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Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

zarthrag Re: DVD (245 comments)

CDs/DVDs. No LPs, though :-[p

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

zarthrag Re:DVD (245 comments)

I have DVDs that I've burned as a teenager kept in a nice, high-quality soft "archival" binder for the last 18 years. Nearly all of them, of varying quality/expense, are unreadable due to degradation.

OTOH, I've got old 500MB harddrives that read/work just fine and are just as old. I'd expect sealed HDDs to be as good as it gets - tape is nice, but maintaining a supported/working tape drive was always difficult (used to have one). But, unlike every other type of storage, harddrives are actually capable of warning you of an impending failure. (I've been *saved* by S.M.A.R.T. at least twice, over the years.) Add some rudimentary RAID, and you're probably good. The only way I can think of to go further is to use two/three, and cycle them between your PC(often/all the time), a nearby firesafe(When you are heading in that direction), and a safety-deposit box (seasonally?).

yesterday
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

zarthrag Re:Yes. (660 comments)

You entitled... You do realize companies often all but collude on this kind of thing? Once one gets away with it, it quickly becomes the norm "in order to stay competitive". IMO, Your rights shouldn't just apply to government - especially since bigger companies own it at some/any/every level anyway. You can't negotiate from unequal footing. If you say anything even approaching "no", the company will simply replace you without a single thought. Probably with someone cheaper. (Or, even better, give your former coworkers who couldn't afford to walk all of your work. Triple-win.)

5 days ago
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Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

zarthrag Re:Marketing?... NOT! (239 comments)

It's true, I LOVE Liam Neeson movies! I've no idea why... he's a pretty good actor who happens to get properly cast more often than not.

As for Django.... My wife and I put off watching it for a year, as a lot of people I know made it out to be super offensive/over-the-top. Turns out, I think it's one of Tarantino's best films.

But I digress.... Companies tend to be clueless, as a whole - as people tend to be clueless, as a whole. I mean, how hard is it to ask yourself the converse of a question? "Is it true white people have a special bone in their ankle that prevents them from enjoying movies with black stars?" - (On second thought... Please don't answer that...)

So you're absolutely right, better to ask what is proper etiquette WITH ANY CULTURE, then to display your ignorance (and, since you didn't ask, arrogance) to the entire world. Even if someone is offended by you asking privately...you've still avoided worse.

about a month ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

zarthrag Re:Embedded Systems (641 comments)

I don't think any of the languages you've mentioned are ones people would consider one of those "vogue" kiddie languages. Scala, D, Swift, Everything on this list, is not something I would tell a child to start learning, and then bet a career on.

That said, use the right tool for the job! PHP is absolutely a great idea for a webpage, which is, by it's very nature, a scripted entity. With much pain, C *can* do it, but there is a better tool, already. PHP - and just about every other scripted language is written in C/C++. So is the JVM. It's all just (another) layer of abstraction, in the end.

  But, when it comes to kernels, firmware, and just about anything embedded - C should be near the top of your list. It's not the most popular language, but it's steady. It sits nicely on top of only assembly language - and thus, is easily used on any (and almost every) hardware-architecture there is.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

zarthrag Re: America, land of the free... (720 comments)

In states like Oklahoma, we often create laws that are meant to make a single crime multiply, in order to maximize our "tough on crime" image. A police-friend was telling me one of their favorites is the "Computer Crimes Act", which makes the use of a "computer" (which, by their interpretation, includes a cellphone) during a crime, a separately punishable act.

So it applies to texting-while-driving and phone pranks, all of the way up to bank-robbery. Technically, according to paragraph 8, if you find this post *annoying*, I've just committed a misdemeanor!

Go USA!

about 1 month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Making a 'Wife Friendly' Gaming PC?

zarthrag Re:Nvidia Shield Tablet with good WiFi (720 comments)

Why this post is AC, I do not know. But I agree, as a father of 3, the shield portable/tablet is the bee's-knees! My desktop, in all of it's glory, has been relegated to the garage. But when a shield, I can game running 720p practically lag-free anywhere in the house using 802.11n/5GHz, and turn-based games (Civ/Xcom/etc) work fine outside of the house. It's requires an nVidia setup, however.

about 2 months ago
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Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

zarthrag Re:don't tax alternative energy and transportation (516 comments)

There is a monumental, staggering level of myopia in those who propose and enact measures like these.

Welcome to Oklahoma. We just got one of those laws passed, quite easily.

A net-zero bill just isn't going to sit well here - can't have the rabble hurting profits with their "green" technology. To really take advantage of solar here, you have to change your stated goal to independence from the grid. That's going to mean having smarter appliances that can be told "do this load of laundry during the middle of the day, crank up the electric water-heater to 11, and, if there's any extra power - turn on the stereo just to make a point. Just don't give PSO/AEP free power.

about 2 months ago
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Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance

zarthrag Re:If at first you don't succeed... (262 comments)

If you buy with a credit card (which you are if you're using steam), you can call your credit card company and get them to issue a charge back.

If you try this, there's a 99% chance that you'll lose your steam/origin/ubi account, and everything in it. Companies are vindictive like that.

about 2 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:Same here (459 comments)

(Kinda wish you weren't AC, but I'll answer anyway.)

I think there's a little truth in both views. There were a lot of [black] people and businesses in Tulsa that used to be quite well-off prior to The Tulsa Race Riot which did more damage in two days than Jim Crow ever could. Those areas are pretty much welfare neighborhoods now, rife with payday-loans and people dependent upon the government (Which I consider to be the final nail in the coffin.) What was lost (or stolen, depending on whom you ask) cannot be valued, and the effects on later generations isn't limited to that community - it takes away from everyone. Education is nil, as one more likely to end up with a criminal record than a degree (Oklahoma blacks and hispanics have a 64% graduation rate.) And state policy ensures those effects are still heading in the wrong direction.

As for families, yes - [modern] black culture glorifies all of the wrong things which tends to lead to lots of children without [responsible] fathers. But it's inaccurate to say that's the norm everywhere. IMO, poverty and marriage simply don't mix. Two working parents can break the poverty-line, but then (in today's economic/political climate) you'll have staganation. Making too much money to qualify for (genuinely needed) help, while not making enough to make ends meet can easily destroy any family. Of the ones that stay together - Many of their children do quite well in school, and do graduate. But cannot possibly afford college. And, without stable households capable of acquiring even modest wealth, even student loans for some *really*good*kids* are totally out-of-the-question. Ensuring yet another generation of lightly-educated people, with no access to education, mentorship, or even a trade. ...and all of the limitations thereof. (For that reason, I'm actually against the idea that "college is the solution to all problems" that has been ingrained into the minds of all black parents. You can work in many fields, including IT, without a degree. It's debt-free, and if you work hard at what you do, it's upwardly mobile. More-so if you have the aptitude.)

I don't buy into the "victim mentality" at all. I determine my own future. But I'm not alone or ashamed in the fact that I, my parents, grandparents, have to overcome significant obstacles to establish *somewhat* equal footing *starting* with my generation. Most Americans [black, white, whatever] don't seem to understand that the real damage from overt racism isn't "he's [not us], so I won't hire him or serve him food", it was "those [not us] people should never acquire education & wealth, lest they become a threat" which resulted in many calculated (and often violent) actions taken with the intent to deny wealth. Combine that history with welfare and you have a never ending cycle of: ...Poverty - the gift that keeps on giving.

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:West Coast demographics (459 comments)

No, the midwest. Oklahoma - to be specific. I think, with the exception of the south, the population in most cities are similar - though my own neighborhood is about as far as it gets from being segregated in any way.

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Re:Same here (459 comments)

This.

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

zarthrag Same here (459 comments)

It's sad, but we're rare birds. It's not the fault of any one thing. Culturally, families DO encourage it, however, there are few mentors. I just lucked out and had a dad who was a real dad worthy of mentorship, in engineering. It's rare because of.... I'll leave it at "forces of history" (internal, and external, both).

The stereotypes can be hard to shake, though. Being taken seriously can be an obstacle. It's a different experience, I'm sure. The only way to break the cycle (IMO) is to get out there and try to teach/mentor/train (which is an entirely different can of worms.)

about 3 months ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

zarthrag Re:This is silly (720 comments)

I cannot agree more. States should be going after companies like Walmart to make them pay for any public-assistance their employees qualify for, plus a premium. (They do similar things to individuals, "corporations are people, too" ...remember?) The problem would fix itself.

