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Comment: Dell Studio 17 (Score 1) 300

After using a Dell laptop for work for several years, when my wife needed a laptop for school we shopped the Dell selection first and were very pleased in-store with the Studio line: 17" display, "full size" keyboard (as a developer with large hands it's not really "full size", but close enough...), good battery life, and the keypad is placed exactly where your right hand expects it to be (not a little higher, or a little lower, than the "home" row, but just right!) I inherited it as my "work" machine when she injured her knee and needed something lighter to lug around campus, and we got her a Dell notebook -- her chief complaint was the loss of the keypad! The lone (but not trivial) drawback is that there's no real "break" key on the keyboard, and for some apps Ctrl-C just doesn't cut it. As such, when working with certain apps I plug-in an external USB keyboard just to have access to a Break key. Other than that, and the ~$800 price, it's a dream machine. Oh, one more thing I just discovered quite by accident: last weekend I either hit the wrong button on the RedBox or it just screwed up and gave me a blue-ray disk instead of the standard DVD our living room player wants/needs. After trying unsuccessfully to get it to play in the living room, I tried popping it into he Studio laptop (this was before I realized it was blue-ray, or I wouldn't have even tried it...) and...surprise!! Played it just fine. Who knew?!

Comment: Lock the refrigerator!! (Score 1) 480

by The_REAL_DZA (#39437303) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?
Nearly all good advice so far, both those who offer encouragement to take it seriously and those who insist you must enjoy the "alternate" routine.
However:
The one bit of advice I can think of that nobody else has hit upon was to warn you about that big metal box full of food just steps away from your new workspace. Sure, "at work" there's probably a vending machine or cafeteria nearby, or at least a coffee shop or fast-food joint right around the corner, but there you have to buy a pack of crackers or an ice cream sandwich or whatever. "At home" you have all your favorite foods, conveniently located right beside you, and you already own each and every delicious morsel! It's already yours, you bought it and brought it home for the express purpose of eating it, and if you aren't careful you can easily add a brand new "freshman 15" every few weeks or so.

Trust me, I speak from experience.

Comment: Re:Better late than never? (Score 1) 117

by The_REAL_DZA (#38621324) Attached to: TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters
"Sovereign Immunity" is nothing more than the government denying responsibility for some action it takes. Usually this works to everyone's advantage (government would grind to a halt under the crushing weight of lawsuits over mangled front-end-alignments by potholes in the nation's roadways, for instance) but when a double-standard set up by government allows one arm of the government to act in a manner that willfully disregards the rights and/or safety of the people in general (let alone the government's own employees) while simultaneously requiring (through another arm of that same government) those same activities to be strictly monitored and regulated when performed by private industry, then we should all cry "Foul!" (and no, I'm not calling for the deregulation of private industry, btw -- I simply think it would be nice for us to all play by the same rules. Congress included!)

Comment: Re:really?! (Score 5, Interesting) 117

by The_REAL_DZA (#38621160) Attached to: TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters
From the Wikipedia article on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (yeah, I know, I know...):

Definition of "search"
In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs only when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable. In Katz, the Supreme Court ruled that a search had occurred when the government wiretapped a telephone booth.[20] The Court's reasoning was that 1) the defendant expected that his phonebooth conversation would not be broadcast to the wider world and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable. This is a threshold question in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, since the Fourth Amendment only protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If no search or seizure has occurred, the court ends its analysis.

Stop and frisk
Under Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968), law enforcement officers are permitted to conduct a limited warrantless search on a level of suspicion less than probable cause under certain circumstances. In Terry, the Supreme Court ruled that when a police officer witnesses "unusual conduct" that leads that officer to reasonably believe "that criminal activity may be afoot", that the suspicious person has a weapon and that the person is presently dangerous to the officer or others, the officer may conduct a "pat-down search" (or "frisk") to determine whether the person is carrying a weapon. To conduct a frisk, officers must be able to point to specific and articulatory facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant their actions. A vague hunch will not do. Such a search must be temporary and questioning must be limited to the purpose of the stop (e.g., officers who stop a person because they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the person was driving a stolen car, cannot, after confirming that it is not stolen, compel the person to answer questions about anything else, such as the possession of contraband).[21]

So, clearly travelers

  1. 1) Have no "reasonable expectation of privacy"
  2. 2) Should understand that traveling by air constitutes "suspicious" and "unusual" conduct

Personally, I think we should hit 'em where it counts the most: in their pocketbooks. If all travelers simply chose another mode of transportation they would VERY rapidly find themselves with several quite influential allies: the airlines, the "hospitality industry", etc. (and yes, there ARE practical alternatives, at least for "domestic" travel: driving is still possible despite our rapidly deteriorating network of interstate highways and besides that people just don't ask themselves this question enough anymore anyway!)

Comment: Better late than never? (Score 2) 117

by The_REAL_DZA (#38621038) Attached to: TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters
More like "I'll believe it when I see it" -- someone somewhere (probably the DOJ) will "realize" that just admitting the possibility there's any risk of cancer from their "radiation scanners" opens them up to a zillion liability suits and the iron wall will come back down because denial is their chief weapon. That and fear, of course ('cause it sure ain't surprise...or a ruthless efficiency, etc.!!!)

Comment: Re:Let me say (Score 2) 362

by The_REAL_DZA (#35971184) Attached to: Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space

You know, they weren't club-wielding savages in loincloths back then.

Stone knives and bearskins, son, stone knives and bearskins. And that's the way we liked it, too! None of this mamby-pamby object-oriented whoopsiedoodle; we entered our code changes by tapping out ones and zeros under a microscope (optical, of course, you insensitive clod!) using a cat's whisker. Why, I'd give you a real old-school lesson in how-to-get-it-done-and-done-right-the-first-time-ness, but I've gotta go chase some darned kids outta my yard!!

Comment: Know when to quit (Score 1) 898

by The_REAL_DZA (#35633638) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose a Windows Laptop?
My best advice is the same advice I give on buying ANYTHING from a new car to an ice cream cone: once you've made your decision and bought something, just enjoy it and quit shopping them. Watching for sales, trying out the display models in stores, comparing prices and features online, even asking your friends what they bought and how much they paid -- all that is for before you buy and continuing to do that after the fact will only lead to frustration (because there's always going to be a lower price or a flashier gizmo in a few days or weeks and unless you're prepared to constantly be in "shopping mode" knowing about it will do you no good at all.)

Comment: .25M/day AKA: "a good start" (Score 1) 633

by The_REAL_DZA (#34689490) Attached to: Trek Tech That Most Needs To Be Invented Before I Die:

We would need to send about a quarter million people off the planet every day just to balance population growth

Even from where I sit (a fairly "rural" setting; you have to go >100 miles to find a building over 20 stories tall, and within a one-mile radius cows outnumber humans 2:1...) there're just too many people under foot (and that sentiment isn't just salted by the recently passed "holiday shopping season"; I feel that way in the summertime too -- how you city slickers can stand it I can't imagine!) Decreasing the population by ~2M/week would indeed thin the herd over time (unless you *just* sent newborn babies off-planet -- who themselves might thank us later, btw, but the other occupants of the galaxy would likely complain about our diaper disposal methods...)
In all seriousness, though, every "migration" in history has been followed (within several generations) by a period of "prosperity" (yes, the "pioneers" themselves suffered mightily, but their great-great-grandchildren and their descendants enjoyed the fruits of their ancestors' labors) and each of those "migrations" was enabled by a game-changing advance in transportation technology (whether it be trans-oceanic ships, wagons, steam-engines, etc.)

We've gone "west" as far as we can; the only direction left to go is "up" (and the sooner the better!)

Comment: "Holiday" drinking observation (Score 1) 422

by The_REAL_DZA (#34616350) Attached to: Between Christmas and New Year's, I'll take ...
I, too, am a non-drinker, but I've often made this observation about "holiday" drinkers: New Years' drunks are drunk because they feel they ought to drink but Christmas drunks are drunk because they feel they need to drink. And in both cases, while you definitely don't want them behind the wheel of their car, putting them inside your car isn't a great idea either -- sometimes the payback for being the "designated driver" lasts until your next trade-in...

Comment: Maybe they really ARE dead!! (Score 1) 632

by The_REAL_DZA (#30227726) Attached to: Contributors Leaving Wikipedia In Record Numbers
I mean, did anyone bother to do an environmental impact study before launching something with such worldwide and long-term impact?

Did anyone do a double-blind study to make sure Wikipedia wasn't emitting harmful radiation/gasses/particles/etc?!?!

Was there even a government committee chartered to keep watch to make sure the millions of school children who access it every day weren't harmed?


DIDN'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?!

Maybe Wikipedia should be shuttered until we can get a "still alive" from at least a majority of the "tens of thousands of editors" who have gone "dead" -- if even a sample of those who don't respond turn out to actually be dead then we should consider the very real possibility that Wikipedia might somehow be at fault. Remember: just because we don't see a correlation doesn't necessarily mean there isn't one.

Comment: Re:I owe my employer absolutely nothing (Score 1) 280

by The_REAL_DZA (#30207768) Attached to: Recession Pushes More Workers To Steal Data

"[self-righteous pissing and moaning, etc.]...so I've gathered up the passwords to the products we make and have been using them as part of my pitch to the competition."

I'm reminded of what I once heard a lady say on the subject of dating married men: "If he'll do it to them he'll eventually do it to you." In your case: any company who'll hire someone based on what they can illegally/immorally bring to the table will treat them like the crap they are when what they brought to the table is used up.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS

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