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Comment Re:Competition ahoy! (Score 1) 605

Perfectly predictable insurance means that you end up paying exactly the cost of the damage you cause. Or in other words, exactly what would happen in a world without insurance (which incidentally is precisely what happens in situations where a "really bad driver" cannot afford any insurance at all - they go without).

Insurance, by definition and design, is about SPREADING risk. Not charging people exactly based on their risk. Most people seem to have a hard time grasping that. I'm not sure these devices are such a great idea - if we're just going to charge people commensurate with the damages they may cause, what's the point of insurance in the first place? Just send them the bill for repairs/medical bills and that's their new premium.

Comment Re:Spread the word (Score 1) 1002

Wikipedia's FAQ talks about disabling Javascript, etc. I just found it easier today to hit the "stop" button on my browser once the page is (mostly) loaded, but before the banner script kicks in. A few images may not fully load depending on my timing, but it's a trivial workaround.

What scares me is that I think I may have just broadcast a method of circumventing a protection system, if some bonehead media company decided to use something like this as a paywall. Combine the DMCA with SOPA/PIPA (I'm mostly thinking of the Canadian equivalents here) and I might be breaking the law by clicking "stop", and telling others to do it.

Sheer madness.

Comment Plenty of us use native apps (Score 2) 330

Native apps that I use in Linux every day:

Clementine (audio player)
Xine (video player)
Musicbrainz (mp3 tagger)
Google Earth
Pidgin (IM client)
Geeqie (photo browsing/basic editor)
Minecraft (duh)
Open Office
Kate (text editor)
K3B (burning software)

And this is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head while at work. On top of this, there are dozens upon dozens of other apps I use less frequently, but regularly. About the only web app I use that's replaced a native desktop app is Gmail.

I suspect you simply do a lot less "user" type stuff than most people. Pretty much none of this could be replaced with web apps, at least not yet. Maybe Google Docs/Picassa could take out one or two things, if I hosted everything I did on the web. Google's storage limits severely curtail that type of activity in my case.

Without native Linux apps, I'd be back to Windows in a second. Not by choice, but due to lack of it. Or maybe I'd buy a Mac.

Comment Re:Schizophrenic America (Score 1) 131

It reminds me of that small number of feminists who seem to view sexual liberation not in terms of respect, mature dialogue, and winning their freedom from chauvanism, but merely as the freedom for women to be as sex-crazed and/or misandropic as some men are chauvanist and misogynistic.

Considering what women have had to deal with throughout history, and still continue to deal with today - this is a hell of a good start, if nothing else.

The respect and dialogue can come later. In my experience it won't come at least until men understand that women CAN be sex-crazed in the first place. I shit you not, I had a conversation with a cow-orker the other day about "wifely duties". In 2011. I felt like I had slipped back 70 years.

Comment Kids today will grow up surrounded by themselves (Score 1) 499

It's interesting that this came up (again) right now. I've just spent the past week finally digitizing some old VHS home movies that turned up in my parent's basement. We just never got around to doing anything with them, and VHS players may become fairly rare in a few more years. I still haven't snagged a cheap Beta player so the movies from my earlier childhood are mostly locked away for now.

Back in the day, tapes weren't exactly cheap. Nor did many people own a video camera. So mostly what we have is a 2 hour tape of a single weekend, taken with a borrowed/rented camera. Then another tape from several years if not a decade later. The quality of the media, plus degradation over time, means some of it looks pretty awful. You can mostly make out who people are but it can be tricky. Etc. I've also started looking into scanning all of our printed photos, of which there are many more - everyone owned a camera in the 70s/80s - but still, maybe 5-10 pictures for any given event or day, and many things were simply never photographed because they didn't seem important at the time, or we ran out of film, or whatever.

And looking through all of this makes me realize how precious these relative few records of my past are. There's maybe 2 hours of video with me in it and a few hundred photographs, spread over decades with large chunks of time completely missing. So when I look at these things, it's remarkable. Some of it I haven't seen in years, some I've simply never seen. I'm at the perfect age where it's not completely unheard of to have video of one's self, but it certainly wasn't common nor made in quantity - so you take what you can get, and there's a sense of fascination with it.

I contrast that to kids growing up today. Damn near every single day of their lives will be recorded, in high quality audio, video, and images. By the thousands of hours and tens of thousands of pictures (hey, digital storage is CHEAP). They will continually be exposed to it, if my friends and family are any indication - some of them constantly re-watch videos of first birthdays, first walking, first vacation etc etc etc. For most of my life I've had to rely on memory alone, with a few pictures to remind me of what any given house looked like, or the yard, or my friends at the time, or what have you. This next generation will have it in their face at all times, and accessible throughout their lives.

Just got me philosophical, I guess. I'm completely fascinated that video of me even exists from when I was 10. My nephews right now have a hard time understanding why we don't have video of their dad through every single month of his life.

As for storage, I'm digitizing everything to whatever open and widely readable format works that has enough quality considering the source material, keeping it on hard disk (backed up to another), and sent out to several family locations on burnt DVDs. Within a few years the space will be almost trivial and I'll probably add a backup to my keychain. But my entire recorded life can be stored in a few gigabytes. Your kid's first week probably contains more. I think what I'm hinting at is that you might want to consider not keeping every single last video and photo if it becomes too much of a burden. If there's less around, it will become all the more precious and fun to look at in the future.

Comment Re:Ororo was there, but the cameo was briefer (Score 1) 226

There were actually several more clearly-identifiable characters, at least if you've read enough comics that you can recognize one brown-haired kid from another. It was a nice way to have a few more cameos without being obnoxious. I suspect this will be something that makes repeat watching more fun.

Storm was blatantly obvious though.

Comment Re:Who is the exception? (Score 1) 401

This is a commonly-held belief by many people, and it's complete bullshit.

Most (and by that, I mean all) millionaires I know got to be that way by making a fuckton more money than the average middle class person. There's simply no other way. Don't believe me? Math proves it: how many years would it take to become a millionaire if you made $50,000 annually, assuming zero taxes and zero expenses? Ok, let's go high end of the upper-middle class in most places. $100,000 annual income. Take off taxes and a bare minimum of expenses (tiny apartment, bus pass, cheap food, etc). You're still talking 15 years minimum before you bank your first million. Sounds realistic.

You don't get rich by saving money. That's complete lunacy. The average middle (or upper middle) class person has almost no chance of becoming a millionaire unless they're extremely lucky with investing. But then they're not upper middle class, by definition.

Comment US vehicles are perfectly legal to register here (Score 1) 2288

Did you read what I wrote? If you did, you could have figured that Canadian buyers would at some point have to register their vehicles. That's where the problem comes in.

With all due respect, you don't have any idea what you're talking about. People import cars from the US into Canada all the time, and successfully register them. There are tens of thousands of US-built (and Imperial units primary) cars on Canada's roads today, fully legally registered. The only real complication comes with things like safety and emissions standards, which do vary by country. So some US cars cannot be registered in Canada. However most can, and it happens literally every day.

I worked at a vehicle registry for years, I know what I'm talking about. Please do not spout nonsense.

Comment Go with the cheapest you can find (Score 2) 898

How would Slashdotters go about picking a solid, basic laptop for Web surfing and document editing that won't be obsolete in two years?"

Think about this for a second - you're looking for something that does the most basic, routine tasks out there. A bottom-of-the-barrel laptop these days ($3-400?) has about 1000x the power you need to surf the web and run MS Office. And it won't be obsolete in 2 years. The same software you run today will work just fine in 2 years, and will take care of any web/office task you could possibly conceive of.

These days, spending more than $500 on a laptop is pointless unless you use it for games, or as a fullblown desktop replacement (video editing, etc). But web use? Office docs? Email? A 5 year old laptop would suffice.

Comment Tron 1.0 (Score 3, Interesting) 412

I've re-watched the original Tron on occasion over the years, and just recently last week in preparation for the new movie (which I haven't seen yet, because every theatre in my city has it in headache-vision only, but that's another rant).

Maybe it's just me, but I find it holding up less and less as time goes on. The first part of the movie is cut very poorly and frequently jumps around for no real reason. Once Flynn is in the Tron world, the movie ever-so-slowly gets rather tiresome and boring. Now, part of this is me just being used to modern movies that have a much quicker pace overall, but it's more than that. There really just isn't all that much story here. And all of it is hurriedly explained in the first 15 minutes or so, so the rest of the movie is just a Lord of the Rings style quest without much actually happening.

Now, visually - I'm one of the few that still think the effects hold up. They just have a unique look to them that really exists in no other movie of its time or any time. It always surprises me upon re-watching to realize just how many computer graphics were used. Knowing how much effort when into them, I always think there must only be a few shots, but it never ceases to amaze me just how often you see them. Plus, the costume effect is just something we'll never see replicated again.

If it's on in the background on mute, Tron is a pretty cool movie still. But actually trying to watch it? I'm just as likely to fall asleep somewhere around the 45 minute mark as not.

Not sure how much this will be considered Flamebait on Slashdot :)

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