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Comment: Re:Give it another decade - the problem will solve (Score 1) 131

by mendax (#48200229) Attached to: The Future of Stamps

if you have an invoice or legal paper you can send deliver it yourself, you can send it by private held company like TNT, UPS, whatever but only when you send it via Polish Post (national operator) it gets so called the power of postal stamp. Legally if you choose the right delivery type it is valid as delivery in court. Such postage is still deeply embodied in legal system and I think it has some merit.

Exactly. In the U.S., many federal and state laws assume that the United States Postal Service will be there. Furthermore, the day the item is postmarked is, for most legal documents, considered to be the day the court receives it. Thus, if you have to have something filed by a certain date, you can delay (like most people do) and wait until the absolute last minute, run to the post office, and get a manual postmark put on the envelope, the only way you're going to get a guaranteed legible one in the U.S. Furthermore, courts rely upon the postal service to deliver legal mail. Federal courts allow you to file legal paperwork (as well as get copies of it) online and some state courts are slowly moving in this direction, but there will always have to be a way to get a piece of paper to someone who is a luddite or, is in jail or prison and does not have access to the Internet, and vice versa, since Americans have a constitutional right to access to the courts.

Comment: Re:Is there a fake stamp blackmarket? (Score 1) 131

by mendax (#48200179) Attached to: The Future of Stamps

I've wondered about that myself given that the stamps the post office uses today look like some of the Christmas and Easter Seals I remember putting on greeting cards as a kid. As I recall from some discussion I had many years ago, the postage processing machinery actually does not know exactly how much postage is on the envelope. All it really knows is that there is some kind of stamp there and that it has not been canceled. I'm not sure how metered mail is processed but there must be a reason why the post office would prefer that metered mail not be mixed in with stamped mail.

So, the answer is probably "yes", you could fake stamps but if you did how much money would you really save by doing it? You'd be better of running off some tens and twenties on the local Kinko's color copier.

Comment: Re:What future? (Score 2) 131

by mendax (#48200129) Attached to: The Future of Stamps

I doubt it, at least not anytime in the near future. Stamps do have some interesting and necessary purposes for existence.

I write people in prisons. While some prisons and jails have e-mail systems in place through which you can write an inmate and, in some cases, the inmate can write back (Federal prisons being the best example of this) these are usually funded by a "tax" paid by the inmates in some way. For those inmates who don't want to use such services or cannot (California prisoners being one in that they don't have access to such systems), U.S. mail and stamped envelops are the only way to go. So, as long prisons don't have some other inexpensive way for inmates to communicate with those on the other side of the razor wire, stamps are here to stay.

Incidentally, because I write to prisoners I learn all sorts of things about life there. Since prisoners are not allowed to carry money, they use a barter system to buy and sell things. There are four kinds of currency in jails and prisons in the U.S: ramen noodle soups, instant coffee wrapped up in sandwich wrap, cigarettes (if they are permitted), and postage stamps. Think of the economic depression that would occur in the prison economy if stamps disappeared!

Comment: Re:Already gone (Score 1) 304

by mendax (#48155155) Attached to: Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

I wish it were the case in California. I bugged our bedroom with my iMac. I set it up so that it looked asleep so she would not suspect that I had a hidden sound recording program running. It caught the first ten minutes of the blow job before the program reached its limit, but that was all I needed to confront her on it. Unfortunately, California has no-fault divorce so I had to pay alimony even though I had the goods on her. I will never get married again without a prenuptial agreement that is rock-solid.

Comment: Re:My father is a retired corporate pilot . . . (Score 1) 112

by mendax (#47931723) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

But the Flight 191 incident is due to American Airlines maintenance crew not following McDonnell-Douglas's procedures in removing an engine, using a forklift to aid in remounting it and in the process damaging the mounting bolts. It had nothing to do with the design of the plane. The DC-10 had a couple problems due to design problems, these were fixed, and it became a very safe airliner. If you look at the early history of the Boeing 707 or the DC-8 you will see that these planes were much scarier.

Comment: STD's (Score 3, Funny) 610

Other reactions include rapper, Tyler, The Creator, saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with a STD.

Well, given that I listen pretty much exclusively to classical music, finding the new U2 album on my iPhone (if I had one) or on my Mac in iTunes would be more like waking up and seeing that my ex-wife's sister is in bed with me. Ewww....

But on a serious note, this behavior by Apple is very unpolite, regardless of whether the album is pushed onto one's phone, computer, or cloud account.

Comment: Re:H1-B and outsource are responsible for this (Score 1) 212

by mendax (#47740115) Attached to: Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

The contractors governments often do business off-shore the work and that is one of the reasons why the projects are so shitty. But there are other reasons. Government agencies don't operate in the same way businesses do. For example, the requirements documents are NEVER frozen. Some reptilian politician gets a burr up his ass, writes some new regulations, and *POOF* the requirements have to be changed and any code already written has to be either dumped or changed to reflect it. Also, when the law changes, as happens way too often, the same problems occur. Every coder here knows what happens in these situations!

Comment: Re:Libraries are one thing Amazon is not (Score 5, Insightful) 165

by mendax (#47666249) Attached to: Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

The fact that the public library is an actual place is important. Libraries are not just places to get information. They are sometimes positioned to be social centers of communities, places for those without Internet access to get that access, a quiet place to avoid the hustle and bustle of life, a place to meet friends, a place to hold a meeting, a place to do homework and study, and so on and so on. Libraries have long since been simply a place to get the latest novel or some old classic.

Comment: Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (Score 1) 246

by mendax (#47658373) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

In the UK there is pretty much nothing that can hurt you by way of flora and fawna (bee stings and bramble prickles aside).

I seem to recall running into (literally) some poison ivy (or something resembling it) in the remains of Sherwood Forest off the A1 (I think) on a visit to the UK many years ago. I didn't think it grew in the UK but my skin said otherwise. It's a bit worse than having to deal with bramble prickles.

Comment: Embargo emshmargo (Score 1) 254

It would be interesting if this "embargo" lasts any length of time. Given the importance of Java in today's IT world, it would be interesting if our colleagues in St. Petersburg would produce another clean-room implementation of Java. But it'll never happen. All trade embargoes are leaky. Consider, for example, Kim Jong-il, the North Korean un-leader, and the iMac on his desk. That certainly wasn't bought at the local Pyongyang Apple store

Comment: Re:Nobody kills Java (Score 1) 371

by mendax (#47632017) Attached to: Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

I think the problem is Oracle isn't innovating, isn't advancing the technology, some aspects of it are essentially dead, the Java Community Process is largely ignored ..

And Sun was innovating the Java platform? How long did it take them to implement closures and lambda expressions? When did Microsoft implement them in C#? Groovy, the scripting language that was intended to be a "groovier Java" had them from the beginning. I was at the Java One when Sun announced that they would be added in Java 7. Well, that didn't happen. Java 7 was simply lame.

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