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Comment Buying my hybrid today (Score 2) 998

What timing... I take delivery of my first hybrid today, a 2012 Toyota Prius. I did some basic math in making my decision, so I'll share:

This vehicle will replace a 2005 Chevy Uplander that we drove an average of 27,500 miles per year. The Uplander is getting 17.9 MPG at this point (according to the onboard computer), consuming 1,536 gallons of fuel annually. At the current price of $3.95 per gallon in my area, it costs $6,068 per year in just fuel (87 octane). Running the numbers again for the Prius, and assuming 45MPG, fuel will cost $2,413 per year... a savings of $3,655 annually, or $304 per month. Even after my wife added all the bells and whistles and extended warranty (she did that while I was out of the room), we will only be seeing a net outlay of $170 per month. And when my 13-year-old son goes to college, he will take this vehicle with him.

The Prius owners that I know are extremely satisfied, and one has had his since 2003. Although there are many other factors to consider, my monthly budget is certainly a major factor. I'm viewing this purchase this way: I'm buying a new car for $170 per month.

Comment Re:solution: (Score 1) 557

I'm a 20-year veteran of Fire and EMS, and I love what I do. In that time, I've seen some really nasty stuff (both accidental and intentional) like dead babies, shotgun suicides, etc. But I watched one of the beheading videos as well... and I wasn't ready for what I saw (or even worse, heard). It bothered me for a very long time because the sound of a dying man screaming through a gash in his throat is pretty fucking brutal.

Comment Re:I really don't know. (Score 1) 496

There are several calorie calculators on the Internet to determine your daily needs. Once you've determined that, you can use the Daily Plate feature at to track your daily intake. Using that site and a $20 kitchen scale, I've lost 25 lbs in 3 months just by trimming 300 calories a day from my suggested caloric intake.

Comment What about POI? (Score 1) 422

I guess I'm in a niche market then.

One thing that I've not seen discussed is a POI (Point of Interest) database. There are tons of these on the Internet that you can download and then upload to your GPS unit. As a Volunteer firefighter, I developed a POI database of every Fire Department in my state for use by the Fire Marshal's office. They are uploading them to their GPS units in the Investigator's vehicles. In addition, I'm developing a POI database of every fire hydrant in my department's jurisdiction in order to make water-supply location much easier. Then we will purchase a GPS unit for each fire apparatus and use the database regularly.

Just a couple weeks ago, we used GPS units in a very rural area with heavy tree cover to assist in finding a mentally handicapped person who had wandered away from home. With no reliable cell signal, and with dense forest, we would have been lucky to have been able to use a smartphone to track or log our movements. Once we layed out the search area and followed the GPS data, we were able to find him and return him to his family.

Along those same lines, we have landed the local aeromedial helicopter in rural areas using coordinates from our handheld GPS unit.

If you are only using your GPS for turn-by-turn directions, you are only scratching the surface. These units offer so much more. Oh, and did I mention that a GPS unit doesn't require a data plan?

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 100

Ernest Hemingway's micro-story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," is one of my favorite examples of how less is sometimes more. Sometimes a few sentences say it all; you don't always need a hundred pages to convey an idea. Most of the mail I get is brief and to the point. Others are just brief. To be honest, I appreciate the short, crazy email more than the long rants, and they can be just as funny. Read below for this week's mail snippets.
Sun Microsystems

Mainframe OpenSolaris Now Available 135

BBCWatcher writes "When Sun released Solaris to the open source community in the form of OpenSolaris, would anyone have guessed that it would soon wind up running on IBM System z mainframes? Amazingly, that milestone has now been achieved. Sine Nomine Associates is making its first release of OpenSolaris for System z available for free and public download. Source code is also available. OpenSolaris for System z requires a System z9 or z10 mainframe and z/VM, the hypervisor that's nearly universal to mainframe Linux installations. (The free, limited term z/VM Evaluation Edition is available for z10 machines.) Like Linux, OpenSolaris will run on reduced price IFL processors."

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"