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Comment Re:Juniper uses FreeBSD (Score 4, Interesting) 192

On Juniper, you can even get shell access by default (log in as root). The "command line" interface is just a program that runs on the shell.

Not only that, but Juniper's configuration is not as "modal" as the article makes everything out to be. JUNOS has built-in scripting to make modifications to the config, along with templating/macros to take the drudgery out of repeated configs. The config is hierarchical (XML on the backend), which makes it well-structured and predictable. Overall, it's a pleasure to work with (once you get used to it), and much better than some more popular/expensive networking gear I could name. Oh, and they number their interfaces starting with zero, like you should. ;-)

Sure, it's not as open as a bash shell that you can muck with to your heart's content, but at the same time, having a standardized toolset means that it can be reasonably supported. Can you imagine calling up level 1 support and asking them to help you with a system that you had fully customized with local scripts, cron jobs, and the like?

Comment Re:It's unfortunate. (Score 4, Insightful) 699

What about the case of public health? Vaccines rely on "herd immunity" to be effective, so letting everyone pick and choose leads to a situation where not enough people are vaccinated to protect the population as a whole (as seen by outbreaks of measles in pockets of the country over the last year). There was an article written on this (which I can't find now) that was a great overview of the tension between one's individual rights to liberty and one's societal obligations not to kill people by willfully refusing something that has been demonstrated to work.

What if, for example, we found the "typhoid mary" for measles (someone who was asymptomatic, but carried the disease and spread it to others). They could be cured with the vaccine, but refuse to take it. Should the interest of the public health outweigh the individual right to refuse treatment in this case? If not, why should others perish? If so, then why not force vaccines on everyone? Where should the line be drawn?

Here in the US, we typically coerce vaccination by making it a prerequisite for public school (some states allow "personal" or "religious" exemptions, though). That way, people aren't "forced" to do it; life is just more unpleasant if they insist on skipping vaccines. Not sure if the UK has a similar system to encourage vaccination.

Comment Re:I was just thinking about this since... (Score 4, Informative) 160

Bought a car a few years ago, and found this non-profit that had a great strategy:

You can never know what the dealership is getting from the factory in terms of kickback, so it's next to impossible to negotiate a deal all by yourself. The sales rep is never going to lose money on the car (despite what they may tell you); they'll just walk away. So even when they cry and tell you you're keeping them from feeding their family just know that they're making enough to cover their expenses. Your best bet is to put your purchase out to bid to multiple dealerships and let them fight it out. We did this and saved $2500 off the "invoice" price that Consumer Reports said we should be "aiming for" to get a good deal.

Let me say it again: make them bid; it's the only way to keep them honest.

As a side bonus, you don't have to deal with crazy add-ons, haggling, or waiting for managers to "approve" your deal. You e-mail the dealerships, tell them what you want, and ask for their final, out-the-door, all-fees-included price. Pick the winning one, print out the e-mail so you have it in writing, and go to the dealership to pick up your car. If they try to add anything on, just point to your e-mail and invite them to throw it in for the included price you've already committed to (we got "free" floor mats and locking wheel nuts, probably because they didn't want to bother to take them off).

Note that you have to be willing to contact multiple dealers, wait for responses, and follow through. If you want to buy the brand-new 2014 model whatever, in hot pink, and you need it TODAY, then this isn't the strategy for you. If you're willing to be patient to save a couple grand, try it out.

Comment Educate your users, and SPF mungers (Score 1) 187

We use Postini (now Google message security), and we turned on their SPF checks. Unfortunately, there are no knobs for this, so SPF pass is "good", SPF softfail is "bad", and SFP fail is "always quarantine, even if the address is whitelisted".

Despite some high-profile mail getting snagged by this, we educated our users and let them know that while we're more stringent with SPF than most places, it's not "our fault" that other people can't configure their domains correctly. After an initial spate of 10 or so messages where we had to call other IT departments to set them straight, it's more or less died down now and our users know how the problems get resolved.

We also created this page to send to the e-mail originator, so we didn't have to craft well-thought-out e-mail responses each time:

All of this makes for a little more work for us, but it has cut down on spam. Also, it makes the internet a little better of a place as we slowly drag other domains into compliance by catching their mistakes. ;-)

Comment Re:Lower Yield, But What Yield Per Energy? (Score 1) 452

Wow, I would love for you to cite a reference for this.

You too. I'm not sure exactly where I come down on the organic debate yet, as there doesn't seem to be convincing evidence for either side. Most of the "evidence" I've seen for organic farming is that it's "more natural" and "doesn't use chemicals". The organic movement plays into this by advertising their products as "free from potentially harmful synthetic pesticides", while happily omitting the fact that they use non-synthetic pesticides. Organic farms are allowed to use as much non-synthetic pesticide as they want, you know. Just because it's "natural" doesn't automatically make it safer. Don't believe me? Try ingesting some all-natural arsenic or ricin sometime.

That said, I'm not super-psyched for prophylactic use of antibiotics, factory farming, or over-use of pesticides (of any kind), so "conventional" farming is no utopia. However, organic farming has to prove that it's actually better (not just "more natural") to justify the added expense and higher land use that they require. If someone has a peer-reviewed study demonstrating that organic food is more nutritious (all they studies I've seen says it isn't), has fewer pesticides (not just fewer "chemicals"), or otherwise superior, I'd like to see them. I haven't been able to find much hard data on the subject either way, and most of what I have found all leads back to one or two small or flawed studies.

For now, I'm trying to buy local more than organic, so at least it's fresh and perhaps doesn't require as many preservatives or pesticides.

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