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Comment: The real geek gift guide (Score 1) 113

by Powercntrl (#48588307) Attached to: 2014 Geek Gift Guide

For most people, gift buying breaks down into three categories:

1. People you're willing to splurge for. Close family, offspring, significant other, etc. Since these are the people you interact with the most, not being clued in to what they wanted for a gift is an epic fail. No gift guide is going to help you here.

2. Good friends, extended family. These people are the reason gift cards were invented. Sure, some people may argue that it's not personal enough, but screw that. Everybody loves a free meal at a restaurant or a few free app downloads.

3. Cow-orkers, that guy you added on Facebook and can't remember why, your kid's teachers and anyone else you're giving gifts to as a matter of obligatory holiday procedure. These people get shit from the bargain bins at your local drug store (while you're there buying gift cards).

You could also always change your faith to one that doesn't celebrate holidays involving gift giving. That's probably cheaper, too.

Comment: Dad needs to get off his high horse (Score 1) 584

by Powercntrl (#48521157) Attached to: Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

When she grows up, she might be an artist, a counselor, or an HR professional. She almost certainly won't be a princess, though, so don't worry about that.

Or she might get knocked up in highschool and drop out. Kids don't always turn out the way you plan and being a good parent means encouraging your kids to succeed and still loving them even when they fall flat on their ass.

It's also a bit hypocritical when geeky/nerdy parents act all shocked and shaken when their offspring would rather go out and interact with other kids than stay at home and play with a chemistry set. Hint: it's just as bad being the stereotypical jock father who smashes in his son's door because the kid prefers reading over sports.

Comment: I was born too early (Score 1) 523

by Powercntrl (#48489319) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

I've hated cursive with a passion, ever since I was forced to learn it in public school. I could never manage legibility at anything remotely resembling a decent writing speed, so half the time I couldn't even decipher my own notes. I had absolutely no trouble picking up typing and at 12 years old, I could easily type faster than any of my classmates could write. The only problem was, this was still the dark ages and the school staff felt that allowing me to use a portable word processor would be an unfair advantage over other students and that I deserved bad grades due to my inferior handwriting ability.

We don't teach kids to chisel on stone tablets or write on slates, so I see absolutely no reason why cursive can't also be relegated to the past. Good riddance.

Comment: Re:So what exactly is the market here. (Score 1) 730

by Powercntrl (#47868223) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

People keep mentioning the Nomad.

They're quoting CmdrTaco, who used those exact words to describe the original iPod upon it's announcement. Damn kids these days....

You have to remember, Apple eventually decided to release iPods with support for Windows. Will they release a "Watch" that works with Android? Probably not.

Comment: Re:Just buy a CRT (Score 1) 167

Seriously, just buy a good CRT. Stop fooling around with all this line doubler crap


Fancy upscalers and scaling filters can make retro games look (debatably) better on modern displays and maybe for some people that is good enough. But it's hard to beat a Craigslist CRT for an authentic classic gaming experience. Thankfully, there's still plenty of 'em that haven't been dropped off roofs, used for target practice or shipped to the third world for "recycling".

Eventually when the cheap used CRT supply dries up, with luck we'll all have cheap 4k OLED displays and CRT emulation won't look like such a steaming pile of dog shit.

Comment: Re:Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (Score 1) 291

by Powercntrl (#47503515) Attached to: Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

I mean say what you want about their current products, but their entire deal has been putting software on devices that for the vast bulk of users doesn't suck.

His problem is that he is on T-Mobile.

On AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, he could've just signed a contract and gotten an iPhone 5C for free* (so-called) during various promotions. Thanks to T-Mobile's spin campaign of "We eliminated contracts because the public is too stupid to realize a finance agreement is still a contract", purchasing a phone from them means financing or coughing up the full cost of the phone. Hence, you have the current situation where T-Mobile's service is only cost competitive against the other big 3 carriers if you buy a cheap phone or happen to already own a phone that is compatible with their network.

Comment: Some newer coins intend to stay ASIC resistant (Score 2) 281

by Powercntrl (#47243841) Attached to: Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

While the threat of a 51% attack may be blown out of proportion (a pool sells their cut of the coins that are mined and it is in their best interest that the coin remain as valuable as possible - attacking a coin would be counterproductive), some altcoin developers have stated that they will change their coin's proof-of-work algorithm if ASICs are developed for it. Vertcoin and Execoin's developers have both stated they'll do whatever it takes to keep ASICs out.

Most of the speculation that fuels the pump-and-dump world of altcoins is based on the belief that Bitcoin may not end up being the cryptocoin that average people use to buy pizza, pay their bills, etc.

Comment: Re:Almost, but not quite (Score 1) 117

by Powercntrl (#47216803) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Isn't the chargeback potential a risk under paypal not found for bitcoin? When someone gets paid the charge can be reversed at any time per Paypal's discretion. Thieves will buy bitcoins all the time on ebay with stolen paypal accounts and than the seller will be out all the money when paypal reverses the transaction. Additionally, isn't paypals security polices also a risk for the user unlike with bitcoin where you can trust the mathematics and network which is immune from many traditional attack vectors?

Yes, chargebacks are a potential fraud risk for business owners. As a customer, though, being able to perform a chargeback is an important safeguard against a seller that doesn't make good on their part of a transaction.

While having your bank/credit card information on file at PayPal is also a potential security risk, it's still significantly less of a risk than trusting every business you allow to directly process your credit card.

Comment: Almost, but not quite (Score 1) 117

by Powercntrl (#47209155) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Bitcoin does solve the issue of being able to electronically pay people you may not trust, but so does PayPal. Bitcoin transactions are slow to confirm, you have no protection as a buyer to perform a chargeback (for example, you buy tickets for a concert that turn out to be counterfeit) and the price of Bitcoin is extremely unstable. Bitcoin also is not really free of transaction fees, either. You will pay a fee to an exchange when buying Bitcoin with fiat.

Bitcoin's deflationary design also makes it lousy as a currency, since why would you use it to buy two pizzas today when that same amount a few years from now might buy you a Tesla Model S?

Cryptocurrency probably does have a place in the future of commerce, but it will probably be something that addresses Bitcoin's serious shortcomings.

Comment: Re:We're supposed to take this seriously? (Score 3, Interesting) 72

by Powercntrl (#47177863) Attached to: Snowden Rallies Privacy Advocates In New York City

There's no intelligent debate to be had, or a debate at all. It's just the government violating the highest law of the land, and people who give a shit trying to stop them. They had no moral high ground since the beginning.

The point is, if the situation is dire and serious, the message should be as well. Think about it for a second, if someone on here posted "Don't buy an iPhone because Apple wants to lick your balls!" it would be moderated as troll in the blink of an eye. It works for Southpark because the objective is to get you to laugh. When you're pointing out an injustice being committed by the government, you should be trying to get people to think.

Comment: We're supposed to take this seriously? (Score 2, Insightful) 72

by Powercntrl (#47177627) Attached to: Snowden Rallies Privacy Advocates In New York City

Southpark has already done plenty of political satire peppered with dick and fart jokes. If Snowden doesn't want to come across as a tinfoil hat loonie, he should probably tone down the juvenile humor a notch. It's frequently said that those who resort to insults do so because they can't hold an intelligent debate.

Comment: THIS. Just get an iPhone 5S (Score 2) 259

by Powercntrl (#47158425) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

Not only does the iPhone have the frequency bands the asker wants, but it is one of the easiest phones to purchase completely unlocked and off-contract in the USA (so long as you purchase direct from Apple). Most other contract-free phones here are still sold locked to the carrier, and generally require several months of paid service before the carrier will provide an unlock code.

Other less expensive options for a world phone would be Google's Nexus 5 or Motorola's Moto G (if you don't absolutely need LTE).

Comment: Obviously (Score 1) 311

by Powercntrl (#47136855) Attached to: Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

Considering all the above, I'm convinced that it makes much more sense to put solar on rooftops.

We're not even remotely close to running out of places to install PV panels, where they'll never see the business end of a vehicle tire. PVs are presently just too damn expensive, even when you're not engineering them to withstand being constantly run over.

The news story here is really that fools are still being parted from their money.

Comment: Not this again (Score 1) 311

by Powercntrl (#47136739) Attached to: Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

We've learned that in the U.S., over $160 billion is lost each year in lost productivity from people sitting in traffic due to road maintenance.

No, it's time that would've been spent at home scratching your ass. Tesla pulls this same crap too in their marketing, by claiming your time spent pumping gas is wasted income. Your time is only worth something if you actually would've spent that time earning money. Why else do you think we call it "free time"?

Road delays do waste fuel, but that's more easily solved with improved vehicle technologies, rather than expensive pie-in-the-sky tech roads.

You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.