If your wages from a full-time job don't allow someone who works for you to earn enough of a living to not have to work, you had better not be turning a "profit", much less paying it out to investors...

The whole "flipping burgers isn't supposed to support a family" isn't a valid argument. McDonald's posted 5.5 BILLION in profit for 2012. They can pay their workers (well) above minimum wage.

about 3 months ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

zarthrag Re:Yes we're going to keep using FTDI chips (572 comments)

THIS.

Supply chains and procurement is already wild enough. Checking every part is not part of the deal. (Though, using authorized distributors is the first/best step. Stay away from Shenzhen if you can.) I've never been a huge FTDI fan, but this debacle has all but ensured that I never use their parts in a design. Accidentally acquiring clones could result in a support nightmare that really didn't have to happen.

Besides, this move doesn't punish the clone makers at all. Just end-users. They could have put up a pop-up window or notice. But bricking... that would have me calling up the lawyers. If they feel it's okay to destroy product (especially if those clone chips weren't purchased knowingly). That's more than ill-will:

That's liability.

about 3 months ago
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Simple Hack Enables VR Mode For Oculus Rift In Alien: Isolation

zarthrag Re:The point? (57 comments)

Tried it, had to down a nice tall glass of ginger-ale afterwards and go back to 2D - I consider myself exceptionally "VR hardned". But this game is the closest I've come to surrendering my stomach contents. (No real spoilers, here)

* I think it's a problem with the calibration routine, which doesn't cancel out any rotation in your head (if you're looking slightly up/down, to tilting your head to the side, even slightly. ...it becomes the new "level". Euurgh...
* Walk speed while on the first ship, walk speed is entirely too high. Your brain is damn-near expecting to feel whiplash. Double Euurgh...
* Framerate and controls are superb, but it's **straaaange** to from from a IRL 6'0" 210lb man to being a 5'4"ish scrawny woman who probably weighs a buck, soaking-wet.

Nevermind that this game is already hard/scary. Probably too much for a first "AAA" VR experience. The interface is an excellent implementation, though. But that calibration...

I thought the part where you're wearing the spacesuit on EVA was amazing, too. Was more comfortable than the game.

about 4 months ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

zarthrag Re:Oh good (907 comments)

If you drive off the lot with a loan for a car that is fully depreciated already, and you paid an appropriate amount for the car, even without a down payment, the lender has a relatively small amount of risk.

That's the kicker, right there. These customers do not, nor will they ever, have $2500 for a down payment (If they did, they could buy a "real" car.) These places take vehicles with a bluebook value of $2000-$5000 and sell them for $10,000 or more with little to nothing "down", at the maximum interest rate the law will allow, and with an "as-is" warranty term.

It's usury, plain and simple. These snakes are just waiting for you to slip-up on a payment. Fees for being late are fair. But their goal is to simply repo the very moment you're late with a payment. Because, then, they can repo the car - sell it again (and again, until it can't be sold). Auction it. Then still leave you with a credit-report item for the difference.

A remote kill-switch (and probably GPS for recovery) only increases profits, I'm sure.

Believe it or not, but 95% of 'Merica isn't New York/Chicago/LA/Big-City. Here in Tulsa, there is no public transit to speak of. Unless you plan carefully where you live/work, it's quite difficult - maybe impossible - to live/work/eat without constant access to a car.

Profits over people. It's the American way.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

zarthrag Re:Alright smart guy (504 comments)

I've been tempted by the Lumia phones, I must say. I just haven't *seen* one out in the wild. My current android is a Sony Xperia M, which I *really* like - but isn't without issues. (I think the only thing holding me back is google voice, tbh)

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

zarthrag Re:Alright smart guy (504 comments)

Not picking a side. But it's kinda funny when you think about it:

* With an Apple device, you get regular updates to iOS, but your phone will continually become slower (planned obsolescence)

* With an Android device, the manufacturer outright abandons updating the phone the moment their next handset is on sale. (Samsung seems to be the worst about this, but, even Google has done it to stock Nexus phones.)

Pick your poison. Slow, or quick. ....then get ready for your next pill.

about 4 months ago

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