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Comment: A fate worse that death (Score 1) 528

by mendax (#48528403) Attached to: The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

I'm not a big fan of Sony (although I like their electronic products because of their high quality) or big companies in general. However, a breach of this size could literally destroy the company if the amount of information that leaked yet to be revealed is even worse than what has already been revealed. The litigation nightmare this could cause in the US is appalling in itself but that could just be the tip of the iceberg because of all the corporate secrets that are now out in the open (or will be).

Comment: Stupid, stupid, stupid (Score 3, Interesting) 523

by mendax (#48486387) Attached to: Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

There is a definite cognitive connection between writing by hand and brain function. For example, I am a better writer when I write by hand. Furthermore, I enjoy the task better because I can to make the cursive squiggles. I use a fountain pen which makes it even more enjoyable. But then I am a luddite. I write letters by hand and put them in the mail. I do it partially because I write prisoners but I also have regular correspondents. It's much better than e-mail.

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.

Some people claim that the UNIX learning curve is steep, but at least you only have to climb it once.

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