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Comment Re:No (First Post?) (Score 4, Informative) 601

Exactly. Several years ago, I used to sign e-mails with PGP (not encrypt, just sign). At the time, some Outlook Express clients would red flag this, and display a large, glaring warning to readers about PGP-signed e-mails. Despite the fact that the bug was due to Outlook Express, I stopped using PGP... it's not like I could force all my recipients to a better mail client.

Comment Re:Not all religions are bad (Score 2, Insightful) 910

The Bible states that homosexual behavior is sin, along with sex before marriage, failure to respect your parents, and witchcraft, among other things.

You're right about Christianity (in general) teaching that "God hates the sin, not the sinner." But an additional problem, I think, is that people are too credulous about what's in the Bible. As others here have pointed out, the Bible doesn't actually condemn homosexual behavior. Rather, it states that male homosexuality is an "abomination", similar to the way that weaving fabric out of two different fibers is an "abomination." It doesn't say anything about female homosexuality. It doesn't ban gay marriage. It does say "a man will leave his family, take a wife, and they will become one flesh," which is I suppose the "biblical" definition of marriage, though it seems to leave out polygamy, concubinage, harems, and forced marriage of raped women, all of which also happen in the Bible.

Similarly, as far as I remember, the Bible doesn't explicitly say pre-marital sex is a sin. It says a lot about how "sexual immorality" is bad (a bit tautological), and it says it's better to get married than to "burn in passion", but for a book that's full of explicit prohibitions ("thou shalt not do X"), it's surprising not to see "thou shalt not lie with a woman before thou getteth thyself married to her."

Comment Re:Apparently... (Score 2) 403

Then there's the fact you were and still are able to use the Other OS feature on PS3s, you just can't update it (which means no PSN and a restricted library of games you can play). Courts accept that products can have limited lifetimes when it comes to support and Sony are more than entitled to release games for the PS3 that customers can't play on certain console configurations.

I took a look at the order, and it was entirely focused on the conditional access to the PSN. While it mentioned that the firmware update might have been required for certain game title and Blu-Rays, it did not explore those issues at all. While I understand the reasoning that PS3 buyers cannot reasonably expect to be able to access the PSN without ever altering their setup, playing Blu-Rays seems like a more basic functionality.

I wonder if there is a case where someone wanted to continue to use "OtherOS" but would be required to update firmware in order to use a Blu-Ray disk. Also, this opens the door for companies to revoke old features and justify the revocation by arguing it's necessary to access new content X, even if it is not actually true. To extend the car analogy even further, imagine if Toyota sold you a car with a built-in GPS and an AUX input for your MP3 player. Then, a few years later, you found out that in order to update the GPS, you need to take your car in to the Toyota dealer so they can snip the wires to the AUX input, since it can be used to play copyright infringing music.

Comment His BS was in education (Score 4, Insightful) 845

Yeah, something is wrong. If he took a test with questions like the sample, how the hell did he manage to get a BS without the ability to figure even one of them out. "you can use a calculator"!!!!

It depends on what the BS was in. A little more digging reveals this:

A resident of Orange County for three decades, he has a bachelor of science degree in education and two masters degrees: in education and educational psychology.

I'm not sure why the education undergrad degree was a BS, rather than a BA, but that, combined with the two master's degrees in education, explain a whole lot. He could probably have gone through all of those degrees, including the 15 hours towards a doctorate (by which he probably means an Ed.D., which is definitely not the same as a Ph.D.) without ever taking any math more advanced than basic algebra. Educational psychology might (and definitely should) have included basic statistics, but it might not have, and depending on the way the course was taught, might have been easy to skate through.

Also, being able to oversee a large budget tell me nothing about his math ability. It tells me he has basic Excel skills. If he thinks he doesn't need those math skills in his job, he probably doesn't realize how much more efficiently/accurately he could be doing his job if he did have and use them.

