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Comment Re:This isn't hard folks (Score 4, Insightful) 30

Mother's Basements and other places used for self-imposed isolation exist in all places and probably in all cultures.

The biggest problem is finding people that will follow orders when the penalty for not following orders is lower than it is for a military officer or enlistee. That barrier will probably preclude civilian contractors that have never had military service from performing that job. Don't know about former-military civilian contractors though, they might be better at not flinching, but then there's the legality issues surrounding the ramifications of bad calls where innocent people died, or where someone intentionally does something that kills noncombatants. At least in the past civilian contractors had to be present to do the acts that killed innocents such that the country in which the acts were committed could mount something of an objection. What's the law on a civilian remotely operating a machine in a foreign country that's specifically equipped to kill, using that machine to kill? At least a military member could see prosecution if through the military system of justice, but I don't know how well that would work for civilians.

Comment Re:Easy solution - COSTCO does it better (Score 2) 469

They also deal with the fleet sales department rather than the retail sales department, and the fleet people just look at the numbers and figure out the dealer's markup and make a fairly quick response.

The best technique is to buy a car out-of-state though. Sales tax is paid to your state, not to the selling dealer's state, and there is no county or city sales tax in the equation. On top of that, if your state requires that the sales tax be based on the MSRP rather than on the negotiated price, this technique makes the sales tax price reflect the actual price, not an inflated MSRP.

Comment Re:Size and mobility as needed and appropriate (Score 1) 228

Pretty much. We already have two distinct areas for watching content. One is for casual content like television shows. It has a 30" TV with only the TV's built-in sound. The other is for watching movies. It has a projector, a 100" screen, and a surround sound system.

Both are technically capable of both functions; both have Blu-ray players, both have Internet-connected computers. When we just want something on to sort-of pay attention to the TV is on, and we're usually doing something else at the same time. When we want to watch a movie, the laptops get put aside, the lights go down, and we actually watch the movie.

If on-demand TV through the Internet has stalled, it's probably due to an apathetic form of analysis paralysis, where there's too much to choose from so narrowing-down the scope is hard to do. By contrast, when content is being 'streamed' (ie, broadcast) whether one makes a selection or not, it's a lot easier to apathetically leave that content on, reducing or eliminating the need to make a decision. Think about it, would most of those crappy mid-day shows exist if people had to actually choose to watch them? I don't think they would, people would simply not bother to select them. Same goes for a lot of the gossip shows like Extra and Entertainment Tonight, most people don't seem to seek-out gossip and only really participate because it's right in front of them. Make them have to choose and that probably won't be their choice.

Comment Re:smart tvs are not smart (Score 1) 148

Consumers don't like having to contend with making things work properly. Remember those crappy Fisher audio systems that looked a bit like a stereo stack, but were basically hollow shells? People bought them because they operated with one remote, even though they produced crap sound and would eat cassettes.

It's not as easy to have separate discrete parts. I know, I still have a receiver/amplifier, VHS, cassette, phonograph, Laserdisc, Blu-ray, HDTV tuner, and projector, and at one point I had a stereo receiver that needed an external Dolby Pro Logic decoder for surround. On the one hand I feel it's a better experience than an all-in-one in terms of quality and of options, but on the other hand we watch most casual TV on the more-integrated stuff in another room and use this system when we're specifically sitting down to watch a movie.

We're getting to where we'll need to push for greater consumer protections at a regulatory level. Companies still refuse to acknowledge that their products have problems. Obviously if they won't correct these problems themselves then they need to be forced to do so.

Comment Re:quads brought noobs. (Score 1) 192

All you whipper snappers ruined it way back when you didn't even have to be in a university to participate!

A few of us that didn't have University access to Usenet in particular or the Internet in general and only got-in once the commercial Internet became available had some etiquette going-in, we started out on bulletin board systems and Fidonet and had to at least have a modicum of understanding so our local SysOp wouldn't ban us from his board. By that same token most BBSes were free, so without profiting off of the users the SysOp had good reason to ban abusive users so that the board would remain popular. AOL was profit-driven so they were much more willing to tolerate bad users and to give bad users access to everything because it meant that $24.95/month coming in.

Comment Re:Good God; Why? (Score 1) 25

Why would so many companies(some with actual software development experience; and others dangerously willing to try, like Adobe) put up with Pearson software?

Probably because PearsonVue has a vast distribution network in that they've associated themselves with thousands of local testing centers. It means that the burden, from a facility point of view, is low on those seeking the certs.

Now, I can tell you first-hand that the exams themselves are shit. They look like they were written in Hypercard on an 800x600 screen that's poorly mapped and essentially not-anti-aliased across the fairly modern 16:9 displays in the testing centers, and it's impossible to put all of the content on-screen that's necessary, so it's a lot harder to keep everything straight.

I'm not asking for multiple 4K displays to have the simlet, the diagram, and the questions on, I'm asking for a display that looks as decent as my eight year old Gateway laptop. Having something that looks more at home in Windows 3.1 is pathetic.

Comment Re:quads brought noobs. (Score 4, Insightful) 192

Quads brought a ton of new people into the hobby and the existing community hasn't reached them effectively. Part of that is probably because models (other than rockets) used to be harder to fly, so newbies NEEDED an experienced pilot to train them. Clueless newbies who wouldn't learn from others quickly destroyed their new toys.

I've got a secret for you- your hobby is experiencing its own Eternal September, and you never will reach those clueless newbies unless regulation forces them to actually apprentice with someone experienced. You could even look upon it as two separate hobbies- the older hobby for scale-model aircraft or scale-model-type aircraft that requires a significant degree of skill to participate in without constantly spending large sums of money to replace destroyed equipment, and another hobby for the inexperienced that only want a casual hobby, or want to use the equipment as a means for some greater hobby that can benefit from it.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 424

I have both the (relatively) untouched originals on Laserdisc and the Special Edition versions on Laserdisc.

The biggest problem is that LD is a 4:3 tech where a 2.35:1 image is letterboxed on to it. With a horizontal resolution of 480 lines at 4:3, matted that leaves about 272 lines for program content. When one was accustomed to a tube television this was not seen as a bad thing, but now that we're accustomed to 480 lines even on a widescreen image for DVD as the low-end of what's acceptable this obviously won't do.

If fans have de-special-editioned the SE versions that might be the best approach. Alternately if someone still had theatrical prints it would be even better, but those are probably so caught up in legal limbo between the production company, the studio, the distributor, and any special rights to things like the soundtrack that we'll probably never see a cleaned up original version.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?