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Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

vrmlguy Re:Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (1521 comments)

And I lurked long enough to get a low six digit id. Also, didn't get my first choice of a username, and my second choice was either inspired or lame, the jury's still out. I try to visit every day, but when I miss a day I feel compelled to go back and read the days I've missed (thanks, OCD!)

about 3 years ago
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Fonolo Lets You Bypass Company Phone Menus

vrmlguy Re:How Original (171 comments)

Mod parent up! I downloaded the Lucyphone app on my iPhone, and it's a life saver. Like Fonolo, Lucyphone is free; I suspect they make money by providing some service to the companies you call. As someone one said, if you aren't the person paying for something, then you're the thing someone else *is* paying for.

One minor quibble: Lucyphone needs you to navigate the phone tree, but once you get the message asking you to wait for the next available operator, you just hit the button and go about your normal business. There's only been a couple of times that the rep hung up on Lucy before I could get on the line, and you can be sure I let the company know about it.

more than 3 years ago
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Cheap GPUs Rendering Strong Passwords Useless

vrmlguy Re:Ha Ha, mine goes to 11 (615 comments)

Go further to 7 characters (fh0GH5h), and the CPU would grind along for 4 days, versus a frankly worrying 17 minutes 30 seconds for the GPU."

OK, so go to 15 characters. Using a password generator I can go as far as I like. Using some sort of password bank program, I can store passwords / phrases of any complexity and use copy and paste, thus having only one strong password to remember.
So, what am I missing? (And lets keep it on topic, folks).

I've been generating 14 alpha+num+special characters with Last Pass, only to discover that some sites restrict you to 12 or fewer chacters and/or forbid special characters. And recent attacks (like Sony and Gawker) have involved the hackers obtaining user's password hashes, which are generally kept where the web server can see them to authenticate you.

more than 3 years ago
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National Academies Release Over 4,000 Free Science Books

vrmlguy Re:Do they have the truth about electricity? (119 comments)

On a related note, are any of these books suitable for teaching science to high school students?

more than 3 years ago
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Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

vrmlguy Re:Short Answer (730 comments)

Slightly longer answer:

Maybe

Would politicians accept the solution without re-bloating it first? No

Actually, the original idea will never get off the ground, because most of those 10,000 pages deal with things like "companies employing less than 100 people and which are located in a depressed neighborhood and which have names ending in a vowel get to deduct the cost of the president's jet." Things like that are added to give one particular company a break, but they never mention the company's name, just a set of circumstances that describe only that company. The company knows who they are, but we are unlikely to figure it out since each of the intersecting sets is rather large. Unless that company is part of one of the clades, that particular clause will have zip effect and it will be proposed for deletion, leading to that company and all the others in the same situation to object to the entire process.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should Sony Compensate PSN Users?

vrmlguy Re:Without PSN (386 comments)

I don't know any game that requires PSN for single player or split screen co-op mode.

Multiplayer modes would need PSN obviously. There's no way that it can be done otherwise...

  • Portal 2? Yes, there's an online component, but there's also a single player mode, and right now you can't get *any* mode to work while PSN is down.
  • Xenogears on my PSP.
  • Just about everything from Capcom (which uses a PSN-dependent DRM scheme).

more than 3 years ago
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Google To Offer Chrome OS Notebooks For $20/month

vrmlguy Re:Same Price as a normal laptop (277 comments)

How many college campuses do you know of in the USA without 3G coverage?

This offer is limited to students...

I see no place where they say "college students". I have a kid in high school who'd love one.

more than 3 years ago
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LastPass Password Service Hacked

vrmlguy Re:One key to rule them all... (268 comments)

No, because if you encrypt your own material you hold the keys. If you let someone else do it, they hold the keys. And who knows how good they are at keeping them safe.

You always know how good you are (or, how bad you are) at keeping your own keys safe.

Keepass(x), gpg encrypted file backup with the gpg keys backed up on a CD in a bank safety deposit box. (and if you're daring, a copy of the key on a usb jump drive you keep on your person at all times)

Don't forget the copy you keep in your head and enter whenever you need to access the safe; you're vulnerable at that point to a key logger. :)

With LastPass, you encrypt your own material, LastPass never holds the keys. LastPass works exactly the same as KeePass: there's a binary blob that is kept on an Internet-accessible server, and you download the blob and decrypt it locally. All they have is an encrypted version of your key, just like in your Linux/Mac/Windows desktop system. Yeah, maybe they could have used different keys for their web site and the blob, but I don't see how that would increase security all that much. With either service, an attacker has to get your blob (by hacking the LastPass server or your computer's cache, or by finding the KeePass blob on your computer or in a Dropbox or similar cloud-based server), then they have to brute force the key. If your key is easy to figure out using a dictionary, then you're hosed no matter which service you use.

This is similar to the Gawker attack, except with Gawker the encrypted passwords were made public, along with the subset that were brute forced. I checked for my email address and it only showed up in the first list, not the second. Of course, my passwords for everywhere use the "at least one letter, number and special character" rule, they are generally fairly long (pre-Gawker, 8 characters, post-Gawker, 14), and I don't use leet-speak to determine the non-alpha characters (leet-speak increases the effort needed to brute-force by only a small factor).

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:FBI Too Focused On Child Porn (487 comments)

>>>I'm sure that these people are reassured by your arguments.

Last I heard they were freed, and all charges dropped, since sharing nude photos of your own body (which you own) is not a crime.

The prosecutors didn't think that when they charged these kids with the production and possession of CP. And if sharing nude photos of your own body is not a crime, why are states now amending their laws to make sexting a misdemeanor instead of the felony that so many prosecutors were willing to treat it as.

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:Bureaucrats (487 comments)

But there are victims: kids. Somebody makes these photos, domestically or internationally.

You can see the math at http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2115012&cid=35979298, but basically 134,000 images are produced per year by teens sexting each other. But don't worry, prosecutors are still protecting the kids in the photos by going after the producers of the photos, even when they're the same people: http://www.google.com/search?q=sexting+arrests+charges.

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:FBI Too Focused On Child Porn (487 comments)

Possession of nude photos of kids or teens is not a crime ignorant. If it were, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon executives would now be in prison (they sell nude photo books of minors). It's called free speech, free expression, and freedom of lifestyle (nudism). Read Amendments 1, 9, 10, and 14 of the Union Constitution, as well as your local Member State's constitution, which provides additional liberties.

I'm sure that these people are reassured by your arguments.

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:Someone's math is wrong (487 comments)

When you see some of these news stories about some of these people having hundreds of thousands of images, if not millions, it really must be on a rather large scale.

You can see the math at http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2115012&cid=35979298, but basicly 134,000 images are produced per year by teens sexting each other. True, not all of them get posted to the internet, but it's quite possible for some people to have hundreds of thousands of images produced by underage teens of themselves.

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:Bureaucrats (487 comments)

If there exists a demand for a good, eventually someone will fill that demand. If there is a "healthy" "market" for child pornography then some people will go out and get fresh product for that market. This is how children are harmed by viewing it.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as “sexting". The same survey also found that 75% of all American teens ages 12-17 own a cell phone. According to Wolfram Alpha, there are 22,410,000 teens between 15 and 19, which is likely close enough for these calculates. this means that roughly 672,000 images classifiable as CP are generated by teens during the 5 years that cell-owning teens are between the ages of 12-17. This works out to 134,000 images per year produced by teens for other teens.

more than 3 years ago
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Bizarre Porn Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks

vrmlguy Re:guilty eh? (964 comments)

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Teens-and-Sexting.aspx

"A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as “sexting”; 15% say they have received such images of someone they know via text message."

So, that tell's me that, on average, an image is forwarded by the original recipient to three who know the original sender. It does not, OTOH, tell me anything about how many such images are generated. How many cell-owning teens ages 12-17 are there? (Answer: 75% of all American teens ages 12-17 own a cell phone, according to Pew Research.According to Wolfram Alpha, there are 22,410,000 teens between 15 and 19, which is likely close enough, so roughly 672,000 images classifiable as CP are generated during the 5 years that cell-owning teens are between the ages of 12-17, or 134,000 images per year.

How many kids are being raped to produce CP?

more than 3 years ago
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Department of Justice: FBI Too Focused On Child Porn

vrmlguy Re:PLEASE!!! (487 comments)

Won't someone think of the FBI agents!

Some people will blame John Ashcroft for this allocation of resources, but really it's all Janet Reno's fault.

more than 3 years ago
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ERP Vendors Get Into Medical Marijuana Business

vrmlguy Re:Release some educational rap videos. (138 comments)

Speaking of evaporation, I used to work on a custom bill-of-material system for radiopharmaceuticals. We couldn't use an off-the-shelf system, because the active ingredients have short lifetimes. That meant that we had to track the precise age of the product in order to calculate the proper doses. For example, iodine-131's half-life is roughly 8 days, which means you lose 8% of your product a day, while technetium-99m's is a scant 6 hours, meaning you lose 12% every hour.

more than 3 years ago
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Bizarre Porn Raid Underscores Wi-Fi Privacy Risks

vrmlguy Re:guilty eh? (964 comments)

"Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises

I have to ask what's the point of this? Does the DEA shout "Dealer!" when they bust down doors? Why the intimidation? It reminds me of Bradley Manning's treatment. Can one sue for excessive force during an arrest, justified or not?

more than 3 years ago
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Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

vrmlguy Re:level (456 comments)

The vast majority of my learning has been through participation in discussion. I found books too dry for learning, nor did I retain much from them. I also didn't handle lecture well, because things go in one ear and out the other.

I don't think you actually disagree with me. You note you didn't handle lecture well, and thats what I criticized (a guy talking and you just taking notes.) I agree with discussion being a powerful learning tool. It's one of the most powerful tools for learning, but one thats hard to afford (you need extremely small student group for each teacher to implement effectively in the classroom, or have direct conversations with a mentor.) It's also the reason why study groups are effective.

Lectures work best if you take notes, especially by hand. Note-taking prevents information from going "in one ear and out the other" because, like discussion, you activate more areas of your brain as you take notes; think of it as having a discussion with your notebook; I don't know anyone who can write as fast as a lecturer talks, so you have to be constantly deciding what to write down instead of letting your mind drift around. This doesn't just work at school. When I go to a baseball game (for pleasure, anyway, rather than to schmooze with clients), I try to get a scorecard and track every play. I've found that I remember the details of those games much better that the ones where I kicked back and drank a beer. (And I remember *any* game that I actually attended better than the ones I watch on TV, so try to actually attend class, not depend on someone else's retransmission.)

Baseball scorecards are optimized for taking notes on baseball games. Likewise, at a lecture you should use Cornell Notes, a tools optimized for taking notes at lectures. There are thousands of web site dedicated to this, so research it yourself at http://www.google.com/search?q=%22cornell+notes%22.

Finally, if you don't believe me then look at what others have to say. For example, http://brainz.org/brain-hacks/ claims (in bullet point 3) that "Taking notes by hand instead of typing them, will help you retain the information more effectively, as the pressure points activated by holding a pen are linked to the creative and memory centers of the brain." If that sounds a bit unbelievable, research reported at http://www.mpiweb.org/magazine/pluspoint/20110124/Taking_Notes backs up the claim.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Outage Shows Limits of Failover 'Zones'

vrmlguy Re:have your own servers (125 comments)

This incident illustrates once again why you need to put your stuff on your own servers and not someone else's.

Well. Or put your stuff on your own servers as well as someone else's. Cloning your services into various clouds isn't insane as a tool for handling some types of unplanned scaling requirements or some types of unplanned outages. Relying on those clouds introduces risks that were just demonstrated.

It's probably worth noting that EMC makes a cloud storage product called Atmos with an API essentially identical to Amazon's S3 service. The main difference is that the HTTP headers start with x-emc instead of x-amz, so a properly written application running on non-Amazon servers could switch fairly easily between the two for load balancing or redundancy.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Helium crisis approaching

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

vrmlguy writes "In ten years, the National Helium Reserve will be depleted, according to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. An article in Science Daily echoes the concern, quoting Dr. Lee Sobotka, of Washington University in St. Louis: "Helium is non-renewable and irreplaceable. Its properties are unique and unlike hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas or oil), there are no biosynthetic ways to make an alternative to helium. All should make better efforts to recycle it." On Earth, Helium is found mixed with natural gas, but few producers capture it. The US created a stockpile in 1925 for use by military dirigibles, but stopped stockpiling it in 1995 as a cost-saving measure."
Link to Original Source
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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vrmlguy writes "The keystone kops are at it again! A story in the Boston Globe reports, "In a scene reminiscent of the Cartoon Network bomb scare that paralyzed the Boston area in January, police shut down a strip mall yesterday in [the Boston suburb of Ashland] after employees at a Bank of America branch mistook a botched fax for a bomb threat. [...] Branches across the Northeast received the distorted fax and that while other branches also evacuated, none saw law enforcement response as extensive as in Ashland. [...] Town officials may ask Bank of America to reimburse the town for the cost of the response, which included more than a dozen town officers and firefighters, personnel from neighboring towns, a State Police bomb squad, and police dogs.""
Link to Original Source
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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vrmlguy writes "The Globe and Mail is reporting that the same virus that causes cervical cancer is the principal cause of throat cancer, according to a new study. This could cause some lifestyle changes."
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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vrmlguy writes "Today my family's computer (running Windows XP Home) told us that an automatic update was available for installation. I gave permission for the update to be installed and wound up with a new installation of IE7. Unfortunately, after the required reboot I quickly discovered that we could no longer access the web. DNS resolved everything that I gave it and I could ping the resulting IP addresses, but I couldn't open HTTP connections outside of my local subnet. Telnet'ing to port 80 also didn't work, so it apparently wasn't just a problem with IE7.

Fortunately, IE7 did provide a nice diagnostic tool that decided that the ports for FTP, HTTP and HTTPS were all unavailable and suggested that I investigate my firewall settings. Interestingly enough, it turns out that I'd disabled Windows Firewall some time ago, because I trust my dedicated router/firewall to keep the black-hats out of my home. Turning to my work laptop (which could still access the outside world), I quickly found a web page that strongly recommended leaving the firewall on during the install. Need I say that I wasn't very surprised by the implication that IE7 can break other programs' access to the Internet?

The good news is that uninstalling IE7 fixed everything. Until I can get more information about what happened, I've told Windows Update to not try re-installing IE7.

"

Journals

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Windows 7 grips

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Last week I got a new company laptop that had Windows 7 pre-installed. Today I finally figured out how to turn off all the fancy GUI stuff: Go to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Ease of Access Center\Make it easier to focus on tasks. About half way down is a checkbox labeled "Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible)", checking it gets rid of all the visual junk that happens when you try to navigate between windows.

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Needed: a Bluetooth-enabled chair cushion

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 4 years ago

In an effort to encourage people to lock their workstations, my place of work has decided that anyone leaving their system unlocked will send out an email volunteering to buy donuts the next day. Of course, the poor saps usually don't realize that they've sent that email until they start getting replies thanking them. I've decided that it would be cheaper for me to purchase (or build) a seat cushion that reports to my laptop if my butt is resting upon it, and have an app that activates the screen saver whenever I stand up. While this seems like a natural for ThinkGeek, I can't find anything like this in their catalog (although the BluAlert bracelet looks interesting). And I don't need something expensive that measures my exact weight. Can anyone please help?

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Turning someone's blog into a flat file

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  about 6 years ago I recently found an interesting (and relatively small) blog, and to get caught up I'd like to read the whole thing chronologically. Like most blogs, its archive sorts each month's entries from newest to oldest, which forces me to do a lot of scrolling if I want to read them the other way. Also, navigating is a bit of a hassle without first/previous/next/last links at the top and/or bottom of each page. What I'd really like is a way to turn the whole thing into an ODF/PDF/whatever file and read it offline. It isn't my blog, so I can't get any database dumps or install any plug-ins; it looks like any solution needs to screen-scrape. I've looked at Blurb, LJBook, Lulu and even the departed Blogbinders, but none of them do what I need. The only FOSS solution seems to be xhtml-css.com, but it also falls well short of what I need. Before I bite the bullet and roll my own, can anyone point me to a solution? Thanks.

