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Comment: Re:The Credit Report/Credit Score system is FAIL (Score 1) 271

by ledow (#47563929) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

So what's new?

If you don't need credit, they'll give it to you. If you do, they won't. It's the general rule of banking.

How else can you explain that NO credit history is seen as worse than a mediocre one? For years, banks ignored me precisely because I'd never taken out a loan, credit card, etc. It was only once I'd got one that they desperately tried to push more loans down my throat. Up until then, apparently, I'd been too much of an unknown to risk it.

Credit scoring, the entire premise, is flawed. It's based on the reputation of your previous credit, and bears little resemblance to reality - as you point out. And try taking out a credit card and then RELIGIOUSLY paying back the full amount every month for many years. They hate you for it. Your credit score is still basically zero.

Credit score is not a reputation or history-based score. It's purely arbitrary. There's even "traps" like "use this high-interest credit card that we will give to people with no credit history just so you can 'improve' your score". WTF?

Hence why, as much as humanly possible, I don't use credit. Pretty much, for the last five years, I have no credit "history" as such (no credit cards, no loans, no judgements etc.), earn twice what I used to, and have never had anything "bad" on my history.

Was still refused for a joint mortgage with my girlfriend, though. Weird, because I'd had a mortgage previously for 3/4's of the same amount, earning half as much, self-employed, never missed a payment, sold the house for profit and paid off the full loan + interest early.

Ironically, my girlfriend (who's Italian, hadn't worked in the UK, had never owned a house, was refused a credit card for lack of history, and earns less than me) was approved for the entire mortgage on her own, so I just pay her half the mortgage and she's the one on their records. Oh, they offered to "put me on the paperwork" in a couple of years. This is despite the fact that in the UK, credit records (apart from bankruptcies and county-court judgements) are supposed to expire after 4 years.

Hell, they will CHARGE YOU to view your credit history, and in the UK you have to get your history from several large credit-history suppliers in order to make sure you have the full picture - some banks use one supplier, some use another, and their information can differ even though they are supposed to share it.

It's a scam. It's got nothing to do with risk, it's everything to do with maximum profit - and that means that you get a better "score" if you get into debt but don't quite go bankrupt.

Comment: Re:Even my DVDs are streamed (Score 1) 146

by jedidiah (#47561171) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

The ability of a DVD to be compressed using a different format seems largely to be a function of the quality of the "original". A decent original can compress quite nicely. A crap original will be crap transcoded.

It won't be as impressive as a BluRay but the original isn't either.

Again. MPEG2 is a really outdated format. It doesn't take much to do better (or much better).

Comment: Re:Me too (Score 1) 100

by ledow (#47559443) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hard- & Software Based Security Token?

1) You've confused American "schools" with British schools, where the pupils are children. I specifically mention primary and secondary - primary is up to age 10/11.

2) We still have tracing of what was accessed, it's still against school rules to allow someone access to your account. Their actions aren't your responsibility but may have been your fault.

3) Any "school" that expels a kid for losing their key and another kid doing stuff on their account, won't be a school over here for long.

4) No school will charge for a crime in such circumstances, unless a crime was committed, and then you have the "reasonable doubt" defence and legal requirements of proof.

If you think for a second that a teenager losing their access card is any different to them leaving the machine logged on for the microsecond it takes one of their "mates" to reach over and do something on their account, you're an idiot.

P.S. Been running IT in UK schools - state and private - for fifteen years, no complaints yet, and massive shortage of time to work for all the school who want me.

Comment: Me too (Score 1) 100

by ledow (#47558959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hard- & Software Based Security Token?

I'd like something like this for a mixed Windows/Mac/Linux network but the costs are just prohibitive.

Yubikeys are $25 each for the hardware, and $45 PER USER. That's just ridiculous when you scale up, and there's an awful lot of manually faffing about to get to the point that it works.

To be honest, in my scenario (primary/secondary schools), I'm not looking for 2-factor as much as "I don't have to remember my password" login. If someone has the key, they have access (but only to another pupils account, which is nothing), and leave 2-factor as only a consideration for the staff (so then you could buy Yubi just for the staff, etc.). But anything software-licensed per-user is just ludicrously expensive when you start adding it up, on top of the "per-user" device costs to start with.

To be honest, I'd pay £10 each for a set of USB tokens that - when you press the button - just types in a username/password for you. Yubikey doesn't solve that problem on Windows, it just makes existing logins much more complicated (and, as pointed out in their manuals, when you get into mobile access they are useless anyway).

If someone could come up with a £10 USB keyboard-emulating device that types in a given string (I can code it so it presses tab / Return in all the right places, etc.), I'd probably buy it.

But on Windows, Yubikey is just too expensive for the software. I can't believe, given how little it does and how "third-party" it still feels after you've installed, that it costs that much to develop the Windows side of the software.

Comment: Re:How's the Android emulation scene? (Score 2) 57

by ledow (#47558697) Attached to: $299 Android Gaming Tablet Reviewed

Well, unless someone sits and writes specific modules for each possible underlying instruction set, probably not.

Remember, Android is Java - sure, you CAN execute ARM (or in some hardware Intel) instructions - but those are always of the processor-specific modules. Go download the MoboPlayer app, which has specific modules to accelerate video for each type of device.

Can't see that happening for an emulator, especially when 99% of the time, the performance in Java would be fine anyway. Thus, you're really asking if someone is going to bother to write, say, an emulator for a cutting-edge device that a PC would struggle to emulate, plus specific ARM modules to make it run at feasible speeds. And the answer is probably no, especially when the market moves this fast.

Comment: Re:When going into business with Friends (Score 1) 163

by ledow (#47556347) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

Going into business with friends or relatives is not a problem.

Just treat it like a business. When your cousin comes to work for you, you're under no different obligations as an employer than you would be if they weren't you cousin.

Similarly, business is something which people do for "profit". Whether than be salary, experience, shares, or literal profit - each person is there because they have something they want out of the business. As such, pretending that because they are family makes things different is idiotic.

The friend who says to his friends that he hired "Sorry, mate, it's not working out" is still a friend, but he's protecting his interest in the business. A friend that doesn't understand that is not a friend. And though there might be "favours" and shortcuts and digging people out of holes, those favours are as shortlived in the business world as they are in the personal world - and abuse of them by a friend means that they aren't a friend.

Speaking as someone who has in the past hired my own brother (and will do so again soon), and who my father found me work for occasionally with good friends of theirs, it's still "just business". They're not giving charity - if they were, they'd give charity as a friend.

If you go into business with a friend or relative, treat them like anyone else. Get a contract, get them to sign it, talk to them about what's happening, don't just assume they will always do what you want even when it's not in their interest. Don't rely on even a friend's goodwill to get you through.

You wouldn't take money from a friend just because they offered it. Equally you wouldn't run up a debt for your friend just because they "normally pay" or whatever. Talk to people. And get anything business-critical in writing.

Some guy you know coming to work for you for a few days can go wrong enough - don't think when you're talking multi-million dollar businesses and official share certificates that you don't need to make things official too.

Comment: DRM (Score 1) 222

by ledow (#47556245) Attached to: Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

In this day and age, I don't really care.

I prefer Steam because, generally, programs don't put more DRM on than the default Steam stuff (which is non-intrusive, as far as I'm concerned).

Origin, I can't stand the poorly-designed program that once downloaded something like 40Gb and took nearly a day to install one game, because every update was applied sequentially and every update updated every file, sometimes 9Gb per update.

But the end-point DRM on the game? You either care what that is and Google it, or you don't. That it's on a "free" game or not, who cares? And Securom is a damn sight better than shite like Games for Windows Live.

I can't say I've ever seen a machine "messed up" by Securom, certainly not one that can't be fixed by removing it (tricky though that may be).

As far as I'm concerned, the average bit of freeware comes with crap worse than Securom bundled nowadays. Hell, have you tried stopping Google Update services being created every time you install Chrome or Google Earth? It's a nightmare that DOES affect things.

Comment: Don't. (Score 2) 167

by ledow (#47555527) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Resources On Programming For Palm OS 5?

Take a look at some Palm code.

If the hideous restrictions and limits there don't put you off, then find out what they recommend to compile.

Flashy IDE's probably aren't going to be easy to find, there weren't many around in the first place and the majority of stuff I know is just command-line compilers which can plug into any IDE (if you're brave enough).

All I remember of Palm coding was having to break C files into tiny parts, jam them together and hope the individual object files never went over a certain size because the linker had to play all kinds of tricks to load them.

Take a look at something like this:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org...

The base code of which is generally easy to port (Simon Tatham's PORTABLE Puzzle Collection). That Palm version is quite a pain to compile even with the right tools.

Comment: Re:don't have money to waste (Score 2) 112

by postbigbang (#47547173) Attached to: SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

Some people get a lifestyle choice with ACA coverage that's impossible without the ACA: they can breathe.

Others might remove that choice. There's a civics lesson there. If you're talking about covering people with HIV, or who were smokers, then please charge admission for the times when you walk on water. I genuflect.

There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.

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