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Comment: Re:Am I responding to a troll? (Score 1) 276

by aclarke (#47715505) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars
Are you really that dense? This is why I long ago foe'd you. I may live in the country, but did it not occur to you that I might actually sometimes leave my front lawn?

Your other comment about Santa Fe is equally specious. Can you really not figure out what people are saying, or do you take a perverse and misguided joy in pretending to misunderstand everything you read?

I know plenty of athiests around here and they fit in as well as anyone else. I'm not going to defend whatever communities you've experienced, but maybe you've just been "run out of several small communities" for being intolerant, obtuse, and pretentious.

Comment: Am I responding to a troll? (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by aclarke (#47715041) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars
Wow, so much spewed opinion you seem to think is fact.

First, air in cities is generally worse than outside cities. You'll be able to find counter-examples, say outside a rural factory, but generally, no matter where you go in the world, city air is worse than rural air.

You're right that we are mostly a social species. However, this means different things to different people. Maybe you are more social than most. Personally, I have a family I enjoy seeing, and other than that I'm quite happy interacting with just a few other people every week. I neither want nor need more. The difference between the two of us seems to be that I'm willing to let you lead your lifestyle whereas you're unwilling to let me lead mine.

You're right that cities are easier on the environment on a per capita basis. Of course, there are also plenty of ways that people could be more distributed in a more environmentally advantageous fashion. If you have any interest in the subject and a certain level of intelligence it wouldn't be hard for you to come up with some ideas. Travelling around in other first world countries in Europe would also give you plenty of other viewpoints.

Additionally, while it's true that cities do in some ways subsidize rural areas, where do you think your food comes from? Other cities? Around here, stickers reminding us that "farmers feed cities" are quite common. Thank you for reminding me that there are people out there like you who need reminding. Finally, it's very rare for roads/phoneline/internet/etc to lead "nowhere". They lead somewhere, just apparently to areas you don't think are necessary.

Since you're the one painting "small town America" with one wide brush that includes racists, idiots, homophobes and chain store hellscapes, I'll throw that one back to you and state you're the one with the perception problems. The world outside your city is much bigger, and more important, than you seem to make it out to be. There are plenty racists, idiots, homophobes and chain stores in urban environments, and plenty of intelligent, tolerant, and educated people working in small business in small towns and rural communities all across your country.

For the record, I've spent close to a decade living in the US. I've lived in some of the world's largest cities, and worked in and travelled to many more. I feel very fortunate and privileged to now live on a farm in the country. Overall, my quality of life here is better than anywhere else I've lived.

Comment: Re:yeah yeah (Score 1) 368

by aclarke (#47655351) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
Too many of us have had too many of these types of conversations. There's a Biblical parable that starts with "like a dog returns to its vomit".

Here my conversations of this sort generally revolve around Bell Canada. They hate their customers, lie to them, sell them insecure hardware, overcharge them, rope them into contracts, yet people I know won't switch to DSL providers with local tech support, cheaper prices, and no contracts. I can't really understand it either.

Comment: Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (Score 3, Informative) 368

by aclarke (#47655153) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
I wouldn't even say you need to go that far. "This call may be recorded..." sounds like permission to me. Thanks! I think I WILL record it.

To answer the original poster, I recently switched our home phone to VOIP using I use the iOS app Groundwire to make and receive calls using my mobile phone as one of my methods for using my old land line number. Groundwire has easy one-button recording, with optional beeping to remind the other party that the call is being recorded.

Comment: Similar experience with Rogers yesterday (Score 1) 234

by aclarke (#47568529) Attached to: Comcast Confessions
I needed to find out when a wireless contract ends. Of course they don't seem to show this anywhere on the customer service web portal or on the bill. So, I tried their live chat system. The chat basically went something like this:

Me: I'd like to know when this contract ends.
Rogers: Why would you like to know that?
Me: I'm not interested in going through a dog and pony retentions script rigamarole to qualify why I want to know the answer to the question. When you answer my question, I'll answer yours.
Rogers: I'm sorry, I can't tell you without you giving me a reason why you want to know.
Me (annoyed, so I typed the first thing that entered my head): I'm moving to Albania.
Rogers: I can't give you your contract expiration date. You need to call xxx or go into a store.

Why do these companies hate their customers so much? I had to qualify why I wanted to know in order to even get an answer that she wasn't allowed to answer me? WTF?

Comment: Pinched nerves (Score 1) 511

by aclarke (#47551501) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture
I'm pretty good at ignoring pain, but when I had a pinched nerve in my neck, I was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, practically screaming. It was terrible. Three days later I was in surgery. I'm not sure that level of pain deserves breaking out the Spinal Tap Scale, but it's the worst pain I've experienced in my life.

Comment: That's just understood (Score 1) 509

by aclarke (#47508303) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?
If I got a 3% (or really > 1%) discount using cash, I'd probably use it. As it is, I usually don't get that discount so I use my credit card, where I DO get the discount.

In cases where I'm buying from a person I know well, or a business i paritcularly want to support, I'll often pay cash to help them out a little extra. If I'm buying from BigCorp, I'd rather give myself 1% than give them 2%.

I would imagine that most of us understand this concept, that the money used to pay for rewards are coming from the fees that the credit card companies charge vendors.

Comment: Small enough, track workouts without phone present (Score 1) 427

by aclarke (#47324987) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?
I'm considering replacing my iPhone 4 with something bigger, as my eyes are getting worse. If I get a larger phone, I'm not going to want to take it with me as much when I'm running or skiing. Give me something that can still track my workouts without my phone being present, and isn't stupid large and I might consider it. It also needs to be reasonably inexpensive, durable, waterproof, and have battery life long enough that it won't always be out of batteries when I go to wear it.

Comment: Re:invisible hood is "beyond criticism" (Score 2) 172

by aclarke (#46707157) Attached to: Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"
Do you actually drive off-road? This addresses a real issue, which is how to safely straddle obstacles in the road to protect your undercarraige. You may only see Land Rovers driven by "soccer moms", but they are one of the few companies producing vehicles that can genuinely be driven off-road.

I'm a curmudgeon driving an '80s Land Rover completely devoid of computers, but I have a large and increasing amount of respect for the capabilities of new Land Rovers.

Comment: Rocks (Score 1) 172

by aclarke (#46707077) Attached to: Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"
The other advantage is where you place an obstacle under your vehicle. If there's a large sharp rock, you want to drive over it such that it doesn't rip open your differential, for example. Now, all modern Land Rovers have independent suspension, but you still want to be straddling obstacles in the safest way possible.

Comment: Parts are too small (Score 1) 251

by aclarke (#46572931) Attached to: 3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?
Anything I can think of wanting to spend the time designing and printing is too big to fit in hobbyist printers. I thought about printing a replacement dash for my '80s Land Rover. Clearly even breaking that into pieces it was going to be too big for most printers. Then I looked at the cost of having it made, and decided I'd rather just go to a metal shop and have them bend something up for me out of stainless steel or aluminium.

Then I just puit my crappy old dash back in.

Comment: Work for free (Score 2, Insightful) 133

by aclarke (#46559091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?
Way back a long time ago I graduated from university with an engineering degree unrelated to programming. By that point, however, I had decided that I wanted to be a software developer. This was the mid '90s, and I took a job with an un-funded startup for equity and no pay. From there I worked at a friend's company doing Perl, again for no pay but I crashed with my friend and he paid for my food. So in that sense it's not that different from your situation.

Things are different now, as there are plenty of sites where employers offer contracts for unreasonably low wages. You could start bidding on those, and take some smaller projects and complete them. There's also the option to put your time into some sort of labour of your own love. Write some sotware that demos well, and bootstrap yourself up from there. A lot of companies would be happy to hire an enthusiastic junior Java developer with demonstrated experience that they had the drive to accomplish themselves.

Just do everything you can to pick up as much experience as you can. Keep a positive attitude, and work on all the "soft skills" like listening to your boss and coworkers, doing what you say you're going to do, communicating effectively, etc. With a year or so of this, you should find yourself very employable, assuming there are jobs where you're looking.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.