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Missing posts?

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I was writing a reply to Retroactive Telco Immunity Opponents Buying TV Ad, and I wanted to refer to a post I'd made earlier in the month. After the bill passed, I'd spent some time making a list of how many Dems votes on each of the amendments, but now I can't find that posting anywhere. I've checked out Senate Passes Telecom Immunity Bill and can't find my reply there, nor does Google find anything if I search for my username in yro.slashdot.org. Am I going crazy?

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Eliminate Presidential term limits

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I'd like to eliminate term limits as they currently exist; instead, each term spent in office could count as 50 negative votes (one per state) in the Electoral College. This would avoid lame-duck status, at least until the nominating conventions. Looking back only as far as the Civil War, the only elections that this rule would have changed would be those of 2004 (Bush v. Kerry) and 1916 (Wilson v. Hughes).

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IE7 problems

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 7 years ago Today my family's computer (running Windows XP Home) told us that an automatic update was available for installation. I gave permission for the update to be installed and wound up with a new installation of IE7. Unfortunately, after the required reboot I quickly discovered that we could no longer access the web. DNS resolved everything that I gave it and I could ping the resulting IP addresses, but I couldn't open HTTP connections outside of my local subnet. Telnet'ing to port 80 also didn't work, so it apparently wasn't just a problem with IE7.

Fortunately, IE7 did provide a nice diagnostic tool that decided that the ports for FTP, HTTP and HTTPS were all unavailable and suggested that I investigate my firewall settings. Interestingly enough, it turns out that I'd disabled Windows Firewall some time ago, because I trust my dedicated router/firewall to keep the black-hats out of my home. Turning to my work laptop (which could still access the outside world), I quickly found a web page that strongly recommended leaving the firewall on during the install. Need I say that I wasn't very surprised by the implication that IE7 can break other programs' access to the Internet?

The good news is that uninstalling IE7 fixed everything. Until I can get more information about what happened, I've told Windows Update to not try re-installing IE7.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  about 10 years ago Today, I am a prime example of a perfect square. It's been 24 years since I could last make that statement, and 72 until I can make it again.

I can hardly wait.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 11 years ago It's almost 4am, Monday morming, and the jury is still out on the success of my tonsillectomy last Wednesday. Not for the first time, I hope that I haven't made a terrible mistake.

This all started about four years ago. In mid-1999, I started showing the classic symptoms of sleep apnea: I began falling asleep at work. At first, I thought that it was due to life-style, so I tried going to bed earlier, but that just got me up earlier. Finally, two events happened within a couple of days of each other that convinced me that something had to be done. The second trigger was my boss telling me that he had received inquiries from clients who wanted to know "if they had to pay for the time that I was asleep". I hadn't realized that things had been so noticable, and promptly told him about the other, primary trigger. As I was pulling into the office park where I worked, I had dozed off for just a couple of seconds and run over the stop sign for a pedestrial cross-walk. There wasn't any damage to the car, or much to the stop sign, but I thank God that there wasn't someone crossing the street at that preciese moment. As soon as I got into the office, I started looking for someplace where I could have a sleep study performed. The warning from my employer kicked things into high gear, and on August 15, I spent the night at Barnes Hospital in St. Peters, MO. To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and wound up with a CPAP machine on September 1st.

Some people have trouble adjusting to a CPAP, but I didn't. In fact, I loved it: Suddenly, I had my life back.

Well, life wasn't all roses. I found that I was tied to a 110 volt outlet whenever I wanted to go to sleep. This meant that I had to drag the thing along on business trips. It also meant that I largely gave up trying to sleep on airplanes, but that wasn't such a big deal, since I was never more that a couple of hours away from anyplace I needed to go. But it also meant that I had to give up camping out, and that was a real annoyance. Starting in college over twenty years before, I had gone on week-end camping trips at least twice a year. That now seemed out of the question. More importantly, two years earlier I had fulfilled a life's ambition and hiked a small section of the Appalachian Trail. The experience left me wanting to do it again, and that, too, seemed unlikely while I was teathered to the nation's power grid.

