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Comment Re:Define "Conventional" (Score 1) 357

Probably true, but I am in my 40s and have held 15 "regular" jobs (a few were held concurrently, 2 at a time) and have worked as a contractor and ran my own (unsuccessful) business. Considering that this covers a little over 25 years, and several "second" jobs, I would say that admitting to 15 jobs does not make me feel in any way unstable. In fact, the majority of the primary jobs have been steps up, to better positions or better pay.

Comment Welcome to Idiocracy (Score 5, Insightful) 407

FTA: 'So while it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.'

Yes, the law says you can make and keep a backup copy of your DVD. But since the law also says that making or delivering a tool to do that is illegal, what are consumers expected to do?* Not everyone can afford to hire Superman to come over for the evening to burn backup DVDs with his laser vision. (Not to mention, he gets bored and starts flipping bits for the hell of it.)

*BTW: consumers are expected to buy the same DVDs multiple times as they get scratched up, left on a windowsill to warp by your nephew or chewed up by your dog, That's what consumers are expected to do.
Operating Systems

Submission + - The Agony of FOSS 'Branding' (

jammag writes: "The very idea of marketing makes most Free and Open Source software advocates recoil in horror — which really helps marketing-happy Apple and Microsoft. Linux pundit Bruce Byfield examines the agonized state of how FOSS presents itself — its many microbrands and its many flame wars — and asks the community to grow beyond its view of marketing as corporate evil — to better take on corporate software in the process."

Submission + - Man Builds 18ft High Robotic Exoskeleton ( 1

Hacx writes: Carlos Owens had handled all kinds of machines as an army mechanic, but he always dreamed of using those skills for one project: his own "mecha," a giant metal robot that could mirror the movements of its human pilot.
Owens, 31, began building an 18-foot-tall, one-ton prototype at his home in Wasilla, Alaska, in 2004. Working without blueprints, he first built a full-scale model out of wood. Moving on to steel, he had to devise a hydraulics system that would provide precisely the right leverage and range of movement. He settled on a complex network of cables and hydraulic cylinders that can make the mecha raise its arms, bend its knees, and even do a sit-up.

Owens is working on two more prototypes, modifying the design to make it lighter and more maneuverable. He foresees mechas having uses in the military and the construction industry but acknowledges that right now they're best suited to entertainment. The first application he has in mind: mecha-vs.-mecha battles, demolition-derby style.

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Netbook run machine rolls 1.3 million dice a day

stevel writes: The owner of games site created Dice-O-Matic, "a machine that can belch a continuous river of dice down a spiraling ramp, then elevate, photograph, process and upload almost a million and a half rolls to the server a day.

"The Dice-O-Matic is 7 feet tall, 18 inches wide and 18 inches deep. It has an aluminum frame covered with Plexiglas panels. A 6x4 inch square Plexiglas tube runs vertically up the middle almost the entire height. Inside this tube a bucket elevator carries dice from a hopper at the bottom, past a camera, and tosses them onto a ramp at the top. The ramp spirals down between the tube and the outer walls. The camera and synchronizing disk are near the top, the computer, relay board, elevator motor and power supplies are at the bottom."

While not called out in the article, the pictures clearly show a Dell Mini 9 running the show (and performing the optical recognition of the dice values.) No, it's not running Linux...

Submission + - Scientists cure paralysis in mice (

Greg George writes: "Scientists in Australia have cured Floppy Baby Syndrome in mice — for the first time. The team had been searching for the genes that caused the syndrome so that drugs could them be used to possibly correct the problem. Muscular actin was found to be missing in the children with this syndrome, and in it's place heart actin was used in their bodies. this caused the babies to quickly lose control over most of their muscles and essentially were quadriplegics after a few months of life. Once the heart actin was found, the scientists worked on a method to turn on the heart actin in the muscles. After considerable trial and error, they were able, using genetic engineering techniques, to turn on the heart actin in the standard muscle fibers and were successful in mice. Mice that typically would die after a few days were found to live standard lives (about 2 years) after the genetic engineering was used on them. The next step was to find a drug that duplicated the genetic work they created for the mice so that it would be safe for humans. They are presently screening over 1000 already approved"

Submission + - US Army Seizes Vista, Won't Wait for Windows 7

nandemoari writes: "The U.S. Army has announced it will soon upgrade its PC systems to the much-maligned Windows Vista operating system. The decision to upgrade United States Army PC desktops from Windows XP to Windows Vista was announced yesterday, and early reports suggest the military plans to complete the change by 2010. The U.S. Army will also upgrade all copies of Microsoft Office 2003 to Office 2007. That means it won't wait until the 2010 version; reports suggest this decision was made for security concerns, a point Microsoft may someday soon need to comment on. The U.S. Army switch marks one of the biggest mass-upgrades in the history of American computing."

Submission + - Development Process Suggestions?

Evardsson writes: I have been tasked with implementing process for development in my new job. This needs to include time tracking, clear documentation of what it is we are trying to accomplish and enough clear documentation of the process and code that it is reproducible. We currently have a very small development team, but the idea is to get this all into place now so that as we grow we can introduce new developers to a smoothly running process.

Since the majority of the work we do is either internal work (work for the company itself and used only by employees) or (for clients) modifying our application template with a few tweaks to functionality and a fresh skin I was thinking that the idea of doing complex, detailed functional specs and walkthroughs and use case scenarios may be a bit of overkill, but we can do it once for the default application template and mostly not have to repeat that step.

So my thought is that we start with a complete functional spec and use case scenario (based on our default application template) and we use that as the document to record which modifications we are making. Then breaking it down into blocks of tasks in a WBS and using that for our first SWAG on the estimated time to finish (ETF). The WBS would then get pulled into a project plan for better task separation and assignment and give a clearer view of ETF. While the work is ongoing, having each task as an item in Trac (or something similar) might allow a quick way to see how well we are doing on sticking to our project plan.

What have you done that has worked (or not worked) for you? Any suggestions?

Submission + - IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion 2

jollyreaper writes: I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 821

What holds true for low-end hardware holds true for VMs as well.

I tried Vista on Parallels. I really tried to like it, but I just couldn't keep it running. I went back to XP.

Now I am trying Windows 7 on Parallels. And I am impressed. It runs stable, it runs smoothly in a VM and (so far) plays nice with the virtual environment. No aero in the VM, but that is of the least importance.

Being that I am usually on the other side of the argument re: MS/OS X or MS/*nix, I have to honestly admit that so far I really like Windows 7. Mostly because it works in the environment in which I use it (Parallels) and works at least as well as XP. I have not had any of the temporary freezing issues with 7 that I have had with XP, so at least in that regard it is working slightly better.

My $.02

Comment Criticizing which part? (Score 1) 1127

The biggest problem with finding "Linux Critics" is (IMO) determining what exactly they should be criticizing. In my mind, a Linux Critic has specific criticism about the kernel. If you are talking about the Desktop Environment there are plenty of /Gnome | KDE | Enlightenment | XFCE | etc/ critics out there. If it is Applications there are plenty of those as well. If it is the default programs loaded on install then you are talking about specific Distributions and again, there are plenty of /Ubuntu | Gentoo | Fedora | SuSE | RedHat | Mepis | etc/ critics out there.

Linux is not like Windows or Mac OSX where the OS, Desktop Environment and default application load are all handled by one organization. Instead, all of this is distributed. If you don't like the default desktop environment in your distro of choice you can change it, or select another distro. Same goes for default application load. If your gripe is truly Linux I suggest you look into the Kernel Developers forums and mail lists. Not only will you find plenty of critics, but you will also find lots of developers who are willing to take that criticism into consideration.

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