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Comment: Re:Consoles are worthless offline (Score 2) 94

by tompaulco (#48675131) Attached to: Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day
Consoles aren't worthless offline. I didn't play any games yesterday, but if I had, I would have been unaware of the outage. Instead, I used my console to play some movies, and it worked just fine for that, even though part of that was technically online as well. It is only games that require an online connection that are worthless offline. Which is why I own zero of said genre.

Comment: Not the first time hammering caused trouble. (Score 1) 131

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48670187) Attached to: Many DDR3 Modules Vulnerable To Bit Rot By a Simple Program

Story I heard about mid-20th-century IBM mainframe. (I think it was the 360 series).

Core memory was tight and had cooling issues. The designers examined the instruction set and determined that, given cacheing and the like, no infinite loop could hammer a particular location more than one cycle in four (25% duty cycle), for which cooling was adequate. So they shipped.

Turns out, though, you could do a VERY LONG FINITE loop that hit a location every other cycle, for 50% duty cycle (not to mention the possibility of hitting a nearby location with some of the remaining cycles). Wasn't too long before a student managed to do this.

And set the core memory on fire.

Comment: Re:Blah (Score 1) 343

by tompaulco (#48667135) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

In the film, the dwarves conduct a battle from barrels they ride like boats.

Well they had to fight off the troop of Orcs that were hell-bent on chasing them down even though there was no such troupe of Orcs in the book and the lead Orc, Azog although referencing an actual character in Middle Earth lore, had long since been killed by Thorin.

Comment: Re:*sips pabst* (Score 1) 343

by tompaulco (#48667001) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Tom Bombadil was rightly cut as it served no practical purpose.

Served no purpose? He gave them weapons from the Barrow Downs. These are the weapons with which they fought off the wraiths on weather top. In the movie there is no explanation for how they started out with no weapons and then suddenly had them when they needed them.

Comment: Re:And how many were terrorists? Oh, right, zero. (Score 1) 276

by tompaulco (#48662247) Attached to: TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords

Err, you know you are not only allowed to lock luggage containing a gun, but you are required to do so? It's spelled out explicitly in the rules. []*

Well, I know NOW, but I did not know before. Most people don't go to and read all of the rules, they just go by what they see at the airport, where it says don't lock your luggage or they will blow it up.

Comment: Re:Monkey Business (Score 1) 183

by tompaulco (#48654947) Attached to: Argentine Court Rules Orangutan Is a "Non-Human Person"

She's still just an inmate. She's still being held against her will and being treated as a sub-human.

Being treated as a subhuman would be deplorable if that was happening to a human. You're actually begging the question (a first on slashdot). You start with the assumption that an Orangutan is human and then suggest that treating it as less than a human is deplorable.
On the subject of being held against her will. How was it ascertained that the Orangutan did not wish to be in the zoo and preferred to be in the wild, or do we just assume that it would rather be in the wild? Assuming an Orangutan would choose the wild, then where DO we draw the line? Does a bird know or care whether it is in captivity or in the wild? How about a lizard? An ant?

Comment: Re:And how many were terrorists? Oh, right, zero. (Score 2, Insightful) 276

by tompaulco (#48653285) Attached to: TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords

People who need to transport their legally owned firearms can do so through the simple act of checking them.

There is about the same chance of a gun getting discovered by the TSA at checkpoint as there is of getting your gun discovered in luggage. However, the chances of them confiscating it if discovered at the checkpoint is 100%, while the chance of TSA stealing it out of your luggage is probably only about 1/4 or an 1/8th of that. Statistics say that you should check your gun, because 80% or so of the time, it will not get stolen.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, you really should carry on anything worth more to you than a pair of jeans. Since you can no longer lock your luggage, and the TSA agents have stolen billions of dollars of items out of luggage, you are a fool to check anything valuable.

Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 4, Informative) 99

by tompaulco (#48641919) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Guess what, humans are essentially the only ones who can't tell when bad weather is coming.

Humans can tell when bad weather is coming. We can sense low pressure and it makes us uneasy. One difference between humans and birds is that birds can fly away but can't hunker down in a shelter and ride it out. Other than birds that build in cliffsides, bird's nests are generally pretty exposed. Humans can't fly, but can hunker down in a shelter and ride it out.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 5, Insightful) 99

by tompaulco (#48641907) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared
Low level harmonics are below what birds can hear too, but they can feel them, and so can we. Of course, Tornadoes that are going to form two days in the future don't produce this deep rumble. They may have sensed the pressure dropping, which humans can also sense, and then they flew away from where they were in hopes of finding higher pressure somewhere else.

Comment: Re:You can block all slamming in T-mobile (Score 1) 51

by tompaulco (#48641341) Attached to: T-Mobile To Pay $90M For Unauthorized Charges On Customers' Bills

T-mobile says here it is possible for the customers to block ALL third party service provider billing.

I'm not sure about T-mobile, but Verizon has various flags which cause this to get turned back on, such as getting a new phone, signing a new contract, changing your rate plan, etc.

Comment: Re:And where is my money?? (Score 2) 51

by tompaulco (#48641323) Attached to: T-Mobile To Pay $90M For Unauthorized Charges On Customers' Bills

I dealt with this several years ago. I found the charges on my bill and called to have them removed. It showed up the next month too. After speaking, at length, with the T-mobile rep it made sense. T-mobile allowed you to purchase apps through your account. But these companies would get your number and just start charging you. Apparently many people don't look at their bills and don't notice changes for a couple dollars. Particularly if the company name is worded to look like part of your bill. I asked them to disable being able to bill my account directly and the problem was solved.

I went through this several times with Verizon. I disabled all billing through my account, but apparently every time you get a new phone, change your rate plan, or a mouse farts, the option gets switched back on.
In many cases, such as my stepson's, they are aiming these services at kids, because they know they have trained well this generation of kids to not read the fine print. By texting "funny" to some number they can get a corny joke sent to their phone once a day and they don't even realize that it is costing $10 a week because they didn't read the fine print. Nevermind that kids are not able to enter legal contracts and are under no obligation to pay.
Basically, if the phones are offering these billing services, they need to be regulated under the same rules as a credit card, in addition to the regulations of the phone services. Basically, they are currently acting as a credit card without having to follow the same regulations. Since they are not acting as a mere facilitator, as a credit card company would, they feel no obligation to side with the consumer on a complaint. If a CC company sides with a consumer and reverses the charge, they make MORE money. If the phone company reverses the charge, they lose not just their 20-40% cut of the scam, but the entire amount, unless they have agreements with the scam companies that allow reversing the charges to them.

Comment: astroturf (Score 3, Insightful) 482

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48633483) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

As you can see, the moderation converged on a more proper +5 Insightful

  I've read the post carefully and it doesn't qualify as Flamebait IMHO. It states a controversial political opinion and thus invites a discussion, which may lead to flamage, but does not itself lead with a flame.

So this looks like someone who doesn't like the position trying to suppress it, by hitting it with the most plausible -1, in the hope that one more like-minded person will have mod points and get it suppressed before very many people see it. That works for "politically incorrect" subjects (such as criticisms of the "heat death of the Earth, everybody panic and suppress technology" interpretation of climate data), where a crowd of like-minded free speech haters are ready to suppress opposing opinions. But pro-pot doesn't appear to attract that much system-gaming opposition.

Right now it only takes two downmods to hide a non-anonymous itme. It seems to me that we have enough people willing to moderate that it's time to scale up the mod system, so a small astroturf operation can't shut down debate. Say: double it: Mods get 10 points, -2 hides, non-anynomous starts at +2, high-karma at +4, doulble everybody's current karma and readjust the cutpoints for bonuses, caps, and the like. That would mean it would take two moderators to suppress a anonymous post and four for authors willing to risk reputation. (It would also mean more work for those who are willing to moderate - but they might be more willing to spend a point if they had more to spend.)

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani