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Comment Re:Need more information (Score 3, Interesting) 497

I used to offer to help them get the FTC's $50,000 reward for stopping telemarketing abuse by turning in their boss. None of them took me up on it :-)

But that program's over, so I usually just ask them how their family feels about them scamming people for a living. Most of them just hang up, some of them get mad.

Comment Re:Weasel Words: (Score 4, Insightful) 172

Unfortunately, the US government will probably try to find a way to do just that. If they can allege a link between Satoshi and DPR-or-Ulbrich, that gives them a better excuse to try to pry information out of anybody involved with Bitcoin, either through legal process in the US or through possibly-illegal wiretapping overseas.

Comment Re: Early Paypal (Score 3, Informative) 172

Paypal's primary niche in the early days was being a popular way to pay sellers on eBay using credit cards. The seller could accept Paypal much more easily than opening merchant accounts with multiple credit card services, and the buyer didn't have to give the seller their credit card number, and the transaction fees were competitive. It was way better and faster than buyers having to mail sellers a check, waiting for the post office, sellers having to wait for the check to clear, buyers hoping the seller wasn't scamming them; it cuts a huge step out of the non-credit-card market.

Comment Cost of electric vs gas, and range (Score 2) 810

If your car gets x mpg in the US, your cost of gasoline over the lifetime of the car is about $1M / x. ($5 per gallon * 200,000 miles / mpg) So a 20mpg SUV will cost you $50K in gas, or a 50mpg Prius will cost you $20K. (Pro-rate if you're just keeping the car a few years, of course.) If the price per mile for electric is equivalent to 100 mpg, then it's going to save you only $10K over a Prius, but $40K over an SUV.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. A lot of the driving I do is less than 10 miles each way, but there are a lot of 40-50 mile trips that I make frequently (one is to work, on the days I don't telecommute), also between Silicon Valley and SF or Berkeley. I'd need a car with at least 200-mile range that I can charge at home in 6 hours to feel really comfortable driving that. If I could afford to maintain three cars (I don't have parking for them, and would rather not pay for the insurance and registration), I'd be fine with the current electric cars, which would get used for most non-commute driving, but my wife and I would still have full-range cars if we needed them, though I'd rather wait a few years.

Comment Botnets for Bitcoins Don't Work Well Any More (Score 1) 152

When Bitcoin was new, you could successfully mine bitcoins using your CPU. But the parameters on Bitcoin keep making the amount of computation higher, and these days the CPUs have been left in the dust, GPU-based miners are getting passé, and it takes ASICs to really keep up. Part of that's competitive speed, and part of it's the cost of electricity, which as a botnet herder you don't actually care about, but you've got to have a mining client that can run on the GPU without being noticed, so it can't run if the user is doing graphics-intensive GPU stuff. Harder to hide that without being detected.

Comment "Species" is a surprisingly fuzzy term (Score 1) 238

Identifying animals by species is usually convenient, but it's really an shorthand for clades of individuals. Are two individuals close enough to reproduce and have offspring that are capable of reproduction? That's a different question from whether Species X and Species Y are close enough, and the boundaries are a lot fuzzier than they taught us in high school. Lions and tigers aren't the same species, but they're close enough that ligers or tigons can be fertile, and there's at least one liliger out there. (It doesn't happen in nature, because lions and tigers don't live in the same areas, at least in modern times, but they're still close enough relatives.) And even mules are occasionally fertile.

Comment Re:They're trying to be the next Groupon! (Score 1) 188

"anti-capitalist"? Are you one of those Rand-worshippers who thinks that any decision a corporation or corporate executive makes is automatically correct? You've obviously never worked with real businesses before; they make dumb decisions all the time. (If that weren't true, you'd have gotten to this link by clicking with your Cue-Cat, or looking it up with Excite or AskJeeves.) One of the core things that makes capitalism work is that when dumb decisions get made, businesses (or parts of businesses) fail, die, and go away, and the people (and sometimes the resources they were using) can go do different things.

I'm boggled at hearing that Groupon still even exists, much less has that much market cap, because they were seriously tanking after they went public, and I haven't seen a Groupon or Groupon-like daily deal in ages.

Comment Re:Ethanol is a crock nobody wants (Score 1) 330

They don't need any changes related to corrosion because they're made with those changes already included - it's mostly picking the right kinds of rubber for the seals and hoses. That doesn't mean an old motor boat engine will have been designed for that, and as the earlier poster said, there's also the problem that boat engines often sit unused for half a year, with the fuel evaporating away.

Comment Mission Accomplished! (Score 3, Insightful) 337

Yup. They don't have to catch criminals and terrorists significantly more often than chance, and even catching them less often than chance is just fine, as long as most people submit to the bullies and they can beat up the ones who don't. (Occasionally they fail, like the other week when some loser decided to shoot up the TSA because he had a problem with authority.)

I'm skeptical about the "scientific study", though, because TSA is almost never actually dealing with terrorists; they're much more likely to be dealing with people who are carrying politically incorrect plants and pharmaceuticals, or reading politically incorrect books, or worrying about the TSA thugs rooting through the underwear in their carryon bags.

Comment That's No Gatorade (Score 2) 337

They're not banning gatorade because it's dangerous - they're banning it because there are liquid explosives that you can dye unnaturally fluorescent colors and carry in a Gatorade bottle.

On the other hand, even pre-9/11 you couldn't bring an open beer onto a plane at most airports, because the US has silly laws about such things. Even though there's a bar in the airport right across from your gate, that'll give you your beer in a to-go cup so you can drink it at the gate while waiting for your plane.

Comment They're trying to be the next Groupon! (Score 4, Insightful) 188

Google reportedly offered Groupon $6B and was turned down; the company's probably worth about $6 by now.

Facebook offered SnapChat $3B? As long as it's in cash, not Facebook stock, there's only one right thing to do, which is to take the money and run. (Or take the money and stick around, if that's the deal, but take the money. Do not play Go, Do not pass up $3B.

Comment It improves your Klout(tm) (Score 1) 120

XKCD 1057.

So are you saying that fake Twitter followers increase your Google page rank? How does Google connect a Twitter user to a web page? I can see how posting a link to your website and having lots of people click on it is potentially useful, but I don't see how having a bunch of fake robotic followers clicking on the links you tweet about does anything other than look suspicious to Google. And maybe I'm cynical, but I don't see how anybody can sell "getting real people to be interested in the stuff you Tweet and pay actual attention to it" for fractional pennies per human follower.

Comment Guns generate hype faster for 3D Print than CNC (Score 1) 333

If you're a 3D-printing company, and you need to get your name in the press, making Yet Another Plastic Head of Cory Doctorow just isn't going to do the job, even if you 3D-print the googles and red cape all in one pass. The first 3D-printed gun was mostly done to make a political point (certainly not to be a useful gun.) This one's probably a lot better manufacturing, and that's going to generate some technical hype and possible demand for printing other metal things that previously had to be made using more traditional technologies (like low-cost CNC milling machines :-) but it's the fact that guns get lots of people to freak out that gets their name in the press. (And even if you don't remember their name, if you're looking to get something made of metal that's a similar complexity, you'll probably remember that it can be 3D-printed now and Google will find them for you.)

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