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Comment Still king (Score 5, Interesting) 70

I've been using Slackware since before Slackware 96 (a Windows 95 joke, you see, and my memory is dim, but I seem to recall that there was once some semi-serious questions on which one would be released first) and I haven't yet found anything I wanted to do that I couldn't do in Slackware.

Mythtv backends? Slackware. Frontends? Slackware. Webserver? File server? Mail server? DNS server? All Slackware. iptables/ebtables bridge/router/firewall/VPN abomination? Slackware, baby!

Runs great on my litebook too. In fact, not counting my Pis and other appliances, the only linux box I have that isn't Slackware and probably won't ever become Slackware is my CNC controller - and that is because EMC comes as an installable/live ISO.

My personal favorite was setting up iSCSI targets. The examples and documentation are all written for enterprise distros, but they just wouldn't work. Load slackware, write a couple of slackbuild files, fire up the compiler and BAM! $10,000 in hardware outperforms the dedicated SAN boxes other people are spending 6 digits on. Hell, I think I paid less for my entire DRBD bulk slave than some of the quotes that I got for annual maintenance on commercial SAN "solutions".

Oh, and if I recall correctly, Patrick is one of the handful of other 4-digit UIDs still active here. I haven't talked to him in a while. If he is still in MN, I should make a point of getting up to his remote part of the state to buy him a beer.

Comment Re:PLease explain difference between QOS and fastl (Score 1) 225

I am not a damn ISP routing traffic for all and sundry, so net neutrality laws don't apply to me. Saying "Maybe in the future something bad will happen as a consequence" is not a good argument against trying to regulate bad behavior that actually exists now. Nobody has EVER been saying that you can't block or shape traffic on your own network, and no amount of fear mongering on your part will change that.

You just basically start from the premise that anything that we, the people choose to do through our government will always turn out bad. Then you argue backwards from your desired conclusion to reach a set of statements that support it. That's called self justification, not an argument.

Comment It would be useful to label drugs with issues... (Score 1) 316

Most drugs just deteriorate into something useless but not necessarily dangerous, usually in a decaying exponentiial. A few drugs deteriorate into something toxic, or otherwise having different drug-like effects. Another few may react with their breakdown products to decay at a harder to predict non-linear rate.

IMHO it would be useful to identify, publicly, which are which - especially the ones that get toxic after a while. It would also be useful to have an estimate of how rapidly they degrade under various storage conditions.

That way people could avoid things that get dangerous with age, but use (at their own risk) longer-lived drugs, perhaps slightly raiding the dose, for long after the 95% effectiveness "expiration date".

Comment Warranty (Score 4, Interesting) 316

I've taken to calling the dates on pill bottles the "warranty date", and I refer to the contents as being "out of warranty" instead of "expired". Ditto lots of food.

It is easy for me, but hard on the girlfriend. She can watch me eat a can of Chili that has been out of warranty for 5 years (making it 7 or 8 years old) and know that it is fine, but still be unable to take a bite herself.

Same problem with pills. A big bottle of ibuprofen costs just a little bit more than a small bottle, so if I need 2 pairs of pills, I'll almost always spend the extra $2 to get 200 instead of 50, or whatever. If I don't need them again for 4 years, it doesn't bother me at all that they've gone off warranty along the way.

Disgust is wired very deeply in the brain, even though the higher layers of the brain interact with it. And for most people, it is nearly impossible to overcome.

Comment Re:Ask me how I can tell you're a Republican. (Score 1, Troll) 139

Perfectly willing to ignore that the actual hacking that Democrats are concerned about was related to breaking into email accounts for Democrats, not elections computers ...

Nobody on the R side is ignoring that. But what the Ds are trying to distract everybody from is that the alleged "Russian hacking" consists of exposing what the major Ds were actually saying to each other (about how they cheated Sanders out of a legitimate primary run, what contempt they had for the voters and how they lied to them, and so on).

If the Russians were really behind those leaks, and they did swing the election, it seems to me that the people involved deserve both a close encounter of the law-enforcement kind AND a Pulitzer Prize.

It is absurd to ignore how the GOP has been found by numerous courts to have deliberately targeted selected mechanisms of ID because the opposing voting base uses them, ...

It's not absurd if:
  - the opposing voting base uses them because they're easy to fake, AND
  - the not-so-easy-to-fake alternatives are both easy to obtain (by any QUALIFIED voter) and free. ... when the GOP is found by numerous courts to have engaged in ... gerrymandering ...

Gerrymadering is a two-team sport. If you don't believe the Ds also play a good game, take a look at California, just for starters.

Also: "... found by numerous courts ..." cuts no ice when egregiously left-wing and activist judges are one of the grievances of both the Rs and the voters for them.

But thank you for playing straight-man. B-)

Comment BLE or classic Bluetooth (Score 1) 70

It's not completely clear to me from TLA whether this builds on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy a.k.a. Bluetooth Smart), though the reference to the 4.0 level of the standard, the many instances of the word "Smart" in the article, that it's a mesh, and the nature of the protocols all suggest it's BLE.

If so, it will be interesting to see how they keep it from eating up the devices' batteries. BLE devices get a couple years out of a coin cell by spending about 99.5% of their time "asleep", drawing roughly three orders of magnitude less current (~5 uA rather than ~5 mA) than when awake and with the radio on. Typically only a clock using a watch crystal is running during that time.

(Yes, that 99.5% isn't rhetoric. An advertisement takes about 5 ms, so a configuration of one advert per sec comes out to a duty cycle of about 1/200.)

They get away with that because they have a distinction between centrals (which have line power or (like smartphones) big batteries with frequent recharging) and peripherals (little battery powered devices that must only sip electrons). Peripherals can transmit when they feel like it. But centrals have to spend a lot of time listening, and the receiver (which has a lot to do) is (counterintuitively) slightly more power hungry than the transmitter.

If you try to build a mesh network out of what were formerly peripherals, not only do they have to spend several times as much battery power forwarding other devices' messages than they do handing their own (if everybody is equally chatty), but if the scheduling isn't set up right (or while listening for new players) they may need to leave the receiver on for substantial periods listening to the crickets chirp. That would just KILL battery life.

So I await the opportunity to peruse this addition to the spec. with bated breath.

(But not held breath. Even without this, the BLE v4.1 standard was 2,841 pages of some of the crummiest prose I've had the misfortune to have to try to understand. And I may be the only person to successfully implement a T1/T2/T3 framer from just the Bell standards and a logic analyzer bitstream capture.)

Comment Re:ZigBee & Z-Wave. (Score 1) 70

Zigbee on the other hand performs well and has been growing by leaps and bounds.

And, as I hear it, BLE / "Bluetooth Low Energy" / "Bluetooth Smart" - a different networking protocol from original Bluetooth in the lower layers but sharing some of the upper layers, or at least the upper layer design approaches - was largely created (absorbed into the Bluetooth standard from its inventors, with their gleeful cooperation) in reaction to ZigBee's success.

Comment Maybe it is your case. Here's my notes. (Score 1) 483

I looked at your post again and I think maybe it WAS the same problem. (Mine was a Toshiba - satellite, I think - bought surplus from work that went to black-screen-on-login after it updated to Natty 11.4 and was still broken with Oneiric 11.10)

So here's my notes from the install.

Sat May 19

  - Backed up critical part of home directory to white 4G thumb drive.
  - Used "upgrade" button in update manager to go to new revision.
        - It went to Natty. (11.04?)
        - Broken:
              - New workspace.
              - Freezes once taskbar shows.
              - Could get console login on pseudoterm ctl-alt-F1
              - Console login prompted for another upgrade.
  - Upgraded again (using command interface.) Went to onieric (11.10)
        - Still frozen.
        - Live CD can't see encrypted disk.

Sun May 20.

  - Much debugging:
        - Initially thought it was mouse buttons. But:
              - Mouse worked fine on login screen.
              - Control-alt-delete, enter: Logs out. Screen flashes then
                  back to login.
              - So it looks like a permission issue.
              - Much looking around on net found stuff on it:
                    - Related to Nvidia driver:
            - (compiz?) isn't changing permission somewhere like previous
                workspace did so userspace stuff can't touch screen.
            - User got past it by:
                  - Going to classic no-effects in login screen options.
                  - Uninstalling nvidia "recommended" driver in "additional drivers".
                          - Then fixed by installing (via Synaptic) and enabling
                      (in Jockey/additional drivers) xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
                      driver (which he reports as being faster than Nvidia's
                      proprietary driver.)
                      (Something about moving-aside /etc/X11/xorg.conf)
Mon May 21 21:47:14 PDT 2012

  - Continued debugging:
        - Was able to get it working by selecting a 3D session.
        - Tried disabling Nvidia's driver.
              - This ended up with a system that didn't display X screen asking
                  for full-disk password.
              - Got around that by rebooting, which got grub options to
                  try recovery mode and using that.
              - Disabling driver apparently works by:
                    - putting nvidia in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-local.conf (only entry)
                    - putting nvidiafb in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer.conf
                  so modprobe wouldn't load it. But taking it out didn't fix boot.
            - /boot/(image) was fresh: Looks like it's a snapshot with the
                broken config embedded.
              - Was able to get live by:
            - Recovery mode
                    - Removing above blacklists.
            - Removing (putting aside as .neo) xorg.conf (which was apparently
            - go to live mode.
            - sudo modprobe nvidia, sudo modprobe nvidiafb
            - text login as [my i.d.]l
            - startx.
              - Reinstalled nvidia-current and went back to using the 2d version
                  for now.
            > (Try fixing properly next weekend. Too much to do now.)

  - Firefox is working.
  - Can get to email on yahoo.
  - Libre Office will open resume. Good.

  - Flash not working:
        - Stuff about HTML5 trial at YouTube, but opting out didn't help.
        - Downloaded flashplugin-downloader & flashplugin-installer.
        - That was enough to bring it live WITHOUT actually running it...
            (Probaly either autoran on triggers or fixed missing piece.)

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