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Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 2) 293

by pla (#47562719) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
And that's the problem with the publics modern perception of credit. Because I do not have a credit card and suggest that you shouldn't either, I'm considered a quack. I buy just as much useless garbage as anyone that modded me down does. I go on vacations, I order things online, I buy soda at the gas station. The only difference is I don't pay a 7% to 30% fee to do all of those things. And that is exactly what a credit card does. It doesn't help your credit. That's a lie driven by marketing campaigns of credit card companies.

You no doubt got modded down because you have virtually every fact you mention entirely wrong. Having a credit card doesn't mean carrying a balance month-to-month, and you don't pay a single penny extra if you don't carry a balance (unless you stupidly sign up for a card with an an annual fee). I actually get 1.5 to 6% back on all my purchases, depending on how they categorize it. Now, you could argue that we pay 3%-ish more for everything as a result of stores passing on the transaction fees to their customers, but then, so do you, and you don't even get the benefits as a result.

And as for your credit rating, sorry, but yes, having a small number of regularly-paid cards most certainly does improve your credit, compared with having no credit history. I could provide you with an hundred links discussing the optimal number of cards and how much to cycle through them monthly, but you could already have done so and apparently chose not to.

Yes, we have a sick view of what "credit" means as a society. That doesn't invalidate the concept itself, just points a damning finger at how badly we tend to misuse it. Kudos to you for at least living within your means (and I mean that sincerely), but you massively overstate the case-for-cash while remaining blissfully ignorant of how credit cards really work in the modern world.

Comment: Re:Worse Than U Think (Score 1) 293

by pla (#47562597) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
I am of the opinion that if the typical person is hit by lightening and we add up the liabilities and assets that we will find most people are worth less than zero.

Although I sadly agree with you, I also have to consider it largely self-inflicted. Once you enter the workforce and pay off your student loans, you should only go UP from there (with the first year of a new car as the exception, though if you can't afford that slight dip between value and equity, you shouldn't buy new cars). We as a culture simply have a really bad habit of living far beyond our means. Make no mistakes, creditors fully exploit that habit, and no doubt someone will reply that they fall into the 1.4% with some insanely expensive medical condition, but in most cases it still comes down to choosing to spend more than we make.

Outstanding mortgages, car loans and other loans are only part of the issue.

A pretty big part - Short of end-of-life care, most of us will have no bigger outstanding debts than mortgages, cars, and student loans.

the cost of dying and the costs of burials as well as the cost of settling estates

Not material - Although it varies by state, you can get your body disposed of for under $100 (I've often seen $300 cited as the floor for a "cardboard box of ashes", though other cheaper options exist). And for an "estate" with negative net worth, your loved ones can always refuse to have anything to do with it and let the state eat the cost (though most people choose to "do the right thing" for dear-old-$30k-in-debt-dad). And as for the cost of dying, I can guarantee you that my end-of-life care will never push my net worth lower than the price of one last bullet. Again, we choose to drag out that last pathetic six months, at phenomenal expense both financial and emotional. No thanks!

The support of your kids, their education, your widow's needs all are considerations.

Can't afford kids? Don't have any. I realize that counts as all-but-heresy, but seriously, kids cost a lot; if you can't afford those three teens you mention, consider having just one, or even zero. As for your widow, if she can't support herself, you chose poorly in marrying someone incapable of surviving in the modern world in your absence. I want my partner fully capable of getting along without me in the event of my sudden death; I would consider it nothing short of cruel on my part to have her financially dependent on me, and that doesn't mean buying some scam of an insurance policy, it means she can very much support herself on her own income and retirement planning (though admittedly, if I die before we pay off the house, she'd likely need to find a new partner with which to split the household expenses).

Don't get me wrong, I realize we have some wiggle room here, and don't mean this quite as monstrously as it probably sounds. But bluntly, it all comes down to choosing not to live within our means, and you describe some of the biggest examples of that. Choose better

Comment: What do you really want to accomplish? (Score 1) 101

by pla (#47559047) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hard- & Software Based Security Token?
If you only want a semipublic file share, just stand up a free AWS Linux instance and lock it down to SSH/SFTP. You get a few GB of free cloud storage (I don't actually know the limit, but I have 8 online now and have never paid a dime), and can sleep well knowing that a breach just means standing up a new instance rather than the end of your career.

You only really need to let people get onto your corporate network if you want to set up "real" remote access such as VPN or, as you mention, one of those crazy-expensive RSA Citrix gateways. And no offense, but the very fact that you have asked Slashdot how to do this on the cheap suggests that you really shouldn't do it at all (aside from my "safe" suggestion above).

Comment: Re:Might fine police work there, Lou! (Score 1) 153

by pla (#47556857) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites
But the article makes it clear that "Neither the police or Project Sunblock are paying the website in question to display the police message". They're just suppressing the banner display, and displaying a police message instead.

Yep, I made a mistake. I presumed that the police would know better than to enter into a conspiracy to commit outright theft of service and libel in their efforts to appease the recording industry. One crime doesn't justify another. Mea culpa.

Except, in your zeal to find something in my post to go all "princess of vitriol" over, you seem to have failed to notice my key point - No one visiting piracy sites mistakes them for legit. Would you care to respond to that, or would you prefer to latch on to a typo somewhere in this post?

Pathetic is deciding you know how the system works without R'ing TFA

"The system" has rules we can know a priori. The police can't just choose to ignore them out of expediency. "Pathetic is" accepting criminal behavior just because it carries a thin veneer of official approval.

Comment: Re:When going into business with Friends (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by pla (#47556705) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D
This should serve as a cautionary tail of what can happen when you go into business with friends and or relatives. As soon as big money starts being made...unfortunately the greedy side of human nature tends to rear it's ugly head.

The arrangement made sense right up until TSR actually started making real money. When you and your friends bust your asses to build a business, and have no substantial income or assets to fight over, running it as a labor-of-love makes perfect sense. But once they started bulk-hiring new staff and pulled off 5000% growth over five years - Why the hell didn't they hire a competent CFO???

No one in the inner circle had a clue about how to run a business, because they all wanted control to remain in the hands of gamers - Hey, cool, most of us can appreciate that concept. But they could have avoided all the acrimony and eventually selling out to Wizards-of-the-CCG simply by bringing in someone with a clue in a non-shareholding executive capacity.

Sad, really.

Comment: Might fine police work there, Lou! (Score 2, Interesting) 153

by pla (#47556475) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites
Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic

No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site. People go there specifically to download pirated content, full stop. Seeing police ads might scare a few people with the paranoia of thinking "the man" has caught them, but the other 99% of visitors will just thank the police for subsidizing their favorite warez sites.

Truly pathetic, Boys in Blue (Hmm, do Bobbies wear blue?)

The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising.

By... Um... Buying banner ads on piracy sites? BRILLIANT!

Comment: Re: So... (Score 2, Insightful) 63

by pla (#47556089) Attached to: UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test
Don't do it! Everyone will be diagnosed.

Bizarre trolling aside, You have the right idea - Virtually everyone over the age of 50 has dozens of "cancerous" cell clusters scattered around their bodies, all more-or-less harmless unless juuust the right combination of environmental conditions triggers a few to start growing (and spreading) uncontrollably.

I find it easy to believe that a universal test for "cancer" would have a near-perfect success rate, because nearly everyone has it, to some degree. I find the negative side much harder to believe, because it means differentiating between cancer-but-harmless and cancer-gonna-kill-you.

Or looked at another way, consider recent changes in attitude regarding breast and prostate cancers. 20 years ago, detecting either meant immediately scheduling a radical mastectomy/prostatectomy. Today, unless you have a family history of aggressive cancers, your oncologist will likely suggest watching and waiting for at least a few months to see if it actually does anything more that sit there harmlessly. Yet, even if it does - still cancer. Much like we don't universally vaccinate people against TB because it makes TB antibody tests diagnostically useless, I see this test as having the same issue, accurate but useless.

Comment: Re:Scale and proportion. (Score 1) 498

Your claim about the number and frequency of rocket attacks is essentially false. There has been a steady stream of rocket attacks this year, as there are most years.

Does that link include asterisks next to the all the provably false-flag "rocket attacks"? Y'know, like today'd "hospital" attack that used munitions far more powerful and accurate than anything Hamas has, which the UN categorically denied as coming from a UN-controlled hospital, and in response to which Israel announced an immediate escalation of hostilities?

Tough to pick the more evil side in this one, but shit like that makes it a lot easier.

Comment: Re:How to regulate something that is unregulateabl (Score 1) 155

by pla (#47551827) Attached to: US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation
I wonder how are they going to "regulate" something that is not supposed to be regulate-able?

Simple - They will effectively exclude businesses in their own states from participating in the BitCoin economy.

This won't affect the vast majority of individuals, because they can't stop individuals from buying from vendors in another state; and it won't affect businesses in unregulated states - Well, I take that back - It will benefit businesses operating outside those states that try to regulate cryptocurrencies.

I fully expect, however, that this will end up at the USSC. As much as the asshats in DC have abused the "interstate commerce" clause, this issue actually falls under that particular umbrella.

Comment: Re:Ignorance is no excuse ... (Score 3, Informative) 95

by pla (#47550929) Attached to: Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government
USA routinely tells google to hide sensitive areas and google complies voluntarily

...With the inherent irony that you can then use that hidden data specifically to find "sensitive" areas you might not have known about (just randomly load highest-zoom tiles until you find one with artificially degraded resolution) - Then pull up the same data at 1m resolution from the USGS quarter quad library.

You want something hidden from space? Build it deep enough underground to hide its IR footprint. Attempting to hide things through censorship works sooo well - Just ask Babs S.

Comment: Re:Money - the ultimate natural selector (Score 1) 484

by pla (#47549081) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture
I don't feel a lot of workaholism in that story - ridiculously overpaid unscrupulous douchebag with too much time and money that has saddened and humiliated his family managed to have what looks like plenty of leisure time.

I agree with you about the workaholism angle as complete BS, but I think you go too far with the second half of your statement.

Geeks in general seem to seek out novelty, which as an underlying character trait, makes us good at what we do. Seeking altered states of consciousness, in my experience, just comes with that territory. That doesn't depend solely on having too much money and free time (though the lack of either certainly limits opportunities to get high) - Just how we view the world.

Oh, and this shit is not new at all - been happening in this industry for decades. more noticeable now that a Googler has publicly disgraced himself.

Really? I don't see it as all that disgraceful - He died having a good time, rather than lying in a hospital bed in agony. Good for him! I hope to die as well, someday.

Comment: Re:TCO (Score 3, Interesting) 153

by pla (#47548487) Attached to: Valencia Linux School Distro Saves 36 Million Euro
From my experience you need less Linux sysadmins to begin with. Its easier to do remote admin. So the TCO numbers Microsoft claims are usually bullshit.

You have thought about that in terms of doing machine-by-machine maintenance. A large school district has a similar topology to a large enterprise corporation - thousands of systems spread out over dozens or hundreds of sites, with dozens or hundreds of different user-types grouped by function, having various seemingly-arbitrary blocking and auditability rules, and possible liability for certain types of breach, etc.

For maintaining a farm of identical servers, I agree with you completely. For maintaining Grandma's desktop remotely, I agree with you completely. But for maintaining an enterprise desktop environment, Microsoft simply has the best tools for the job. Linux AD-via-Samba quite simply doesn't even come close for the convenience of centralized GP maintenance, and has aothing anywhere near the convenience of drag-and-drop group-based software installation (though Linux does have non-stock application deployment packages available, like Puppet, that partially fill that last point). Linux has nothing even remotely like (W)SUS. And those two alone count as complete showstoppers when it comes to minimizing the number of people required to maintain a large network.

I love Linux, I use Linux, but Linux at the enterprise scale amounts to a non-starter.

Of course, the biggest irony here, school districts don't tend to use Windows, either - They loooove them some Apple products, which have all the same problems described above, plus the pricetag (not saying Apples still cost more, but they don't come free). So in that sense, yes, I can see how Linux would save school districts a hefty chunk of money; at some scale, however, you'll find that switching to MS would likely save money vs the overhead of sys/net ops and helpdesk staff.

Comment: Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 1) 704

by pla (#47545983) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"
There is an obligation to not be abusive

Hi! Welcome to the real world. You'll find the dumpster for your "participation" trophies to the left; and here, you get paid for winning, not "trying" or "good sportspersonship".

Linus doesn't suffer fools gladly. And I applaud him for that.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"