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Comment You have to love the CC companies (Score 1) 139

You're exactly right, but the CC companies have little interest in ending fraud. Instead, they just pass along the costs. Think about it: it's actually kind of shocking that the credit cards collect a percentage of gross, i.e., the full purchase price on every transaction. In terms of processing, it doesn't matter if a transaction is for $5 or $500. This more than covers the costs of fraud, and the charge is ultimately passed on to the consumer.

Meanwhile, they impose very strict security requirements on the merchants, make the merchants pay not only the standard fees, but also transaction fees, the cost of the terminals (from certified providers, who pay fees), fees for required quarterly network security scans, etc, etc... Always another fee - and it all winds up in the price tag of the products.

In truth, Mastercard and Visa essentially hold a monopoly. They don't compete with each other, because all of the big banks are involved with both. If Google gets investigated over and over for anticompetitive practices, why do we never see an investigation by MC/Visa? It's long overdue...

Comment Quality of Ford? (Score 1) 494

"the quality of Ford vehicles to have jumped leaps and bounds"

Well, yes. Given the starting point, there is plenty of room for leaps, and space for lots of bounds. I imagine it's the same for most American cars built in union territory. Given the crazy labor costs, driven by the big unions, you have to cut corners somewhere.

Comment As always: stupid laws deserve to be ignored (Score 2, Interesting) 162

Really, claiming territory that you cannot even get to? Any treaties or laws regarding anything beyond geosynchronous orbit are laughable, because they are unenforceable.

Heck, even here on earth, I wish people would follow a simple principle: deliberately flout stupid laws and regulations. It's the only way to get them off the books. Of course, you have to be willing to fight an enforcement attempt, and most of us would rather not. However, the alternative is for regulations to accumulate. Every time a bureaucrat has a brain fart, they add another one, and the damned things never go away.

Comment Yet another company that does not need to exist (Score 4, Informative) 107

Just how did a simplistic business like GroupOn ever come to have thousands of employees?

Our dealings with them were unpleasant, but at least short. GroupOn wanted us to offer insane discounts, i.e., for us to sell as a huge loss. We asked ourselves: what kind of customer is that going to attract? The answer is clear: extreme bargain seekers, who will never come back and pay our normal prices. No thanks, go away.

They are just another crappy coupon business, only "on a computer". Whoopie.

Comment Freedom of association (Score 1) 449

There are situations where segregation makes sense, or should at least be tolerated. For example, there is a long tradition of girls-only schools and boys-only schools. A girls-only camp? Why not. You are removing a host of complex inter-gender issues from the picture, possibly allowing the students to concentrate more on what the camp is supposed to really be about.

However, if you accept this, there are two important principles that must be followed:

- This is something each person should be able to decide for themselves. Do I want to send my daughter to a computer camp for girls, or to a mixed computer camp? Do I want a golf club with men and women, or do I want a golf club only for my gender? The freedom to make this decision is what "freedom of association" is all about.

- If you allow this for one group, you must allow it for all groups. It's no good organizing a girls' camp, but forbidding a boys' camp. It's no good allowing women-only gyms, but forbidding men-only gyms. Either you believe in freedom of association, or you don't.

Of course, if you allow freedom of association based on gender, it follows pretty quickly that you can allow it based on other criteria: sexual identity, hair color, race, religion, whatever. And that will send the SJWs into orbit.

Comment Decent performance? (Score 1) 281

First, I'd like to see decent performance.

I only keep Windows around for gaming, plus a couple of Adobe applications. The last game I bought over Steam, I was happy to finally be able to put on Linux. Geez.

Crappy graphics - couldn't see a damned thing. Mouse lag of nearly a second (move the mouse, watch the mouse cursor slowly move to the new spot) - utterly unplayable. I rebooted, installed the same game on windows, it was (unfortunately) like night and day. Naive theory: No DirectX and/or crappy drivers.

Anyway, if that experience is in any way representative, gaming on Linux has a long ways to go.

Comment Not marines, just passengers (Score 4, Informative) 468

I woke up this morning to all the news stories about the terrorist in the train who was taken down by three passengers. It’s a great story, but I wish the news services would stop referring to “American marines”. First, as far as I can tell, the three central figures were: one guy in the Air Force, one guy in the Oregon national guard, and a Brit who wasn’t a soldier at all. Plus other passengers who were involved, also not soldiers.

