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Hemos is Homeless 216

So just as proof that life doens't stop when you go to a conference, Hemos got email this morning from nate informing him that his house burned down [?] last night. Now some rooms are missing and there is extensive smoke and water damage. Now the geek compound is 25% smaller. On the plus side, both Nate and hemos are safe and insured. Update: 10/16 11:05 by H : And to make matters worse, Chris DiBona threw my cell phone in a bucket of water. On accident. But it's pretty ironic.
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Hemos is Homeless

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, I used to code by candlelight, too. I used
    to have a massive candelbra on the top of my
    monitor. Had to give it up, though. Hot, dripping
    wax and CRT's don't mix too well.

    So much for ye olde romantic age. (When
    men were men, women were women and penguins
    just ate herring).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you're going to get a fire safe instead of using an offsite safe-deposit box, be sure you don't cheap out. Most of the ones in the department stores and home centers are rated for one-half hour -- in a lot of places, it'll take that long just for the fire department to show up. One- and two-hour fire safes are expensive and a little more difficult to find -- try the larger home improvement warehouses like Lowe's and Home Depot.

    Besides, safes with a longer time rating will keep things cooler inside the safe for a short time -- after 45 minutes, a two-hour safe will be a lot cooler inside than a one-hour safe.

    I wonder what would be more survivable, CD-Rs or tape media?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    30,000 people lost their lives in Turkey after massive earthquakes there, 3,000 people lost their lives in Taiwan... Sure a house fire sucks, but please excuse me if I don't exactly feel sorry for you...
  • Tom Petty's house burned down around 10 years ago -- taking his music collection, a lot of guitars, his studio, all sorts of tools of the trade. Yea he was insured, and yea he was rich, but it still really sucked.

    So, his first gig after the fire, in LA, the lights go down, he comes out on the stage, the spotlight is on him, and he says:

    They burned down my house. (holds up guitar) But they didn't get this. And then the band starts into an incredible set of deliverance.

    In your case, your house is burned down, but is acccepting connections -- may it be your own deliverance.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If this incident doesn't convice everybody of the dangers inherent in fru-fru scented candles and bath beads, I don't know what will.

    Don't even get me started on the dangers that lie beneath the plush exterior of every stuffed animal. They are killing machines!

    Seriously though, glad no one was hurt. Things can always be replaced...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes it has to be. Damn you Bill Gates!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If he wants, they have insurance on the phones as part of their business contract. But I told hemos I'd cover any costs. No biggie there.

    Chris logging in from the slashdot booth at als

  • by Anonymous Coward
    i feel really bad for him and all, but donations? isn't he pretty well off with /. and all? iw ould rather donate my money to a homeless shelter where people have no place to live, rather than someone who does have a house with a few burned up rooms...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out who made the match. "Thank you for choosing Microsoft for your fire needs. We hope you will find our product to be one of the finest available. WARNING! This match is incompatible with users of non-microsoft software! If used such a person, their house may burn down. Also exercise etreem caution around Java based matches."
  • by Hemos ( 2 )
    They will be up later on.
  • Nope - all of the computers are in the office *whew*.
  • I don't know what experinces you have had with the
    red cross but everything I've heard about them
    (except for their TV Commercials), says that
    their a money grubbing instution that takes advantage of Natural Disators.

    First Off I have been told by many people in the
    medical profession that when you donate blood
    to the red cross they sell it and make quite a
    large profit off of it.

    Another thing which I have been told many time
    is that when you are a Volunteer like my grandad was and they show you reciving drinks, food etc as a volunteer they charge you high prices for them. Of course they don't show that on T.V.

    It isn't like the red cross needs to rasie that much money. Everything the recive are donation and they don't pay volunteers for their time. I will be the first to admit that the money they make
    probably dosen't go into the pockets of the heads of the companys but would some one please explain to me where it does go then?

    I don't really know if the other stuff I have heard about them is true so I won't bothering posting it. But I beleive that those two things
    among themselves are bad enough.
  • (Before I say what I wanted to, my condolences to Hemos and Nate... may you find shelter with a computer running linux with a relatively fast internet connection soon.)

    Nate: I burnt half the geek compound down.

    Hemos: Oh my God! All my source code - it's GONE! Burned up with my Harddrive!

    Oh wait, all my stuff is Open Source (tm)! It's quite a possibility others have downloaded a recent version of my source code from my computer!

    Ahhh... thank god for Open Source (tm)!

    * Hemos smiles at the screen with a thumbs-up.
  • Good luck rebuilding! Every home is filled with memories, knick-nacks and "stuff" that make it unique. These are the things that are hardest to replace in a disastor like a fire. No money will recover them.

    So please accept the Blessings of Oak and Maple; Oak for strength, and Maple for renewal, and it's side benefit, something sweet.

    Farrell McGovern,
    Druid, The McGoverns.
  • Yes, there are some people who have no real humanity. IT is best to learn to determine the 'worthwhile' people and hang around them. Luckily (at least in this part of the country) there are a lot more worthwhile people than heartless bozos.
  • by AshNazg ( 830 )
    I think you are wrong.
    Part of the appeal of /. over other sites is the sense of belonging to a community it transmits to the readers.
    One of the best ways of achieving this is make the readers feel that CmdrTaco, Hemos, ... are people they know personally.
    Therefore a few articles about their personal lives only adds to that atmosphere, and is quite usefull in that sense.
  • "holy smoke!"

  • I had something similar happen about two years ago. Good to hear that no one was hurt.

    Some advice: a lot of hotels will let you stay
    for a week or two at a reduced rate. I lived
    in a hotel for about two weeks while we cleaned up
    the mess. It's still no fun, but at least you
    don't have to crash on someone's couch until the
    place is liveable again. And insurance will
    usually cover at least part of the hotel costs.
  • Every geek compound must have a digital camera because it's cool. Surely with the flat panel displays and gadgetry in the geek compound you've got a digital cam. Why not use it to show us the damage?
  • > And now the real question. Is your insurance policy...

    You're obviously well-meaning but a question like that is probably too personal and none of our business to be asking of our Slashdot hosts at a time like this. I can only imagine what a hassle it must be for Jeff... and I hope I never have to go through something like that. Let's stick to wishing him well but not trying to pry too deep, OK?

  • Kay. I was doing svlug way before I was working at VA, but whatever,dude. You should know that I am also responsible for JFK's murder.

    , Past that If Larry would like to change my job description to read like that, I'd be totally cool with that. Larry?

    Grant Chair, Linux Int.

  • Who's the dumbass? Both the comments you referred to were posted BEFORE Hemos let us know he was insured. Flamebait stinks. bradley
  • Does it? I'm buying meself a sack of onions and a bunch of Thomas Hardy novels extra quick, then... :)

  • Hay (alfalfa and grass) and mulched grains are put into the 'cigar tube' silos.

    More typically stored in bunkers of a sort- three tall walls filled with a mound covered with a plastic type tarp, a loader drives in, scoops what it needs and goes to feed the critters (animals).

    Of course, this is possible region specific, to Michigan.

    Also, grain dust explosions is due to the fact that flamable materials are made into tiny particles, increasing the burn surface area.

    Moist hay can heat up and spontaneously combust if it isn't ventilated, due to decomposition. Two different phenomena.
  • No need to wrap this up in fluff. Subject says it all.

  • by ploeg ( 3058 )
    Do you have pictures available so we Nosey Parkers can see how bad it is?

    Good luck. Hope that the insurance adjustor gods are kind to you.
  • I've seen Halon installations (at one wire-pulling job, a very large PBX switch with battery pile had a hard-piped Halon setup: "no smoking in here, gents, unless you want to walk out through an oxygen-free cloud.."), but it's less appropriate than you'd think for computer equipment. Quite aside from any effect on the ozone layer, the stuff can delaminate circuit boards. Computers don't run so good that way.

    And, Nate, now you know why even nonsmokers should carry lighters.
  • Ok Mark this post down if you want. #1 It sux to lose your stuff like that....sorry to hear about it #2 It shouldn't be posted here for sympathy? If that wasn't the motivation what was?

  • There is no reason to ridicule them for being unable to do anything when they're not even there.

