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Comment: Re:AT&T Autopay - Ha! (Score 1) 223

So, there was no billing error here. The guy actually had his modem making long-distance calls for inordinate amounts of time. Doesn't seem like an AT&T error. Though it definitely sucks for the old man/woman!

No billing error? The entire billing system sucks balls at the largest possible frame.

There should be a legislative directive that all such usage-based billing plans provide an option for the end user to set hard spending caps, which are automatically enforced by the service provider.

Show me a corporation that doesn't—at least attempt—to enact hard spending caps enforced by automatic systems wherever and whenever possible. Heads roll in the gutters when a corporation loses $100 million because some trading desk manages to go rogue with respect to set trading limits. (By the Finnish system of traffic fines, a $100 million loss for AT&T is about on par with some old geezer tabbed for $25,000.)

End users are, of course, purposefully disadvantaged to have to police their own usage by manual vigilance, because everyone knows this is a lucrative fail mode for AT&T's revenue piracy service.

That this whole thing sucks balls right down to the bag root is the least possible diagnosis.

Comment: Re: Why is is the material support provision bad? (Score 1) 119

lol. This is an administration that defines the word "militant" as meaning any male that isn't a child or pensioner. "Material support for terrorism" doesn't mean anything at all, given that the last 15 years have shown governments will happily label anything they don't like as terrorism. Bear in mind the primary roadblock that prevents the UN agreeing on a definition of terrorism is western nations (i.e. America's) insistence that people who resist foreign occupation of their countries must be considered terrorists, and Arab nations insistence that they mustn't.

Comment: Re:Can he win? (Score 2) 342

by schnell (#49603661) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

You're damn right this country was great back when we had strong union jobs and a family could live comfortably on a single income. There were strong regulations and the top tax bracket was near 90%. Things weren't great for everyone but at least we weren't fucked like we are now.

Unfortunately, the period you're referring to was an inherently unsustainable one caused by the fact that the US emerged as a victor from a World War, and coincidentally the only one of the major powers in that war whose population and infrastructure were not seriously ravaged by it. Even among the victors - Britain, China, France, let's not even mention the Soviets - all paid a heavy price on their home territory. The losers received economic support from the magnanimous Western powers, but that was cold comfort to a populace largely bombed into ruins.

So the US got to live in a bubble for a decade or two where the rest of the world didn't have the technology or the infrastructure to compete with us in any meaningful economic area. (They either were rebuilding it, never had it in the first place, or were too busy tearing themselves apart in postcolonial revolutions.) As a result, we had near-autarky in an industrial economy buoyed by barely sustainable Cold War military and aerospace spending. Times were good.

But you do get that it was never going to stay that way, right? Eventually the US was going to have to compete with the rest of the world for things. And lo and behold, they could make transistors cheaper in Japan, then they could make automobiles cheaper (and noticeably better!) there, too. Textiles disappeared to Southeast Asia, and steel and other raw materials manufactures moved to Asia as well. By the time the '90s and NAFTA rolled around, it was pretty clear that American consumers would much rather pay a quarter for a can of Coke made in Mexico than 50 cents of one bottled in Virginia. Unless it shut itself off from the world completely - thereby hosing its own exports market - the US could not sustain living wages in low skill jobs forever. The modern equivalent of $55/hour for high school graduates in Detroit who welded three car doors together an hour between smoke breaks was never, ever going to last.

Comment: Re:Can he win? (Score 2) 342

by schnell (#49603567) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Contrary to popular belief, the president has no power at all to deal with the national debt.

Technically true but not in practice. The President does propose a budget to Congress each year, which the House and Senate are free to embroider upon as they wish. Others have mentioned the fact that the President can veto the budget approved by Congress until they have the 2/3 majority for an override.

But most importantly, the President can commit the US to unwarranted, falsely justified conflicts overseas that eat up $2 trillion in budget over 10 years and duly expect a rubber stamping from Congress. (Because who is going to vote to not pay for the US soldiers you have already committed there to buy the bullets they now require?) So, yeah, in practice they can have a lot of impact, usually for the worse when neocons get involved in any way.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 2, Interesting) 342

by schnell (#49603457) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Paying for them is a simple matter of raising taxes on wealthy people.

That's a brave thing for a wealthy person like yourself to say and I commend it. Wait, what? You aren't actually wealthy, and instead you just think that somebody who is "not you" should pay for it? Oh, that seems a little more convenient.

While marginal tax rates in the US are not nearly as high as those in many parts of Europe, our income tax system is progressive (i.e. rich pay more) and the lower tax burden is disporportionately structured to benefit the less wealthy. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, "taxpayers with income over $100,000 a year earn 60 percent of the nation's income and pay 95.2 percent of the income taxes in the United States." Additionally, according to that same source, "Those making over $200,000 comprise just over 5 percent of the nation's taxpayers, earn 32.3 percent of the income, but pay 46.7 percent of total federal taxes and 70 percent of federal income taxes." European systems are actually more "fair" in the sense that larger portions of their incomes are collected in regressive taxes (i.e. everyone pays the same so poor feel it more) like the VAT.

Let's be grown-ups and admit that where we stand depends on where we sit. You probably are not "wealthy," whatever that means to you, and taxing those smug bastards sure sounds good to you, right? Conversely, I am not a "one percenter" (at least not in my state or region), but am part of a family with two working spouses with tech management jobs, and my family's Federal tax bill this year before adjustments and deductions closely approached six figures, or just slightly less than double the median income of the United States.

To someone who is certainly comfortable but by no means rolling in it - child care is ludicrously expensive, and we save as much as is feasible for retirement, taking a lot off our topline income - "oh let's just throw more taxes on people with money" does not sound nearly as good to me as it apparently does to you.

+ - How Silicon Valley got that way -- and why it will continue to rule.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Lots of places want to be "the next Silicon Valley." But the Valley's top historian looks back (even talks to Steve Jobs about his respect for the past!) to explain why SV is unique. While there are threats to continued dominance, she thinks its just too hard for another region to challenge SV's supremacy.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Unity3d isn't exactly free. (Score 1) 104

by sbaker (#49600431) Attached to: Should Developers Still Pay For Game Engines?

There are a significant number of 'missing features' in the free version of Unity3d...for example, render-to-texture. That's a pretty serious omission for any kind of serious software development - so the $1500 (or $75/month with a 2 year commitment) is necessary if you are really serious about game development. In a typical game company, $1,500 is roughly the salary of one programmer for a week. So over the life of any reasonable commercial game, the cost of buying a full license for each worker is essentially negligible.

What the free versions do is to enable indie studios to grow to the point where they can afford to pay for a game engine - and to get amateur game developers to grow interest, loyalty and expertise in a particular free engine that will hopefully translate into sales of the professional version when they become paid game developers in the future. But there are enough annoying road blocks that even an amateur developer may be tempted into buying (or renting!) the full version after running into a few of them.

It's a good model, and I hope it grows and continues.

    -- Steve

Comment: Re:This again? (Score 1) 428

by Bruce Perens (#49598949) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

OK, I will try to restate in my baby talk since I don't remember this correctly.

Given that you are accelerating, the appearance to you is that you are doing so linearly, and time dilation is happening to you. It could appear to you that you reach your destination in a very short time, much shorter than light would allow. To the outside observer, however, time passes at a different rate and you never achieve light speed.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel