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Comment: What problem? (Score 1) 128

the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do

I'm not so sure about the "tween-lit adaptions", but as for the rest i'm not seeing any problem here, other than that i might want to subscribe to cable again. And is having a compelling enough line-up to make me want to subscribe really a problem?

Comment: Mid-size university (Score 1) 383

by dramaley (#42755159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

At the university where i work, we use "professional_name.family_name" and if there is a collision, then try "given_name.family_name" and then "professional_name.middle_initial.family_name" and finally "given_name.middle_initial.family_name". And if *all* of those conflict, then we use the first one but add a number to the end of it to make it unique, and generate an exception report so that someone will be made aware of it and can contact the user in question to work out some arrangement for a unique e-mail address that doesn't include a number. Unless they like the number, of course, in which case they could keep it. This system works fairly well; we only have a handful of people to contact each year.

As an example, suppose there is an individual named Jonathan P. Smith who usually goes by "Jon". In that case, we'd try addresses in this order:
jon.smith
jonathan.smith
jon.p.smith
jonathan.p.smith
jon.smith2
jon.smith3
jon.smith4 ...and so on until a unique address was found. Note that in the latter cases that have a number, Jon would be contacted by phone to work out an alternate address of his preference.

Comment: Copyright renewals (Score 1) 577

For copyright, how about automatic copyright for 1 year. After that, it has to be renewed for another year. But, the first renewal is only $0.01. Each renewal after that is twice the previous year's renewal fee. So, for example:
YEAR    COST
1       free!
2       $0.01
3       $0.02
4       $0.04
5       $0.08
10      $2.56
20      $2621.44
30      $2684354.56
40      $2748779069.44
Most works would revert to the public domain in less than 20 years. Works that were still profitable might remain locked up for another decade or so, but anything 40 or more years old would be public domain unless the owner was both insanely rich and insane in their spending habits.

Comment: Re:Voting options out of order (Score 1) 465

If robots are doing everything, then why are we important? We shouldn't obsolete ourselves- nature is already working hard enough to do that for us.

So... why are we so important? If we can create an offspring species (either biological or technological) that is superior to us, then shouldn't we step aside? What is the intrinsic value of the particular pile of chemical reactions that make up a human? Sure, humans like to value themselves somewhat highly, but if we can create something even better than ourselves and have the grace to let that better thing take our place, wouldn't it be a bit irresponsible to the universe to not do so?

Comment: Related question (Score 1) 501

by dramaley (#27532535) Attached to: Decent DVD-Ripping Solution For Linux?

What software can rip DVDs while preserving the subtitles correctly? I don't mean HandBrake's style of "hard burning" the subtitles into the image. I want all of the subtitle tracks copied and stored in the same MKV container as the video and audio track(s) so that i have the option of turning the subtitles on and off just as i do with the original DVD.

Comment: Easy: use server parts (Score 1) 655

by dramaley (#27469479) Attached to: How Do I Provide a Workstation To Last 15 Years?

Build it yourself with "server grade" components. My previous machine was almost 10 years old when i retired it. It had 0 hardware failures in that time, and i retired it only because i wanted something with better performance. The previous machine was a SuperMicro motherboard with dual Pentium II-450, 1/2 GB ECC RAM, and SCSI hard disk.

I'm sure my previous machine would have lasted another 5 years if i'd really wanted to run it for 15 years. The other thing i do is about once per year shut the machine down, open it up, and clean out all the dust. At that time i also check that the fans are all functional and replace any that aren't. Really, though, as long as you don't let fans get overly clogged with dust and you don't buy the cheapest ones they are fairly reliable and will usually run for years. If the machine is placed on the floor, it should probably be cleaned more than once per year as it will suck in more dust than if it is placed higher.

My current machine was built with a similar philosophy as to the previous one, and i expect it also to last about 10 years before it is too slow for my taste. Again i used a SuperMicro motherboard and ECC RAM, but this time with SATA instead of SCSI disk. However, i chose one of the "server" SATA disks that is basically disk built to the same standards usually associated with SCSI, but with an SATA interface. That required giving up some capacity (it is only 74 GB), but it is large enough for my needs since i'm not storing multimedia on it. I added the additional requirement of wanting my current machine to be quiet, so i replaced the heat sinks on motherboard and CPU with larger versions, and then used large fans that spin slowly.

Comment: Re:Silly (Score 1) 186

by dramaley (#26951831) Attached to: Strange Globs Could Signal Water On Mars

Sending an astronaut is many times as expensive, since we need more safety, need to keep the astronaut alive during the long trip over, and need to bring the astronaut back.

Why? Why not send the first astronauts on 1-way trips? Of course it would be a suicide mission, but i'm sure there would be plenty of volunteers. Rather than spend the resources to bring them back, use the same resources to send enough supplies that the astronaut is able to live on the surface of Mars for several years.

Cobol programmers are down in the dumps.

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