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Comment: Earthquake preparedness kit (Score 4, Informative) 190

by ciurana (#47743853) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Here you go: -- that's a photo of the stashes we have in our home in Acapulco and in San Francisco. Both are in active seismic zones, and likely to get hit by some disaster at some point.

Since you can see most of the contents, I rather tell you about our guidelines for disaster preparedness:

* Have enough supplies to subsist for up to 7 days, normal calorie intake, for everyone in the family
* Ditto for water
* Tool box with emergency tools (wrench for gas and water valves, pliers, screw drivers, a couple of Leatherman tools), matches, and
* Solid alcohol stove and several refills
* Full first aid kit including gauze, ice packs, antiseptics, anti-diarrhea pills, etc. and a sewing kit
* Crank radios and flashlights
* Battery operated perimeter lamps
* Assorted Cyalume sticks in green, white, blue, and red colors
* Deck of cards, puzzles, etc. to kill the time

The food is all either canned or dehydrated, and it works way better than MREs. The only thing we'd miss are fresh fruits; we even have powdered milk. Every year around Dec/Jan I consciously cook with all the things in the food stash that are within ~6 months of recommended use by date. All those things are replenished and ready to go. We found that most cans and dehydrated food have an approximate 18-24 months duration, so we don't go on the Spam and etc. diet more than every other year for more than 2 or 3 days. Plus it's fun readying everything and testing, etc.

Last night -- the earthquake woke my g/f up (we were in our SF home). The bookshelves rattled a bit, and I was wondering if the quake had been strong enough to knock my motorcycle off the center stand, but the toddler was fine and slept through it, power never faltered, and otherwise it was a nice and uneventful evening.

I lived through several earthquakes in my life (in fact, all my life I lived in seismic zones) so I'll be happy to address questions, if any.


Comment: Re:TCnext - the TrueCrypt fork (Score 1) 75

Sorry - one more thing: there are also known (based on pre-existing signatures) binaries ready for download, if that's your cup 'o tea. So, given where the audit is (to which I'm also a financial supporter) and what we know... OKi for now, let's keep the project alive.

"You can't stop the signal, Mal."

Comment: TCnext - the TrueCrypt fork (Score 1) 75

You guys are aware that TCnext exists, a new effort to keep the software alive based in Switzerland.

You can get there via truecrypt .ch

The source code for TrueCrypt 7.1a is available for download, and there are various forums where we're discussing the implementation, how to proceed, where to take the project, future audits, and so on.

Last, the general consensus is that 7.1a is "safe enough for our current needs based on what we know". Many of us in that community also feel the 7.2 shutdown in a hurry was a canary in the mine situation.

Anyway -- we can argue until the cows come home, or we can just get busy with breathing new life into TrueCrypt / TCnext.


Comment: What I see happening in the world (H1B etc.) (Score 1) 566

by ciurana (#46948305) Attached to: Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

How long does it take to get a US Green Card? Well, it depends. It will take at least 2 years these days. That's two years that a spouse is sitting at home, doing nothing, because she or he are unable to work. That's a stupid waste of resources because that person could contribute to the economy and tax base instead of just "burning time" until the green cards arrive.

In the Bay Area, if you're from India, it can take up to 7 years. My friends and I, from Mexico, got it in an average of 2.5 years (mine took just a smidge less than 18 months, back in 1991-1993).

I worked for a major Internet company last year; a large number of people from France, Israel, India, etc. await their green cards; their average time is about 5 years.

All of us have advanced degrees or are highly specialized in some in-demand technology area (or both); outside of this one-year employment gap (golden handcuffs), I spend about 50% of my time now advising for other companies in Europe and Asia, the other 50% advising US companies. The common denominator I see across all countries where I work is that qualified people who know their stuff are very hard to find and to hire if you're looking for a business and technology advantage. In the last three years I got the equivalent to Russian green card (high technology worker), and have provided services to the Ministry of Economy, Technology, and Industry in Japan, among several other gits. I see the same demand for talent all over the world, not only here in the US.

This isn't a situation unique to the US. I just got back from scouting business in China and (surprise!) I found that start ups and established companies alike are willing to find and hire whoever they can that will give them the tech and business advantage that they need, from whatever country they come from.

Thinking that H1B visas are only filled to keep wages down is naïve. While there are many instances of companies like InfoSys and Wipro abusing the system, most tech companies are trying whatever they can to hire the top talent they can find and will use H1B, E, L, or O visas to make it happen (at least in the Bay Area). There's a real need for people who are qualified in cutting edge science and technology fields. And many of those people have life partners, who could also be productive members of society. Why hinder the spouses ability to contribute, if they are qualified?


