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Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 203

Personally, I wondered why there were any mortgages with "stated income" and "stated assets", in which the mortgage company didn't verify income and assets - liar's loans, as they were called.


For example, Columbus, OH went on a spree where the city worked (at behest of I think the mayor IIRC) with banks to qualify financially poor people in the Columbus itself for mortgages in outlying towns, such as Reynoldsburg, OH where my parents are. It didn't matter what kind of income they had. The goal of the politicians was to get the poor out of Columbus and make them an SEP - "someone else's problem". And it worked, but it also saddled those outlying towns with (a) a higher housing demand and (b) people that were destined to be foreclosed on.

Case in point: One young lady in my parent's neighborhood graduated high school, didn't have a job, but got a mortgage for a $150k house. There was no way she was going to be able to make the payments, and was eventually foreclosed on, devaluing other houses in the neighborhood as a result.

As I said...there were many different factors. The above was one of them, and sadly those politicians will never be held accountable for that kind of fraud - fraud that really did make contributions to the over 2008 financial crisis.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 203

the thing with 2008 isn't that 20% defaulted. it's that the banks built an insurance pyramid scheme to borrow more money and one bank was left holding the bad debt.

Bank A , B , C and D each have 100 loans of which 95% are good and 5% are bad. Each bank is maxed out on loans they can legally, and fiscally move. to make more money they need to insure the loans.

So Bank A and Bank B take 50 loans each 45 good one and the 5 bad ones and get insurance from bank C. This gives Bank A and B the ability to take on 20 more loans each with at least 2 of them being bad.

Bank C goes to Bank D for insurance and gives Bank D their 5 bad loans as well as the 10 bad loans from Banks A and B. this gives Bank C ability to also take on 20 more loans.

Bank D is now holding 190 loans including 20 bad ones and their risk went up from 5% to 10%.

Wash rinse repeat. they did this until one bank had 20% plus bad loans in their portfolio. when it collapsed all the cross insurance collapsed as well. That is why 75% of the government bailout loans were repayable in 4 months. The banks just needed to cover short term costs with the pyramid to each other.

Quite an over simplification, but it also assumes that the banks knew in advance which loans where bad - which they didn't.

One of the big pit falls for the home loans was that there were (a) a lot of loans that were themselves loans for other loans (Jumbo Mortgages, Subprime lending), and (b) there were a lot of loans with variable interest rates which were then defaulted on when the Federal Reserve attempted to raise the Interest Rates; inevitably there was quite a few of 'a' in 'b', and the various risk calculators that were used by the 'C' and 'D' banks in your example didn't know how to account for that kind of thing in the risk assessment, in part because it was unaware of some of the necessary parts of the risk and unable to control others.

Keep in mind that the mortgage grouping and selling that was part of the issue was a known thing. You bought a $1M USD note containing 10 mortgages knowing that 2 would default but it would be made up from and exceeded by the interest paid on the other 8. What was not accounted for was the issue of variable rate interest loans so when the interest rates when up a greater than expected number of loans defaulted, wiping out the ability to cover the $1M note.

Now there were several dozen different factors that caused the issues in 2008. However, a lot of the home mortgage issues were solved by (a) stopping the robo-signing practices that approved a lot of bad loans, (b) converting variable interest loans to fixed interest loans, and (c) actually trying to work with borrowers to solve the problems (typically variable interest loans). There was also quite a sizeable chunk of loans that were just completely written off - no sold, not insurance repaid, not government repaid; but actually taken off the books and discarded as a loss.

The money borrowed from the government, however, more or less was a temporary hold-over to stabilize the books and came with severe restrictions - which is really why it got repaid quickly as the banks didn't like the restrictions so they made every effort to repay it and get out from those restrictions instead of making the effort to restore a working economy as was intended by Congress.

Comment Re:Are we blaming Microsoft for this? (Score 1) 203

That sounds about right.

Well, considering that as revealed by the OOXML ISO specifications there are quite a few functions in Excel - like FLOOR() and CEILING() - whose behavior is not the defined mathematical behavior...yes, to a certain degree Microsoft is culpable since it is a reasonable expectation that these functions should work as defined by mathematics and the result is subtle in its effect. (For instance, FLOOR(-2.5) in Excel will yield a result of -2 instead of -3.)

However, I would expect that someone that deals with these kinds of functions regularly - like a scientist - would be analyzing the data using tools other than Excel - such as SAS, R, Mathematica, MatLab, etc - where the functions are mathematically correct so these kinds of errors should have been caught. Thereby the researcher, scientist, engineer, etc are more culpable than Microsoft for these errors.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 681

This is totally off-topic, but why do I see so many people refer to it as "Visual Studios"? It's not plural, and I don't think it ever has been, where does that come from?

B/c it's really multiple environments. Visual Studio provides multiple studios - C#, C++, Managed C++, VB.Net, F#, J#, Visual Installer,.. all the Microsoft specific languages and technologies. They're even using it as the base for other tools - SQL Server Studio/Manager.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 681

MS is using its own custom distro. Every different piece of hardware has its own custom distro. The work of the open source community towards a common project has been so fragmented (not to mention so co-opted) that it's not common. And on top of that, people treat each other like crap, so that good ideas become splinter schism religions instead of adding to one common greater good. There isn't one Linux; there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Linux-like or Linux-derived systems, with no real guarantee of complete interoperability. Maybe "Linux will never win" is an oversimplification, but I stand by it.

Linux is just the operating system kernel, and there is only one real source tree - hosted at - which has (a) thousands of options, (b) thousands of drivers, and (c) a few hundred CPU architectures, nearly all of which support every driver provided in-kernel. So there is only one Linux, but many builds of it depending on the use-case you're targeting.

