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Comment: Re:Now we have an answer to the 20TB backup questi (Score 1) 335

by torkus (#46476481) Attached to: 1GB of Google Drive Storage Now Costs Only $0.02 Per Month

Yep...and how much does it cost if you add a backup solution and off-site replication?

Another $1200 NAS
Somewhere to put it
Maintenance and/or monitoring

Cheaper? Probably (for now). Cheaper enough to be worth if if you value your data? Not for me.

Comment: Re:Dont do anyone any favors (Score 1) 644

by torkus (#46057589) Attached to: Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Who says that's a valid contract? The state (i.e. gov't aid) becomes a party to the contract once that woman goes to get aid for her/their child. They weren't involved in nor agreed to it. Granted if the mother(s) had lived up to their end and actually been able to support the child then none of this would have come up.

I don't agree with the outcome though and think this should be treated exactly like adoption.

Comment: How it actually works... (Score 3, Interesting) 87

by torkus (#46037391) Attached to: MIT Develops Inexpensive Transparent Display Using Nanoparticles as a projector screen that is only reflective at one very specific wavelength. It doesn't emit any light...there are no pixels...nothing about it changes what parts light up.

It's still quite novel...i'm not sure why they couldn't be more specific (or less misleading?) in describing it.

Keep in mind it's not totally transparent - see how the table looks yellow behind it? Add red and greed and you're going to reduce the incoming light further. They said it can be could be changed to avoid any of the peaks in LED, CFL, and daylight. Will be interesting to see where this goes...but if they start painting cars and buildings with this it's going to do odd things to the incoming light.

Comment: Re:Why do these exist (Score 2) 211

by torkus (#46035485) Attached to: T-Mobile Jumping Into the Check-Cashing Industry

Check out some credit unions. I think mine required a $5 buy-in/minimum deposit or something silly like that. The only fee I've ever paid (10+ years) was for my mortgage application. The catch is they don't have 3 branches in every single town throughout the US...which doesn't matter if you're poor and don't travel or rarely need a teller (like me).

The banking industry of the 80's was a mess. The prime rate hit the highest ever of 21.5% and averaged around 15% for the decade (currently 3.25% for reference). It's no wonder they could pay a few % interest on accounts and still make plenty of money of loans without fees. Even at the lowest, the prime rate was 3x what it is today. Plus the deregulation of banking led to all kinds of nasty things. Most people forget how many banks failed in the early 80's and how many new ones popped up. The FDIC spent a ton of money (especially for the time) refunding deposits from failed banks.

Personally I'd rather a $8 fee than a 15% prime rate. Granted the poor are still taken advantage of and also wind up paying much higher interest rates...but that's a more complex socioeconomic issue. It's not just greedy banks.

A different issue though - the amount of background checking a bank does to open a simple check account. I declined and walked out a few years back when I realized what they were asking of me and asking me to sign - especially when they refused to let me have a copy of some of the paperwork I was told I had to sign.

Comment: Re:not consumer OS's (Score 5, Informative) 513

by torkus (#46026429) Attached to: HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

NT 3.51 wasn't really meant to be a desktop OS. It was aligned with NT 3.51 server and skipped all bells and whistles from the desktop side. They also were competing with OS/2 Warp

NT 4 was a step forward - usable as a stable desktop with drivers to support peripherals but still aimed at administrators and developers who would eschew the bells and whistles for a more stable computer. Remember this was the time when a daily reboot was required for Win 9x

Win 2000 was the first real attempt at bringing PnP and other consumer-oriented technologies to the business OS. It had it's faults but overall definitely worked.

XP took that a step further and fully combined personal and consumer OS's.

Back in the NT and 2k days...I don't think many consumers paid retail prices for their OS. MS basically allowed piracy to get market penetration and made plenty of money from businesses and PC resellers since they had the default (essentially only) OS.

Comment: Re:New MS business plan (Score 5, Informative) 513

by torkus (#46026313) Attached to: HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

Win 8 is totally fine once you make it into Win 7 either by uninstalling 8 or installing enough add-ons to hide it.

Seriously...MS screwed up by making such a drastic change to the UI that's been around for the better part of forever. While the under-the-hood changes did add quite a bit they could have left them under the hood and left the UI mostly intact. Tweak a few things to make them easier but...why start with a clean slate and recreate everything? Some things are so buried or just missing ... it's ridiculous. For home users it's not as drastic but business/enterprise? Do you know how difficult it is get get a secretary to click a different colored icon during an upgrade? Now you want one to learn Metro...I've watched people quit because of changes like that totally disrupting their work environment. Sad but true.

Comment: Re:So why didn't you do it first? (Score 1) 195

by torkus (#45989857) Attached to: Building an Open Source Nest

It's worth it for a few reasons...

- home automation has been struggling along...quirky, expensive, not quite there. Yet. Nest is one of the few that's made it without turning into x11 crap from china. People are far more likely to allow to automate their house than

- metadata is valuable. Even if it's not perfect it's still far better than none for ... so many people. Look at google's cross-platform information usage. Google knows you're married, you google christian dating and 3 weeks later herpes medicine...the following week you get adds for divorce lawyers :) I'm exaggerating a bit but if google knows your home why not display adds for seamless around dinner time? If you set an away for 2 about house monitoring / security services?

- The reputation of the company and the inventiveness of the execs has value too. Who else could make a THERMOSTAT cool? Seriously.

- one more way google (and everyone else) can laugh at scada exploits ... or /TinHatOn/ allow the gov't to take over our houses

- on a larger scale contracting with power companies for things like optional temp adjustment on high demand days in return for reduced charges (i.e. raise AC by 2 degrees when it's 105 out and in return your days power costs 20% less...and the power co avoids having to buy expensive power from out of state or go to brown-out conditions)

etc. etc. etc.

There are many reasons if you take a long term view. Looking at just the thing on the wall? Well they still managed to sell an audrino and temp sensor for $250. That's worth something :)

Comment: Re:Freakin' Riders. (Score 1) 767

by torkus (#45988039) Attached to: Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve

Unless we can get perfect blackbody radiation in a ~25 sq inch package everything will be about sucking less.

Incandescent bulbs have their uses. They're dirt cheap. They're dirt cheap. They're 100% efficient if it's cold (wasted heat isn't wasted anymore) and negative efficient when it's hot. Also:

CFLs annoy the crap out of me. They frequently fail FAR ahead of their 'lifetime' due to the cheap e-ballast overheating. Got forbid you install them upside down. Still, they use much less power and probably are ahead on overall cost even with the early deaths I've seen time and time again. You can pick your color to some degree but the light is typically only a few specific frequencies.

LEDs have potential but the cheap ones hurt the market for the good ones. I've tried and tossed several cheap LED bulbs...then stayed in a hotel where I wanted to steal the ones they used because they were so good. Heat is still an issue as is spectrum depending on the bulb. Oddly enough many LED bulbs function like a CFL - a phosphor is stimulated which emits the light you see. Granted it's still an LED stimulating that phosphor :)

I think each bulb has certain uses and the market should have the deciding vote. Stop forcing decisions down everyone's throat...if it's a better choice then a bit of education will suffice.

Comment: Re:Question (Score 1) 384

by torkus (#45987837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?

But there's a limit to the coddling ... or there should be.

If you were hiring an engineer and they told you...well I can only work on projects alone, in a darkened office, with a private fridge of xyz drink, during evenings...and if there's thunder and lightning I won't be able to come to'd laugh and take the next candidate.

I'm tired of hearing about kids who "can't possible do XYZ and don't deserve to fail because of it" ... when thousands (or millions) of others did the same thing and got by. Sure, some struggled...but that's what builds character and develops a personality.

Comment: Re:I know of four means (Score 1) 384

by torkus (#45987775) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?

Don't improve the targeting of your focus.

Very much this. Adderall can be very useful or very distracting. It's only one piece of the puzzle though. Memory, focus, and target (or goal) are three very different things and depending on the situation one may be far more important than another.

Personally I think testing focuses FAR too much on outright memorization and far too little on conceptual knowledge/critical thinking. If I forget an obscure formula or definition...I look it up in 5 seconds. Being able to understand what you're doing with the formula is another level entirely.

Comment: Re:All the news that matters (Score 1) 894

I can't comment about your specific state but, tin hats aside, the police ARE expected to use some intelligence and make judgment calls.

Looking at NYPD who are notorious and noteworthy all the same. Part of the police test/interview they will ask something like "if you pulled your mother over for speeding what would you do/would you give her a ticket".

Yes is the wrong answer. You're *expected* to use your judgment and enforce laws to the best effect, not the strict letter. If giving mom a dirty look and asking her why she'd do something so silly while you're on duty would make her drive safer...that's far more useful than writing a ticket. Same reason cops look the other way over lots of stupid chickenshit stuff.

With that said I fully understand no one would write their mother a ticket because cops wink wink nudge nudge...but the underlying point stands.

Comment: Re:Support costs (Score 1) 804

by torkus (#45798099) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

Well that's the opposite of my anecdotal evidence. It likely has a lot to do with the environment you're supporting. Perhaps a comprehensive look at why you're getting so many BSODs?

The ~5000 computers my team is responsible for do need attention ... but a BSOD is extremely rare and typically the result of hardware failure. This despite having multiple agents for patching, security, monitoring, inventory, remote access, encryption, etc. installed on all the computer and a large portion of users having local admin.

Now...if we were still on XP and 5+ year old hardware I'm sure it would be a different story.

Comment: Re:Support costs (Score 1) 804

by torkus (#45797979) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

Presumptive, tangential conclusions...

Perhaps you're taking about consumer level support?

I've worked with MS Enterprise Support many times in my career...and they're nothing like Apple support. They aren't perfect but they WILL troubleshoot an issue until they can provide a resolution. I've gotten beta or custom-modified patches from them before. I've gotten engineers who will dig into multi-platform systems without the immediate finger-pointing or "stop using xyz product." Oh, and everything they're troubleshooting is on someone else's hardware. Let me know when Apple will do that.

On the consumer level, Apple's typical advice is 'you're doing it wrong' (yes, this meant to be funny, not trolling)

Comment: Re:Understandable, but... (Score 1) 378

by torkus (#45793275) Attached to: Surge In Online Orders Overwhelms UPS Christmas Deliveries

There are always going to be exception cases. So yes, there are *TWO* people with badly delayed packages. This out of how many millions of packages delivered in the 4 weeks leading up to christmas? Unfortunately the more extreme the example the more it's referred to...even when it's basically irrelevant.

Yes, UPS and FedEx messed up some deliveries. They're not some magic perfect wizard den ... but neither is any large scale enterprise. It sucks for those who missed packages but a large portion of those were shipped by vendors who knew there were delivery delays.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.