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Comment Re:"Metric" tons? (Score 1) 121

I'd like to see your reference for this statement "A ton is and has always been metric".

As I understand it a "ton" is typically non-metric (either Imperial or US) whereas "tonne" is metric and "metric ton" is the term typically used in the US that refers to tonne. This has been my understanding for years but a quick check on Wikipedia ( and seems to agree, although I notice there is some confusion when talking about an Imperial ton (or long ton) and a tonne as they are very similar mass and therefore "ton" has been used interchangeably for both.

I am curious which country you are from and if you are familiar with the non-metric terms for mass.

Comment Re:Useless (Score 1) 100

So just to be clear... "Well it's better than nothing (so better than Canada)" are you saying that Canadians cannot unlock their phones? If so then either you or I need to update our information because as I understand it we can now request our phone be unlocked after 90 days (in contract) or immediately if you purchase the phone outright. Of course there can be a charge for getting the phone unlocked, unfortunately.

Comment Re:TFA Says Patch is Fixed (Score 2) 136

Yes, except... if your machine still has updates outstanding then from what we have seen it is best if you "check for updates" again before installing them. It looks like if the patch was already downloaded then it will install unless you refresh by checking for updates again before installing.

Comment Re:oh you motherf~}NO_CARRIER (Score 4, Informative) 136

After some investigation it looks like the update may not have been configured to do a silent install properly and actually hangs as it is waiting for user input on an invisible dialogue box.

If you have a machine that does hang we have found the following:
1. wait until there is virtually no disk activity (counting on you have a light that shows you) and then power the machine down, or
2. use either PowerShell remoting or psexec to kill the two processes involved in the update: "Setup" and "vstor_redist".
With PowerShell: Invoke-Command -ComputerName hostname -ScriptBlock {Stop-Process -Name Setup,vstor_redist -Force}
With PSExec something like this will work:
Psexec \\hostname cmd
Taskkill /im Setup /f
Taskkill /im vstor_redist /f

If the machine is doing a number of updates killing the two processes above will allow the machine to continue with the rest of the updates.

Of course the standard disclaimers apply: No guarantees the above will help and not harm you computer, your mileage may vary, batteries not included, objects in code are buggier than they appear, yadda, yadda.

Comment Re:Catastrophism (Score 1) 71

I have to say I miss Hogan also. My wife and I have also read most of Hogan's books and thoroughly enjoyed them. We are currently introducing our youngest to Hogan by reading Code of the Lifemaker as a family. His writing was not as good near the end and in all he did not publish near enough for my liking. I've yet to find a similar author to replace him in my library. If you have any suggestions I'd be interested in hearing them.

That all said, I had not heard of Velikovsky or John Ackerman... will have to check them out.

Comment Re:Slightly OT, anyone still dual-booting? (Score 1) 163

Yes, about 150 PCs running in Computer Science Labs. We have looked at running hyper visors with VMs but there simply is not a good solution available for a lab environment. To many issues with switching between OSs, ensuring both VMs are logged out when the user walks away, etc.

At one point I was seriously looking forward to GRUB2 being adopted by more distros as it supports retrieving the boot configuration over the network. This would easily allow simply remote configuration of which OS the machines would boot into. Although still useful now we have developed other ways to remote manage OS selection and reboots.

Comment Re:My long awaiting features (Score 1) 470

#2, virtual desktops.

If I work on a project and then want to look something up, or someone comes with an USB stick and I need to copy it, and open the files, I just switch the desktop. It's like you have one table full of stuff, then you go to a different table to eat your pizza, and then you go back to your work table. You don't put away your work stuff so you can eat the pizza, you just go to the kitchen table.

I could not agree more. Linux and OS X has this. There are third party apps that work quite well (thank you VirtuaWin!) Why MS does not build this in is beyond me, people have been asking for it since Win95.

#4 A good command prompt

I really hate the 1990 DOS command prompt. Can we please have a modern command prompt in the year 2012? A modern cmd prompt is: any true type font, any size also full size, completition of commands with tab key, searchable history of cmds, different background, different text color, etc. For an example of a modern cmd prompt, see Konsole (KDE).

Yep, Konsole is an excellent app. However, check out Powershell. I was disappointed that it still resembles the CMD prompt so much but resizing works much better, you can change font and colours, it has command completion with the tab key (even completes files and command options for commandlets), has history (arrows as usual) as well as a 'history' command, has ls, man, and other familiar *nix commands (my OS hopping fingers thank you for that MS, even if they are simply aliases) and many more useful features. Regarding the searchable history, this solution may not be as nice, but try 'history | select-string -pattern "foo"'. Lastly, they finally got the copy and past to a reasonable state... you can simply left click and drag to highlight and it is copied to the clipboard and then right click to paste.

I still agree that there are many improvements that could be done *cough* tabs *cough* but the Poweshell prompt is a large improvement over the CMD (aka DOS) prompt.

Comment Re:and it will never happen.... (Score 1) 216

I don't think most people have forgotten the laws, they choose to ignore them. Common courtesy on the road is a near dead thing in some areas.

I agree with the common courtesy point however regarding the forgetting of laws, I think you may be sadly surprised if you polled people around your area. Example: I live in a neighbourhood with grid streets and mostly uncontrolled intersections. Over the years it has not ceased to surprise me how many people have stupid ideas on what the laws are regarding uncontrolled intersections. I have had persons argue with me stating that if you are traveling East/West that you have the right of way. I have also had persons argue the same for traveling North/South.

Other "laws" I have had "explained to me":
- if driver A is Northbound and turning left at a green light, and driver B is Southbound and turning right at the same intersection then driver B must yield to driver A. However if Driver B is not turning but going straight then driver A must yield. (at least the last part is correct)
- construction zones are 60km/h, even when the construction zone is in a posted normally 50km/h zone.
- in uncontrolled intersections you must yield to the right even when you are clearly the first person at the intersection and have enough time to safely proceed through the intersection before the car on the right arrives at the intersection.

Have a similar stories... post them below.

I'm now middle aged and for years I have supported the idea of mandatory re-tests every so often. Even to the point of a written test on the 5th, 15th, 25th, ... and a driven test on the 10th, 20th, 30th... year of driving. When you have been driving for 25+ years things change, new features come into play, you forget details, etc. A refresher should not be out of the question.

Comment Re:Virtual Desktops (Score 1) 1002

One counter example... sort of... but more to provide some, hopefully, helpful info:

I run three systems on my desk (Win 7, Mac OS X, Mandriva Linux). I run Synergy+ on all three (server runs on Linux) although I also have a KVM for those few rare moments when Synergy is not running. I also run virtual desktops on all three systems (Win 7 - 2x3, OS X - 2x2, Linux - 2x2). I am constantly switching between systems and desktops and I do use specific desktops for specific tasks. Typically I have between 3 and 5 windows open on each desktop. Lastly, I am a system administrator and only do related scripting and programming as opposed to being a developer and constantly in a programming environment.

Certainly I run the three systems to have one of each type of desktop system I typically administer. However you can also look at the setup as having three monitors as I use all three in my non-platform specific tasks. Certainly I could run with less monitors and virtual desktops although my efficiency and organization would greatly suffer (IMHO). I find organizing virtual desktops by task extremely useful when dealing with interruptions, multiple tasks, etc. Even going down to three systems/monitors and no virtual desktops would significantly increase screen clutter and decrease efficiency. Going down to a single system with remote access to the other two and having virtual desktops would be worse yet. Of course, a single monitor/system with remote access and no virtual desktops would be a nightmare.

I know other system administrators with only single monitors but with virtual desktops. However, even they have 1 or 2 additional systems on their desk which gets designated for a current task to help reduce screen clutter and increase organization. The developers I know run multiple screens when possible regardless of the platform used.

Finally, regarding virtual desktops on Windows 7: I highly recommend the following:
- VirtuaWin (using 4.3) with plugins: VirtuaPlus, VWDesktopIcons, vwKvasdoPager (this is the must-have module), VWPreview
Of course if you are running more than 1 system on your desk:

Comment CLI does not equal DOS 6.22 and friends (Score 2) 720

As an avid CLI user on *NIX and Windows I would vehemently object if I was dragged back into the "dark ages" (aka 1980s). It seems that as soon as you mention CLI this is what people bring up for an argument. I suspect these are the same people who have not taken the time to objectively evaluate a modern CLI be it bash or powershell or something similar.

I humbly suggest these are the same people who have never had to log into and click away on a GUI to configure an option because the package does not have any CLI support on 30+ machines. Don't get me wrong, GUIs are great for a great many things but there are many tasks where a good script and a command line beats the GUI hands down. A simple example is turning 70+ machines over in a computer lab to put them in a special "exam state". With scripts and command line this takes literally less than 1 minute to hit all machines. Now I suppose if you had some nice admin tool GUI that allows you to point and click to select a set of actions to perform on each machine or group of machines you could achieve the same thing but I have yet to see it.

Comment Re:Thoughts (Score 1) 466

It's an interesting idea and the start of a simple enough encryption scheme for a kid to develop. Take signal and inject noise. Hmmm, how to write an algorithm that would analyze spaced out letters for statistical significance. Taking in to account that the amount of preceding or appended padding as well as the spacing of signal elements is unknown. Although a starting point is to assume an even spacing.

Comment Near space (Score 1) 162

Many have pointed out that the idea is not new and they are right. Although, IMHO, it is still cool to see stories about near space activities by amateurs.

Here are some resources to explore:
  * Nuts and Volts magazine has run an excellent series of articles on constructing all sort of instruments and flight gear for near space projects. Including the basics of regulations, etc. (US centric). They still run the odd piece now and then on updated and additional tech solutions from readers. is a good read on the hobby. has a one page summary of the hobby.

From there Google is your friend. There are plenty of school and private groups/clubs that work on near space projects and launches. I've seen a few science fair projects on the subject also.

Comment google cache (Score 2) 509

Comment Re:Develop a test (Score 1) 332

Being indirectly involved with a Canadian health region and its workers I can say that the first three paragraphs of your post describes the situation here also. Not only for doctors but also for nurses. I'm curious if you see the same situation you describe applied to the nursing staff also.

Comment Re:I like this one... (Score 1) 327

Also take a look at its sister magazine Servo .

More on the PC side but Linux based is Linux Format . It's about the only decent computer magazine that I have found that still has coding articles in it. I wish there was a Windows base magazine similar to Linux Format but unfortunately it seems publishers think only lusers use Windows and not coders.

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