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Comment: Re:I hate push button start (Score 1) 865

by a9db0 (#46922969) Attached to: Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

Not all are like that. My X5 is, but my wife's Maxima is far smarter. The fob is basically a proximity device. I can walk up to the locked car with the fob in my pocket, push a button on the door and it unlocks. I then get in, put my foot on the brake, tap the start button, and it starts. I never even have to get the fob out of my pocket. Want accessories without starting the car? Don't step on the brake, and tap the start button. Easy.

Comment: A sad day (Score 2) 187

by a9db0 (#44465895) Attached to: Geeks.com Online Shop Has Closed

I can't remember how long I've been a Geeks customer - years. I've bought laptops, CPUs, memory, and miscellaneous hardware from them over the years. They were always a great place to check when you needed an older or oddball piece of hardware - often times they had it. Great service, great people.

You will be missed.

Comment: It depends (Score 1) 142

by a9db0 (#37785866) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Computer Test Lab Set-Up For Home?

Largely on the kind of testing you are going to be doing. For functional software testing, one big box hosting VMs is great. I do it with ESXi, a quad core, 8gb, and several disks. good enough for a virtualized server and a couple of workstations. If that's your target, then more spindles is better. 4 250gb hard drives give better performance than a 1TB drive, because there is no contention for disk access (if you set it up right).

Comment: Thank you Rob (Score 1) 1521

by a9db0 (#37218440) Attached to: Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

I don't remember when I first started reading Slashdot, but I know it was well before i registered. I vaguely remember my first submission that was accepted and made the front page. That was a long time ago.

Thank you, Rob, for creating this space for geeks to gather. It has been a part of my life for a long time, and an important one at that. I've learned to look for and acknowledge a wider set of viewpoints. I've dealt with stuff from the past, and gotten hints about the future. I've wasted countless hours following story links. And I've had fun.

Slashdot will remain, but it won't be the same. You will be missed.

Comment: Old tech is dead? (Score 1) 422

by a9db0 (#36744066) Attached to: How Do You Get Your Geek Nostalgia Fix?

I'll have to be very gentle when I explain that to the Compaq Pentium 90 that is sitting in my closet, quietly running Debian and being my firewall / occasional server. I did have to replace the original drive. It finally gave up the ghost about 2 years ago. Other than that it keeps on ticking.

  My 486 based Novell server is still around here somewhere...

Comment: Security by private enterprise? I'd rather walk. (Score 1) 457

by a9db0 (#36635808) Attached to: Time To Close the Security Theater

"Better yet, it needs to be replaced with a competitive market for air travel in which the airports, the airways, and the airliners are in private hands. Some might object that private firms will have incentives to cut corners on safety. It is a legitimate concern, but competitive mechanisms tend to weed this out.'"

This is clearly crap. There is definitely a role for the government to play in security. What has been well documented is that prior to 9/11/01 the FAA tried to have upgraded cockpit doors and locks installed on airliners. This was resisted by the airlines, as it would cost money and take planes out of service while being upgraded.

Private enterprise cares not about safety, or anything else that cuts into profits. Turn security over to them, and the result will be that the airlines will do a risk analysis of the security measures, coupled with legal terms attached to the purchase of a ticket limiting rights to sue and disclaiming any liability, and proceed to fly with the greatest profit margin they can.

Before you object, take a look at product safety issues though history, and see how many times people were killed by products because of defects or design decisions the manufacturer was aware of, but chose not to fix because of a risk and cost / benefit analysis.

Comment: A couple of options (Score 1) 459

by a9db0 (#35273212) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is There a War Against Small Mail Servers?

1) Talk to your ISP and get the block removed.
2) Change registrars / DNS providers to EasyDNS. They do mail forwarding for customers. Don't bother if you send spam - they'll quickly shut you down.
3) Set up a VPS somewhere - Linode's are great. They all come with dedicated IP addresses.
4) Farm it out - let Google handle it for you.

Comment: You can't, so don't try (Score 4, Insightful) 396

by a9db0 (#33271544) Attached to: How Can I Make Testing Software More Stimulating?

I do software QA for a living. And if you're not a tester, don't try to be. It's your job to write code that meets spec, runs clean, is efficient and effective. Write it well. Write it secure. Write it to handle errors from data, users, networks, etc. Double check that you validate input. Make sure it doesn't leak memory. Write good unit tests. Test it enough to make sure it works. Then give it to a tester.

Good software testers are a different breed. They are a sceptical, picky, pedantic, detail oriented bunch who take new code as a personal challenge to find the inevitable bugs. They will test your code a dozen different ways you would never think of. They will find bugs that could not possibly exist. They don't care that your shiney new whistle or bell will be the next big thing that will make you all rich. They care that it doesn't barf when you pass it a string with more than 256 characters. Including special characters. In German. Or Japanese. They care that when it's been running for 12 days straight with automated stuff beating on it that the memory usage hasn't ballooned. They care how it deals with data files 10 times larger than you say it should handle, or runs on a machine with half the ram it should have, or handles twice the workload it should - because somewhere out there is a user who will ask it to. They will chew it up, spit it out, and ask you to fix it. Then they will do it all again.

Testers are a strange bunch, and good ones are hard to find. Find some good ones and cultivate them. They are a lot cheaper than a ticked off client.

Comment: Re:Better than shared hosting... (Score 1) 456

by a9db0 (#31228718) Attached to: Things To Look For In a Web Hosting Company?

Another vote for Linode.

I've been running one for over a year. I've had no unscheduled downtime, and only one scheduled outage - which they notified me of, and allowed me to schedule when I wanted the VM brought down and moved.

It is very much a build it yourself environment, but it gives you the ability to configure it out the way you want. Local disk space is a little stingy, but you can either buy more from them or use S3.

Highly recommended.

Dave

Comment: In use, or not? (Score 1) 622

by a9db0 (#28128713) Attached to: 45-Year-Old Modem Used To Surf the Web

Hmmm...

I've got two original IBM ATs - 10MB (yes Megabyte) hard drives, 512k of ram. But I don't use them.

I've got a 486DX based server from the early 90's, but I finally shut it down a couple of years ago. Novell 4.12 on it, it ran flawlessly for over 10 years.

I do, have a Compaq Prolinea 590. Mfg sometime in 1995, it is in daily use. It's my firewall.

But oldest currently-in-use would probably be my 1993 IBM Model M keyboards. They'll never die.

Then there's my 1980 ski boat, which still works beautifully, despite approaching it's 30th birthday.

Comment: Re:Sub $500? (Score 1) 335

by a9db0 (#26821071) Attached to: Build a BoxeeBox and Wean Yourself From Cable

I'd skip the case referenced. It's small and it's black, but the power supply is not one I would want running in my living room. It also only supports low-profile cards, which limits your options. I know - my daughter's pc is built in one.

Also, while the Compaq SFF systems are great little boxes, they're not going to pass the gf/wife test. Also they tend to be a bit noisier. Avoid the P4 boxes - they are SERIOUSLY noisy, especially under any load. I've one at work, under my desk I use to run terminals. If I fire up Firefox, it sounds like a jet taking off. The 866/933 PIIIs are the sweet spot for them. They make great workstations for email/web work. I use them for firewall appliances because they are small, relatively easy on power, fully supported by Debain, inexpensive, and reliable. But they just don't have the horsepower for full 1080p decode.

You can't have everything... where would you put it? -- Steven Wright

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