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Comment Re:As a voter who normally leans Democrat... (Score 1) 1128

Where are you getting your gas from, airmail straight from Chile? I spend about $1.50 LESS per gallon today (in the midwest) than I did at this point into GWB's first term.
As for Afghanistan, what do you suggest? Keep in mind that your solution must uphold our treaty obligations with other countries at the very least and should at least heavily favor upholding private political agreements with our close allies. Keep in mind also that simply removing all U.S. troops immediately would lead to overnight massacres in many parts of the country, the collapse of their current government, and the immediate end of all rebuilding and nearly all humanitarian efforts.
It's not like Obama has had much of a choice in that quagmire, and it's not like there even is one clear answer. I don't have a favorite solution, so I am genuinely interested in what you want to happen.

As for a little on-topic text, the idea of President Palin scares me (only slightly) more than the idea of Emperor Bush. If anyone else bothers reading this far, democrats voting Palin in the republican primary in no way means democrats voting Palin in the general election. She may beat all the other republican candidates and get to the general election, but a substantial portion of her on-paper power base would evaporate at the polls. It's still an insane move; anything that offers her even the faintest glimmer of hope for the presidency is a course of action to be avoided with extreme prejudice.

Comment Re:Derp. (Score 0) 669

Actually, OP appears to be stating that all countries, regardless of their natural resources, deserve to be free of covert interference by the United States. Releasing all available information about U.S. activities public, private, and secret is a step towards reducing the impact of said actions in the hope of reducing them in the long run.
  Certainly that idea has some merit. If we could justifiably trust that governments would behave themselves, there would be little need to go digging into covert activities and secret communications. Since we cannot trust that governments will behave themselves, it is in our best interests to investigate and publicize their activities. This will cause some amount of political damage, as in this case, but it also highlights and helps reduce abuses of many types.

Comment Re:You thought the GOP/TP represented regular peop (Score 1) 528

Point taken, and I will attempt to avoid such subtle pop culture references in the future when they could indeed be misconstrued as brainwashed ignorance.

Oh, if only it were so easy to convince the Rush worshipers to do the same (or an approximation, namely to stop mindlessly mouthing his claims).

Comment Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (Score 4, Insightful) 481

1. Thanks for contributing; a lot of people don't bother.
2. It is not possible* to provide open-source DRM software that works (from the perspective of content owners). If your users have the source and it is not tied to crypto hardware, then you (the content owner) have no control over your content. If Netflix was to provide a Linux client, they would have to write it as a binary blob (and a bunch of us would complain about that).

*If, however, your users are given something like an RSA dongle (ie. crypto hardware), then an open source DRM solution could be as strong as the crypto hardware. Note that this isn't open source DRM, just an open source interface to a closed device. For a service like Netflix, that solution would make sense and I would certainly pay a (small, one-time) fee for the hardware.

Comment Re:Scourge? (Score 1) 161

Before anyone tries shooting me down over this, yes I smoke and I occasionally drink.
  Good luck getting your third chemo dose with no insurance and no money paid to date. Hit by a car? Sure, we'll patch you up. Something stupid and long-term like smoking-induced lung cancer? Go screw yourself. Hospitals are not specialists, but oncologists are specialists that can and will demand cash up front from the uninsured (even if they work in a hospital). This is not the problem you make it out to be, and your ideology of 'screw you' is already the one implemented. The socialist healthcare cost of the *uninsured* smoker is largely a myth pushed by rabid neocons who oppose universal healthcare. Having said that, smoking is a really stupid thing to do. Believe me, I smoke and I wish I had never started, so when I say it is stupid it is experience talking.
  Smokers do legitimately generate more medical costs, and should legitimately pay more for health insurance (as they already do today). By the same reasoning however, drinkers should be paying more for both health insurance and car insurance. Alcohol is a major factor in motor vehicle injuries/fatalities, assaults, and other forms of violence in addition to being a risk factor for liver failure, heart disease, and a host of other problems. Why, then, is there no insurance premium for legal consumers of alcohol when there is one for legal consumers of tobacco? If we can agree that certain groups have differing risk factors (and that's an easy agreement), and can further agree that differing risk factors justify differing premiums (again an easy agreement since that is already the case), then we should turn the actuarians loose and live with the mathematically accurate results. Now, defining the various groups is a hot topic for debate and flame wars. I wish us all good luck with that.
  So, what do we do? We can't successfully outlaw these substances (see: prohibition). We already tax the hell out of them and penalize users in a number of ways justifiable and not. We could improve education and addiction treatment, though those areas are steadily improving. Smoking cessation efforts are working, over time. My suggestion? Help replace tobacco with (legalized) cannabis and eliminate the physical addiction potential of the smoked material. Ignore that if you want, but if you disagree please provide an alternative with a chance of actually improving things.

Comment Re:Vertical Space (Score 1) 174

I'll have to second the pegboard and label maker. Our lab has one full-size rack, workbenches at standing level, tall chairs, walls lined in pegboard, tools and pull-out bins of many sizes attached to said pegboard. The high benches leave enough space for toolchests, filing cabinets, miniracks, hidden wiring, etc. under the bench. It's smaller than the OP's proposed space (more like 10x10ft) and just big enough for two people to work on machines at the same time. We had to run additional power and HVAC to handle the heat, current draw, and occasional soldering fumes, but it was a simple in-house job.
  Consider good mounting of any connective devices or peripherals you will need; having little hubs (USB, ethernet), extender ports (KVM, serial), and power strips right at hand will save a lot of time and cable madness. Good lighting is important; having a bench light mountable to your pegboard on a flexible neck is awesome for small parts and tight spaces. Those tall benches really make a difference too; if yours match the height of your drill press bed, etc., then it is also a lot easier to move workpieces to and from the heavy-duty tools.

Comment Re:first! (Score 2) 1425

You seem to consider yourself intelligent and educated. How do you suggest the rest of us intelligent, educated folk overcome the epically gargantuan financial advantage of major corporate interests, convince more than 1 in 5 people to vote at all, let alone to vote on the issues and not on a party ticket, and somehow fix our corrupt 2-party system in such a way that other motivated, intelligent, educated people stand a snowball's chance in a working blast furnace of getting elected? How then do we make sure that those people are and remain ethical and committed to fulfilling the will of the people?
The whole Bush is dumb vs. Bush is conspiring is not so hard really; he was a figurehead in many ways, and the power of his office was sorely misused by his advisors. In reality, Bush is quite intelligent and charismatic, and he chose people to run things that were intelligent and motivated. Unfortunately for his reputation, most of those people turned out to be power-mad psychos. For the record, I disagreed with nearly every major piece of legislation he authorized, numerous executive orders, appointments and nominations. I believe our nation would be a better place if he had not been elected. With that said, he's neither a moron nor a conspirator on the scale that is often implied. I could easily believe that he was in bed with the oil interests, though. Palin on the other hand may actually qualify as the dumbest decision in US history if elected.

Comment Re:yeah (Score 1) 376

Look, not to butt in on this argument, but there's more than one person out there resisting the **AA. Some of them are taking a legal, change-from-within approach. Some of them are taking a civil-disobedience level illegal approach, with or without a good reason. Some of them are taking an all-out middle finger approach. You can't simply claim that all people who are anti-copyright-as-it-stands are guilty of crimes because that is simply not true.

Comment Re:Anonymous is people. (Score 1) 178

If repetition with the expectation of change is insane, then our political system (voting) and Windows (rebooting) are both insane. Expository speech and writing are insane. Exercise and practice are insane. Repeat after me: history is complicated, and the world and the people in it are different today. No revolution, no crisis, no war is the same as any that have gone before it except when painted with the broadest of strokes.

The French weren't trying to remove $deity from society, they were trying to eliminate the abuses of a privileged class of oppressors, which happened to include both nobility and clergy. Your average political priest in that era was as bad as a corrupt politician of today. Now, the guy giving sermons in the corner church was probably a genuinely nice guy, but his boss's boss was probably a right bastard. I can't really say anything about the nobility of the time, but clearly the people in charge were committing some major fuckups in order for the largely passive populace to rise up in such spectacular fashion.