    To clarify, I didn't intend to ridicule or suggest that they were posting instead of calling the fire department. I did find it striking that one of their immediate after-disaster priorities was adding the datum to Everything.

  • by Otter ( 3800 )
    People, please leave the residents of the geek compound alone for awhile. half their house just burned down! And don't complain if in the next few days submissions get processed alittle slower.

    Gee, I don't know about that. It looks like they posted to Everything while waiting for the fire trucks to arrive.

  • This is a really bad thing. I think its completely retarded how half of the posts on any serious topic here on Slashdot, even VERY serious ones like this, try to be witty and clever. Quit trying to get those Funny points and quit posting for the hell of it.
  • For all the cleanup afterwards, he could probably use a pair of good work boots.. Or is that not your style?

    Nothing like a big pair of black steel-toed size thirteen stompers, I think.

    But anyway, I hereby add my voice to the sympathetic crowd. Sorry bad stuff happens to good people. If ya need 'em, Hemos, I'l loan you a pair of my boots. (never underestimate the importance of proper footware!) And my copy of Micromachines 2 to run on all the 386's people are offering you.

    Leapfrog (who's bored, at work, in the middle of nowhere Iowa, at 18:30 on a Saturday.)

  • It's just one of those things. Everyone takes less care than they should at some stage. Hope you didn't lose too many personal items.

  • That sucks. At least no one was hurt. Now, let's hope you had replacement insurance instead of normal insurance, because then you'll get almost nothing for your trinkets (e.g., CD's). Yet another advantage to using MP3's: just back up your collection in someone else's house. =)
    Kyle R. Rose, MIT LCS
  • You can watch video of the MAE East from the first episode of /etc [].

    Anyone who lives next to the MAE East and has a 9 to 5 job is a nut. Rush hour begins at 6AM, is impassible until 10AM, lunch hour makes the area impassible from 11AM-2PM, then impassible again from 4PM-7PM. That whole part of Northern Virginia is one large traffic jam.

    I encourage Northern Virginians to move to Laurel, MD, the "Silicon Trailer Park."

  • by Darchmare ( 5387 )
    Looked around, I somehow managed to find Hemos' web page. on the 'write' stuff at the bottom. Nifty.

    Hemos - don't let it get you down. If you need donations, I'm sure we can /. your bank account...

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • Take your pick:

    A. To prompt insensitive types such as yourself to respond.

    B. To let people know that there might be erratic updates for a while.

    C. For sympathy (it's deserved).

    D. Because it's Hemos/Taco's site, not yours.

    E. All of the above.

    My vote: E.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • Seems to me that would be kindness, not stupidity.

    Stupidity would be the use of the letters 'u' and 'r' as if they were actual words. Do me a favor, will you? Next time you see someone do that, pay them a couple bucks to play in traffic.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • ...But sometimes it's easy to get worked up - these people are soiling the rest of our gene pool.

    I can definately see where fire might be of use in some cases, though. ;>

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • We had a fire on Christmas one year. Faulty electrical wiring behind the stove lit it up, the house was totaly destroyed. We were off at relatives at the time. I can't believe it but the firemen risked their lives to throw presents outside trying to save our Christmas. I can tell you though that nothing in my life has been more heartbreaking than sorting through all of those presents and trying to clean them up so my four year old neice could have something. Yes, they are life changing experiences -- if you think you're paranoid about security on your Linux box then well, you've got nothing on those of us who have had fires in our homes. We all seem to turn into Fire Marshal Bill.

    Hemos & Nate: I don't have much, but I've got some boards, ram, duplicate Floyd CD's, books, etc. It's a bitch starting over, but you get there, I'm sure the community would respond if you have any specific requests, especially for those things that insurance can't replace (I lost my PDP/11 programming manual (among other things), just try to find one of those :/)
  • You know, I think most people know who you are by now. You can change your sig now. ;-)
  • Although the post I'm referencing was made in reply to one of my posts, I think it's an appropriate answer to your objection. Read it here. []

    Humor is almost always about a "wrongness" (to reference Stranger in a Strange Land). To reference psychology, it's a coping mechanism. While I don't condone humor at the expense of Hemos himself, humorous posts that do not target him are not, IMHO, inappropriate here.
  • What do you mean, 'Grow as a person?' If you asked Hemos, he would probably tell you that he would much rather his house had not burned down, and he would gladly trade his newfound 'growth' for the possessions he just lost.

    I could be wrong, and I don't speak for him. Just a hunch.
  • what does not kill you makes you stronger

    *cuts off your legs, arms, other extremities* - Let's see you lift that rock now, eh? Or anything at all for that matter...

    Beware Bromides. Getting your house burned down sucks, plain and simple - there's no positive side to it. Insurance skyrockets, valuables are lost, effort has to be wasted rebuilding.

  • Dude, calm down! If you read the rest of the message and interpreted it as I did, you'd see it like this:

    "I hope, for your sake, that your insurance policy is 'Replacement Value' and not 'Actual Cash Value'"

    He not only mentioned something potentially useful to Jeff, but also news to me. No need to rip him a new one if you're misinterpreting what was meant.

    Or maybe I'm going overboard here, as well. Who knows...

    Christopher Kalos
  • It wasn't marked down - it was posted by an AC and hasn't been moderated at all (at least not as of when I'm typing this)
  • True Believers of any stripe are highly annoying. (Religious, political, OS-nal includeded).


  • A candle? Do you code by candlelight? What century is this again? :)
  • Any geeks, male or female, feeling homeless or just traveling through the midwest lemme know and you can sleep on the sofa bed in my living room. I love having visitors from all over. :)
  • Leaders of the Geek News....

    I feel sorry for your loss. I have had relatives and friends in the same postion and it is not a good one. The only saving grace is that you had insurance. Not that it will get your stuff back (and all the memories they had) but you will not be homeless.

    Good Luck,

    sboss dot net
  • about donating to me? My house hasnt burnt down due to stupidity and the company that bought my "simple-in-concept" web site isnt about to put out an IPO nor did they pay me oodles of cash just to keep misspelling common words or post stories that dozens of other web sites have already posted.

    Hemos, get a new roommate. A smarter one.
  • It's not that hard. There were several people at work who have "accidentally" flushed their pagers down the toilet. I can't imagine how that could happen. ;-)
  • Wires Central is the name of my workshop. In 1992 my workshop burned to the ground and my home was damaged. The city condemed it and the people who were dealing with the insurence didn't folow through :(
    The short version of the story is 4 months later I got an appartment. Thankfully my friends helpped me through it all.

    Anyway thats sad to hear...
    Everybody lets comfort Hemos and help him through this....
    Hugs and best wishes to Hemos from Das evil Felinoid type person :)
  • As a 5th-year architecture student , I hereby offer my design services free of charge. Of course, you'd need to pay my way from VA to MI, and I can't actually get licensed for another 3 1/2 years, but that's beside the point. ;)

    Seriously though, I'm sorry to hear about your house. Good luck getting things sorted out.
  • Man I hope you truly have insurance, but at least everyone's ok.

    Maybe someone has an extra PC you could curl up with :).

  • just post and let us know. We can donate hardware and corn chips :)
  • Only yesterday they had a fire safety prevention at our "All People Meeting". Among the tips: "Watch what you throw in the trash."

    No, I'm not trying to be funny. I think its just a little ironic, with October being "Fire Safety Month" and all...

    BTW--I agree with what some other folks have posted. Stuff like this doesn't seem to belong on seems a little, well...personal. But I guess what you decide to post is your choice...
  • if you need anything, let me know.. or any of the /. crowd for that matter.

    my thoughts are with you,

  • But remember, Hemos:

    Only a ninja can kill another ninja.
  • That really sucks, Hemos... but the same thing happened to my girlfriend 2 summers ago, and while it was really tough on her family (especially since she has an autistic brother), once the insurance money came in they got everything back and more... now their house is much nicer than it was before, and everything in it is brand new... including the 2 home theatre systems with Dolby 5.1 surround :-)

    The only problem with it was that they had to live in a trailer that the insurance company put up in their front yard for 6 months.

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
  • Damn, this is ironic. Look at this post from Hemos last night:

    gampid writes "The BBC has a story about the Casino-21 project which is running a SETI@home type program for climate prediction. " I'm a booster of, but this looks pretty cool as well. I dunno global warming just gives me the creeps anyway and I'd like to know if my house will be underwater.

    Sorry 'bout that, I just thought it was ironic that he would post that last night.

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
  • Hemos-- very sorry to hear of the damage to the Geek Complex. Perhaps you can attempt a Beowulf cluster out of all the old stuff people want to give you. It might not be worth it, but it's a heck of a lot better than doing nothing while waiting for rebuilding. ;]

    Slightly offtopic...What goes into a Geek Complex, exactly? My friends and I have a half-baked idea to make one. We're not sure why. We never are. We can't afford it anyway. What's it like living with three or four geeks? How much do you spend on junk food a week? Do your cars cost less than half what your computers do? ;]

    If any efforts are organized to help out, I'd be glad to pitch in any way I can.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know you, except that you're one of /.'s founders. (BTW Thanks for that) Since I have experienced a home fire too, I empathize with your situation. I hope I can lend a supportive voice. I didn't lose my whole house, so I am not in any way trying to say "I know how you feel".

    The carport outside my apt. was torched by an arsonist in 1990. The place went up really quick. I was all too tempted to run back in and grab the 386/25 (a killer system back in the day), which was on loan from a good client.

    Thanks to the firemen, the apt. didn't burn down. I lost my car, and my high-school teachers' Altair 8800 that was in the storage locker. The car seriously needed to be burned down anyway. =) Then there were the items of sentimental value, geez, I don't really remember what they were any more. Maybe I'm not such a sentimental guy after all.

    The Altair was, practically speaking, irreplacable. I always wanted to restore it till it could boot again, just like when it was originally loaned to me. Something my parents hardwired in me - return what you borrow in good condition. Because of the fire (and my unwillingness to kick down serious $$$), I have been unable to do that.

    I moved away from that apt. the following month. I guess my point is that there was loss, and it was life altering, and I didn't like it one bit. Overall, the whole experience made me a stronger person, and I am glad for that. Today it is OK, and I am writing code on a much faster box in a much bigger house. Some good came out of it, like the new car, although it was very humiliating having to tell Mr. Geekteach that I didn't have his Altair 8800 to return to him. I guess I still have a few centimeters to go on getting over that one.

    I dunno what else to say. I guess there isn't anything else - sorry for your loss (or is it just a change?).

  • Thanks - I've got my parents close by, so I might crash there. Until I wanna by on my own.
  • Thanks - I'll take good words, but you are right - I've got stuff under control. Now, if it's irreplacable data - I'll ask.
  • Most geeks are already pale, skinny and malnurished as it is. If we all become vegetarins we will look like the people in Somlia. Besides I don't want to live with any one that has to eat
    beans to stay alive.
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    Heard about it from Pater last night on Slashnet.. That's gotta suck. Didn't Hemos' house burn down once before? I think I remember reading about in in Taco Hell [] a few months back..

    Found it odd last night that Hemos' most recent post ended with "I'd like to know if my house will be underwater."

    Well, anyway, best of luck to Hemos in rebuilding.


  • I had something similar happen about two years ago.
    Good to hear that no one was hurt.

    Some advice: a lot of hotels will let you stay
    for a week or two at a reduced rate. I lived
    in a hotel for about two weeks while we cleaned up
    the mess. It's still no fun, but at least you
    don't have to crash on someone's couch until the
    place is liveable again.
  • Whenever we go out of town I'm always glad to see my house is still there when we get back... old house, old wiring, you know.

    Hemos, I hope you're insured and backed up. Let us slashdotters know if there's anything we can do to help you out.


  • Yes it did. Sometime during college. If memory serves me, it was the summer of 97.

    He lost a hell of a lot in that one. Several computers and things.
  • I agree with you there. I lost everything in a fire about 6 years back: All of my artwork written words, films I hade made, music I created. It was such a big deal, that it sent my life into a tailspin for a long time (while I figured out why all the work that I spent my life thus far doing was destroyed).

    During the fire, I spent my time risking my life trying to keep it under control while the fire dept got there.

    A few months later a friend died while trying to rescue the people in his house when it burned down.

    But I recovered, things are even better than before. Fire is the great cleanser, but it still rocks one deep to your core: for example you will never smell things burning the same way again.

    The point is: lets try to have some compassion towards others. I know that in the 90's it is hip to be snide and cynical, but I just think (from experience) that it is a way to deal with what we are afraid of.

    my 1/4 cent. thanks for listening.

  • Its nice having a home webcam to check on whenever out of town to know at least if the important connection is still up...

    So, if his house is toast, he oughta travel the world in style and put on these conventions. The ALS once again had excellent accomodations... marble floors, grand pianos, limo service, free tshirts, and did I mention free stuff?

    The people here at the ALS always do an outstanding job setting us up. Here's my thanks!
  • That's actually somewhat how Habitat for Humanities (I might have the plural backwards on that) works. People volunteer their time and a bit of money to all pool together and build a house for someone who desparately needs it. I think they tend towards helping people who have suddenly hit on hard times, such as, well, their houses burning down and their insurance not being able to get them back in a home again. Hopefully Hemos's insurance will cover the partial damage which occured, though.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • Sigh... Another uninformed post on /. You donate blood, but it costs quite a bit to get that blood to a point where it can be used. I don't know the exact breakdown, but I'd guess that most of the cost comes from testing. You really want blood with HIV in it? On top of that, there are costs from transportation, separation of blood into plasma/solids, repackaging, etc. They do in fact charge the hospitals more for the blood, than it cost to get it there, but they use blood to fund other efforts which they do not charge for.

    If they're recooping their costs/making profits on blood, where does your donation go? Most of the money donated to the Red Cross goes towards disaster relief. Of the $1.964 billion spent by the Red Cross in fiscal 1997-1998, $1.791 billion or 91 percent, was spent on programs designed to meet the needs of people, leaving $174 million, or 9 percent for overall administration and fundraising.

    I've worked with the Red Cross quite a few times in the past, and I have no clue what you are talking about with them charging high prices for food/drinks while working for them.

    Next time consider some research. All of their audited financial reports are available off of their site, []

  • Homeless... I thought his shell account got cancelled...

    /me shivers at the thought
  • Isn't it ironic that only a few stories ago Hemos was saying about the global warming distributed computing effort "global warming just gives me the creeps anyway and I'd like to know if my house will be underwater" ! (Unless he knew about at the time!)
  • it's not often that you hear about somebody's house burning down. Sorry hemos, nate. If you're looking for a place, there's a real nice apartment building here in VA next to mae-east. I figure you can put on your ninja clothes, and run some fibre in the dark of night. At least gigabit inernet will make you feel better.
  • After the IPO, Hemos can afford a huge mansion.... perhaps like the one Bill Gates has. Just make sure the bathroom is Y2K compliant [].

    Seriously.... I hope everything turns out ok for you, Hemos.

  • >>I never heard of vegetable waste catching fire.

    Obviously, you weren't quite the twisted pyromaniac I was in yougnger days.

    The oil in orange peels burns like the bejesus.
  • The only reason why I suggested donations is because regardless of one's financial staus, (unless one is in a significantly higher tax bracket) it can be incredibly difficult to start over after losing most if not all of your stuff. I do donate money to shelters, Habitat for Humanity, etc. I even worked at a shelter when I was in college. That's not the point. There's enough money to donate to both strangers and to friends. And though I don't know Hemos, the nice thing about communities like /., at least in theory, is that there can be friendships developed. If he didn't have insurance, he'd be screwed, and even with insurance, it'll take awhile for an assessor to come by & for the insurance company to issue a check. Alot of people who end up in homeless shelters do so because of things like having a house burn down & not having insurance. A lot of people don't get any help because people assume they don't need any, and that's not cool.

  • Anal Correction Mode on.

    Habitat for Humanity [] is not plural.

    Anal Correction Mode off.

    I have volunteered for Habitat near where I live, and they tend to build housing for those who cannot afford it, I'm not sure if they do repair work (although they do buy abandoned buildings from the gov't and fix them). I believe there is some income restriction to be elegible to buy it, but if you can it is a good deal. (If you call a required 400 hours of working on Habitat jobs good... I do.) Low cost housing, with no interest.

    I would encurage everybody to volunteer to help out. Quit banging on a keyboard for a few hours, bang on nails instead.

  • by Money__ ( 87045 )

    If there's anything we can do to help, all you have to do is ask.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 1999 @08:56AM (#1609086)
    This is just yet another example showing the dangers of closed source house construction.

    If this house had been constructed using open source development under the GPL, NONE of this would have happened.

    After, NOTHING ever developed by the open source community has ever crashed and burned. Of course, you have to twist bare electric wires to turn your lights on and off, but think of the STABILITY and SECURITY of a home built using open source ideology!!!

    (Yes, I'm being a sarcastic troll.

    Sorry to hear that your house burned, Hemos. I've had it happen twice when I was growing up and lost my first computer and a ton of good books from the second fire. We lived in a VERY old house with bad wiring...

    Just couldn't resist poking some fun at the OSS nazis after reading the response to the Loki contest.)
  • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @06:03AM (#1609087) Homepage Journal
    Red Cross is also amazing - I highly recommend Habit as well. Please - everyone take the time to check your fire safety, and make sure you know how to get it. Buy a fire-proof safe. And contribute to causes around you - tithing is a good idea, regardless of religion/creed.
  • by chrisd ( 1457 ) <> on Saturday October 16, 1999 @07:07AM (#1609088) Homepage
    Thought I'd just clear that up. I feel really bad about it. We were messing around with it (it was new, tragically), and there was this random champagne cooler in the corner of the restaurant. (the restaurant had just opened, so I expected it to be empty). So I felt totally bad about it when I heard the telltale "ploop" noise. I felt really bad. Still do. So public apology and such.

    Past that the whole house thing -sucks- those pictures are heartbreaking.

    Grant Chair, Linux Int.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Saturday October 16, 1999 @08:07AM (#1609089) Homepage Journal
    6) Install automatic halogen systems. NOTE: Requires Genetically Enhanced Lungs.

    7) Port a Quake II client to a mobile robot platform, and network it to your PC.

    8) Put 1 Kg high explosives in each room. Fires are put out by explosions. Deprives them of fuel and oxygen.

    9) Build the house underground. Underground fires are much rarer. :)

    10) Buy up some SDI lasers, and target them at fire hazards. If any show thermic activity, vapourise.

  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @06:00AM (#1609090)
    Good point!

    On the other hand, the last time I looked, there weren't any trees in the rubbish bin. :-)

    Although this wasn't intended to be serious, I guess propensity to catch fire is related to aeration and low water content, neither of which hold in the compacted and very wet environment of discarded vegetable trimmings.

    Hey, maybe the Eat Healthy lobby should use this in their advertising: eat healthy or your house will burn down! :-)
  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:38AM (#1609091)
    ... because most junk food comes in paper wrappers. :-)

    The moral of the story is, change your diet to a healthy one. I never heard of vegetable waste catching fire.

    [Morgaine pushes pizza box deftly out of sight.]
  • by Pascal Q. Porcupine ( 4467 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @10:30AM (#1609092) Homepage
    Gee, I don't know about that. It looks like they posted to Everything while waiting for the fire trucks to arrive.

    They're at ALS damnit! Jeeze. They're great people. You should meet Taco and Malda in person. They were great fun to hang out with. No pretentions at all, they're just normal people trying to be friendly and run a good site for everyone. They were happy to chat with people and got annoyed when they were treated like celebrities. There is no reason to ridicule them for being unable to do anything when they're not even there.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @06:18AM (#1609093)
    Sorry to hear about the fire, boys. I'm really glad nobody was hurt.

    On a lighter side there are several ways it could have been prevented (written in a manner to hopefully avoid hurting nates pride even more):

    1) Cases of penguin mints. Can't start a fire while you're sleeping if you don't sleep.

    2) Cases of Mountain Dew. Good for refreshment and dosing fires.

    3) Eat only Peanut Butter M&Ms. Their wrappers are plastic and won't catch fire in the trash so easily.

    4) Move from the Geek Compound into the Geek Fortress. An old missle silo would do - concrete doesn't really burn well.

    5) Hemos. Oh wait, this isn't a poll.

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms AT infamous DOT net> on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:52AM (#1609094) Homepage
    Sorry to hear, glad no one was hurt.

