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Comment: Re:i pledge to you... (Score 1) 719

by Frobnicator (#46719499) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

there is at least 1 state where if you are not disabled YOU MUST HAVE ENOUGH INCOME TO BUY INSURANCE.

I'm in that boat after a layoff.

I have earned too much through occasional side contract work that I don't qualify for temporary assistance. (claim denied, appeal denied, since picking up side jobs in the past turns me into a contract worker somehow despite my main job.) I cannot afford the rates they offer on permanent insurance. Meanwhile job hunting is not going to well.

So I can go for COBRA for $3500 per month, or pay for a 'cheap' plan at $650 per month and $5000 deductible.

When my income is $0 per month, requiring me to pay $650 per month is too much.

Comment: Re:In most of the world... (Score 1) 139

You're not building an office building without bribes.

Actually, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act takes that into account.

They can pay people when it is made to an official to expedite his performance of the duties he is already bound to perform.

Walmart almost got in trouble for that a few years back for building permits, but since they claimed the buildings would eventually be built anyway rather than swaying from a yes/no position, everything went away.

This wasn't a normal "grease payment". A grease payment for a building permit is more like how you might tip your waiter after a meal; it isn't mandatory but is customary for continued good service in some parts of the world. The article describes things like flying government reps to the US for vacations and tourism, money laundering, and frequent deliveries of big bags of cash.

Comment: Re:And no charges will be filed (Score 2) 139

So what? If the people charged with a crime ever go to Poland, this might actually mean something.

In the article (yeah, who bothers with that) you will note that it was several of the regional executives who were fired for bribes. They are not meaning the CEO level.

So yes, it is quite likely that some of those regional executives do live in the affected countries, and it will definitely mean something as they no longer have corporate ties to fund their defense.

Comment: Re:Go back & get the stay lifted (Score 5, Informative) 141

That is what the judge wrote in his order. The court order makes for some intense reading compared to most rulings.

The last paragraph in his order is about as strict as he could word it: I hereby give the Government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this order will go into effect forthwith. Accordingly, I fully expect that during the appellate process, which will consume at least the next six months, the Government will take whatever steps necessary to comply with this order when, and if, it is upheld. Suffice it to say, requesting further time to comply with this order months from now will not be well received and could result in collateral sanctions. /Signed/ RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

If he removed the stay he would need to allow the government time to implement the changes. This way the clock is already ticking.

Comment: Re:Constitutional Court (Score 5, Informative) 141

That is one of the few mistakes our founders made. Allowing the court to ignore cases.

Obviously you didn't read the article, nor understand the summary.

The court did not ignore the case. There is a procedure. It starts at the circuit court. Then it goes through the appeals court, usually first with panel of 3, then the full appeals court. The SCOTUS is the final level of appeals.

The process works as a vetting and refining system. The SCOTUS only gets involved in situations where different appeals courts have used differing standards or when there are certain controversial or seemingly contradictory situations. The district judge wanted to get around the procedures. It is very rarely successful except in cases where urgency is required and the implications are severe, such as the 'hanging chads' controversy. The court disagreed, wanting the case to go through the normal process.

As with every issue that is a political hot topic, the SCOTUS will tend to wait to give congress a chance to address this before ruling. Often when Congress amends the law while a case is in progress, the appeal will simply remand it back to the district court with an order to follow the revised law rather than the old law.

As of now, in the DC court, his initial ruling (that the bulk collection is unconstitutional) still stands, even though he put in a stay (delay before carrying out the order) in order to allow for appeals. If he felt so strongly he could have not accepted the stay, which would mean the government would need to implement the order immediately and the feds would have needed to petition for an emergency stay from a higher court.

Right now the ruling is that the collection is unlawful. With the appeal denied so far, that decision stands. That is what we want, so don't complain about it.

Comment: Re:It was a big mistake (Score 5, Interesting) 469

...not to include a couple of clunkers in the test; the sort of violins the average student may possess at high school.

Why? They can be dismissed out of hand. Not a professional by any means, but almost a decade of lessons during childhood. The difference between a "clunker" and a quality instrument is instantly obvious to the player.

There are the differences in construction and the parts. I have seen student violins pop their glued seams. I have heard the wood creak as they are handled and placed in position, as pressure from the bow is applied. Cheap fingerboards tend to vibrate uncomfortably. I went a few times to a violin shop and just played around on the various instruments. I was young enough that I didn't care about cost, just went around playing them. Violins in one area felt like fingernails on a chalkboard and sounded similar. I found part of the shop with a stash of violins that felt like silk and had beautiful tone, and after falling in love with several of them was gently told that those were far outside hat we could afford.

If I could tell that kind of difference as a non-professional youth, I cannot imagine a professional picking up a squeaky, creaky 'violin shaped object' as they are called, and confusing it for a well-made instrument.

Comment: Re:DynDNS and a real NAS (Score 5, Insightful) 127

by Frobnicator (#46628503) Attached to: Western Digital 'MyCloud' Is Down 5 Days and Counting

Cut out the middleman and no downtime from corporate ineptitude.

Great. Explain to your technically illiterate parents, friends and neighbors how to implement DynDNS, how to poke holes in their firewall, and how to implement a web-based TLS-using file server.

The point of these devices is that a lay person can plug it in to their home network, put in a username and password, then access their 4TB drive anywhere on the world.

I've got one, I've got a 2TB collection of data that I regularly syphon files from when I am traveling. It is easy and works great, I don't need to leave a PC running (draining my wallet through the power company) to access all the data since it is a low-power device. It is as fast as my internet speed and costs nothing for the service.

Comment: Re:HDD != Cloud (Score 5, Informative) 127

by Frobnicator (#46628483) Attached to: Western Digital 'MyCloud' Is Down 5 Days and Counting

Choose your vendor carefully. HDD manufacturers are probably not good at cloud services.

You obviously don't know what the MyCloud service is.

Basically it does the same job of Dynamic DNS and NAT traversal, but just for your network drive. You attach your drive to your home network --- up to 4TB in size --- provide a username and password, and you're done. You log in to their wd2go site and have full access to your 4TB drive. It saves the hassle of trying to fight constantly rolling IP addresses, trying to open ports and map them to devices, and do all the other technical stuff.

Hence the name. "My Cloud". Not "Google's Cloud", or "Amazon's Cloud" or "Drop Box's Cloud", it is a cheap and easy way to get your mass storage online.

Comment: Re:Remember when.... (Score 3, Interesting) 57

by Frobnicator (#46613631) Attached to: Software Upgrade At 655 Million Kilometers

To be fair, many probes have done this type of thing.

The Voyager probes had software updates regularly in their prime, and it frequently made news back in the day. When approaching a planet or interesting object they would upload imaging software, when finished they would upload different sensor programs. About a decade ago (2003?) there were news stories about how they reprogrammed one of the probes to help detect the crossover to deep space.

It is certainly interesting and poses some risk of breaking the probe, but it is standard procedure and something the probes are designed for.

Comment: Re:Without her permission? (Score 1) 367

by Frobnicator (#46593687) Attached to: Minnesota Teen Wins Settlement After School Takes Facebook Password

For the measly $70K, I think I might have continued fighting it through to an actual judgement. That won't even begin to cover their costs to date, nor will it cover the costs of home-schooling for six years. In addition to suing the district, I'd be suing the school administrator personally, and be suing the officer personally for criminal acts done under color of law.

Actually $70 probably could cover the cost or just nearly so for a private school where she will get a better education than what the public schools had to offer anyway. Had she kept fighting it might not have gone her way. I would have countered probably with "I'll go away for 70K + legal fees to date" but I would have wanted to settle too; a bird in the hand is worth two in bush.

Usually when you "win" a case through that kind of settlement they don't pay your legal fees, just the one lump sum. In fact, I'm a little surprised the number was released, usually the whole thing is private. It is possible that somebody leaking the dollar value may have automatically ruined the settlement, but I hope not. This has been two years in the making, so I'm pretty sure those legal bills are going to be rather substantial.

You might be right, maybe it was $70K plus all costs, we don't have the terms of the settlement.

As for the cost of schooling, I would look at the cost of private schools to see an equivalency rather than home schooling. A few minutes on Google shows that around here the going rate is about $18,000 for grades 5-7, and about $21,000 for 8-12, so about $141K for tuition alone. Maybe schools are cheaper in their area.

Comment: Re:Without her permission? (Score 5, Informative) 367

by Frobnicator (#46592713) Attached to: Minnesota Teen Wins Settlement After School Takes Facebook Password

The summary said she gave them her password. That sounds like permission.

No, she refused. Then they called the cops. The police officer and administrator together threatened her, and eventually (in tears) she gave in. Note the age of the child.

As she was not even a teenager at the time, that looks to me like very strong compulsion from authority figures. A normal pre-teen is not going to say "you cannot do this, it violates my rights, let me talk to my parents and a lawyer." Under this kind of pressure they'll believe the officer will throw her in jail forever, and break down.

For the measly $70K, I think I might have continued fighting it through to an actual judgement. That won't even begin to cover their costs to date, nor will it cover the costs of home-schooling for six years. In addition to suing the district, I'd be suing the school administrator personally, and be suing the officer personally for criminal acts done under color of law.

Comment: Re:Not trying to steer the car this car off the ro (Score 5, Insightful) 367

by Frobnicator (#46592619) Attached to: Minnesota Teen Wins Settlement After School Takes Facebook Password

But what were these these "disparaging" comments exactly?

Probably something like "These administrators are total fascists."

Look at the districts reply: We searched her cell phone without permission. We won't do that again. Now we have a standard form requiring permission that all students must sign. WTF?! The problem was not a lack of parental signature. The problem was a flagrant abuse of rights, which apparently they are happy to continue.

Comment: Re:OMG FAG LOL (Score 4, Informative) 183

by Frobnicator (#46591505) Attached to: Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

The system is not about cheating. The system is primarily about profanity and abuse.

They have been tinkering with it since it came out.

Also they haven't released what specific metrics they are using, but they have already mentioned factors: account playing statistics, complaints per hour played, positive feedback messages, friend requests, negative feedback messages, "Avoid This Player" marks, gamercard mutes, gamercard blocked communications, and filed complaints and reports. Couple all of them together and you will likely see some patterns quickly. They also mention that it will have human involvement and you will not be dinged for being skilled, nor will you be dinged for people targeting you. The last two seem to imply some human involvement.

My guess is that they start with simple statistical analysis to identify players trending downward with a steady stream of "block communications", "avoid this player", and "mute" flags. All of these are specifically mentioned on their site. After algorithmic identification, I'm guessing one of their army of community managers (real live human beings who are employed to listen to the vitriol and enforce the rules) would probably get a notice to monitor the chat when the player starts play. If they hear a profanity stream click the check box marked "profanity". If they hear taunting, harassment, or other abuse, pick the check box that corresponds. With a real live human involved they can nicely handle people who were wrongly accused.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.