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Comment too soon connected, too late smart (Score 1) 65

Love this:

Perhaps because smart lightbulbs that refuse firmware updates and refrigerators with blue screens of death aren't enough fun on their own...

My TV's sound bar crashed last night and needed to be power cycled - and not via the power button, that was non-responsive, I had to yank the power cord. I have grown accustomed to rebooting my Roku and my TiVo and occassionally even my Plex server, but the sound bar?

Comment It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 143

Around here (Western New York) much of our natural gas is obtained through fracking. How do we factor the unknown long term effects on the groundwater supply into the cost/benefit equation? Not just unknown, but unknowable, because the extraction companies refuse to divulge the chemicals they use. But the issue is a $150M conversion of an antiquated power plant from coal to natural gas. After conversion it's still antiquated, still prohibitively expensive to operate, and still has environmental impact. The only reason the conversion is moving forward is politics: the community wants to keep the jobs and the tax base, and they seem to have the political muscle to push it through. And the reason this power plant has so many jobs is the obsolete technology it utilizes.

Comment Here is how I handled it (Score 1) 212

I have been doing this for 12 years. For the first 10 years I alternated between using Linux (which at times made it very difficult to interact with Windows clients) and using Windows, with all its attendant problems.

Here is what I have been doing for the past two years: A Ubuntu desktop system with multiple Windows virtual machines, using VirtualBox.

From the Linux system I can do most of my desktop work; PPTP VPN into customers and our other offices; RDP into Windows Servers; ssh into Linux systems; and LogMeIn into Windows desktops.

From the Windows VM I can run MS Outlook (when your organization runs Outlook you can make life VERY hard for yourself by using any other email client) and I use Cisco VPN and Cisco AnyConnect when necessary. I know there is a Cisco VPN client for Linux but I never got it working smoothly. As far as I know there is not an AnyConnect client.

When it comes to document compatibility, I can use MS Office in the Windows VM, or OOo in Linux -- they seem to interoperate very smoothly. But when needed I can run Visio or PowerPoint in MS Office.

The part I love best about this solution is the stability and restorability. I have multiple Windows VMs. One is my "real" work environment, so I back it up carefully (it's just a file!) and I don't install any suspect software. Another VM is a sandbox for when I need to load some software with a big footprint, or something I may not keep. I also have VMs for Windows Server, Windows development, etc. Limited only by the size of my disk.

Oh the other best part: many of those Cisco VPN connections force all of your network traffic through their tunnel. That can be fatal to productivity. So fire up a Windows VM and VPN from there. Your "real" desktop system is not affected -- you can still email, IM, surf porn, whatever.

Comment Suggestions for the USPS (Score 1) 398

I have two suggestions for mail.

1. I have no need to have mail picked up and delivered to my house 6, or even 5 days a week. I would be willing to drive to the post office a couple of times a week. Perhaps most people would. I am sure there are people for whom that isn't practical: they should pay a premium for home pickup/delivery.

2. Stamps should be RFID tags. Businesses who create large volumes of mail would associate the address information with the tag ID at the time the mail is created. For people who hand address envelopes, the address would be keyed & associated at the post office, once. From that point on the mail could be handled - sorted & routed - automatically.

Comment Re:VitrtuaBox (Score 1) 384


I have been using VirtualBox for a long time, with Ubuntu as my host, and multiple Windows installations as clients. There is one problem I have not been able to overcome. If I use a USB device and there is no driver available for Ubuntu, then the Windows clients cannot access it either.
Is there a solution to this?

If not, would I be less likely to have this problem using ESXi?

Comment Re:Wayback Tech (Score 1) 93

I have the Baha device mentioned in the OP -- the titanium screw in my skull. It works great. It involved surgery, and that makes it expensive. But it also ensures excellent sound conduction. My left ear is good, so this device is mounted behind my right ear. It allows me to hear sounds from the right side.

These devices are aimed at two categories of people:
- Inner ear works, middle ear does not: it gets the sound (vibration) to the inner ear
- Single sided deafness: it gets the sound from the deaf side across to the working ear

Hearing aids worn in the ear cause some problems with the ear itself. I would imagine having a device in your mouth would also create some issues: it doesn't look like it would permit eating, and might even interfere with speech. So I would see this dental appliance as a bridge, an interim solution for something like the Baha, or a lower cost alternative.

Comment Job security - there is no such thing (Score 1) 592

There have been some terriffic points made on this thread but there is one thing that hasn't been discussed. Companies change -- often quickly and dramatically. It can happen as a result of change of ownership, change in upper management, competitive pressure, changes to the market, changes in the underlying technology, or changes to the economy. You read about it every day: ABC CORP has always provided lifetime employment to its employees... and suddenly lays off half its staff (the most highly paid) and outsources many functions. If the tech vs management decision is based on some assumption of job security, that is a very dangerous assumption. How portable will those N years of tech management be to a new job? If you succeed brilliantly at it, will you be able to convince other prospective employers?

Submission + - Radiohead & Madonna: Karma catches record exec

LyingDown writes: The Buffalo News music writer Jeff Miers puts recent events in the music industry in perspective in 'Industrial Revolution: Radiohead, Madonna show that karma police have caught record execs'.
'The past 10 days have not been kind to the record industry — or what's left of it. My heart bleeds.'
'Do you hear that sucking sound? Thats the sound of the record industry being granted its final flush. Of course, the industry stopped caring about the music it was peddling long ago. So why should the music care about the industry? It shouldn't. The karma police have made their bust and, for once, it's not the musicians (or the fans) taking the rap.'
The article is also a review of Radiohead's e-album 'In Rainbows' .

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