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Submission + - How to set up a government email server

Skidge writes: A guy involved with setting up early email service for gives his suggestions on how it should be done today. (Hint: not much different than back then.) He says in regards to Hillary Clinton: "You’d be president today if you and the DNC weren’t so stupid about IT."

Submission + - Pipeline rupture spews oil into creek 150 miles from Standing Rock. (

Avantare writes: A interesting tidbit from The Guardian.
Quote: Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, according to the pipeline’s operator, about 150 miles from the site of the Standing Rock protests.

I was signing petitions to have the Dakota Access pipeline stopped and donated some money as well. Good things can happen in this Nation once its citizens and the press (meaning Slashdot, Ares Technica and Techdirt) get involved.

Comment Not just this one. (Score 5, Informative) 99

While the summary makes it sound like this is some breakthrough idea, there are several similar sites out there:

And others, I'm sure. Is the submitter the owner of this particular version? The marketing speak is a bit over-the-top.

I used sharelatex for a group project last semester and it worked fine. Several features were added since then that make it likely I'll use it again.

Comment Re:Whiteboards are critical, you see the mistakes. (Score 1) 372

I've just gone back to school to work on a PhD. My previous schooling was in the late 90s, before PowerPoint was used regularly in classrooms. This time around, I've had classes with older professors who use the chalkboard and young ones (younger than me) who rely on a presentation. It is vastly easier to follow a proof when it's being written out on the chalk/whiteboard as it's being explained than when it's just sitting on a projection screen being pointed at.

Comment Some anecdotes (Score 2) 510

We've got a fair number of SSDs here. Failures have been really rare. The few that have:

#1 just went dead. Not recognized by the computer at all.
#2 Got stuck in a weird read-only mode. The OS was thinking it was writing to it, but the writes weren't really happening. You'd reboot and all your changes were undone. The OS was surprisingly okay with this, but would eventually start having problems where pieces of the filesystem metadata it cached didn't sync up with new reads. Reads were still okay, and we were able to make a full backup by mounting in read only mode.
#3 Just got progressively slower and slower on writes. but reads were fine.

Overall far lower SSD failure rates than spinning disk failure rates, but we don't have many elderly SSDs yet. We do have a ton of servers running ancient hard drives, so it'll be interesting to see over time.

Comment Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (Score 4, Informative) 131

DHL is probably another good one - their fees are pretty reasonable (similar to Canada Post's), but very few American companies support DHL as a shipping option (probably because it sucked inside the US - despite being close or is the #1 worldwide carrier).

DHL ended US-to-US delivery in 2009. They have a service where they'll use the USPS for local delivery, but it's expensive and slow. They also don't do pickup service (for any destination country) in many parts of the US now, so they've made it really hard for US companies to use them. Not all of it is their fault, but it's hard to use DHL if you're in the US now.

Comment I worked with Steve (Score 5, Informative) 89

I worked at Williams/Bally/Midway/Atari/etc in the late 90's. I worked in the coin-op video game division, where Steve was across the street in the pinball division. Occasionally he'd swing by our building, and had a fondness for the game system I was working on, so he'd sit at the test machine outside my office and play for quite a while. He always had this knack for making what sounded like the simplest suggestion, yet it actually being a profound change that took it to the next generation.

He'd walk into my office and say "You know, I like (game X) a lot. Have you thought about adding (feature Y)? It's probably a lot of work, but maybe worth it?" and an hour later we were smacking our foreheads as to why we hadn't thought of that ourselves. There's no doubt in my mind how he could look at something like a flipperless pinball machine and figure out how to take it to the next level. It's something I really wish I could do more often myself.

He was a great guy, and one of the most patient people I've known. He'll be greatly missed.

Comment Re:Lying again? (Score 1) 121

Terrorists must be anyone who isn't an old rich white guy. If they talk funny, look different, or behave differently due to cultural differences, they must be terrorists.

No, it's not like that at all. See, for example, Senator Paul getting escorted out of the terminal for refusing a pat down. The problem is that there isn't any official attempt at profiling. Instead, they have a completely asinine random selection system for triggering detailed searches, and despite the fact that it's bloody obvious that a 6-year old girl or an elderly woman in a wheelchair with a colostomy bag aren't going to have any explosives on them, they still search them. The only profiling by TSA gate personnel is unofficial, unsanctioned, and largely driven by pigheaded individual ignorance on the part of the TSA agent. No, the system as it is now has the TSA agents who follow the rules searching obvious non-threats based on a random die roll, and the rule-breaking TSA assholes doing their own seat of the pants profiling and doing detailed searches on Sikhs because they wear turbans, and Bangladeshis because they look suspiciously dark skinned. Neither approach is even remotely reasonable or effective.

What they should be doing is what all other reasonable countries with a terrorist problem have been doing for decades: First, you take the fucking badges of the TSA. They aren't fucking cops, and nothing about their job should give them the impression they have power. Second, you replace insane regulations against box cutters and baby bottles with what we had pre-9/11. 9/11 isn't going to happen again, because no one will ever cooperate with lightly armed hostage takers anymore. Third, you hire trained, intelligent interviewers. These interviewers take each group flying together (i.e. a whole family) and ask them a few simple, relaxed questions about their trip and destination. This technique is sufficient to pick out the suspicious from the innocuous. People planning criminal acts on an airplane have certain characteristics: they're usually male, young, flying alone, don't have much baggage, can't usually provide plausible details about their plans at the flight's destination, and on top of it are often very nervous. Note that none of this profiling involves skin color, ethnicity, or country of origin. It does, however, work extremely well. When's the last bomb or hijacking of El Al?

But we'll never see that. TSA is makework bullshit security theater, and everyone knows it.

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