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Comment: Re:Go Greenlight (Score 3, Informative) 175

Because the Democrats had already managed to royally fuck things up before the Republicans showed up. Hell, the NC Democrats started the process of ruining NC broadband in the first place. Granted, there's an equal number of "R" sponsors listed...but look at who wrote it up in the first place.

Also of interest to readers of this post: a blog the City of Wilson started when they got fed up and took things into their own hands.

Comment: Re:Go Greenlight (Score 2) 175

North Carolina has been passing some batshit crazy laws ever since the Republicans managed to get a large enough number of seats to run the show as they please. I had hoped that they would fix some of the problems with the batshit things that had been piling on before them, but instead they made things ten times worse. I hate both parties. They're equally scummy. It makes one feel powerless to know that voting the bums out always means voting more bums in that are not any better in the end.

Back on topic, something I witness with regularity is that anyone who lives in a rural area can't even get DSL. CenturyLink doesn't put in the equipment needed to reach a surprisingly large number of people. Probably 1/3 of the county is on dial-up, satellite, or 3G-if-you're-lucky cell provider based Internet access. I know one guy who has a Verizon MiFi that he has to place in a box in his front yard and then use a wireless repeater to make it reach his home. The cities can't "compete" with CenturyLink due to the bullshit NC law that de facto outlaws municipal broadband, but CenturyLink doesn't give half a crap about servicing the entirety of the county. The cable providers (Charter, Time Warner) aren't any better, but their existing delivery infrastructure is far more limited and would take longer to build up.

The bottom line is that the monopoly ISPs won't spend any money to service more people while taking money from rural broadband initiatives to do just that, and towns that want to fix that problem for citizens are legally barred from doing so. In terms of Internet access, this state of affairs is borderline totalitarianism and should not exist in America.

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 4, Insightful) 777

Unemployed college age kids appreciate your benevolence and your prevention of them becoming "gas station slaves." They are happy that you have made the choice for them to remain unemployed and "free," and they certainly will not read your comment and think "being paid something is better than being paid nothing and going nowhere in life." /heapsofsarcasm

Comment: Re:Of course employment went up (Score 1) 777

For small businesses, employee wages can be the majority of the expenses paid by the business. Take a very small business (let's say it's lawn care or a computer repair place) that makes a gross $100,000 a year and pays two helpers plus the company's owner $10 an hour 40 hours a week (ignoring taxes and other overhead for simplicity). Assuming two weeks worth of unpaid days off per year, each of those people consumes 20% ($20,000) of the gross income for a total of 60% of all gross income going to paying everyone that works there. If the minimum wage is driven to $11/hr, the business will forcibly lose an additional 6% of its gross income to wages. The owner will have to decide between passing the overhead to the customer by raising rates (potentially losing customers due to the rate hike) or terminating a helper plus working longer hours to compensate. This type of hard choice happens all the time for small businesses anytime a major unexpected change occurs in the mechanics of the world that power that business. Computer repair shops weren't doing so hot a few years ago when Thailand flooded and new hard drive prices literally doubled overnight, for example; I wonder how many of them went out of business because of the spike.

Everyone seems to point at Wal-Mart and McDonald's when these discussions come up, but small and family-operated businesses are still the majority of the economy and the situation for them is very different from that of a large publicly traded corporation.\

One more thing to remember is that a small business with less than five employees doesn't have to report hiring and firing to the government. If 100,000 very small businesses fired one employee each, you'd never see it in the national [un]employment figures. Some places also pay people "under the table," further hiding the employment losses when they fire their secret workers.

Comment: Re:Why should Lenovo support their main competitor (Score 1) 125

You're looking at the Early 2014 Haswell 11" Macbook Air. The S200E has been out for over a year now; you're not even comparing apples to apples. I'm going to roll with the mid-2013 Air even though that's still newer than the S200E and thus is still not quite fair.

