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Favorite Star Wars Movie?

talexb Loved the original (457 comments)

The summer of '77 was awesome, and the hot ticket was this new movie called Star Wars.

I saw it from about the fourth row, looking up at a screen that was gigantic, and I was mesmerized because the special effects were so advanced for the time. The storyline wasn't awesome, but it was certainly entertaining. With Alec Guiness, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in the cast, the story moved along nicely.

Episode V was still pretty good, but I think the movies went downhill from there.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

talexb Go for it -- but keep your eyes open (263 comments)

This sounds like a great opportunity that comes at a small cost.

Keep in mind that joining a startup is something that will be rewarding on a couple of levels. You can help guide the technical vision, get to know a good group of people working together on something great.

You also have to keep your feet on the ground. Don't let common sense be overwhelmed by your local Reality Distortion Field. Don't let your mind wander off about what colour of Lamborghini you're going to buy with your stock options.

And I hope you left your previous company on good terms -- you never know when you'll meet up with that organization or those people again. The world is a surprisingly small place.

about a year ago

I'd rather pay for my space latte with ...

talexb Missing option (265 comments)

Where are the quatloos?

about a year ago

Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking

talexb Re:Encountered this kind of thing ... (204 comments)

Yeah, and guess what happens to the person ranked terrible? Here's one of the replies:

  • They gave me nothing to work on at the end, things they knew I couldn't do while others couldn't do them either. I had automation skills while another couple of people did not. They still got rid of me after rigging my performance review twice in a row while discrediting me for my accomplishments. It was so incredibly obvious and demoralizing. Meanwhile they replace you with a fresh college grad ONLY. If you looked at the age of people they fired over 10 years vs hired/and those who left with the threat of being fired for example those who got a 4 and knew they would get a 5 ranking the following yer....you would have a huge age discrimination lawsuit!!!! It would be a one two knockout punch! If you get fired at Microsoft and collect unemployment, they do not contest it in fear of being sued. So they pseudo fire you for "perf" reasons when in fact its a forced bs curve.


about a year ago

Can the iPhone Popularize Fingerprint Readers?

talexb Simple hack - use a 3D printer (356 comments)

It seems this would be a simple job for a 3D printer -- 1) get the person's fingerprint; 2) print it out as a 3D object; 3) ??? 4) profit!!

about a year ago

To replace Google Reader, I favor ...

talexb Feedly rocks! (166 comments)

Works great on a browser, and on my Android device (Nexus 7). Too bad about Google Reader, I quite liked it.

about a year and a half ago

Learn About the FRDCSA 'Weak AI' Project (Video)

talexb What's up with the web site? (52 comments)

Confusingly, the web site http://frdcsa.org/frdcsa/ is full of broken links. And how hard is it to sign up for a PAUSE id and upload modules to CPAN? About the only difficult part of that is picking namespaces for the 800 modules that he's written.

about a year and a half ago

How Did You Learn How To Program?

talexb Same as Bill Gates and Paul Allen (623 comments)

I also learned on the same model of Teletype as those famous guys.

It was Fall 1973 at MacDonald High School in the West Island, and we Grade 10s had access to a PSBGM [1] system over a 110 baud modem. Under watchful eye of Mr. Seddon, we programmed in BASIC and his own invention, MALASIM [2], with its own instruction set. You could also sign up for time after school, and the fights for the time slots were sometimes violent. (You know you're a geek when ..)

The first major code I actually saw written on this platform was a program that my Dad wrote, to see how the distribution of blood types changed over generations. He's an actuary, so being able to simulate something was fascinating for him. Conway's Game of Life (as first seen in the pages of Scientific American) was also fascinating to him.

Part of my early fascination in programming was reading through the entire BASIC manual, trying to understand all of the available syntax. Thus, when our assignment was to format our output, I used an IMAGE statement (PRINT USING ..), and was able to get very fine control for an invoicing assignment. Two of the four terms in Grade 11 I got perfect, but due to PSBGM's lame report card application, they'd only left two digits for marks, so it had to be recorded as a 99.

Good times.

1. Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal.
2. MAchine LAnguage SIMulator. It may have been MALASYM, I don't remember.

about a year and a half ago

Browser tabs I have open right now ...

talexb Lots of Many! (300 comments)

I have both Firefox and Chrome open in multiple desktops. Each window has 4-8 tabs open, except for this one which has just Slashdot, which I read during lunch. After I've caught up here, I'll move on to Google News, Perlmonks, and Feedly.org if I have time.

about a year and a half ago

Xkcd's Long-running "Time" Comic: Work of Art Or Nerd Sniping?

talexb Waiting for something to happen (190 comments)

Either the site's slashdotted already (after twelve minutes, on a Sunday afternoon?), or it's The Most Boring Movie Ever Made.

about a year and a half ago

Average latency to Slashdot.org?

talexb .. but not a US citizen! (558 comments)

Average ping time about 28ms. And I'm a Canadian, you insensitive clod!

about 2 years ago

Court: Aereo TV Rebroadcast Is Still Legal

talexb Been there, done that (64 comments)

This sounds a lot like I Crave TV (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICraveTV). Only 13 years ago, and already ancient history. Interesting. Time moves quickly.

about 2 years ago

Man Accused of Selling Golf Ball Finders As Bomb Detectors

talexb What about the procurement protocol? (131 comments)

It seems stunning that the British military would go ahead with a purchase like this without any field trials, especially for something as critical as a 'bomb sniffer' -- lives depend on this piece of equipment to work properly.


about 2 years ago

Help me find a new hobby

talexb Join a chorus! (7 comments)

I suggest you go visit a local barbershop chapter and see if performing is what you'd like to do. Go visit http://www.barbershop.org/ to find a chapter near you with http://ebiz.barbershop.org/ebusiness/Public/ChapterProximitySearch2.aspx.

I sing with an awesome chorus, the Northern Lights ( http://www.northernlightschorus.com/ ). We've been ranked in the top five internationally for the last twelve years, but we're kinda fanatical about our singing. There are other groups near us that are less fanatical -- but all of us have fun. And it's fun for both sides of your brain!

My involvement with the hobby began when I got dragged out to a meeting by my brother almost twenty years ago. I had a great time then, and I continue to enjoy singing, fellowship, and performing on stage with my brothers. Try it -- you might just like it!

about 2 years ago

Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That NYT Tesla Test Drive Was Staged

talexb The logs don't lie (841 comments)

Musk was smart -- the logs don't lie, and they don't jibe with what the reporter said. Now, this was in print, in the new York Times -- I'd be fascinated to have seen the same story reported with in-car cameras. I have a funny feeling it would turn out differently.

And for Top Gear to film a bunch of people pushing the Tesla they were test-driving -- implying that it had run out of go, when in fact it still had some juice left -- that's just rotten. Entertaining TV, but crummy journalism, and cheap.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Alternative To the Canonical Computer Science Degree?

talexb Re:Pick an Emphasis On or Interdisciplinary Degree (347 comments)


Find a college in your area that offers something more practical, if what you're going to be doing is web development.

Then again, if you are interested in dealing with more complex issues such as schema design, business intelligence, user experience, and operational issues like proxying, high availability, replication, then staying in computer science might be a better call.

about 2 years ago

Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped

talexb Sounds like Chuck's Systems Design project (145 comments)

Sounds pretty cool .. and my classmate Chuck developed something like this for a workshop project of his .. in 1982.

about 2 years ago

Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere

talexb Re:Wait, what? (379 comments)

Actually, $foo[3] is the *fourth* element of @foo. You count the array elements starting at 0, just like in C and assembler. Yes, $foo and @foo are completely different variables. Welcome to Perl.

about 2 years ago

When Was the Last Time You Used a Landline Phone?

talexb Re:of course I have landline (329 comments)

You can get dry-DSL -- it's a phone line that does DSL only, without voice service. That's what I have on my first phone line; I would have moved my DSL over to my second phone line, but that line isn't capable of the high speed DSL I have on the first line (I dunno why -- ask Bell Canada). Current DSL speed is about 7.5M down, and about 125K up. (Yep, that up speed is puny -- a 5.7G transfer of video to Dropbox yesterday took 11 hours. Painful, and slowed everything else down too.)

about 2 years ago

When Was the Last Time You Used a Landline Phone?

talexb Re:The question should be qualified better (329 comments)

I've had a VOIP at the last two places of work, going back five years. Works great: no dropped calls, great sound, lots of features, and easy to move.

about 2 years ago



Effective DoS attacks against Web Application Plat

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 3 years ago

talexb writes "It seems like a hash collision found in PHP could be exploited by hackers, based on recent Twitter traffic. Also from Twitter, it sounds like Perl addressed this issue a few years back, and is not affected."
Link to Original Source

Open-source Flash rival "Gnashes" out

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 6 years ago

talexb writes "Another open source project that we've all been waiting for: "A non-profit open source project with high-profile backers has released beta code for an open source Flash media player, with a media server in the wings. Open Media Now's Gnash player runs standalone or as a plugin, and may run better than Flash on constrained devices." Sounds very cool."
Link to Original Source

Mercurial, Subversion and Git: Pros and Cons

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

talexb writes "I'm curious about Mercurial, a replacement for my current version control system, Subversion, and wonder what other SlashDot readers think about those two and about Git, the version control used for the Linux kernel. I've read several blog posts and articles and what I get from all that is, Git: very complex, very fast, but slows down without manual repacking; Subversion: simple, fast, doesn't branch well, efficient; Mercurial: not so simple, very fast, branches well, very efficient. Which one of these do you use, and why? What do you like and dislike about it?"

SCO Group goes into Chapter 11

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

talexb writes "Yahoo News reports that SCO Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "We want to assure our customers and partners that they can continue to rely on SCO products, support and services for their business critical operations," said Darl McBride, President and CEO, The SCO Group. "Chapter 11 reorganization provides the Company with an opportunity to protect its assets during this time while focusing on building our future plans.""

Is FSF spoiling for a fight with Microsoft?

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

talexb writes "There's a Groklaw article that refers to the Free Software Foundation's recent press release dissing Microsoft's disavowal of the GPL3. It sounds like someone at FSF is spoiling for a fight. Is this going to be a case of FSF vs. Microsoft, with the Open Source community funding the FSF (including IBM, perhaps?) Sounds like a War To End All Wars to me."

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 8 years ago

talexb (223672) writes "A GTALUG post this morning mentioned a cool product called TinyXP, and a colleague mentioned MojoPac. Both of these seem to be a) innovative products and b) ripe for someone from Microsoft to drop lawsuits on them like a ton of bricks. What's going on?"



Installing hplip on an HP C4500 printer - what a nightmare

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 2 years ago

It's working now, so I can laugh about. Ha ha.

This all started when I decided I wanted to print a file to a PDF (actually, save a web page as a PDF). That wasn't supported, but googling told me I just needed to upgrade my version of hplip. "So simple! I love open source!" I probably trilled.

Then I discovered that the latest, shiniest hplip wasn't available as a package, but as a download from the HP site. Warning bells started clanging, but I blithely ignored them and pressed on, downloading and running hplip. It ran happily for a while, then stopped with the dire warning 'error: Configure failed with error: python-devel not found'.

Oh well, off to the Synaptic Package Manager, I'm a seasoned Linus guy .. oops. Sorry, Charlie -- no such package.

Hmm. Oh well, I can still print right? Heh.

Um, no. Well, that's not exactly true -- if your goal is to always get a page that says '**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting', then printing works GREAT! Otherwise, no. Your printing is dead. Oh, and scanning? Also dead.

So this morning I set out to get this situation fixed. I went into Synaptic and installed python-all-dev, figuring that would sort things out. Nope.

Back to googling .. and I found the command 'sudo apt-get build-dep hplip' from https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/hplip/+question/66578 (that would have been a handy addition to HP's readme), ran that, tried the installation again .. and got the following message

warning: A previous install of HPLIP is installed and/or running.
sudo apt-get remove --assume-yes hplip hpijs hplip-cups hplip-data libhpmud0 foomatic-db-hpijs (Removing old HPLIP version)
warning: HPLIP removal failed. The previous install may have been installed using a tarball or this installer.
warning: Continuing to run installer - this installation should overwrite the previous one.

So, let's review. The software detected that a previous version ran (but didn't clean up after itself) or perhaps is still running. It tried to remove the old version using apt-get, failed (perhaps because the previous run was via the same intsaller) and finally says -- no biggie, that's not really important. These installation scripts need work.

Then a nice dialog window popped up, and I was informed that the software was trying to find the wireless printer, without success. I checked my modem/router -- the printer was there, with an IP address. I disabled and enabled the wireless on the printer -- no luck. Finally I understood that even though the printer was wireless, it wanted a USB connection to the printer. Oh, and not a standard USB cable with two rectangular connectors, but one with a square connector at one end. Really? Do you think I have a stockpile of old cables?

Actually, luckily, I do. I plugged the cable in, and the printer was properly configured. Then it took me back to a nice dialog window .. and tried to restart the configuration process again. I cancelled out, and triumphantly tried to print .. and failed.

So my CUPS installation now has three HP printers, one of which looks healthy, and the other two that look dead. The healthy one is working. What to do? Burn it. Burn it all. Yes, I deleted all three HP printers, and had to add a new one. And CUPS provides even more hilarity: After picking the HP C4500 series printer, CUPS goes on to ask the name of the manufacturer. All I can do is shake my head and select 'HP' and click Add. This works, and I am successfully able to print a test page.

Scanning is still broken, but I'll have to leave that for tomorrow morning. If you don't see another blog entry, just look for me in the rubber room at the Hotel Happy. I'll be the loony in the dark blue bathrobe shouting "Abort, Retry, Fail?" at the wall.


talexb talexb writes  |  more than 9 years ago

So it finally appeared (from the V4L mailing list) that modprobe ivtv was going to load the appropriate driver for this card into the kernel, so I ran it, and .. nothing changed.

I don't even know where to look for help .. I wonder where the log files are when xawtv decides to silently croak. I also tried adding alias /dev/v4l ivtv to /etc/modules.conf but that changed nothing.

Hardrake isn't sure about the card; it has a Bus ID for the card, and knows that the Media Class is Multimedia_video, but has not picked up on the Vendor, Description or Module.

Now I'm wondering if I should reinstall Mandrake 10 from scratch. Hmm. I do have a copy of FreeBSD 5 that I've been meaning to try, so maybe I'll do that first.


talexb talexb writes  |  more than 9 years ago

OK, I have ponied up the $119.95CDN for a Hauppage PVR-150 and have installed it in one of my boxes after giving up on the ATI card. Apparently ATI isn't interested in producing either Linux drivers or technical information about their TV cards.

Now the only problem is agreeing on a pronunciation of 'Hauppage' -- I've heard both Hop-hog and Haw-Pawdge -- but anyways. As soon as I ran Hardrake to add the TV tuner card, I was asked for the CDs that contain xawtv -- fine, install those and select NTSC, Canada (NTSC) and nobody as the choices. OK, that all installs fine. Now I've heard about xawtv on the Video4Linux mailing list, so I try that out. Oops. problems.

Apparently the DCOPServer wasn't running. (Huh??)

After some research http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-dcop/index.html?ca=dgr-lnxw12ConnectKDE it turns out it's some script platform thing. And it doesn't run because it can't write to .ICEAuthority in my home directory. Hmm. Maybe this is because I'm not using KDE but rather WindowMaker.

