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Comment: OpenOffice + MySQL (Score 3, Interesting) 281

While I never did get around to implementing it (or really needing it), I was always intrigued by the fact that the OpenOffice "Base" application can connect to a MySQL database (and has been able to for many, many years). You may want to consider investigating that, as it may provide a fairly "user friendly" and "easily supported" interface to a solid database backend.

Comment: Engraving (Score 1) 250

by _hAZE_ (#46326229) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Do You Label Your Tech Gear, and If So, How?

It's been about 20 years since I did this, but back-in-the-day, I worked for a school district that hand-engraved every single piece of equipment that it purchased. I was responsible for deploying a few hundred PCs, from receiving from our vendor to physical setup and software installation. Somewhere early in the process, I had to write down a serial number, assign and put on an asset tag sticker, and then use a Dremel to "neatly" (as good as I could do at 15 years old) engrave the school district's initials into the chassis somewhere (usually the underside or rear). Looking back on it now, I probably could have saved myself a lot of headache if I had engraved every single device in a similar fashion at all of my employers since then. Yeah, removing small chunks of plastic or metal may not be the ideal solution, but it certainly is one of the more permanent solutions. I haven't looked at laser engraving, perhaps that's a bit "neater".

Now I have a sudden urge to carve my initials into my belongings..

Comment: Would it not be easier.. (Score 5, Insightful) 144

by _hAZE_ (#46188541) Attached to: A New Use For Drones: Traffic Scouting

Would it not be easier to just install traffic monitoring devices along roadways, and let your car's on-board navigation system interface with those? That way you don't need the traffic scouting drone, and the inherent risks that come with trying to operate one while driving.

I could see it now.. inattentive drivers/operaters causing the traffic scouting drones to collide with other traffic scouting drones, creating drone "road kill". What a mess.. No, this is a Bad Idea(TM) all around.

Comment: EverQuest II (Score 1) 555

by _hAZE_ (#45496517) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: MMORPG Recommendations?

When people ask what I play, and I respond with EverQuest II and PlanetSide 2, they're always shocked to hear that the EverQuest franchise is still around. Yes, I still poke around in EverQuest II, although not nearly as much as I used to. Some of the reasons are life changes; I'm not working from home nearly as much anymore, and if I am, I'm probably babysitting one or both of my kids. Other reasons include the fact that a number of my friends and guildmates moved on to other games, or had real-life changes that prevent them from playing as much or at all. I still love the game, and here's why:
  - The Antonia Bayle server specifically has a really great community!
  - The game has so many "mini-game" options that you're never bored; you can quest, group, raid, tradeskill, decorate houses, roleplay..
  - The development staff wants EQ2 to continue to be a really great game with really great content, even at 8 years old.
  - They named it "EverQuest" for a reason.. there is still content that I haven't explored yet, and I've been playing for quite a few years now.
  - The lore behind the storylines is extremely rich, and has been developed over many years, making everything you do feel like it's a part of some grand historical adventure.

The game isn't perfect; they have made the game "easier" for people to play in all sorts of ways that have really ticked off veterans. Some of the changes I feel are for the better, but others I think were pretty stupid.

All said and done, I still love EverQuest II. I'd recommend it to someone who is looking for an MMORPG. And the best part? It's free to try out.

Comment: Not a "new" problem.. (Score 4, Informative) 243

by _hAZE_ (#27528797) Attached to: GameStop Selling Games Played By Employees As New

I'm quite surprised that the rest of the world is just now being made aware of this practice. I worked for two competing shopping-mall chain video game stores in the mid-to-late 90's, and both of them had policies almost identical to this. The shrink-wrap machine in the back room made the fact that an item was "checked out" very simple to conceal from the customers.

To be completely honest, I really don't care, as long as:

- The materials are sold to me in a "new" condition
- If it requires any sort of registration key, I better not ever find out it's already been registered

Without this policy in place, I'm fairly certain a lot of video game stores would simply stop having employees; it's one of the best perks of working at one. Discounts are nice, but playing for free? That's even better.


+ - Inkless printers to be built into digital cameras

Submitted by
MattSparkes writes "A revolutionary way to print pictures without ink has been invented by a US company called Zink Imaging. The company, a spin-off of Polaroid, says it will use the technology to make hand-held printers that can be integrated into mobile phones and digital cameras. "The key to creating the devices is doing away with ink, using a new type of digital printing that changes colour of paper when heat is applied.""

+ - Data centers sucking down electricity bigtime

Submitted by
BobB writes "Energy consumption in corporate data centers doubled between 2000 and 2005, due in large part to the spreading use of volume servers, according to a new report. The study, conducted by a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and a consulting professor at Stanford University, found that servers and associated infrastructure, such as cooling and uninterruptible power supplies, in U.S. data centers consumed about 45 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2005, accounting for about 1.2% of the country's electricity consumption, roughly equal to the power drawn by the nation's color televisions. The electricity costs for the servers and associated infrastructure reached $2.7 billion. .html"

+ - MythTV better than Series 3?

Submitted by
gizmateer writes "Does an open source solution like MythTV stand a chance against TiVo's Series 3?

According to this article MythTV actually has several features that a TiVo will never be able to compete with but is considerably harder for the non-geek to initially setup and then maintain. A huge ding against MythTV is the fact it does not support CableCARD like the Series 3. Since I'm OTA, that's not as big of a deal, but what are your thoughts? MythTV vs Series 3?"

+ - Opportunity is knocking. Should I open the door?

Submitted by
infinite9 writes "I hear about startups all the time. But most of the time, it's just talk. So I don't take them seriously. But this time, someone has really caught my attention. I'm an independant IT consultant with many years of experience. I'm in my 30s. I make an excellent hourly rate and would most likely continue to do so. But a friend of mine has offered me part ownership as a founding share holder in a new business. I can't talk about what I would be doing, but it's spectacularly awesome. It's the stuff I dreamed about making when I was a kid. I'm usually very skeptical about these things. But in this case, their business plan is rock solid. They have several investors interested already. But when I heard about one potential investor in particular who they've already met with, it floored me. Everyone here would instantly recognize his name. If this person trusts these people and their business plan, shouldn't I? Here's the problem. For the first few years, I would be making what for most people is a great salary. But for me, it's a significant pay cut, almost half. But I'd be working from home a lot. I'd have a lot of control. I'd be working with my friends doing something extremely fun and satisfying. Currently, I put quite a lot of money a year in an IRA/401k. I'd have to stop that. But in exchange I'd get quite a lot of shares. If they just hit the conservative estimates in their business plan, i'd be very comfortable. If they exceed plan even a little, which is likely if they succeed, I'd never have to work again. Worst case, I walk away with valuable business experience, good technical experience, and no IRA/401k. I would be around 40 at this point. So what would you need to justify leaving your comfort zone and taking a risk like this? Other than obvious due diligence, what would you want to know or consider up front?"

+ - Affordable Solar Manufacturing Breakthrough

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "International Automated Systems, Inc. (IAUS) has announced that they have set a new production record for solar panel manufacturing, both in speed and in cost. They claim to have manufactured nearly 1,000 Kilowatts of IAUS's solar panels in a short 24-hour run. The IAUS system consists of panels which serve as lenses to focus the sun's heat on a heat exchanger that then produce steam or other high-temperature fluid that is then passed through a simple, patented turbine which is connected to a generator to produce electricity. The company says that they have achieved the milestone of producing electricity via solar energy at a price below wholesale grid pricing."

+ - Law requires ISPs to record all surfing activity

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A bill introduced last week by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is beginning to raise eyebrows. (...) Under the guise of reducing child pornography, the SAFETY (Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth) Act is currently the gravest threat to digital privacy rights on the Internet. Given the increasing tendency of people, especially young people, to use the Internet as a primary means of communication, this measure would affect nearly all Americans in ways we are only beginning to understand. Also, given the fact that the Act requires all Internet Service Providers to record the web surfing activity of all Internet users, this amounts to the warrantless wiretapping of the entire Internet."

The bogosity meter just pegged.