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Comment: Re:how about doing something about cable / sat box (Score 1) 339

by stmfreak (#29782205) Attached to: California Moving Forward With Big-Screen TV Power Restrictions

That would be nice. We've got two DVRs in our house. When I measured them on the killowatt, I found that they pull about 50 watts on or off. That's stupid. Even if they need to listen for programming changes, they should be able to spin down the drive or reduce the cpu clock or something.

I've taken to turning one of them off at night by pulling the plug (via power strip switch). Takes a while to warm up in the morning, but I don't care. But this 50 watts an hour is costing me $15/month per DVR at California's top rate of $0.46 per KWh. It's enough for me to seriously consider cutting my DirecTV subscription entirely.

Comment: Re:It will never happen (Score 1) 567

by stmfreak (#29624653) Attached to: California Requests Stimulus Funding For Bullet Train

> It just takes willing

And money. God awe full amounts of money. What ever they say it will cost, double or triple it. And double the schedule as well.

CA voters recently approved $10B in bonds for high speed rail. I'm pretty sure most of them didn't read the part about how paying those bonds off was going to cost $20B over thirty years. Nor did they likely read that the entire project was estimated to cost $55B. Triple that to $165B and ask how many passengers will it take to make that project worthwhile?

WA State had a light rail project back in the 80s that was supposed to extend from SeaTac to Everett. Most of the State voted no. They went forward anyway, choosing to tax a subset of the State to fund it. Years later, the train runs from Tacoma to Seattle, not quite the distance necessary. Cost overruns and several thousand passengers per day. At an investment cost of $400,000 per regular passenger.

I understand that the concept of high-speed travel between L.A. and S.F. is nice, but we already have planes and airports. And cars and roads for those of us who don't approve of the invasion of privacy required. These sort of public works projects that benefit few at an extraordinary cost to the many seem very wasteful and wrong-headed.

As for high-speed trains, they are able to travel 200mph due to extremely smooth and straight railways. If we put that sort of accuracy and stability into our freeway systems, along with long on/off ramps and appropriate barriers to prevent oncoming collisions, we could vastly increase the speeds on our interstates and cut down travel times in all directions. It just takes the will to act to benefit all of us.

Comment: Re:Sweet merciful crap! (Score 4, Insightful) 792

by stmfreak (#29431343) Attached to: Congress Mulls Research Into a Vehicle Mileage Tax

Upmod parent to eleven, please. This was what I wanted to post.

Forget the shock that they want to track our locations. Forget that we already pay a road-use-tax via gasoline which is already levied more towards high mass inefficient vehicles than the low-mass efficient methods of travel. Let's focus our shock and outrage on the very idea that our government has evolved to the point where it cannot even propose a law without first undertaking a study funded by taxes which would otherwise employ several hundred people for a full year.

These are supposed to be our representatives. Unless you and a lot of other people I don't know have been calling them asking for more taxes on road use... preferably tracked by vehicle mile, they shouldn't be proposing this junk at all. As noted in the top post, the beneficiaries here are corporations. I suspect that the proposed study would be bid out to these same corporations to conclude that yes, it does seem to be a good idea.

We need to vote out every incumbent now. Turn over the entire cart and start fresh with no tolerance for this junk anymore.

And by "junk" I mean bullshit.

Comment: Re:Stupid prices (Score 1) 827

by stmfreak (#29033971) Attached to: US Cell Phone Plans Among World's Most Expensive

Sounds like a good reason to move to [Sweden]. But here in the USA, our government is full of bureaucrats that do nothing but fuck things up. Everything they touch goes to crap. The quality goes to crap, the quantities go to crap and the prices go up and up and up.

The idea of giving our bureaucrats MORE taxes in the interest of fixing things is sheer lunacy.

Comment: Re:I believe that ... (Score 1) 539

by stmfreak (#28979569) Attached to: Apple Working On Tech To Detect Purchasers' "Abuse"

Try this: ran iphone through clothes washer on accident for 30 minutes. Diagnosis: Completely Dead. Disassembled, immediately desoldered battery, separated logic boards, cleaned with sonicare toothbrush and vinegar followed by distilled water, blown dry with compressed air, reassembled, functional but screen has artifacts from water, return to apple store and claim ignorance, kids took it and probably got it wet, yea, that's the story. Thank the wonderful apple genius who cheerfully exchanges it gratis under apple care warranty and go home.

On the flip side, this was my seventh iphone. The first six failed in different ways for purely manufacturing defects. This latest one is still going strong and will probably survive the end of my apple care contract, which was obviously money well spent for such a fragile device.

Comment: legal vs. illegal content is poison pill (Score 1) 248

by stmfreak (#28937455) Attached to: Network Neutrality Back In Congress For 3rd Time

By encoding the allowance to block illegal content, they provide a "reasonable" provision that no one in their right mind would disagree with and set the stage for all future battles. We already lost to the DMCA which declared quite a bit of information and sharing thereof illegal. That could be blocked. Next, we'll see anti-P2P legislation and then they can block all those protocols and ports. Then you can look at the illegal devices and please note Apple is trying to turn an unlocked iPhone into an illegal device so your hacked tivo or homebrewed mythtv is suddenly blockable.

This doesn't give us net neutrality, it just pacifies us while moving the game into the lobbyists hands.

Comment: Simple Solutions, Time Tested (Score 1) 323

by stmfreak (#28790295) Attached to: Cable Management To Defeat Clutter?

Cables are a pain, but the real eyesore is cables going off in all different directions. Add the tripping hazard for your feet and accidentally unplugging something while you are working... or your kid does that while playing hide and seek under your desk... I have a simple solution: Zip Ties

That's right. Zip Ties.

Not velcro. Kids can undo velcro far too easily. Use zip ties to bundle your cables together every foot or so and secure them to table legs or what-not. Takes care of routing, tripping hazards and can even allow enough slack to remain on your desk for your mouse and keyboard. Extra lengths can be folded up and zip tied. Zip ties are cheap. A pair of dykes makes it really easy to remove them and redo.

As for all those power adapters sucking power when not in use, get a kill-o-watt meter and you'll find out what I did when I ganged up ten chargers on a large power-strip. Unused, they were sucking down two (2) watts total. Change ONE lightbulb to CFL and you've saved more power in a year than you will ever save over the life of all your current devices idle draw.

Comment: Re:scary thing (Score 1) 464

by stmfreak (#28775561) Attached to: US Agency Blocked Cellphone / Driving Safety Study

What is really amusing about this new hands free California law is that like other driving laws, the cops seem more than willing to ignore it whenever it pleases them. Sure, we had a month of people not using their phones while driving, but the fad has passed and now that talk and text just like before. The cops however never paused for a second.

Disclaimer: I'm generally against any nanny state laws since I really don't need someone else telling me what to do or how to behave. I prefer laws defining consequences for actions that affect others in a measurable way. As I've said elsewhere: driving distracted shouldn't be a crime, but causing an accident should be punished appropriately, more severely if you kill someone, and even more severely if we can prove you were being negligent at the time.

Comment: Re:Steve Jobs is a flamer (Score 1) 116

by stmfreak (#28720407) Attached to: Spyware In BlackBerry Updates For Users in the UAE

You know, the market has been speculating that without Jobs, Apple will fall apart and the parade of cool products will grind to a halt. Like it did back in the 80s and 90s when Scully was president. In that regard, Jobs provides thousands of people with JOBS, income, health care, etc.

I bet you would be hard pressed to find another person on the list more deserving on that scale.

Forgetting that, supposing that he bought his way to the top of a transplant list, where do you think that money went? Some black market organ dealer? Or as a size able donation to a hospital that provides health care to thousands of people? I'm just speculating here based on the press release from the hospital, but if his money allowed him to benefit by providing ongoing benefits to many, many others...

I bet you would be hard pressed to find another person on the list more deserving on that scale.

Comment: Make up your minds: product or license? (Score 4, Interesting) 590

by stmfreak (#28720139) Attached to: Why Game Developers Should Shut Up About Used Games

It is a simple case of seller's remorse. They lure you to the table with the advertising that you are buying a product. A physical good you can re-use, re-cycle, trade, sell, etc. And they make you pay a premium price for that product.

Then they whine that you are trading, re-using, selling and undermining their sales. What they really wanted was for you to pay a product price ($60) for a license.

It's pretty clear that the free market (blockbuster) has established the value of a license at $3-$5 per week. But I don't think the game studios would be happy if they sold ten million physical copies on launch day for $5 a pop either.

Comment: Fisher Plaza Designed to survive External factors (Score 1) 118

by stmfreak (#28574985) Attached to: Seattle Data Center Outage Disrupts E-Commerce

I used to manage a 22 rack cage that we leased from Internap at Fisher Plaza back in 2005. They really did build the place well. Massive diesel generators, independent well water, redundant cooling, etc. But it was designed to survive and continue broadcasting for a local news station for 18 days without resupply in the event of a major external disaster like an earthquake.

I imagine they are reviewing their DR procedures and designs now to minimize collateral damage from internal factors.

But let's not be too hard on them, it was one of the better colo facilities I've seen. There are far worse out there holding their pants up with three hands.

Comment: Just another example of misaligned incentives (Score 1) 323

by stmfreak (#27816381) Attached to: Pentagon Lost Billions, Pennies At a Time

When it's not your money and you don't have to fight for every penny by convincing customers not to purchase the alternative (no alternative to taxes), then you have little incentive to curtail waste. That our government pads all numbers with nine zeros is very predictable given the incentives.

Comment: Reference Checks (Score 4, Interesting) 227

by stmfreak (#27755921) Attached to: Social Networking Sites Getting Risky For Recruiting

Sometimes social network sites are the most honest form of references you can find on an prospective candidate. And while some people express preferences or display aspects of their lives that put them in a protected class, one we're legal bound not to ask about, it is information that they choose to display in association with the name they use to seek employment. Personally, I try to ignore that stuff while I look for aspects of their life that may relate to their capability as an employee. If you are concerned that you might be denied employment because you <whatever>, use an alias.

On the flip side, some candidates reveal things that make it very easy to weed them from the process for reasons that, legal or not, are in the best interest of the company and staff. The most recent in our case was a candidate that wrote us a particularly angry letter about our interview process. A quick google revealed him to be a stalker who kept a record of threats he made and threats he received through chronicle of his life. We also found a separate site devoted to his lawsuit against a former employer over some other stalking/harassment type issue. Rather than apologize and try to correct our process, we bid him farewell.

Should we avoid learning all we can that is relevant to the job about someone we might consider hiring? Google provides levels of information previously only available through the use of a private eye and with the good comes the bad and unnecessary. So we have to ignore religion, age, race, gender, preferences, et cetera. But hiring managers have been doing that for years, this information often comes up or can be inferred during an interview.

This policy seems like a Luddite decision. It would probably be better for HR to do the research and then filter out the protected information so the hiring manager doesn't get tainted. Then the hiring can be done irrespective of protected class status and yet with full awareness of the relevant data.

Comment: Re:Let me be the first one to say it ... (Score 1) 1870

by stmfreak (#27653279) Attached to: Pirate Bay Trial Ends In Jail Sentences

First, I'm not talking about copying and reselling, competing directly with the distributors for their legal right of exclusive sale. Yes, we have laws against that and I tend to agree with them.

But I am talking about hearing a song on the radio and pressing "record" or the modern equivalent of borrowing a CD and pressing, "import".

I'm talking about the "for personal" use clause in older LAWS that permitted such things.

As for following the LAWS of society, well, those are just agreements between people and they change all the time. If you want to follow your argument to its ridiculous conclusion then we should still own slaves and grant the king the droit du seigneur that was his due and custom back in the day. History is full of LAWS that became outdated and revoked due to changes in peoples, perspective, technology, etc.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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