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Comment Re:I only go... (Score 1) 415

Ah right, typical American assuming we were just talking about America. My mistake ;)

To push this thought a little further, are you aware that America is a continent (two, maybe) with some 50 countries? :^)

BTW: Last fall the flu nailed me to my bed for two solid weeks (along with the tortures of the damned). I don't want to live through that again. Voluntary flu shots every year from now on.

Comment Remove Superfluous Keys (Score 1) 591

I could happily do without numpad (I know, Macbooks don't have any, but I can't afford one), caps lock (urrgh!), num lock, scroll lock. And then make the remaining keys big enough that I don't hit two at the same time. Function and arrow keys are usually too small or located somewhere funny.

Comment My Immediate Peers are all Mouse Slaves (Score 1) 240

I don't know if I really type faster than my coworkers, but they lose significant speed using the mouse. E.g. when I copy and paste 3 words, I select them with 3x Ctrl-Shift-Left, then copy with Ctrl-C, then change windows with Alt-Tab and paste with Ctrl-V. Who doesn't? It takes 2 seconds at most.

My nearest coworker over whose shoulder I sometimes peek for fun, never fails to surprise me by actions like using Copy from Menu bar -> Edit in the middle of typing, or by trying to find the previously focused window in the crowded task bar.

Sometimes she switches back and forth between mouse and keyboard even when all steps of a long sequence of commands could be done with either. It almost hurts to watch that and I have to force myself not to push her away from the computer and do it for her.

I hardly ever use the mouse. Maybe that's because I grew up with a VIC-20 while my coworkers learned computing much later through web browsing. Maybe they feel that the mouse is the correct tool, while the keyboard shortcuts are just workarounds.

Comment Re:SMS for Security (Score 2) 57

You've obviously never dealt with banks.

They have some pretty shitty concepts of digital security. Try all your personal details (everything needed to steal your identity) sent in the clear (or on PDF) over email as practice.

You're overgeneralizing. This never ever happened to me. There are obviously different banks out there. Whenever any bank sends me an email, they mention my name, nothing else. Not even the account number. They don't even send me the URL of their secure web site. It would look suspicious (to me, at least) if they did.

Any sensitive stuff comes either by snail mail (like TANs; this is apparently where other banks save money), or I download it actively from their site.

Comment Re:*facepalm* (Score 1) 445

I haven't worked anywhere this century where the office phones have not been VOIP.

They are subject to exactly the same issues as the office internet connection, if that happens to be s**t then the phone dammed well does go down (or reverts to unusable quality) when 500 people hit youtube.

And no matter how much people twiddle with QOS parameters, if the underlying conncection is s**t then QOS just means "what quality of s**t gets assigned to phone".

In my company the desk phones are VoIP, too. The good part is, they are also IP routers. All IP traffic of workplace PCs goes through them, so the phone decides about priority. AFAIK the phones are meshed into a magic routing network which ensures QoS pretty well. I work in a multinational company where only we in Germany have this kind of phone. All the others use soft phones. And you can tell the difference. The desk phone users' voices are always 100% crisp and clear, while everybody else turns into a robot or disconnects every once in a while. That's pretty annoying, especially in conferences with a dozen participants, so I wish they'd all switch.

Comment Free As In Beer (Score 1) 712

I only use ball pens that I abduct from hotel lobbies etc. They are usually quite good, much better than the official office supply at work. Plus they make a nice souvenir. The wooden ones from Scandic are beautiful, too. They suffer from a very short ink tube, but the unlimited supply compensates that.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 627

A simple cross on a paper ballot counted by people is much less error-prone.

Maybe, but then it's slower to count, and recounts are dubious.

Nah! German elections (1/4 of US population) use only paper ballots where you mark one (or more) circle(s) with a cross. Reliable projections are usually available less than 1 hour after the voting has closed; the official result takes around 6 hours. I wouldn't call that slow. But why do you find that the recount is dubious? Just have different people recount the same paper sheets (which is usually done anyway). But even if it were: If you use voting machines, even the *original* count is dubious.

What I didn't understand in the 2000 US election is that Gore was urged to concede defeat quickly, even though it was such a close call. And I understand even less that he actually did. As if pride is more important than a fair election. And then they stopped counting the votes. Which IMHO was against the law and common sense.

Here, the would-be loser would say "Let's wait until all votes are counted." And everyone would agree. It's an important election, so a few hours wait is acceptable.

IMHO feedom of speech should come with responsibility. It is hard to ignore that Fox (ab)uses their power to support a certain political direction. A news channel should try to be unbiased.

Should it? I would prefer it, but then the market wants biased news, which is why you have the opposite of Fox News in MSNBC. The conservative right charges that the mainstream media is biased to the left, and I tend to agree with them. This isn't something I want to see regulated.

I admit that everyone is biased. But the general practice in Germany is that news channels provide only facts by default. Whenever someone expresses their opinion, it is usually marked as such. That's a self-imposed convention AFAICT. With American TV (especially Fox) I have the impression that the separation is not always that clear. It seems that the selection and presentation of news always serves an agenda. (But that could just be my biased POV.)

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 627

1. Compulsory voting.

Disagree. If you can't be bothered to vote, then your voice doesn't count. Seems fair to me. Also, if you aren't going to educate yourself on the choices, I'd rather you didn't vote.

I agree that compulsory voting is problematic. But at least there shouldn't be obstacles to voting. It strikes me as odd that you must register to vote, and in the process you are required to say which party you support (correct me if I'm wrong). This is hardly a secret ballot. In most civilized countries everybody registered citzen above 18 is automagically registered to vote and IMHO this is how it should be.

4. Paper ballots.

Back in 2000 in Bush vs. Gore, paper ballots took center stage at the controversy and prompted the move to electronic.

Not quite. Voting machines were the problem, which were unable to count votes due to hanging chads.

A simple cross on a paper ballot counted by people is much less error-prone. Humans make errors, too, but are better at correcting them.

Disagree. I have a libertarian bent, and freedom to associate and spend money on a common political cause fits in with that.

I have the impression that money is more important than votes in the US electoral system. This doesn't seem right. My spider sense tingles when I read that the quality of a candidate is measured by the amount of donations he receives. This is obvious bribery.

Wow, fuck off. I'm not a fan of Fox News, but I'm not a fan of MSNBC either, and freedom of speech and the press is paramount.

IMHO feedom of speech should come with responsibility. It is hard to ignore that Fox (ab)uses their power to support a certain political direction. A news channel should try to be unbiased.

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics