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Comment: Did the poster even READ the article? (Score 1) 668

by Gim Tom (#49109085) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
I read the article in the link in this post and it seems to be a complete disconnect from the post. Did he even read it? I don't disagree with Nye at all and everyone needs to have some basic understanding of science or else everything the least bit technical in this world is just magic.

A decade or more ago I had a temp working for me who was a CS student at a nearby university. He was good at the routine stuff, but one question and his reason for it blew my mind. It had to do with how a change in our DNS server got to all the other DNS servers on the Internet in just a few hours. After some discussion on how this worked I realized that his primary misunderstanding was that he did not realize that the speed of light was a wee bit faster than the speed of sound.

Comment: Too Late for me DRM killed it a decade ago (Score 1) 450

I dumped Turbo Tax for a competitor when they used DRM at least a decade or more ago. I do my own taxes with TaxAct and have been using it since then. I am retired and have Social Security, some retirement income from a defined benefit plan that is still around and investment income. I could afford to hire a CPA or anyone else to do my taxes, but I don't want to. I use the process as an opportunity to review my investments and how they impact my taxes and make changes that benefit ME. As a retired engineer the way taxes are calculated drives me nuts, but what do you expect when Lawyers try to do math?

Comment: Don't just fix it --- Re-engineer it! (Score 1) 840

I have often spent more time and money repairing something when it would have been much easier and cheaper to replace it. I am 67 and from the generation just after the Great Depression and I guess I learned that sort of frugality, or perhaps now false frugality from them. However, my late wife used to lament that I never just fixed something I would redesign or re-engineer it. And, yes I am an engineer.

Comment: Re:Why not as civilians? (Score 2) 223

by Gim Tom (#48709029) Attached to: US Army Could Waive Combat Training For Hackers
I was in the USAF during Vietnam. I was never in Vietnam, but have the Vietnam service medal and credit for a Vietnam tour of duty. I worked on a computer system in Northern Thailand that monitored traffic on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The base was within rocket range of Laos and only about 75 miles from NORTH Vietnam. On base the only USAF personnel armed were the Air Force Security Police who, along with some other groups were responsible for Base security. HOWEVER, almost all of the USAF personnel, no matter what their technical skills, had a weapons card and there were armories around the base where we would draw weapons if needed. Depending on assignment there was even extra training in base defense. Even then everyone in uniform was expected to be able to defend the base if needed. THAT was the DIFFERENCE between those in uniform (which we were NOT allowed to wear off base -- the base was not officially there) and the civilian support personnel, and we had LOTS of civilian contractors since we had the largest computer system in that hemisphere and there was a crew IBM engineers on site to maintain it.

There were other USAF personnel who were support and technical that did go "over the river" to places we called Lima Sites. Look up Lima Site 85 and see if anyone really believes in the concept of a Non-Combatant in the military. Oh, and as for being stationed stateside when the NVA moved south in April of 1972 there were quite a few GI's who thought they would be in the states for their full tour of duty that suddenly found themselves in our tropical paradise within just a couple of days.

Comment: Re:Interesting (Score 1) 293

by Gim Tom (#48661939) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi

You can passively block it, yes. There's nothing preventing you from building a Faraday cage around your home. You cannot ACTIVELY block it though (i.e. broadcast signals to intentionally interfere with it).

Get aluminum siding on your house and you WILL be in a Faraday cage! The voice of experience says so.

Comment: Incompetence vs Conspiracy (Score 4, Insightful) 236

Do not attribute to a conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by incompetence -- especially if you won't show your evidence of said conspiracy. The company that thought a Root Kit was a good idea does seems to be lacking something in the competence department.

Comment: Re:Hardly (and sadly) not a unique tale (Score 1) 156

by Gim Tom (#48614365) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End
Thanks for giving the full title of the original publication! When I saw that on the shelf I KNEW I had to buy it! However, my path diverged and went more toward system design and analysis and less coding -- which I did miss. I subscribed to Byte till well after it was bought out by the corporate Borg, but I have something between 6 and 10 years boxed up down stairs. Haven't looked at them in years, but just can't bring myself to get rid of them.

Comment: Birds Get Drunk Too, and maybe the squirrels (Score 4, Interesting) 89

by Gim Tom (#48501761) Attached to: Ability To Consume Alcohol May Have Shaped Human Evolution
I read the article and while interesting it doesn't fully explain a phenomenon I have observed first hand for many years. I have two wild cherry trees on my property and sometimes the cherries remain on the tree long enough to begin fermenting. When this happens every bird for miles fights over the boozy cherries! The squirrels also seem to prefer these somewhat fermented cherries. Humans may have evolved a better way to metabolize ethanol, but I don't think we were the first creatures to appreciate a wee dram every now and then.

Comment: Depends on Latidude as much as Attitude (Score 1) 613

by Gim Tom (#48289965) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?
The daylight to dark ratio is approximately constant only in the tropics. There is gets light about 6am and dark about 6pm year round and with almost no twilight between the two. The further north you go the greater the difference between daylight and dark hours becomes until you reach the arctic circle (I left out the southern hemisphere intentionally -- there is very little land at the higher southern latitudes) where there is about 6 months of daylight and six of darkness. The whole thing about DST is so artificial anyway. Until the rail roads set up standard time zones in the US each town and village had its on time based on local noon by the sun.

However, I know that in my case sunlight in my bedroom window makes me wake up more easily and feel more refreshed than being awakened in darkness. This seems to be at least somewhat invariant as to the actual number of hours of sleep I got within limits. Since I inhabit the temperate zone in the Northern hemisphere I would much prefer to just hibernate through the 3 to 6 months of winter (depending on latitude) we have here and not worry about changing from DST and back.

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