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Comment Re:DSLRs multiply your skills (Score 1) 182

What I don't understand is this bogus association between the DSLR and not sharing. I shoot 99% DSLR, and I share like mad -- almost everything I shoot gets posted, unless I outright foul up the shot, which isn't typical. I have cameras in my iPad, my phone, I even have a small video camera I carry, but almost everything comes from the DSLR. First, the images are MUCH better, even when crushed down to "sharing size", and second, the lens selection gives me many times the flexibility as compared to the various P&S hardware.

So it's fine if you shoot the way you do, but I don't see that it points up anything inherent in DSLRs that represents a shortcoming.

Comment They can learn (Score 1) 182

Why would you be surprised that someone buying an entry level ($800, your number) DSLR would be a beginner?

When they spend $3000 or $5000 or more on the camera -- plus perhaps as much on lenses -- and they don't know how to use any of it, now we're talking smile-into-your-napkin time. Even so, there's nothing saying they won't learn how to use it eventually.

After all, it's a lot more fun learning to play guitar on a Martin dreadnaught than it is on some cheap box from the low price specials category of Musician's Friend. You dig?

Comment DSLRs multiply your skills (Score 1) 182

Not only that, but the thesis that one can take "good" photos varies hugely with the definition of what a "good photo" is. It's one thing for social media; perhaps another for family; another for marketing; another for deep space; another for stacked macros and stacked low light; another for historical archives; another for forensic analysis; another for HDR; another for sports and other rapid-motion incorporating shots; another for time lapse; another for journalism... you get the idea.

DSLRs are to point and shoots what high end sports cars are to volkswagons. They have a great deal more potential, said potential rather easily tapped by one with expertise in hand, but getting that potential out of them requires more than picking them up and pushing a button without some supporting knowledge.

The biggest upside, at least in my opinion, is that if you decide to go for a DSLR, all that's between you and expertise is your learning capacity and available time. Truly invest the one in the other and you'll never, ever consider going back to a point and shoot.

Comment Re:Secrets vs. Security Clearances (Score 2) 149

Hardly; I was getting questions about "one of your coworkers said you were involved in a libertine party?" (Hey, if people were having libertine parties, nobody was inviting me :-)

I know the LP and their range of crazies quite well; most of the anarchists are also pacifists (though some are gun nuts), the Kochtopus had funded much of the 1980 presidential campaign (I forget which one of them was the VP candidate) and were funding Cato, and a lot of them were still leftover Barry Goldwater fans who opposed the Vietnam draft, or hippies who believed in the free market. We hadn't had the quasi-Republican takeover that's happened since 9/11 (too many people freaked out about Muslim Terrorists Attacking America, sigh.)

Comment Polygraphs (Score 1) 149

Back in the 80s, you didn't need a polygraph for a vanilla Secret or Top Secret clearance, and I didn't have any of the spooky clearances or DEA clearances so I don't know what they did. I don't think the nuke people needed them either, but we didn't do nukes. I think the only particular lifestyle restriction I had was that I couldn't travel to communist countries without notifying the Feds first.

Comment Secrets vs. Security Clearances (Score 5, Interesting) 149

Yup. I was a defense contractor back in the 80s. While you couldn't be gay in the uniformed military, you could still have a security clearance and be a contractor or in the NSA or CIA - but you couldn't be in the closet, because that might be used for blackmail, especially in states where it was still illegal to be gay. So there were some famous researchers who'd had to come out to their families.

They asked about a lot of other things; they didn't mind that some of my coworkers had used drugs back in college and then stopped, but they really freaked out when one guy said he'd smoked dope, liked it, and might well do it again :-) (It took an extra six months for his clearance to come through.) And they really cared a lot about people who had relatives in Communist countries, not because they were worried that Cousin Ivan might have corrupted you into being a Commie, but because the KGB might threaten to kill your grandma if you didn't give them the secret plans. In my case, they asked a bunch of questions one year about my involvement in the Libertarian Party, because some of them weren't quite familiar with the concept that there were more than two political parties (plus the Commies, and they'd kind of forgotten about George Wallace.)

A friend of mine in the Air Force had a buddy who'd put down that his previous job experience included working at a candy store back home in the Bronx, and the guy who ran the place said he'd never heard of him. Had to have his dad go tell Cousin Luigi that it was the Feds checking on his security clearance for the service, not anybody checking into the numbers game that might or might not have been running out of the back room.

Comment Another cheater busted in California (Score 1) 320

gambling-pro-archie-karas-charged-defrauding-casino - The article doesn't say how he was marking the cards, but Archie Karas was arrested at his home in Las Vegas for cheating at an Indian Casino near San Diego. (The article also doesn't say why state police were involved; the casino's on an Indian reservation, and casinos are allowed to operate there because it's not subject to state jurisdiction, though California's tried to cheat the local tribes on that for years because they want a cut of the gambling take.)

Comment Card counting (Score 1) 320

You might or might not get to keep your winnings if you get caught card counting. The people who make a lot of money doing it work in teams, because it's easier to cover up having some people doing the grunt work of counting and some being the dumb lucky high roller who collects the winnings by playing at the table where their team member indicates the odds are good. Also, if you're actually making a lot of money, you're winning chips, not cash, and you've got to get the casino to let you trade them back in for cash, which they might not do if they've caught you, even if they're not actually mobsters who are going to beat you up.

Comment Re:They were greedy (Score 1) 320

Casinos also cheat if they don't let you count cards at blackjack, or if they've rigged the slot machines to have even worse odds than they're supposed to, or if they claim that the machine is "broken" and stiff the customer when it pays out a jackpot it wasn't supposed to (even if it was broken, as occasionally happens.)

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