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Comment: Just another reason not to fly..... (Score 2) 201

My wife and I last flew commercial on 9-10-2001 out of LGA, the day before 9-11. My wife and I decided, the next day that, short of an emergency situation, we were done flying commercial. If we couldn't drive to get there, we didn't need to go. It's not because we were afraid of terrorists, but we saw what a hassle and invasion of privacy it would became.

Comment: I've worn a watch for almost 60 years... (Score 1) 427

by the_rajah (#47321607) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?
I have a stainless steel self-winding Rolex Explorer that I bought for $157 in Gibraltar in November of 1969. I've had it serviced once. It still keeps very good time. It tells time in the 12 hour system. No day, no date, black face, high contrast very visible hands. It's a basic watch and it's exactly what I want in a watch. I don't think I need a "smart watch" to augment my smart phone. I will admit that I sometimes use a Plantronics Bluetooth headset with the smartphone, in part, to comply with our new laws regarding phone use while driving. That, so far, is the extent of my wearable technology.

Comment: I am an adjunct instructor at a for-profi college. (Score 1) 538

by the_rajah (#47291087) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
which shall remain nameless. I have taught electronics in college two times in my 44 year professional career, working in industry the remainder of the time. Currently, I am teaching only one class per week in the evening. If I taught full time, my pay would be about one third of my pay in industry. That was why I left teaching after 3 years as a full time instructor in the 1980s. I had a family to support and could only make ends meet comfortably by taking on consulting work beyond my teaching. Now, I am nearing retirement and was approached by the Dean of the school out of the blue, so decided to give it a try. I have completed one quarter and got good reviews from the students, so am now starting my second quarter. I view it as something useful to do in retirement.

Comment: Ah, all you youngsters,,, (Score 3, Informative) 153

by the_rajah (#47133033) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?
I was born in 1946. My father had been an Air Corps radio operator during WWII. He died when I was very young, but left behind a Hallicrafters receiver and a few boxes of electronic "stuff" that my mom did not throw away. My grandfather was not in the military, but was interested in radio during the 20's, 30's and 40's. He repaired radios and built some of his own from parts. He died, also when I was very young and, like my dad, left behind boxes of intriguing "stuff". When I was 9 or 10, I commandeered the Hallicrafters S-38 and started listening to Shortwave.

In our little town, the library had very few books about electronics and what they had were very old. I read them all. I wanted to check out the 1944 ARRL handbook, but it wasn't there. Somebody else had it. The librarian said she knew who had it and that it was over-due so she called the person that had it and they bicycled down to the library to return it. It was one of the high school kids a few years older than me, but the son of one of my mom's best friends. We struck up a friendship that endures to this day. He became a ham, too.

The librarian said that her brother, in the next town, was a ham radio operator and would I like to talk to him. I got my mom to take me over to meet him and decided that I was going to be a ham, too. My mom helped me study for the FCC test and learned the code along with me so I could pass the code test. At age 11, I passed the test and was a ham radio operator. I built my own Heathkit DX-40 transmitter, strung up an antenna and was on my way. My mom got her license, too, but didn't upgrade it when it expired. The entry level novice license was not renewable.

I discovered that I liked to build my own equipment. I salvaged parts from TV repair shops and surplus stores. In high school, I built a 1,000 Watt amplifier and had my own surplus model 15 Teletype machine, operating digital modes in the early 1960s, way ahead of the Internet. All my gear then used tubes, of course.

When I was in college, I studied Electrical Engineering. I wrote my first computer program in Fortran IV in the Fall of 1964. I had my first computer at home around 1976 which was a Mostek F8 development board interfaced to a surplus TI Silent 700 printing terminal.

Throughout my Engineering career, I was mostly a hardware designer, but software eventually played an important part, too, as a designer of elevator control systems, Elevator in the vertical transportation sense, not grain elevators, although I also designed grain temperature monitoring systems for the grain type.

I'm in my late 60's now, still working part-time in engineering and teaching electronics at the college level. I still enjoy being a ham radio operator, too. It's been a good ride and it's not over yet.


Comment: I'm a POTS fanboi... (Score 1) 449

by the_rajah (#46615449) Attached to: WSJ: Prepare To Hang Up the Phone — Forever
We had a tornado in our neighborhood in 2006. Power was out for 7 days and cable was out for 10. Cell service ceased working reliably because the cell towers were out. POTS never hiccuped, even as the tornado was overhead. I still had access to dialup Internet so I could at least do email.

Both AT&T, my POTS provider and Comcast, our cable provider, keep bugging us to switch to VOIP. I keep saying "No" for reason of reliability. There's nothing quite like having a pair of copper wires back to a central office powered by a big battery. Yes, we do have phones that don't require line power to operate including one in the basement where we shelter in a severe weather situation.

Then there is my ham radio equipment which has battery backup.

Comment: If it is a Windows 7 or later system: (Score 1) 531

by the_rajah (#46380945) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?
Firefox Chrome
MS Security Essentials

After that it depends on what I'm purposing the system for.

If it's for my use, I'll install VirtualBox along with a copy of my XP VM for some legacy software that doesn't play on any later versions of Windows

Comment: Adding to my own post... (Score 3, Informative) 285

I also had access to my grandparents collection of National Geographics going back to the 1920's.. I could get lost for hours reading those on a rainy day. Then there was my ham radio station, mostly home built while I was in high school. I lived in the country and had my own .22 rifle from the time I was 10 and could go outside and do some "plinking" even though there weren't other kids to play with. I didn't need video/electronic games. I know I'm old, so excuse me for thinking that video games are way over-rated.

Comment: I haven't gotten off the POTS yet.. (Score 1) 582

by the_rajah (#45565629) Attached to: The Dismantling of POTS: Bold Move Or Grave Error?
We have POTS service in our house and phones that don't need power other than the CO loop current.

Our neighborhood was hit in March 2006 by an F2 tornado. Our house survived rather well, but the infrastructure didn't.... other than the phone lines which are buried clear back to the CO. I was on the phone in the basement while the storm was passing overhead, checking on our kids who live nearby, but out of the direct path of the two tornadoes that hit our community that day. We had no electricity for a week and no cable for 10 days. They were mostly above ground.

My wife and I both have cell phones, but they did not work because the cell tower nearest us went down, too.

We survived fairly comfortably with a 5.5 KW generator and gas heat. We had access to the Internet via a dialup connection, which we don't have now.

I'm a firm POTS believer.

"I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest." -- Alexandre Dumas (fils)