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Comment Re:golf (Score 1) 171

You know, I can't stand playing it IRL (allergies + being outside + "Four hours? Seriously?"), but I adore video game golf. My personal favorite it Hot Shots Golf. It looks completely ridiculous, but I swear, there's a decent little golf sim in there.

Mario golf is also pretty good, IMHO.

Comment Balance of Power? (Score 1) 274

Way back, in The Long, Long Ago, on the Apple ][, there was a game called (I think) Balance of Power. It was actually a pretty good simulation of cold war diplomatic brinksmanship, by which you fought several proxy wars (Afghanistan, for instance) while trying to avoid driving the other side to launching their nukes.

Never worked, of course. You'd get antsy ("They'll never take Belgium!!!", or similar), and you'd get a disappointing "This is the end of the game, but we're not celebrating the fact that you destroyed the world." text screen.

And yes, I get the joke. Hell, I'm pretty sure I saw WarGames in the theater.


Comment obligatory xkcd (Score 1) 287


My 70 year old parents have been running Mint for four years, largely without incident. It's on a dual core Atom / 2G / 80G. I kinda want to trash that box, but the damn thing refuses to break badly enough.

Note that just about any (grand)parental use case outside of browsing fries this implementation. The sole "major" issue we've had is when Dad tried to get Picasa going on Wine. I'm sure it's possible, but it was far simpler for him to install it on his Windows laptop.

Comment Re:Why must this be{ta}? (Score 1) 271

My UID is too high to qualify, but speaking for my lowish-UID brethren, we take checks. Good bourbon and/or scotch will do nicely as well.

And should beta come to fruition, I will likely leave, ending a 15-ish year relationship with this site and its community. Really, just leave it as an option for anybody already signed up. (top gear) How hard can it be? (/top gear)

Comment Re:Golden handcuffs (Score 3, Informative) 177

Yeah, it's a little hard to explain. Dating myself, but it's David Byrne singing "Well, how did I get here?", except that most choices have been conscious and logical.

Example: I have a friend who recently got tenure in the southeast US. His wife has tenure at the same college. Both worked hard, and got the desired result. Fantastic, right? No adjunct nonsense, stable positions, and their lifestyle is pretty much as they designed it.

But: It's a smaller, third rate academic institution, and no interesting, let alone groundbreaking, work is in the future for either of them. Smaller, semi-rural town, maybe an hour from a mid-level city. Barring a massive (and extremely unlikely) job offer, neither is likely to leave.

Let's be clear: Nobody feels sorry for them. Considering the alternatives, it's a pretty good spot to land. Having said that, they're done professionally, and there's no outlet for the "gotta progress" mentality. They're in a "comfortable enough bubble," but they're also looking at 25-30 years of it.

And yes, it's very "first world problem."

Comment Re:Overvalued? (Score 1) 143

Real Estate: I don't have anything to back this up, but lots of real estate markets have been blowing up. My neighborhood is up about 20% year on year, but we've seen a lot of rentals cropping up. My guess is that either REITs or well-heeled investors are buying loads of houses at the low end and renting them out. Rent ~= mortgage payment, so you're just out the maintenance and handling, if that, and you're gaining equity.

If you go onesie - twosie, and one goes vacant for a few months, that nukes a lot of your (not tremendous in the first place) profit. At 20-25 houses (@200k/house, that's about $4-5M total capital investment), your risk probably isn't too bad.

Comment Re:it's not 1943. (Score 1) 754

On a personal level, I concur completely. Grow or expire, accept personal responsibility for your situation, and CYA as appropriate. Why do we fall, Alfred?

On a societal level, I doubt most people are prepared for it. There are going to be a lot of issues with the long-term un- and under-employed, especially among those nearing retirement. Even should the lost middle-class jobs come back, they're not going to be at the same financial level, and a sinking tide lowers all boats.

Notably, G5s aren't boats. That doesn't help.

Comment it's not 1943. (Score 2) 754

We're not talking about an evolutionary change in industrial production. Yes, buggy whip makers were going to go out of business. Fine, so those guys have to find different jobs. I hear the car factory's hiring. A little retraining, maybe a year of school / vo-tech, and he (no women in the workplace) would be back in a middle class job.

That's not the case here. The destruction part of your argument remains valid. Do we need lawyers to draft, say, formative corporate documents? Never did, frankly, but now that you can do it for $50 online, that's pulling $200 out of a lawyer's pocket. Better? More efficient? Sure. No chance we'll ever go back.

Now, take the case of a lawyer. If the online thing happens enough times, they're out of work. Now what? Law schools have produced more lawyers than available positions for years, so there's somebody younger and cheaper right behind them, even ignoring globalization. Retrain? For what? Most professional degrees and certifications are in the same boat. Unless they were just short of getting their Master's in (something where hiring is actually occurring), they're not much better off than a high school graduate.

If the lawyer is 50, they could easily have 15 working years left, and 15 more in semi- or full retirement. Never mind replacement income. It is entirely possible that they will never see a paycheck again. Economic multipliers, opportunity cost, and all that.

That's what we're up against.

Comment This isn't a hardware problem (Score 1) 348

Just another ecosystem play.

Outside of Kinect, I can't think of a console upgrade that actually worked in the marketplace (XBox HD-DVD, XBox external HD, PS3 Move, PS2 external HD, PS2 Network, I'm sure I've forgotten some). All of those are in the "plug into console, plug in power, reboot" sort of upgrade. No way is a general user cracking a $350 console to upgrade anything.

(Sidebar: I'd be interested to see the percentage of PS3 hard drive upgrades, which requires about an hour, removing 10 screws, and a large-ish USB stick.)

So now the console provides 1080p on your living room TV. Tremendous, except that a typical Steam PC (http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey) is dual or quad core, 2.5GHz, 8G, running 1080p or dual 1080p. Generally, anyway, and the PC is more likely to be upgraded over time. Now, I'm taking over the living room for an inferior gaming experience?

$350 might not be enough, and the stock console is going to age very quickly. HL3 better be exclusive for an extended period (and AWESOME), and even then, it's going to be uphill.

Comment Re:The Blame Game (Score 1) 1532

Well, you have to remember that the US doesn't have a political spectrum like most European countries. In those terms, I suspect the Dems would be center-right (ish), and the Republicans would be moderate right. IMS, the US hasn't had a significant socialist movement under that name since the 1920s.

As such, the connotations behind the words "socialism" and "communism" aren't the same here. Besides, that 11% is probably something like (4% communist + 7% socialist), moving both well into a "fringe/outlier" sort of space. Frankly, I'd bet that of those 11% "supporting" leftish ideals, the vast majority couldn't explain what they were supporting.

But yes, everybody hates Congress.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.