Second – more importantly – we need to encourage any bystanders to take down attackers. If you have a train full of hundreds of people, the only right answer is to swarm the lone gunman. If you’re close to him, you’re gonna get shot anyway, so you’d just as well make it count for something. Easy to say from my armchair, of course, but I’d like to think I would react that way in reality as well.

Of course, the SJW press is busily trying to not call him a terrorist, despite the plain evidence that he was, and was even known for his previous involvement with jihadists.

Comment Re:Oh, Christ, here we go... (Score 1) 223

Thank you Lauren. As a guy, it's often a bit dicey to come out and call BS on this (even though I am married to a woman with all sorts of technical credentials).

My take is: the more people point the spotlight as women in tech, the more they scare potential women away. In my experience, people don't want the limelight, at least, not that way. They want to be respected for their skills, not their gender, or skin color, or religion, or whatever.

Comment Not a one-way system (Score 1) 585

Why does the author think it's a one way system? First, let's get this out of the way:

"the golden era when Americans could get a job, keep it, and expect to retire with an adequate pension are over"

That age ended in the 1960s, or maybe even in the 1950s.

"workers are beholden to employers"

Actually, it goes both ways. In the US, afaik two weeks notice is pretty typical, if you get fired. That surely does lead to insecurity. But it goes both ways: you can also leave your job on two weeks notice. With a bit of accumulated vacation, you could effectively be leaving from one day to the next. If you're an important employee, holding critical responsibilities, that leaves your employer in a really shitty position.

Any company in the US could adopt a different model. Just as an example, in much of Europe, you have to be given three months' notice that your employment will be ending. Would that be better? Do note that this goes both ways: if you are unhappy with your job, you cannot just leave. You must also give three months notice, continuing to do you job, and giving your employer a chance to bring in your replacement and arrange for a smooth transition.

Both models have their advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I prefer the European model - it gives more stability. But it does reduce flexibility and mobility, both for companies and employees.

Comment Took a while...is the data real? (Score 3, Insightful) 528

I wonder that the video and data didn't go up immediately. A couple of days is enough to edit the telemetry and video. Maybe they're honest, maybe they're not. However, it seems really unlikely that someone would be massively offended by a drone 70 meters up.

If they were going to file charges against anyone, it was really stupid for the police not to impound the drone as evidence.

Comment Wi-Fi Sense (Score 1) 187

Of all of these data-sharing policies, Wi-Fi Sense is the craziest. How many places out there share their Wi-Fi passwords with selected people? Microsoft makes no effort to get the Wi-Fi owner's permission to share a password.

If one visitor has W10 and 100 contacts, and each of those 100 contacts has another 100 contacts, and each of those... It's not clear just how the password will propagate, but it could well be that sharing with a single W10 use essentially makes the password public. This is not why we set passwords on our Wi-Fi networks.

Comment Is this a generational thing? (Score 2) 307

I wonder who wants street lights, and why. Just as an anecdote: our 70-something neighbor is really proud of the fact that she and her one-time neighbors got the town to install streetlights on our street 30 or 40 years ago. Meanwhile, we - my family and I - find them obnoxiously bright. We'd love to not have street lights. Our street leads nowhere, so there is no pedestrian traffic beyond our few houses. Criminals are unlikely this far out of town, and anyway, most houses have dogs and/or security lights.

All I can figure is: my neighbor's generation grew up in small towns, wanted the feel of civilization, and streetlights are a part of that. Whereas we have lived in the big cities, and want to get away from civilization.

Anyhow, ours are also the kind of streetlight that light up the whole flipping world, instead of just the street. That never many any sense; stupid design by clueless people, bought by an equally clueless town. Our house is 50 meters from the street, and you can almost-but-not-quite read by the damned things.

Comment Airspace rights (Score 1) 1197

It obviously depends on local laws, however: generally speaking you have full rights and control over the airspace immediately above your property. This may be 10 feet, 20 feet, whatever you might reasonably use and/or access from the ground or your buildings. If this drone was ducking under people's patios, then it is a clear trespass into airspace that he and his neighbors have full rights to. Add to trespassing whatever charges apply to "peeping toms".

From it's actions, and from the prompt arrival of the owners, it is also entirely clear that the drone had a camera. The police failure to confiscate the drone for evidence is stupid, as that would be important proof in whatever charges are brought: either the shooting or the trespassing.

I'd have shot it too.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford