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Comment: Re:Possibly android (Score 1) 110

by JWSmythe (#48590465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6?

I used Familiar Linux back in the day, when my Compaq iPaq became little more than a paperweight. When it was new, I had bought the iPaq with the battery sleeve that had 2 PCMCIA card slots. I did use it for a couple things. One was a little wifi scan tool, kind a primitive Wifi Analyzer. The other was the fancy IR remote that you mentioned.

Since it was so limited, even though it was a little Linux box, it eventually just ended up sitting on my desk until the batteries died, and a few years later it end up in a box in the closet. I haven't seen it in a few years, so it got misplaced one of the times I've moved. No big loss, other than the huge amount I had paid for it when it was new.

Since I can do everything with my Android phone that I ever did with the iPaq, there really isn't a reason to even try to resurrect one.

Comment: Re:Just in time. (Score 2) 219

by JWSmythe (#48590369) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Their consumer drives have gone to absolute shit. I was buying them because they were marginally cheaper than the other choices. I ended up with a couple dozen running over the period of about a year. As each matured to about 1.5 years old, they started dying. Seagate reduced their warranty for consumer drives down to 1 year, so now they're all paperweights.

I guess they're ok, if you want to build a computer that you only want to use for 1 year. Maybe building out a machine for someone you don't like, or you like repeat business from angry customers who lose all their data yearly.

One of these days, we're going to have a thermite fueled funeral pyre. I'll post the YouTube video. :)

At least these "archive" drives get a 3 year warranty, for now. I wouldn't be surprised if they start trimming that down over time as they find out what their real failure rates are like.

Comment: Re:that pre dates 9/11. laptops from late 90's for (Score 1) 184

by JWSmythe (#48580069) Attached to: Are the TSA's New Electronic Device Screenings Necessary?

I've only ever been asked once, over countless flights before and after 9/11. That was in 2000, to board a flight leaving the US for Europe. Unfortunately, I was using it on the first flight, and my battery died. I told the agent "The battery is dead, but I can plug it in if you'd show me where an outlet is". That was the end of it.

Comment: Re:who cares about plagiarism (Score 2) 53

by bigman2003 (#48578143) Attached to: Study of Massive Preprint Archive Hints At the Geography of Plagiarism

Oh yeah baby- money makes the (academic) world go round.

I work in academia. You've never seen a researcher drop a project that "is his/her life's passion" as fast as when the money dries up.

I do IT for these people. As soon as that grant is done, you might as well pull the plug. Otherwise it becomes MY project- because they have moved on.

I've shit-canned websites with tons of good info that receive millions of page views per year, because the researcher doesn't care about it anymore. And since it is not my name on the paper, I can't take any responsibility for it.

I can say with about 99% certainty, that the only reason those projects were started was recognition or money. And even the recognition part means nothing once the academic has a few years of work under their belt. Because at that point the only recognition they care about would be academic journals.

Comment: Re:Oh it's asteroids now? (Score 1) 135

by JWSmythe (#48570931) Attached to: Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

It wouldn't have "seeped out", but you're on the right track. hydrogen + oxygen + energy = water. and water + energy = hydrogen + oxygen. We understand a lot of the surface chemical processes on this planet. We don't understand all the subterranean processes, but we have an idea.

Non-terrestrial bodies can carry water. Landing on a single comet and saying "no comets have Earth-like water" is like saying "We've only found life on Earth, therefore no other life exists."

I think some people have a very homogenous view of the universe. Once you've sampled a few, you've sampled them all.

Even on the Earth, there isn't a lot of water. This may give a better visualization.


Comment: Re: 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (Score 1) 409

by JWSmythe (#48541319) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Slashdot's archive policy used to be much longer. I think it was at least 6 months. I'm not sure why they changed it. It may be for the sake of managing comment spam posts. It looks like they're removing them now. At least I haven't noticed posts for knockoff merchandise lately. I still read at -1, since people still downvote perfectly good comments.

Even on Facebook, we sometimes have running conversations for weeks. There, it's all in who your friends are. The ones I friend can usually keep a conversation going. Sometimes well beyond when it should just die.

Comment: Re:This is of course complete nonsense (Score 2) 84

by JWSmythe (#48539599) Attached to: US Treasury Dept: Banks Should Block Tor Nodes

Well ... I worked for a company who dealt with lots of PII (like, info on *every* person in the US). We put together a system to monitor what TOR nodes existed, and compared attacks to TOR nodes. It was significantly used as an attack vector, not only because of the anonymity, but because the attacker could change IPs frequently. Not a single legitimate user used TOR.

We decided it was worth protecting our users, and the PII of everyone in the US, to refuse any traffic from TOR.

Banks doing the same thing does seem like it's in the best interest of the customers.

If you are a legitimate user, and some 3rd party logs into your account and transfers money out, would you prefer the bank to say "Sorry, it was some random person, and we have no way to find or prosecute them. They will likely do it again." or "The intruder was found and prosecuted."

Depending on the theft, you may or may not get your funds back. If someone goes in and transfers funds as you, some banks aren't willing to refund the transaction. Transfers aren't handled like credit card transactions, which are easily refunded.

Even if your bank does give you the stolen money back, that means they've absorbed the cost. So your loss ($1 or $1M) and refund, is now added to the fees, because the bank's operating expenses are higher.

I'd prefer the "inconvenience" of not being allowed to use TOR and other anonymous relays, and not have the bank have a huge and expensive fee schedule to make up for losses that are impossible to recoup from the thieves.

Comment: Re: 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (Score 1) 409

by JWSmythe (#48539485) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Well, I do still log in occasionally, and comment. I gave up on submitting stories a long time ago, since I've had all of one published ever, and countless other good ones ignored.

Conversations on any story dry up pretty quickly. There's usually a 3 day lifespan at best. So after today, I doubt there will be many (if any) more comments.

Comment: Caching (Score 1) 238

by bigman2003 (#48523291) Attached to: The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

I work at a place with many distributed offices. A lot of these offices are large enough to have their own IT staff who make decisions locally.

Some of those bozos felt the need to have very aggressive caching servers. Aggressive enough that on any non-https website, it was impossible to differentiate between users or deliver new content. So any web apps we rolled out had huge problems if multiple users were logged in- or even better, a page would never update because it already existed in the cache. Essentially dynamic sites were completely unusable. Imagine going to a news site, and reading yesterday's news...because it had been cached less than 24 hours ago.

This problem started about 13 years ago- when HTTPS was far less common. So even on ecommerce sites users were having huge problems. Yes, a lot of ecommerce ran unencrypted 13 years ago.

So- every single site I ran (hundreds of sites....) had to run completely HTTPS- to avoid caching. Even the really simple line of business apps that were ridiculously basic and had no reason to be secure, had to run under HTTPS. Even public facing websites had to run under HTTPS, otherwise the local users would not see updates. (No, they did not see updates on sites I did not control...)

Sometimes IT people can be idiotic...but in their mind it cut down on bandwidth usage, which was a greater goal than having the web actually work.

Most of the people responsible for these caching servers have since retired or moved on...but still on a server delivering over 200 million public page views each year, it all runs encrypted because of their legacy.

But seriously...sometimes people have their nose stuck so far up IT minutia, that they can't see the forest through the trees.

Comment: Re:Your baseline is wrong... (Score 4, Interesting) 277

by bigman2003 (#48516817) Attached to: Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

I hate this comment.

I probably hate it because I make about $90k (plus one of the best benefits/retirement packages in the United States...you can suck your 401k, I gots me a pension!)

But really, I hear this all the time. "Oh, you only make $90k? You must suck. Any mid-level programmer can make more than that."

First, it really isn't just about the take-home. The benefits are really important.

Second, there are sooo many other factors, it is incredible. I live about 70 miles from Silicon Valley. My salary *is* something to scoff at by the denizens of the Valley, but for quality of life? I have most of them beat.

I live in a beautiful house that I can easily afford. I average 40 hours per week- with the variance being about 3 hours each way. A 'crazy' time means that I come in at 7:30, and maybe stay as late as 5:30 if I have some process running.

I get to lift my head out of the screen and go do REAL things during my work. I am consulted on many different business processes- my opinion is valued well beyond the technical side of my job.

Someone else mentioned 7 brogrammers huddled together in some Santa Clara shit-shack, all making $150,000. That's a miserable existence that I want no part of- no matter how great they are at programming, or how many Google logoed items they own.

It isn't all about the dollars- don't let some HR firm tell you it is! Don't base your career/life trajectory on your paystubs.

**As an aside, I have visited the Google campus a few time for different projects- meeting with 'fairly high level' employees. We typically compare quality of life notes...I haven't talked to any Google employees over the age of 35 who thought they had made a good life decision to be there. Except for the former CEO's of companies Google has purchased...those guys are happy as shit.

If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.