On the other hand, my wife liked to point out that for her, growing up on a farm had destroyed any mystique that might be attached to "roughing it". She saw no point in sleeping anywhere except in a bed in a house. I was allowed my hobbies, but once our daughter was born in 1998, I had given up camping and hiking, at least until she was old enough to accompany me. Besides, I thought, this was mostly my own fault anyway. I'd put on a fair bit of weight since college, and weight-gain was a leading cause of sleep apnea. Let's face it: I needed to spend some time losing weight before doing any more camping, and that might cause the apnea to reverse itself.

So things sat for two years. In early 2001, I realized that I had been gaining weight, not losing it, so I started to make some noises about getting my tonsils removed. I had gone so far as to make a doctor's appointment, when I lost my job in the general economic downturn. I canceled the appointment and spent the next couple of months looking for work. I found a job soon enought, but my new employer was small, only 75 or so employees, and I was much too busy trying to help them stay in business to think about surgery for a while. And just when I did start to think about it, they laid off half of their employees, and I lost that job, too!

This time around, I did things "right". First, I went to work for a Fortune 500 company. Both of my previous jobs had been with small companies, and I had always worried that getting the surgery could seriously impact their operations. Second, I decided not to delay. As soon as I had been working for six months, I made the appointment. I didn't want to have things all set up and ready to go, and then lose my job yet again for some reason. And, there was another reason to do things quickly.

Back on my previous job, my wife and I had decided to adopt a Russian orphan or two, because it appeared that we weren't going to be having any more children of our own. The adoption process would obviously require a lot of travel outside the US, and I didn't want to lug the CPAP along. I knew that I couldn't fly for two weeks following the surgery, and as the first adoption trip looked like it would be in May, April 9th was quickly established that the best date to do it.

Of course, the Russians surprised us. Since we were willing to adopt a toddler, we wound up starting our first trip on Monday, March 31st, returning the following Monday. I decided to wait until we were in Russia to decide what to do about the surgery. It wasn't an easy decision. On the one hand, the CPAP worked just fine in Russia, and I seemed to hold up just fine skipping two nights of sleep while on airplanes. On the other hand, checking the CPAP as carry-on luggage was at least as much of a hassle on international flights as on domestic, and for our second trip I'd need extra room in my luggage for children's clothes and toys. I decided to go for it.

Now, it's been four days since the surgery, I feel like hell, and I haven't been able to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. I've been saying "tonsillectomy", but I really got three procedures done at once. First, there was the tonsillectomy proper. Second, I also had a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) peformed. In this procedure, excess tissue is removed from the back of the throat. Supposedly, UPPP is successful in curing sleep apnea approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time. Lastly, I had a turbinectomy, which is a surgical procedure that opens up the nasal passages by removing bone and soft tissue. The idea is that they all have similar, but independent, chances of success and they all have similar recovery periods, so why not do them all at once?

This evening, I tried hooking up the CPAP, and quickly discovered that it's too strong for me to use in my current state of recovery. On the other hand, what's left of my soft palette seems to still flop around like before, making me wonder if I'm in that part of the population for whom a UPPP is not a success.

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Privacy in the global village

vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I grew up in a small town. Privacy does not exist in a small town. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing, if not immediately then at the speed of gossip. This is what happened to Laurie. She said something to someone, they repeated it to someone else, and the next thing you know everyone in the village knew about it.

This is the natural state of humanity. It's only recently that cities were invented, where I define a city to be a group of people large enought that the "everybody knows your name" property fails. Privacy doesn't exist in villages, but then again neither does crime. In this sense, cities are a temporary aberation, because mass communications is making the world into a global village. Soon, we will be able to identify everyone we casually pass on the street, maybe by wearable webcams and facial identification algorithms, maybe by bluetooth-enabled id badges, quite possibly by a combination of both of these and more.

