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Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 390

While I'm glad you like Mint, you might give Ubuntu a try. (I suggest the KDE version.) I found mind to be relatively slow on my machine. (Warning: KDE was slow until I disabled Nepomuk. Perhaps there's a similar problem with Mint that I just didn't stumble across the answer to.)

OTOH, If you like older MSWind desktops, check out the xfce desktop. Perhaps you can use that in Mint, you can certainly use that in Ubuntu.

That said, I prefer Debian. But it's not what I recommend to newcomers. My wife uses Ubuntu + KDE (perhaps it was actually Kubuntu, but it's about the same thing) and had minimal problems with it.

THAT said, try looking at something from a LiveCD before you install it. You can't get a feel for the speed or action from one, but you can really see what it looks like.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 390

Depends on what you mean. I believe that any program complicated enough to count as an OS is guaranteed to have bugs, and if it is also connected to the Internet it's probably guaranteed to be exploitable.

OTOH, for different values of trust one could say that any OS not connected to the Internet is trustable...but then someone could sneak in and write the saved data to a removable storage medium...so you need to ensure that it can't write to removable storage media...but then they could sneak in and copy the disk drive, so you need to ensure that it doesn't save data to disk...

When I was in my teens I followed instructions in Scientific American and built a computer out of matchboxes, pieces of paper, ink, thread, and pieces of candy. It could learn how to play tic-tak-toe. (AND you got to eat the candy when the computer made a losing move while learning.) But even THAT isn't secure against physical surveilance, unless at the end of the training session you eat ALL the candy, so it forgets the moves it learned.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 2) 390

Well, if that's so then their cheapest solution should be to replace the current system with a virtual system running MSVista (or earlier) and a tight firewall around all internet connections to prevent virus infections. By firewall I don't just mean a set of IPTables, I means something that will sanitize outgoing, and probably incoming, messages. What the firewall would allow would need to depend on the required connections, of course, but it should certainly limit the IPs that binary messages could be sent to or be accepted from.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 390

Well, Linux is not only weak on the desktop, it doesn't even have one. Now KDE, Gnome, Mate, xfce, etc., they have desktops. The problem is that there are too many for a new user to wrap their mind around. I find that KDE is the best general desktop, with xfce next. Gnome used to be right up there, and for awhile Gnome2 was ahead of KDE4, but Gnome3 I find totally useless. (Some people seem to like it.) xfce works well in low resource environments, though if you've got a really low resource environment, there are other options...but they aren't suitable for a new user.

The problem is desktop applications. This has largely been well addressed, but not totally. There are still niches that are not well served by Linux based programs. And sometimes the problem is that people just don't want to learn a new program...which can be the real problem even though it may manifest as complaints about missing features that aren't really used.

FWIW, after decades of redoing work, I decided that proprietary file formats were totally unacceptable. So for me Linux is the far superior system.

Comment Re:And who trusts Financial "Advisors"? (Score 1) 71

There's a number of reasons. The top one is that I'm unwilling to devote significant effort to following the stock market. A large secondary reason is the cost/trade overhead. And just about as important as the other two is that if you don't have enough money to risk losing it, you don't take long odds.

None of these apply is you're handling other people's money. I doubt that most financial advisors follow their own recommendations...even though they might believe them, because the risk of losing is more than they can afford.

OTOH, if you're talking about the personal decisions made by the wealthy and powerful, they are frequently operating off of information that you don't have, and they certainly have connections that you don't have. (It's also true that many of them have only a "don't get caught" respect for the law, and no concern for the consequences to others. But this is not true of all of them, while the preceding statements are.)

Comment Re:Debt collectors don't like robo calls either... (Score 1) 239

Well, my wife got dunned by several different collection agencies for the debts of some guy who had the discourtesy to die an a hospital without paying his bills.

She had never lived even in the same city as he had. Admittedly, the did have the same name, but nothing else even close.

I don't, however, believe that it's being dumb. I think it's a combination of malice and fraud. Unfortunately, proving that in court would be difficult.

Comment Re:Signed, not Ratified... (Score 1) 178

You are counting the United States as if it were one unified entity. I'm sure it would benefit some parties who normally live in the United States. It would damage a much larger number of citizens. Possibly there would be a net combined monetary gain, but there would not be a net marginal gain. A dollar is worth a lot more to someone barely getting by that it is to someone extremely wealthy.

The TPP is an ongoing disaster, and anybody who supports it should be considered a traitor to his/her country. And I'm particularly including Hillary Clinton, one of the authors.

Comment Re:Just 5 billions for 200 MW?? (Score 1) 179

This isn't a commercial reactor, it's a research project. I'm not sure exactly what the $5 billion includes. The first fission plant was done out of the laboratory's budget in a squash court. That's not practical for fusion. But research is often more expensive than the commercial incarnation. Also, I'm not clear why the amount of deliverable power should be so much less than the amount of produced power, given that it only takes 5MW to start. It *could* be that that is a limitation in the electrical system somewhere. Or it could be that the machine requires a lot more than 5MW to run. Or something else. But the provided figures don't add up to a consistent picture. Something's missing, and that 300MW has to go somewhere...if it were released as heat, as it would be if they fed it back into the reactor, I don't think the project would be feasible.

Comment Re:Lets be clear (Score 1) 179

Better, you figure the best number of reactors to put in a single facility, and then distribute several facilities around the city, rather as the electric company distributes substations.

That way you minimize distribution costs AND have redundancy in case a building collapses.

This isn't really ideal, because there *will* be generated radioactive wastes. But they should be an order of magnitude less than those of fission power, and they can probably be controlled by controlling the design of the reaction vessels. With any luck it will be possible to have the radioactive wastes be useful.

Comment Re:British Airspace (Score 2) 196

That's a problem of historic nomenclature. Originally the States were independent nations acting independently, and banded together for common goals. And in frequent disagreement. This was under the "Articles of Confederation". Some people thought this was a bad idea, so they got together a revolutionary committee and wrote the "Federal Constitution". They had no legal authority do to so, but many were strongly connected politically, so they got away with it, and got most of the original states to agree (after including the first 10 amendments). Officially the states were still independent nations, but bound together a bit more tightly. The Constitution was supposed to be a limitation of what the Federal Government was allowed to do. And the states were still in theory independent states. As such the common reference was "These United States". Then there arose a massive disagreement and about half these states decided that they didn't like the federal government, so they were going to split and form a new government. They called it the Confederacy. Well, the Federal government didn't like that much, and so a war was fought to keep them from leaving. (There was no enabling power to allow this to be done in the Constitution, and that was supposed to mean that the Feds couldn't stop them, but military power disagreed.) Since then the US has been "The United States", and the states have continually lost power which has accrued to the Federal government in defiance of the Constitution. Patrick Henry predicted this whole thing (well, sort of) when after reading the constitution he said of it "I smell a rat. It stinks of monarchy."

So the states are called states not because of an improper use of the term, but rather as a part of the process of history. One may confidently predict that if the EU survives over the centuries, some similar process will occur.

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