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Comment My Workflow (Score 5, Interesting) 187

1) Receive document.
2) Scan with Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 in about 10 seconds. $380 on sale, but so far worth it over cheap all-in-one scanners it's not even funny. Seriously, don't even bother going paperless unless you get a real document scanner.
3) Save PDF to simple software RAID-1 mirror of two 2TB drives. (Takes about 5 seconds to setup from disk management in Windows.) This should protect against sudden drive failure taking everything.
4) Backup nightly to external drive swapped off-site every other month. This should protect from accidental deletions, fires, etc. Bonus points if backup drive is ioSafe fire proof variety.
5) Throw away original. Only exception is official documents like titles, marriage certificate, etc.. Yes, I even throw away W2s and the like. My taxes are 100 percent digital nowadays.
6) Check and test restore from those backups on a semi-regular basis, and you're done!

Comment Workaround Via The Analog Hole (Score 2) 328

To get around a similar situation with Comcast, I use an Hauppuage HD-PVR with my MythTV setup. It's basically a $160 USB device that takes the analog component output from your cable box, along with digital audio, and spits out an h264 file stream. It works, but there are some downsides: It's prone to needing bi-monthly to monthly power cycling due to hangs, there is a slight bit of quality loss since you're converting digital to analog back to digital (though the audio is untouched,) and you have to use an irblaster or firewire channel changer to control your cable box.

All that being said, the quality loss is negligible (even on my 59" plasma) and I love the fact that I never again have to worry about my cable company mucking about with their channel encryption flags, frequencies, etc. If your cable box can view it, then you can record it. Period. Because of that, I put up with the HD-PVR's quirks while happily watching all the HD channels I have access to.

Comment Your Uncle Could Be Correct (Score 4, Insightful) 340

Your logic seems a bit off here.

The usual scenario for hacked account spamming is as follows: Spammer takes control of account (either via phishing, malware, or more rarely social engineering) then sends spam message out to everyone on the account's contact list. It's a great way to spam since a) the people you are sending to are usually real people and b) they will be more likely to click through since the message is coming from someone they know.

What I have not seen before is a spammer gaining control an account, getting its contact list, then sending a *single* message to that very same account from someone on that contact list. What could possibly be the point when you can do the usual trick above? Spam is a numbers game for the most part, and what you're proposing has happened seems to be one of the worst possible ways to reach as many people as possible.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but just that it doesn't quite add up.

Comment Poor choices, but off by a few billion years too? (Score 1) 282

I agree with everyone else about the poor choices of photos that are vaguely artistic rather than actual useful or communicative to a potential alien species, but I also have another issue: 5 billion years?

My understanding was that most orbits decay eventually. I know this is close to geosync and not like the ISS, but is it really likely such a orbit would remain stable for 5 billion-freaking-years? I mean, even assuming no other outside objects cross paths with this satellite, won't its orbit eventually decay? Wikipedia's page on geostationary orbit, specifically orbital stability says this: "In the absence of servicing missions from the Earth or a renewable propulsion method, the consumption of thruster propellant for station-keeping places a limitation on the lifetime of the satellite."

Anyone with a greater knowledge on orbital stability, please chime in.

Comment Re:Verizon (Score 1) 375

Uhh have you been to most places? I'd say it's impossible to claim that either Verizon or AT&T are better in most places and pretty useless.

No, but I have been to many different cities across the US, often traveling with others not all on Verizon, and found my coverage to generally be superior than competing networks. And as I already mentioned, this becomes doubly apparent as soon as you get outside of a major city, where the difference often means Verizon==coverage, and anything else == nothing. (Let me be clear though that I don't want to be a shill for Verizon - they are an evil company with absurd pricing, but you can't argue with their coverage.)

where you actually plan on using your device makes a huge difference. Trying to generalize which one has better coverage is useless, he needs to figure out where he'll be living/working and talk to people in that area.

The OP asked for the best provider in the US, not the best provider for his parent's house corner bedroom in Appleton, Wisconsin. This suggests that he does not yet know where he will end up, or may be traveling across the US, and thus be in need of a good all-around-carrier. You most certainly can generalize that.

Comment Verizon (Score 2) 375

If you define best as in most reliable coverage, the answer tends to be Verizon regardless of the city in question. This is doubly true as soon as you get into more rural areas, but it's worthwhile in the city as well. (ie, Slightly less likelihood of losing signal in elevators, inside buildings, etc.. than AT&T or T-mobile. Call quality also tends to be better, with less distortions and other weirdness in my experience.)

For what it's worth, I've also found Verizon's support to be quite good. I'm not sure why all the vitriolic posts about them; every time I've needed them (maybe 4-5 times over the past half decade?), their support has been prompt and helpful, even for weird things like playing musical chairs with phones in an account while simultaneously preserving all upgrade/contract dates. It is also all US-based, and has great hours well into the evening. What more do you want, especially in this day and age of overseas, outsourced support from India that you can barely understand?

Verizon knows they are the best though, and thus rapes your wallet in every conceivable way as a result. If money is your bottom line, don't even look at them. Go with T-mobile or even AT&T. If however you want the best coverage and quality of service, Verizon is the way to go in most places.

Comment Thunderbird (Score 1) 308

This is precisely why I have been migrating all my XP clients using Outlook Express to Thunderbird when they upgraded to new Vista or Windows 7 systems. It was clear to me Microsoft was going to begin changing their mail app with each OS release (ie, it went to Windows Mail, then Windows Live Mail, and now whatever awful monstrocity this is) making it hard for users to adapt, and difficult for me to migrate messages, contacts, and settings. Thunderbird solves all of these issues.

Comment Re:SSD? (Score 4, Informative) 292

Stick with Intel, and you'll be fine. Intel had some slight firmware issues a while back on one or two of their models, but otherwise every single one of their SSD offerings as been bulletproof. I've deployed hundreds now over the past 2-3 years, and I've yet to see one fail. I've seen loads of other brands (such as Kingston) have weird stuttering/hanging issues, bad write speeds, etc.

Going SSD is near life changing in terms of the apparent feel and speed gains. I've even got a number of cheapskate clients on 4-5 year old Core 2 Duo machines with SSDs that feel faster than modern 2nd gen i7 systems with traditional drives in terms of boot up time, application loading speed, etc.

Comment Re:No more hours of downtime (Score 5, Insightful) 219

If there is one thing you can count on in the world, it's someone screaming "RAID is not a backup!" at the top of their lungs in any conversation dealing with RAID.

Yes, thank you. We get it. RAID does not protect against deleted files, etc. You can go back to shouting other contrarian favorites in other threads.

In the mean time, if and when one of the drives in my RAID-1 mirror fails, I'll be sure to throw its working partner straight into the garbage can. I certainly wouldn't use it to restore my entire filesystem that would have otherwise been obliterated.

I don't know about you, but I'm constantly deleting files by accident, and getting personal data destroying viruses (via a time machine from the 90s) where as my drives never, ever fail.

Comment Re:User Guide anyone? (Score 2) 144

I'm in the same boat, having Comcast with a number of HD channels that I like to record and watch. For some lucky few, such channels are available via firewire, unencrypted out of the cable box. I am not so lucky.

To remedy this, I have a Hauppuage HD-PVR. It is basically a $150 component + digital audio to h264 hardware encoder. Myth uses it combined with firewire channel changing (ir blasting works just fine though) to record all of my premium channels. The decrease in quality is barely perceptible even on our large set, and it is a small price to pay for such a great system.

Comment Re:Prepay (Score 1) 134

I'm a tentative fan of tankless technology, but I would like to point out that even cheap tanks can easily last 20-30 years with proper maintenance.

So, you ask, where does that 7 year warranty come from? That's about how long it takes for the tank's sacrificial anode rod to degrade, leaving the tank to rust in its place.

If you replace the rod every 4-5 years ($10-20?) the tank will easily last a decade or more. My mom's is about 23 years old now, and a recent inspection showed no signs of issues.

Comment Re:The Sanctity of Life (Score 1) 646

That is a nice sentiment, but it is clearly spoken by a young person who has never dealt with real illness or pain.

I'm for Science and Medicine as much as much as the next guy, but there are many, many diseases and ailments that are far worse than death, with only temporary solutions that are often worse.

So, let me know if you'd rather have invasive surgery and/or chemotherapy for an extra month of "life" (but not as you know it, Jim) when push comes to shove. Me, if I'm lucky, I'll say my goodbyes while I'm lucid and relatively pain free, then end it myself with pride.

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