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Comment: Yet another voice in the darkness... (Score 1) 698

Given the number of comments made so far, the odds that the OP will see this (or more than a handful of people, for that matter) is vanishingly small. That said, I laude you for your creativity and insight to do such a thing for your daughter. You might want to do something similar for your wife, as well; I expect she will want to hear encouragement from you, even after you're gone.

My father passed just under a year ago, due to complications from stage-4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. There was about 10 days between his diagnosis and when he died; he didn't have a chance to make any specific goodbyes. Admittedly, my situation is different -- I'm cis-male and my father died well after I became a (nominal) adult. However, I can offer suggestions based on what I would have liked to know, and never had the chance to ask. I can also offer some advice based on the efforts my brother and I have had to go through to deal with his papers and documents.

I'd like to have had more records of my extended family and those who came before. My father was a first-generation American, the child of Holocaust Survivors. I don't know that much in the way of specific stories about my family from Europe, or the struggles of leaving, my grandparent's emigration, or similar. I know my father (and uncle) had stories told to him by his parents, though. Few, if any, ever made it past that; I hope my uncle will pass on the verbal record as he best can.

I'd like to have known more about my father's life and who he was. In going through his papers, I've found letters of commendation from Under-Secretary (US Cabinet) level offices about subject I had no idea he had any expertise. I never realized how many patents he had gotten over the years (none of which were software, FWIW), or some of the weird adventures he had. I know he was a prankster when he was in college, but I didn't realize the extent until I found a letter from a college friend that read like an indictment. =)

I'd like to have known more about things he wish he could have done and any regrets he might have had. I know he never visited Israel and wanted to, but little else. I can't right any mistakes he made, but maybe I can make some sort of amends or do things in his memory.

I would like to know what he would have thought of any kids my wife and I might have. I personally regret not telling him that we plan on having kids -- I think he died thinking that my brother and I were the last of our line (My brother has no intention on having kids, only cats).

Give whatever advice you think best. You know your daughter, and while she will change over the years, the best you can do is to be honest and frank. Inevitably she's going to fall; give her your advice on how, somedays, the best thing is to get up and fight back and others it is to eat a pint of ice cream and fight the battle a different day. Someday, someone is going to violate her trust; give advice on both how to rebuild that trust and how to walk away.

Perhaps my strongest piece of advice is don't make videos for specific events. Make videos for types of events, and maybe for different ages. She may or may not ever marry, graduate high school or college, or have children; make videos for days of celebration. She may or may not ever lose a partner or close friend, have a divorce, get into a car accident, or fail a class. Make videos to cheer her up after a bad day and encourage her for future endeavors.

Regardless, make sure you let your personality come through; don't get so caught in the effort that you miss the most important message.

Some advice on the non-video aspects, though. Go through your papers (or files or whatever) and trim them down to what is important and what isn't. I didn't need to find 2 dozen copies of my father's Thesis, or his college notes, much less his stacks of punch cards (... which were unnumbered. There's a special kind of hell for people who don't number their punch card stacks). Nor did I need his collection of square-dancing ribbons (hundreds). Letters from him to his mother at camp, a family tree, or a 'camp' songbook from the friend-his-parents-warned-him-against? Those are the things that are treasures. Relevant financial records, not a stack of correspondence about whether someone sent him a check or not 30 years ago. Label photos of important people or places, and trim the rest. Especially if no one else will recognize the items in the photo. Make sure heirlooms are documented to the best of your ability,

And put your passwords into an escrow, so that anything new isn't lost or forgotten.

Comment: I reject your premise, and substitute my own. (Score 2) 282

by marphod (#47857093) Attached to: Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?

Windows Server and Windows Desktop don't use the same OS? What definition of Operating System are you using here?

They have the same system libraries. They have the same kernel, albeit optimized and configured differently. They support the same APIs, run the same applications, use the same drivers, support the authentication engine, support the same UIs and shells, and use the same package delivery systems. There are differences, but I've yet to see any technical reason why you couldn't turn a Server edition into a Desktop release or vice versa.

As a counterpoint, the Ford Mondeo (4-door/5-door midsized vehicle) uses the same platform as a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. They have the same frame, many of the same components, and otherwise take advantage of factory line construction and economies of scale. However, in this case, you could at least argue that they have different 'Operating Systems' -- they have some differences which are arguably just optimizations and tuning changes (handling characteristics, consoles, etc.) but others that are physical differences (Seats, load/capacity, etc.). You don't see Ford running out to split the Platform, though. Why? Because it doesn't make sense. There are more things in common at the core than are different, and they can make more products at a lower cost by sharing the core of the car platform. Ford has a dozen or so active car platforms, used by different models across their various brands; most other car makers do similarly.

The author is making one of several possible basic errors.
1) They don't really understand the definition of a Linux distribution (e.g. RHEL v CentOS v TurnKey v XUbuntu v Arch v etc.)
2) They don't really understand the differences between Windows Server and Windows Desktop
3) They don't really understand the definitions of the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, and the Linux OS
4) They don't really have a grasp of how software is made or how source code is shared
5) They weren't loved enough as a child and are desperately seeking attention.

This is like saying we need to create different compilers for AMD and Intel chips, as they have different architectures. It lacks understanding of the problem and understanding of how to address a solution.

Comment: Re:From my cold dead hands... (Score 2) 257

by marphod (#45271571) Attached to: Chrome Will End XP Support in 2015; Firefox Has No Plans To Stop

I think you may be missing the point.

I don't want to buy a new OS. I don't want to give Microsoft money for a OS that I don't want to use and am locked into because one software package I use is Windows-only. I certainly don't want to be forced to get new hardware in order to pay money for something I don't want to use.

While my CPU and GPU aren't breaking any records (Intel Q9550, GeForce 9400GT) and I may have other minor issues[1], I'm also not feeling any need to upgrade. I don't do high end games, my primary OS is a Linux flavor, my compiler works fine for my development work, and except for when an application goes rogue and eats CPU or RAM, my 4 VMs run fine with 4G Ram. One of those VMs is Windows (XP 64bit), running on a license I happened to get with my hardware. I use the windows VM for 2 reasons -- one, for a decent OCR package[2], and two, one of the media servers I use is a Windows-only package[3].

If these ran well under WINE, I'd ditch windows in a heart beat

Would I like to be using Windows 7 rather than XP? Sure. If a license fell into my lap, I'd upgrade. However, I look at my windows partition in much the same way I look at dental work -- of course, I would rather getting Novocaine before dental surgery, it is a nicer option than not, but I'd rather not have to have dental work in the first place.

[1] - In particular, I'm rather annoyed that while my CPU supports it, the motherboard doesn't do VT-d,
[2] - I spent over 2 months trying to train Tesseract and Cuneiform to a workable state. I re-wrote significant parts of a UI front-end to make them play nice together and to select the best recognition from either engine. Best I could get was a recognition accuracy on my bank statements of 75% by _character_, much less word or line. And there still isn't an reasonable way to do document formatting replication in the recognized text.
[3] Yes, yes, I use closed-source software. I am a Bad Geek. Can we please move on?

Comment: Jams and MultiFeeds - Live with it (Score 1) 311

by marphod (#39006247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Go Paperless At Home?

I've got a Canon GS-50, and over the past month have made the transition from huge amounts of papers to everything digitized.

My solution for multi feeds and jams? Notice, recover, and rescan. It honestly doesn't take that much longer. You will want to keep a quick eye on every page, anyways, in case of poor scans, off-perpendicular feeds, OCR-recognition failures (not so much the accuracy of the text, but the analysis confusing a block of text with graphics), and to trim blank or excess pages (page 8 of a 7-page duplex document, or page 2 of my financial statements which are the exact same notices 10 years running). Fire and forget would be lovely, but it doesn't happen.

It isn't like I only have a few things to scan, either. I have more than 15 kilos (33lbs) of documents to shred, plus the ~4 kilos (9lbs) I've already shredded and about another 10 kilos (22lbs) of scanned papers that don't need to be shredded before recycling (e.g. college club annuals). For the record, there are about 100 pages of standard 8.5x11 paper to the lbs (220 pages to the kilo -- equal to about 6500 sheets -- although many of the pages were significantly smaller like checks and the 'keep for your records' portion of bills).

It took less than a month at a couple hours a day to handle approximately 12,000 page-faces (lots of duplex pages, and the total sheet count is closer to 9,000 given how many were undersized pages).

---

Is it worth keeping old records? That depends. Some of these documents (e.g. my mother's living will, my house's deed) I need to keep a physical copy around regardless. Although this leaves me a copy on hand and I can put the original in a safe-deposit box. Some of these documents have limited lifespans (did I really need to scan the bank statements escrow account for my former tenant who moved out years ago? Probably not). Others are good to have forever -- I've looked up phone numbers from phone bills 15 years old, to get back in touch with someone. I need to keep many of my investments receipts so I can deal with taxes when they are sold.

For me, it is much easier to be a pack-rat of electronic files that fit onto a USB key, than to have stacks of papers around the house. If you don't have that much paperwork, don't need to store it indefinitely, or don't have the MustKeepEverything instinct, it probably isn't worth it to scan everything.

Comment: Lots of Options (Score 1) 363

by marphod (#38157970) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?

There are plenty of science museums throughout the country. The Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) has more specific information, including a search engine, at http://www.astc.org/sciencecenters/find.php
These museums run a range from natural history (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly), science museums for the general public (Boston's Museum of Science), Planetariums (Barlow Planetarium at UW Fox Valley), harder science museums (Harvard museum of Natural History, Woods Hole Oceanographic, National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO), Transportation (North Carolina Transportation Museum), Aerospace (Virginia Air & Space Center), Medicine (International Museum of Surgical Science), botanical garden (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Florida), and even a Presidential Library (McKinley's in Canton OH).

Similarly, it may be worth checking out the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which other than having the obvious members, has a number of science centers included (Boston's MoS, California Science Center, etc.).

Beyond those, there are some obvious choices. The Smithsonian and other DC museums have plenty of geek options. 'Air and Space' (including the annex at Dulles) and Natural History are the 2 obvious ones. International Spy Museum is another. In Boston, you could include a campus tour of MIT along with the various local museums and the Mapparium. Any of the various NASA visitor centers across the country (Houston or Cape Canaveral are probably the best options of those). For just impressive engineering, the Hoover Damn, and the CN Tower (Yeah, technically Canada. Although if you're going from Boston or NYC to Chicago, that can be on the route). Also the Golden Gate, Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), and Empire State Building, as well.

If you are interested in anatomy and physiology, you could look up where Body Worlds or Bodies: The Exhibition (or one of the competitors) is being exhibited.

Depending on when and where you go, you can also have the trip coincide with major SF/Fantasy conventions (Dragon*Con, PAX, GenCon, etc.).

Add in UCB Berkeley's Cyclotron, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Spaceport America or Mojave Air and Space Port, an atomic museum (National Museum of Nuclear Science and History or Los Almos Historical Museum), and a pilgrimage to a Silicon Valley site (the Apple Museum?), and it should be fairly complete.

Comment: FBI Logo on the FBI Website (Score 2, Interesting) 485

by marphod (#33124496) Attached to: FBI Instructs Wikipedia To Drop FBI Seal

I'll admit, I couldn't find a high-res image on the FBI seal in the 2 minutes I spent searching there, but the seal isn't overly complex, doesn't have micro text or any other anti-counterfeiting features.

However, this image, http://www.fbi.gov/libref/historic/fbiseal/images/fbiseal-02-02.gif, is a fairly decent image and can easily be used to produce a better, larger image. (The image is slightly obfuscated by the web page dis-allowing right clicks. Good going, guys. Security by obscurity for the Win. I mean Lose.)

However, more interesting to me is this high-res image: http://www.fbi.gov/multimedia/images/equipment/badge&gun.jpg

A high resolution image of an FBI badge. Yeah. They're concerned that a web image of their seal can be used illegally, but a badge? That's nothing to worry about. Move along.

Comment: Re:Journalist? (Score 5, Insightful) 1204

by marphod (#31989996) Attached to: Police Seize Computers From Gizmodo Editor

Is there a federal exemption to search and seizure of property of a journalist? no.

Is there a state exemption in California to search and seizure of property of a journalist? Yes.

Was the search warrant executed a warrant issued by a federal bench? No.

Read the article and the response; the response cites California state law by statute. A simple web search will confirm that the quoted law is, in fact, accurate.

To me, an educated layman, it seems obvious that the warrant was invalid. There may be new case law since 2006 that changes the legal precedent, but without that, the warrant is not valid, prima facia.

Comment: Speaking of German Games (Score 2, Informative) 153

by marphod (#18613467) Attached to: Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games
This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

Well, first, it is more than the past few years. Settlers of Catan was one of the earliest BIG cross over games. I was playing it since college, means the cross over started about a decade ago.

Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.

(On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

And I STILL can't find anyonre to play Kingmaker with me, and very few who play Magic Realm.
Graphics

+ - PCIe Cabling Spec Allows External Graphics Cards

Submitted by writertype
writertype writes: The PCI Express SIG released its Cabling 1.0 spec on Wednesday, which translates the PCI Express protocols found within motherboards into a cable that takes PCI Express outside the box, ExtremeTech reports. PCI SIG executives specifically mention that the spec was designed to allow external PC graphics solutions, making things like SLI cooling all that much easier. An important step forward for the PC, I think.
Media (Apple)

+ - DVD jon on Job's "give up DRM if I could"

Submitted by
Whiney Mac Fanboy
Whiney Mac Fanboy writes: ""Dvd" Jon Johansen has posted several sceptical blog entries reacting to Steve Job's blog posting about DRM. One post questions Job's misuse of statistics that attempts to prove consumers aren't tied to iPods through ITMS.

Many iPod owners have never bought anything from the iTunes Store. Some have bought hundreds of songs. Some have bought thousands. At the 2004 Macworld Expo, Steve revealed that one customer had bought $29,500 worth of music.
The other question's the DRM-free in a heartbeat claim. There are apparantly, many Indie artists who would love to sell DRM-free music on iTunes, but Apple will not allow them.

It should not take Apple's iTunes team more than 2-3 days to implement a solution for not wrapping content with FairPlay when the content owner does not mandate DRM. This could be done in a completely transparent way and would not be confusing to the users.
"
Graphics

+ - New Cable Spec Allows for External Graphics Cards

Submitted by
ThinSkin
ThinSkin writes: "The PCI Express Special Interest Group has brought the idea of external graphics cards closer to reality after their release of a cable spec that would extend PCIe channels outside the PC chassis. Ramin Neshati, chair of the PCI Express Technical Communication Working Group and a technology manager at Intel, adds: 'The reason why you would want to do that is that limitations of thermals, noise, and power delivery within the usual microATX chassis are very strict, in terms of airflow guidelines. If you wanted to build a gaming machine with two or three or some ridiculous number of graphics cards, there would be a restriction by the chassis. In the future, you could remove those graphics cards and place them in a separate block.'"
Media (Apple)

+ - iPods banned from pedestrian use?

Submitted by Nitack
Nitack writes: New York State Sen. Carl Kruger is trying to push through a bill that will ticket New Yorkers to the tune of $100 for listening to an iPod or talking on a phone while crossing the street. Sen. Kruger has had three people in his district die from crossing the street while distracted by personal electronics. According to Kruger it is the governments responsibility to protect his citizens from themselves. "This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand."
Music

+ - NY State Senator wants iPod crosswalk ban

Submitted by llamapalooza
llamapalooza writes: According to W-CBS TV, New York State Senator Carl Kruger has proposed banning the use of iPods and other portable players in "big cities" across New York State. He says that when people listening to iPods are crossing the street, they tend to ignore traffic, creating a hazard to not only the listener, but to drivers around them. Kruger claims that several people have been hurt or killed while crossing a crossing a street listen to music. Will this set a precedent for other states to begin regulating the use of headphones in cities, or will it simply die in the State Senate?

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