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Comment Re:With the ever-looming cyberpunk future (Score 1) 259

Sorry, but the cyberpunk future is all around us right now. This doesn't make alternative currencies a good idea. Money is given value by the community that uses it. If you are a part of a community, then it makes sense to use the money that is used by that community If you aren't, then invest in something tangible. The problem is if it isn't something you use, then it's not a good investment, and if it isn't durable then it isn't a good investment. That's why real estate is so popular as an investment. But real estate comes with a high tax burden, so it's got to pay for itself at higher than the rate of taxation. Money tends to get devalued by financial manipulations both of government and of financiers. Banks pay interest at less than the rate of inflation. The stock market is chancy. Etc.

If you're young, invest in yourself. Get yourself a stronger skill set. etc. But avoid accumulating debts. Sorry to give conflicting advice, but there it is. If you learn German well enough you can get a free college Germany. Possibly some other countries offer the same deal. Unfortunately, it's hard to predict what skills will continue to be valuable. Blacksmiths are doing fairly well right now, because few are being trained, and there are those who value their work...but it's easier to get trained as a welder, and specialized varieties of welding are also well compensated. You will notice that I'm mentioning professions that are already in decline, but where the number of practitioners is smaller than the demand for their skills. Rising professions tend to be targeted for automation, flooding the market by low-wage competition, etc. Plumber is probably a good choice if you can manage it, but it can be hard to get training licenses can be problematical. Etc.

Don't take authorial fantasies as a reasonable prediction of the future. They were never intended that way, only as sketches of possibilities seen from a distant vantage point, and the authors intentionally left out anything that would be boring or detract from the story they were telling. The current world *is* the early cyberpunk era. If you look at the correct pieces of it you can see that. But it's the early part...give it another 5-10 years to get well established...and it will still have most of the people living as they do now...barring, of course, civilization collapsing.

P.S.: You want to know why Trump is so popular? People look into the future and they get scared, and when they get scared they retreat to versions of the simple beliefs of their childhood. They are right to be scared, but that's the wrong answer. (None of the major candidates is offering a reasonable answer, but Bernie Sanders comes closest. Nothing that involves an economy centered around jobs is going to be a reasonable answer....only a recipe for a collapse of civilization. Notice how much effort is being put into developing various forms of robot soldiers.)

Comment Re: Surprised? (Score 1) 538

If I remember running MSWind with a virus checker, "runs like a champ" in comparison is only a relative complement.

As for systemd...most users don't seem to have trouble with it these days. In fact on checking I seem to have it installed. I don't like the idea of it, and I don't like the way it was pushed into the system, but most of the problems reported with it appear to have been developmental problems. And how certain are you that Mint doesn't have systemd? The pages I see indicate that Mint also uses systemd, unless you take steps to avoid it...probably exactly the same as Debian. And I'm not going to recommend a new user look at Slackware or Gentoo....or BlackBox.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 538

YES. I've got a MSWind95 machine that's going to stay running until it dies because I've got some data in applications that cannot be transferred. I've got an Apple Sys 10.4 that's warehoused and will never be upgraded (not that it can be any more) because it has proprietary file format data only accessible with programs that don't run on any modern system. And that's not talking about data that I've lost in the past because it just wouldn't transfer.

As soon as open source file formats and the applications that use them got good enough I switched. Since I switched mainly to Linux around 1998 I stopped losing data to proprietary file formats. This was worth putting up with Linux at that time not having an acceptable word processor. That's how bad the data loss problem was.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 538

While I'm glad you like Mint, you might give Ubuntu a try. (I suggest the KDE version.) I found mind to be relatively slow on my machine. (Warning: KDE was slow until I disabled Nepomuk. Perhaps there's a similar problem with Mint that I just didn't stumble across the answer to.)

OTOH, If you like older MSWind desktops, check out the xfce desktop. Perhaps you can use that in Mint, you can certainly use that in Ubuntu.

That said, I prefer Debian. But it's not what I recommend to newcomers. My wife uses Ubuntu + KDE (perhaps it was actually Kubuntu, but it's about the same thing) and had minimal problems with it.

THAT said, try looking at something from a LiveCD before you install it. You can't get a feel for the speed or action from one, but you can really see what it looks like.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 1) 538

Depends on what you mean. I believe that any program complicated enough to count as an OS is guaranteed to have bugs, and if it is also connected to the Internet it's probably guaranteed to be exploitable.

OTOH, for different values of trust one could say that any OS not connected to the Internet is trustable...but then someone could sneak in and write the saved data to a removable storage you need to ensure that it can't write to removable storage media...but then they could sneak in and copy the disk drive, so you need to ensure that it doesn't save data to disk...

When I was in my teens I followed instructions in Scientific American and built a computer out of matchboxes, pieces of paper, ink, thread, and pieces of candy. It could learn how to play tic-tak-toe. (AND you got to eat the candy when the computer made a losing move while learning.) But even THAT isn't secure against physical surveilance, unless at the end of the training session you eat ALL the candy, so it forgets the moves it learned.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 2) 538

Well, if that's so then their cheapest solution should be to replace the current system with a virtual system running MSVista (or earlier) and a tight firewall around all internet connections to prevent virus infections. By firewall I don't just mean a set of IPTables, I means something that will sanitize outgoing, and probably incoming, messages. What the firewall would allow would need to depend on the required connections, of course, but it should certainly limit the IPs that binary messages could be sent to or be accepted from.

Comment Re:Surprised? (Score 4, Informative) 538

Well, Linux is not only weak on the desktop, it doesn't even have one. Now KDE, Gnome, Mate, xfce, etc., they have desktops. The problem is that there are too many for a new user to wrap their mind around. I find that KDE is the best general desktop, with xfce next. Gnome used to be right up there, and for awhile Gnome2 was ahead of KDE4, but Gnome3 I find totally useless. (Some people seem to like it.) xfce works well in low resource environments, though if you've got a really low resource environment, there are other options...but they aren't suitable for a new user.

The problem is desktop applications. This has largely been well addressed, but not totally. There are still niches that are not well served by Linux based programs. And sometimes the problem is that people just don't want to learn a new program...which can be the real problem even though it may manifest as complaints about missing features that aren't really used.

FWIW, after decades of redoing work, I decided that proprietary file formats were totally unacceptable. So for me Linux is the far superior system.

Comment Re:And who trusts Financial "Advisors"? (Score 1) 71

There's a number of reasons. The top one is that I'm unwilling to devote significant effort to following the stock market. A large secondary reason is the cost/trade overhead. And just about as important as the other two is that if you don't have enough money to risk losing it, you don't take long odds.

None of these apply is you're handling other people's money. I doubt that most financial advisors follow their own recommendations...even though they might believe them, because the risk of losing is more than they can afford.

OTOH, if you're talking about the personal decisions made by the wealthy and powerful, they are frequently operating off of information that you don't have, and they certainly have connections that you don't have. (It's also true that many of them have only a "don't get caught" respect for the law, and no concern for the consequences to others. But this is not true of all of them, while the preceding statements are.)

Comment Re:Debt collectors don't like robo calls either... (Score 1) 243

Well, my wife got dunned by several different collection agencies for the debts of some guy who had the discourtesy to die an a hospital without paying his bills.

She had never lived even in the same city as he had. Admittedly, the did have the same name, but nothing else even close.

I don't, however, believe that it's being dumb. I think it's a combination of malice and fraud. Unfortunately, proving that in court would be difficult.

Comment Re:Signed, not Ratified... (Score 1) 180

You are counting the United States as if it were one unified entity. I'm sure it would benefit some parties who normally live in the United States. It would damage a much larger number of citizens. Possibly there would be a net combined monetary gain, but there would not be a net marginal gain. A dollar is worth a lot more to someone barely getting by that it is to someone extremely wealthy.

The TPP is an ongoing disaster, and anybody who supports it should be considered a traitor to his/her country. And I'm particularly including Hillary Clinton, one of the authors.

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