* Posts by Pirate Dave

849 posts • joined 25 Oct 2008

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Plenty of fish in the C, IEEE finds in language popularity contest

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Re: Haven't heard of R

"Once upon a time, when dinosaursmainframes roamed the land there was the proprietary SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences)."

I'm still paying a butt-load of money annually to use SPSS in our computer labs. But that may be because the current crop of PhD Sociology profs grew-up using SPSS so that's what they are sticking to and don't talk about anything else...

Unlike the dinosaurs, SPSS is still around and IBM (who owns it now) is more than happy to take (a lot of) your money for it every year.

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BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

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Re: Have Laserjets gone out of fashion?

The 4000/4050 printers were good, Maybe the 4100 too. But I think it was the 4200 or thereabouts where HP changed the fuser roller sleeve from mylar to metal. They are probably more long-lasting for general printing, but not so good when you print a lot of envelopes and get the bands on the sleeve where the edges of the envelopes have eaten-off the teflon. I found a local printer-parts company that "imported" replacement sleeves (and most all the other parts) from unknown parts of China and would sell the mylar sleeves for $25. Call HP for that and they'd say "it isn't a user-replacable part, here, buy a $200 refurb fuser assembly, that's all you can get." So we saved a lot of money over the years - the mylar sleeves would get the envelope bands after 6 months or so with heavy envelope printing, but $25 would fix them right back up.

But then HP went to metal sleeves. I could get them from the same importer for around $70, but I never could figure out how to grease them properly, and after a month or so they'd start making a horrible racket when the grease got pushed out of the way and it was metal-on-metal contact between the fuser bar and the sleeve. After that happened 3 or 4 times, I decided it wasn't worth the effort and told the users they'd have to spring for the $220 refurbed fuser from HP. I don't think the HP refurbs ever made the noise, so there was either some trick to putting the grease in, or they were using a grease that the importer couldn't supply.

We did look at the specially modified inkjets that were made to print insane amounts of envelopes. But most of them were in the $4000+ range, which was more than anyone here wanted to spend, and it seems like the print quality wasn't too great. This was back in 2001-2004, maybe things have changed now.

It's all water under the bridge now since we send our envelopes out for printing.

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Pirate Dave
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Ah, the memories

Back in '99, when I got the current gig, our accounting and Student Info System was a conglomeration of DOS executables written in COBOL. At that time, I think we had maybe 2 laser printers on campus, neither of which was usable by that steaming pile of COBOL. But what WAS usable was a mid-range dot-matrix that was shared by several departments and had three paper input paths - two tractor feed and one friction feed, if memory serves. One tractor feed had wide green-bar, one had a pre-printed form (may have been carbonless copy), and the friction had plain 8.5x11 white fanfold. So as the Business Office and Regstrar did their printing during the day, we'd get pop-up notices from the Novell print queue to go change the "active" paper in the printer. Seems that part couldn't be automated for some reason, so we'd have to go park the paper that was in the path, then change over to whatever the path was that it wanted. I seem to recall there was a certain sequence that had to be followed when changing the paper path or kittens would die. There may or may not have been chickens involved. No goats though.

If I'm sounding vague about this (I don't even remember the printer manufacturer, much less the model), it's because we only did it for the first 3 months after I was hired, then we switched to a different system that could print to locally attached printers at each PC. All I really remember is that printer was a complete bitch to work with, and when it ran out of paper, there was much cussing to be heard when getting the new box started. And the boss at the time was a skinflint who didn't want ANY of those precious blank sheets of paper wasted. I will admit, without the faintest hint of nostalgia, that I don't miss those days in the least.

(and for the record, I like COBOL, just not that system)

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Re: Training

" either that or a live mains cable hanging from the open ceiling tile."

Yep. I was surprised this was a ladder incident. When I got to the part of the story where the BOFH grabbed the cables the PFY was handing down from the ceiling, I expected either electrocution or hanging for the smug little printer rep. The ladder was...unexpected.

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Africa's MeerKAT looks at the sky, surprises boffins with 1,300 galaxies

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Re: Universe, life and everything

"Photons that when you consider them individually had near zero chance of actually hitting us."

I was thinking of something along those lines several months ago when I was out stargazing. It hit me that there were uncountable numbers of photons from all over the universe that had been traveling for millions or billions of years just to hit the gravel beside my feet and be snuffed-out. They had left their star long, long ago, so full of energy and so full of hope that they could change the universe just a tiny little bit, but they couldn't even visibly illuminate a piece of rock beside me that didn't even exist when they began their journey. Kinda sad if you think about it too long or too deeply. Which is why anthropomorphism is a bad thing, I guess... I must have been in a funky mood that night.

If you want a more positive brain-exercise, try to guesstimate the cumulative number of photons still "in-flight" between reionization and now. Photons we'll never, ever see or even know for sure they exist, but that are still out there, traveling through the universe at the speed of light. Even to a pea-brained ape like me, that's pretty fucking staggering.

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Software bug costs Citigroup $7m after legit transactions mistaken for test data for 15 years

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"Banks manage thousands of transactions every minute."

That's transactions. I'm talking about 3 official requests from the government for transaction REPORTS every week for 15 years. Which to me seems a lot - ie - did they think Citi was up to no good and was keeping a close watch on them? Or is that amount just par for the course for banks?

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2,300 requests in 15 years? So about 3 per week then? That seems like a lot. Is that a lot, or fairly normal?

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No, Google you still can't have dotless, one-word domains

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Re: Seems pretty trivial to me...

No, I'm saying DNS servers already have enough work to do looking-up relatively well-defined names without having to puzzle out what a "delimited aribitrary string" is actually asking for.

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Re: Seems pretty trivial to me...

"Browser delimits the arbitrary string and sends it to the DNS"

Yeah, because DNS servers the world over aren't already busy enough trying to lookup properly formed names. Delimited arbitrary strings should be a piece of cake.

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Hyperloop One lynched in hangman lawsuit

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Re: Sounds like a whole lot of crazy

"Silicon Valley lately is clearly showing how capital doesn't always get used in the most efficient manner possible."

Amen to that. Back in mid-June, I got an unexpected FedEx Express package. Inside of the package was what looked like an anti-static ziploc bag slightly larger than the ones they ship 3.5" drives in. Inside of that ziploc bag was some crappy little fold-up brochure from ProofPoint. I've never done business with them, so I was weirded-out by their strange shipping method. I mean, they could have mailed that brochure to me snail-mail and it would've cost them maybe 50-cents, but instead they sent it 2-day FedEx. Needless to say, I won't be spending my money with a company that wastes their money in such a frivolous and pointless fashion. It's like they're saying "Look at us, we've got money to burn."

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By Juno! NASA delivers first new snaps from Jupiter

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I think your scale is off a bit. 14.3 Linguinis seems a bit too small of a distance to me. Even if it's kilo-Linguinis since you used a capital "L", it's still to small.. Maybe tera-Linguinis is getting closer to the proper scale.

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Tupperware vehemently denies any link to storage containerisation

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Re: "Kleenex"

"What's wrong with saying "tissue" or "plaster", I ask?"

Well, as a 'Merkin, "tissue" is the stuff in the bathroom - aka - Toilet Paper, whereas Kleenex is the stuff in a box for blowing your nose. Same stuff for the most part, just different location and packaging.

Plaster? Eh, isn't that what used to be put on walls? Oh, yeah, it's the stuff you smush your baby's feet and hands into so the wife will have an eternal memento as they grow older. "I remember when your hands were THIS small..." And {Deity} help if you (the man) ever drop and break said memento...

Really, you guys call a band-aid a "plaster"? I honestly didn't know that.

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Teen thugs lure, rob Pokemon Go gamers

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So...

these muggers, do they wear white spandex suits with a big red "R" in the center of the chest? Are they named James and Jessie.

If so, surrender now, or prepare to fight.

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1 in 20 Wendy's burger joints hacked? No, make that 1 in 3 – 1,025 in total

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Re: Tried it?

I'm just GUESSING, but I think that means no Wendy's in that state had the malware. At least that's how I took it when there were only a few cities in the list for my state, and none of them were my city.

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Capacity limits are utter tosh: Toshiba fattens SSD, disk with flash layers, helium

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Interesting

Very off-topic, but it was interesting to see his slide where he refers to the crash of '08 as the "Lehman collapse". I don't know I've ever seen it called that before.

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Behold the ROBOT RECTUM... medics' relief

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Re: Only one rectal teaching assistant in the country

He was a bit behind on Job Assignment Day. He'd had a long night at the pub and was a bit pooped, which tainted his assessment.

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US House to vote on whether poor people need mobile phones

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Re: gummint shouldn't pay for anything

"how the hell is a potential employer supposed to contact them?"

eh, we didn't have potential employers or jobs before we had cell phones? That's good to know. How the fuck did we ever get anything done prior to the 1990's when practically nobody had mobile phones?

It's like I told my teenage son a few years ago when he was looking for a job - "Get off your lazy ass and go by to see if they want to hire you yet." Nothing says "I really want to work here" more than bugging the manager to hire you. Certainly beats lounging around watching TV while waiting for the phone to ring about your dream job.

Sorry, cell phones aren't necessities. Neither is the Internet. Both are handy at times, but neither is required. We'd probably be better off with a lot less of both of them. I realize that's going to be a very, very unpopular opinion on a nerd site like this, but that's the truth that I tried to instill in my kids.

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Not smiling for the camera? Adobe's Creative Cloud suite can fix that

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Permissions

"This means that famous cartoon characters could present at your company event, for example, subject to the necessary permissions."

Permissions, sphermissions. I'm Batman at all company webinars from now on.

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Fly to Africa. Survive helicopter death flight to oil rig. Do no work for three weeks. Repeat

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Re: Take a dip

I am a dipper, have been for 35 years now. I think it's a by-product of growing up on a farm in the Deep South (US) in the '70's and '80's. There aren't many of us in the IT world. Not a nice, civilized habit for the Corporate world, to be sure, but the gentle touch of nicotine keeps the internal bastard at bay so I seem like a super nice guy with a level head. I've read that dipping and chewing are much worse as far as addiction and nicotine levels than smoking - I dunno, never smoked. At least for me, dipping is a jealous mistress and kept me away from drugs and (heavy) drinking in my younger days.

Spitcups are just accidents waiting to happen anywhere but in the workshop (shed). Better to use a coke can, or better still, a plastic bottle with a cap. And bonus points if the bottle is opaque. The wife will really appreciate that. Spittons and the rest are just nasty things that have to be cleaned out at some point and are really a last resort. IMHO.

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Lester Haines: RIP

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Peace

Peace to you on your new journey, Lester. You'll be missed greatly, and it's sad to see you go so soon, but now you've got a better vantage point from which to watch our further follies of ballockets and rocketooning.

Ad Astra Tabernamque.

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Microsoft buys LinkedIn for the price of 36 Instagrams

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Re: Money burning a hole in your pocket Sat Nad?

"Actually, can anyone here think of one that did?

MS-DOS?"

Visual Basic, for another... ;)

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Apple WWDC: OS X is dead, long live macOS

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Re: 'An "SOS" function that automatically places an emergency call...'

@ephemeral: man, El Reg won''t let me do it physically, but spiritually, you can have all the rest of my upvotes today for that...

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Man-in-the-middle biz Blue Coat bought by Symantec: Infosec bods are worried

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Great

So now what's left of Packeteer will become fodder in the Symantec corral. Sad. So sad. Packeteer's PacketShaper was one of those things that did EXACTLY what they said it could do, no ifs, ands, or buts. And the classic "tree" GUI made them so very, very easy to work with. Bluecoat at least had sense enough not to fuck that up, I doubt Symantec will be that smart. I've looked at other traffic shaping devices and none of them have a GUI that can hold a candle to the Packetshaper (and most of them don't seem to shape traffic as well either).

Not that it matters much now that Google, YouTube, et al, have frog-marched everyone to SSL. Makes it very, very hard for the Shaper to classify the traffic as well as it could 10 years ago.

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You. Comcast, TWC, Charter, DirecTV, Dish. Get in here and explain yourselves – Congress

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A la carte

maybe? No, still a pipe dream, I guess. Blah blah poor channels blah blah never get seen otherwise blah blah subsidized.

At least they should let us switch a few channels for others. I'm a nerd, and never, EVER, watch any of the 50+ ESPN and other sports channels on my plan, but I would dearly love to have the Science channel so I can veg-out to How It's Made. I'd gladly trade all 50+ sports channels for just the Science channel.

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Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

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"Costello claims he didn't get the requests, but under Indiana law, as he didn't respond to the request within 30 days or attend a hearing on the matter, then the legal rule is that he admitted the liabilities and damages by default."

So, anybody in Indiana can randomly sue ANYBODY ANYWHERE ELSE and if that person doesn't respond to that court within 30 days then the state of Indiana considers that an admission of guilt/liability? That's pretty fucked up. I mean, I could maybe see it if the other person were a resident of Indiana, but not somebody who lives in another state altogether.

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Latin-quoting Linus Torvalds plays God by not abusing mortals

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Re: quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

Romanes eunt domus

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BOFH: What's your point, caller?

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Re: Exchanging stories

When we moved from Groupwise to Office365 two years ago, I discovered there was an ongoing bug with the Android email client. It seems that if it was using imap against a Groupwise GWIA, then every time it checked for new mail, it would put another copy of every single mail sent from that device into a "Sent" folder it created on the server, (not into the "Sent Items" folder that Groupwise uses). And if a user had multiple Android devices, yep, each of them would do that with whatever locally-sent emails they had. Every 5 or 10 minutes, all day and all night. So when I start doing the final GWCheck's before the migration (and am actually paying attention to something other than error messages and orphaned attachments), I noticed lots of accounts with 400,000+ messages to be migrated. Once I figured out what had happened, it took a while to figure out a way around it. Deleting those Sent folders was going to take forever since the GW client liked to barf at more than 5000 messages in a folder, and even trying to delete that many emails slowed the POAs to a crawl. To top it off, the migration software didn't seem to honor my request to skip any folders named "Sent". In the end, I just had to let the migration jobs run for months trying to get most of the stuff migrated over.

I don't ever want to migrate an email system again.

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Unprecedented number of customers swimming off to cloud, says Barracuda

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" The pace of innovation in these two clouds is mind-blowing,"

Yes, it is. And highly annoying, too. Some of us just want the stuff to work consistently.

I mean, I like Office365 for email for students and employees - saves me having to maintain a fleet of local email servers. But after a while, it gets numbing to keep up with which features are changing this quarter, what new features (that we don't know how to admin yet, but the lusers will want to use the day after they come out) are coming out, what useful features are being taken away, etc?

It's like building a huge mansion on sand - sure the mansion as a whole is still up and mostly functional if you don't look too closely, but walls sometimes collapse, floors crack, and doors get stuck. So you repair them and just wait for the next round of problems. So the question becomes - are all these problems (and other things like data ownership/security, availability, etc) worth the benefit of not running our own servers? For email, I'd say YES. For general purpose stuff like SQL or file servers or AD, I'd say NO. That's not the kind of stuff I want to be a moving target dictated by Microsoft's marketing department.

And that's probably why Barracuda is in a hurt now - they built their business taking care of peripheral stuff - email filtering, backup, firewalling- most of which is fairly easy to move to the cloud, and even easier to justify to Upper Management of why it was moved to the cloud (especially when MS is giving it to education customers for FREE). I feel sorry for them - I always liked their products back when we used them.

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Tech titans demand free speech law to head off President Trump

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Re: Wow

"Why, because frivolous lawsuits are a Trump-only thing, and we won't need protection from them after he's gone?"

No, it's because we've managed to survive for ~240 years WITHOUT whatever this new law is, so it's probably not needed long-term.

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Pirate Dave
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Wow

It's pretty fucked-up when an outgoing Congress feels the need to hurriedly pass a law so a potential future president can't fuck things up even worse if he gets elected.

I just hope they put a sunset clause into it.

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FAA to test Brit drone-busting kit

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Couldn't they just buy some shotguns and hire some rednecks?

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Windows 10 zero day selling for $90,000

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Richest company in the world

Why doesn't Microsoft secretly "buy" this so they know what to patch, then release a patch before someone else releases a live exploit into the wild? I mean, $90k is chump-change to them, but a vulnerability that goes all the way back to Win2k is a possible major disaster for the rest of the world.

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Disk death: Three-quarters of PCs will run SSDs by 2020

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"lost 3 spinning hard drives in two years on a two drive RAID server so spinning is not much more reliable."

We're an HP Proliant shop here, and I have to say the 2.5" SAS drives HP has been using the past 5-7 years or so are pants. About 25% of them seem to fail within the first 2 years (although so far the replacements seem to be holding up well). I contrast this to the 3.5" U320 drives I bought from IBM 10-12 years ago (for their xSeries servers) which had a less than 10% failure rate (and most are still running - but not doing anything "important" since they're so old).

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Pirate Dave
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Re: only 3/4?

"Anything smaller than 1TB is pretty much 100% SSD already."

Not for those of us still using enterprise SAS drives - 300 and 600 gig spinning drives are still bread and butter for some of us. Not all of us have the data growth needs of Facebook or Google (or their budgets).

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

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Thanks for the link. The Kiwi Bloke's pages kept me going for a while. Good way to end a Friday.

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Microsoft bans common passwords that appear in breach lists

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Re: @codysydney: Because, Dear Commentard.

@cornz 1 - Agreed. I'm 47, and I have to say I'm SICK of sites that were obviously written by a 20-year-old and ask "secret" questions that relate to childhood. How the fuck am I supposed to remember my first pet's name, or who my favorite 3rd grade teacher was, or what flavor the cake was at my 10th-birthday party? All that stuff is now shrouded in the mists of time, so I make up some answer that I KNOW I will forget if I need it in a year or two. So a big THANK YOU to all the PFY web designers out there, you're really showing your age (or lack of it).

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Motion Picture Ass. of America to guard online henhouse

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so

this mostly affects domains most people will never use. No worries then. I hope the MoPiAss. paid a stupidly large sum of money to get the agreement.

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Supernova bubble clocked at 19,000,000 km/h

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Has it been expanding at that rate the entire 444 years? If so, my sloppy calculations say it should be around 1,086,379,368,040,875.4 brontosauri across. That'd be over 93 trillion miles here in 'Murca, and just under 16 light-years (although that seems wrong but, eh, I did say it's "sloppy")

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Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

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But...

if this laser plan comes to light, eh, what will we need Bruce Willis for?

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

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Re: The lock in Question

@John Sanders - thanks for judging someone you don't even know, mate. I've learned enough about how systemd works to know that I will not use it in the future if I can at all avoid it (and for right now, I CAN avoid it). So forgive me for saying I don't want my system to work that way.

As to reading the manuals, well, you got me there. I wasn't expecting such a drastic change from the Red Hat I've been using since 5.2 (that's the 5.2 from when it was just Red Hat Linux, BEFORE there was a RHEL, And I did read extensively back in those days), so was completely flabbergasted to see an /etc/rc3.d directory that only has one K script and one S script, and a grub2 config file that's 3 or 4 pages long (whereas the grub config files on my other machines are usually around 20-25 lines long, including comments). Again, forgive me for saying I don't want my system to work that way.

The end result is the major distros are stripping away our choices in something that's fundamental to how our Linux boxes work, and that's a damn shame. Maybe, to some people, systemd is the greatest thing since binary math, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us should have to quit doing decimal math just to make them happy.

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Pirate Dave
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Re: Pirate Dave: The lock in Question

BSDs - I'd thought about that, but hadn't seriously pursued it. Had also thought about Slackware, but are they even still a thing? The latest version I saw in their ISO download area was from like Sept. 2013, but maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

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Re: The lock in Question

@jim-234

Thanks, Jim, I'll take a look at Devuan. I don't think I've run a debian-type system in probably 15 years.

I don't guess anyone has forked Red Hat yet to create a systemd-free version, have they?

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Re: WOW!

" A bit of study would reveal that PASSPORT was their new tollbooth for the information superhighway."

Yes, Microsoft's effort failed, as it should have. But somehow Facebook's succeeded. I still don't understand why so many sites allow users to login with their Facebook info. They must all want to be associated with the hip, cool kids.

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Re: The lock in Question

" I am actually looking forward to the day when using anything to come out of Redmond is history."

I don't think all that ass-hattery is exclusive to Redmond. I don't know that Apple is much better. Nor Firefox. And I recently (finally) tried CentOS 7 with all the foolishness that is systemd and grub2, and I have to say that feels strongly like something Redmond would do. In fact, RH's decisions make me sad now. I used to enjoy being a Linux admin when it was more unixy, but this new systemd thing is the pits, and grub2 has a config file that's stupidly long and complicated for just a boot loader. And worse, that stuff is so deeply embedded in the distro now that it's near impossible to rip-n-replace. So we've finally come to the point where my favorite Linux distro is no longer about choice, it's about doing things ONE way and doing them poorly.

It seems like the entire computer industry is in motion to "Do What It Wants To Do" and fuck any and all of us admins who don't agree or don't want to do it that way. Hell, it's not just admins, it's ANY competent computer user. I guess the money is big enough now for all these companies that they don't give a shit about those of us on the "outside" who got them to where they are today. Microsoft was just one of the early companies to get to that point back in the mid-90's. Now the rest are catching up. Sad.

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This is what a root debug backdoor in a Linux kernel looks like

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Re: Vulnerable?

"Actually, one of the best ways to learn is to set up a Linux instance that you can treat as disposable in a VM."

I dunno. I think if you REALLY want to learn, you have to at least once accidentally do "rm -rf *" when you think you're in /var/sometestdir but you're actually in / on a production system. You NEVER forget that lesson... always, ALWAYS do a pwd before an rm -rf .

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Revealed: HMS Endeavour's ignominious fate

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Hungry now

It's lunchtimere here in the States. I must endeavor to have a sandwich.

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Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

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Thanks

I just gave our phone guys a new project for the summer.

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Hubble spots ice moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake

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"So Makemake is inhabited by pirate ghosts?"

Yes, they are hiding there in fear of the ghost Ninjas. :(

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NASA prepares to unpack pump-up space podule

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Smithsonian Article

Smithsonian magazine has an interesting article about Bigelow and BEAM in this month's issue.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/robert-bigelow-visio-future-living-space-180958698/

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Intel preps Knights Landing 'Ninja' dev boxes

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CentOS

"The Ninja Development Platform is available for pre-order here. It ships with user-specified memory and local storage, CentOS 7.2..."

I'm a long-time CentOS user, but why isn't Chipzilla using RedHat for this? Not that I'm knocking CentOS, I'm just curious. Is it some weird licensing issue with RedHat or some strange allegiance with someone else that would be strained by using RedHat?

I mean, for a workstation, I'd think maybe Scientific Linux might be better than CentOS (based on my miniscule understanding of SL).

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