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Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 169

by meta-monkey (#47565435) Attached to: Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance

We haven't had an election since the spying scandal broke. We haven't seen what kind of impact candidates' stances on spying will have on their electability. We also haven't seen the resolution of the EFF and ACLU lawsuits now that the leaks have provided standing.

There are four boxes to use in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order. Right now we're still on soap. That's what we're doing right now. Bitching about it on the internet is our duty. We'll find out how well ballot works with regards to this legislation and the 2014 and 2016 elections. Jury is just getting ramped up. Patience. The system is supposed to work slowly.

Comment: Good luck with that. (Score 4, Insightful) 210

by dfenstrate (#47565021) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive
I'm sure GM and Ford have better lawyers, and I imagine they have more resources to throw at the affair as well. I also imagine that GM and Ford will team up for their defense, and make AARC cry. GM and Ford's lawyers signed off on the system before it was even developed, let alone installed in cars. The AARC is going to waste millions and go home with nothing.

Comment: Re:um yea... (Score 3, Insightful) 447

by pla (#47562719) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
And that's the problem with the publics modern perception of credit. Because I do not have a credit card and suggest that you shouldn't either, I'm considered a quack. I buy just as much useless garbage as anyone that modded me down does. I go on vacations, I order things online, I buy soda at the gas station. The only difference is I don't pay a 7% to 30% fee to do all of those things. And that is exactly what a credit card does. It doesn't help your credit. That's a lie driven by marketing campaigns of credit card companies.

You no doubt got modded down because you have virtually every fact you mention entirely wrong. Having a credit card doesn't mean carrying a balance month-to-month, and you don't pay a single penny extra if you don't carry a balance (unless you stupidly sign up for a card with an an annual fee). I actually get 1.5 to 6% back on all my purchases, depending on how they categorize it. Now, you could argue that we pay 3%-ish more for everything as a result of stores passing on the transaction fees to their customers, but then, so do you, and you don't even get the benefits as a result.

And as for your credit rating, sorry, but yes, having a small number of regularly-paid cards most certainly does improve your credit, compared with having no credit history. I could provide you with an hundred links discussing the optimal number of cards and how much to cycle through them monthly, but you could already have done so and apparently chose not to.

Yes, we have a sick view of what "credit" means as a society. That doesn't invalidate the concept itself, just points a damning finger at how badly we tend to misuse it. Kudos to you for at least living within your means (and I mean that sincerely), but you massively overstate the case-for-cash while remaining blissfully ignorant of how credit cards really work in the modern world.

Comment: Re:Worse Than U Think (Score 1) 447

by pla (#47562597) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'
I am of the opinion that if the typical person is hit by lightening and we add up the liabilities and assets that we will find most people are worth less than zero.

Although I sadly agree with you, I also have to consider it largely self-inflicted. Once you enter the workforce and pay off your student loans, you should only go UP from there (with the first year of a new car as the exception, though if you can't afford that slight dip between value and equity, you shouldn't buy new cars). We as a culture simply have a really bad habit of living far beyond our means. Make no mistakes, creditors fully exploit that habit, and no doubt someone will reply that they fall into the 1.4% with some insanely expensive medical condition, but in most cases it still comes down to choosing to spend more than we make.

Outstanding mortgages, car loans and other loans are only part of the issue.

A pretty big part - Short of end-of-life care, most of us will have no bigger outstanding debts than mortgages, cars, and student loans.

the cost of dying and the costs of burials as well as the cost of settling estates

Not material - Although it varies by state, you can get your body disposed of for under $100 (I've often seen $300 cited as the floor for a "cardboard box of ashes", though other cheaper options exist). And for an "estate" with negative net worth, your loved ones can always refuse to have anything to do with it and let the state eat the cost (though most people choose to "do the right thing" for dear-old-$30k-in-debt-dad). And as for the cost of dying, I can guarantee you that my end-of-life care will never push my net worth lower than the price of one last bullet. Again, we choose to drag out that last pathetic six months, at phenomenal expense both financial and emotional. No thanks!

The support of your kids, their education, your widow's needs all are considerations.

Can't afford kids? Don't have any. I realize that counts as all-but-heresy, but seriously, kids cost a lot; if you can't afford those three teens you mention, consider having just one, or even zero. As for your widow, if she can't support herself, you chose poorly in marrying someone incapable of surviving in the modern world in your absence. I want my partner fully capable of getting along without me in the event of my sudden death; I would consider it nothing short of cruel on my part to have her financially dependent on me, and that doesn't mean buying some scam of an insurance policy, it means she can very much support herself on her own income and retirement planning (though admittedly, if I die before we pay off the house, she'd likely need to find a new partner with which to split the household expenses).

Don't get me wrong, I realize we have some wiggle room here, and don't mean this quite as monstrously as it probably sounds. But bluntly, it all comes down to choosing not to live within our means, and you describe some of the biggest examples of that. Choose better

Comment: What do you really want to accomplish? (Score 1) 106

by pla (#47559047) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hardware/Software-Based Security Token?
If you only want a semipublic file share, just stand up a free AWS Linux instance and lock it down to SSH/SFTP. You get a few GB of free cloud storage (I don't actually know the limit, but I have 8 online now and have never paid a dime), and can sleep well knowing that a breach just means standing up a new instance rather than the end of your career.

You only really need to let people get onto your corporate network if you want to set up "real" remote access such as VPN or, as you mention, one of those crazy-expensive RSA Citrix gateways. And no offense, but the very fact that you have asked Slashdot how to do this on the cheap suggests that you really shouldn't do it at all (aside from my "safe" suggestion above).

Comment: Re:Might fine police work there, Lou! (Score 1) 156

by pla (#47556857) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites
But the article makes it clear that "Neither the police or Project Sunblock are paying the website in question to display the police message". They're just suppressing the banner display, and displaying a police message instead.

Yep, I made a mistake. I presumed that the police would know better than to enter into a conspiracy to commit outright theft of service and libel in their efforts to appease the recording industry. One crime doesn't justify another. Mea culpa.

Except, in your zeal to find something in my post to go all "princess of vitriol" over, you seem to have failed to notice my key point - No one visiting piracy sites mistakes them for legit. Would you care to respond to that, or would you prefer to latch on to a typo somewhere in this post?

Pathetic is deciding you know how the system works without R'ing TFA

"The system" has rules we can know a priori. The police can't just choose to ignore them out of expediency. "Pathetic is" accepting criminal behavior just because it carries a thin veneer of official approval.

Comment: Re:Yes it should ship! (Score 1, Insightful) 104

by gmhowell (#47556803) Attached to: Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

"Apple didn't come from behind in the smartphone market. They created the market. "

Well, that's one view into the reality distortion field.

And I bet if he had said something along the lines of "Apple came from behind in the smartphone market and knocked the heretofore industry leaders on their asses", you'd have an equally useless and snarky rejoinder.

Sometimes the inverse RDF is just as strong as the RDF itself...

Comment: Re:When going into business with Friends (Score 3, Interesting) 168

by pla (#47556705) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D
This should serve as a cautionary tail of what can happen when you go into business with friends and or relatives. As soon as big money starts being made...unfortunately the greedy side of human nature tends to rear it's ugly head.

The arrangement made sense right up until TSR actually started making real money. When you and your friends bust your asses to build a business, and have no substantial income or assets to fight over, running it as a labor-of-love makes perfect sense. But once they started bulk-hiring new staff and pulled off 5000% growth over five years - Why the hell didn't they hire a competent CFO???

No one in the inner circle had a clue about how to run a business, because they all wanted control to remain in the hands of gamers - Hey, cool, most of us can appreciate that concept. But they could have avoided all the acrimony and eventually selling out to Wizards-of-the-CCG simply by bringing in someone with a clue in a non-shareholding executive capacity.

Sad, really.

Comment: Might fine police work there, Lou! (Score 2, Interesting) 156

by pla (#47556475) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites
Police said the ads would make it harder for piracy site owners to make their pages look authentic

No one confuses Rapidshare for BMG's official site. People go there specifically to download pirated content, full stop. Seeing police ads might scare a few people with the paranoia of thinking "the man" has caught them, but the other 99% of visitors will just thank the police for subsidizing their favorite warez sites.

Truly pathetic, Boys in Blue (Hmm, do Bobbies wear blue?)

The move comes as part of a continuing effort to stop piracy sites from earning money through advertising.

By... Um... Buying banner ads on piracy sites? BRILLIANT!

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