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Comment Re:not good (Score 1) 55

It's funny because my quartz watch outlasts not only smartwatches but all 19th century winding watches. :)

I don't know when self-winding mechanical watches were invented, but a few years ago my quartz watch died, and I wore an old 1970s-era self-winding Timex as a temporary stopgap that turned into a couple of years, until my GF got me a new quartz because she thought the Timex was ugly. Sure it lost a minute or two every week, but I didn't find that a big deal to adjust with my computer's clock always on the screen, and it just kept working with no battery to worry about. Actually I kind of miss it.

I hardly ever take off my watch (even the old Timex was waterproof) and would hate to have to take it off every night to recharge. So I'm completely out of the market for a watch whose battery lasts less than a year or two.

Comment Re:Still have to pay RENT after you buy it (Score 3, Informative) 85

Whose lifetime?

Not sure what they're fine print says, but I still have an original Tivo series 2 from 2001 with a lifetime subscription, and they still honor it with schedule updates and occasional software updates even after I've moved several times.

It's hooked to an old analog over-the-air TV with a digital TV converter, and the Tivo controls the converter just fine via its remote control sensor. It's impressive the number of channels available free with digital over-the-air, compared to the old analog, with hundreds of future program selections at any time. Obscure old sci-fi movies playing at 3am and so on that I'd never be aware of otherwise.

Of course I have the commercial skip hack programmed in. Unlike the newer Tivos where the hack just fast-forwards for 30 seconds, the old Tivo instantly skips 30 seconds ahead, which I find much nicer.

Comment Re:In the past this has been working under the tab (Score 1) 273

If you ALSO want me to behave like an employee, controlling my hours, sitting through useless HR presentations, and acting like an agent of a corporation, then I'm an employee and I want the full benefit package

Funny, that's exactly what contractors do. I was a contractor for 4 years at a desk where I had to show up in exact hours, attend OIG presentations about sexual harassment and child pornography on business systems, and of course was not allowed to post on Facebook where I work.

In a fair world, none of this should have any relevance to whether one is an "employee" or "contractor". In the past, as an employee I have had huge freedom to work my own hours, and as a contractor, I have worked under a rigidly controlled corporate structure with fixed hours and so on. It all depends on the situation, such as whether regular employees need to have you available during their working hours.

A key difference as I see it is that if you are a contractor, you should be paid at least the loaded rate (i.e. with benefits) of an employee doing the same work. If you aren't, the company is screwing you. And yes, I'm sure many companies are screwing many "contractors" who aren't in a good position to bargain. But I think that should be a primary part of the test of whether a "contractor" is really an employee.

Comment Viewing tip (Score 3, Informative) 66

If you turn javascript off on (there are about 3 dozen(!) embedded sites; the list even scrolls off the NoScript screen), not only does the page load about 20 times faster, as a bonus you get the entire slideshow on one page and don't have to mindlessly click through one picture at at time.

Comment Not a linear relation (Score 1) 243

Alkaline battery voltage doesn't fall linearly with lifetime, but undergoes a rapid drop near the end of life: In this curve, the battery has only 10-20% of its life left at 1.1v, and I've never owned any device that did not work down to at least that voltage and usually less. Whatever device in the example that stops working at 1.35v is very poorly designed and not something you run across often.

Comment Re:Peanuts compared to their value (Score 2) 202

What scares me is that with so many staff, the inevitable urge is to bloat the "user experience" with ever fancier and annoying "features". As far as I'm concerned the interface was finished quite a few years ago, and I would prefer that they just leave it alone. I can't stand their slideshows when I just want to see a single image, so I have Javascript turned off for the site, enabled only on occasion when I want to sort a table column or something.

Comment Recipe for failure (Score 5, Insightful) 352

My step-daughter was literally math-illiterate upon entering college - very poor math SATs, couldn't multiply 1-digit numbers without a calculator, and didn't know that a+b commutes but a-b doesn't. I spent several hours a day 3-4 days a week with her, and through tremendous effort and lots of tears she earned all A's in Calculus 1 and 2 and Statistics. There is simply no way she could have even passed without my help (and a boost of self-motivation by a short stint in the real world earning near minimum wage with no college degree and no future).

Rich people will hire tutors to do the same thing. Poor people can't afford to and rarely have anyone like me around to help. So the rich will get ahead regardless of ability; other than a few exceptionally talented ones, the poor will get further behind, continuing the cycle of failure and poverty.

There is something about individual interaction that can't be duplicated with a computer or projection screen. A 50-to-1 student/teacher ratio with little individual one-on-one instruction is going to make things much worse.

Comment Re:Google is becoming useless (Score 3, Informative) 375

Out of curiosity I recently tried to find out about a product, Power Innovator, whose annoying ads claiming to cut your electric bill by 80% keep popping up on various sites. While it is obviously a scam to anyone with the slightest knowledge of physics, they really have Google fooled. No matter what you type, "Power Innovator review", "Power Innovator scam", "Power Innovator ripoff", etc., every link, page after page, is a "review" or a page questioning "Is Power Innovator a scam?" each ending with a link to buy Power Innovator. I was unable to find any page clearly stating the obvious fact that it is a scam. I feel sorry for all the misinformed people who are sucked into this, and the company must be raking in a fortune of ill-gotten gains. This is a case where Google is completely useless.

Comment Nuke Anything (Score 1) 353

For Firefox, I use Nuke Anything Enhanced 1.1 when overlays, ads, etc. on broken or poorly designed pages obscure the text I'm trying to read. Basically you right-click over the object and select "Remove this object" (and there is an undo). At first I installed it out of curiosity, but I'm surprised how often it is useful.

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