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Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 367

by mjwx (#48937047) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

explain why pennies are still in circulation in the US!

And why haven't 1 and 2 dollar bills been replaced by coins years ago ?

When you go to the US you realise they use $1 notes a lot. I mean a lot. The two notes you'll use almost exclusively are $1's and $20's. Which is a good thing as any Australian, English or European will find astounding as soon as they get to the US is that all the notes are exactly the same size and colour.

When I was in the US, I got into the habit of carrying around a wad of singles, around $20 worth as you'd use them almost everywhere. If I had to carry around 20 $1 Australian coins at 9 grams a coin, my wallet would be dragging my pants around my ankles.

A better question is, why haven't they introduced a $0.50 coin, having to put in 10 quarters into a parking meter is silly, as is carrying around a crapton of quarters.

Also whilst we're on the subject of coins, why is a dime (10 cents) smaller and lighter than a nickel (5 cents)

Comment: Re: Positive pressure? (Score 1) 367

by mjwx (#48936961) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Around here, ATMs are freestanding outside under an overhang (typically for drivethrough) or are built into the side of a building (walk-up or drivethrough). It's exceedingly rare for an ATM to be indoors unless it's in a shopping center. It's hot here though, and it doesn't rain much and snows maybe once every 20 years, so there's little need to protect ATMs from the elements.

In cooler climates they need to keep them indoors. Keypads that ice over dont work very well.

However even in Australia where it never snows, there is a trend of putting them inside their own little lobbies for security. The first thing an ATM theif does is spray paint over the camera before backing their ute up and putting the ATM out of the wall. Putting them inside reduces the risk of this kind of theft (thieves will still ram raid) but also because you can put cameras behind the glass and out of reach, you have a better chance of identifying and apprehending the miscreants.

Comment: Re:Total disservice to taxpayers (Score 1) 291

by mjwx (#48936569) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

The Airbus A-380 is about 20% less costly than the 747-8. They're wasting taxpayer money as usual.

So you think that flight time costs have much all to do with the total bill for shuttling the president of the United States around?

They would... You've got to be a fool to think they wouldn't be considering flight costs. But what the OP forgets is that the cost quoted is costs per passenger, the A380 fits more people in.

Airlines think of costs in per passenger terms, that's why the A380 is favoured over the 747-8. As a measure for an executive transport it doesn't make sense because you're only transporting a few dozen people at best (The BBJ and ACJ are based of their B737 and A320 offerings respectively because they're more economical in this configuration and can have longer ranges than the passenger varients).

Something that also isn't considered by the GP is that the A380 needs a larger gate and runway than a 747. It's an airliner meant for shuttling people between hubs, as an executive transport it leaves a lot to be desired.

All things considered, the B748 is the right choice if they aren't considering downsizing to a 787. Its the no-bid part that people dont like, they at least want the illusion of fairness.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 470

by mjwx (#48936491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

how about subsidizing the service, once it's implemented? in other words, let them build it themselves with their own money, and once it's built, subsidize the customer's payment +X%. that way they have an incentive to build it, and it build it well in a way customers will want it.

but anyway, too late for that.

The way Australia's NBN was planned, there was a government corporation (independently run but with the govt as the only shareholder) which was going to make a profit on leasing out the infrastructure to retail providers. Realistically NBNco would own the fibre, but you could get your internet from whoever you liked because there were few restrictions to starting an iSP.

Alas this dream was killed by the LNP. Don't vote for ultra conservatives if you want progress.

Comment: Re:track record (Score 1) 291

by mjwx (#48936461) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

which due to dwindling sales and prospects, may be the last 747s to be produced.

the 747 has been around forever, with many upgrades over that time. it has a proven track record. Now, generally im against no bid contracts, but this one makes sense.

Why does it make sense? Because America? Even with this token gesture, it will likely be the last Boeing plane used for the president's fleet.

