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Comment Re:WotC Absent at Gen Con (Score 1) 153

It's definitely sad.

And so much of it goes back to the edition wars when 4th edition provoked a schism, leading to the creation of Pathfinder as an entirely separate and incompatible branch of the mainstream fantasy gaming hobby. In some ways it's come full circle now with Paizo (Pathfinder) taking WotC's place at Gencon, because for a large number of people now, Pathfinder IS the true successor to D&D in everything but the name and IP.

Comment Re:Obviously Yahoo minimizes it... (Score 3, Insightful) 74

It's not just the malicious crap, either.

It's the insistence on basically hijacking the display with all kinds of ridiculous crap. I don't mind a reasonable banner ad across the top or down the side. When they started using flash, putting autoplay video/audio, waving popups and inserts that get in the way of what I'm doing... no, just no.

Every so often I take a look at casual browsing without, just for comparison, usually when on someone else's computer. The amount of crap from ad traffic noticeably slows down page load times. In some cases I'd guess the ad traffic is actually larger than the pages I'm surfing, sometimes vastly moreso.

Comment Re:Probably not bad (Score 3, Informative) 118

It's a load of crap. Some of the poorest served areas in the country are major metropolitan areas, including the major cities in the Northeast corridor.

Internet access speed in the U.S. does not correspond with population density, at all. It matters entirely whether you're in one of the few lucky areas that has Google or other fiber access. In fact, if you happen to live in a small town that put in municipal fiber, you likely have far better internet access than the big city an hour down the road.

Comment Re:How about securing things correctly for a chang (Score 3, Insightful) 210

It's never been about the possibility of security though.

Since this is Slashdot, I'll explain with a car analogy. Lots of people die in car accidents, and we could easily stop that by doing things like a) Not use cars, b) not let them drive more than 20mph, etc... all sorts of things that would greatly interfere with the way people actually use cars to do stuff. Our cars also used to be a lot less safe too - at one point they didn't even come with seat belts.

As much as I'd love to see proper security implemented, it's just not going to realistically happen. Too many users (customers) don't want the hassles that come with serious security, and too many businesses aren't will to pay the up front costs for it (yet, at least). It's going to take some hard lessons before they start putting on seat belts, air bags, abs breaks, and the equivalents of everything else we've done (and are doing) to make cars safer. The Adama solution, as much as it makes sense from a security standpoint, doesn't take into account the needs of either the people using the stuff, or the people paying for the stuff. We need those people to understand and demand more secure features up front - and even then we're still only talking about reducing things to an acceptable/tolerable level, not eliminating them.

Comment Re:Unions (Score 1) 568

Remind me where I suggested that unions or revolution were the only choice, because I don't recall doing anything other than positing a particular solution. I certainly don't recall stating that it is the only solution; merely one that worked in the past. Feel free to suggest a better one, but the online gamer's refrain/taunt of "Get Good" really isn't going to cut it, for reasons others have already outlined here.

And no, unions, like all human organizations and endeavors, are far from foolproof. Unions can certainly demand too much of a share, and management can just as easily give it to them while bankrupting the company. "Greedy unions" is not what ruined the American auto industry - management ineptitude and repeated lack of foresight is the primary driver behind that. After all, most of the overseas companies that were eating our lunch were unionized, even if their unions tend to work far differently than ours.

This brings me to a point that is often lost in discussions of unions in the US. Overseas, in Europe/Japan/etc, unions tend to coordinate and work very closely with management, in a cooperative rather than inherently adversarial relationship. This seems like a much better way to do things to me - sort of a "we're in this together" mentality rather than a "I need to squeeze a bigger share of the pie from that a**hole" one.

Comment Re:Trading one for the other (Score 2) 186

It's not necessarily even corrupt, for that matter. It's about having the personal relationships, and moreover, knowing how the labyrinthine mess that is the DoD Acquisition process works. The rules are intended to keep it fair, but at the same time, also wind up pricing a lot of the inexperienced sorts out of the process simply because you have to know what language to use, how to structure it, etc.

Comment Unions (Score 5, Insightful) 568

It's not a surprise really. Right now, unless you happen to live in one of the few states where companies are required to offer you more than simply at-will employment, or you're one of the few people still in a union, you pretty much have few protections against the company deciding to fire you tomorrow, whether in the name of downsizing, outsourcing, or just deciding that they don't want to pay someone with your level of experience instead of getting some fresh undergrad desperate to pay off student loans who'll work for a fraction of your salary.

And yes, as much as people decry unions, and the abuses that comes with unions, that's your answer in terms of balancing the power. One person alone just doesn't have the power, unless they're being hired for an executive/C-level position. Can unions abuse their power? Absolutely, so stay involved, vote in your union elections, make sure your union reps are doing their jobs. It's sometimes easier said than done, but it can be better than the alternative. That's what we had to do the last time things were like this, roughly 100 years or so ago.

Comment Re:So what's up with those bitcoins? (Score 2) 104

It's not all that crazy. The general problem is that a lot of people aren't familiar with a liquidity trap, they're just familiar with the problem of too much inflation.

Part of this is because inflation was a really big problem in the 70s and early 80s. The way monetary policy usually works is pretty easy. Growth usually corresponds to inflation. If there's too much inflation, raise interest rates. Growth starts to slow too much, cut interest rates. It's all about smoothing out the up/down (or boom/bust) cycle. In the 70s though, we started having this problem where we were getting high inflation without significant growth, so the standard remedy wouldn't work.

Now (or a few years ago) we were facing a different problem, which is failing growth that wouldn't respond to interest rate cuts, because you can't cut them below zero. Deflation definitely is bad in a modern economy, because it leads to drops in production, and because it also sets up a self-sustaining cycle that you have to break out of (less spending means economy shrinks means deflation means your money is more valuable tomorrow than today means less spending today, etc).

Problem is, the way to break out of that trap is... you have to actively take inflationary measures that would be crazy in any other environment. It's what we had to do in the Great Depression, which was a similar circumstance in terms of the macroeconomic mechanics. Now, maybe they did too much, maybe they didn't do enough in a quickly enough manner - but if you want to see a good example from recent history, look at Japan. They were a powerhouse in the 80s, only to hit this exact sort of thing, and their economy stagnated. It's really only started to kick back into gear after the current government expressly said they're going to try to drive inflation up to get things moving.

Put yet another way... I wouldn't normally want someone to zap my chest with a couple hundred volts of electricity, but if I'm in cardiac arrest, um, yeah, it might be called for.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 5, Informative) 104

People who rant about fiat currency tend to miss the point about what money is. Money isn't something of absolute inherent value, it's a representation of productive capacity, that lets people establish relative values of radically different commodities and services, as well as to easily store and transport that value. If I'm a farmer, I don't want to carry a sheaf of wheat around with me to pay for a drink if I get thirsty while I'm in town. Better to use money to represent that, which I can trade to the blacksmith or the carpenter or whomever for what I need, and they can use that same money to come buy wheat from me later.

Gold/silver/etc are certainly traditional forms of money, because they were easily recognizeable in the ancient world as such. The problem with using them as such today is that you can't tailor the supply of money to the amount of production going on. Why do you need to do this? Well, because having it off by too much is bad. Imagine a village where there's 1000 pounds of gold in use as money. Someone comes back from an expedition, having found another 1000 pounds - and causes an immediate 50% inflation because you have 2x the money representing the same amount of production. The reverse is true as well, if production increases by 5% each year, but the amount of gold stays the same - except this time you get deflation, where gold is worth more (so people tend to hoard it to spend later, not now, which in a modern economy is very very bad).

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer