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Comment: Re:the US 'probably' wont use a nuke first.... (Score 1) 341 341

It's only a crime if you were indoctrinated and signed a non-disclosure agreement wherein you agreed to be held criminally liable. Note that, while Snowden has a rich bounty on his head, no wrong-doing has been alleged on the part of the NY Times, Washington Post, or any of the other news outlets that published his leaks.

Now the British, they have the Official Secrets Act.

Comment: Re:the US 'probably' wont use a nuke first.... (Score 4, Insightful) 341 341

Yeah, we used the Bomb, twice, against an enemy that fought tenaciously, and far beyond any reasonable chance of victory. The death toll, while still horrific, was a tiny fraction of the alternative.

Have you ever heard of Operation Downfall? It was the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland. The basic gist was to, ultimately, march into Tokyo and dictate surrender terms to Emperor Hirohito, personally. The planned amphibious landings were double the size of D-Day, and would have extended the war well into 1946, with casualty estimates into the millions. Additionally, the Japanese defensive plan (Operation Ketsugo) called for the all-out mobilization of the civilian population.

Comment: Re:Boost mobile (Score 2) 209 209

Straight Talk is owned by America Movil, along with Trac Fone and Net10. Unlike most other MVNO's, they have contracts with all four of the Big Four carriers, though any individual handset will ride on only one of the four networks. The specific assortment of handsets they'll offer (either online or at retail) in any given location is a function of the coverage available from the Big Four at that specific location. Hence their website asks you for your zip code before showing you phones.

The retail packages indicate whose network the phone runs on. "CDMA-V" is Verizon, "CDMA-S" is Sprint, "GSM-A" and "GSM-T" are AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively. Pick the right phone, and you will be riding full-time on Verizon's network while paying Straight Talk's cheap monthly fees (and putting up with their shitty customer service).

Comment: Re:Republic Wireless (Score 1) 209 209

Republic Wireless is a MVNO that rides on Sprint's network. Hence why you can't use a GSM phone with their service. You have to buy the phone from them because no one sells "unlocked" CDMA phones. They don't sell them for the simple reason that the by far largest CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) don't allow unlocked phones on their networks.

Comment: Re:Cheap grid storage (Score 1) 442 442

That statement is, dare I say it, true from a practical standpoint. It is certainly true if you want to get yourself directly into a circular orbit. However, you can get yourself into orbit if you thrust continuously for long enough on your orbit vector, once you're out of the atmosphere. You'll have a very highly elliptical orbit by the time you've raised your perigee out of the atmosphere, but it would work. Don't believe me? Install Kerbal Space Program, and try it out for yourself. Worked for my 10 year old kid.

Comment: Re:Are there any reasons... (Score 1) 174 174

There's the oil changes, but also factor in radiator and transmission fluid flushes, timing and accessory belt replacements, various radiator and vacuum hoses, and it starts to add up. A timing belt is easily a $600 job, by itself. With the 100k mile replacement interval typical on modern cars, and 15k miles/year average usage, that one service adds $100/year by itself, if you amortize over time. Hold on to that Honda Accord more than five or six years, and you'll also start to get into random wear-out failures after 100k miles, that will be costing you real money.

Comment: Re:Are there any reasons... (Score 1) 174 174

Carnegie certainly operated in the regulatory and business climate of his day. That said, the most egregious transgressions attributed to Carnegie were actually the work of his long-time associate and business partner, Henry Clay Frick.

Comment: Re:So there is a problem... (Score 1) 174 174

Actually, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi all offer the 5/60 bumper/bumper and 10/100 powertrain warranties on all their new cars to this day. I dare say it hasn't translated to higher sales for Mitsubishi as effectively as it did for the Koreans.

Comment: Re: What for? (Score 4, Insightful) 191 191

Say what you will about Apple and their tendancy to buck the greater tech trends in the industry, but when Apple does buck the trend, their solution is technically superior and more user friendly than the incumbent alternative. The Lightning connector is but the latest example. Previous examples include Thunderbolt over USB 3, Firewire over USB 2, ADB over every pre-USB keyboard and mouse connection.

Comment: Re:Not just that (Score 1) 127 127

The Wii was able to exploit a perfect storm of marketing. The novel motion controls garnered a lot of media buzz, and it certainly helped that it launched at half the price of the then new PS3 and XBox 360, while including a pack-in game, which made it a more convenient "single purchase" holiday gift. It's graphical shortcomings were excusable, at least for the first three or four years, given the low cost, novelty of motion controls, and the low market penetration of HDTV's at the time of its launch.

Nintendo followed this up with the Wii U, with the Gamepad as the new hook. Unlike the masterful job they did with the Wii, Nintendo failed to effectively convey to customers how the Gamepad works, how it is used in game play, and that it is part of a bundle that also includes an entirely new game console, rather than an add-on for the original Wii. The Gamepad also boosted the manufacturing price. Given Nintendo's insistence that the console itself not sell at a per-unit loss, the resultant retail price negated much of the price advantage the Wii had enjoyed at launch.

Unfortunately, unlike Microsoft, who was able to realize an instant $100 price cut by simply jettisoning the white elephant Kinect, the Gamepad is so tightly integrated that releasing a lower cost Wii U bundle with a Pro Controller in lieu of the Gamepad most likely isn't a viable option. Fortunately, Mario Kart 8 sold 1.2 million copies in its first weekend. The (anecdotal) fact that none of the dozen or so Gamestop's within a 20 mile radius of my house have them in stock also bodes well, I think.

Comment: I too am somewhat underwhelmed... (Score 2) 180 180

Regarding the assertion that you should just use a game console or old PC, many people don't game seriously enough to warrant a $400+ game console, and don't want to uglify their TV setup, or deal with the kludge factor of a PC-based solution.

That said, this thing retails for $100, which means it has no price advantage over Apple TV, and there are several Roku models (not to mention Chromecast) that undercut it. The purchase also oddly does not include the game controller, which seems more or less a necessity to play the games, which is positioned as a major selling point of the unit. As it is, there seems no compelling advantage over existing set-top streaming boxes.

This would have been much more interesting if it had included the game controller and a pack-in game at the $100 price point (Minecraft, anyone?) of if they had done a more minimalist device a la Chromecast with its own remote, that they could have thrown in as a freebie for all their Prime members, to offset the recent Prime price bump...

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350