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Comment: Re:geek or not ~ pfSense (Score 4, Informative) 238

by InitZero (#47890739) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice On Building a Firewall With VPN Capabilities?

I love me some pfSense. We use it at the office and it handles everything we can throw at it (including VPN/IPSec between offices to backfeed high bandwidth security video). It is also light weight enough to work in a home environment on minimal hardware.

Their hardware is both overpriced and well-made. For our small branch offices their embedded devices (such as https://store.pfsense.org/VK-T...) are better than what we could create on our own in low volume and a lot less work. For larger branch offices we will stick pfSense in virtual machine with whatever else they have running. It does well as a VM, too.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: RF Melting His BRAIN! (Score 1) 358

by InitZero (#47306127) Attached to: Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

You gotta wonder how many watts his jammer was putting out if it was able to affect a cell phone tower than was several hundred feet away if not further. There are 100-watt mobile models available.

I'm not one of those people who think the minuscule power a cell phone puts out is going to rot your brain from occasional use but I've got to imagine that lots of watts in close proximity at that frequency can't be good. Especially daily for two years.

Oddly enough, using this RF calculator, seems to show no safety problems except, possibly, for the cars directly adjacent.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Re:Pretty cool but.... (Score 1) 164

by InitZero (#46339291) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

Theft isn't anymore an issue with this bike than a regular bike. My non-motorized bicycle costs about the same as the Faraday Poser. Heck, at more than 40 pounds - twice what my bike weights - the Faraday is probably safer than a regular bike.

As a regular cyclist, I'm of two minds on electric-assist vehicles. On one hand, anything with two wheels, quite, minimally polluting and fun has my seal of approval.

On the other hand, my experience has been that people who tend to ride electric bicycles (and gas-powered pit bikes and powered scooters of the Razor style) tend to be jerks who ride on sidewalks and terrorize pedestrians.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Two Drive Around My Florida Town (Score 4, Insightful) 452

by InitZero (#44318453) Attached to: Tesla Motors May Be Having an iPhone Moment

Just about every morning on my way to work, I see two of the Tesla Model S on the road. I commute between Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, Florida. That's less than a 20-minute commute.

If you're looking for a conversation starter at the country club or marina, a BMW, Mercedes or even a Bentley isn't going to work nearly as well as a Tesla.

While $65,000 to $75,000 seems like a lot for a car (I cringe at paying half that), there are just as many cars in that price range rolling in Palm Beach County that aren't nearly as exotic or as head-turning as the Tesla. I pass dozens of $65k+ cars on the way to work and it isn't unusual to see $100k+ cars either. Those are mostly background noise because they are so common.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Ride Your Bicycle, Relax (Score 3, Interesting) 299

by InitZero (#43995497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do With New Free Time?

When you say 'Any suggestions (beyond develop hobbies, spend time with family) on how to deal with all the new free time?', you're missing the point. Free time is all about hobbies and spending time with the family. It isn't about finding more work.

When I was, more or less, unemployed for ten months, I rode my bicycle. A lot: sometimes more than 200 miles a week. Lost 30 pounds. Felt great. By the time I had to go back to real work, I was in the best shape of my life, was relaxed and had spent wonderful amounts of time with my wife and kid. (Now I'm a fat slob again. But I'm making money. So, I've got that.)

Whatever you do, don't feel guilty about having free time. Don't try to fill your free time with more day-job-type work. You've done day-job-type work for 25 years and are, apparently, valuable enough that you don't have to do that 40 hours a week anymore.

Cheers,
Matt

China

US Gives $120M For Lab To Tackle Rare Earth Shortages 170

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-rare-more-common dept.
coondoggie writes "With China once again playing games with the rare earth materials it largely holds sway over, the U.S. Department of Energy today said it would set up a research and development hub that will bring together all manner of experts to help address the situation. The DOE awarded $120 million to Ames Laboratory to set up an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for U.S. energy security, the DOE stated."

Comment: Re:It depends - Sticktion Y2K Repair (Score 1) 504

by InitZero (#40816741) Attached to: Can a Regular Person Repair a Damaged Hard Drive?

AC: There were recent, reliable backups and the RS/6000 system was under an (expensive) IBM maintenance contract. While we had one or two spare drives on the shelf, we didn't have the six that locked-up.

We were paying IBM for its knowledge through the service contract and we got our money's worth there. Where we were in line to get screwed was in the hardware replacement cost.

At a time when the going rate for hard drives was about two cents per megabyte, IBM wanted more than 13 cents per megabyte. We would have gladly paid double but six times more was off the table for a system that was already in the budget for replacement.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Re:It depends - Sticktion Y2K Repair (Score 4, Interesting) 504

by InitZero (#40802089) Attached to: Can a Regular Person Repair a Damaged Hard Drive?

In preparation for Y2K, we had to turn off our text archive server (at a newspaper) for the first time in, literally, years. The machine itself has been in production for six years, the last two or so of which without a reboot.

It was an IBM AIX machine with an array of 4.5GB SCSI drives. After sitting with its power off for a couple hours, we turned it back on and Nothing Happened. No drives were spinning. Crap.

Called IBM tech support. Got the run-around. Finally got to a guy who said something along the lines of "you're going to think this is crazy but do what I say in this order" followed by...

* turn machine off
* remove drives
* turn the machine on
* bang the drives on their edge a few times on the floor - don't go crazy but harder than you think is a good idea
* spin the drives flat on the ground as though they were tops
* immediately, put the drives in the enclosure
* reboot the machine but do not power it off

Damn if the guy wasn't right.

His guess was that the drives had been powered for eight or so years and the lubricant had either broken down or the heads were simply stuck to the platters. The thumping dislodged the heads and the spin gave the grease a fighting chance. {shrug}

In any case, we dared not turn it off for another year and a half until at such time it was replaced. We thought about buying replacement drives but IBM wanted something along the lines of $600 for a 4.5GB drive. Even on eBay, they were three times what we felt was reasonable.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Don't Build.... Buy a Drobo (Score 3, Insightful) 260

by InitZero (#39882889) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: DIY NAS For a Variety of Legacy Drives?

1. Throw away everything that isn't a standard-sized SATA drive.
2. Buy a Drobo (http://www.drobo.com/products/professionals/drobo-fs/index.php).
3. Put the five (or eight) largest drives in the Drobo.
4. Throw away the rest of the drives.
5. When you get a drive that is larger than the smallest drive in your Drobo, pull the smaller drive out and insert the larger drive.
6. Find peace in the universe.

When I was young and foolish, I tried to keep every drive spinning, even long after its time had passed. I had *nix boxes stuffed with drives and SCSI-attached arrays. I learned a lot about drive management and system administration but, mostly, I learned that there is a value to my time and my time isn't best utilized playing disk administrator.

Drobo doesn't pay me a dime and I am still more excited about Drobo than any technology product since TiVo.

Cheers,
Matt

Comment: Father Shot History That Looks More Than Current (Score 4, Interesting) 566

by InitZero (#38141774) Attached to: The Future of Protest In Panopticon Nation
My father was a college student and newspaper photographer in Ohio circa May 1970. His photos of student protest and civil disobedience remind me of what I'm seeing with the Occupy movement.

A year or more ago, I commented that I didn't think the Tea Party would have a long-term affect because they weren't motivated enough to burn down an ROTC building nor were the police scared enough of them to hit them with tear gas.

Agree with them or not. Understand them or not. The Occupy movement is going to leave a mark upon this country because they are willing to have skin in the game.

Cheers, Matt

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer

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