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Comment Re:You get what you pay for. (Score 1) 818

>>>when I look at teens today, it's terrifying how basically ignorant they are, and how amazingly short their attention spans are. Gee, us 50+ folks thought the same about *you*. :-) Then realized we sounded like our parents. :-) :-) :-)

The problem is there's truth in it. The pace of technological change has been much faster than the pace at which society and individuals can adjust in a sensible fashion. Witness the thread about privacy expectations.

Comment Re:How hard is it to have something like this in U (Score 1) 491

Have you ever had an appraisal done?

Better. I was an appraiser in the early to mid 1990's.

proceeded to tell the appraiser the value my house needed to be

There are a lot of rubber-stamp appraisers out there. OTOH, the appraiser needs to know the loan-to-value ratio. If the value looks like it is coming in low, the appraiser tries to give the loan originator a heads-up. Also, appraisal is as much art as it is science. There is a certain legitimate amount of discretion (about 5%) in writing the appraisal and arriving at a value, especially in an area where properties are not homogeneous

this is the kind of thing that got us into this foreclosure crisis

Meh. I wouldn't be so quick to blame the appraisers, even the bad ones. The appraiser's job is to determine what a given property would sell for given the current and recent market, which means that he/she is trying to predict the future based on the past. Anyone who has read a prospectus should recognize the phrase "past performance is no guarantee of future returns", which is apropos here as well. Done properly, even the best appraisal is nothing more than a point-in-time snapshot of a constantly moving target. If the market has soared, the appraiser has to appraise accordingly.

Prices rise because that's what people are willing to spend, which is what appraisers are trying to estimate. I remember seeing a property that sold for $390k that was only worth $370k by my appraisal and I know my number was dead on, based on the recent (at the time) local market. The low appraisal didn't kill the sale because the borrower was putting a lot of money down. Guess what? That sale helped benchmark the next appraisal values in that neighborhood.

I'm not defending the poor practices of those appraisers who take shortcuts or just try to hit a number, but it's unfair to blame the barometer for the storm. I have a whole big rant about how artificially low interest rates created artificially high real estate prices by boosting buying power and shifting the demand curve, but don't really feel like digging it out.

If you want to find a good appraiser, look for one that does work for relocation companies. They actually get graded on accuracy by the companies they do work for. They aren't given a number to start with. If they come in to high, the relocation company loses money when it goes to sell the property. If they come in to low, the relocation company loses the deal, because the homeowner isn't willing to sell.

Comment Why do they trap snow? (Score 1) 839

So, why does snow accumulate on the lights in the first place? Because there are nooks and crannies where it can land. Eliminate those, you get rid of a lot of the problem. Next, snow and ice accumulate because the water is just above freezing, and the traffic light is below freezing. It hits, freezes, and sticks. Reengining the shape of the light won't fix that, but common sense of the part of drivers will. If approaching a traffic light and it's indication isn't clear, treat it as a stop sign.

But no, too many drivers would rather cripple or kill others because they are in a hurry...

Comment Re:Too early (Score 1) 203

The only DRM that can survive is DRM that does not get in the way of what the consumer wants to do. As soon as DRM is going to do things like "I don't play on this TV screen because no-one gave me permission to play on that screen, but I will happily play on your other screens" (like that fancy HD-video connector what's it called again... HDMI or so? can do to you) then consumers will go "WTF is this? That sucks! Return that TV to the shop as it can't play my BluRay! and the DRM will whither and go in the end.

CSS has been a nuisance to me: I got a DVD player in my Linux computer like 10 years ago, right about the time of DeCSS. I had to install an extra driver and presto, all DVDs played again. That was quite irritating though. But it's now basically out of the way.

I don't have BluRay and don't have experience with their DRM mess, but as soon as it gets in the way of consumers (can't easily view their disk, whatever) they will stop buying. It's for me enough reason not to go that route: it sounds too cumbersome. Get special interface to your HD-TV and just hope it works even though the cables connect nicely, that kind of nonsense. I'm not even willing to try. Unless I read about it being as thoroughly broken as DVD's DRM, then I will consider.

There you go: one potential sale of equipment and lots of disks gone.

So I think DRM is self-defeating. From the get-go of DRM (I heard the term coined 15-20 years ago) I already wondered 'how can that work, as it's the computer that you control yourself is trying to restrict you' and well I was about right there obviously. Either it gets in the way and costs you sales, or it doesn't get in the way and then well what's the use of building in digital restrictions management that basically has no restrictions. It just costs more effort.

Case in point: region coding on DVDs. Here in Hong Kong (and I think most of Asia) it's a non-issue. I don't think you can find a DVD player with region coding built in. It's never mentioned in the manual, nor is there a region code setting to be made anywhere in the device settings. It seems to be simply absent, thus saving the makers of the device the cost of implementing that restriction. Just ignoring it is cheaper.

Comment Re:Why doesn't Miguel just go to work for Microsof (Score 1) 443

You'd be surprised at how many corporations are going with Sharepoint, it's the silent Apache HTTPD killer...

I hate to break it to you, but Sharepoint isn't an HTTP server.

It appearsAlexBirch's point missed you: SharePoint Server replaces several uses of HTTP servers such as IIS, Lighttpd, and Apache. The idea is to switch the intranet from web apps to SharePoint and reserve the web servers for customer-facing sites.

Comment Re:5 Megapixel camera?!? Why this thing again? (Score 5, Informative) 119

"With mainstream phones going high with 12+MP en HD video cameras, frankly the 5MB I heard about the new phone are ludicrously pathetic."

Other way around, actually. A 12 MP (or even a 5 MP) sensor in a cell phone is a ludicrously pathetic marketing trick. As a practical matter, a typical cell phone lens is going to give you about 2 MP. Pairing that with a high resolution sensor just means you're measuring the blur more accurately, and wasting storage and processing capacity. Note - there ARE some (rare) cell phones that use bigger lenses, and those might actually get 3 or 4 MP, but definitely not 12.

You can measure the MTF yourself if you want. Last time I had this argument with somebody he actually posted a picture from his 5 MP cell phone camera and we compared with an appropriately blurred version from my 6 MP SLR. Guess what? His picture had an effective resolution of about 2 MP (and horrible noise). Which brings up another point - small lenses will always give you poor low light performance, but you make it much, much worse by trying to capture an crazy number of pixels to boot.

The cell phone appears to be the last bastion of the megapixel myth. Camera manufacturers have started giving up that marketing tactic, with newer cameras going to less resolution and emphasizing noise performance. If the rumors are true, it's actually too bad Apple has given into this ploy... although it's probably hard to source lower resolution sensors now.

Comment Re:Okay, I'll be the one to say it... (Score 1) 416

Mod parent troll (sopssa as usual). If anything, typically it's proprietary software which releases your information to 3rd parties, not open source software. To say anything else implies you either don't know what you're talking about or are intentionally trying to spread anti-open source FUD. With sopssa's posting history, I'll wager it's the latter.

Comment Re:The proper Solution: (Score 1) 169

I think he means something more along the lines of sellers of applications. As a fan of linux, I can see this being awesome, but it would have a huge dark side. All the *nix only programs that are used to do important thing (like, you know, run the entire internet) would have to be released in Win and OSX forms. (nb, this would still only apply to the ones that actually cost money)

Comment Re:Focus group... (Score 0, Flamebait) 412

So what does HD TV have to do with being a grandmother? Nothing for starters. So what if you are 49 y/o, I am 34 y/o and does anyone care NO!. So your still just a programmer at 49? I would have been a little more impressed if it read; "...during my long career as a programmer now manager of my department of C/C++ programmers..." See you show no signs for improvement and C/C++ are basically the same. You have it that you can only fit C language in your minimal capacity skull. I do have to say this as my final; I truly feel sorry for your husband/boyfriend/boytoy for getting stuck with a dumb arse like yourself whom must declare your position on a topic and still call it by an incorrect term. Silly Troll Slashdot is for winners

Comment Re:Conveniently forgetting the details (Score 1) 929

Nonsense, anonymous coward. The only reason Israel is compared to ARab countries (who certainly are among the worst in the world) is that they are right next door.

However you can compare Israel to any country on Earth and it will stack up favourably.

For example, one major terrorist attack in New York. How many killed in response? Whereas, every single day in Israel is like 9/11 as far as terrorist motives go. Yet has Israel used "Shock and Awe" as it easily could? No. Instead, they took massive casualties, going literally door to door looking for terrorists in order to minimise civilian casualties due to Hamas hiding behind civilian human shields.

America would have simply bombed the shit out of Gaza and the world would probably be a safer place for it.

Or is this where you include America as one of the worst countries in the world?

Fact: Israel is a modern liberal democracy. Is it perfect? Of course not, and no other country on Earth is. However given the challenges it faces, Israel is a remarkable success story. Contrast it with the abject failure that is the Arab world and it shows how sad it is that people are willing to attack anything Israel does, while handing a free pass to the Arabs no matter how evil or stupid their actions are.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose