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Comment The Guy on the Right Doesn't Stand a Chance (Score 2) 249

In his June 4, 1984 "Inside Track" column in Infoworld (p.95), John C Dvorak wrote this:
        "Apparently there is an advertisement in one of the munitions magazines that goes something like this:
        "The Guy on the Right Doesn't Stand a Chance. The guy on the right has the Osborne 1, a fully functional computer system in a portable package the size of a briefcase. The guy on the left has an Uzi submachine gun concealed in his attache case. Also in the case are four fully loaded, 32-round clips of 125-grain 9mm ammunition.
          "The owner of the Uzi is going to get more tactical firepower delivered - and delivered on target - in less time, and with less effort.
          "All for $795. It's inevitable.
          "If you're going up against some guy with an Osborne 1 - or any personal computer - he's the one who's in trouble. One round from an Uzi can zip through ten inches of solid pine wood, so you can imagine what it will do to structural foam acrylic and sheet aluminum. In fact, detachable magazines for the Uzi are available in 32-, 32-, and 40-round capacities, so you can take out an entire office full of Apple II or IBM Personal Computers tied into Ethernet or other local-area networks.
          "What about the new 16-bit computers, like the Lisa and Fortune? Even with Winchester backup, they're no match for the Uzi. One quick burst and they'll find out what Unix means.
          "Make your commanding officer proud. Get an Uzi - and come home a winner in te fight for office automatic weapons."

This was written 27-years ago, before deranged individuals with firearms shifted this from ironic humor into tragedy. But at the time it was very very funny.

Comment Re:Hmmmmm (Score 1) 453

Great question... But my hypothesis (and I admit that's all it is!) would be very tough to test. For one thing, it can take lifetimes before we discover that published results are wrong. Also, most "capitalistic, fully performance based" research tends to be kept secret, so we can't compare (%wrong)/(%published) across domains.

I want to toss out another point. The Ioannides paper highlights how weak statistics and badly designed studies (e.g. "puffery") are used to obtain sensational, publishable results - without any fraud or other truly improper behavior. Some puffery will happen in "capitalistic" research... but the market cost of retracting a false corporate boast is far worse for the business entity than the retraction of a scholarly paper is for the individual. When no fraud is involved, the academic keeps the PhD and professorship (with tenure!) and of course the grant money, but the corporate researcher gets fired and the entire enterprise may suffer for years.

Comment Re:Hmmmmm (Score 5, Interesting) 453

> So, a capitalistic, fully performance based (with results being the performance metric)
> environment does not seem to work well for science. / Surprised? / Me neither.

This is a gratuitous, cheap shot. These problems appear only in scientific research that is funded, managed, or supervised by government agencies or academic review committees so that bureaucrats will grant money, or full professorships, or licenses to sell drugs. Hence the crack that if you want to study squirrels in the park, you title your grant proposal, "Global Warming and Squirrels in the Park."

There are "capitalistic... performance-based environments" in science - but they're the corporate R&D departments that are seeking marketable innovations. There isn't much intellectual corruption or fudging of study results in, say, pushing the limits of video card performance.

Comment Re:Don't Trust EZ Texting (Score 1) 181

I was referring to T-Mobile's Terms and Conditions: "17. * Misuse of Service or Device. You agree not to misuse the Service or Device, including but not limited to: ... (e) "spamming" or engaging in other abusive or unsolicited communications, or any other mass, automated voice or data communication for commercial or marketing purposes; ..."

I'm sure T-Mobile could have worked out who EZ Texting was, if only through their use of the 313131 code.

Comment Re:Don't Trust EZ Texting (Score 4, Insightful) 181

In that case, T-Mobile should have notified EZ Texting that the shutdown was because of complaints about unsolicited texts, which are a violation of their terms of service and of Federal law. I'm sure there have been complaints about EZ Texting - I'm a T-Mobile customer and have called them to complain about unsolicited texts. I've also filed 1088's with the FCC.

Blocking a spammer wouldn't create this lawsuit or publicity.

Comment Re:False (Score 1) 366

Thanks for the correction. T-Mobile gives you unlimited T-Mobile calling, which is worthless. But (like many others) I rarely make voice calls, so even vs Sprint I save $120/year.

Also, world-wide GSM coverage is a big plus for me. I was a Sprint customer for ten years, and wasted too many hours of European and Asian trips because I didn't have a phone that worked.

Comment Re:False (Score 5, Informative) 366

I bought my Nexus One outright for $529 plus tax, and pay T-Mobile $60/month (plus $4 tax) for unlimited data, unlimited texts, unlimited night and weekend talk, and 500 prime time talk minutes/month. If I'd taken the subsidy and bought the phone for $179, then I'd have to pay $80/month for the same deal. Similar plans are at least $100/month on Verizon or ATT, and $80 on Sprint.

By foregoing the subsidy, I paid an extra $350 for the phone. But over 24 months, I save $20/month or $480, so (at 0% interest) I come out ahead by $130. Also, the phone is unlocked so I can pop in an ATT or European or Asian SIM card, and talk economically on the phone anywhere. And if I was unhappy, I could sell it on eBay.

But I'm not unhappy - it's a terrific phone at a great price.

Comment Bad review got me a free updated product (Score 1) 454

I posted a bad review of some $25 men's travel briefs at a clothing web site, saying that the construction and quality were excellent but the design was bad. The site didn't publish that review - instead I got an e-mail from customer service offering me a free new version of the product, and an offer to exchange any old ones that I had. They had indeed fixed the design problem and they posted my new rave review.

Comment Missing the biggest outflows (Score 2, Insightful) 207

The whole exercise is a political manipulation anyway. The largest government outlays - the so-called entitlements - are omitted from the chart. Medicare, Social Security, and reimbursements to states for social services are not shown on these charts. Those items constitute more than half of Federal spending - that's where your tax dollars go - but they're completely omitted in this analysis.

Comment Simple strong passwords (Score 1) 553

One way to make easy-to-remember very strong passwords is to scramble an address, viz. Ukiah2035Elm.

If you must use a public computer, you can protect yourself from keyloggers by jumping from box to box: type part of your userid in one box, click elsewhere and type other stuff, click the password box and type part, back to the userid to finish, back to the password, etc.

There are so many naive users that even very simple precautions make you an unattractive target.

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