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Submission + - I'm Quittin' the Life, Vincent.

pspahn writes: Let's say you had 12 hours to get up and leave your current life. No transportation, no cash, and only stuff around your house that you could carry (you can sell stuff). What makes the cut? Where do you go to, "walk the Earth"? What do you do?

Without any sensible regard for what you are leaving, how do you just up one night and start over the next day?

Submission + - One incident exemplifying why Linux is not ready 2

pspahn writes: Preface: I am typically a fan of Linux and what makes it great. That said... So I had decided to make a short video to submit to the next Survivor casting call. It's only 30-60 seconds, so I came up with an idea and started recording. I used my EeePc netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 simply because it has worked well for me before when recording short videos. Had I known the problems I would encounter, I would be sleeping by now. Yes, this is a bit of a rant, but the point remains, things should simply not be this difficult and time consuming.

Upon loading up Cheese, I am finding that it, for some strange reason, is no longer working as it used to. Choppy video, poor recording, all around strange. It had worked perfectly fine last time I needed it. I think maybe it's some memory thing, or my hard disk is going wacky, but after some looking around, I find out that a lot of things broke between 9.04 and 10.04. Ugh. Ok. I spend a couple hours getting things working adequately.

Now I have some video that I want to move over to my main machine running Win 7 to edit and polish. I assume at first that the .ogv files from my netbook will import into something (I had done it before, somehow). I find out I assumed wrong. I spend another hour or so looking around for software to convert it into something usable. Try a couple things, and end up trying to simply use VLC to convert it (on both ends, Ubuntu and Win 7). Movie doesn't play. I try other web cam programs, all had problems.

It's now about six hours later, and I have yet to record a video on my netbook and get that video loaded and ready to edit on my Windows machine (and play correctly). This is just ridiculous. I'm not saying that it can't be done, I know it can be done, I've done it before. The problem is that this is a task I don't do on a regular basis (at least on Linux), so just getting things to a point where I can function has taken hours. I'm sorry, but this is such a slap in the face that shows how primitive and unusable Linux is for a majority of end users. A similar situation in a commercial OS would have taken minutes to get going. I have to say, Linux can often be nothing but an endless search through forums, wikis, docs, etc. just looking to find the answer to why something isn't working, only to find out there's another problem that will occur subsequently.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Your online education experience 1

pspahn writes: I am currently enrolled at a very well-known online school. I was hesitant when I enrolled. It is now more than a year later, and I am regretting my decision (not surprisingly, huh?) The main problem I have is that I am not learning anything. I have several years experience with web design, yet I was not allowed to bypass Intro to Web Design 1. Similarly, there are other classes on my list that will teach me very little I don't already know, yet will cost me money all the same.

Now, I do have a great desire to learn and to further myself academically, but I just don't see much value in continuing to take classes I could have aced in 9th grade. It is also difficult when fellow classmates clearly have very little intelligence and our online discussions remind me of an AOL chat room. What online education programs have /. readers been happy and successful with? I am interested specifically in Information Security programs, and while it is possible to simply attend a local school in person, I would much prefer an online environment as it seems like a more natural medium considering the content of my studies.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: General Macro Recorder for Windows?

pspahn writes: While I've never really needed a way to quickly change windows states, I was recently inspired by the thought. What methods can I use to quickly record and store the different states my desktop is in while doing different tasks? Between work, school, and life I find that I am often using several different "desktops" depending on what I am working on. At one point I might be writing a paper in OpenOffice, along with several browsers open to common research sites, my grading rubric, etc. At other times I will have Notepad++, Firebug, Inkscape, Aptana, etc. open. Then there's the chill out mode, where I have some music playing, a browser, or other meaningless things just to waste time.

I think it would be terrific if I could set my desktop to one state, take a snapshot, and then have a single icon to double-click that will restore that state when needed. Why I have never really thought of this earlier is beyond me, but I would imagine there are a bunch of ways /. readers accomplish this seemingly simple task.

Submission + - What is wrong with SSD servers?

pspahn writes: As the process of launching our "best web site makeover, 2010" continues, I am now looking at who to host our new best digital friend. The development guys that are building our custom theme, in some discussions, recommend their own SSD hosting because of its lightning quick ability to perform transactions. At the same time, other discussions lean towards, "I don't know, there's something wrong with those SSD servers, they keep crashing."

Another hosting company tells me that they discontinued their SSD package because it was crashing too often.

Is there something fundamentally wrong with SSD drives in a server environment? It's not like these companies are using anything less than the best SSD drives money can buy. Are they simply wearing out or becoming unreliable too quickly in lighting fast environments?

Submission + - Where is the academic Wikipedia?

pspahn writes: Over the past year of my belated higher-education experience, one thing has frustrated me significantly more than any of the classes I have taken. Citing sources and the availability of credible information online. Yes, I do online school. Yes, they have an online library full of great articles. However, there is an exceptional lack of organized information available covering basic concepts. Wikipedia is often my jumping off point even when I have access to the same information in my class' text.

We have not yet arrived at the point when Wikipedia is appropriate to cite simply because there is fear in the academic community that the information is incorrect. In my experience, Wikipedia is nearly always accurate when dealing with non-political topics. If I want some basic information about the function of potassium in the body or a listing of selection control structures, why should I doubt what Wikipedia has to offer?

So I suppose I'm wondering, where is the academic version of Wikipedia? Okay, you might say it's at my local library, but is that acceptable in this day and age? I like to study at home most of the time, which is the primary reason I chose online classes. I routinely spend a disproportionate amount of time searching far and wide for a credible source of information (even basic facts) versus the time I spend actually learning and writing a paper. For example, a paper I just finished (and that inspired me to ask /.) took me about 3-4 hours to write, and roughly half of that time was spent simply searching for a source of credible text. I completely understand the need to have credible sources, but should it take that much time, especially when I already have the facts needed?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to Counter a Domain Squatter? 3

pspahn writes: Recently, our small business has decided to finally put the "our website sucks" reality to bed. We are working hard on getting a modern, polished, and effective web site up and running. Today, however, it came to my attention that one of our local competitors (who has a history of stealing our innovations) has registered a domain name identical to ours except for "the" at the beginning. When arriving at their squatted domain, it implies to the user that we have gone out of business and then redirects them to their website (which is equally as crappy as ours).

After some brief research, it appears that there are two "legal" paths to follow. Hiring a lawyer or going through Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy. Both are somewhat cost prohibitive at this point, and it seems silly to have to fork over thousands of dollars to resolve something that has likely cost us plenty of business as it is. What alternative options do we have for resolving this? Can we send them a generic cease-and-desist? DMCA? Anonymous? Chinese flesh searchers? I'm hoping that we can employ some type of Barbara Streisand spin on this, as we have a long history of being an honest business that doesn't use these kind of deceptive practices to lure customers.

Submission + - Making sense of web development

pspahn writes: I am working on getting a new website built for our small retail/wholesale tree nursery. I have spent time discussing our project with several local development firms, and am a bit surprised to find that every single one of them uses a different platform for building sites. One is developing their own CMS based on rails. One uses Expression Engine and Magento. One uses a proprietary CMS that incurs annual licensing fees (which includes other stuff like a sign package and plant photo database).

While any ecommerce aspects will not be used immediately, we want to plan ahead and make sure we will be able to turn that on once the time comes. We will be working with an existing .csv database (exported from an ancient HP-UX box) that we want to incorporate into a web product catalog. Blogging and news updates are also necessary.

I am adamant that we are allowed full control over what we pay for, and any type of licensing that will restrict our ability to take our site elsewhere in the future is not acceptable. I will also be taking over (more or less) full-time management of the site at some point once the groundwork is built.

Our budget, while not completely inadequate, should be sufficient enough to get us what we want or at least on the right track (about $5000). I am also willing and able to do much of the menial tasks like entering all the products, uploading new images, changing banners, etc.

Here's the big question. If for whatever reason the design firm we choose isn't around in five years, or we decide to choose someone else, how can we avoid being stuck with a website that isn't portable? Aside from that, what are some other things we should be concerned with when deciding on a CMS we want to incorporate?

The easiest way to figure the cost of living is to take your income and add ten percent.