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Comment: iOS works fine (Score 5, Informative) 682

by ff1324 (#44989239) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

I'm a firefighter, my wife's a paramedic...we're away from our kids (not simultaneously) for 24 hours each shift.

Facetime is a wonderful thing for when one of them needs, well, a little facetime with whatever parent is at work. They get to chat with grandparents as well.

We bought a couple of refurbed iPod touches, put them in otterboxes, threw a few apps on them, and handed them over. They can facetime us as long as they have wifi (at our house, family, close friends), their texting is limited to iMessage and locked down to the existing contacts...this way they have an opportunity to learn proper etiquette and manners about the phone and texting and pictures.

They're 7 and 8, have had this for two years, and they're not little tech junkies. Also, I'm not paying an extra $40 per month per kid for connectivity that's only occasionally necessary.

Comment: Political grandstanding at its finest (Score 4, Informative) 817

by ff1324 (#41763443) Attached to: Texas Attorney General Warns International Election Observers

Grandstanding akin to calling a press conference to state the sky is blue.

FTA: “I have specifically informed the Texas team that Chapter 61 of the Texas Election Code would not allow them into actual polling places, and they understood this limitation,” per the election authority.

So the observers were told of the limitation, accepted it, and understood it, but the AG in an effort to bolster his own image couldn't resist the urge to make a scene.

Texas as usual.

Comment: Commercial grade...not hobby grade (Score 4, Informative) 200

by ff1324 (#41203039) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ad-Hoc Wireless Mesh Network For Emergency Vehicles?

Disclaimer: I work for a paid fire department but started as a volunteer. I understand the financial challenges for both m

Our metropolitan area uses InMotion OMG1000 or OMG1050 mobile routers. The cost just over $2000 each, but they create a man network for emergency equipment, have up to four different WAN connections, are remotely configurable and upgradable, and provide GPS services. They're almost bulletproof.

Wiring up WRT54Gs isn't the answer. You'll spend more time than your time is worth creating a solution than finding funding to implement one. Apply for a FIRE grant or cooperate with multiple agencies to access a larger program. Check with your county or state.

Realisitcally, an air card is all you need otherwise. If enough agencies want in on the project, see if the wireless provider will put you on your own APN.

Good luck.

Comment: It WAS ready for prime time... (Score 1) 665

by ff1324 (#40880021) Attached to: Why We Love Firefox, and Why We Hate It

FF was a great browser and it was perfect to set up for those who weren't technologically savvy. But the constant failure of the Flash plugins have detracted from its usefulness. The occasional profile failure without any simple method of restoring settings is aggravating as well.

Memory hog? Not really...and if it is, so what? Buck up and get yourself enough memory to run everything efficiently.

It's just not ready for prime time any more. Almost, but not quite.


Asteroid Crashes Likely Gave Earth Its Water 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the space-water dept.
Diggester writes "Asteroids from the inner solar system are the most likely source of the majority of Earth's water, a new study suggests. The results contradict prevailing theories, which hold that most of our planet's water originated in the outer solar system and was delivered by comets or asteroids that coalesced beyond Jupiter's orbit, then migrated inward."

Comment: Re:Security by obscurity? (Score 5, Interesting) 302

by ff1324 (#40388019) Attached to: Chuck Schumer Tells Apple and Google To "Curb Your Spy Planes"

You can ask, but you can't get it. At least not here.

We purchased ArcGIS to evaluate our responses at the fire department I work for. The county, highway department, assessors office, and other 911 centers were more than happy to share data with us. The water company wouldn't. We were originally told their security policy would not allow them to share data with us.

That's right. The water company could not tell the fire department where the fire hydrants are because of security policy.

Total WTF moment...

Comment: Re:engineer (Score 3, Interesting) 126

by ff1324 (#40318183) Attached to: The History of the CompSci Degree

Many moons ago, I was a junior in college and chasing down CS as my bachelor's degree. One day, I decided I'd had enough arguing with machines. Now, as a firefighter, I love coming to work, and make more than most of my friends who continued on to CS degrees.


I'm doing the IT / programming / database / GIS work for my fire department...still arguing with machines, but now its enhanced by arguing with bureaucrats.

Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.