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My new physical machines have scandinavian place names.

My server was originally called "TECT" as a short, pronounceable, "computery" name that wasn't well known.

However, the server has been renamed "Sodor" and all the server VMs on it are stations/locations form Thomas the Tank Engine. Desktop-type VMs are engines.

what naming scheme do you use for your computers (if any)?

(boost so more people can answer)


I have Nisus, but I usually use MWP on Ye Olde Macs. Could be a good opportunity to try something else though!

picked up some books about computer mediated communication from the library.

Gon' start taking notes.

Thinking about writing some stuff in MacWritePro.

There might be more helper engines somewhere, but also I think the line is busy enough the railroad just runs them through, at least from Barstow, CA to somewhere east of Denver.

If I had to guess, they just rearrange the engines randomly enough between jobs they don't differentiate, but it would be interesting to hear for sure.

I know BNSF specifically is particular enough to almost never run EMD on the transcon, for example.


No problem! It's interesting to think about at least.

I know that slack is a problem and I think most of the longest trains (again: bnsf transcon, I live near the ARizona divide, and then they go down to alburquerque and then back up to denver before crossing Kansas on the way to Chicago) have middle engines and some of the most heavy ones have back engines as well.

@bhtooefr @animeirl @ivesen

re 80 years: *allegedly*, if you basically lock the drive and never read it, presuming they don't suffer the same "long term power loss" issues some SSDs (IDK if that's an explicitly datacenter SSD thing or what) do.

Real SSDs generally last an awful long time, way longer than everyone was worried about ten years ago, even if you swap heavily onto them, etc.

@ivesen @animeirl

My personal experience is that flash drives are wildly variable. If you buy exactly the same model, you will get a pretty consistent experience, but also they wear out quickly (esp. if you keep like portable apps on them or frequently rewrite data) and once in a while I'll get a nice one just start randomly failing to mount correctly.

As a personal sidenote I"m very unhappy that there's no modern removable storage media in the style of zip/jaz/MO/sparq/prodisc et al.

@calvin @natecull

temporary oversight starting in 2009.

or: do the railroads intentionally manage where they're placed so you don't have one particular unit ending up at the back all the time as their way of managing that particular maintenance need, if it's even there.

But yeah, I realize that it's not strictly speaking a technical issue to run 'backward' or anything (this one was actually facing 'forward' anyway, I should have added that so that's my bad.)


It didn't sound like issues per se, it sounded like it was going at full bore. I presumed that there was some kind of physics involved in why the one engine at the back sounds like it's working a lot harder than the five up front, which is also to say that this is a consistent phenomenon and I've noticed it in a few different scenarios.

I guess my question was, if an engine ends up at the back a lot and consequently runs at max all the time, does that have a noticeable impact

@animeirl @ivesen

Hard toss-up!

On one hand, CD-RWs are way more durable than flash drives IME.

On the other hand, putting data on CD-RWs is wildly inconvenient.

usb flashdrives are without a doubt the most evil storage devices on the planet

- This was in the USA
- The locomotive was an SD70ACe.
- I notice this with dash9s and evolutions too
- also I think it's the first time I'd really heard an SD70
- I live along the BNSF transcon and so I almost never see anything but GEs so it was very exciting
- I don't remember if it was an ACe or an T4, but I presume the principle would be the same since it's probably Physics(TM) causing this phenomenon.

Legit questions:

This morning I drove by a locomotive pushing the back of what I presume was a fairly long freight train and it was just dreadfully (read: extremely beautifully) noisy, like it was working at full effort.

1) Is this true, in terms of like the physics of railroads
2) do railroads observe any like difference in maintenance needs of locomotives that end up at the back of the train a lot or is there like a plan to avoid this?


An unfamiliar one, at that. At least if you go buy a windows/linux/chrome/mac laptop as a supplementary $SINGLE_TASK computer, it's gonna be a workflow you know. And at worst you can use removable media to move files around.

Or do the entire process of $TASK on the machine.


(A new one, but I also realize I am about to be @ by the entire fediverse to promote buying a used business laptop and for a technical person that's extremely attainable w/in 500. Even buying a new battery and installing an SSD and RAM upgrade.)

and to be 100% clear I can't imagine any non-technical people buying a hemingwrite or having success using it. It's another account and a sync process. Potentially two sync processes IIRC.


Because let's be real, for $500 I can get a real laptop and just decline to put more than [my preferred writing software] on it and it'll be easier than dealing with a hemingwrite, which if I remember correctly also weighs a ton and TBH I can't imagine the form factor is very good if you actually want to look at the screen.

The AlphaSmart works because you expect most of the (original market) people using them not to know how to touch-type.