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Comment: No consequences - more of the same (Score 4, Insightful) 118

by rbanzai (#48675577) Attached to: NSA Reveals More Than a Decade of Improper Surveillance

Like any organization public or private they will do whatever they can get away with, and in this case they can get away with anything. The checks and balances don't work anymore because elected officials themselves just ignore them and on election day all we have to vote for are more people just like them.

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by rbanzai (#48597695) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I should clarify that I'm not blaming the digital formats for the overcompression, I'm blaming the people that are not properly managing the use of the formats. Even CDs frequently sound bad to me, like the original recording has a limited dynamic range in comparison to some of the early ones I bought, like "Avalon" by Roxy Music. I get the impression that producers are buggering up the sound before it even gets to a CD or suffers from ham-fisted encoding to MP3, etc.

People could create terrible vinyl too, like the old "one sided singles" that sounded like they were cut out of the back of a box of cereal. My brother still has one of those cereal box singles ("Going Back to Indiana" by the Jackson 5) and it's doesn't sound much worse!

Comment: Not really missing vinyl (Score 4, Insightful) 433

by rbanzai (#48593727) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I was born in the 1960s so I was brought up on vinyl, but I was bummed at all the hissing and pops and crackles even though I tried to take care of my records. The clarity of CDs was a revelation even though a certain warmth was sacrificed.

I won't ever miss the defects of vinyl, but today's common digital formats sacrifice far too much information, leaving the listener to "enjoy" the watery tones of overcompressed music.

Comment: Re:Too poor (Score 1, Informative) 341

by rbanzai (#46781639) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

I always put the maximum I could into a 401k, but most of the low-end jobs I had early on didn't offer one, and later on I was chronically underemployed. I only buy economy cars and keep them at least 10 years. I've never taken a vacation, buy no luxury items (Ex; jewelry, high end gadgets, etc.) I've gone through two recessions/depressions, and now I'm at the age where career prospects only go downward if you haven't made it to C level.

So... yes, you can blame my poor prospects for retirement entirely on my inability to earn lots of money, but not on managing my money. It's not magical: if you don't earn enough money you aren't going to be able to retire.

Comment: Too poor (Score 5, Interesting) 341

by rbanzai (#46777459) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

I'll never be able to retire. Never made enough money, and never had enough, early enough for a useful 401k. Two bubbles bursting killed what little I was able to afford to put away. My parents technically didn't retire either, they just got too old, sick and tired to keep working. Unlike them I have no kids to help support me so when it's my turn in the next few decades I'll be out on the street.

Social Security my ass.

Comment: 2013 and people are as terrible as ever (Score 2, Insightful) 734

by rbanzai (#45143971) Attached to: Facebook Comment Prompts Arrests In Cyberbullying Suicide Case

People defend bullies and call a 12 year old suicide a "coward." It disgusts but does not surprise me:

1. ... that people want bullying to be considered protected speech.
2. ... that the bullied are expected to physically beat down their tormentors or else they must deserve what they get.
3. ...that some poor child that is so desperate that they kill themselves is branded a coward.

Human society will always raise up the violent and support their efforts to eliminate the weaker members as if we're all animals and need to cull impure genes from our species. We are no more advanced than we were 2,000 years ago, just a loose collection of intelligent, slavering beasts in business suits and yoga pants.

Comment: No better than twenty years ago (Score 1) 78

by rbanzai (#44859101) Attached to: Mitsuku Chatbot Wins Loebner Prize 2013

I spent alot of time on the website for this chatbot and was surprised by how awful it was. I remember using the old Eliza chatbot for Mac back in 1987 and this is barely more advanced. I used the website's "Turing test" page and on the very first answer to a simple question the chabot gave me something nonsensical. Every time I see one of these stories the chatbot in question always turns out to be just as clumsy as all the rest.

"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all." -- Nathaniel Branden