Comment: Invest the money in attending Google I/O instead (Score 1) 421

by ciurana (#46302055) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?


As a fellow developer (and someone who doesn't care much for Google's products like Android and Glass), my advise would be to invest the $1,500 toward attending the Google I/O conference instead. You will get a chance to meet all kinds of cool, smart people with whom you can share/bounce ideas. They may offer discounted or flat out hand Glass to attendees (they have some nice toys every year), and the presentations are some of the best in the industry. There'll be plenty of sessions covering Glass there, and the conference will give you a great chance to learn about the device, dev tools, potential future ecosystem, etc. far better than what you're getting from the responses here on Slashdot.



Comment: Pro Tip: Take the train (Score 5, Informative) 261

by ciurana (#46268573) Attached to: Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment From Heathrow Border Agent


After having been harassed a few times during business trips to London after having worked for two London-based companies, I decided to never fly into London again if I can help it. Instead, I fly into Paris from either Moscow or the US, have a nice lunch somewhere near Gare du Nord, then take the Eurostar into London (about a 2-hour ride). The UK immigration officials at the rail station are way nicer and more polite, the process is much faster, and in general the suckage is much lower.



Comment: Patent? (Score 3, Insightful) 226

by ciurana (#45878683) Attached to: BlackBerry Sues iPhone Keyboard Maker Typo

The article doesn't clarify if BlackBerry patented the keyboard layout and set up, and whether the patent is still in effect.

If so, they are well within their rights to enforce it. Typo Products can probably work out a deal with them, et tutti contenti.

If the patent has expired, or if it was never granted/never filed... suck it, BlackBerry. You should know better.


Comment: Re:What a waste of time. (Score 2) 102

by ciurana (#45763443) Attached to: FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Now At the Library of Congress


Works in the Library of Congress may be reviewed but not copied. The person(s) who reviewed this manual, and found the discrepancies, noted them and made them public. The original copyright holder must give permission for this work to be reproduced. That's why there are no copies, just mentions of the discrepancies.

Not sure without checking with my IP attorney how to get around this, since it's unlikely that the copyright holder will grant further copying permission. Perhaps a FOIA request to the Library of Congress will allow them to release the document?


Comment: Re:Hook turn maneuver: Apparently wrong (Score 1) 332

by ciurana (#45460743) Attached to: Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

Cool - thanks for the link.

I suspect that the French parachuting federation issues incident reports, analysis, and corrective measures bulletins just like the USPA does. We'll find out the whole story when that happens; if it's like here, give it 90 days or so.


Comment: Hook turn maneuver (Score 5, Informative) 332

by ciurana (#45451527) Attached to: Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

From the report, it sounds like Cédric performed a maneuver called "hook turn" -- it's a high speed turn in your final approach, 100' or less from the ground, considered deadly and stupid by USPA, the French Federation of Parachutism, and pretty much anyone who's been jumping for a while.

The rate of descent increased as a parachute (square, ram air canopy) banks. The sharper the turn, the faster the descent. The hook turn swings the jumper fast, like a pendulum, and an experienced jumper will guesstimate ending the swing at about the same time as his or her feet would touch the ground. The margin of error for a hook turn, by an experienced jumper riding a small canopy (the more experience the smaller the canopy), is between 5' and 10'.

Start the turn too soon, and you'll end up 3' to 10' above the ground, with a stalled parachute, falling straight down. On a good day, a few bruises or a parachute landing fall, a dirty jump suit, and teasing from your pals. On a bad day, a twisted or broken ankle, yet survivable.

Start the turn too late, and you'll slam the ground with enough force to kill you. And remember: too late is a difference of only about 5'.

Even if the turn starts fine, and the jumper is the king of experienced up jumpers, other factors may come into play. A little thermal near the ground may force the canopy up or sideways near the ground. Or a cold air pocket (e.g. flying over a small puddle, or a dark patch on the ground) may drop the canopy a few feet faster.

Most if not all drop zones since at least 1994 ban people caught doing hook turns because of the danger they present to the jumpers doing them and others around them. Every once in a while some hot shot with a few thousand jumps thinks he's above physics and chance, and does a bandit turn if nobody is watching.

Maybe Cédric ran out of air on final and thought that hooking the turn would help him land into the wind. Maybe he was just hot dogging. Regardless, if he was an up jumper and he did a hook turn, he should've known better and performed a different maneuver. Sad to loose him, but not feeling sorry about the accident itself. Stuff like this is what gives a bad reputation to skydiving in the eyes of people with little or no knowledge of the sport.


The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]