If you see someone on the street corner selling drugs, you'll be able to identify them. Ditto if you see them entering an adult book store or an abortion clinic. And just as quickly, you'll be able to pass the information along to people whom you think would be interested, be they the police, a spouse, or a faith-based group. At that point, crime and privacy will again cease to exist, and the "good old days" will return.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 11 years ago Lots of people know this already, but for those of you who don't know, Mari and I are preparing to adopt two children from Russia sometime this summer. We had originally thought that we could only afford one, but it turned out we were wrong. Here's the hard financial facts.

At this time, I'm not going to get into the emotional side of the adoptions. That can wait until we finish the process. Instead, I'm going to talk about how we can afford to do someting that's hideously expensive.

Last year, the federal tax credit for adoptions was raised from $5,000 to $10,000. That's a credit, not a deduction, meaning that you get that much back on April 15th. It's also per-child. And Missouri as had a $10,000 tax credit per child for some time now. Finally, my employer reimburses some adoption expenses as well. Put it all together and we'll eventually get back $44,000 for a two-child adoption.

There are several costs for an international adoption that are fixed, such as round-trip tickets for Mari and myself. Also, Russia will charge lower fees for each child after the first, provided you adopt them all at the same time. Add it up, and it may wind up costing us less to adopt two than it would to adopt one. (Of course, all of the "regular" child-rearing expenses will be higher with two, but I've got almost twenty years to prepare for college.)

That's it for now. I'll post again when we're actually home with the kids.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 11 years ago

while [[ $quit != y ]]
do
    vi mypgm.c
    make mypgm && ./mypgm
    echo -n 'Quit? '
    read quit
done

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 12 years ago He-he-he!

I managed to have moderator access today. What to do, what to do. I know, I'll not mod anything as "Funny". Instead, I'll try to find things that I could honestly rate as Insightful, Interesting, or Informative.

Now we'll have to see if I get meta-moderated down.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  more than 12 years ago (This is a copy of a posting I made today.)

I'm in the process of moving, so I spent the weekend cleaning out my basement. I paused for a moment of silence before tossing my old copy of Warp.

Honest.

Warp was a thing of great beauty. With Rexx (IBM's in-house Perl-like scripting language), you could do anything. Windows still hasn't caught up, although the scripting shell extensions come close. And the multimedia/real-time support... *sigh*

I still remember seeing a laptop (I think 486 based) showing a movie in one window while the GUI remained responsive. There was never a flicker or stutter as windows were moved and resized and compiles ran in the background.

Tossing those CDs left me feeling depressed about the state of personal computing, and then this article shows up just as I was feeling better.

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vrmlguy vrmlguy writes  |  about 13 years ago

I suspect that only someone who, like myself, lives in a seventy-year-old house can fully appreciate the Hyatt Rickey's in Palo Alto. It appears that most of the rooms were built in the 1940's. I can certainly believe it. My room has the feel of my late Uncle Mac's summer house on Reelfoot Lake, which was built around that same time frame: solid wood construction, with exposed beams and trusses, and no thought given to the modern wonders to come. For example, the only way that I can plug in my laptop computer is to unplug one of the room's lamps. Large bundles of telephone and coax cables run under the eves of every structure. And there is a heater built into an interior wall of my room with a thermostat near by. The thermostat has a sign that reads, "This unit controls the heater. For additional heat and/or air conditioning, please utilize the wall mounted unit." Said unit is a more modern device, identical to those found in hotel rooms nation-wide. And the curtains are difficult to fully close.

Still, the place has a certain charm. Yes, it is old, but it offers amenities that no one building today would ever even think of including. For the most part, every building is only one story tall. The buildings are scattered almost haphazardly on the 22 acres of land that the hotel occupies. There are several paths lined with wooden benches that wind their way around a large number of marble statues and a smaller number of fountains. There are several locations where lounge chairs face the afternoon sun, and a gazebo stands at one side of what was once a very large croquette court. (Unfortunately, some later landscaper decided to run a sidewalk through the center, neatly halving the largest open space.)

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