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Comment: Canadians: please read (Score 2) 455

by freeweed (#46602639) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Little travel tip that I, as a Canadian, learned years ago entirely by chance.

If you encounter this security system in the US (still mostly as gas pumps) - 99.5% of pumps will allow Canadians to use a "zip code". Take the first 3 numeric digits in your Postal Code, and add "00" to the end, making a 5 digit "zip code". Works like a charm almost every time. I've only had it fail once. And they do actually use this as a security code, I've tried 55555 and 90210 and nothing else will work. But this one does.

I'm stunned that this little tidbit isn't all over the Canadian news, considering how many of us travel to the US (especially in our cars!).

Comment: Re:It tried to follow the plot (Score 1) 726

I know many people who still act as if they don't have Internet.

Shows like Spartacus and Game of Thrones are their only boob intake. And they will proudly tell you they will watch them almost solely for the boobs. And spend hours discussing how great the boobs are, if you give them a chance.

Looking this sort of thing up on the Internet apparently will offend the wife, or their inner sensibilities, or something. But seeing it on HBO is just a-OK.

We still live in an eerily puritanical society.

Comment: Re:Stop Dismissing this with False Equivalencies (Score 1) 537

Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not really making Pakistan look any better. You're picking semantic nits that quite frankly make Pakistan look just as bad - to anyone who has any respect for a woman as an equal.

I'll faux-Godwin the thread and point out that you might as well have said "pf, we're not as bad as Nazi Germany, our gas chambers killed our Jews in a far more humane manner". We didn't make them suffer that badly, stop lumping us in with those nasty Germans!

Comment: Re:Was the Pentium really that much faster than? (Score 1) 197

by freeweed (#43250717) Attached to: Intel's Pentium Chip Turns 20 Today

Your 486DX4-100 was most certainly faster than a Pentium 66, and on par with a 75 if not a bit better. At least for the vast majority of software out at the time. My DX4 lasted me well into 1997, but by that point the affordable Pentiums were into the 200Mhz+ range and MMX was all the rage, so it became a more obvious upgrade.

The only people who ever ran 66s and 75s when they were current were those with money to burn.

Man, I miss how simple things were back then. When clockspeed actually meant something, and there was a pretty linear relationship between it and performance. I haven't cared about CPU performance in nearly a decade. I just get whatever $100 gets me, and I'm ALWAYS I/O- or (less these days) RAM-bound.

Comment: Re:Age Gap (Score 4, Insightful) 217

by freeweed (#42729837) Attached to: How Many Text Messages Do You Send a Day?

Or, smart enough to realize that almost anything that can be said in 160 characters or less, really isn't worth saying at all.

"Hey, do you wanna to go camping this weekend?"

"Shit, I'm gonna be a few minutes late for our meeting"

Or even something as simple as "Happy Birthday!".

Yeah, I can't possibly think of any use for a communication medium that is terse.

I swear, I'm as much of an old grumpy fuck as the next Slashdotter - but even I recognize something that's ubiquitous, simple, and damned handy. Email is more involved, calling has its own issues (not everyone is free to engage in a call every second of the day), IM is nowhere near standardized...

Gimme SMS text for making plans with people or blasting off quick info, thanks. It's one of the best technologies invented in terms of "it just works". Well, presuming most people have cellphones (insert a bunch of comments below about how you don't own a TV either, and we may have another Onion article on our hands).

Contrary to what some kids seem to think these days, SMS texting is not Twitter. I'm not sending "I'm taking a dump!" to my friends through SMS (although perhaps I should...).

Comment: Re:The original were mediocre children's movies (Score 3, Insightful) 816

by freeweed (#41827185) Attached to: Disney to Acquire Lucasfilm, <em>Star Wars</em> Episode 7 Due In 2015

Hate to break it to you, but they made children's movies long before Star Wars. And very few were remembered 35 years later. You may not personally like them, but they were a hell of a lot more than just "mediocre children's movies", for several generations.

Hell, my 30-something parents (at the time) absolutely loved them and saw them several times in the original theatrical run. While that may be no big deal today, with adults regularly going to "children's" movies - 30 years ago it was COMPLETELY UNHEARD OF.

The originals completely defined the movie-going experience in ways we still don't fully understand. Damn near every movie made since then owes something to Star Wars - whether it's in merchandising, blockbusting, hype, promotion, special effects, genre-openness, sequel anticipation, or just plain cool factor.

Comment: I'm a bit weird, based on these comments (Score 1) 867

by freeweed (#41468903) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

Well like most people, I messed around with a ton of distros at first. Slack, Gentoo (ugh), Debian, Suse, Mandrake, probably more that I don't remember.

Once I went "full on Linux" on my desktop in 2003: Red hat -> Knoppix -> Ubuntu -> Kubuntu (within a few days). And I've been there ever since. I've always kept a laptop running Windows handy (XP, Vista (yes, Vista) and now 7) for those one-offs that just have problems in Linux. Which are extremely few and far between these past few years.

I'm weird in that I know virtually no one who used Knoppix (3.0/4.0 days) as a primary desktop distro for any length of time. Personally, I found that at the time it had one of the best h/w detection routines, it installed fairly cleanly, and it was just overall a nice distro to work with. I used it exclusively for several years. I really only moved off once *ubuntu took off as a valid alternative.

Comment: Re:Competition ahoy! (Score 1) 605

by freeweed (#38988737) Attached to: TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices

Perfectly predictable insurance means that you end up paying exactly the cost of the damage you cause. Or in other words, exactly what would happen in a world without insurance (which incidentally is precisely what happens in situations where a "really bad driver" cannot afford any insurance at all - they go without).

Insurance, by definition and design, is about SPREADING risk. Not charging people exactly based on their risk. Most people seem to have a hard time grasping that. I'm not sure these devices are such a great idea - if we're just going to charge people commensurate with the damages they may cause, what's the point of insurance in the first place? Just send them the bill for repairs/medical bills and that's their new premium.

Comment: Re:Spread the word (Score 1) 1002

by freeweed (#38742450) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can You Do About SOPA and PIPA?

Wikipedia's FAQ talks about disabling Javascript, etc. I just found it easier today to hit the "stop" button on my browser once the page is (mostly) loaded, but before the banner script kicks in. A few images may not fully load depending on my timing, but it's a trivial workaround.

What scares me is that I think I may have just broadcast a method of circumventing a protection system, if some bonehead media company decided to use something like this as a paywall. Combine the DMCA with SOPA/PIPA (I'm mostly thinking of the Canadian equivalents here) and I might be breaking the law by clicking "stop", and telling others to do it.

Sheer madness.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.