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Comment Re:Get used to it, this is the future (Score 1) 279

It hasn't suddenly become a thing. People have been leasing cars forever.

Until this year, Illinois had the distinction of being a state which charged FULL sales tax on the purchase price of a leased car. If you dumped the car after the term, you'd get none of the difference. If you decided to KEEP the car, you'd pay sales tax (again) on the residual. Leasing was only popular with people bad at math and not willing to gamble with reselling a car later.

I remember my first cell phone and contract in the early 90's. Salesman: "the phone is free, and then service is $40/month."

Me: "What if I decide to just buy a phone?"

Salesman: "Then the service is $30/month."

Me: "So, I'm basically financing the phone into the monthly service, but like... forever?"

(awkward pause).

Me: "I think I'll buy the phone."

It was several years later that they all decided to screw the consumer twice: by charging the same monthly charge whether you bought the phone or not.

Comment Re:Another technology to be avoided - Casio F-91W (Score 2) 145

Funny enough, I bought an F-91W because of this press. I was starting to realize that most of the time I was taking my phone out of my pocket, it was to check the time. Every time I did that, I was taking myself away from what I was doing for way too long, and it was one more chance to drop an expensive phone.

So: I went looking for a cheap watch. I first hunted down the F-91W because of the terrorist association press, and the Amazon reviews are awesome. It's also a common watch sold at US military PXs, so I'm surprised that it would also be a watch that could get you picked up in Afghanistan. While looking at that one, I noticed that Casio actually makes a bunch of fairly decent looking analog watches for under $15 (MQ24-1E and MQ-24-1BLK are nice). They last about two years before the battery goes out, at which point you can replace the battery or the watch, and I had bought one of each over the past several years, before settling with the F-91W.

It's a tank. I wear it during martial arts, swimming, showering... nothing seems to phase it.

Comment BT Sync (Score 1) 107

BT Sync - Aka "Bittorrent Sync" aka "Sync" is pretty close. In that setup, your own computers act as the cloud. Android and Linux clients, etc. I primarily use it to keep photos backed up from my phone to home, but also keep folders and movies on my home computer which sync with my phone as well.

It's not a "cloud solution" in the normal sense - you can't keep files on the cloud and dynamically choose which ones to push around later, but it's CLOSE and may suit your needs.

Comment Re:Brand owners should be prohibited.. (Score 1) 108

Brand owners should be prohibited... from registering their name in the ,sucks domain

It should only be available to their critics

Otherwise..why bother?

Who would want to go to to see a pro-McDonalds ad?

Maybe vacuum cleaner manufacturers can work with this... or prostitutes.

Comment ADNA - another dumb, new acronym (Score 1) 88

Would it have been too hard to have explained "IoT" in TFS? I spent a long time trying to parse it until I hit on "Internet of Things". Really? What we used to call a bridge or router, is now a "IoT" hub or gateway (maybe both? TFS is vague). IoT is NOT widespread enough to be dropped like this.

Come on, guys. At least make TFS standalone.

Comment Re:Please assume... (Score 1) 253

Could also be the wife doesnt want any unsightly computers in the main area and the crawlspace is directly under it and drilling a hole is easy.

A friend of mine bought a replica antique AM radio off of Craigslist and gutted it, then attached a motherboard to the bottom of it and some vent holes in the back. Looks beautiful.

Comment Re:$30 Timex (Score 3, Insightful) 389

I do not use a watch anymore since I have a phone that tells me the time.

I eventually got a regular watch when I realized that every time I reached to my phone in my pocket to check the time was one more time I'd probably drop the phone. The watch SAVES me money over time. Also: visibly checking your phone when you're with someone usually tells them you're bored, while a quick glance at a watch isn't as bad. Finally: when you check a watch, you're done right away, while checking your phone for the time can often lead to an endless cycle of checking email, text messages, Facebook, whatever; you can lose a lot of time that way.

I was debating getting the F-91W, just for the nostalgia of it (and the Amazon reviews are pretty funny), but ended up finding the MQ-24-1(Black) and MQ24-1E instead. They look decent as well, and take a beating.

Comment Re:What about the banks? (Score 4, Insightful) 57

Being able to take someone's money by taking plaintext credentials like social security numbers and the numbers written on the front of a card is exactly the fault of the banks.

Exactly - as long as we continue to call it "Identity Theft" and not "Credit/Financial Fraud", it will have the perception of being the victim's problem and fault. If you get your car window smashed and things stolen out of your car, it's often perceived as partially your fault for where you parked, what you had exposed, etc. In the case of so-called "identity theft", the actual crime can be taking place miles away, and you may have no realistic way of preventing it. The bank has a problem - not me.

Comment Re:I live in Montgomery County, MD... (Score 1) 784

My wife and I are even considering allowing our older child to take the Metro (public transit) to ballet by herself next year when she's in middle school.

A dog takes the bus to the park by itself every day, and it's a cute, human-interest story. A child does it, and everyone loses their minds.

I'm not sure if we trust the dogs more, or the dog-nappers more.

Comment Re:My mother is an optometrist (Score 3, Interesting) 464

The probable best result (my guess) would be two pairs of glasses -- one set for work distances, and another set for 'normal' uses.


I'm in my mid-40s, but just as I crossed 40 I found I had to start looking over my regular lenses to read tiny print. I also found that if I didn't get away from the screen at least once an hour, I'd start getting eyestrain and headaches. I knew what was next.

My prescription is about -5 diopters. I've got a set of prescription lenses at about -3.5, with a slightly smaller PD (pupil distance) since your eyes narrow as you look closer. The nice optometrist gave me my full prescription written down, including the PD, and I was able to mail order new glasses - with nice frames - for about $30. I can use these at the screens all day without any fatigue.

I've got a set of bifocals as well, but my current manufacturer only does those in regular index plastic, so those are pretty thick. My single-vision lenses are pretty thin, however.

Comment Re:Broadly accessible strong AI would empower peop (Score 1) 417

A bad person would be more capable of doing harm when aided by an AI doing planning, co-ordination, or execution.

This sounds vaguely like the plot of the short story "A Logic Named Joe", where home computing and access terminals are commonplace, and one of them with a random error starts combining existing knowledge pieces to satisfy user requests, subverting existing safety filters. An example from the story: "How do I kill my wife and get away with it?" would normally be gated as vague, and dangerous, but in this story the "logic" determines that green shoe polish would be fatal to blondes and could be painted on a frozen TV dinner. Also available as a Baen Free Book.

Comment Re:Privacy (Score 2) 262

There already is a wonderful curator. It's called the courts.

In the case of red-light-cameras, the fact that they're usually run by outside companies also acts as a good buffer to blanket FOIA requests.

Since the camera footage is owned by the private company, you have no ability to FOIA "all footage of this intersection on this date". You CAN request all footage of a camera or set of cameras which resulted in tickets, however.

(As told to me by the FOIA officer of a local town.)

Use the Force, Luke.