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Comment: Not just download (Score 1) 67

But free-to-p[l]ay gaming is also becoming a serious contender. It solves the problem of gamers who won't buy a game without a demo, it solves the problem of having an adequate online player base, and it solves the problem of gamers who simply won't buy games but who might buy the occasional piece of DLC.

The truth is that Gamestop guaranteed their eventual nonexistence when they dropped games for old consoles. I get that they can't stock everything, but it eliminated my reasons to go in there. I can get all the same stuff cheaper somewhere else, and I can get a lot of stuff that they can't (or won't) get. Since I don't really need a $200+ headset, I'm not sure what I'd go in there for anyway.+

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 474

by Smidge204 (#47415473) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Normal humans are excluded from a lot of things.

1. Olympic Gold Medal
2. 5x Jeopardy Champion
3. Professional Concert Pianist
4. Bolshoi Ballet
5. Supermodel

Our technologically advanced society will not fall into ruin if nobody ever becomes a 5-time Jeopardy Champion ever gain...

On the other hand, guru-level engineers are considerably more important.

Comment: Re:yes but (Score 1) 292

by Loki_1929 (#47413201) Attached to: Wireless Contraception

What an interesting perspective. Pray tell, once the baby is born, but still attached via the umbilical cord, is it still a parasite you can destroy at will? I don't actually care one way or another about abortion, but I do care about consistency. From a medical standpoint, there are some specific events such as fertilization, implantation, birth, etc which could be used as a basis for drawing the line between a non-human thing (which one might describe - as you did - as a "parasite") and a human being. Thus far, the only group that seems to define that line at a medically objective point are the religious crowd (who use fertilization as their starting point). Again, consistency.

Comment: Re:yes but...yes in fact. (Score 1) 292

by Loki_1929 (#47413183) Attached to: Wireless Contraception

Why are certain beliefs privileged?

Because the people who founded this country came here seeking relief from religious oppression. Thus, when they created their own government (the one we have today), they ensured that the highest law of the land specifically restrained the government from doing to future generations what the Crown had done to them. If you don't think religious beliefs deserve special consideration, feel free to propose an amendment to the US Constitution stating so.

Could a non-religious person decide they "believed" in not providing certain healthcare to their employees and just let the government pick up the bill instead?

That would be a more challenging case to prove. The benefit of belonging to a popular religious group is that the tenants are widely known. As such, one must only then demonstrate that one actually belongs to that group (and even so, only minimally; stating as much without evidence to the contrary would typically be enough) to gain protection from government policy, law, or action which would violate that group's religious beliefs. In the Hobby Lobby case, there were 4 specific methods of birth control out of 20 which the owners maintained violated their core beliefs. In essence, they viewed those 4 specific methods as murder, but raised no objection to the other 16. The SCOTUS found those beliefs to be sincere and reasonable, and found that there was no interest at stake compelling enough to override the protections afforded to the owners of Hobby Lobby by the US Constitution. This was found in no small part due to the multitude of other options available for those seeking to attain the goals of the underlying legislation.

It's actually a pretty mundane case and shouldn't get people this riled up, but it does because the ACA and the President are attached to it. If this case involved any other law but the President's signature legislation, nobody but SCOTUS buffs would have heard a word about it.

Comment: Re:yes but (Score 1) 292

by Loki_1929 (#47413167) Attached to: Wireless Contraception

This is getting a bit muddled, so I'd like to list a couple points of fact:

- HL is required to provide healthcare to their employees. The legislation has been enacted, it's a done deal.

- This birth control is part of that healthcare.

Nobody is telling the owners of HL not to use birth control. They have the right to make that choice for themselves.

We are talking about weather HL has the right to selectively refuse to provide this federally mandated medical care coverage to their employees because they (HL) don't like/agree/approve of it.

I tend to wonder if you'd feel the same way if you owned a business and the Federal government passed a law stating you had to pay for female genital mutilation procedures for young girls and "straight camps" for gays.

Not advocating a side, just seeking consistency. Out of 20 different birth control methods, the SCOTUS ruling continues to require HL and others like them to provide coverage for 16. There were 4 specific methods which the owners found to be abhorrent to their religious convictions. In essence, they consider those 4 specific methods to be murder. The other 16 are covered without objection and if the employees just have to use those four specific methods, there's nothing in the SCOTUS ruling stating that they can't; they'll just have to bankroll them on their own.

This doesn't strike me as a case where the concept of birth control or 'reproductive health' as a whole are under attack. Rather, this seems to be a legitimate situation wherein reasonable religious conviction clashed with law passed by Congress. The impact is quite limited and thus, the SCOTUS correctly provided reasonable latitude to the religious beliefs over the law.

People on the right are blowing this case way out of proportion because they see it as a victory against the ACA. People on the left are blowing this case way out of proportion because they either don't understand what actually happened or they're convinced it's a victory against the ACA. The reality is that it isn't any such thing; rather it's a fairly mundane case which wouldn't make it to page 4 below the fold if it weren't tied to the ACA and the President. In other words, relax, it's really no big deal.

Comment: Re:1. Area too large; 2. Expires in 30 days (Score 1) 172

You might consider giving Garmin some money, then. They have a product with offline maps which apparently lets you buy map data and indeed basic functionality piecemeal. It's a dollar right now, but it's supposed to remain cheap. I guess they are or were also offering deals on content. Linked article complains about spending a hundred bucks, but if that were lifetime that would be well worth it. The big problem with buying a Garmin GPS is that the hardware pretty well sucks unless you spend a lot, and your updates are tied to the device so you could get into a situation where you're motivated to give them money to repair a device that was kind of lame (hardware-wise) when you bought it. But if I can take their app to a new phone when I upgrade, then I can let that unit go to a friend and just use my phone, which has a much nicer screen overall. In particular, text input on my Garmin is horrible. I forget what model it is ATM or I'd include that info. Suffice to say it was a cheap refurb.

Comment: Re:Problem with proprietary 'free' offerings (Score 1) 172

Guess that's why they killed it - people remember it, but didn't realize it was still around - you certainly don't see it advertised anywhere.

Well, there were really two reasons why it died. First, it required a windows machine to run, and until recently none of them have really been that nice to use in the car. You need a combination of battery life (in case you forget the charger, you won't be able to get another cheaply and you're depending on this thing, remember?) and form factor that just wasn't there. Second, even when it was brand new it was out of date, so why buy it new? If you bought one a year old you could get it for $20 with the GPS dongle. If they had actually put in the effort necessary to keep it up-to-date, then I'd have paid for it when it came out, rather than when it got old. I've bought it twice now, a couple years old both times. It would fall on its ass anywhere around new construction, but it was pretty sweet for route planning and it was a cheap way to get an adequate GPS dongle.

I also bought Delorme's software a couple years aged on the same basis. It was better at turn-by-turn but the interface was atrocious and that made it worse at everything else. The GPS dongle is bright yellow, so I suggest the Microsoft package instead. Either one is adequate as a time source :)

Comment: Re:I Use Streets and Trips on RV Trips (Score 1) 172

I think the problem is that they can't compete with the dedicated units. Garmins and Tomtoms are fairly cheap and fit nicely on the dashboard, and even they're losing market share (or redirecting their business) to built-in systems.

Too bad Microsoft didn't have any synchronization between their automotive platform and streets and trips. If you could plot a route on your PC and then load it into your car (why isn't the key also a USB key?) then both Microsoft automotive bullshit and S&T might have received a boost.

Comment: Re:Kind of like supermarket loyalty schemes (Score 1) 341

by drinkypoo (#47409173) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

It's the perfect libertarian excuse for corporate abuse. You don't have to go along with the abuse. You can just live like an Amish person and avoid the abuse if you really want to. It's all your "choice".

Well, to be fair, Libertarians also often suggest the dissolution of borders. Everything which was not necessary for the function of the minimally-sized government would be private property, and you could sell it to anyone you liked. But they'd be motivated not to move to certain places because they'd be exposed to prejudice; under such a system, you cannot be forced to trade with someone. It's a sort of choose-your-own-feudalism-adventure.

Comment: Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (Score 1) 341

by drinkypoo (#47409147) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

I'm glad that my cars are pre-OBD-II.

Don't be. If it is ever decided that thou shalt be tracked, they will simply install Accelerometer/GPS-based black boxes in all of the vehicles, and your engine will be irrelevant. They'll know how you were driving, and when you were doing it.

But really, it comes down to that they can raise your rates when they want to for any or no reason. The only thing stopping them is competition from others that want the same revenue source.

Yep. Anything which is mandatory and not fully transparent is guaranteed to be a scam.

Comment: Re:quelle surprise (Score 1) 681

by drinkypoo (#47409121) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

So you are opposed to a carbon free source that has killed no one in this whole country after 70 years but has elsewhere?

It only hasn't killed anyone in this country due to luck. We have the same shitty reactors as Fukushima, sitting on fault lines and so on, with spent fuel sitting around in pools dependent on backup power which is on-site. Only the Tsunami risk is absent, but a big enough 'quake will do the job and is feasible at a number of sites.

But you are for it there but not here?

I am for it in places which seem to be able to manage it, and not in places which are just piling up their waste and finding more and more excuses for not dealing with it.

Wait until you hear the number of people killed in plane crashes HERE!

I only care about the number of people killed by plane crashes, less the number of people killed in plane crashes. You can choose whether or not to get on a plane.

Comment: Re:dont care (Score 1) 149

No, the real issue is what the NSA is doing. They're reading my damned mail, listening to my calls

Yes, and how are they doing that? Because you're using easily-tapped electronic forms of communication. If you were sending your messages via sealed scroll (presumably with something more modern than wax) you might have greater informational security. And indeed, when corporations or even simply savvy humans want to communicate, that's precisely what they do. The data gets bundled up and handed to a courier, and if security is sufficiently important, they will literally drive it to the airport, get on the plane with it, take it to another country, and hand-deliver it so that you have a reasonable expectation that there has been no eavesdropping.

Or, you know, you could just use encryption. But they'll still gather metadata. But then, they can do that regarding the travel related to your package. There's always going to be some kind of wrapper, even if the only one they get to read is your itinerary, gathered retroactively.

How do I "not use" the NSA?

Move out of the country, become a citizen of another nation (tricky if there's not a baby on the way) and renounce your US citizenship. Then, don't use electronic communications :)

Comment: Re:Garmin for the win (Score 1) 172

I cracked open my wallet and spent $150 on a unit with lifetime traffic and maps. It was last year's. Might have been a good idea to spend another $50 and get a slightly more optioned one, but there it is. It's not even necessary to spend $300. Cheaper is better, because the units are still fairly fragile — especially around the cable connection. You don't want to be financially motivated to actually be sending units in for repair.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"