    Learning from other's mistakes is much less painful than learning fro other peoples, so /.ers might all take this as a reminder to check their basic fire safety - batteries in smoke detectors, extinguishers charged, outlets not overloaded by plugging six boxen and monitors into one outlet, and so on...reminds me that I've been wanting to set a fire safe to put backup tapes in. (Yeah, if I was doing really important stuff I'd have offsite backups, but like most of us I'm in good shape if I remember to have backups at all.)

  • by robertchin ( 66419 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @10:26AM (#1609095) Homepage
    I'm somewhat afraid that my house will burn someday, with all the computers and peripherals plugged in. I did a little research and found out that the best way to reduce this risk is to make sure your computer, power strips, etc. are resting on some sort of non-combustible material (my stuff sits on a sheet of steel). A rackmount type rack would be most ideal, however those are a bit expensive (though they may be a good investment anyway). I also twist tie the wires and cables coming out of the back of my computer together and have them travel in bundles to a location. This way I hope to minimize any chance of dust collecting. Dust improves the change of a power arc from one line to another, which can start a fire. Anyone else have any suggestions?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:27AM (#1609096)
    Cute and elligible female to shack up with.
  • by Leebert ( 1694 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @03:43PM (#1609097)
    I just *KNEW* the slashdot flamewars would go too far one day!
  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:53AM (#1609098) Homepage Journal
    That really sucks, and I'm sorry to hear it.

    I know how you feel. About ten years ago, a roomate of mine and a friend (of his) were using a plastic bag as an ashtray. Burned out one room and destroyed most personal belongings on the top floor. The worst part: I was renting the condo from my mother.

    Fortunately, while I lost every stitch of clothing except what I had been wearing, the computer and stereo, both downstairs, were unscathed. (I lost a record player, though, remember those?)

    But in the end, it was probably good for me. It drive me to live alone for the first time in my life. It drove me to quite the job where they had troubles paying me on time Events like these can be learning experiences. They aren't necessarily all bad. (When it is just property that is lost.)

    And now the real question. Is your insurance policy "Replacement value" or "Actual Cash Value"? That is one of the things I learned the hard way. For those who aren't in the middle of this, you want the former as it saves you huge headaches.
  • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:30AM (#1609099) Homepage Journal
    No one got hurt - and thank you for the kind words.
  • by dustpuppy ( 5260 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @07:49AM (#1609100)
    Hey Hemos,

    When you rebuild/redecorate your house, how about making it open-source. Sort of like the Kasporov vs. The World Chess match - but instead, The World redecorates Hemos' house!

    Just think of the opportunities: Slashdot green walls in the computer room, DustPuppy themed vacuum cleaner cupboard ...

    On a serious note, I hope nothing irreplacable like photos were lost.

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @05:36AM (#1609101)
    Let me first appologize for all the stupid posts that are going to (and have been) be submitted. There's a good reason why stuff like this ought not to be submitted to slashdot - there's nothing to add to the conversation, and nothing useful will result from a half-million geeks knowing somebody's house burned down. I'm sure the inane e-mail you're going to receive will only add to the problem. :(

    People, please leave the residents of the geek compound alone for awhile. half their house just burned down! And don't complain if in the next few days submissions get processed alittle slower.


  • by pjr ( 17799 ) on Saturday October 16, 1999 @06:31AM (#1609102)
    Having experienced my house burning down, I find it suprising to read the remarkable calousness of some of these replies. I can say, confidently, that it altered the course of my life. In some ways, it was good, in others, simply tragic. By the age of 27 I'd built a library of some thousand books. Two thirds of them were lost, including a hand written journal covering about 5 years. My filing cabinet containing many, many documents that were, to me, priceless, gone. Keepsakes from my dead Grandfather. Furnature that I'd build by hand. Photo albums and personal drawings, all gone.
    I suspect that most of the people replying here have not experienced a house fire, if they had, the tone of the responses would likely be very different.
    Perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask that people posting to this news take a minute to think over what their feelings would be if they lost their most cherished, most irreplacable keepsakes.
    Take it from some one who's been there, fires build character, they steel you for the rest of your life.


"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost