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Comment: Re:Restricted actions incl taking part in marketpl (Score 1) 209

The actual support article explicitly says that adding $5 to your steam wallet (which is the only way to buy stuff on the steam community marketplace) will count as $5 of purchases.
Co-incidentally, $5 is the minimum amount you can add to your steam wallet.

Comment: My experience in 1989 (Score 1) 339

I lived in Aptos, CA when the Loma Prieta earthquake happened. My home was about 10 miles from the epicenter.

My home came through it okay. Our cats were pretty freaked out but I don't think we even had any broken windows. (I've heard that the waves increase in amplitude as they get further away from the epicenter, so perhaps we were lucky to be so close.)

We were without power. I think phones were down but I'm not sure.

We didn't have much else to do, so we spent a lot of time listening to the radio. We learned some useful stuff:

* stay at home; the roads should be clear for emergency services.

* Cook and eat the contents of your freezer and fridge before things go bad.

* don't drink the water without boiling it, but it's okay to flush toilets.

* (Later) Okay, the water lines tested out, so go ahead and drink the water.

Also, we heard updates about the freeway bridge that collapsed, the destroyed buildings in San Francisco, etc.

But for the most part, the people talking on the radio didn't have anything too important to say. They filled a lot of airtime with repetitions of the above points, comments like "oh this is terrible", etc. So we stopped listening after a while and read books.

Still, in any future emergency, I will want a radio. The Internet could be down but the radio will still work. Lower-tech old-fashioned solutions are great in an emergency.

Just get a low-tech radio, rather than relying on a radio feature in something complex like a smartphone. Bonus points if you have solar cells and/or a crank to power the radio.

Comment: Re:Ask the former residents of East Germany (Score 1) 249

by Jane Q. Public (#49505975) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society
Yes, the out-of-context issue is a very real danger, what with comments people make in one conversation taken out and presented in the context of something else, making it seem as if that person meant one thing when they really meant another.

I know this one well; it has been pulled on me many times.

Comment: Re: Ask the former residents of East Germany (Score 1) 249

by Jane Q. Public (#49505951) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

Look, it's really simple: we live in the Surveillance Age now, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it, might as well find a few upsides. You know the old saying "when rape is inevitable, relax and try to enjoy it"?

Another "downside" to pervasive surveillance: a disturbing degree of fatalism.

Comment: Re:privacy? (Score 4, Insightful) 261

by Jane Q. Public (#49502411) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

If you offer a viable alternative, look for "something really, really unfortunate" to arrive with an innocuous name like "Net Neutrality", or something.

Since you brought up Net Neutrality: can you give me one example of a small, innovative startup in the ISP business in the last 10 years?

No? Why not?

I'll tell you why not: it is not a competitive market. It's a de facto oligopoly, with barriers to entry that are far to high for the little guy to vault.

That's where government's legitimate role begins: by regulating or breaking up oligopolies and monopolies, so that there can be competition in the marketplace.

Don't expect market forces to fix a problem when there isn't a real competitive market in the first place. That's not very realistic.

And I'll answer my own question: the only "new" broadband ISP to make a name for itself in many years now is Google, and they can hardly be called a "little guy". They are one of the few groups that has the money and muscle to elbow its way in to a business that is very hostile to outsiders.

Comment: Re:Question still remains (Score 1) 120

by Jane Q. Public (#49502371) Attached to: Google Adds Handwriting Input To Android

Oh, you mean like the Tungsten C?

No, I mean like the Treo, exactly as I wrote before. The screen was 320x320, it had a chiclet keyboard, and did not come with Graffiti.

So I looked it up, and the highest-resolution Tungsten device was at 320 x 480 and now median phones are 720p, the display was only TFT and now phones are starting to be OLED, and the screen was 3.7" while modern phones are 4-5". The specs of the best Tungsten phone were beaten by feature phones some years ago.

Yes. I didn't say it was high-resolution did I? But it has only been a relative few years that smartphones have had screens bigger than about 3.5". THAT'S MY POINT. Where's the argument?

We did, and no, Palm's 3.7 inch display with almost no dots and also very few colors by modern standards was not comparable to a modern smartphone display. Not even a cheap one.

No, we didn't. Not until a few years ago. Nothing you are saying (except that) has contradicted my point in any way. Size of the screen does matter, even if the resolution was not stellar.

I'll repeat my point since you don't seem to have gotten it: they shrunk the screen (compared to most Tungstens), added the Blackberry-style keyboard, and ditched the handwriting input. In other words, they were competing with THE OTHER CELL PHONE MAKERS of the day, rather than marketing the things that made Palm unique. They could have simply added a phone and left everything else alone.

I didn't try to claim the resolutions were the same as today. That would be ridiculous.

Comment: No "preferential" treatment of results. (Score 1) 261

by Jane Q. Public (#49501643) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?
Google has been ever-more pissing me off with its "sponsored" results in which I am almost never interested... I have to go further down the page to get the things I want.

Related to this: Google's recent proposal to post "truthy" results before others. Just no. I don't want or need a nanny-search. I'll judge the results for myself.

As far as I am concerned, results "filtered" or sorted according to Google's idea of "truth" is little more than a rather transparent effort toward censorship.

Comment: Re:privacy? (Score 3, Insightful) 261

by Jane Q. Public (#49501603) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?
If there were millions of users, how much would it COST to keep it operational? Figure that out, then add some reasonable profit percentage. Win-win.

Do you think you could run an operation like that for around $3.5M a year, given 1M users? Great. Charge $5 per year per user. I'd pay it.

Comment: Re:Question still remains (Score 1) 120

by Jane Q. Public (#49501365) Attached to: Google Adds Handwriting Input To Android

And here's where you go straight off the rails. See, space curved there. In specifics, the PDA market went away, and was replaced by the smartphone market.

Nonsense. Palm had the Tungsten. It was a perfectly good color handheld, with color touchscreen as big as a modern smartphone. I used to play Bejeweled on my Tungsten and IMO it was just about as good as Bejeweled 3 is on the desktop now.

Then came the Treo... their smartphone. They reduced the size of the screen to 1/2 or even less of what it had been before, added chicklet-style keyboard ala Blackberry, and dropped the Graffiti written input.

In other words, they were trying to copy Blackberry. They dropped the things that made them truly unique: a full-size color touchscreen, and Graffiti.

Now, finally, we have smartphones that match or best the Tungsten's color screen in size and resolution. We could have had that many years ago, if Palm had simply added a phone to their existing device, and left the rest alone.

Comment: Re:Question still remains (Score 2) 120

by Jane Q. Public (#49499179) Attached to: Google Adds Handwriting Input To Android

I see, they have added it as yet another app in the app store, not open source, and I guess requiring to have google apps installed. I don't need shit like that.

Wow! We're back to what Palm did quite well 15 years ago! How wonderful!

Fact is, Palm had it made. The OS had shortcomings but they had a mini-computer in a handheld device, with adequate handwriting recognition.

They threw it all away to compete in the "mainstream" cell phone business, and producing "mainstream" cell phones, giving up all that made them unique at the time. What a waste.

Hint to future Palms: don't give up what you're good at, in order to compete in a market that is already doing all that other stuff, better.

Comment: Re: Typical Misdirection From White House (Score 1) 270

by Jane Q. Public (#49499139) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

I'll lose all my mod points I handed out, but does anyone think it a bit "creepy" when someone uses the term "our leader"? Seems a bit nationalistic.

I wouldn't even call it "nationalistic". This is America, in which the citizen is sovereign.

I don't know about anyone else, but Barack Obama is about the farthest thing from MY "leader". In my honest opinion he has been a tremendous lesson in how NOT to be a good example of leadership.

"If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, _The Forbidden Tower_