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Comment I chose FreeBSD. (Score 1) 405

I'm a professional UNIX admin. I've worked extensively with both FreeBSD and Solaris for years. Most of my recent work experience has been with Solaris 10, but I've run FreeBSD at home for years.

I recently needed to stand up a new application server at home. I considered using Linux, using OpenSolaris, or using FreeBSD.

I considered Fedora because the handwriting is on the wall where I work: the company will not permit new Solaris installations, in large part because it's not clear that Sun will still be a viable concern in a year or two. The corporate direction is to move to Red Hat. However, I quickly became infuriated with the poor quality of Fedora's documentation. I couldn't find clear answers to setup questions. This wasn't a problem with either FreeBSD or OpenSolaris. This took Fedora out of the running for me.

I decided to try OpenSolaris, because I know Solaris 10 and it might be useful to have the extra practice system at home. But OpenSolaris isn't Solaris 10. It doesn't have the driver support.

What really caused me to wipe out my OpenSolaris install and go with FreeBSD, however, was learning that Sun doesn't even supply security patches for OpenSolaris. If a security issue arises, you either have to wait for the next OpenSolaris release, or go about rebuilding from source. If you want prompt security patches, you have to pay for a Sun support contract -- and pay just as much as you'd pay for the "commercially supported" Solaris 10.

This astounded me. On Solaris 10, Sun provides critical security patches free of charge. Why does the "commerical" package provide free security patches, but the "open source" package doesn't?

There are features in OpenSolaris and Solaris 10 that FreeBSD doesn't have. But, speaking as a certified Solaris admin, I have to say that FreeBSD is more supportable if you can't afford the Sun support contract.

So, I would, and did, go with FreeBSD. It works great, it's solid, it's well supported, it runs well on all sorts of hardware, and it's likely to be around for a while. If the European Union drags out the Oracle/Sun deal much longer, I don't know that Sun will be able to avoid liquidation. Even if the deal goes through, Sun has a big challenge; a lot of their best customers have pulled away because of the uncertainty -- and the decline in support quality over the past year or two. I don't think that Solaris experience means quite as much as it used to on a resume.

Comment Re:Detection (Score 3, Informative) 259

LIDAR requires that the officer be stationary, have their window rolled down, be parked such that they are shooting LIDAR as close to parallel with the flow of traffic as possible, and not have any weather conditions that would obstruct the laser (or make life really miserable for the officer, as the window is down). The officer has to actively aim the device at each car he wishes to clock.

On the New York State Thruway, most of the traffic enforcement still uses Ka-band radar. The radar units are permanently installed on the cars and don't require exposure to the elements. They can provide accurate readings while the car is in motion, allowing the officer to patrol while still checking speed. Many cars have dual fore-and-aft antennas so they can clock cars ahead of and behind them. They can park the car and leave the radar on, not only slowing down traffic that has radar detectors, but letting them work on other things while waiting for the radar's "too fast" alarm to go off.

I'm not surprised NYS Troopers don't use LIDAR as often -- it's much more of a hassle for them to use.

As for detecting LIDAR: If you have a dark-colored car without a lot of reflective chrome or a front license plate, and you leave your headlights on, it is possible to detect LIDAR before it locks on to you, at least some of the time. Car and Driver tested this several years ago and found that, while it's difficult to beat LIDAR, it's not impossible.

As for "instant-on" radar: Yes, it exists, but there's that convenience issue again. Rarely do I ever see officers using it on the highway. Should one wish to speed while using their radar detector, the safe thing is to only do so when there's at least a few cars visible ahead of you. That way, your detector will be set off when the officer uses their "instant-on" to clock the cars ahead of you.

Education

California To Move To Online Textbooks 468

Hugh Pickens writes "Last year California spent $350m on textbooks so facing a state budget shortfall of $24.3 billion, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has unveiled a plan to save money by phasing out 'antiquated, heavy, expensive textbooks' in favor of internet aids. Schwarzenegger believes internet activities such as Facebook, Twitter and downloading to iPods show that young people are the first to adopt new online technologies and that the internet is the best way to learn in classrooms so from the beginning of the school year in August, math and science students in California's high schools will have access to online texts that have passed an academic standards review. 'It's nonsensical — and expensive — to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form,' writes Schwarzenegger. 'As the music and newspaper industries will attest, those who adapt quickly to changing consumer and business demands will thrive in our increasingly digital society and worldwide economy. Digital textbooks can help us achieve those goals and ensure that California's students continue to thrive in the global marketplace.'"
Sci-Fi

Futurama Rumored To Return On Comedy Central 259

avajcovec points out a brief note on Collider.com that Comedy Central has ordered 13 new episodes of Futurama. Quoting: "Though still technically a rumor at this point, word is that 'Futurama' production offices have already opened and that casting is about to move forward. This should be a welcome surprise to fans of the show who have already gone through the series' cancellation and resurrection as direct-to-DVD movies."

Comment Re:Ouch (Score 4, Interesting) 849

One of my ex-girlfriends was of Hispanic descent, and was born in New Mexico. While living in Rochester, NY, she was driving her mother's Ford Escort, which had New Mexico plates on it.

One evening, a Rochester police officer followed her home to our suburban apartment from her downtown office. In the parking lot, he proceeded to detain her and demand that she present her green card, since she was obviously a Mexican given the plates on her car. The fact that she had a valid New York driver's license, and plenty of other supporting identification documents, didn't override the damning evidence of the registration tags for this officer.

The ex-girlfriend, having relatives who were cops, politely objected. The officer apparently called his sergeant for backup. When the sergeant arrived, he educated the patrolman on the fact that New Mexico is part of the United States, and people from New Mexico are U.S. citizens who do not need green cards...

There are plenty of intelligent cops out there. There are also some astoundingly stupid ones. This is why we have laws and Constitutions that limit police power.

XBox (Games)

Submission + - Xbox 360's jamming wireless signals? (itwire.com)

WirePosted writes: "A report has emerged suggesting the Xbox 360's inbuilt wireless system for communication with wireless controllers and headsets is transmitting over a wide area of the 2.4Ghz spectrum, causing interference to WLAN's and other 2.4Ghz devices."

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