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Comment: Why'd he leave the iPod Touch in his truck though? (Score 2) 189

by King_TJ (#47756075) Attached to: $75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

Does it seem odd to anyone else that he'd be fine with leaving the device in his truck's center console overnight that's required to make use of one of his arms?

"Pretty sure I won't come up with ANY need to use my other arm for the rest of the night.... Maybe I'll go fetch the controller tomorrow?"

Comment: re: nuclear waste (Score 1, Insightful) 248

by King_TJ (#47697865) Attached to: The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

Agree completely with your comments, although the nuclear waste issue still strikes me as one that few people are taking seriously enough. The reaction is always the same, "Don't load that stuff on a train that travels through MY city!" "Don't bury that stuff anywhere near MY place!" So it winds up sitting right where it started, on-site at the plant, where it's, to say the least, not an ideal storage location.

We've seen a lot of technical innovation in the last 50 years or so, which makes me question why we can't seriously look into developing a new type of power generator that can use all of this "spent" radioactive waste as fuel? Even if the costs to construct it were prohibitive in the sense of it generating enough electricity to be profitable? It would seem to be a cheap solution as a place to put waste coming from the existing reactors.

As long as the nuclear waste contains so much energy, it's this dangerous to handle or store -- that means there's got to be untapped potential left in it.

Comment: re: Titan (Score 0) 146

by King_TJ (#47677285) Attached to: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Launches Nov. 13th

Hmm... ok. Can I ask what Titan's overall theme is supposed to be?

Personally, I have pretty much zero interest in these MMORPGs with traditional "fantasy" characters and scenarios. I played Warcraft 1 through 3 back in the day and enjoyed them at the time, mind you. But games like WoW don't really do it for me; definitely not to the extent where I'd pay for a continuing membership to keep playing and commit that much of a time investment.

If Titan goes with a science-fiction, futuristic theme, I might take more interest.

Comment: Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (Score 4, Insightful) 147

by King_TJ (#47665183) Attached to: T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P

My first thought is, too many people out there want to act like "net neutrality" should mean free, unlimited use of all services whenever the carrier promises some sort of flat rate option.

More realistically, I think people need to differentiate between hard line based services and OTA services, which are currently far more expensive to maintain and to support high bandwidth over.

While I'd be very upset to find my cable company or a service providing broadband over fiber like we have at work was throttling us for using bit-torrent protocol or for "using the service with unauthorized devices" -- I don't have the same issue with it happening on a cellular LTE connection.

I think there has to be some level of understanding of the underlying limitations of the technology in place. When I use cellular data, I know up-front that I'm sharing a finite amount of bandwidth with everyone else in an X square mile area is on the service, using that same tower. That's just the nature of the beast -- and it's what gives me the ability to stay connected while very mobile, doing things I'd never be able to do at all otherwise, without traveling to a specific place with a landline connection.

Anyone keeping torrent downloads going on a regular basis over LTE really is just mis-using the service. Sure, there are probably some who live in rural areas who will complain they have no other faster options. But the bottom line is, cellular companies intend their data services to be used primarily in conjunction with their phone handsets, as a way to keep them connected for the Internet tasks you'd most commonly want to do on a phone. They also sell data cards and USB modems, but pretty much always with some strict limits on monthly data usage, or at the very least -- with an "unlimited" plan that contains a lot of exceptions to what unlimited means in that context.

Really, the only viable alternative is to wind up with pricing like the satellite internet services do; strict monthly usage caps with per megabyte overage fees on top of it. I think it's clear that the majority of customers vastly prefer just paying a reasonable, fixed monthly rate with a promise that "under typical usage scenarios, you can just use the thing whenever you like without worrying about extra costs for data".

Comment: re: uncomfortable using either one? (Score 3, Interesting) 125

by King_TJ (#47654553) Attached to: The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft

I agree that underhanded tactics make them both look bad, but personal experience using Uber, at least, tells me the service is typically quite good.

In Virginia, both Lyft and Uber were allowed to start legally operating again, under a specific set of rules:

- They must meet a set of regulations to promote passenger safety, have appropriate insurance and comply with Virginia laws.
- The companies agreed to run background checks of drivers, including criminal and driving histories
- Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and must be 21 or older. Their vehicles must be four-door, carry no more than seven passengers at time and must have a valid registration and inspection.
- The companies and the state also agreed on checks on rate transparency and documentation. And drivers are not allowed to accept street hails.

I think all of this sounds pretty reasonable, and IMO, it's fair to consider them a new way of doing business, vs. the traditional taxi cab services.

Comment: I actually voted for "my own town" on this one.... (Score 2) 246

by King_TJ (#47646999) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

We recently moved (only a couple month ago), and while it's a small town we're in, I'm still discovering new things all the time. It feels a bit foolish for me to spend a lot of money traveling to distant places to explore them, when I can't even say I feel like I'm an expert on what's in my own home-town yet!

Comment: IMO, they're trying to solve a niche problem .... (Score 1) 337

by King_TJ (#47646955) Attached to: Microsoft Surface Drowning?

When you watch the latest ads, Microsoft is trying to communicate a message that the new Surface Pro 3 is a device for Mac users who own (and have to carry around) both an iPad and a Macbook Air.

Essentially, they're conceding that Apple is still the "one to beat" in the tablet market -- and they think their best shot at improved sales is cannibalizing sales to people who invested in the Mac ecosystem with multiple portable devices already.

To me, that says "niche player"!

I think almost everyone agrees that the Surface has good hardware specs. Essentially, you can order it configured with all of the same options you can get in an Macbook Air (up to 8GB of RAM and an Intel core i5 or i7 CPU), so it would be no surprise if it performed every bit as well as one of those.

The problem is, MS still wants you to believe you should pay the high price of a Surface Pro 3 (compared to an iPad at least), because it will do double duty as your tablet and your laptop computer. I'd say that's not so compelling! I own an iPad Air with wifi and cellular data, and I also own a Macbook Pro notebook (issued to me by my employer). I take the iPad Air with me all the time when commuting to/from work, but I use it for things like reading the digital version of the morning newspaper, checking my new email, and maybe playing a casual game like Words with Friends. My notebook stays in a dock at work unless I know I'm going to some destination where I want a full blown computer setup for some length of time (like a business trip or a vacation, where I'll use it in the hotel room).

I'd rather not carry around a device with a keyboard attached if I'm just using it for reading and a little bit of web browsing, and I like the fact that even if my iPad gets broken or stolen, I have all of the really important data back on the notebook computer -- so it's not a big problem.

In a scenario where I was really going to be doing a lot of mobile work? It'd also be a plus to own and have BOTH devices with me, since that means at least double the battery life available to me without a need to recharge.

Comment: Re:This probably ignores cost of decommissioning (Score 1) 409

There's probably also the question of how long before we can get reactors online which make use of the radioactive "waste" we're storing up now?

Considering the material is considered so hazardous, it implies it still has a lot of energy we're not harnessing very well (but could).

Comment: re: automating oneself out of a job? (Score 1) 228

by King_TJ (#47630419) Attached to: What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

I'd tend to agree with you, although the problem here is often not the employee and his/her laziness or incompetence. The fear often comes from uncertainty that management recognizes the value in what you've done for them.

For example, I had a buddy who used to work for a company that installed and maintained point of sale systems. He found all sorts of time consuming processes that he could automate, by virtue of knowing how to code in languages like PHP or Perl, and did so wherever possible.

The problem is, his boss quickly got used to the idea that he was getting all of those tasks done in a much shorter time window, and began expecting it. When those "one off" situations happened where an automated script wasn't going to crank out a requested report, or make a big update easy to do -- he wasn't given any leeway. He was pushed into time crunches with unrealistic expectations and had to pull "all nighters" to meet the deadlines.

What you're suggesting is the logical course of action, but employers aren't always logical (or paying attention to what you've done). In that respect, I guess it may sometimes come down to your personal priorities. Do you want to leave "well enough alone" and keep getting your paycheck for doing things the traditional way? Do you want to automate everything in secret, so you can pretend tasks still take longer, while it secretly gives you free time to do something else? Or do you want to call attention to the improvements you've made and gamble that it gets you more pay or recognition, vs. a risk it will just land you more difficult work for the same salary?

Comment: re: support for old OS's (Score 1) 267

by King_TJ (#47623341) Attached to: Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

I think you're missing the point, really?

Apple, historically, supports the current OS X and 2 versions back from it. Beyond that, it's unsupported by them. But they don't publish official "end of life" dates for OS X like Microsoft and others do for their OS's.

The reasoning is that quite a few people can and DO like to keep their old machines around, running older software they've invested in, even if the operating system itself isn't getting patches released for it anymore.

There are still people out there using OS X 10.4 Tiger, and 3rd. party products targeted specifically for them ... such as TenFourFox at

Comment: To be a little more clear, though .... (Score 1) 267

by King_TJ (#47623279) Attached to: Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

It wasn't a purely arbitrary decision on Apple's part. I have a 2006 Macbook (the black plastic model) over here that allows me to upgrade to OS X Lion 10.7.5 but can't use Mountain Lion or Mavericks. It has a Core 2 (64-bit) processor, and with the 4GB of RAM I put in it, it more than meets the minimum RAM requirement. The sticking point is the Intel GMA950 video chipset, which Apple decided wasn't powerful enough to give a good user experience with the newer features they were adding.

Microsoft, by contrast, tends to include at least some sort of relatively generic video driver for a whole slew of video cards, to ensure a given version of Windows will still boot and run on far older machines. But is that really "better"? I was able to put Windows 8.1 on a circa 2006 Dell Latitude D430, not long ago, thanks to this sort of backwards compatibility -- yet the user experience was awful to unusable when trying to do such things as launching the free pinball game they had in the "Metro" UI.

In other cases, I've seen where you can make older hardware work in Windows, but it causes instability. Then people run around poking fun at Microsoft for the exception errors and blue screens of death that randomly pop up.

Apple markets their computer products as a whole ecosystem ... You're paying a premium for a user experience they've engineered for you. They've never offered more than a few different types of graphics cards/chipsets in their product lines at a given time, and they supply most of the printer drivers too. It's fine if you disagree with the value that supposedly adds, vs. the downsides. But it all adds up to making logical sense why Apple would phase out support relatively quickly for an older Mac with the new OS X releases.

Comment: Altcoin mining was my reason, really .... (Score 1) 391

by King_TJ (#47599111) Attached to: How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

Truthfully, between primarily using Mac OS X these days and the fact that Windows PCs have become such a commodity item, I haven't felt much need to build a PC clone from parts for a long time. But then I decided to dabble in litecoin mining - an endeavor requiring pretty customized machine configurations. I wound up putting together 3 altcoin mining rigs, which fully paid for themselves during the time I ran them -- and after retiring them, rebuilt one as a gaming PC for one of our kids.

I would have come out a few hundred bucks ahead, in fact, if it weren't for Micro Center selling me a dud Radeon R9280x card that I wasted even more time and money for return postage on, trying to get Gigabyte to repair or replace it under the factory warranty. (Bastards held onto the dud card for over a month, during the peak value of litecoin -- when it could have *really* been earning its purchase price, and then sent me the same card back, claiming it was repaired -- but no evidence they so much as touched the thing. Exact same issues it had when I shipped it off!)

Comment: re: All for liberty and freedom (Score 1) 79

by King_TJ (#47593899) Attached to: The Social Laboratory

Unfortunately, yes.... this is SO true. I blame some of this on the 2 party political system we've got in America. Although yes, you have a number of other party platforms out there that candidates can choose to run on, they're largely irrelevant. Everyone knows that if you want a real chance at getting elected, you have to run as either a Democrat or a Republican. If you join one of those parties but clearly have an agenda that's very far outside the parameters they've set - again, you won't make it very far.

Every so often, an exception happens, but most of the time when you see an independent candidate get elected to some office, it's because it's an uncontested position or the competition is so widely viewed as corrupt and incompetent, they win by virtue of being a different option available on the ticket.

The 2 major parties have no intentions of giving the people too much liberty or personal freedom, and neither one will ever decide that small government is better for the country! Their candidates are too hung up with delusions of making the nation stronger and better through some new/additional government organization, legislation, cabinet or office they can CREATE while in power.

Comment: PS4 has been disappointing in this regard .... (Score 3, Interesting) 75

by King_TJ (#47591673) Attached to: PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons

This is just the latest blast of greed from Sony with this console.
I purchased a PS4 just a week or two ago, after holding out this long with our aging PS3 system -- under the assumption it would be a worth successor. In a few ways, it is. Certainly, the new DualShock controllers are one of the highlights. They're more comfortable to hold, have the ability to plug in headphones and route the game audio through them, have the touch-pad in the middle, different colored lights indicating player 1, 2, 3, etc. Good stuff. But then I discovered you couldn't even download your MP3 music to the PS4 from a memory stick to play it! The only way it seems to allow music playing is via a subscription service! Then you have to pay for the PSNetwork, or else you're pretty much locked out of playing games online. (That was always a reason I preferred PS3 to X-Box in the past... Don't like to pay subscription fees just for the privilege of online play of games I just paid $60 a pop for!)

I'm *almost* surprised Sony didn't tell me that like my satellite TV box, I'm simply renting it from them and must return it when my subscription with them expires!

Comment: Re:Keep ERP system customization to a minimum (Score 4, Interesting) 209

by King_TJ (#47577401) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It Better To Modify the ERP vs. Interfacing It?

I'm inclined to agree!

I worked for one place that tried to roll out a big ERP system and even though it was done in multiple stages, just the "stage 1" portion was an incredibly costly undertaking that enlightened the in-house I.T. staff as to just what a bloated kludge the software really was.

I remember we encountered certain system errors trying to run reports which stumped the support people for the software.... What finally got it fixed was my boss devoting an afternoon to looking at it himself. He was pretty savvy with Oracle databases and rewrote some buggy queries in the code, correcting it.

All of the money charged for maintenance and support and licensing for these systems is NOT necessarily equivalent to receiving a superior level of actual assistance with the software. So IMO, just spend your money more wisely on in-house developers.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.