It will probably be the last 4 engine Boeing used for the presidents fleet. Twinjets are cheaper to run and can have the same range in their extended range variants. QANTAS had to buy modified 747's for the Australia-US run back in the early 00's (they're replacing those with A380's), Virgin are now doing the same with 777ER's.

However if it went to bid I still think that the contract would have ended up going to Boeing because the 747 makes more sense than the A380 as an executive transport, the A380 was designed primarily to transport a lot of people (erm... its an airliner), so its more expensive to run when you are only transporting a few dozen and cant land on as many airfields as the 747.

However the no bid part smacks of 'Merica, ferk yeah.

But by the time these jets need replacement, I dont think we'll have any super heavy airliners left. I think the A380 will be the swan song of the 4 engine double decker.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 470

by mjwx (#48936409) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

There is another reason (at least in my country).

Instead of giving money to ISPs and asking them politely to connect rural areas to a fiber network (like I understand happened in the US resulting in the ISPs taking the money and doing nothing) the government in my country is laying the fiber cables itself and then leases it to anyone who wants to use it at a set price. Which means that if ISP A does not want it, ISP B will get it.

Australia used to be doing this.

Then ultra conservatives gained power and killed it because it was Labor's idea.

Comment: Re:Regular users only (Score 4, Insightful) 96

by mjwx (#48936367) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

Not sure what you're talking about. My credit card has no fees

It has no fees you know about... And banks want to keep it that way. When you pay for something by credit card, the merchant pays 3% or more for accepting the card. This means they have to pass the cost onto you in the form of higher prices.

You didn't think the bank gave you free money did you?

Its Machiavellian in its brilliance, you're robbing yourself of 3% in order to give yourself 1% and you're so enamoured with it, you're trying to do this as much as possible.

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 470

by mjwx (#48936327) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

I think there's more going on here than just European "socialism" vs. American "capitalism". Demographics, for instance, are wildly different for the US.

Average population and population density for countries 1-15: 34 million and 193/km^2
United States population and population density: 316 million and 34/km^2

Well, that explains why all of our large cities are so well-connected with gigabit fiber for $50/mo, at least.

Oh, wait, they're not are they? The simple fact that Montana exists shouldn't be used to excuse terrible service and pricing in NYC, Houston, Seattle, or any other major US city.

I agree with your point but...

Large cities like NY present another problem in the fact that there are a lot of multi-tenancy buildings (read: apartment blocks). Now the infrastructure provider (be it a telco or the government) is responsible to delivering the ULL (Unbundled Local Loop, AKA the last mile) to the building itself. After that its up to the building owners to provide the infrastructure to the individual tenants.

Australia has had this issue with Fibre to the Basement but we dont have as many apartment blocks (in fact NY would probably have more apartment blocks than all of Australia's major cities).

Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 470

by mjwx (#48936289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

There is also a third option. The government builds the ISP and then sells it off.

Then you'll end up with the same problem as before.

When Australia privatised it's public telco, Telecom Australia in the 90's they didn't separate the wholesale (the bit that owned the copper) from the retail (the bit that sells to you and me) as such the private entity, Telstra refused to upgrade anything unless the government threatened them with more regulation. We couldn't even get ADSL in most places until the government forced Telstra to allow non Telstra equipment to be installed in their exchanges. If the government did not set the prices for access to the ULL (Unbundled Local Loop) we'd still be paying $60 p/m for phone line rental.

You may have noticed a pattern here, the major advances in internet speed in Australia coincide with "the government forced the incumbent monoply to do X". Seeing as America is allergic to sensible regulation, privatising infrastructure is a bad idea.

The better solution is for the government to build the infrastructure, corporatise it (give it autonomy as long as it fulfils its mandate) and lease out the infrastructure to everyone who wants to run an ISP. The profit can be used to offset taxes.

Comment: Re:Why even 3? (Score 1) 96

by mjwx (#48936177) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

The article says it can identify someone in as few as 3 transactions.
But they aren't really identifying them, they are just showing that no other person hit the same exact set of shops.
Well, they also mention that they get a datestamp with the transaction so assuming that datestamp has minutes
or seconds then it should only take 1 transaction or 2 at the most. That being said, you really haven't identified
this person as you don't know who they are in the real world just that they have a unique shopping pattern as
everyone does.

Actually its a lot more in depth than that.

Also consider the class of store you visit, You hit up a hardware store, then an auto supply store and a Micky D's on the way home. They have a reasonable idea what you ordered at McD's from the price and a good line of where you live from the trail of stores you visited.

Of course the "as little as 2 or 3 stores" is a bit of a misnomer, same as when a teclo advertises "up to 4 mbs", only a few can be that easily identified but realistically they dont need to work with such a small amount of data when they have 100 or 200 transactions within the space of a month it's easy to narrow down where you live from a heat map of where you shop on a regular basis, and of course they have a well established shopping pattern to help "notify you of products and services that you may find useful".

Comment: Re:Regular users only (Score 2) 96

by mjwx (#48936099) Attached to: 'Anonymized' Credit Card Data Not So Anonymous, MIT Study Shows

As one who hot tired of high fees, I dropped the use of credit/debit cards. I used a gift card for an online purchase. Nothing annon about it. Has my name and address on the order.

Its less about the order itself, more about credit card companies selling the data to advertisers and other dodgy organisations. They claim the data is anonymised (which means they remove names from the orders) but its trivial to de-anonymise the data.

This is one of the reasons I use cash for most purchases.

Comment: Re:But you do need it (Score 1) 298

by mjwx (#48928937) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

What you don't need is a PC. The majority of PC users don't do anything with their PC/laptop that can't be done with a tablet, and the experience on the tablet blows away the experience on a PC. Saying you don't need a tablet is like saying you don't need a cell phone 'cause your land line works just fine.


Gaming and work are what I use my PC for. In fact I'd wager most people computer use is work related, you simply cant be as productive on a tablet as you are on a laptop or desktop because of the shortcomings of a tablet. Small single screen, lack of a physical keyboard, lack of productivity applications, cant sign onto a corporate network without trouble and in the case of Ipads, piss poor file management.

I've seen plenty of sales drones and middle managers delude themselves that they can work "Ipad only" but this lasts a few days to a few weeks before they either give up or their boss has a talk with them about their poor performance. Beyond this, MDM (Mobile Device Management) has become an onerous cost and workload as well.

Tablet sales are decreasing whilst laptop sales are picking up. The CEO of walmart said the tablet market has crashed. The "post-PC world" was always nonsense dreamt up by someone with no attachment to reality, we're quickly moving to the "post-Ipad world" as sales decrease and Android dominates.

Comment: Re:iPad is a luxury? (Score 1) 298

by mjwx (#48928901) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

A $700 smart phone is, too. Here in .us, a lot of the price is buried in your 2-year contract, so people see it as a $200 smart phone.

Calling it a phone is also a misnomer. It's a small computer that also makes phone calls. If all you want to do is make phone calls, buy a dumbphone. Having a moderately powerful, always connected computer in my pocket is nice--but admittedly, it's still a luxury.

$200/month phone.. Oh you get one for free every two years, assuming you pay us $2400.. Yeah..

That's just an indication of how messed up the US market is.

Here in Australia I'm on the most expensive telco with Nexus 5 I bought outright. I dont make a lot of phone calls but I need a lot of data (over 1 GB), now to get the Nexus 5 through a telco (it was only available through Telstra) it would have cost me A$70 p/m including the handset for 24 mo. A total cost of A$1680.

I paid for A$420 for the handset and went on a A$30 p/m prepaid plan with enough data (I could go cheaper, some people have A$15 prepaid plans but I use the data and like LTE). So over 24 months that's A$1140 for the same phone and service. Over half your contract is paying for the "free" phone.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein