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Comment: My experiences (Score 2) 191

by NonFerrousBueller (#47745635) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?
Data shmata. I didn't give two farts about my data. Here's my experience from the Christchurch NZ quakes. First, before the quakes, look around your house and pretend you were Hulk and wanted to throw furniture around. This is the stuff you have to secure : bookcases, televisions, freestanding pantries and wardrobes, fish tanks. After the quake, we lost power for a few days, fresh water for a month, and weren't allowed to flush the toilet for three months. I had 20 litres of fresh water which was enough for me alone as my wife and infant child moved out of town for ten days. Plenty of tinned food and a camp stove if I needed it, but we have a propane cooktop in the house that would probably go for a couple months on the bottled gas. Had to crap in a hole in the yard for a few days until the city distributed chemical toilets. Cell networks were remarkably resilient. I would suggest keeping an older (non smart) cell phone around that you can pop your SIM into. My old phone would go days without a charge, smartphone needs charge daily. Your issues are shelter, fresh water, food and food storage, sanitation, and communication. Think all these things through. I now have a 1000 litre rainwater tank and purifier. Also a hand cranked torch (flashlight) that doubles as phone charger. Get to know your neighbours as much as you can, you may need to rely on them. I know at least ten of my neighbours, and their relative skill sets (ones a HAM operator, for instance). Be prepared. We got lucky.

Comment: This video shows exactly why Linux is not ready... (Score 1) 72

...for the desktop. Why? Because on a six hour old install of the latest version of Linux Mint, Shockwave crashed rendering video unwatchable.

On topic, I really wish these guys well. Been listening to their podcasts for a while (back when they were TuxRadar) and they are knowledgable and fun to listen to.

Liked their work on LXF and look forward to getting my hands on a copy of LV - still hasn't hit newsstands here in New Zealand.

Comment: Would work for some... (Score 3, Interesting) 273

by NonFerrousBueller (#46108149) Attached to: UK Government May Switch from MS Office to Open Source
My wife is a corporate accountant for a large city in New Zealand. I've asked her about this as she uses Excel every day and has used OO/LO at home on occasion (a while back). She says they use so many third-party reporting plugins that work with Excel that a switch to a FS option would be nearly impossible. Word may be crap but Excel will rule the bean-counter world for the time being.

The main bit of software councils need to wean themselves off of is SAP. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I found out the seat license cost for that (I've forgotten the exact amount and am not waking her to find out), and any individual of a company that runs it who enters their own timesheets must hold a seat license, even if that's the only thing they use a computer for in the firm. We're talking thousands of dollars per seat here, not dozens.

Comment: Re:time to stop buying Panasonic TV's I guess. (Score 2) 55

by NonFerrousBueller (#45884531) Attached to: Mozilla Partners With Panasonic To Bring Firefox OS To the TV
No kidding - as if my Panasonic "Smart" TV didn't suck enough already. Twice now we've sat down as a family to Skype with my mother on the other side of the world only to have the telly decide it needed to do an update NOW. Twenty minutes later, the 3 year old is in no mood to sit and talk to grandma, who is already tech-challenged and doesn't understand the hold-up. The inbuilt "OS" is slow and buggy and the UI is atrocious. The YouTube browser tries to do a full search for each letter you enter, so by the time I've laboriously typed "Winnie The Pooh" it's tried to do 15 searches. The matching DVD player is even worse. There are right ways and wrong ways to implement this, I hope Firefox does more right than wrong.

Yeah, this is Slashdot so I should be whipping up some sort of MythTV thingie but I've seen the agony my friend has gone through doing that and seriously, I've got better things to do with my time (see three year old).

Comment: Re:It's probably necessary (Score 1) 521

I remember my Dad's first Datsun pickup (77? 79?) rusted through the bed in a little over a year. Road salt (VT) and non-galvanised steel. He's since bought three more ;)

I'm curious what road salt will do to aluminium. Your john-boat can handle oak leaves, but has it been in salt water?

Repair is the other big issue. Body shops (panel beaters here in NZ) will require new tools and techniques, and the learning curve will be steep with inevitable poor quality work at first. The big pushback here may be from the insurance industry.

Comment: Won't work (Score 1) 1216

Trying to regulate this, as others have pointed out, won't work. There will always be those who can and will find a way around it. I remember Ben and Jerry's attempt at a 5:1 ratio - they had to give it up after they couldn't find/retain high level staff to work for them. Better would be a "name and shame" campaign, offering consumers a chance to take their business to companies who were closer to 20:1 than 400:1. If consumers don't care enough to make that decision in numbers great enough to have an effect, than they are effectively endorsing the high salaries. Not to mention the fact that something like this could NEVER get passed in the US, with the 1% having such a tight control on the way things run.

Comment: Re: WTF ? (Score 1) 72

Only on Slashdot, where people value their privacy, does a question about someone's personal life get modded plus 2.

I was making living arrangements so I could leave my wife. I'll make no apologies as it turned out to be the single best choice I've made in my life in years. Anyone who's lived through a bad marriage could probably sympathise.

Comment: Re:WTF ? (Score 5, Insightful) 72

You're missing the point. These locations already exist, have leases, power, data, and a visual presence. Hopefully paid data will help subsidise these dinosaurs. I haven't used one in almost a decade; it was before I had a cell phone and wanted to call someone that did have a cell phone without my (then) wife knowing about it. Even then the phone didn't take coins, so I had to go into the adjoining dairy (convenience store) to buy card, which I never used up. I sympathise a bit - just a bit - with Telecom as in our neighbourhood these phone boxes are routinely etched or the glass smashed. I have no idea how they've been making money for the last few years.

They did set this network up as free to use for all in the Canterbury area after the quakes, which I thought was nice.

Three-Mile-High Supercomputer Poses Unique Challenges 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the hamsters-have-trouble-at-that-altitude dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Building and operating a supercomputer at more than three miles above sea level poses some unique problems, the designers of the recently installed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Correlator discovered. The ALMA computer serves as the brains behind the ALMA astronomical telescope, a partnership between Europe, North American, and South American agencies. It's the largest such project in existence. Based high in the Andes mountains in northern Chile, the telescope includes an array of 66 dish-shaped antennas in two groups. The telescope correlator's 134 million processors continually combine and compare faint celestial signals received by the antennas in the ALMA array, which are separated by up to 16 kilometers, enabling the antennas to work together as a single, enormous telescope, according to Space Daily. The extreme high altitude makes it nearly impossible to maintain on-site support staff for significant lengths of time, with ALMA reporting that human intervention will be kept to an absolute minimum. Data acquired via the array is archived at a lower-altitude support site. The altitude also limited the construction crew's ability to actually build the thing, requiring 20 weeks of human effort just to unpack and install it."

The first time, it's a KLUDGE! The second, a trick. Later, it's a well-established technique! -- Mike Broido, Intermetrics