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Comment: Re:So! The game is rigged! (Score 1) 346

by MightyYar (#47564689) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

I have no idea, so I'm totally speaking out of my ass here, but I suspect there is a reason Europe does it that way. In the US there are a few credit rating companies who have data on the entire population of the US, thus creating a de-facto system for determining credit. I'd bet dollars to donuts that Europe has a far more Balkanized collection of credit agencies.

Comment: Sigh. (Score 1) 39

by ledow (#47564597) Attached to: Reglue: Opening Up the World To Deserving Kids With Linux Computers

I work in schools.

I work in IT in schools.

I've only ever worked in IT in schools (or colleges, or tuition centres...).

School computers do not make better students. Home computers do not make better students. Personal computers do not make better students.

If anything, the opposite unless they are regulated... by a teacher... in a classroom... and they have the will to learn. Guess which are the magic factors and which aren't?

Sure, there are disadvantaged children that don't have an Internet connection, a PC, time on it, and can't fill in their homework that the school provides on its website. The number of them is VANISHINGLY small. And, usually, because of much bigger problems that have nothing to do with technology - i.e. the kinds of families that you would find had sold the PC the next week for money to buy something else. They are dozens of charities, government schemes and even schools that do this. It's not taken up en-masse unless you are giving SILLY amounts of money to it, and then it's taken up to save them paying a bill that you could have just paid for them twice over.

And then, when I was a kid 15-20 years ago, I didn't have much access to a PC either. I came out near the top of my school. In IT. It wasn't a burden. In fact, my teachers fretted about my wasting so much time on the computers when they did come in.

Let's get this straight - giving an old recycled PC that someone was throwing out to a kid does not give them anything. I can't give this stuff away, when I throw out dozens of desktops a year, for a reason: you can run old stuff on it, if you're careful. So instead of "no PC", they have "slow PC full of junk that either can't run or is ancient". They're better off with no PC. Sticking it onto the Internet is, again, just a recipe for disaster. Now all that rich online content, tied into the school's cloud systems, requiring all kinds of plugins... they still can't view as intended.

Sticking them on Linux isn't going to help either. I speak as someone who HAS deployed Linux machines in schools, is never without a Linux server somewhere, and has Linux at home. And Windows. And (spit) Macs. And I was an early backer of the Raspberry Pi project. All it means is they won't be able to read their homework in a format that the teacher can send or send their homework in a format that the teacher can read. I *know* that you and *I* can do that, but this are disadvantaged kids with no PC skills stuck on an unfamiliar system that few people can help them with.

STOP GIVING THIS CRAP TO CHILDREN in the first world. Nothing is actually *better* - they then might have to come into school and do stuff like learn. And if the kid is that disadvantaged but able to learn, there are libraries, after-school clubs, lunchtime clubs, or they can negotiate after-hours access with their schools direct - which might just help those parents struggling to leave work in order to pick them up...

Sending this stuff to the third world doesn't help either. They have the same problems, and have to deal with too much junk.

On top of all that, unless you're online it's pointless. The Linux educational software is NOT educational software. It's some geek's idea of educational, conforms to no curriculum whatsoever and, if you're lucky, can be crowbarred to fulfill two or three curriculum requirements over the course of a year. And if you have to put these kids online to do what they need, THAT is the cost and the expense and the problem, not what device they happen to access it from (by the time you are then, any kind of thin-client would work, backed by their school).

Really, we need to find other ways to solve this problem, not just throw old computers at kids. It's not even as useful as throwing old library books at kids.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by Xest (#47564173) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

"Maybe Israelis can be blamed too for voting in a hard line government that doesn't want peace?"

Yes absolutely, they're both as bad as each other, and that's the problem. What I take issue with is this idea that the onus is all on Israel to be the bigger people and that Gazans are poor innocent victims. I don't know where this line of reasoning comes from, but it's utterly warped.

The problem is as per the points you made it wont work if it's just Israel that unilaterally stands down, Hamas will still fire rockets and how long does Israel have to sit and take it for? Weeks? Months? Years?

I suspect Israel could be made to stand down, but it's useless unless Hamas also does so which is my point - all these calls for Israel to stop are meaningless because it could do exactly that but it'd be no better off for it unless Hamas does too.

But whilst Hamas doesn't, my point is that there's no point in pretending Gazans and Hamas are some poor innocent victims. Yes there are some innocent victims in there, but many aren't, many are part the problem in supporting a violent organisation like Hamas. Until both sides disown aggressive leadership then they wont get anywhere, and they're simply reaping what they've sowed.

There really isn't much that can be done, you can sanction the shit out of Israel to stop making it fight back, but all you'll do in the long run is turn Israel into Gaza and the situation will be reversed. Without a will of the people on both sides to see an end to it then you might as well just continue to accept the status quo - the people in Gaza know what they're in for by not acting to stop Hamas, just as the people of Israel in range of Hamas rockets know what they're in for by allowing their government to continuing doing provocative things.

About the only thing that would change things politically is if Israel just stopped fighting back and started just letting more of their civilians die to Hamas attacks. Then politically there'd be more sympathy for them, but from their point of view what's the point? Why should it be their citizens dying rather than Gazans just to appease a bunch of armchair Hamas propagandists in the West eager for a cause to appease what is often genuinely just fed by anti-semitism? Take this guy as an example - to him it's not about the people of Israel or Gaza, to him it's all about the Jews, and Israelis just aren't going to pander to that sort of idiot by accepting more casualties on their side:

http://slashdot.org/comments.p...

Comment: The cycle (Score 1) 48

by ledow (#47564159) Attached to: EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog

"You can buy our products individually"
"You can subscribe to all our products for one fee"
"You can buy our special title by subscribing and paying a premium for that one title"
"You can buy our products individually"

Sorry. I don't "subscribe". The value of it rarely lasts long enough to be of any value at all to me.

Magazines? They tend to repeat themselves after a year, then you realise that all the "new" stuff, you now know where to find out. (Did this for PC magazines, Linux magazines, Astronomy magazines, even New Scientist is ludicrously expensive for what it is).

Movies? You get all of the crap, nothing that you actually want. I did the test subscription to Amazon Prime Instant Video. 30 days of "free" movies. We watched 4. Stopped one within ten minutes. Spent HOURS looking through what they had. All the interesting ones were "not included" so you had to buy them anyway. The subscription didn't make it out of the trial period. Was the same back when video rental was the thing - the good movie that you'd been waiting for was unavailable or more expensive, all you could book out was the dross you'd seen a hundred times.

Games? I have Steam. But I don't have a single subscription game. There are even Steam games that I regularly plug money into for DLC and extras, and I have my own personal "monthly Steam allowance". To be honest, not one of the subscription games (or software) have I even looked at past the word "subscription". Nope, never played WoW either. Sorry, but I invest enough back into games I play (by running servers, helping out on the forums, bug-fixing, or buying DLC / extra copies for friends), I'm not paying every month "just because".

I tried OnLive, mostly to prove that it wasn't a sustainable business model to be honest. I played a full-price game on there for free, then went and bought it cheaper elsewhere. The technology worked but was nowhere near the claims they made. And the "lifetime" (3 years only) pass to the game cost more than my buying it outright on Steam.

I don't see any subscription as worthwhile. Once they have your first month of money, they can destroy the value of what you have overnight and you'll feel obliged to keep paying until renewal. It's just not worth it.

If you want to subscribe to EA games, stick some money in a tin every month. Then when EA only have the same crap as usual, you can go elsewhere, and when you have a month without playing, you're under no obligation, still have your money and can play twice as much next month.

Comment: Re:sure, works for France (Score 1) 284

Nope. You're talking about gazonk. Inflation is _defined_ as "a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services " in the Mariam-Webster dictionary. Simple increase in monetary supply doesn't mean anything.

If you're arguing that increased money supply is ALWAYS bad, then the burden is on you to create a model that demonstrates this. And then to validate the model by making predictions about the past and future events.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 706

by Xest (#47564077) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

"Not only had Hamas faithfully held to the cease fire since 2012 - despite constant IDF attacks - it was arresting those who had."

This would be a great, fantastic, ground breaking line that puts the whole situation in a new light.

If it were actually true. It's not. Hamas has been firing rockets even when Israel hasn't bothered to respond. The arrests are part of an ongoing tit for tat small scale rocket launches and arrests. What makes this scenario different is that it wasn't the usual odd rocket here, odd rocket there, it was salvos of 60 odd rockets a day. But regardless, when I was speaking of breaking the ceasefire I mean the two in the last couple of weeks, and there's no dispute that Hamas broke them on both occasions, Hamas even admit it.

You can see how wrong your statement that Hamas has abided to a 2012 ceasefire is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

"So now Hamas are also bad people for resisting a violent coup to overthrow an elected government and the resulting, brutal junta? Gotcha."

How is firing rockets at civilian population centres resistance exactly? That's not resistance, that's provocation - in fact, it's the very definition of terrorism - attempting to force political change through terror of a civilian population. Resistance would be attacking Israeli military installations, personnel, and government.

"You left out the Short Skirt while explaining how they were Asking For It. Do you have any posts that aren't sagely repeating western propaganda as if it were fact?"

Wow, that's really low. You actually think someone who wears a short skirt is the same as someone who outright attacks someone? What sick planet do you come from? Hamas isn't the innocent girl, the victim of a sexual assault who has done nothing wrong. They're the terrorist organisation that time and time again (see cited links above) attacks civilians. This isn't like an innocent girl getting raped, this is like a violent thug repeatedly attacking people eventually getting attacked back.

You really need to stop swallowing the Hamas party line, as the links above demonstrate, it just makes you look like a naive fool who has fallen for the very propaganda they wanted to make you fall for.

But then, weren't you the guy defending Putin too? I guess you are incredibly easily suckered by propaganda as you seem to fall hook line and sinker for it time and time again. Don't tell me, you support ISIS too?

Comment: Re:The Credit Report/Credit Score system is FAIL (Score 2) 346

by ledow (#47563929) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

So what's new?

If you don't need credit, they'll give it to you. If you do, they won't. It's the general rule of banking.

How else can you explain that NO credit history is seen as worse than a mediocre one? For years, banks ignored me precisely because I'd never taken out a loan, credit card, etc. It was only once I'd got one that they desperately tried to push more loans down my throat. Up until then, apparently, I'd been too much of an unknown to risk it.

Credit scoring, the entire premise, is flawed. It's based on the reputation of your previous credit, and bears little resemblance to reality - as you point out. And try taking out a credit card and then RELIGIOUSLY paying back the full amount every month for many years. They hate you for it. Your credit score is still basically zero.

Credit score is not a reputation or history-based score. It's purely arbitrary. There's even "traps" like "use this high-interest credit card that we will give to people with no credit history just so you can 'improve' your score". WTF?

Hence why, as much as humanly possible, I don't use credit. Pretty much, for the last five years, I have no credit "history" as such (no credit cards, no loans, no judgements etc.), earn twice what I used to, and have never had anything "bad" on my history.

Was still refused for a joint mortgage with my girlfriend, though. Weird, because I'd had a mortgage previously for 3/4's of the same amount, earning half as much, self-employed, never missed a payment, sold the house for profit and paid off the full loan + interest early.

Ironically, my girlfriend (who's Italian, hadn't worked in the UK, had never owned a house, was refused a credit card for lack of history, and earns less than me) was approved for the entire mortgage on her own, so I just pay her half the mortgage and she's the one on their records. Oh, they offered to "put me on the paperwork" in a couple of years. This is despite the fact that in the UK, credit records (apart from bankruptcies and county-court judgements) are supposed to expire after 4 years.

Hell, they will CHARGE YOU to view your credit history, and in the UK you have to get your history from several large credit-history suppliers in order to make sure you have the full picture - some banks use one supplier, some use another, and their information can differ even though they are supposed to share it.

It's a scam. It's got nothing to do with risk, it's everything to do with maximum profit - and that means that you get a better "score" if you get into debt but don't quite go bankrupt.

Comment: Re:So! The game is rigged! (Score 1) 346

by MightyYar (#47562783) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Big credit, perfect payment history and though short he now was eligible for a loan. WTF.

You surely understand that they are playing the numbers? For every wealthy guy from Europe with no credit score, there are probably 100 deadbeats with no credit score, and far more with a very poor score.

means you've not had the money to pay your bills

It certainly is not that simple! I could cash out my retirement accounts and be debt free. But that would be silly because the government only lets me hide a certain amount of income each year, and so I'd be losing a whole lot more to taxes then I currently do to interest. Similarly, a home loan at 3.25% is more like a 2% loan after the tax deduction. Surely you can imagine that it does not make sense to pull all of your investments when the S&P is on a record run just to avoid a 2% interest rate?

My car loan - they were offering a zero... that is 0.0%... interest rate for the car. Why the heck would I use all of my cash up? Yes, I understand that I essentially bought points when I purchased the car, but it still amounted to a very, very low rate.

T-Mobile did the same thing with my last phone - the price after financing was cheaper than the price on Amazon.

Look at it from another direction - debt can be used as leverage. Businesses do this all of the time. Since people aren't businesses, that leverage can buy a better lifestyle instead of simply improving income.

Comment: Re:You needn't charge anything (Score 1) 346

by MightyYar (#47562727) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Truth or bullshit?

I think it might be true. I have this credit card from heaven which has a rate that is anchored to Prime+1.4% or something like that. Currently it is 4.65%. Obviously, I use it like crazy... at one point it had a lower rate than my mortgage! Since I frequently carry a balance on it, my credit score is insanely high - I think somewhere in the 800s. Once, I got greedy and kept within about 90% of the limit on it for a couple of months. This actually seemed to reduce my credit score, and the credit card company even reduced the card limit despite my never missing a payment.

Of course I also carry a mortgage and have car payments, so it is hardly the only "signal" on my report, but it seems to be correlated IMHO.

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