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Comment: Brand names mean a lot in some places (Score 1) 197

by PPalmgren (#49369489) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

Canadians might not say it or act like it, but they are quite nationalistic when it comes to brands and companies. What I've seen is that american brands have had trouble penetrating that market because preference goes to the incumbent local company. Target is struggling to gain acceptance, Canadian Tire is still the go-to, and even major e-tailers like Newegg have trouble over the other Canadian e-tailers. Hell, Sears seems to have won mindshare by having a little maple leaf in their Canadian logo. They may not like to hear it, but Canadians are just like Americans in that regard. A lot of people I've talked to buy Apple precisely because they see it as an American brand.

Comment: Re:Why does it need to be replaced? (Score 1) 152

by PPalmgren (#49369441) Attached to: Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station

I understand the difficulty now, but maybe in 30-50 years, we'll be able to reclaim and re-use materials in space much easier than we can now. So, why not aim for middle ground? Aim to boost the ISS into a higher more stable orbit as a decommission method, to create a 'orbit landfill' if you will. I'd think it would be better than de-orbiting and burning up all that tonnage.

Maybe they could start a show on TLC called Space Hoarders and have interviews with astronauts to cover the cost of that orbit increase :P

Comment: Re:Safety Speed (Score 1) 283

by PPalmgren (#49335015) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

because some other driver HAS to get to the next red light faster than me

I just want to elaborate on this a bit. A lot of times this is not the case, and is a self-fulfilling prophecy for people who drive excessively slow. When I get stuck behind the guy that does 5-under and takes 10 seconds to get up to 40mph, I will hit *every* single red light on a westward route in my part of the city, which are spaced about a mile apart, on a two-lane road where I can't pass. That's because these lights are timed for traffic at the speed limit for 10 cars at a light. If I'm not behind that guy, I hit one red light and 6 green lights. Sometimes its not that they have to go faster, its that they know the light timings better. Its a 5-7 minute difference in my commute. The person's behavior, in this case, actually causes more traffic and a higher chance of accidents than driving at the posted speed limit or 5-over. This also happens in two other places I frequently drive.

Comment: Re:End the Fed! (Score 1) 165

by PPalmgren (#49326779) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Interest rates are about managing inflation/deflation and about creating a stimulus tool during difficult economic times. Think of the interest rates as a piggy bank - right now, our piggy bank is empty because we burned all our 'savings' in attempting to spur the economy after the most recent crash. If we hit another recession while this piggy bank is empty, we will lack a tool that helps ease the recession cliff significantly. As far as recessions go, this is the most important tool - if the economy changes too drastically too quicky, people don't have time to adapt and it creates a downward spiral with lots of irreparable damage.

Comment: Re:Gordon needs a portal gun! (Score 1) 215

by PPalmgren (#49301969) Attached to: Gabe Newell Understands Half-Life Fans, Not Promising Any Sequels

One of the things I'm not sure about, though a hardcore fan might have figured it out, is the chronology of the events. What if, for example, portal 2 takes place 20 years before HL2E2? What if GlaDOS has gotten bored of 'testing' and started developing? What if there's a link beteween the ship and the GlaDOS testing facility that brings GlaDOS on board for HL3?

They have a lot of ways they can merge the stories to allow for new gameplay elements not restricted by the two games canon. I really wish they'd do it because the story was very solid and compelling, and needs to be finished, but not much we can do about that.

Comment: Re:What portion of the memory is usable this time? (Score 1) 110

by PPalmgren (#49282341) Attached to: NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN X Becomes First 12GB Consumer Graphics Card

I'm personally hesitant to go with AMD, as my current experience with AMD drivers on my desktop has been downright horrible, compared to a relatively painless experience with my current laptop running an Nvidia card, but I have to wonder what's going on when Nvidia comes out with something like this, a year later, and at seemingly worse performance.

I've actually found the reverse case lately, for my usage. I have a R9 290 in my HTPC and a Geforce 770x. Every time I update my 770x driver, it moves my taskbar to the other screen and resets window sizes, incredibly frustrating and something that shouldn't happen in 2014. Its been a problem for at least 4 years through multiple OSes and different installs. I had this problem on a GF 250, and I've reported the bug multiple times. I also experienced CTDs in Battlefield 3 and about 3 other games, usually associated with driver crashes, plus a lighting bug in FarCry 4 where the lighting lingered after moving, making the game unplayable. Then there's AC Unity which was a trainwreck.

My big nitpick with the AMD driver is an annoying cursor bug I've experienced in dota 2 which happens on multi-monitor setups, not sure if they took care of that yet because the AMD card is now in the HTPC. Every once in a while the cursor icon would screw up and look either grainy or sometimes look like a black comb or something, a visual bug. Other than that, I haven't had any issues with AMD drivers.

Comment: Re:quiet mechanical keyboard (Score 3, Informative) 452

by PPalmgren (#49275357) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

On the topic of quiet mechanical keyboards, the G710+ is excellent and fits what he needs perfectly. I did a similar move to the OP, moving from a G11 and looking for a new keyboard. The rubber dome replacements from logitetch for the excellent G11/G15 are crap, the space bar barely works, keys don't register hits well, and apparently there's a backlight issue with most. I had to return the G510 within a week because I couldn't stand the spacebar issue. G710+ is a trooper though, and while it took a week or so to get used to, I'm very happy with it.

Comment: Re:yeah, California is falling apart (Score 1) 224

by PPalmgren (#49240855) Attached to: California Looking To Make All Bitcoin Businesses Illegal

Its not about the money, its about what the money can buy. You even said it yourself with your last line:

This means that for almost all of CA, a $100k/year household income is sufficient to live a VERY solid upper-middle-class to middle-upper-class living.

100k/year in a place like Alabama affords you a 4,000sqft home within 30 minutes from best jobs and economic centers in the state. If you live in other areas in Alabama, people can afford a good middle class living on $50k/year and even less if youre smart. Support positions that don't require physical presence are frequently moved from CA to the east coast and the cost savings is on the order of 30-50% simply because of the cost of living adjustment. That's why Wells Fargo kept so many jobs in Charlotte, NC when it absorbed Wachovia.

Your income tax analysis is dishonest and lacks understanding. The CA income tax hits 8% at $60k, which can't buy jack in CA, for most citizens its at 9.3%, double the AL income tax rate. If you make under $30,000, you pay less income tax than someone who lives in AL making that amount...but you also have to pay 1% for mandatory SDI up to ~$100k, making up the difference.

BTW, for item #1 in your list, PA has a flat income tax. Why do I know all this stuff? I do it for a living. CA, NJ, and NY are the most expensive places to operate a business and have the highest cost of living adjustments, bar none.

Comment: Land costs (Score 3, Informative) 356

by PPalmgren (#49240559) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

Solar's relatively low cost/km^2 could become a difficult problem if it starts attempting to compete with other power projects purely on cost. Most cost/kwh numbers floated around don't factor in the total cost of owning and operating a solar installation, and only show the theoretical cost/kwh based on the equipment cost vs. power production. Right now, the driving factor for solar power generation is clean energy and not cost. I'd love for it to get down in cost to be competitive within the decade, but I expect that when that happens, cost might have to be not just equal, but significantly lower, to account for the solar field size needed to replace a standard coal plant. Lack of land availability can also become a damper on adoption in more populated areas, the areas that need the power the most.

I really think that something will need to be done to facilitate distributed solar via rooftop in order for solar to take over as a main power source. Right now, its too dangerous to build a business model around solar leasing via home rooftops because the rules are changing so frequently and the rules are different everywhere you go.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.