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Comment Re:Where's Trump? (Score 1) 686

I can't figure out whether Trump is too dumb to know he doesn't stand a chance in a general election or too smart for his own good and is intentionally sabotaging the GOP.

Here are my predictions:

In the latter case he's stirring up enough chaos that the Democrats slide in for an easy win and the Democratic primary becomes the de facto main event.

In the former case I think he's actually running for VP, whether he knows it or not:

He's pissed off enough of the GOP establishment, and proven beyond all doubt that he can't get the independent vote. Normally that would just mean he doesn't get the nomination but he has enough money to self-fund and trigger the spoiler effect on the GOP unless he's bluffing about running as independent. The GOP knows this, so until they learn he's actually bluffing their only option is to both keep him happy (by giving him something - hello money-in-politics!) and not giving him the POTUS nomination. That means Trump as VP and a young-ish, moderate candidate who is unlikely to die in office and leave him in the big chair. And thus we arrive at our standard "VP as insurance against terminating POTUS early" policy.

Comment Re:A comparison would be good (Score 1) 319

Usually takes about 20 minutes, so if you can make $540 per hour doing something else, by all means do that and direct your personal assistant/concierge to lower your ISP bill - you're certainly not paying them $540 per hour. And if you do I would like to show you my resume...

Comment I once got my eyes stuck cross-eyed. (Score 2) 46

going a little cross-eyed for a moment

Funny story involving close focusing and crossed eyes - So a couple years ago I watched about an hour or two worth of Family Guy from Netflix on my phone. I held the phone less than a foot away from my face while doing this, without any breaks. You know how they say don't cross your eyes for too long or they'll get stuck that way? Yeah... That actually happens. I had to walk around with one eye closed for the rest of the day (it didn't matter which one, I just couldn't do both or one would go all wonky). When I woke up the next morning I was fine again.

Comment Re:A comparison would be good (Score 4, Interesting) 319

They're desperate to keep the customers they already have.

Procedure for lowering ISP bill:

- Research introductory price from local competing ISPs with same speed (cable vs. DSL, etc...)
- Call current ISP, select billing from the phone menu.
- Tell Person1 you want them to match the other ISP's introductory price.
- Person1's job is to make you go away so they will put you on hold for 5 minutes. Don't go away.
- Person1 will return and tell you they can't match the price.
- Tell Person1 you'd like to cancel.
- Person1 will transfer you to Person2 in the billing department.
- Tell Person2 you've found a cheaper rate and would like to cancel.
- Person2 will keep you on hold for 10 minutes to see if you'll go away, occasionally returning with progressively lower rates but still above the competing rate. Don't go away. Don't accept anything above than the competing rate.
- Person2 will "find" a lower rate equal to the competing ISP's introductory rate for 1 year
- Wait 1 year, repeat.

I have done this 3 times with a success rate of 100% on RoadRunner. Average annual savings = $180.

The most recent time I was already on an introductory rate ($45/mo for 30 megabit) but found an even lower intro ($34/mo for same) rate at the competing ISP. Person1 had the audacity to say "I think you're already getting a pretty good rate". I was tempted to not even give them the opportunity to keep my subscription at that point.

Comment Re:Amazon... (Score 1) 206

I disagree. Amazon's stock price is much too high right now, being driven so by extreme speculation. It's current selling for more than 21 times book value. It's a very poor investment over the long term - the next time the market goes bear the price will drop like a brick unless by some miracle they have increased their assets by about 20 times and profitability by about 1000 times (read: Good Luck With That). Investing in it in the short term is a game of musical chairs - somebody is going to be stuck owning it when the price tanks. Cashing out right before that point requires recognizing that the price is about to tank (before everyone else, who are all trying to do the same thing). Even if you trade as fast as a computer you're faced with a chicken-and-egg problem.

Compare that to oil companies which can be bought at bargain prices right now - if you can pick which ones are financially strong enough to ride out the current drop in oil prices (which will go away when ISIS does). For example with this one you're buying nearly $3 worth of assets and $0.30 in annual earnings for every $1 in stock price. (Before anyone interprets that as investment advice, I'm not convinced this example is strong enough to ride out the price drop.)

Recommended reading (ironically an Amazon link)

Comment Re:Salary vs. cost of living? (Score 1) 264

rent in the bay are is high, but 2500 get's you a 3-4 bed house in the east bay

You're missing the big picture of real estate: Equity.

When you pay into a mortgage you can sell the house or borrow against the equity. When you pay rent, you build someone else's equity for them. This person already has enough wealth to buy to pay the insane prices of houses in Silicon Valley. So the rich person is getting richer, and the poor person is going nowhere.

but you don't have many other expenses, silicon valley companies feed you, offer transportation, etc etc.

That was tried before in the coal mining towns of West Virginia. It doesn't turn out so well for the workers. See these. You're just skipping the pointless pieces of paper and instead presenting a company ID.

Comment Re:Bees (Score 2) 92

I agree with your conclusion but not your reasoning. Try this on for size:

The comparison with bees stings is misleading a BS statistic because they're comparing deaths per entire population rather than deaths per vulnerable population. A farmer in the middle of Oklahoma has a pretty low chance of being eaten by a shark but he has a shot at being a bee fatality. Therefore he's skewing that stat in the shark's favor for someone who is considering whether a beach is more risky than staying home with the bees.

Vulnerable-to-bee means anyone who is outside anywhere in any of the US's 3.8 million square miles. On a daily basis, this is pretty close to the entire population.

Vulnerable-to-shark means anyone who is in the water at or near an ocean, which translates to an area of about 88,633 square miles (source). Practically speaking, this is orders of magnitude less than the entire population otherwise the entire interior of the US would be abandoned.

Comment Re:Haiti Money went through the Clinton Foundation (Score 1) 235

Irrelevant. 'Voting against' is a consequence of a of a two-party system which is a consequence of a simple-majority, winner-take-all system. A system like run-off voting would fix this problem

I do agree the electoral college has far outlived its usefulness and is contrary to how a democracy should work, with its failure rate of 5%.

For all the hero worship the Founding Fathers get they made tremendous blunders when it came to the voting system.

Comment Wifi enabling a washing machine (Score 1) 258

I recently had to open up my washing machine to fix a clogged pressure switch tube. Inside the control panel I found a wiring and timer diagram. I am mostly finished with writing some Raspberry Pi code to replace the timer with a Pi and a relay board. I installed a web server onto the Pi and put it on my Wifi network also. The ultimate goal is to allow Wifi control of my washing machine, as well as have it send notifications when it finishes, be able to check status, etc. I foresee those notifications popping up in the corner of my desktop in the immediate future, and maybe on a media center in the future (if I ever bother to make one an attach it to the TV)

Another interesting tidbit - a new washing machine timer costs more than the Pi+parts that I will replace it with. (Might Ebay it when I'm done)

Comment Re:Games (Doom) helped me into an IT career (Score 1) 170

Your story and mine are similar, and I suspect Zuckerberg's is also close. I suspect Zuckerberg said was true - for the people now in their early to mid 30s but I think circumstances have changed in the last 20 years. All the digging through manuals and "ATDT" tweaks we had to make back then are all, standardized, GUI driven and automatic these days. Save for DayZ, it'd been years and years since I downloaded and installed a mod on a game. It isn't even possible to mod most games out there these days.

Younger than that and video games are a more widely accepted past time, and require almost nothing in the way of technical expertise to make work. There are programmers in this demographic but you won't be able to say with 90% accuracy someone has a future in IT because the group of people playing video games is not limited to the people willing to spend hours hand tweaking system files to get it to run well (or at all).

Older than that and (I suspect) there wasn't much gaming to do.

A sine curve goes off to infinity, or at least the end of the blackboard. -- Prof. Steiner