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Comment Weight loss and weight maintenance (Score 5, Insightful) 150

I was anorexically skinny in my teens, but gained a bit of weight (related to other life changes) and was comfortable in my 20s and 30s. My weight crept up on me in my 40s, and I was in a constant state of denial about it. No. I'm not fat. Who, me?

Then I decided to look in to a long-standing dream of mine and learn to fly. I got as far as the left seat of a 172 and couldn't get the seatbelt around me. Hell, I could only just barely close the door. I was crushed, but motivated. I did something about it...

I've lost a total of 160 pounds. Once again I'm skinny. Not as skinny as I was when I was 17, but nicely long and lean. I like it. No. I fucking love it. As part of my weight maintenance I weigh myself every Sunday morning. And I've beaten the odds: 90% of people who lose weight gain it back within a year. I'm coming up on two years. I hope to maintain my weight the rest of my life.

BTW: I passed my flight test last May. Flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. :-)

...laura

Comment Two motivations (Score 1) 514

I see two motivations for learning another language or six. It doesn't matter which one(s).

The first motivation is that learning another language gives you better perspective on your own. You have a basis for comparison that you didn't have before. I learned way more about English in French class, and added to that insight when I studied German and Spanish on my own.

The second motivation is that it opens doors. Language is a window on culture. It shows how people think. If you travel, it will be helpful. If you don't, it may not be. My German and Spanish are decidedly fumbling, ungrammatical and arm-wavey, but the attempt is respected and opens doors. The less said about my Russian the better...

In a past job I worked with customers in France, Belgium, England, Germany, and Quebec. An important distributor were near Orly airport. Paris looks very different when you have an expense account. :-)

...laura

Comment Cold turkey (Score 1) 943

If you want to do it you have to go cold turkey. Just like other countries have done. Stop printing $1 bills, start issuing $1 coins. Done.

In the 20th Century in Canada we ditched $0.25, $1 and $2 notes in favour of coins, and ditched $1000 notes entirely. The last series of 25 cent notes were dated 1923, withdrawn by the Bank of Canada with the 1935 series, BTW.

...laura

Comment Buying a used cop car (Score 1) 146

A few years ago I was in the market for a car, and I considered a used police car.

The car makers usually have a police option group, including heavy duty front suspension and a heavy duty electrical system. Just what I need for driving up mountains with radios and telescopes.

Not to mention the intimidation factor. Around here, the cops like Ford Crown Victorias. And only cops drive them. Ford haven't sold them to private individuals for a long time, and they were never a big seller anyway.

...laura

Comment I'm Canadian... (Score 1) 707

...and I support Obama, and hope he wins.

From what I've seen of the campaign, Romney is more of the same, while Obama genuinely wants to change the direction of the country. I wish him well.

A question I heard on the radio yesterday: the U.S. economy is the worst it's been since the 1930s, and the best the Republicans can do appears to be a dead heat. Why?

...laura

Comment Do it yourself cluster (Score 1) 161

I sometimes look at the ads for the local computer stores and add up what it would cost to roll my own cluster. At 2012 prices a 32 core cluster (say, 8 Core i5 CPUs) would cost only a little more than my first computer, that I bought in 1986. And that's at retail prices. I'm sure if I wanted a bulk purchase, the stores would cut me a deal.

Then I wonder what I would do with it, and decide I have better things to spend my money on...

...laura

Submission + - Little boxes around the edge of the data centre?

spaceyhackerlady writes: We're looking at some new development, and a big question mark is the little boxes around the edge of the data centre — the NTP servers, the monitoring boxes, the stuff that supports and interfaces with the Big Iron that does the real work.

The last time I visited a hosting farm I saw shelves of Mac Minis, but that was 5 years ago. What do people like now for their little support boxes?

Comment If you can't do it with Slackware... (Score 2) 867

...is it worth doing?

At home I've only ever used Slackware, from 1997 (Slackware 3.1 aka Slackware '96) to the present day. I did my thesis on a Slackware box, initially a 486/66, upgraded to a snazzy (?) Pentium 233 MMX. My personal development/play machine at work is Slackware.

The Powers That Be insist on RedHat for production, but tolerate us using CentOS for development. So be it.

I've played with Debian on Sun UltraSPARC boxes, but the novelty has since worn off.

...laura

Comment Been there, done that (Score 1) 1080

Over the last couple of years I've been quietly replacing my incandescent light bulbs with CFLs.

The only issue I've had is the ones with the warmest colour take the longest to come up to full brightness. The one in my kitchen is full brightness pretty well immediately, but has a blue cast. The ones in my bedroom and living room take about 30 seconds from turning on to full brightness, but have a much nicer colour.

...laura

Comment Show them! (Score 1) 298

I grabbed a PC that wasn't doing anything, loaded my favourite distro (Slackware) on it, plugged it in to the network, and showed that it could do useful things at an interesting price compared to the Sun hardware we mainly used at the time.

Now we use Linux for all new development. The suits insist on RedHat for product stuff. So be it. We use CentOS for development. My personal box remains Slackware.

...laura

Comment Re:You can still fly this way if you want to (Score 1) 382

I'd think a lot of people who fly recreationally and are not commercial pilots, have licenses that don't allow them to do any sort of for-hire work. They'd lose their licenses if it ever came out that they did. So that's not quite nice to those pilots, it's like waving a lollipop and enticing them to do stuff they shouldn't.

Sharing expenses is OK for a private pilot. Making money is not. Be careful how you divvy up the bills and you'l be fine.

...laura

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