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Comment Rationing (Score 1) 304

Didn't see this mentioned, but at least in my area the retailers I've been to are rationing drives:

Fry's is limiting purchases to one drive per person, with prices that are higher but don't seem completely unreasonable.

A local company that used to be known as "Hard Drives Northwest" has a sign at the entrance that they aren't selling individual drives at this time, as they're reserving them for purchase of an entire system.

Given the circumstances this seems reasonable, and I'm even happy the market seems to be responding responsibly.

Comment Fun flying games? (Score 1) 70

A bit off topic, but something that may have broad interest... I'm not at all a hard-core gamer, but gleefully recall being a little kid playing F/A-18 Interceptor and messing around: learning to land on the carrier, and going off-mission to shoot at buildings and do tricks like fly under and around the Golden Gate bridge.

I would love an Oblivion-style open world game where you fly various modern planes and fighter jets and can go off the primary mission to tackle side quests or just mess around. Even better if it's on Earth with some reasonable combination of 3D geometry and satellite imagery.

It would also be nice for the capabilities of the planes and fighter jets to resemble their real-world counterparts, but I care 0% about having the act of flying the plane itself be anything like the real world; simple game-like controls would be fine. Oh, and while I'm at it, ideally it's a modern game with good graphics.

Does anything like this exist? I've played various demos of flying-related games on my PC and XBox 360 and nothing has really clicked.


Facebook To Make Facebook Credits Mandatory For Games 116

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from TechCrunch: "Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed making Facebook Credits mandatory for Games, with the rule going into effect on July 1 2011. Facebook says that Credits will be the exclusive way for users to get their 'real money' into a game, but developers are still allowed to keep their own in-game currencies (FarmBucks, FishPoints, whatever). For example, Zynga can charge you 90 Facebook Credits for 75 CityCash in CityVille. ... The company acknowledges that some developers may not be pleased with the news, explaining this is why it is announcing the news five months in advance, so it can 'have an open conversation with developers.' The rule only applies to Canvas games (games that use Facebook Connect aren't affected), and while it's games only at this part, Facebook says that it eventually would like to see all apps using Facebook Credits. It's a move that's been a long time coming — there has been speculation that Facebook would do this for a year now, spurring plenty of angst in the developer community."

Comment Re:Venue choice? (Score 2) 156

IETF also has items like RFC1149: A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers

In other words, there is no filter; it seems anyone can submit anything to the IETF. My main concern over the WebM "specification" is best summarized by by the great analysis at

But first, a comment on the spec itself.


The spec consists largely of C code copy-pasted from the VP8 source code -- up to and including TODOs, "optimizations", and even C-specific hacks, such as workarounds for the undefined behavior of signed right shift on negative numbers. In many places it is simply outright opaque. Copy-pasted C code is not a spec. I may have complained about the H.264 spec being overly verbose, but at least it's precise. The VP8 spec, by comparison, is imprecise, unclear, and overly short, leaving many portions of the format very vaguely explained. Some parts even explicitly refuse to fully explain a particular feature, pointing to highly-optimized, nigh-impossible-to-understand reference code for an explanation. There's no way in hell anyone could write a decoder solely with this spec alone.

In other words, there is no real spec that could stand up to ISO-type scrutiny, ignoring all politics. They are attempting to make standard a specific implementation, with all its current quirks and flaws, and from what I've read it is now set in stone; even though they are posting an RFC (request for comments) they will not be changing the spec to address the known flaws.

How is this good for anybody but Google?

Comment Re:Good ads aren't that bad (Score 1) 167

Good question.

No, it is not my preference that companies can do this. But at the same time I recognize that many of the web sites I visit on a regular basis need to make money somehow, even if they're only trying to cover the cost of their bandwidth.

Also, like I said, I'd rather see these kinds of ads than the horrible flashy blinky mortgage and weight loss scams and whatever else I seem to initially encounter on a "clean" machine.

Comment Good ads aren't that bad (Score 1) 167

Lately I've been pleased by the ads I get on most sites. After having recently shopped for a luxury car I got almost nothing but BMW, Infinti, Acura, etc. ads for months. None of which were intrusive. This Christmas I did some online shopping for some pajamas for the GF at Victoria's Secret and lo and behold now I'm greeted with Victoria's Secret models on a number of sites. Not only can I live with that, I can proclaim complete innocence when she's looking over my shoulder.

I even clicked through on a couple of the car ones while I was making up my mind, and afterwards as a bit of a reward for sites that host decent non-intrusive ads.

On the other hand, sites that have intersticials or Javascript pop-up/fly-overs that can't be blocked without disabling script, can DIAF. I have a bookmarklet that nukes most of them, otherwise I just immediately close the tab.

Comment Also, McDonalds is claims to own 'Mc' prefix (Score 1) 483


Therefore, I'm planning on making an eBook reader just to name it a McBook*. If enough heavyweight lawyers at McDonalds, Facebook, and Apple descend on me they may collapse into a black hole.

* Pronounced "em cee book" of course.

Comment Re:Huh?! (Score 1) 374

At least for some of us, it's not just basic arithemetic but having to spend tons of hours tracking down information that *could* be readily provided but, for some bizzare reason isn't. For example, have you ever had to deal with a ESPP in a company? Here's an example:

Fidelity will try to keep track of your wash sales and adjust the basis of your future sales accordingly. Unfortunately, that makes the record-keeping almost impossible. Firstly, adjusting the BASIS doesn't just change the basis price, it also changes the "effective" DATE of the purchase. So when you go to sell that March 31st stock, may get statements from Fidelity showing that you sold stock bought on "12/31/2009w" -- it's really your 3/31 stock but the basis has been adjusted due to your wash sale on April 5th. This can get extraordinarily confusing, because it means that neither the BASIS price nor purchase DATE for this set of shares corresponds to what was actually sold.

And that's a freakin' disaster, because as mentioned 3 sections ago, Fidelity fails to properly adjust the BASIS price of shares ESPP sales, meaning that you have to do it yourself. But since Fidelity has already "helpfully" changed the BASIS price and DATE to account for the WASH SALE, it can be virtually impossible to figure out WHICH shares were actually sold, meaning it's virtually impossible for you to properly adjust the BASIS to take into account the ORDINARY INCOME you recognized.

Oh, and keep in mind that the change of the BASIS DATE means that your later sale may be changed from a SHORT-TERM transaction to a LONG-TERM transaction. Confusing.
Oh, and keep in mind that because you often will be buying and selling different-sized blocks of shares, a given sale will likely be split up into multiple transactions, each tracking a different wash sale.


I agree that a basic 1040 is easy, but there are tons of gotchas out there due to not only the legal complexity but also how your company and/or broker does their bookkeeping. Reverse solving to uncover lost data is a huge pain, especially if you're like some of us who opt-out of paper statements. Some of the critical information you need to know is just gone.

Of course, if you're one of those people who keeps a dozen filing cabinets and spends 30 minutes a day doing personal finance and bookkeeping, sure it's trivial. Most people aren't like that and shouldn't be required to be like that.

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