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Comment Re:NYC taxi system could DESTROY uber (Score 3, Informative) 210

Personal anecdote:

I live about three miles from my local airport, and I have learned that while taxi drivers will take me home from there, they outright refuse (using silent neglect) to pick me up. I called not one but two different taxi services, the first one with over an hour's notice, and neither one could get a taxi to me. The dispatcher apologized, but that was all they could do. I ended up driving to the airport myself in a rush and paying for multiple-day airport parking instead. Subsequent occasions faired no better, and I eventually stopped trying.

Regardless of how one thinks they should work, evidence so far suggests that you're only guaranteed service once you're actually sitting in the taxi.

Comment For Small Offices (Score 1) 889

One of my greatest sticking points has been Quickbooks. There are several little office shops I've helped that would be just fine using Linux for nearly everything else - Thunderbird, Firefox, and a few other odds and ends cover their general needs.

Except Quickbooks. Gnucash is just not a suitable alternative for their business accounts. I can get the Quickbooks database to run on Linux (with difficulty, sometimes), but the GUI must be not-Linux.

That'd be my vote.

Comment Re:Leak? (Score 1) 42

It certainly helps if you don't care to get the domain back!

If someone is watching a given domain to pounce it as soon as it expires, there's really nothing to be done aside from not allowing it to expire. But the proxy company could potentially do so as a matter of automation, since they already have the domain on file along with other information about it. So while you may ordinarily have a grace period of a few days before anyone notices - purely by chance, of course - you might not have it in this case.

Anyway, the question wasn't really meant to have an answer as such, because - as you pretty much point out - the answer is 'yes, they totally can, as can anyone else'. It's more an advisory phrasing of 'if you use a proxy domain service, be aware that this is something they could legally do, as they already know you and the value of the domain to you'.

Comment Re:Leak? (Score 3, Insightful) 42

I've certainly had the same thought.

There are times I actually try to find the owner of a domain, only to find them hidden behind a proxy registration. Some owners have forgotten their info to manage their proxied domains, leaving me unable to trivially verify if the site is still theirs when helping them.

There is a risk involved with having a valid address on file for domain ownership, though. Can't ignore that. I have a private domain and my information is not protected, and I have yet to be antagonized by crazed axe murderers, but it's a risk I'm choosing to take. I can say that other than a snail mail scam letter once or twice a year, all the other email crap gets filtered with the rest of my generic email spam.

If someone wants to commercialize registering domains by proxy... well, that's free enterprise. The proxy owner might find a way to claim the domain is theirs if they want to be jerks later, but contract law might cover those situations, since the actual owner is likely to have documentation indicating the proxy arrangement.

Here's another scenario... if the original owner accidentally allows the domain to expire, can the proxy site choose to register the name itself, and only sell it back to the owner at whatever price they want to ask? The registrar itself (generally) doesn't care, but the domain proxy service now knows the name was valuable enough to someone to pay for protecting it.

Anyway. I'd still prefer to leave it public, but I can understand those that are reluctant to do the same.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 258

I don't trust anybody who has published a document with the title "C:\Users\Jehan-Francois Paris\Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc." Not even in .docx format. Tsk tsk.

Now I'm amused at the idea of the embedded filesystem path as a measure of trust of the source. I can only guess that these would be even worse:

C:\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc
C:\WINNT\Profiles\User\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\ADAPT15\Case3.doc

Any path containing 'New Folder' and/or 'Untitled.doc' would quite possibly trump any of the above.

( 'C:\Documents and Settings\Ricky\My Documents\faxes\sent faxes\case3.doc' I wouldn't even dare open. )

Comment Re:Cloud Managed? (Score 1) 36

Hey, look at that. I did read the page, but I obviously did not scroll down enough through the graphics to find that note. It'd be nice if it were also on the page describing the gateway controller itself. It wasn't even listed on the FAQ (probably because it is on the front page, of course).
I'm still not thrilled about the cloud connection option being there, but that should be easily blockable using firewall rules. Good catch!

Comment Cloud Managed? (Score 5, Interesting) 36

I've thought about home automation for a while, and seeing an opened system such as this one is an immediate temptation! ...Except for the cloud management. I noticed right away that the gateway controller 'comes with a 1 year subscription'. Sure, I get that they're a business that needs to make money, but what if I want the system without cloud support? Is that even an option? For all they're touting openness, I couldn't find that obviously posted on their site. That's a pretty big deal-breaker for me, if I cannot disable their cloud integration. So what if I can't run it from a mobile phone? I'd rather use something like SSH and write my own interface, following my own desired rules for network security. And I sure as hell don't want it reporting anything back to them, or giving them the option in any way, shape, or form of sending remote commands when I have elected to not use their service. This is my home we're talking about. Guess I'll keep thinking about rolling my own, someday.

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 2) 937

As an American agnostic atheist, I agree with what you said. I like to be mostly right about things, and science is all about reliable knowledge. I may not always be right, but if I'm properly applying the scientific methods to things I want to understand, I'm going to end up being right more often than wrong.

There are things we do not yet know, because our understanding of Everything is incomplete. It is not a cheat or a cop-out when asked 'Is there a God?" to say "I don't know." Admitting to ignorance is important! Only when we admit we don't know something will we try to study or explain it. I'm reasonably sure that leprechauns, unicorns, the Easter Bunny and Russell's Teapot don't exist, but how can I know for sure that they do not? I can't, but until they're proven, I don't behave as though they exist. It's always the burden of the claimant to provide proof.

I've had a lot of discussions with friends who follow a faith, and I've learned that Atheist is sort of a loaded word, at least in America. In trying to reconcile this I discovered that there exist the classifications of 'strong atheists' and 'weak atheists'. The strong variety claim firm knowledge, I.E, there is no God. The weak variety, like myself, say there is no definitive evidence to prove or disprove, but as most positions require proof to accept, I'll simply act as though there is not until satisfactorily demonstrated otherwise.

To my point of view, the strong Atheist statement: 'I affirm there is no God' is, itself, a statement of faith. Proving a negative is really darned hard, and I doubt anyone making that claim has done sufficient work to accomplish that. These individuals might be anti-God, but they're not anti-faith, because they're claiming sourceless, unverifiable knowledge. Y'know, faith.

I accept evidence-based faith, where I hold as reliable due to past history and experience that I will see the sun tomorrow, and that my close friends aren't going to assault me unprovoked one day, knowing even as I say it that I could be wrong. But pure faith, accepting as true something that cannot be tested, or verified, and could be (and if there really is one correct faith, that suggests all the wrong ones were) made up? Nope, that I reject. It too easily leads to being wrong.

I generally refer to myself as an agnostic, since the general public understanding of those I talk to seems to mesh with my point of view which I'm trying to explain to them. If I use the word 'atheist', especially among people of faith, they seem to parse it as 'strong atheist', which only leads to an even longer discussion.

Comment A Good Place To Start (Score 5, Insightful) 468

If you haven't come across this already, this is a good place to start:

As an IT worker myself, one of the most difficult things I struggle with is the frequent lack of acknowledgement and respect. I don't mean simple 'thanks for helping me' responses - although those do count, and workplaces where all employees belittle IT will experience a lot of IT turnover - but for the big things. When we break out all the stops to achieve some huge project, or put in extra unpaid time - we're often salaried, after all - to help someone, the reward is sometimes to have expectations raised, rather than to understand that was an exceptional effort. That discourages us from trying so hard next time.

It's difficult for management to understand what we do, and what they don't understand, they sometimes don't respect. Bonuses are nice, as is comp time. But I really just want to keep things working, and it is distinctly aggravating when I can't prevent a recurring problem because it requires changing the behavior of someone superior to me that doesn't care to make a change, as I'll always be there to clean up their mess. In some cases, it feels like not bothering to install toilets in a restroom because that's what the janitor is for.

All of that said, when it comes to weeding out those that aren't contributing anything... some sort of tracking system is essential, for techs to keep tabs on what they've done. They'll rightfully treat it with skepticism if such a system comes from On High, as the plausible reasoning is to find out how much they can shrink the department. But when brought in with the cooperation of the staff and their immediate management, it can be trusted more. It's also a tool to demonstrate to upper management just how much work we ARE doing, and to justify extra manpower. Simply saying that you need an extra hand often goes nowhere, since IT is frequently seen as a money pit.

And, of course, listen to the techs, the experienced ones in particular. They're the ones that can feel that a piece of software isn't working properly, or that a piece of infrastructure is not up to the task. You don't need to do what they're talking about, but consider their opinion. They're here to understand, fix, and instruct people in how to use technology. Knowing that they're being heard, and seeing visible changes in response to that feedback, does a lot to make a tech feel valued.

Comment Fantastic! (Score 2) 204

Wonderful! Amazing! ...Just like the other half-dozen or so solar cell improvements I've read about over the past few years.
But unless we can actually BUY these upgraded units soon, I'd like to add one more appropriate adjective: Pointless.
(Okay, maybe not entirely pointless. But that's what it feels like when all of these more-efficient panels never seem to show up anywhere.)

Comment Re:Seems just as safe as ever... (Score 1) 1148

I own a 2010 (3rd generation) Prius, and the A/C unit is electric, powered off of the traction battery. So if your main battery is too low, the engine will turn on to recharge the battery, which will then run the A/C... but there is no engine belt connecting the A/C unit to the gasoline engine itself. Also, when the car is in ECO mode, it cuts the power usage of the A/C by about 20% (according to the provided specifications). I don't have the gear to evaluate that percentage myself, but there is a noticeable change in the temperature of the cool air from the vents when I take the car off of that mode. The defroster is also all electric, although it seems to have a higher energy draw.
Classic Games (Games)

Hank Chien Reclaims Donkey Kong High Score 122

An anonymous reader writes "If you can say anything about Hank Chien, it's that he evidently doesn't take defeat very well. Sure, he knew not so deep down that his Donkey Kong World Record score wouldn't last forever, but he couldn't have foreseen that it would have been toppled so quickly. Twice, even. But he also knew that more Kong competition would be coming his way; namely Richie Knucklez Kong-Off in March. So Hank had something to prove, and prove he did. Scoring a massive 1,068,000 points in less than three hours, Hank has officially reclaimed the high score in Nintendo’s 1981 arcade classic."

An Inside Look At Warhammer Online's Server Setup 71

An article at Gamasutra provides some details on the hardware Mythic uses to power Warhammer Online, courtesy of Chief Technical Officer Matt Shaw and Online Technical Director Andrew Mann. Quoting: "At any given time, approximately 2,000 servers are in operation, supporting the gameplay in WAR. Matt Shaw commented, 'What we call a server to the user, that main server is actually a cluster of a number of machines. Our Server Farm in Virginia, for example,' Mann said, 'has about 60 Dell Blade chassis running Warhammer Online — each hosting up to 16 servers. All in all, we have about 700 servers in operation at this location.' ... 'We use blade architecture heavily for Warhammer Online,' Mann noted. 'Almost every server that we deploy is a blade system. We don't use virtualization; our software is somewhat virtualized itself. We've always had the technology to run our game world across several pieces of hardware. It's application-layer clustering at a process level. Virtualization wouldn't gain us much because we already run very close to peak CPU usage on these systems.' ... The normalized server configuration — in use across all of the Mythic-managed facilities — features dual Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors running at 3 GHz with 8 GB of RAM."

Comment Re:A former employee (Score 4, Interesting) 417

About a decade ago I worked for Staples, in their business center.

I witnessed, firsthand, a 'model' employee taking a printer out of a customer's cart when the customer revealed that they weren't going to buy the money pit of an extended warranty plan! Subsequently telling that same customer that the entire wall of boxed printers was on hold for 'a school' was the icing on that particular cake.

Our store had the best rankings in the district because 'we' flat-out refused to let warranty-able items go out the door without a warranty being purchased. While the official store policy was never to use those sorts of tactics, there was a sheet that was distributed to each store in a given district, posted prominently in the break room, ranking each store by how well they did selling those warranty plans, and the best store got awards and the like. Kind of a we don't condone this behavior, but if it gets results, we'll pretend not to notice arrangement, it seemed.

I got in some hot water for not pushing those warranties - I sold perhaps one a month, usually because the customer wanted it - but I had other good employee qualities that they apparently decided were worth keeping me for.

Anyway. I have no idea if they still do such a thing, but it's not a new idea.