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Comment Re:The Franklin Institute isn't what it used to be (Score 1) 435

If the Franklin has gone downhill, then either it used to be darned good or maybe it was just recently. I was at the Franklin not too many years ago... well... time does seem to zip by.... I suppose it must have been on the order of 5 years though it still seems recent. I recall being quite impressed by it. Before reading the above post, I was going to post and say that the Franklin sets a pretty high standard.

Lots of good recommendations elsewhere in the thread. All I can do is second some of them, including the exploratorium in San Francisco and Balboa Park in San Diego. Of course, it has been longer since I've been to them - more like 10 to 15 years, so I suppose they could possibly have gone downhill as well.

Comment Re:No shit (Score 1) 432

Speaking of NASA (which your signature did), I retired from NASA a few years ago. Our own systems were regularly coming up with things like cert warnings because the security people were too clueless to do their job correctly. More than once I called the computer security folk to complain about a certificate warning from their own systems. They were surprised that I had bothered to call; I was told I was just supposed to ignore messages like that. When that's the line you get from the so-called security professionals, little wonder that the average Joe doesn't do better. (Yes, the computer security folk at the particular NASA site I worked at were spectacularly clueless about pretty much everything, probably more so than at other NASA sites.)

It obviously hasn't improved since I left either. Just a few months ago, I got a call asking me to log into a system to review some management BS about one of the programs I had written when I worked there. Same problems. I was tempted to tell them that NASA systems were one thing, but that I declined to override security warnings like that on my home systems, where I have important things like banking information. They wouldn't have understood, though.

Not that NASA is alone. I've seen the same kinds of things from banks. Sigh.

Comment Re:Why not a laptop? (Score 1) 263

I've got a laptop computer. I also have a Kindle. No way is the laptop even close to an adequate substitute. I plan to bring both on a cruise I'm going on starting next week. My Kindle is not the DX, and I'm not at all sure whether I'd prefer the DX or not, but your comments have nothing in particular to do with the DX either. I'm not going to just repeat all the sales blub stuff in detail. That is all readily available. I don't know whether you never read it, or perhaps the Kindle just isn't for you. I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean it is for nobody. In very short...

The Kindle (non-DX) is sized and shaped about like a paperback (particularly if you get the leather cover - recommended). This is clearly intentional, and it works well. You can tote it around just like a paperback; my wife throws it in her purse just like one. It is a whole lot more handy than my laptop. It is also a *LOT* easier on the eyes than a laptop screen. And yes, I can indeed read it outside in the desert sun here in lighting conditions where it would be hard to even tell whether my laptop was on. Since the epaper screen is a large chunk of the cost of the thing, its properties are important to consider. Yes, if you don't value those properties, you aren't going to value the Kindle.

Its battery life is measured in days instead of hours (caveat: that's with the wireless off, which makes a huge difference; keep the wireless off if you aren't using it). And my aging eyes appreciate that I can select the font size instead of being stuck with whatever tiny font a book printer used.

Most of the books I have on it so far are free ones, though my wife has bought a few, and we'll probably skim Amazon and buy a few more today.

One negative. I don't think the interface for things like newspapers is very convenient. I tried the free trial subscriptions to a few papers, but then I dropped them. The material is there, but it just isn't presented in a way that I find very handy. With either a physical paper or the web, you immediately see what the "big" stories are. Sometimes that's all you want. You don't get that with the Kindle.

Yes, I could carry a dozen books or so on my upcoming cruise. Well, I could carry them until all the extra weight got to me, which it would. Or I could carry my one KIndle. I'm bringing the Kindle.

Comment Re:Don't like her - bitch hates guns. (Score 1) 384

It is a bit difficult to take you seriously when you ask about fairly objective and impartial things like qualifications, but you use multiple flagrantly crude insulting terms in the process of doing so, and you say that your opinion is based on an issue rather than on qualifications.

I see no point in arguing about gun control here. Heck, it might even be that I agree with you on it, but that is an issue - not a qualification.

The simple answer to your question about whether she has qualifications is yes. In fact, she appears to be pretty strong in terms of objective qualifications. I won't go try to dig them out here. If you actually cared about qualifications, then it would have been pretty hard for you to miss the prominent mention of them in most of the news media reports.

If by "qualifications", you really mean "agrees with you on a particular issue", then that's a different question, and I'd have to say, that based on the limited sample of your rhetoric posted here, I'd probably not consider you qualified to judge qualifications, or probably for much of anything else requiring a modicum of judgment or decorum. I suppose posting as an anonymous coward shows at least some judgment; I sure wouldn't want a post like tied to me. But then I don't post things that I wouldn't want tied to me.

As issues go, at least on the tech-related ones noted by the OP, her decisions sound pretty sensible to me. They seem to show a lot more understanding of the issues than a fair fraction of the slashdot posts in this thread... but I guess that's not a very high standard. It almost sounds like she actually read the relevant material before writing her decisions, which pretty much puts her ahead of the traditional slashdot commenter.

Comment Re:Likely cause... (Score 1) 464

Or even more likely, 'remove unapproved modules' might well have been part of the preparation. I used to work for NASA before I retired, and doing things like removing the games from standard software installations would have been quite typical. That was for ordinary old office or laptop computers - not ones sent into space - but it wouldn't be surprising at all for the same kinds of policies to apply.

Comment Re:what's the point? (Score 1) 134

Yep. I have long had a personal policy to never do business with Tiger Direct. It's such a long-standing policy that I've forgotten the details. Perhaps it is just my mind blocking out old unpleasant experiences. I recall establishing the policy, which is all I really need to remember. And now that I know, I know to extend that policy to Circuit City.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 280

You really need a citation for the fact that NASA contracts most of its work out. I thought that was such common knowledge (including among people who worked there and knew - such as myself) as to not need citation. Not worth my time to ferret out more detailed citations, but two readily available numbers tell the story pretty well.

Total NASA workforce - about 18,000 (google "NASA workforce" size if you care to verify that; I did).

NASA annual budget - about $18 billion (google NASA budget will do).

If you can't do the arithmetic, let me do so for you. That's a million dollars per NASA employee. No, we aren't paid that well; pretty well, but not that well, :-) Pretty much all that money goes to contracts.

Comment Re:Why do people study "math" in college? (Score 1) 509

Practically all of physics even. I tend to jokingly refer to physics as applied math.

I can't tell whether the original poster of this thread is trolling or is just incredibly stupid (or both, which might be most likely, insomuch as trolling is stupid), but I'd say that in general math is a superb undergraduate major for quiet practical reasons (independent of the abstract beauty).

People entering undergrad school are often still a bit hazy on exact career goals. In that case, math can be an excellent choice because it is good base preparation for many, many fields - darn near anything scientific or technical, and some other areas as well. I often advise people who are still waffling about the details that math is a good default for undergrad, moving into something more specialized either in grad school or later in their undergrad work.

Comment Re:I can think of a few (Score 1) 496

Edwards AFB, where I worked before retirement, had similar issues of concern about interference with aircraft test telemetry. They even prohibited wireless keyboards and mice. While the prohibition obviously was not 100% effective, I'm told that a few violators would not cause problems, but that they didn't want the many thousands of wireless units that they would see without the prohibition.

For related reasons, there is no cell phone competition on base. They have exactly one provided who they have a contract with. My cell didn't happen to work with that provider.

Comment Typical FTC non-penalty (Score 1) 82

The article doesn't say how much the perpetrators netted from this scheme, but it is a pretty safe bet that it is a lot more than the $500k penalty, probably by about an order of magnitude. I did see a comment about "thousands" of checks.

Typical FTC "penalty". Make the crook pay back 10% or so of his take and promise not to do it again.

Comment Re:Good Luck With That (Score 1) 108

Wow is my experience/opinion different from yours!

I find Quickbooks to be just horrible. I use the Windows version (under VMWare Fusion on my Mac) because the Mac version doesn't even pretend to support the only thing I still use it for (the credit card billing). But even the Windows version (which all of the following is about)...

Well, it is full of just plain bugs. For example, there is an obvious trivial bug in the forms entry for credit card expiration date for a customer's preferred payment method. The month always resets to 12 even if you set it to something else. I called their "customer support" about that one. After about half an hour on the phone with a clueless script-reading "customer support" rep, he obviously decided he had spent too much time and brushed me off (telling me to call the merchant services folk, whose problem it obviously wasn't). I wasn't expecting him to fix the problem, but I was hoping he'd at least pass it on as a bug report; no such luck.

I find the interface incredibly nonintuitive, complicated, awkward... just add every poor adjective you can think of for a poor user interface.

I rapidly gave up downloading my bank statements because it was so awkward to do and messed up so often. It was easier to manually reconcile.

It won't reconcile its own automatic entries. The month-end merchant fees get auto-entered as 2 separate transactions, but show up at the bank as a single combined one... and the reconciliation won't let you reconcile a single bank-downloaded entry to multiple transactions (like Quicken can).

And a host of other problems and awkward things that would make this post longer than the too long that it already is.

Eventually, I gave up on using Quickbooks for everything except the credit card billing (which actually does reasonably match my needs, in spite of the darned reset-month-to-12 bug). I moved everything else to Quicken Home&Business and I double enter credit card deposits in both Quickbooks and Quicken; the double entry is actually easier than fighting with Quickbook's management of my checking account.

Not that I'm thrilled with Quicken. I'm debating switching (possibly to MoneyDance) at the end of this year. But it is worlds better than Quickbooks. It seems obvious to me that Quickbooks and Quicken were done by entirely different groups, and it also seems obvious which group has a better handle on user interface.

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