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Comment: Re:Gee... (Score 2) 173 173

The problem with that is where I am at, there's typically no voice coverage, either. There are huge areas in rural Western, WA that you can't get a cell signal because there's hills and mountains between you and any towers. What's even more funny is that when I'm at home, I get service from one tower that is 40 miles away. If the power goes out, there's no other tower nearby to take the calls, and there's no plan for any of the telco's to put one in. Heck, the one tower that feeds 4 towns (one having a population of 4 - 5000) is typically down for a total of about a month out of the year. Instead of putting a little money into upgrading it and it's capacity, they simply put money into fixing an EDGE tower, where a 3G or LTE tower would make more sense.

The problem isn't that they can't upgrade the tower, it's that they don't want to because the other company that uses their bands would also reap the benefits of the newer tower and access due to sharing agreements. For them, keeping us on limited voice + EDGE is the best way to go, I guess.

Comment: Re:This may explain it (Score 1) 233 233

I thought Money was retired in 2008. I know you couldn't purchase a 2009 version of it, as they didn't make it.

The saddest thing about that is that Money was actually one GOOD piece of software, especially compared to Quicken and the other bill management software that's been out there.

Comment: Re:Europe (Score 1) 348 348

Actually, it's not that bad. I use Windows as my HTPC box because I can't get reliable Blu-Ray support on Linux. I turned off UAC, set every notification icon to minimize and not display notifications, and pretty much leave Windows Media Center up on the screen or switch to VLC. In the rare instance I have to use a webbrowser to watch a show (CBS... I'm looking at you), I have the option available, and can still get pretty good quality out of it.

Now if only I could get a better video card that has an intel chipset on it (nvidia and ati suck for this), so it would fit my screen without requiring me to change the zoom settings and HD audio. As it sits right now, the older intel chipset only supports 2 channel audio over HDMI.

Comment: Re:Europe (Score 1) 348 348

The other major difference is that Hulu on PS3 will play at 720 & 1080, on the PC it's capped at 480 for the majority of programs. It's much nicer to be able to watch some of the shows on Hulu in full HD that I have until recently missed because I won't pay almost $100/mo for cable.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 1) 200 200

This is my biggest gripe with Linux. I love tinkering with it, and I would really like to use it, but I can understand why companies that would bring users over won't support it. Think about it, with Windows and Mac, you have one major codebase that is used. With linux, you have a commonality in some packages, but then you have every manufacturer changing whatever they want, however they want, and in order to provide a product that works best for the users, you'd have to ensure that too many things were the same. Linux is just too fragmented, which is the nature of the beast that it is. There's such a thing as customizable, but in many cases, being too customizable more a lot more than too much of a good thing. I like my linux boxes, and I use them quite regularly, but the only real purpose I can consistently use them for is server tasks.

Comment: Re:Bad bill... (Score 1) 305 305

They'll find a way to screw us into paying more taxes no matter what happens. They've already started with our '$30 car tabs' that the people passed several years ago. Now, they require a new license plate every 5 years on a vehicle, plus they can raise the rate being paid for tabs based on the weight of the vehicle. They're already talking about upping sales tax, which will likely pass. Next they will be looking at a state income tax once more. It's been pushed several times over the past 20 years, and each time they push it, it gets closer to passing. Now that there's a true fiscal need due to one of the highest budget deficits in state history, the state legislature is going to have to find a way to make up that difference. The only way is to raise taxes.

The down side is that many small businesses, which there are thousands of in WA, will likely burden the majority of these taxes. Companies like Microsoft will likely keep their tax breaks to stay here, while the rest of small businesses pay the exorbitant B&O taxes that are levied. Paying $75 in taxes on an $80 job (and yes, this did happen in one town here in WA just recently) means that no-one could survive while running a small business unless they charged prices that the economy can't sustain.

Comment: Re:just as good as the others... (Score 1) 171 171

Actually, streaming to the Xbox is done in HD, albeit 720p last I checked. The PS3 also gets some content in HD, but not as much as the Xbox does yet. The Xbox in our house is pretty much used only for netflix streaming as it's connected to the old tv in the bedroom (and netflix is currently the only content we watch on that TV). I have brought it out to my 46" Bravia and seen a difference when streaming the HD version of content vs. the SD version of the same content.

I'm actually surprised the PS3 doesn't get more HD content, but then again, Microsoft has pretty much bought their way into being the sole provider of quite a few multiplatform contents that I would much rather see on my PS3. Not only do they get to have Netflix deny some HD content to the PS3, but they also took over the Rock Band Network, which means that 95% or more of the RBN releases that are coming out are only on the Xbox.

Comment: Tried many, went with MS Security Essentials (Score 1) 896 896

I have comcast, which gave me McAfee for the last few years, but then they switched to Norton, which caused nothing but problems for my machine. So, I went on the same search about a week ago. I tried quite a few, but after reading about many, I settled on MSE as well.

Clamwin had issues in that all the testing reviews I could find only showed it recognizing about 50% of the viruses that were thrown at it. Avast! was listed higher, but it slowed machines down, AVG has always had one issue or another on the computers I've installed it on, and the free versions of any commercial product are so watered down that they were not worth it, either.

I went with MSE after reading quite a few positive reviews that put it above most other free AVs out there. It's got it's own issues (only finding about 95% of the viruses thrown at it), but it's still much better than any other option I've tried. I've even found it to not interfere with any other processes that are running.

Comment: Re:Wouldn't be worth it. (Score 1) 212 212

Personally, I like the XMB better than the interface to Xbox Live. It's really all about preferences. I own all 3 systems (PS3, Wii, X360), and I do a lot of online gaming on all 3. The Wii's version is the absolute worst. If you're going to require a friend code, it needs to be 1 universal code for ALL games, not just the game I happen to have in my console. But, that's not the subject.

The XMB seems more logically laid out to me. It's got a better flow to it in my opinion, and the integration into games is a lot better than it was when I bought my system a couple of years ago. Xbox Live, even with the "New Experience" is essentially the same as it was when I bought my Xbox. The only difference is that now I see a picture of my friends' avatar when I look at the list. In a way, it's also designed very similar to the XMB. Sure, it goes vertical instead of horizontal to pick the category. However, the interactions are all pretty much the same.

Honestly, I haven't seen anything on the Xbox that I can't do on the PS3. The main difference between the two is that the PS3's XMB integration into games feels more polished and superior to me. If you have MW2, it's drop dead easy to join a friend's session or invite them to yours. The same goes for other games that I play multiplayer and use the XMB for managing invites.

Comment: Re:Exactly. (Score 1) 212 212

Actually, ALL PS3's have BC for PS1 Games, it's PS2 support that they don't have. The PS1 is fully software emulated in the PS3, while the PS2 is only 100% emulated on the early 60GB versions of the console. It had an EE chip in it that's missing from the other iterations of the hardware.

The BC in the 80GB version of the PS3 that I have only supports about 92% (last time I checked) of PS2 games because the EE chip couldn't be fully emulated. This means that some of my games are unplayable unless I find a PS2.

A good chunk of the reason I bought my PS3 when I did was because I was informed that PS2 compatibility was going to go away after the 80GB I bought was sold out. Since I had a few PS2 games I really enjoyed playing, I wanted to make sure I could continue to do so. I had a PS2 before I bought the PS3, but didn't really see the need to keep yet another system in my TV shelf.

Keep in mind that when the PS3 came out, Sony aggressively promoted the BC features. When they dropped support for it in the later revisions of the hardware, there was a major outcry on their discussion boards. In my opinion, it was Sony's way of saying that the PS3 wasn't selling as well as they had hoped, so to keep hardware sales up, they needed to re-focus some attention on the PS2 due to its popularity.

Comment: It was forced on some of us (Score 1) 504 504

They forced this 'optimization' on a lot of us that bought laptops during Black Friday. I got a great deal on the laptop I bought, but had to cough up an extra $50 to buy it. If it wasn't for the fact the deal was still worth it, I wouldn't have gone with it and voted with my dollars.

I went back later that day, told the manager that he could either refund me the $50 extortion fee, or they could be charged my normal rate for fixing a computer to remove their optimizations. I had a bill in hand to fill out and hand to him if he said that they wouldn't refund the excess purchase. The upside: I got my money back, the downside: I had to spend an hour doing the system restore that came built into the laptop.

I had hoped he would have offered to pay me for my services to clean it. I would have gone through it step by step to remove what they had done, it might have been several hours, but it would have made my laptop free.

And for those that are wondering, yes it did make a difference. Using the default Sony load on my Vaio, the laptop is MUCH faster than it was with their 'optimized' services.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov