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Comment Re:Eh (Score 1) 461

The small city where I live, did not yet have a local access number for AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, or a local Internet provider until somewhere later on in the late 1990s. I was told that our local calling area was too small to bother providing us with a local access number.

Later on in the 1990s, it seemed like we must have one one of the last places in Arizona to not have a local Internet provider, or access to AOL, Compuserve, or Prodigy. We did at least have several local computer bulletin boards that I could try out instead.

When Internet access did finally arrive several years later, the telephone lines in our neighborhood were not good enough for 28.8k. Most of the time, the modem would connect at 26.4k, and occasionally just at 24k. I am not sure what year 56k modems became available, but when the did, they would only connect at 26.4k here.

In the late 1990s and beyond, internal modems would only stay connected for a few minutes at a time on the telephone companies old local telephone lines that connected to where I live. Fortunately, I soon discovered that external modems would stay connected just fine.

It was not until fairly recently, like probably about 2007, when DSL finally became available where I live. I did not have cable either (and still don't). It was probably only about 5 years ago, that I was still only able to connect to the Internet at 26.4k.

Comment Re:ask a mechanic (Score 1) 672

Pack rats eating the insulation off of the wiring is a common problem for cars and trucks in my neighborhood. Typically, what happens is that the person goes out to start their car, and it won't start, because of the damage. On neighbor ended up having his roughly 20 year old Lincoln Continental scrapped at a junk yard because of all the damage to the wiring.

A nearby woman had her wiring chewed up twice, on her car. On the second occasion, the pack rats also chewed through a small water hose, such as possibly a heater hose.

About 50 miles away, someone once had the wiring in their Rolls-Royce chewed up so badly, that a new wiring harness had to be ordered. The Rolls-Royce had been parked inside their garage.

About a decade ago, pack-rats built a nest under the air cleaner on top of the engine in my truck. After tearing out their nest of sticks, thorns and dried leaves, for the second time, they finally gave up. Fortunately, I did not have any electrical problems. Perhaps my old GMC truck does not have soy-based insulation. The main wiring harness is also protected by a hard thick plastic shield. Twenty years later, my old truck is still running reliably, perhaps partially because it has relatively low mileage on the odometer for a 20 year old vehicle.

About decade or so ago, I also had a problem with pack rats (or possibly squirrels) building a nest inside the air cleaner of our old mid-1970s era backhoe. The diesel engine had been smoking badly. When the rat's nest was removed from the air cleaner, the engine stopped smoking. If the rats were sometimes inside their nest when the engine was started, I wonder what they thought of all noise, vibration, and wind through their nest.

Comment Re:DuckDuckGo (Score 4, Informative) 128

Startpage does not record your IP address or track your searches. The Startpage the results are actually generated by Google.

Startpage supports SSL. So, when I type in, "https" appears in front of their URL instead of "http." That extra "s" tells me that that encryption is being used between my browser and the Startpage servers.

The sister search engine to Startpage is Ixquick. If I am not mistaken, the Ixquick search results are generated by various search engines other than Google.

Startpage also offers the option of viewing web sites through their proxy service. When selecting something from their search results, just click on "view by Ixquick proxy." Then, they only see the Startpage IP address, instead of your IP address. However, I have almost never actually bothered to use the proxy feature.

Privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht is the enthusiastic spokeswoman for Startpage.

Comment Re:Same thing has happened to me... (Score 1) 624

I realize that both incidents were with an American Airlines representative, not a government official, but I have occasionally encountered government officials who have a similar bad attitude. Such people seem to enjoy being in a position of power.

I do not travel much, but once had a bad experience with a state highway inspector. About 20 years ago, a paving contractor was digging up our driveway at work to install a sewer line. At the end of the work day, the contractor had left his backhoe parked near the highway. As I recall, it might have been roughly about about 15 feet from the highway, which seemed far enough away from the highway.

But an official from the Highway Department or ADOT (or something like that), here in Arizona, happened to pass by on the way back from another job. He angrily stormed into our office and the first thing he said to me was I am your worst nightmare. Then he said that the backhoe was parked too close to the highway, by a couple of feet. He demanded that I have the backhoe moved at once.

I said that I would have to phone the owner of the business, to get the name of the contractor, and give them a call. That made him made him furious. As he started venting his anger at me, he threatened to have rented signs installed at our expense, unless I called the contractor right this instant.

After telephoning the owners of the business, I soon had the name and telephone number of the contractor, and gave them a call. The contractor said he would come out and take care of the problem. The ADOT official then left.

By contrast, I have also encountered government employees are were quite courteous and helpful.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 2) 355

A whistle-blower or political dissident could purchase an inexpensive printer in cash, without using their shoppers discount card. Then they could print the files from the USB device and then quickly dispose of the inexpensive printer.

Not wanting to risk loosing their job, or getting sued or harassed by their corrupt employer, they could even go so far as to purchase the printer in cash from a store in a different city. That way, records would show that the printer had been sold to someone in cash, in some city other than when the whistle-blower actually lives.

Does downloading updated printer drivers involve sending the printer's serial number and IP address back to the manufacturer? I do not know if that actually happens or not. To cover that possibility, a technically adept whistle-blower could disconnect their computer from the Internet and then boot up from a Knoppix disk or some other live Linux CD, before printing the documents. Most likely, the Linux live CD will already have the Linux driver for that printer, already on the CD. They could then dispose of the printer and the LiveCD before connecting the connecting their computer to the Internet and then booting it back up in Windows or Mac OS.

An alternative to using a Linux live CD, would be to purchase an old used computer in cash. Presumably, the driver for the printer could be installed from the CD without never having to be connected to the Internet. The inexpensive old used computer could then quickly be disposed of.

When mailing the documents to an activist group or the press, they could also mail if from a different city than where they actually live, so that the post mark would not show which city they live in.

Unfortunately, most whistleblowers or political dissidents probably would not know about the tiny yellow dots. Of course, it would be preferable if most criminals do not know about such technology. Most terrorist organizations are probably already sophisticated enough to avoid such mistakes, unfortunately.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 355

The need for yellow ink would probably also explain why when one of the color cartridges runs out on the printer at work, the printer will refuse to print in black-and-white. Presumably, they would need the yellow cartridge to print the yellow microdots on the black-and-white documents. That is on a Hewlett-Packard combination printer/copy/fax machine.

Since 99% of what I print at work is in black-and-white, it is quite annoying to suddenly have it quit working when it suddenly says that it just ran out of one of the three colors. I then have to take an hour of my time to drive into town and back to go get that particular color ink cartridge.

That same printer, will also not allow me to even try to print on an ink cartridge that is starting to run empty. They probably do not want to risk not having the microdots not show up clearly.

The older Hewlett-Packard printers that I had used at home and at work, in the past, would all allow me to continue printing in black-and-white or color, when the color cartridge was empty or starting to run out. Until now, it never occurred to me that it might because of the needed to print yellow microdots, as a tracking device.

Comment Re:BOGUS STORY (Score 1) 554

What if the parent is a vegetarian or a vegan?

The article says "that means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home."

The required serving of grain could be a problem for children who suffer from celiac disease. It is an auto immune disease, where their bodies have a reaction to gluten which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale . My understanding is that celiac sufferers can eat millet, sorghum, rice, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat. Celiac disease is a very common problem.

Various diet and nutrition authors have been arguing for years about what type of diet is best. The inspector was making sure that the lunches meet USDA requirements. The USDA requirements are just one viewpoint. Government inspectors should not be able to force their preferences on parents, especially when the child shows up with a fairly normal reasonable lunch.

Comment Re:Linux vendor? (Score 1) 193

I have both a Linux computer and a Windows XP computer at home and, for me, they both seem quite polished and easy to use. I have been using both for many years, so by now I am equally comfortable using either Linux or Windows. I see advantages and disadvantages to using either operating system.

Some past versions of Linux did have a few noticeable bugs or other problems. But, Kubuntu 10.04 seems to be working quite well on this computer.

Kubuntu uses KDE instead of Gnome, IceWM, Enlightenment, or one of the other free desktop environments available for Linux.

Like most Linux users, I have never needed to use a virus scanner. I do not know how a new computer user would think Linux and Windows compare. But, I do know of several older people seem to have trouble keeping their Windows computers working properly.

In some ways, installing, upgrading, and installing security updates is now easier with Linux than Windows. After downloading and installing the Synaptic package manager, I had a simple point-and-click tool to install, uninstall, and upgrade all of the software. That is unlike my Windows XP computer, where Windows updates itself automatically, but it is a constant struggle to keep everything else updated. I also like how it is safe and easy to download whatever free software I want from the official Kubuntu repositories.

Synaptic is a GUI front end for the APT, which is a command line tool. The Synaptic Package manager and official repositories are used on some versions of Linux such as Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and PCLinuxOS. Other versions of Linux do it differently.

Comment Re:Why don't they just ... (Score 3, Interesting) 117

I also read about it in Tarzan at the Earths core by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That book describes how the Earth is hollow, with openings to the inhabitable inner world at the north and south poles.

In that book, Jason Gridley decided to build a rigid airship, using helium, with sufficient range to fly through the polar opening to the inner world and back. But, he was unsure how to build a hull that was sufficiently strong and light that could survive the conditions along the way. Not sure how to solve that problem, he traveled to the jungles of Africa to ask Tarzan for his advice. Fortunately, Tarzan had recently heard about a nearby lake-dwelling tribe that was using canoes made of a metal that was as strong as steel and as light as cork.

The book said that inner world had accidentally been discovered previously by David Innes and Abner Perry who had been planning to look for anthracite coal with their newly invented mechanical prospector. But, on their trial voyage, their steering mechanism jammed and they accidentally drilled 500 miles down into the Earth's core, reaching the hollow inner world. Perry remained behind, while Innes made the difficult trip back to the surface. The book does not mention them having any problems with the drilling mechanism becoming too hot.

Jason and Tarzan went on to build their 997 foot long airship from harbenite. Jason knew that Tarzan's skills would prove useful one the reached the Earth's core.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 423

It is quite likely that the one juror who fell asleep could not help falling asleep. Despite taking my civic responsibility of jury duty seriously, I had trouble staying awake, when I was once on a one day jury trial. I did not get a good nights sleep the night before, and getting to the courtroom in time meant that I had to get up earlier than normal.

When filling out the jury duty questionnaire that I received in the mail, I had warned them that I sometimes had trouble with insomnia, but they selected me anyway. During jury selection, I did not try to use my only having had a few hours of sleep as an excuse to try and get out of jury duty, because I was wide awake and alert at the time and thought I would be OK.

During each of the breaks, I quickly walked up and down the steps from the basement to the top floor and back several times to try and wake up. At one point, the judge probably noticed me getting tired, and without singling me out, he asked everyone to stand up and stretch for a minute or two.

Fortunately, the questions and discussion about laws and correct procedures for bicyclists and cars on city streets, was interesting enough to help keep me awake. But unfortunately, during the afternoon, there was some boring stuff that was making me even more sleepy.

I took my civic duty as a juror seriously, but still had trouble staying awake. If it had been a longer trial, some days would have probably been worse. I would have been unable to focus on what they were saying because of the mental effort required to try to stay awake. I no longer have insomnia or any problems with tiredness anymore, by the way.

Comment Re:But how many of those 700,000 are alive? (Score 1) 358

I would have preferred to use ladder line because of its lower losses, but probably should not run ladder line underneath the overhead power lines. I am planning to use a buried conduit for my RG-213 coax. I will probably use either the schedule 40 plastic conduit or the heavier schedule 80 plastic conduit. In the past, I always felt that I probably should not run my coax underneath the power lines, even if buried. Various difficulties like that in my location, are why 20 years have gone by without putting up an antenna for HF use.

I will not be able to dig a ditch for my buried conduit. So, I plan to add a thin layer of rocks and dirt on top of the conduit, after laying the conduit on top of the layer of the granite bedrock.

Where I live is upstairs from where I work at our small family business. Unfortunately, that means that my antenna will be in a publicly accessible area. So I have been concerned about someone getting shocked by touching my vertical antenna. Fortunately, the vertical antenna that I plan to use is made of fiberglass and is double insulated. I am planning to use an LDG electronics S9v31 31 foot tall multi-band vertical antenna.

Hardly anyone ever actually walks up through the brush, rocks, and prickly pear cactus to that particular spot. But, I also plan to plant several cactus around the base of my antenna, to keep people away.

Comment Re:But how many of those 700,000 are alive? (Score 1) 358

I have been a licensed ham for 20 years, but have never been very active in the hobby. Two sets of intersecting over head power lines and the two intersecting roads, have left me with no good place for a large antenna. So, all I had was the 2-meter radio in my truck and the 2-meter radio at home. Using 2-meters did not require a large antenna, but only provided enough range for line-of-sight communications, or using mountain top repeaters to reach one of several nearby cities.

Now that band conditions are starting to improve, I have finally figured out where to put my antenna. There is a small bare spot about 100 feet away on top of a small minor hilltop where I have room for a decent sized vertical antenna and buried radials. It is just barely far enough away from the power lines. Hopefully, the power losses in 100 feet of coax will not be too much if I use RG-213 coax and put a weatherproof automatic antenna tuner at the base of the multi-band vertical antenna.

Unfortunately there is no place to put a ground rod for lightning protection on that side of the building. There is only about 2 inches of dirt on top of the solid rock on that side of the building. From there, to where I want to put my vertical antenna is solid rock all the way. My current plan is to just disconnect the coax cable and move it away from the building during much of the summer. At least I will finally be able to get on the air most of the year.

I am more interested in using CW and PSK31, than in talking on SSB. I hope to finally start using HF, now that band conditions are starting to improve. I will also need to read up on the basic rules and procedures, since it has been 10 years since I last studied for my General Class License, and I have not been active.

Comment Re:What an over sensationalist title (Score 1) 899

ZaReason is another company that also sells laptops (and desktops) without Windows installed. They offer a choice of various versions of Linux such as Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Fedora,or no operating system at all.

I have had a ZaReason desktop computer for almost a year, so far, but they also sell laptops.


Comment Re:What an over sensationalist title (Score 1) 899

ZaReason and System76 sell both laptop and desktop computers with Linux pre-installed. About a year ago, I bought a ZaReason computer and have been quite happy with it. Mine is a desktop computer.

When buying my ZaReason computer, I got to choose between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Fedora, or no operating system.

I am not sure if those are available in Europe Europe or not. I live here in the U.S.

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