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Comment: Probably True (Score 5, Informative) 163

by gordguide (#49754667) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely
In Canada there are basically two prison systems. One, for those sentenced to less than two years, is run by the province (thus a common sentence is "two years less a day"). The second, for those sentenced to two years or more, is run by the Federal Government. Recidivism rates for those sentenced to provincial jails is roughly 45% re-offend (statistics are lifelong, not three years as in the parent post's research). For the Federal system, it's less than 5%. Provincial inmates are released to the community they came from, while Federal inmates are paroled to a different community. They balance the releases by placing people based on the incarceration rate in a given community; in other words if 5 criminals are sent to Federal prison in a town, then 5 are released to that town, but are not from that town.

Comment: I call bullshit (Score 1) 99

by gordguide (#49741363) Attached to: Do Russian Uranium Deals Threaten World Supply Security?
There is plenty of Uranium to go around; the current operating mines in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada can supply all Western needs for any foreseeable future needs. Proven reserves in the area are massive ... new mines take a decade or more to be approved and operating, but if needed there is so much available known deposits in the Athabaska Sand Basin in SK that supply is clearly not the issue. The Russians also have their own needs well met. Uranium spot prices are lower than in the past due to current market oversupply vs demand, although it's important to note that supply is almost always based on long-term contracts of 25 years or more ... power utilities contract for the expected life of the reactor at a fixed price. Now, if you want to talk the Chinese cornering the market for Rare Earth Minerals, well, maybe there is a story ...

Comment: Nothing wrong with it (Score 1) 221

Been there, done that. Oh, did I mention it works? I worked and resided in a part of Canada that still retains a Microwave Transmission Network ... a tower every 60 miles stretching north ... as part of a strategic backup communications network. Most Microwave systems have been de-commissioned in Canada but a few were retained (Canadian teleco and media satellites were launched in the early 60's and that is the primary network to this day). But all our telephone and data networking is via a box about 12" square that has a direct line-of-sight to a tower, T1 speeds, plus telecom and DSL to a community about 20 miles from our worksite, plus a couple of other worksites with more than 200 employees each. Fast and reliable, we have on average 160 devices connecting at any given time. Cheap, too ... WAY cheaper than stringing poles.

Comment: Parallels works best (Score 1) 209

by gordguide (#49311407) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer
Although Bootcamp is an option, and the price is right, I recommend installing Parallels Desktop 10. Choose your Guest OS or (choose multiple versions of Windows, for example) and be done with it. On modern hardware the VM's are fast. Once you boot an OS (which takes about the same time as booting via Bootcamp) you can suspend and resume, which takes about 10 seconds. Dynamically sized virtual drives makes the task of dedicating a Bootcamp partition size seem primitive. I've yet to run an application that is not compatible including those that require a dongle. Fullscreen or Windowed mode (which is handy for those Patch Tuesdays ... keep working in MacOS). Build a base SystemOS and dedicate VM's to tasks where on Windows machines problems can be expected in a do-everything system. (eg, build an Audio-Only VM). And so on. And Linux is no problem either. I run XPSP3 on a 2013 MacBook Pro without issues; older OS's don't present problems. Parallels can be purchased cheaply by adding it to a hardware order from OWC. And so on.

Comment: Re:Somewhat cheap - Sounds fine. (Score 1) 249

by gordguide (#49030133) Attached to: How good is your audio equipment?

I spent the most that I felt needed to sound 'fine' to me. What's with the pairing of subjective terms? What I spent could be seen as a lot (to someone who's never bought audio equipment) or a super-budget (to an audiophile).

  • Onkyo TX-8255 receiver - $120
  • Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf speakers - $126
  • Audio Technica AT-LP60 - $100

I've also got an audio interface separate from the built-in one for my laptop, but I only use it for recording.

You could certainly go cheaper (laptop -> active speakers or cheapo turntable with speaker built into them) or way way more expensive (audiophile-quality).

Your choices ARE "audiophile quality" because you chose wisely (although I would have spent a bit more on the TT, say a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon). Price does not (and never has) = value. The point to take away, though, is your baseline is good enough that you could now evaluate a more expensive component and know whether it's an improvement or not, again regardless of the asking price. Another option would be TEAC who have a nice stereo receiver with phono for $180 with 100w/ch versus the Onkyo's 50w @ $120.

Comment: Re:Cheap and sounds great! (Score 1) 249

by gordguide (#49029737) Attached to: How good is your audio equipment?
Certainly there are good values available with used equipment and I recommend anyone interested in good sound to explore that option; typical savings over original MSRP with quality gear is more (sometimes much more) than 50%. However, there are certain areas where buying new pays dividends ... #1 is loudspeakers. Of all the areas of HiFi, there have been more advancements in loudspeaker technology than any other area, and I highly recommend buying new, regardless of budget (which could be as little as $150/pair; even at that price level you are looking at a few models that outclass what you would have had to spend $300 to get 5 years ago). The improvements cover the spectrum ... cabinet construction, crossover technology and the drivers themselves. I have been either following the industry or actively employed in it since the 70's ... there has never been more choice in the marketplace than there is today, and there is no need to spend megabucks to get truly great sound. But, as always, there is plenty of mediocre product out there as well. Use your own judgement.

Comment: Re:Sony thought ... (Score 1) 391

by gordguide (#48754899) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman
VHS was licensed by JVC to anyone who asked, while SONY refused to license BetaMAX. So inertia built on the VHS format because everyone would sell you a VHS deck, even off-brand units at Wall-Mart. Then the *other* studios started dropping their BetaMAX releases. SONY did eventually decide to license their format, but once the software supply narrowed, it was just a matter of time. I'm not sure "marketing" had much to do with it, but even so, SONY's well-known propensity for exclusive formats was the real killer.

Comment: Re: Clearly (Score 2) 391

by gordguide (#48754385) Attached to: Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman
When surveyed, people claim their #1 Priority criteria for headphones is "sound quality". And then they buy "Beats by Dr. Dre", which do not sound terrible, but have never won a direct comparison versus the brands that have been building 'phones for Pro's for 60+ years. The premium headphone market ($100+) is worth about $1.6 Billion annually; "Beats" sells about $1.5 Billion annually. This SONY seems to be trying to compete with the ASTELL & KERN products, such as the $2500 AK240, which sells in small volumes but does sell. As for $ six-figure+ sound systems being "off the shelf", well, no, they're not. They are a fixed specification, but sales figures like "5" or "2" are not unheard of. Lexicon, a fairly well known Home Theatre manufacturer, indicated in print it expected to sell "about 30" copies of it's flagship BLU-Ray player, for example.

Comment: Make Them Pay (Score 1) 401

by gordguide (#47465485) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer
I had a little hassle with my Cable Company over cancelling my service, so I just hung up and redialed. The second call was to "remove the cable drop" because the "house was being demolished". They actually gave me a little grief over this, so I said "either you remove it or I will, and I won't be careful". This costs them (around here) about $200 because they contract this to a third party company. Don't worry if you want cable again in the future, they will happily re-install the drop. Costs them ANOTHER $200). You can do this any number of times you want. They will always remove and reinstall at their expense.

Comment: Just some quiet lobbying for a done deal (Score 1) 164

Prime Minister Harper is determined to expand FT agreements worldwide. Last week the final touches on the FTA with the EU was finalized. They have eliminated the Canadian Wheat Board late in 2011 ... something that the US vigorously demanded in the original US-Canada FTA signed by George Bush Sr and PM Brian Mulroney and ratified by the two governments in 1988 ... and then equally vigorously demanded a second time when the Canada-US FTA was abandoned and NAFTA (adding Mexico) took it's place. He has also gone on record as saying he will dismantle any legislation that stands in the way of the Trans Pacific Partnership (there are Dairy and Poultry mechanisms that are also on the chopping block, and which the US is keen to exploit once they do).

Since he's already (twice) introduced the very legislation this story calls for over a number of years (due to political realities, like elections and minority governments they haven't yet been able to pass the legislation, but with a fresh mandate and a solid majority this time it won't be an issue) I very strongly suspect this is a planted comment asked for by Canadian diplomats and the US has complied. It's clearly designed to blunt some of the opposition to many aspects of the bill domestically (and which have been subjects on /. previously). The hard reality is he has the power to pass the law anytime over the next 3 years or so and he will.

I can imagine diplomats on both sides smiling at the success of the plant making Slashdot.

Comment: Re:multitasking (Score 1) 1003

by gordguide (#38391344) Attached to: Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

It's not like it's unheard of. To get a pilot's licence, you have to experience and recover from a stall ... a potentially fatal condition that causes many air fatalities. The thing is, they don't just talk about it ... they put you in the goddamn airplane, take off and fly in the air, put you at the controls, and then make you stall the goddamn plane, and make you recover from the stall. The instructor sometimes has to intervene to save your life, and his. You can expect to experience pretty much all of the other possible danger conditions, and have to show competency getting out of them, or you fail.

A bunch of mechanical stuff is on the written test ... you have to know about the various kinds of engines, propellers, brake systems, how they work, what to do if one fails, etc.

Having said all that, getting a pilot's license is not "hard". Any reasonably competent person can do it; including a few that shouldn't come within a hundred yards of a pilot's seat. I've flown with five pilots who are now dead, they were competent professionals but that's no guarantee all your problems will go away. They were all better pilots than some others I've flown with who are still alive and still incompetent.

So, it's not like more stringent license procedures would actually give us nothing but good drivers, but it would at least help a few people take it more seriously, and it might give us a slightly higher percentage of better drivers.

As long as people realize that a small improvement is all you're going to get out of it. It's not going to solve any "big picture" issues, which is what I think a lot of people who support it think is going to happen.

Comment: Re:Is it worth the risk? (Score 1) 1003

by gordguide (#38390964) Attached to: Why the NTSB Is Wrong About Cellphones

I always like to keep in mind a headline from The Onion (a parody news magazine ... only mentioned because I have seen people take an Onion article seriously). But, like all parody, it works best when it reveals an underlying truth. Anyway ... the title:

"97% of Americans polled reveal they are in support of other people taking public transit."

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek