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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.

Comment: RF circuit alignment (Score 1) 155

by Gim Tom (#48116903) Attached to: Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video)
If you have ever done anything like aligning RF circuits or devices you are often looking for a peak or minimum value as you make an adjustment (or several interacting adjustments). An analog display is about the only thing that really works for this. THIS can be simulated on a digital display IFF it is fast enough to follow the changes AND if the digital circuits are shielded well enough so they are not fried by high RF levels or conversely inject enough RF crap into what you are trying to adjust to make adjustment impossible.

Comment: Re:Maybe Anthony Bourdain (Score 1) 103

by Gim Tom (#48031793) Attached to: Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'
Point Taken, and I do love independent non-chain eateries. Everything has become too generic and "safe" anyway.

Yes, I know that everything has changed in 40+ years. I was there in 1971 and 1972 and it was a different world and a different place then. Also I was aware even then that the foods used and preparation varied widely around the country. Where I was was right on the border with Laos and there was much overlap between the Thai and Laotian foods. Even the ubiquitous Khao Phat fried rice varies widely around the country.

I did eat as much of the local food where I was as my taste buds, and system could handle and only got amoebic dysentery once, and that was from some ice in a drink I think. By the way, eating the local food was one of the LEAST risky things I was involved in while I was there.

Comment: Maybe Anthony Bourdain (Score 4, Interesting) 103

by Gim Tom (#48027145) Attached to: Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'
I lived in North Eastern Thailand for a year decades ago and had some wonderful food while I was there, but it was almost never EXACTLY what the Thais in the area ate. Most westerners could not, or would not, eat the "REAL" Thai food. It wasn't just the spices, although they were far too hot for most people. The types of food and the way they were stored and prepared was just an entirely different culture and what is and is not food is to some extent determined by culture.

I saw a giant Mekong catfish lay on the side of the road for at least three or four days before it was considered "ripe" enough to use in food. When I was there refrigeration was rare and most food sat out in heat and humidity for extended periods. The climate was even a bit more that I was used to -- and I was born and raised in the deep south before air conditioning was common. The aroma of a Thai open air market is to say the least unique. Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and the people are the friendliest and most open anywhere, but eating "real" Thai food is something I was never able to really appreciate.

There are places I have eaten in the US that have excellent Thai food, but it is not what you find the Thai's eating in Thailand. Maybe Anthony Bourdain can eat real Thai food, but on a recent episode of his show it appeared that even he was having a bit of trouble with some of it.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.