How is my S200E better than a mid-2013 Macbook Air?
Price: $510 ($430 for the S200E + $80 for a 120GB SSD) vs. $899 = I paid $389 less. I can buy another S200E base unit for that price today.
Physical attributes: S200E is thicker and heavier than the Air but is still a solid aluminum chassis (other than the rubberized bottom) that doesn't tweak, crack, and break as easily as the Air; the rubberized bottom also makes the unit much less slippery overall. Servicing the S200E is also very easy. The Air might be a little lighter, but in a backpack full of other stuff, why complain about an extra half a pound, especially when it means a much sturdier unit?
CPU: The Air is a Haswell i5-4250U; the S200E is an Ivy Bridge i3-3217U; this obviously makes the Air's CPU more powerful (PassMark: 3419) than the S200E's CPU (Passmark: 2292). However, my purchase was partly based on picking a low power consumption laptop to attach to a set of solar panels, not on maximum CPU performance; that i5 is 15W TDP while the i3 is 10W TDP (1/3 lower). I don't feel bad about paying $389 less for the slower CPU though.
Storage: The S200E came with a 7mm 500GB hard drive. I upgraded it to a 120GB SATA-III SSD. My final price includes the part cost for that SSD. Its 8GB less than the Air's 128GB PCIe SSD and the performance between the two in real-world usage is probably identical (though the PCIe SSD shows better raw read speeds in simple benchmarks). Ultimately, the SSD differences are insignificant. The S200E comes with a portable slim USB 2.0 DVD-RW drive; the Air doesn't have an optical drive at all.
Ports: Both have SD card slots. Air has 2x USB 3.0 ports and I wouldn't mind having that on my S200E, but the S200E has 3 total USB ports, so I can plug in my mouse and USB 2.0 microphone and still have my USB 3.0 port free for my USB 3.0 external hard drive or flash drive when needed. Other than having more USB 3.0 ports, the Air clearly loses on ports vs. the S200E: no HDMI, no ethernet, no VGA, one less USB port. Sure, it has Thunderbolt, but Thunderbolt is useless without expensive stuff to plug into it (remember that $389 I saved? Tack on a $29 Thunderbolt network adapter add-on to that if you like.) My HDTV and 28" monitor have HDMI; does your HDTV have Thunderbolt? Nope. Does your sub-$300 28" monitor have Thunderbolt? Nope.
Input: ah, yes, Mac users love their trackpads...I hate to tell you this, but it's just a Synaptics ClickPad. The S200E has an ElanTech version of the exact same thing, and guess what? It works just as well. It detects when you're pushing to click and doesn't go haywire and move your pointer while clicking (as early PC ClickPads tended to do), it has a heap of multi-touch gestures from the factory and those gestures are all configurable, and it tracks wonderfully. The keyboard has great tactile response and even looks like it was taken directly from a Macbook Air, save the lack of cloverleaf and apple keys. The two computers are on equal footing regarding input devices. The S200E has a touchscreen as well, but fuck touchscreens.
Display: The panels in use are apparently identical; I doubt there are many choices for a thin glossy 11.6" LED LCD at 1366x768.
Conclusion: I paid $389 less. I sacrificed 1/3 of the CPU power but got 1/3 the CPU wattage back in exchange. I only got one USB 3.0 port but I still have more USB ports. I have HDMI and VGA outputs. I have an equivalent keyboard and touchpad experience, an equivalent 11.6" display, and I can actually plug a network cable in without buying an external adapter. I got a free USB DVD-RW with the S200E. I don't have to worry about the S200E being damaged just because the cat decided to walk on top of it while closed or because I set down the backpack a little too fast. This truly is a better MacBook Air than a MacBook Air.

Comment: Re: Why should Lenovo support their main competito (Score 1) 125

I'm not sure about the Macbook Air (the 11" model at least) having better color. The LCD panel in this Asus is much better than I'd have expected in a ~$450 ultraportable laptop. I wouldn't be surprised if the Air uses the exact same panel and the exact same quality. Another thing to consider about the S200E (and its near-twin, the X202E) is that it's an older release than the most 2014 Haswell Macbook Air, so comparing those isn't exactly apples-to-apples (no pun intended) in the first place. I found it interesting that the latest Air incarnation offers a sub-$999 model though; that's a step in the right direction, but they're still too thin and they still lack a network socket or HDMI, two things that are very important to me in a laptop. No, Thunderbolt isn't an acceptable substitute for HDMI, but thanks.

Comment: Re:n/t (Score 1) 278

by Jody Bruchon (#47481549) Attached to: The debate over climate change is..
People who express what you have just expressed are demonized and shouted down in the same way that Tumblr feminists and religious zealots attack their opponents: tons of fallacy, anger, shocked disbelief, ad hominem, and parroting of illogical talking points that provoke strong emotions yet mean nothing. Very few have actual arguments to present in a discussion, so they fall back on religious fanaticism. When they realize that science is never "settled" and present real information consistently, perhaps then a discussion can happen. Until then, this whole thing seems no different than a religious war and therefore a complete waste of time for people who have the audacity to use critical thinking skills.

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson