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Comment Re:Don't worry, you are protected by irrelevance. (Score 1) 142

Sure, there is no one at the NSA who sits around all day and reads your e-mails and listens to your phone calls. I agree that's deluded thinking. But, what we've done is willingly created the infrastructure for mass surveillance on an unprecedented level. It's unnecessary to have someone reading your e-mails to determine if you are engaging in deviant behavior. It can be determined algorithmically just by collecting and analyzing *everyones* data. As the definition of "deviant behavior" shifts over time and as private industry starts getting more and more access to the mass surveillance infrastructure, the ramifications for society are pretty bleak.

Comment Stop willingly carrying a spying device (Score 1) 142

Twenty years ago very few people had a cell phone and the world got along just fine. Now most people carry a device that knows your exact location, has a microphone, a camera and is largely not under your control. It's literally a spying device. Yes, it's a spying device that has useful applications for the user as well but, is it worth it to completely give up your privacy so you can play Fruit Ninja while you sit in a waiting room? This is the not the first story on this subject and it will not be the last. If the vast majority of the population is carrying a device that can easily and thoroughly be spied on, the government *will not stop* until it has access to that device whenever it "needs" it.

"Those who would give up privacy for mindless entertainment deserve neither" -- somenickname

Comment Re:Why would premiums drop? (Score 2) 231

I actually can't shop around. I live in a rural mountain area that had a nearby forest fire a few years ago and there is only one insurance company that will insure houses here. The homeowners insurance rates are so ludicrously high that the token percentage they drop it by bundling auto insurance means that no one could compete with the rate. Every year they raise the rates (20% increase this year) because, "Fuck you. You are legally obligated to pay us money so, pay us more".

And, to preemptively answer your question of, "Why not move?": Try selling a house where 30-50% of your mortgage payment goes to insurance. The dozens of For Sale signs around the neighborhood indicate that it may not be particularly easy.

Comment Why would premiums drop? (Score 5, Insightful) 231

"but premiums will necessarily drop as well"

What evidence is there for this statement? Insurance companies are not known for lowering rates. My rates continue to go up even as the value of my vehicles diminishes and I have 0 accidents, 0 claims and 0 tickets on my record.

Comment Re:Commerce clause abuse (Score 1) 484

Colorado should counter sue these states under the same Commerce Clause. As a state that takes in billions of dollars in tourism each year, having neighboring state police border camp and harass people driving on federally owned interstates is, in effect, the states regulating interstate commerce.

Comment Statistics (Score 2) 354

The thing that always baffles* me about these government agencies wanting to broaden their powers in the name of "terrorists" or "child porn" or whatever the current boogeyman is, is the fact that all of these groups are statistically insignificant. I would guess that you could round up every single child pornographer on the planet and you wouldn't even need a single United States maximum security prison to hold them. They are not a statistical threat to our country, our way of life or, really, our children. They are aberrations. Sure, on a small scale they can cause real and very unfortunate damage, but these are not people that are going to destroy our society. Their crimes are more offensive than that of, say, a car thief but, a car thieves crimes and a child pornographers crimes are about equally as likely to destabilize our society. I can't understand why we need to treat them any differently than a common criminal*.

* It doesn't actually baffle me and I do understand why we treat them differently than a common criminal: Because those in power want to retain that power and the best way to do that is to make sure the unwashed masses don't try to overthrow their masters. A scapegoat that convinces the unwashed masses to submit to ever increasing authoritarianism is the least violent way to enslave them.

Comment Re:MATE is still far more advanced in usability (Score 1) 250

I actually use a very similar system of virtual desktops (though, only 3x3 and I map Ctrl-Alt + vi keybinds to navigate between them). XFCE has done a great job of handling this kind of setup for years. As you noted, once you have a static layout of virtual desktops your brain quickly builds up a mapping of the desktops and you intuitively know things like, "I'm looking at application X so that means application Y is to the right and up two screens". No Alt-Tabbing to try to find windows, no mousing over a window list, etc. You just know exactly where the thing you want is in relation to what you are currently looking at. I've actually converted a few people to this kind of setup once they've seen it in action.

Taking it a step further, you might find Qubes OS interesting ( It still has some rough edges but, it's the next logical progression in a statically defined matrix of virtual desktops: You can make each virtual desktop actually represent a different virtual *machine*. It ends up being a really nice and secure workflow.

Comment Re:min install (Score 1) 221

The Gentoo idea is interesting but, the LFS suggestion isn't really applicable. I've built and run LFS systems (even wrote my own package manager just for the amusement of it) and, though it's very fun and you learn a lot, "fun" and "learn a lot" is not something sysadmins look for in enterprise grade software. Really, this guy is indirectly asking, "What distros aren't using systemd?" Maybe he's used systemd and hates it or maybe he's just dreading the thought of it after reading so many negative comments about it.

Having used systemd, I'm very much opposed to the philosophy of it and pretty much indifferent to the use of it in practice. I don't even know which of my machines are running it because, for most people, it just stays out of the way.

Comment Supermicro (Score 1) 287

I've got a 36U StarTech rack full of Supermicro chassis/motherboards and miscellaneous other things (Cisco switch, KVM, monitor, etc). The initial cost was pretty expensive but, the rack will last forever and the chassis will be useful until the SAS backplanes start to fail. In total the rack has around 100GB of RAM, 40TB of disk and around 30 cores of varying capability (everything from Intel Atom to Intel Xeon X56xx) and a lot of UPS (rack stays up for 1.5 hours without power). It's been up for a few years now and, though it's crazy stable, I do have some observations about a "home datacenter":

The rack sits in a 100sqft room on the main floor of my house and it presents some challenges: 1) A 100sqft room is likely to have a 15 amp breaker. The machines in my rack are all pretty power efficient (500W at idle) so, I'm not regularly bumping up against the 80% load of a 15 amp breaker but, it's something to consider. 2) Cooling. It can be a gigantic pain in the ass to keep the room at a sane temperature. In the summer, I have to open up the window and put a window fan in it. In Spring/Autumn, I generally monitor the drive temps and open/close windows as needed. In winter, I could open the server room door to heat the house except: 3) It's loud. Like, really loud. I've replaced all the power supplies in the big servers (which all have redundant power supplies) with super-duper-platinum-efficient power supplies and, it made it a huge difference but, it's still very, very loud. I bought a solid core door for the server room and put audiophile type sound absorbers in the room. It's still loud.

Apart from those 3 things, having a nearly-enterprise level rack in your home is doable. It's a lot of upfront money and work but, once it's all in place, it's pretty easy to maintain.

Comment Re: I never thought I'd say this... (Score 1) 353

Maybe it's wishful thinking but, if the ISPs are unwilling to upgrade rural areas they already serve to 10Mbit/s, perhaps they would be inclined to sell that infrastructure to local companies/municipalities instead. The logic being that they can then claim closer to 100% of their customers are receiving the FCC definition of broadband. Or maybe they don't care about that particular statistic. I dunno.

I live in a rural area and write software from home on a 5Mbit/s ADSL line and it's not terrible but, having talked with the technicians that have been out, I know that there is fiber running within two miles of my house (admittedly two miles up a mountain). The ISP will never, ever build that out. However, the community I live in has all the heavy machinery (owned by the community, not county/city/state) to maintain the roads and things like that. If the ISP would sell the infrastructure to the community (or a company founded by the community), I have little doubt that we'd have fiber running under all the roads within a summer with a moderate cost to run it to your home from there.

Comment Re:geek or not ~ pfSense (Score 1) 238

pfSense works well but Untangle is also worth mentioning ( It has all sorts of pluggable modules like VPN client/server, ad blocking, intrusion detection, etc. I've been using it for a few years on modest hardware (Intel Atom with 4G of RAM and a 1TB green disk) and it's always worked flawlessly.

Comment Re:Self-extracting EXEs (Score 1) 294

Supermicro is an excellent choice for high end. You pay a premium but it's one of the few companies that fills the niche between gaming motherboards and enterprise grade motherboards. They make both high end workstation motherboards and server motherboards and, because of the target audience, I would imagine that Linux support is a high priority. I've actually got an entire rack of Supermicro gear (chassis, motherboards, heat sinks, etc.) in my house and after several years of flawless running with Linux, I wouldn't even consider another vendor for high end home use.

Comment Re:Hate to be the one to point this out... (Score 2) 267

You aren't the only one that thinks that: A lot of the altcoins are definitely scams but, there is actually some legitimate work going on that is pretty interesting. Whether or not cryptocurrency ends up becoming mainstream or not is still unclear but, from a computer science standpoint, I think it's all pretty interesting. Maybe it's a fad that will go down in flames or maybe it will stabilize into something that benefits society. Either way, I've never understood all the /. hate for cryptocurrencies. It's a very nerdy and interesting modern development that no one has been forced to become involved with.

Comment Re:Labview (Score 1) 876

I've actually worked on several projects where we ended up creating a new visual programming language to solve the problem. We did it because it was almost impossible to express the problems in a traditional programming language. Visual programming is awkward when the problem doesn't lend itself to visual programming. If you wanted to argue that most problems don't lend themselves to visual programming, you'd get no argument here. But, if the problem calls for it, definitely don't be afraid to design a UI to describe it just because, traditionally, you've seen it not work.

Comment Re:Resurrecting (Score 4, Insightful) 2219

Maybe it didn't work in the past because there wasn't a vacuum to fill. People who have read Slashdot for 10+ years have come to rely on having a site like this. With the imminent death of the site, you aren't trying to convert a community, you'd be giving them a place to go.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM