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Comment Costco bargain (Score 1) 326

Dell XPS8700 from Costco (they sell XPS8900s now). Two actually; my son saved his money and bought one too. I found that I could only save about $100 doing my own build with the same components, and it was worth that to me to have a warranty and place to take it back to in case it broke.

i7-3770; not a 3770K, but this is an appliance, not a gaming rig, so no overclocking needed. 12GB RAM, 250GB SSD main drive, three 1TB secondary drives, one for Windows, one for Linux (Mint 18 Cinnamon under VMware), and one for backups.

Two-port KVM for this and my work computer, since I work from home. ("I got yer open plan RIGHT HERE, pal!")

Watch the prices in your Costco ads, and when the machines go on sale, which they do a few times a year, grab one.

Comment Scrabble FTW (Score 1) 637


Tournament Scrabble players memorize lots of words, often without knowing their meanings (I don't know the meanings of the four seven-letter acceptable words above). Makes for cool passphrases for LastPass et al.

So for those who understand the maths, is the above passphrase harder to crack than the 20-random-printable-character passwords I have LastPass generate for me?

Comment Re: Never use Linux as a desktop (Score 1) 76

My daily driver runs Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon under VMware 12 under Windows 10. All of those have been stable enough that the only unplanned reboots are due to power failures longer than what the UPS can handle, or me attaching flakey hardware (i.e., my own damn fault). That's way more stable than Windows 95 ever was. Not to mention Win95's propensity for forced reboots ("You have moved your mouse. Windows 95 must be restarted for this to take effect. Would you like to reboot your computer now?").

Comment Re:"Cents per gigabyte" (Score 1) 272

Mine was for an AT&T 7300, aka "Unix PC". I worked at AT&T during those years; there were 6300s everywhere. If you knew the right people and were on good terms with your boss, you could get a 7300 on your desk (until they discontinued them, at which point all the employees snapped them up at a deep discount). I remember that the biggest 6300 full-towers practically needed a pallet jack to lift.

Comment Re:I am afraid (Score 1) 219

Unfortunately, there's something to that. Over the last 35 years I've done just about every job there is in software development, and the vast majority of it more strongly resembles a skilled trade than a scientific pursuit. Since I have no desire to be a researcher or a manager, I prefer it that way.

Chalkboard-based computer science that starts with phrases like "let sigma represent..." has been a very small part of the work I and my peers have done, usually around conversations about it deadlocking, running in quadratic time, and whatnot. We build things, and we use a pretty well-defined set of skills to do that, skills that do not have to be taught as part of a baccalaureate degree. (OTOH, things like political science and psychology, which you wouldn't get in a trade school, have direct application to working in large organizations.)

I married a chemist, and our best friends are a mathematician and a biologist with PhDs. I am NO scientist.

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