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Comment re: perception and reality (Score 1) 66

People are generally upset with our banks because while they accept them as basically essential, they don't approve of much of what they do.

The banks can and do screw me, from time to time, yet yes - I leave my money with them. I might not have an "obligation" to do so, but it becomes very difficult to go around them. Most employers prefer to pay with direct deposit to a bank account, for example. If you opt out? They might cut you checks which you've got to go to check cashing places to cash, and incur fees for doing so right off the bat. Then you incur the risk of carrying that much cash around with you everywhere too.

Try to make a major purchase and the country flags you as a terrorist suspect the minute you make a large cash payment for it! Try to take cash on an airline flight and again, you're flagged and pulled out of the security line. If you ever do try to make monthly payments with a business on something, they typically run your credit and find that your credit score stinks too -- since there's no record of you having your name on a savings or checking account or any other real credit history.

I'm not suggesting all of us think bank robbers are "heroes". I know I don't. There's still a system in place that those people think they're "above everyone else", bypassing it, and costing everyone else in the long run. (Banks that lose money are covered by FDIC insurance, but eventually -- it's we the taxpaying public who gets to pay to keep that insurance program going.)

Comment Re:Well then... (Score 1) 124

You don't need usenet for these, by the way, it's all torrent driven.

Usenet tends to be faster, however. Torrent download speeds are highly variable: fairly quick for popular files that everyone else is downloading at the same time, not so much for other files. I've had to leave many a torrent running for days or even weeks for it to complete. SABnzbd, OTOH, will usually pull anything that hasn't expired at 5.5-6 MB/s (bytes, not bits) over my connection, which is pretty much as fast as the connection supports.

Comment IMO, valid complaints (Score 5, Insightful) 339

This is just getting blown up into a bigger deal than it should be because one crowd is eager to defend Tesla Motors against any negative press, while the other is eager to make Musk look like an arrogant jerk (a la the late Steve Jobs).

The way I see it though, Stewart Alsop didn't really bring up any complaints that weren't valid. He's right... Who starts a product launch event over an hour late and doesn't even acknowledge they ran behind? And really, it's poor planning at best to promise participants a test drive when you clearly have too many people signed up for one than you can accommodate. (He said he had number 1,344? Come on! You might not get through that many people in an entire day at an auto show -- much less an event at night that already started an hour late!)

If Tesla wants to cancel his pre-order, fine. Maybe that helps send a message that they won't be pushed around by people making a lot of demands, and that will help them eliminate some problem customers. But I think it also shows some of us that their leader isn't very good at taking criticism. That's unfortunate because the ability to do so helps make a better product and improve customer service.

Comment Re:It was the first standard for video? (Score 1) 406

And if you don't have at least a dual-monitor setup, you're doing it wrong.

I have a dual-monitor setup at work (one at 1680x1050 and the other at 1440x900 or so, both somewhere near 20") and a single-monitor setup at home (28" 4K). I think the single 4K monitor is more useful than two lower-res monitors, and it takes up less space (as in it still fits on the smaller desk at home).

Comment Re:It was the first standard for video? (Score 1) 406

You're not kidding. Consider this tripe from TFA:

"One of the first computers with built-in video output, the Apple II, simply threw a lot of CPU time at a character generator, a shift register, and a few other bits of supporting circuitry to write memory to a video output."

The Apple II wasted no CPU time on graphics. Memory access was interleaved between the CPU and the video hardware; the video hardware (a bunch of 74LSxx logic, eventually reduced to two chips in the IIe and then one chip in the IIGS) was entirely responsible for drawing the screen contents based on the contents of the frame buffers and some softswitches.

With that error right off the bat, I didn't bother continuing with the article. The author is the Howard Zinn of computer history, if this is an accurate indication of his output.

That this is coming from Hackaday is troubling. Aren't they usually better than this?

Comment They know something's wrong, but .... (Score 1) 831

I think there are sensible solutions that preserve the basic concepts of a Democratic Republic. The *problem* is, most people running for office right now are too extreme to the "left" or "right", while others dropped out early because they just weren't cut out to do public speaking and debate.

I'm not at all convinced the "Nordic model" is the answer for the United States.

While he's not ideal, Rand Paul has been consistently talking common sense and at least by the judgement of many bloggers -- winning the debates. Problem is, he doesn't raise his voice or say anything "crazy" that creates a media frenzy of attention around him. Essentially, he doesn't make entertaining enough "political reality TV" for the networks like Trump does, so they just try to tune him out. IMO, he'd do far more for people, if elected, than Trump ever will.

And who are all these people who supposedly scoffed at millennials for complaining of 60 hour work weeks and no benefits? If anything, I'd say that much of this claimed "difference of opinion about jobs" between generations is manufactured B.S. Whenever you get the Gen X, the Gen Y and the millennial crowd together in an argument online about jobs/careers, you find a pretty even distribution of people who think alike across the entire age spectrum. The only thing I've ever been able to identify as different with millennials is that because they're young and typically single, their priorities naturally revolve around the things that matter to young, single people. No rocket science there .... (So, for example, they aren't faced with the time pressures of older people raising families. That means they might claim to prefer to "blend work and free time" together as a ball of multitasking. Doesn't mean Americans are doomed because "we've all been suckered into taking our work home with us and can't separate the two anymore", or any of that nonsense.)

What's wrong is pretty simple. We don't have enough businesses in America able to hire people at "middle class" wages, vs. the number of people who WANT that type of employment. If you look at the list of the top 10 employers in America today, you see that by a HUGE margin, #1 is WalMart. Nobody I know expects to make a good "middle class career" out of a WalMart job. And who is #2 after WalMart? Oh, it's Yum Foods, Inc. -- owners of chains like Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Same problem. We need to encourage small business growth, especially for people in rural America where the only employment nearby is the local gas station or WalMart, or maybe a local hardware store. (And it's absolutely possible. Remember Gateway computers? They started in rural Iowa, hence the Holstein cow patterned shipping boxes for all of their PCs.)

Comment Re:They tried it before with Cablecards (Score 2) 167

This year for the holidays I bought myself an HDHomeRun Prime by SiliconDust. Comcast gave me an M-card with no questions, and the tech support number in the documents (a call center that does only Cablecard activations) handled the activation fine. It would have been somewhat easier if there were a decent online description of exactly what numbers the call center needed. Three independent tuners, DLNA compliant, and delivers the HD streams over our household LAN (some wired, some wireless). Works fine to my Mac and my Android phone. There are issues with my old Android tablet, but those involve the limited hardware there, not the delivery.

Comment They need different standards for cellular, IMO. (Score 1) 217

Net Neutrality is a complicated, sticky bunch of legislation that has some benefits, but also a lot of rough edges, IMO.

This "Binge On" fiasco with T-Mobile is a great example. Here you have a service which is beneficial to the consumer, really. (I have T-Mobile and it's a win for me. I'm not a huge user of video on mobile devices in the first place, but I may as well get the bonus of un-metered viewing of content from any providers on-board with their program, just like they did with unlimited music streaming with "partners".) I do understand how by "the letter of the law", they violate Net Neutrality as it stands currently.

BUT, why are we so worried about this for cellular data at this time? We all know cellular is a very different animal than something like FiOS or cable broadband or even AT&T U-Verse service. Cellular bandwidth is very limited, based on only having so many towers in a given area and only so much capacity each tower can handle. You generally pay for cellular data in a metered fashion, and it's generally understood you use data on it a a supplement to a land-based Internet broadband service. (Heck, that's what the cellular services are really doing in the first place .... picking up Internet connections from land based services and adding value for you by putting it out over the airwaves for your subscribed device to use wirelessly.)

When I'm on an unmetered cable or fiber based circuit, I expect to be able to pull data from any place I can connect to that serves it out, without interference from my ISP (or one upstream) artificially limiting some of it. On cellular? I expect a slow, somewhat unreliable connection that may drop out as I travel around (nature of the beast), and know that I'm probably getting billed by pre-paying for some small allotment of megabytes of data per month. At that point, it doesn't negatively impact me if some carrier is "playing favorites" by forming partnerships to let me stream some of the partner content without it counting against that cap. It just improves my total experience of how much I can do for a given monthly cost.

If there's *anything* T-Mobile might do to be more in line with the law? Perhaps they should make Binge On an "opt in" vs. "opt out" option? When you're not using it, everything works as per usual for all cellular carriers.....

Comment It's not even about sympathy .... (Score 1) 269

The lesson here is that when American businesses decide to increase their presence in other parts of the world (typically to try to save money because of such advantages as cheaper labor or lower taxes), the downside is a growing reliance on the state of the global economy, vs. the U.S. economy.

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