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Submission + - Delta Airlines Central Computers Down (

An anonymous reader writes: According to the current CNN.COM: Delta Airlines computing hub Atlanta is down and all Delta departures are grounded. Cause not yet announced. The system Delta usually uses to let passengers use other airlines is part of the outage.

Comment No Skeleton Key (Score 2) 152

Apple rather slickly has each update of each recent iOS be specific to a phone. ONE physical phone. Probably to prevent the skeleton key scenario.

  Each "copy" (not really an appropriate word here) of the update is unique (I don't know the details) which makes it hard to just use the same binary to on every phone. Each "copy" only works on one phone.

Comment Some Hopefully Useful Thoughts (Score 2) 90

Just a few thoughts:

There is a real advantage to back in the day: parametric statistics needs calculus but a lot of modern statistics
are more simulation-based so that could be stressed. Easier to understand (or at least less difficult) and usually
more accurate. Parametric statistics can wait.

Some appropriate subset of "How to Lie with Statistics" might be apropos early on and throughout the time spent.
It's practical information in life, gives a deeper understanding and is relatively fun. Care needs to be taken that this
isn't taken as "All Statistics Lie".

Consider bringing in language teachers for help. The words in statistics often have a subtle (or huge) difference
from common usage and they may be able to help with that. I had a mathematics background when I started statistics
and wasted a lot of time in early days because "variable" meant something different than what I was used to.

Comment I'll bite (Score 2) 162

I've been doing UNIX since about 1974. I started out on research version 5 on a PDP-11, because that's the only architecture UNIX ran on in those days. v6 was the version that was much more widely distributed to academics, and v7 was the even more widely distributed update that led to the BSD derivatives.

v5 was pretty damn raw. There were no shell variables. "ed" was still written in assembler. Etc. Uphill through the snow both ways. Still, it was FAR better than any of the vendor OSes, no matter what people say about RSX-11. So I founded the first UNIX User's Group Software Distribution Center, purely so I could get my hands on all that goody-poo software. I also produced the very first T-shirt with a UNIX demon on it, for the Urbana, Ill. UNIX meeting - the first national meeting of UNIX users. I gave one to Ken Thompson, one to Dennis Ritchie, and kept two for myself. I still have them. If you've ever seen early USENIX T-shirts with a PDP-11 with pipes, demons, pitchforks, and a barrel labeled NULL, well, that was me (art by Phil Foglio to my design).

Comment RealTime from RealNetworks (yes really) (Score 1) 115

RealNetworks has a service, "RealTime", that works across most platforms for doing just this kind of thing. The use case explained to me was a family sharing video where much of the family is Windows but also there is a Unix person, a few Apple-or-nothing, and another few "Android All the Way".

Since this indeed describes my extended family, it was helpful.

Comment Re: Reasons to actively target undersea cables (Score 1) 37

> No company would want to give north korea or isis a reason to actively target undersea cables.

  It might give them MORE reasons but, given my understanding of their agenda, those two (at least) already have reasons
  to want a capability of targeting undersea cables.

  A bit more in the sensor department might at least give warning that something is about to be damaged
  and info about the thing doing the damaging.

Comment Ingres (Score 1) 85

It might be worth looking at INGRES (not INGRESS) and their business history.

They've managed to stay in business as long as Unix has had commercial databases (albeit with a close call every decade or so) and currently are in a similar position to yours but are still standing and still innovating. Many lessons in tech company survival, some of them of the "don't do that" variety to be learned there.

Sadly, the people that know the name tend to think of Ingres as what it was way back in the 70's-80's, not what it is, so the company is called "Actian" these days.

Comment More than One Keyboard to Prevent Damage (Score 1) 452

  Having gone through some hand nerve damage over the years I found it useful to have more than 1 keyboard;
  having my hands in different positions during the day has proved useful to preventing further problems.

  Most of my typing is done on a Unicomp Model M, which is very much an IBM Model M. I type most
  reliably there although the I can type longer at the Kinesis models and probably would be almost as fast if there
  if I really devoted the effort to it.

I find the clickety-clack of Model M type switches cheerful and I need all the happy thoughts possible when
debugging Ansible scripts.

I probably wouldn't inflict that on people in an open office.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say. (Score 4, Informative) 117

I saw the incident from my back yard. I was out there working on a Mr. Protocol column when I heard a particularly loud single-engine plane take off. What caught my attention was a sound I've only ever heard in the movies: the engine stuttered once, then stopped dead. I got up and looked to see if what I'd heard was really true, and saw the plane, with prop not moving, bank sharply in a 180 degree turn and start gliding back to the airport. I listened for a crash, since he was rather low, but didn't hear one. I'm glad he made the golf course and missed the neighborhood. (Look at a map: it's pretty obvious that the sole purpose of the Penmar Golf Course is to catch planes that don't make it. It happens often enough that I've wondered if they have course rules for playing around temporary obstacles with wings.)

Comment Had that problem, now much less so. (Score 1) 312

Two things helped me so far:

1) A Sleep Study

  I thought I was sleeping well because I fell asleep easily and stayed asleep. Nope: That
  was my body trying to make up in quantity what the sleep lacked in quality. I thought my problem was
  caused by too many electronic distractions (yeah some, but not most of it).

  You don't get enough deep and REM sleep, you don't have focus and your ability to remember new things takes a BIG hit.
  My problem was ridiculously easy to treat and I deeply regret spending several years not realizing I was being fuzzier than
  I needed to be for want of a couple slightly uncomfortable nights wired up.

  2) Turning off the router at night

  Also helpful: I put my home router on a timer. 10pm, BANG! No internet on anything but my phone, which is OK to use
  for short periods as an internet device and keeps me in touch if need be. Nonetheless it's much easier for me to decide to close
  my eyes now. That probably only works because my phone screen isn't very big.

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