The Soviet Union was working from a book whose author felt that the dominion of organized religion was holding back humanity from taking responsibility for their lives and taking action for the betterment of themselves. In a typical overreaction, the positives of an organized morality were ignored in order to act against the negatives of proscribed thought and actions. In other words, the Church was judged as a whole and judged harshly rather than making any serious attempt at changing what leadership saw as wrong with it.

I don't know if you are being intentionally Christian-centric, but there are plenty of countries with tumultuous histories and non-Christian populations that are doing just fine today. I would add that there are many millions of professed atheists who are not suffering from depression or alcoholism, so the belief in a deity is not the only source of hope or inspiration. It is also not necessary to be given moral rules from on high; many common religious moral rules are fairly obvious even from an atheist perspective as good things, rules that reduce the unpleasantness in the world and lead to a better life personally as well as collectively. Mathematics (game theory specifically) often supports various ideas such as the Golden Rule without having to fall back on a supreme being.

You make a good argument, so rather than mod you down inappropriately I thought it best to answer the anon. Thanks for making me think :)

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 255

You might be shocked at just how much data is transmitted unencrypted or otherwise in violation of protocol. Besides, knowing the 'party of interest' is sending messages of a certain length at a certain time to a certain destination (or over a certain frequency and power) is highly useful data in its own right.

Comment Re:Verizon (Score 1) 272

How terrible for you to have four, yes four, whole providers to choose from. What a rough experience it must have been to deal with a company operating under reasonable amounts of competition.

We must have been one of the lucky 'important' accounts, because Dell let our onsite certified tech (our employee) sign off on bad caps, get an RMA number by email sight unseen, and get replacement motherboards shipped before the bad ones even made it back to Dell. They can be okay to work with for large accounts, but I wouldn't buy a computer from them even if it came with free oral sex.

As for ISP's, the more the merrier. If there are two or more in your area, you always have the option of threatening to switch and taking all of your friends with you (not to mention talking anyone else whose computer you get talked into fixing into switching). The very same companies that perform so well with competitors become right bastards when they are the only game in town. Verizon can go to hell for what they did to Alltel though, and thanks to Viaero for picking up the slack.

Comment Re:It's tougher than you think... (Score 4, Interesting) 369

Like all posts about Microsoft products vs. open-source products, this post (the one you're reading right now) and its parent boil down to anecdotal evidence and personal preference. So, with the understanding that this is my opinion and not the intentional start of a flame war, read on.

What exactly about Excel makes Calc look like a joke? My anecdotal experience is that it is at least twice as fast and I can find things in fairly logical places instead of a stupid ribbon. I use Calc for eve online industry calculations, which mirror fairly closely the actual data gathering, analysis, and projection work of a real business. What's your anecdotal experience?

If your people needed training to switch from Microsoft Office to Open Office, then they also needed training to be able to use the present version of Microsoft Office vs. the previous version of Microsoft Office, which is still nothing compared to the training costs of Vista/Win7.

Two other things to consider: if you have the latest and greatest MS product, you'll be saving in a format that only that version can read (at first, anyway). If you have the latest and greatest Open Office, you'll be saving in a format that both Open Office and Microsoft Office (any fairly recent version) can read. When you switch up with MS, you'll have the inevitable horde of people saving in the new, incompatible format and customers who can't open their documents without paying the Microsoft upgrade tax.
Second, the site license is the real reason we still use Microsoft Office in business. Early adopters amongst customers or contractors will mean that someone in the enterprise needs to have the latest Microsoft offering to be able to read or convert their files. If one person needs it, why not several? If several people have it, we'd better do a site license 'cause the BSA swat team might show up for an audit. So, businesses talk themselves into the site license to avoid jackbooted thuggery. Once you have a site license, there's no reason to switch.

Besides, trying to force a switch to OO is pointless... roll it out alongside Microsoft Office and let the people with a clue get on with things while the rest lag behind.

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