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Comment: Re:They had better leave server LTS alone.. (Score 4, Insightful) 222

I have a half dozen programmers and four (4) IT people, to support a site of several thousand hosts. Most of those hosts are in clusters, of course...

We have to verify and validate the software, put it on thousands of hosts, and then run it until the next upgrade. The name of the game is "stable". We don't want to upgrade the OS any more often than is absolutely required by the application.

Rolling releases are a complete non-starter for us. Sure, they are easier to support from the OS vendors perspective. But, they are absolutely unacceptable for customer whose primary business requirements for the platform are "stable" and "predictable".

Comment: Vacation? How about WEEKENDS? (Score 4, Interesting) 352

by natoochtoniket (#36712568) Attached to: IT Crises vs. Vacation: Sometimes It Isn't Pretty

My current company, has no vacations. You simply tell them when you are not going to be there, and they decide if they want to fire you for the absence.

They also do not have weekends. On the Friday before each customary "3-day" weekend the owner declares an emergency that, somehow, MUST be finished by Tuesday.

No one wants to work there for very long. Turnover is very high. Projects don't get finished, precisely because of the turnover. Other projects do get "finished', but don't work, also because of the turnover

The owner doesn't seem to realize that he is sabotaging his own projects.

Comment: Truth wants to be free (Score 1) 760

by natoochtoniket (#34978556) Attached to: New Mega-Leak Reveals Middle East Peace Process

The truth wants to be free. When the old media is full of lies and propaganda, the truth finds other outlets. This is not something that can be stopped or controlled. It will just happen, as it has just happened in previous generations.

By trying to stop it, the government and the old media (newspapers, radio, and TV) are merely contributing to the problem. By attacking wikileaks with silly trumped-up charges, they have not stopped anything. They have only guaranteed that the new media will develop diversity of paths.

Individuals who have knowledge, even documents, that they believe should be made public, will always find a way to do so. Before the "news" media became consolidated and controlled, they would just send it to the Washington Post or some other newspaper. Now, they will publish it themselves.

Comment: Re:Or (Score 1) 1260

by natoochtoniket (#33897028) Attached to: Proving 0.999... Is Equal To 1

As a mathematician who as studied both number theory and algebra, I find these threads quite entertaining. There is no call to hate anyone.

Every proof that I have ever taken seriously begins with precise statements of both the theorem that is to be proved, and the formal system in which it is to be proved. Everything depends on the choices of signature and axioms. I don't know what "0.3333..." means, otherwise.

If the symbol "." is defined to be an infix binary operator that discards the left operand, so that for all A,B, A.B=B, then "0.3333..." equals 3

Comment: Software does it, too (Score 1) 1140

by natoochtoniket (#33814942) Attached to: Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels?

The people who produce software keep adding menu bars at the top and bottom. Right now, this firefox window with the slashdot page in it has THREE INCHES of menu bars at the top! Worse, this editing port is only TWO INCHES TALL.

A page of text on normal paper (in the US) is 11 inches tall by 8.5 wide. I want the actual text-port in my editors to be at least that tall. We can bitch about the hardware all we want, and be limited to the capability of the hardware that we buy.

But, for Pete's sake, why do we have to put so many of those horizontal friggin menu bars on every port?

I would like to see VERTICAL menu bars on the SIDES of the windows, and leave the top and bottom alone.

Comment: Compare Drinking while Driving (Score 3, Insightful) 709

by natoochtoniket (#33737430) Attached to: Could Anti-Texting Laws Make Roads More Dangerous?

We know that texting-while-driving is far more dangerous than driving while drunk.

We have decided, as a society, that driving while drunk is so dangerous that we have made it illegal, and impose stiff penalties. It isn't just illegal to drive while drunk. It is illegal to have an open container in the car. This is based on the reasonable assumption that, if there is an open container, the driver may take a drink and become impaired.

I think it would be reasonable to decide, as a society, that texting-while-=driving is so dangerous that we should impose stiff penalties. And, it shouldn't just be illegal to drive while texting. It should be illegal to have an open texting device in the car. If there is an open texting device, the driver may look at it and become impaired. Many times, I have seen a teenager say "look at this", and hold his/her phone out so that another person can read it. If that other person happens to be a driver, the drivers attention is taken away from the driving.

I really don't have any problem with drivers who decide to kill themselves, other than perhaps that I get stuck paying part of the cost of the emergency services. I have a really big issue with drivers who try to kill me, by swerving their vehicles toward mine while driving at a high rate of speed. Recently, that has happened several times each day.

Comment: Re:I was idly thinking about this the other day (Score 2, Insightful) 239

by natoochtoniket (#33613944) Attached to: Credit Cards That Think They Are Gadgets

The "cash" economy includes lots of activity, not just illegal sales. Lots of "unbanked" people conduct all of their transactions in cash, and many of them can't or don't keep records. Think, lawn service, tree trimmers, the guy who sells water mellons fro the back of a pickup truck, the immigrant laborers who re-roof your house. A surprising fraction of people are illiterate (unable to read or write). An even larger fraction of all people are innumerate (unable to use numbers).

Without "cash", your lawn doesn't get mowed, your car doesn't get detailed, your trees don't get trimmed, you cannot buy fresh food, and your roof will leak. It isn't because you can't pay for them. It's because the sellers of those services cannot receive payment in any other form.

Comment: Keyboard, Trackball (Score 1) 715

by natoochtoniket (#33588048) Attached to: The Last Component To Fail In My Computer Was The...

I actually have worn out several mechanical input devices. I don't replace them when I get a new computer, just when they stop working. That has happened because of too many duty cycles, too much dirt got into the mechanism, and once because too much coffee got into the mechanism. Note that it doesn't take very much coffee -- less than one cup will kill a keyboard.

Comment: Re:They can stop hosting whoever they want ... (Score 1) 1695

by natoochtoniket (#33523288) Attached to: Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

Actually, it is not "legal to be the most racist business to exist in America". Discrimination on account of race or religion is illegal under the Civil Rights Act. That doesn't stop some people from being bigots. It is just that, when a good or service is offered for sale to the public, the seller may not refuse to sell to certain customrs because of the customers race or religion.

The Rackspace service is a public accommodation, in the sense that they offer the service for sale to the public. So they cannot discriminate on the basis of the religion of the customer. And, I'm sure they don't. However, they can and do put language in their contract that limits what can be posted on those web pages. Language that is designed and intended to incite violence or to harm another person, can be prohibited.

The Dover World Outreach Center web site clearly had a lot of that sort of language. I read it before the take-down.

Comment: How to boil water (Score 1) 312

by natoochtoniket (#33512060) Attached to: Cooking For Geeks

My personal favorite of all the introductory cookbooks I have ever seen is, "How to boil water",
( http://www.amazon.com/Boil-Water-Food-Network-Kitchens/dp/0696226863 ). It has labeled pictures of things you might find in a kitchen, so when a recipe says to use a "frying pan", you can go look at the picture and get the right thing out of the cabinet. The first recipe is "coffee". The next chapter is "things you can eat without having to cook them first".

Comment: Re:Efficient? Better in any way? (Score 3, Insightful) 117

by natoochtoniket (#33464190) Attached to: Wireless Power Group Has 'Qi' Prototypes

It's not really about efficiency or financial savings. It's about consumer psychology. Of course, the big items have the big potential gains. But, big items cost big money to change. People don't spend big money until they know and understand the benefit. Little things have smaller potential gains,but can be implemented for little or no money. A PR campaign for a little thing educates the consumers about the issue, without threatening the consumers emotionally by telling them to spend a lot of money. Power adapters and light bulbs are the two major examples of such campaigns.

Getting people to change a light bulb is a little thing. It costs just a couple bucks, and takes just a few minutes. And, old light bulbs need to be replaced when they fail, anyway. The savings to one consumer by changing one light bulb is only a few bucks. But there is a big savings, both environmentally and economically, when you multiply by the number of light bulbs i the nation and the hours that they are normally operated.

Power adapters cost a little more to replace with high-efficiency units, but can be unplugged easily and for not cost. The campaign to get people to unplug power adapters isn't really going to save much power, because the newer units really don't use much power, and older units get replaced anyway whenever the phone gets replaced. The savings from 'unplugging' is also smaller because it takes labor, so most people just won't do it. So, there really isn't much actual power savings available. But, because "unplugging" is free, it is a non-threatening way to achieve some consumer education.

The biggest effect is that it gets consumers to think about the power that they use in their houses. After a consumer understands the potential savings, they become more willing to spend some capital to get more of those savings.

Comment: Re:Surge Protectors (Score 1) 404

by natoochtoniket (#33451080) Attached to: Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown

Actually, I did have surge protection on the light bulbs, I just didn't realize it. To understand why, it helps to understand how surge protectors actually work.

The electric circuit in a house is a buss with four conductors (+, -, neutral, and ground). The + and - conductors normally supply current from the service entrance breaker/fuse panel to each device. The neutral conductor returns the current from each device back to the panel. The ground is for safety, and does not normally carry any current. Surge protectors work by placing a varister between two conductors of that buss. If the voltage difference between the two conductors is low (say, below a few hundred volts), the varister has high resistance and does not short the circuit. But, if the voltage difference between the two conductors is high, the varister has low resistance, and creates a 'short' between the two conductors. The short provides a low-resistance path for the surge, so more current goes through the varister, and less current goes through other devices on the buss.

All of the varisters in a circuit work in parallel to protect the whole circuit. That is, any surge protector on the "+" side of the main panel, helps to protect everything on that side. And, any protector on the "-" side, helps to protect everything on that side. If you have a hundred varisters on the (+, ground) path in your house, even though they are physically divided into a dozen different boxes, and supplied by different breakers or fuses, the current from a surge on the + conductor flows through all of them in parallel to reach ground.

Of course, the shorter the path to a device, the sooner the surge reaches that device. Electricity flows through copper wire at a speed of a just about 1 foot per nanosecond. So, if the varister is located closer to the source of the surge than some other device, the surge gets to the varister before it gets to the device, and shorts through the varister before it damages the device. Optimal protection is achieved by placing the surge protection varisters at the source of the surge, which is typically at the service-entrance.

Comment: Re:Surge Protectors (Score 1) 404

by natoochtoniket (#33441562) Attached to: Microsoft Patents OS Shutdown

I live in South Florida, otherwise known as the lightning storm capital of the world.

Several years ago, lightning hit the pole behind the house. We know it hit that pole because the top of the pole caught fire, in addition to damaging some of the power-company equipment. In my neighbors house, every single electrical device got completely fried. In my house, the only damage was one of the heating elements in the hot-water heater. Not even a light bulb.

I have always has surge protectors on literally everything that could be protected. One under each desk. One under each TV and stereo. One behind the microwave in the kitchen. One behind the refrigerator. The washing machine. Literally, every 110 volt plug in the house. For the computers, the UPS units were even plugged into surge protectors.

After the first lighting strike, I decided I didn't want to buy a new hot water heater again so soon. And, I wanted to protect a few other 220-volt things. So, I found a "whole house surge protector" and got it installed. The thing attaches to the breaker panel at the service entrance. It has varisters on all 6 pairs from ( +, -, neutral, ground ), and it weighs about ten pounds. And, I upgraded some of the little surge protectors to UPSs, for the non-computer devices that we don't like to reboot very often, like the TVs.

Two years later, we had another lightning strike. This one hit the same pole, which caught fire again. My house had no damage at all. Nothing. Three other houses on the street got everything fried, again.

After that, I read up on surge protectors. Turns out, all of the varisters in a circuit work in parallel to protect the whole circuit. If you have a hundred varisters on the (+, ground) path in your hours, even though they are divided into a couple dozen different boxes, the current from a surge on the + conductor flows through all of them in parallel to reach ground.

Seems I may be guilty of overkill on the surge protection. All total, I probably spent close to $1000 on surge protectors. But then, I haven't had to buy any new appliances after lightning strikes, either.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- Looney Tunes, Ali Baba Bunny (1957, Chuck Jones)

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