Maybe I need to switch to KDE and see if that works. Mysterious.


More installation -- remote control?

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Hmm. This lump of instructions has me confused ..

  • MythTV does not have native remote control receiver and decoder software built-in. Instead, remote control functions are implemented by ..

Remote control? How do you set up the receiver for the remote control? Very odd.

I'll skip it and see if I can get by.

OK, now I'm trying to run setup, and I'm getting the old error while loading shared Libraries: libmythtv-0.17.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory. OK, Check for the file, and yes, it exists in libs/libmythtv in the mythTV directory, but it's not on the path.

OK, so I make a symlink to the library to somewhere in /usr/local/bin since that's on my path. Nope, same error.


Oh, OK, once again google to the rescue: the MythTV mailing list had the answer. Edit /etc/ld.so.conf, run ldconfig and things should work. I have no idea how common that is, or how dangerous. Guess I'll find out.

OK, got the setup program running, but the extremely sparse instructions to do with the Capture Card Setup don't help.

  • Choose the appropriate settings for your particular tuner.

There are no choices available. I think I have to take a step back and make sure that Linux understands that I have a TV tuner video card.



Start to install

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 9 years ago

OK, downloaded the 0.17 version of MythTV a few days back, today installed it and read the README.

It lists a few things, so first I tried to install libttf, a.k.a. FreeType. Mandrake had something called FreeType, so i installed that file. Next?

Next was libmp3flame, which Mandrake had not heard of, so I went to the web site at http://www.mp3dev.org/, got the source tar ball, and did ./configure, make, make install. The make install died, possibly because I have to be root .. yup, that was it. Next?

Next was QT, and here Mandrake wasn't that helpful -- searching on QT presented a pile of things, and when I selceted the QT and MySQL piece, Mandrake pointed out that I'd need the MySQL library as well. Then I remembered that MythTV needs MySQL, so I thought I'd better install that at the same time. That was when I got bad signatures for the libmysql2-4.0.18-1, MySQL-client-4.0.18-1, perl-Data-ShowTable-3.3-9 and perl-Mysql-1.22_19 Mandrake RPMs.

Throwing caution to the winds, I accept these bad signatures and continue on.


Creating an audio/video workstation -- part 1

talexb talexb writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Goal: Build an audio/video workstation and personal video recorder (PVR) running Linux using a donated machine that needs a CD and hard drive. Install MythTV (mythtv.org -- version 0.17 has just been released!), be able to edit and sequence audio, video, burn CDs and DVDs.

So far, I've managed to get the CPU in its enormous server case (P600, 512M RAM), and have installed a 20G system drive and a DC/DVD burner. I replaced the existing video card with my ATI All-in-Wonder card with coax in and TV In/Out, and I have installan Mandrake 10. The 80G data driev is not yet installed.

That's just an outline, and doesn't talk about fiddling with the jumpers on the back of the CD drive, popping the CMOS battery out of the motherboard in an attempt to circumvent the BIOS password, eventually breaking down and reading the manual to discover the Much Easier Way -- just move a jumper and everything's reset.

I also tried to install the FreeBSD 5 that I bought at YAPC 2004 in Buffalo -- it failed because the installation process said that it wasn't able to detect a CD drive. (Hello? What did you boot from?)

Then Mandrake 10 wouldn't install either.

So after a lot of fiddling around, I tried replacing the fairly new ribbon cables with a ten year old ribbon cable -- and the installation worked fine. And that's not to mention the 80G drive that I had on the secondary IDE channel -- I'm thinking that both of the new ribbon cables are borked, and I'm not sure what I can do to confirm that it's OK. I sure don't want a flaky ribbon cable in this system.

How tall is this case? I still have space for two more hard drives and five more CD drives. It's 625mm high, or about 24.5 inches. Tall.

Next: Plug the 80G drive back in, build a file system (ReiserFS?), download and installed MythTV. Maybe see if I can get a better video screen than the tiny 14 incher I have now.

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