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Comment: Go for it... (Score 1) 451

by izm (#46421427) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

Just do it! Tech is one of those areas where you can gain experience and knowledge on your own with minimal financial outlay. So, study up. Play with things. I'm not sure what the climate is like in your district, but perhaps you can also take on some more technical responsibility in your school district? Through reading, tinkering, and applying your learned knowledge, you'll eventually get to a point where you can legitimately do this sort of thing full time. It's a process, but it's totally doable.

Comment: Twonky (Score 1) 420

by izm (#45975413) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suggestions For a Simple Media Server?

I've used Twonky Media Server for a while as a UPnP server, and been reasonably pleased. Plex is great for all the metadata it gives you along with the other features (particularly the ability to stream iPlayer content with the plugin that's available), but is really really finicky about file naming conventions and directory structures. Twonky seems to just list and transcode without much fuss.

Comment: Re:Dial-up is all there is some places... (Score 1) 250

by izm (#30311776) Attached to: FCC Preparing Transition To VoIP Telephone Network

Converting the existing POTS network to an IP network (even for voice) is far more complicated than you make it out to be. The main reason its tougher is SIGNAL DEGREDATION OVER DISTANCE.

Every wire carrying an electrical signal over distance is subject to signal attenuation due to electromagnetic forces interfering with the signal (e.g. other cables, electrical wires, etc). This is why you can only run a cat-5e ~1500 feet before you need to insert a repeater. The way the phone company got around this for serving POTS to far points is by inserting load coils at strategic points to boost the signal enough to go where it needed to go. That said, load coils are not suitable when carrying anything other than voice. This is why DSL availability is limited to places close to the CO, or places with a heavy business presence (as there are usually satellite distribution facilities from which your DSL can originate). Additionally, telephone cables typically contain several hundred to several thousand pairs, each serving a client. The shielding for a pair towards the outside of a cable is far less than the shielding for a pair towards the core of the cable. Not all pairs in a cable are even viable for DSL.

To make this happen, the phone company needs to substantially increase the presence of fiber EVERYWHERE: This is similar to the way cable does it, in that fiber is usually run to every street, and the "last mile" is carried over RG6, which in turn is branched off of for every customer. There would of course be other implications for using the existing infrastructure for the last-mile, and last-mile really means something more like "last couple of feet".

In summary, this isn't happening any time soon since it involves substantial investment in the existing infrastructure. While FTTP is promissing, it still has a long way to go.

Comment: Re:Fraud-bait... tort-bait (Score 5, Informative) 419

by izm (#29428099) Attached to: Insurance Won't Cover Smartphones, When Pricey Alternatives Exist

As somebody who spent a lot of time and energy helping acquire such a device for his father who suffered from ALS, I would like to highlight some important facts.

Many of the devices that the insurance companies cover are actually modified PC's. Before you say that people are better off buying a computer and having insurance foot the bill, look at the facts:

1. These PC's come modified with software and other interfaces which are specially designed based on years of research to meet the needs of the disabled for communication in the most intuitive way possible.

2. Often times the software is placed on an embedded windows system so that its harder to "break" with malware, and the like. Very few PC owners apart from the tech savy can say they've never gotten a computer virus or some form of malware. Even us techies slip up sometimes. Can you imagine if your lifeline were disabled by a virus? This is exactly what these devices are. Lifelines. People rely on them every day for the basic things we take for granted. Having the software embedded keeps the device functioning. Having functionality limited to...well....speaking...that makes the device far less daunting to those who might not be as computer savvy.

3. There are lots of different attachments available for these devices that let pretty much anyone with any level of disability use them. Each attachment is geared towards using the functionality a person has left. These are niche items that are pretty hard to come by at WalMart.

4. These computers are generally ruggedized (usually a toughbook, or something similar). The ruggedization is critical when the device goes everywhere with you.

The bottom line, really, is that these devices are designed to work any time anywhere for anyone. These are really custom solutions. Also, a whole lot of vendor support comes with the device, which is critical to making the most of it. This entire package, including the support, the level of customization in terms of input devices and software tools, and the level of quality and reliability seem to justify the high price in my eyes.

Your insurance company, believe it or not, has your best interest in mind as well as their own when they decide what is and isn't covered. These costly specialized devices are the best option for a whole lot of people. By only covering a solution like this, the insurance company knows you're getting what you need, which is tough to do if you're talking about building a system yourself.

I could have created a home-brew solution, but it would have been without the benefit of years of research into the progression of various diseases and the capabilities of somebody paralyzed from the neck down. Why should a patient have to deal with debugging a home-brew solution or trying to use a conventional mouse or keyboard when they can barely move their fingers? Being paralyzed is frustrating enough as it is...they don't need the extra stress.

On a side note, you can in fact work with the vendor and the insurance company to have an "add-on" placed in the computer-turned-medical device to allow you to use it as a computer as well. The expense is out of pocket, but is usually far less than the cost of a computer.

Announcements

+ - SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years->

Submitted by
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones writes "It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.""

Link to Original Source
Announcements

+ - SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years->

Submitted by
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones writes "The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org/

It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet."

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access Unix System Turns 20->

Submitted by Eileen
Eileen (798477) writes "Remember those days when you could get a free Unix shell account and learn all about the command line? You still can at the Super Dimension Fortress (SDF). SDF is celebrating its 20th birthday on June 16.

Full press release text:
The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org


It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members.

While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members who decide which programs and features are available. The members communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board ('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET.

SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper, Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as membership perks or through fundraising raffles.

There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process.

And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain Name Service.

One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1 is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data. And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs.

SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations, an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access UNIX turns 20!

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities.

for more....http://sdf.lonestar.org/news/"
Networking

+ - Happy 20th SDF->

Submitted by
m0smithslash
m0smithslash writes "Where were you in 1987? 1987 was the year that Oscar Arias Sanchez won the Nobel peace prize, Supernova 1987A is observed (the first "naked-eye" supernova since 1604), the Unabomber, N.Y. Giants defeat the Denver Broncos, 39- 20, in Super Bowl XXI, and the The Legend of Zelda released for the NES in North America. June 16th, 1987 marked the day that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. From the press release:

This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.
For crying out loud, all users have access to their own GOPHER space as well as more modern technologies like blogs, wikis and so forth. What more could you want?"

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access Unix System turns 20 ...->

Submitted by
edrdo
edrdo writes "SDF (aka Super Dimensional Fortress), the largest and oldest public access UNIX system (also a non-profit organization) has just turned 20. See the press release to get an idea of how rich the SDF story is and how hard these pioneering guys have stuck to their ideals and payed a great service to the Internet.

The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years! http://sdf.lonestar.org/ It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet ...
"

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Ye

Submitted by
claudzilla
claudzilla writes "The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org/

It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over
the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers
pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of
"the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and
advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting
as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members.

While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership
can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members
who decide which programs and features are available. The members
communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board
('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each
other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs
harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET.

SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper,
Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra
Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent
you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An
annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging
from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles
which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as
membership perks or through fundraising raffles.

There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors
and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming
tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not
to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer
security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process.

And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps
from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and
get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and
PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also
have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain
Name Service.

One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1
is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a
number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data.
And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project
offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks
for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs.

SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking
it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation
and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations,
an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."
Unix

+ - The SDF Public Access UNIX System turns "20->

Submitted by
arpawolf
arpawolf writes ""This is a great story of people helping people an doing it in high fashion in the UNIX world." Below is the story written by its users: The SDF Public Access UNIX System turns "20"! http://sdf.lonestar.org/ It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet. Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members. While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members who decide which programs and features are available. The members communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board ('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET. SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper, Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as membership perks or through fundraising raffles. There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process. And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain Name Service. One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1 is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data. And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs. SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations, an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."
Link to Original Source
Media

+ - Anti-DRM Petition Response From Downing Street

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Downing Street have released a statement in response to a petition on their website.
It states that all products with DRM should be labelled on how the product can be used or not used.

It is clear though that the needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied.

It also references the Gowers Report [PDF warning] published December 2006 and the recommendations proposed in the report.

Recommendations include introducing a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers. Also making it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008 and that DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens
"

Just go with the flow control, roll with the crunches, and, when you get a prompt, type like hell.

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