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Transportation

Moscow Plane Crash Caught On Passerby's Dash Cam 253

Posted by timothy
from the tape-it-all-let-god-sort-it-out dept.
acidradio writes "Yesterday a Tupolev 204 (Russian-made aircraft equivalent to an Airbus 321 or a shortened 757) overran the runway at Moscow Vnukovo airport and crashed into a nearby highway. A plane crash is always bad, but what makes this seem different is how well it was recorded. It seems like everyone in Russia has a dashcam, here is footage. A driver who just happened to be driving by on the nearby M3 highway (right about here on the map) is pelted by flying nose wheels and a row of coach-class seats! An accident like this has probably never been filmed so up close. We are getting better and better at recording accidents and disasters (whether by coincidence due to overuse of surveillance or maybe on purpose). What does that say about our level of documentation and recording of people's everyday lives? And what's the deal with dashcams in every Russian car?"

Comment: First hand experience here (Score 4, Informative) 510

by SeanTobin (#41670729) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do SSDs Die?

I recently had a "old" (cir 2008) 64gb SSD drive die on me. It's death followed this pattern:

  • Inexplicable system slowdowns. In hindsight, this should have been a warning alarm.
  • System crash, followed by a failure to boot due to unclean ntfs volume which couldn't be fixed by chkdisk
  • Failed to mount r/w under Ubuntu. Debug logs showed that the volume was unclean and all writes failed with a timeout
  • Successful r/o mount showed that the filesystem was largely intact
  • Successful dd imaged the drive and allowed a restore to a new drive.

After popping a new disk in and doing a partition resize, my system was back up and running with no data loss. Of all the storage hardware failures I've experienced, this was probably the most pain-free as the failure caused the drive to simply degrade into a read-only device.

Comment: Re:Just goes to show... (Score 4, Insightful) 585

by SeanTobin (#37559216) Attached to: Chrome Set To Take No. 2 Spot From Firefox

It's not the schedule. It's the process.

When chrome updates to a new version, I don't even know about it and everything just works (including all my addons). When Firefox updates, I have to wait an additional few seconds while it updates, I have to close out a splash page informing me of all the new features that I won't use and I have to figure out how to update and re-enable my all addons which have now magically turned off.

When I open a web browser, I want to do something. If you get in my way of me doing something for 30 seconds every few weeks plus spend 5 minutes trying to get selenium or other addons up and running again, you have failed at your purpose as a web browser.

It is even worse when you have a scenario where you have a few dozen firefox installs across various VMs.. I dread FF updates now because it means that I'm either reimaging test machines or going through a bunch of updates.

Comment: Simple & quick solution (Score 1) 335

by SeanTobin (#30892828) Attached to: Universal, Pay Those EFFing Lawyers

Have both parties present documentation on their legal bills. The prevailing party, having also won the fees receives the lesser of the two amounts.

Assume we have Joe vs MegaCorp and Joe's legal bill is $1,500 and MegaCorp's is $400,000.

If Joe wins and is entitled to fees, he gets his entire $1,500 (in addition to any damages). If MegaCorp wins, they get their damages plus the lesser of the two legal bills ($1,500). This promotes efficiency throughout the system.

Corporations will be incentivized to match their legal spending with the size of their "target."

Music

Pandora Stabilizes, No Longer Completely Free 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the under-a-buck dept.
AbyssWyrm writes "Yesterday, Pandora founder Tim Westergren announced that the music service was on safe ground once again, but will no longer be free for all users. Instead, it will be really cheap — for those with a free account, there will be a cap of 40 hours per month, and a user may pay a one-time fee of $0.99 to resume unlimited listening to music for a month. According to the blog entry, this will affect the top 10% of listeners. Certainly not a bad deal considering the price, and I suspect that Pandora is one of few free internet resources whose users are loyal enough to pay a small fee to keep it afloat. Pandora's future had been uncertain ever since the royalty rates for internet radio were increased in 2007."

Comment: Statistical significance in surveys (Score 5, Insightful) 555

by SeanTobin (#28595265) Attached to: The Mathletes and the Miley Photoshop

Surveys are inherently difficult to present in a neutral fashion, especially when attempting to determine correlation. Take the following (simplified) survey for example:

I like Cheerios:
[Yes] [No] [Sometimes]

Rate your proficiency at math:
[Excellent] [Good] [Average] [Poor]

Now, let's say you found a statistically significant correlation between people who like Cheerios and people who are excellent at math. Congratulations! You just did not find a correlation related to math proficiency at all.

What you did just find is a correlation between people who selected the first option in your survey.

Now, randomizing your answers is a good start and will resolve the above issue. However, there are hundreds of other things which can affect your results and there is an entire survey industry formed around these problems. The immediate problems that spring to mind about the survey in TFA is:
-Respondents must have internet access
-Respondents must have signed up to Amazon's mechanical turk
-Respondents were paid for the survey
-Respondent proficiency at math/language was self-assessed
-Respondents must be able to comprehend English

Anyway, I could go on but my point here is this: despite the fact that a statistically-significant correlation that was found, that correlation may not stem from the questions themselves.

Sci-Fi

How Do You Greet an Extraterrestrial? 803

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-is-your-policy-on-death-rays dept.
The LA Times is running a story about Earth Speaks, a companion project to SETI, which focuses on how we would communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life, should we happen to discover it. Far more effort has been devoted to searching for signals or a means to communicate than the question of what we might say once contact is established, and the folks at SETI have set up a website to gather opinions on what the best questions and statements are. "So far, the messages break down into a few distinct categories. Some people want to throw a block party to welcome the aliens to the neighborhood. Others, less trusting, would warn the aliens that we've got guns and know how to use them. Another group, possibly influenced by having seen too many movies, would have us hide under the bed until they go away. 'If we discover intelligent life beyond Earth, we should not reply — we should freeze and play dead,' wrote one contributor." What would you say first to an alien?
Programming

What Programming Language For Linux Development? 997

Posted by kdawson
from the let-slip-the-dogs dept.
k33l0r writes "Recently I've been thinking about developing (or learning to develop) for Linux. I'm an IT university student but my degree program focuses almost exclusively on Microsoft tools (Visual Studio, C#, ASP.NET, etc.) which is why I would like to expand my repertoire on my own. Personally I'm quite comfortable in a Linux environment, but have never programmed for it. Over the years I've developed a healthy fear of everything Java and I'm not too sure of what I think of Python's use of indentation to delimit blocks. The question that remains is: what language and tools should I be using?"
Businesses

Recourse For Poor Customer Service? 593

Posted by kdawson
from the in-harm's-way-a-long-way-from-home dept.
eleventypie writes "I am in the Army and currently stationed in Afghanistan. Recently I found myself without a laptop so I decided to build a studio 17 from Dell. I designed/customized my laptop on 2008-09-17 and placed my order, which totaled approximately $1,700. The laptop was built and apparently shipped on 2008-09-28. Given my APO address, I know mail can sometimes take a little while to get here, though 7-10 days is normal. Dell said to give my laptop 6-8 business days and occasionally, it might take as much as 4-6 weeks. So on 2008-11-12 I sent another email to Dell informing them I still had not received my laptop. One person said to give it more time, while another person responded to my message telling me to send my address again and they would send me a replacement. So I sent my address immediately and never got a response. It is now the 30th of November and I still have no laptop and Dell seems to have quit responding to my emails. This is very frustrating being out $1,700 and not having a laptop to talk to my friends and family and do school work. Phone calls aren't easy so calling them is pretty much out of the question. Any advice on what I can or should do at this point to get the computer I ordered or get my money back?"

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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