Now to say each Linux distro is different is quite accurate. You can usually replace the Linux Kernel in most distro installations with your own custom variant that you made yourself - and I say most due to Tivoization where there's hardware+software locks to only allow the vendor to update it. Android really is just another Linux distribution; just like OpenWRT, Debian, or Slackware - it's userland is just dramatically different from other Linux distros, but the underlying Operating System kernel is still the same one as the others; it's just as close to a vanilla kernel as you get with Debian, Ubuntu, and Red Hat - that is, they all apply some patches for what they think makes it better.

So yes, "Linux wins", but there will never likely be any given Linux distro that will win. And honestly, Linus and the Linux Kernel community could care less about which Linux distro is on top or "winning".

Comment Re:Who? (Score 2) 681

This is why Linux will NEVER WIN

Hmmm...I think the world begs to differ since Linux is on the vast majority of hardware out there - everything from watches to super computers (far more breadth than *any* other operating system or operating system kernel out there). And then there's also:

"If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won." - Linus Torvalds

Which since Microsoft is now making a version fo Visual Studios for Linux, is using its own custom Linux Distro in its data center....

well, I'll just leave it to you, but it seems that Linux has indeed won.

Comment Re:Only if you use App Cards with APPS! (Score 2) 317

The US went chip & signature instead of chip & PIN, so the entire change is basically meaningless.

The US chips will be cracked in a matter of a months, maybe a more, and we gain almost nothing.

The chip & PIN system uses PKI and only communicates with the payment transaction system when the authorized user provides the PIN. Sure, you could have a rogue retailer push transactions in excess of what the buyer thought he was paying, but that will be caught and prosecuted swiftly.

The US system has no real authentication of the card user since (a) no one checks the signature to begin with, (b) most users leave an unintelligible scrawl, and (c) no retailer has a full-time handwriting expert on staff.

We finally had a good push to revamp the payment card infrastructure, and they totally blew it.

Not only that, if I put my card in the chip reader rather than just swiping it, seems to take 10 seconds longer. Or twenty seconds, or thirty.... I think in many cases convenience will trump security.

Problem is that the readers which support the chip will also detect that the card has a chip and force it to use the chip. Ran into that already; the mag stripe won't work with them - it's chip only. Or at least, retailers can configure it that way, which I'm pretty sure they'd be required to do under the mentioned requirements by MC/Visa/AMEX

Comment Re:America! F-Yeah! (Score 1) 435

Like who? MIT Is the only school i see that still has a class A

My alma matter in western Michigan had/has a Class A or B (I forget which). Somewhere around 2003-2005 they were told use 'em or lose 'em. So they did - all students (~4500) and staff then got a direct public IP address for their systems connected to the campus network instead of the previous 10.x addresses that were used. It still didn't use the entire range, but the were using it.

Comment Re:Another open source bug (Score 2) 410

Such as? Please show a link to a bug that was reported 30 years ago and not fixed.

There have been a number of good examples in Windows; for instance there has been a WMF bug for years, fixed in pretty much every version of Windows only to come back again. There's also equivalents of Bash ShellShock, and others. And really, if you want a link just search the /. archives as they've been mentioned in the last year or two as well.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 196

Yes, most times it doesn't make sense any more to make PCBs in house. Two exceptions : very fast manufacturing is needed, or for hobby use. But even for hobby, it's better to wait 5-30 days and pay the few euros for the boards.

So I'm just starting to get into doing some boards, and I'll certainly be doing the initial stages myself until I get the circuits/etc right - then, and only then, would I consider sending it off to someone else to be made.

And yes, I've computer designed a few before; still getting the hang of it all so I don't trust the design will be quite right yet either. But as I said, I'm just getting into it. Someone that has more experience and trusts their computer designed boards probably wouldn't have that issue.

(Thus far, I've designed several cables on my own, and a couple boards with some help.)

All said, for'd probably be 50/50 overall. If you have time but not budget, it may still be better to just do your own boards. A fab house really only helps if you have a sufficient budget to pay someone else to make the boards for you. If you don't, and time is not a big consideration, then making them slowly on your own will certainly be the right thing to do.

Comment Re:How about if we OWN our personal information? (Score 1) 79

I knew that lesincompetent (2836253) was mistaken when he wrote that.

Taking the moral high ground is great, but only when it conforms to reality. Otherwise, it's just B.S. posturing.

True. And reality is that once the data is out there, then there is no real way to pull it out. People will have it in off-line archives, etc; and once it leaves national boundaries then all bets are really off.

For instance, a country/company could just put something to try to get all the information and then watch for the notices. When a notice comes, they archive it instead of deleting it and if the person is of enough influence to someone (them or a client) they could sell the data out for blackmail. So now, the French and anyone else pushing the "right to be forgotten" have just created a real nice and easy way to blackmail their citizens.

And if it hasn't been done yet, it probably will be done so long as a "right to be forgotten" is being pushed.

Comment Re:MacBook Pro (Score 1) 237

Yeah, this. Only thing I don't like is you have to take an extra step and install a driver for the crappy broadcom wifi it has, but otherwise macbook pros, especially the retina versions, really rock and run linux like a champ.

My MacBook Pro Retina does okay. They keyboard drives me nuts so I've always got another keyboard attached; and the wifi on it has some issues - like killing the VPN connection after several hours of use and not allowing me to maintain a connection thereafter unless I enable/disable the wifi (just figured that one out). But overall, it's okay. I'd still prefer something non-Apple though.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss