always been "Don't fuck with us or we will destroy you." I wonder what part of this Hamas et al don't understand.

about a month and a half ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

spaceyhackerlady Soft-focus world (550 comments)

I'm nearsighted and have worn glasses on and off since I was about 10. I wore contacts through most of my 20s, but returned to glasses in my 30s.

Now that I'm in my 50s I'm in that stage where my near vision is starting to deteriorate and I'm slowly becoming far-sighted. The first real manifestation of this was when flying at night, when I was experiencing massive eyestrain reading charts in my lap, but could see outside the plane just fine. So I got progressives the last time I got new glasses, and I'm fine.

I don't wear glasses when I'm not driving or flying. I prefer a soft-focus world. :-)

Am I a candidate for laser eye surgery? According to the web sites, not really. I could get good distant correction, but would then need glasses for reading. Since I need glasses to drive and to fly anyway, I'm not sure this would buy me anything.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

spaceyhackerlady Too secure == insecure (280 comments)

The problem with crazily-complex passwords is that if you can't remember them you write them down, and, at a stroke, have compromised security. One of the worst I've encountered is the U.S. Customs eAPIS web site, for sending advance information when you want to fly a private plane or sail a private boat to the U.S.

The other issue is that you risk locking out legitimate access.

My bank does the password plus security question thing. My security questions (you can make up your own) are more than a little interesting. :-)

...laura

about 2 months ago
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My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

spaceyhackerlady Colour temperature vs CRI (278 comments)

This was an educational experience for me, learning the difference between colour temperature, which is really only valid for continuum sources, and colour rendering index, more applicable to spectral line sources. Low CRIs don't necessarily have a low colour temperature, but they definitely distort perceived colour, whether they're too blue, or the weird orange of sodium vapour lights.

The most stringent CRI requirement in my home is my makeup mirror. Which is the last incandescent bulb...

...laura

about 2 months ago
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My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

spaceyhackerlady Three years and counting (278 comments)

I installed my first CFLs in 2011. They're still going strong.

The choice I made at the time was between startup behaviour and colour temperature. They either come on immediately but have a blue cast, or take a minute to warm up but have a warmer colour. I have the former in my kitchen, the latter in my living room and bedroom.

LEDs are interesting but their "white" is such a weird colour I'll pass on them for now.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

spaceyhackerlady Safety. Always. (468 comments)

I'm intrigued.

The visibility from the cockpit of many planes is actually quite mediocre. This was an issue, for example, for American flight 191. The pilots couldn't actually see the DC-10's engines from the cockpit, and did the wrong thing in response a perceived engine failure. Anything that helps pilots process and interpret information is A Good Thing.

Another bit of fictional prior art: the Far Star's control system in Foundation's Edge.

...laura

about 2 months ago
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On 4th of July:

spaceyhackerlady A Day That Shall Live In Infamy (340 comments)

I'm descended from Loyalists who moved from North Carolina to Nova Scotia in the 1790s.

...laura, United Empire Loyalist

about 2 months ago
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I suffer from jet lag ...

spaceyhackerlady Moderately, I suppose... (163 comments)

Funny you should ask: I just got back from a trip to London. Eight time zones worth of jet lag.

I find the first night there or back is no problem to get to sleep, because I'm so totally wasted I can't hold my eyes open anyway. It's the second night that's the killer. After that I'm fine. Getting up at the right time is a challenge on flights to the east coast, but is rarely an issue for Europe.

Unless you're making a phone call or having some other sort of live interaction, the time at home is irrelevant. Don't even think about it. The time where you are is the time that matters.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

spaceyhackerlady My approach to the subject (199 comments)

I always insist on a clean compile with the warning level turned up as high as it will go. If the compiler is cool with my code, I have a better chance it will do the right thing with it.

Once I have an application that works I see if it meets performance goals (if any). If it does, I'm done. If it doesn't, profile, find the hot spots, optimize as needed. Compiling an entire application with -O3 is idiotic, and misses the point.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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I typically start my workday ...

spaceyhackerlady Customers in the east (141 comments)

I get in to the office nominally at 8, but usually get in a bit earlier, like 0740.

Since I'm on Pacific time and almost everybody I deal with is on Central and Eastern time, I consider it a courtesy to them to be in the office promptly. At one time I had a job that got me over to Paris and Brussels quite a bit, but the "engineering" folks were the sort who rarely showed up in the office before 1000. This is getting kinda late in western Europe when you need to work with somebody to solve a problem. Since I was in the office earliest I took most of the calls from Europe, and, oddly enough, was the one invited to fly over and help them figure things out.

...laura

about 3 months ago
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Programmers: It's OK To Grow Up

spaceyhackerlady What is the goal? (232 comments)

My boss and I routinely look at new tools and technology with an eye to solving our company's problems and build cool new stuff. Our goal is not to embrace flavour-of-the-month technology. It's to identify better solutions to old problems, or find good solutions to new problems. Tools have to work, or they serve no purpose. Everything else follows from there.

We do most of our development in C on Linux, but have incorporated virtualization and cloud computing, new technologies that provide better solutions to old problems. The jury is still out on other goodies. I like python, while my boss prefers perl. I like Django, while he prefers PHP. He's the boss, so I write lots of perl and PHP... :-}

...laura

about 4 months ago
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Who controls the HVAC at work?

spaceyhackerlady The thermostat is on the wall (216 comments)

It's on the wall, for all to see. Inscrutable display, mysterious controls, the works. When the weather changes it tends to lag a day. So the first warm day we cook with the heat on. The first cold day we freeze with the heat off.

I prefer opening the door out on to the balcony. Fresh air is so much nicer than anything the HVAC can do.

At home I leave my bedroom window open - even if only a crack - all year.

...laura

about 4 months ago
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Favorite Star Wars Movie?

spaceyhackerlady First and still the best (457 comments)

My fave is still the original Star Wars. It was fresh, it was new, yes, it was hokey, but it worked. Check your sophistication at the door and enjoy the ride!

I find the prequel movies unwatchable.

Some things never change: when The Empire Strikes Back was imminent, they re-released Star Wars in the theatres to get some buzz going. It was accompanied by a short, a trip to the Moon, assembled from NASA footage. Some younger members of the audience expressed loud displeasure at the "fake" movie. They didn't read the credits where it said "Filmed on location by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration".

...laura

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Little boxes around the edge of the data centre?

spaceyhackerlady spaceyhackerlady writes  |  about 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  |  about 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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