Comment Re:precisely that (Score 1) 231

I am not an institutional investor, a professional investor, a financial advisor, or a banker. I'm just a person with enough sense and foresight to be saving for retirement. Are you proposing that I be liable for the actions of every company I invest in? Say I purchase 5 shares of IBM, do I thereby become responsible for knowing everything that IBM is going to do in every country? How exactly am I supposed to know this? By flying to shareholder meetings with the $25 in dividends I might make in a year?

Come on. What you're proposing is not impossible, but it would severely limit the willingness of people to invest in any business they don't intimately know (and even then, they still might not). It also would raise the risk (and thus the price) of any financial services you might purchase from someone else (assuming you want to hold the financial advisor responsible). How am I going to get anyone to help me pick investments if they will be held responsible when something goes wrong at one of those companies?

I understand the desire to promote more knowledgeable investing, but what you're proposing would probably eliminate investing as a feasible option for everyone except the very wealthy, who have insider knowledge of the deals they will make, and can afford to buy lawyers for when things go wrong.

Comment Re:I hear that a lot, but (Score 1) 631

I actually agree with you, there are lots of people who apparently value material goods today over financial security in the future. I'm fortunate enough to be able to set aside a good chunk of my income for retirement. However, I also don't yet have a family, etc., and I have a lot of education and decent earning prospects.

But, I'm also probably not the kind of person who's going to be losing a job to Amazon warehouses, etc. I'll concede that a lot of people spend their money poorly, but there are also people who simply don't make enough to both support a family and set aside a reasonable amount for retirement. My point was mainly that the solution to lack of employment can't simply be "buy stock".

Comment Not everyone is interested in selling video games (Score 1) 300

Part of the reason you might not look at a used computer game or digital music/films and I think "I should sell that" may in fact be because there's no widely functioning marketplace in which to sell the items. You want to sell some used physical stuff, you put it on your lawn and have a yard sale, or use Craigslist or eBay. I've sold old computer parts for $5 and $10 on Craigslist... You want to sell used digital stuff, and unless you have an attached physical copy, there is no easy, widely-accepted, and clearly legal way to do so.

Another thing to consider is that not everyone is selling games. For physical books, I almost always buy used if I can - prices are significantly cheaper, especially for expensive academic texts (but also sometimes for mass market paperback - Amazon usually has a copy for $5 including shipping, and a new copy may be $10). As publishers push digital texts and the prices for academic texts stay high, I am sure people will wish they had a way to resell that $150 econometrics text.

Comment I was thinking about motorcycle gear too (Score 1) 161

I agree with you. Each time I think about riding without my full leather pants, I ask myself, "Is today the day I want to get road rash?"

Yes, it's hot during the summer. Yes, it means an extra few minutes removing pants, boots, etc. when I arrive at my destination. On the other hand, I get the feeling that should I ever spill, the extra time will have been well spent.

I understand that putting on an uncomfortable, heavy, and hot vest day after day is probably terribly inconvenient. On the other hand, so is getting shot. Or maybe someone could design a better ventilated and more comfortable vest, rather than a clipboard. But unless your patrol route is behind a desk, it probably makes sense to wear the vest you're issued.

Comment Re:Dialog is good and all... (Score 1) 717

A historian derives fact from the past.

How do they "derive" that fact? To me, it seems historians interpret documents and other sources from the past into more or less plausible stories. This is one of the reasons history kind of straddles the humanities and the social sciences. Historians are always choosing what sources to emphasize, and what kind of narrative to construct, because those sources don't speak for themselves.

Comment Re:Handicapped tickets can end up with jail time f (Score 1) 579

I was under the impression that shopping centers, movie theaters, etc. are required to provided a certain number of handicap parking spaces based on the sized of the lot, etc. Probably a requirement of ADA and state laws. Not sure how it applies to a strictly private campus, but given that normal workplaces have to comply with all sorts of ADA related requirements, I wouldn't be surprised if they also had to provide handicap spaces.

A lot of this story doesn't make sense. As others have pointed out, one would think he would have a reserved space (and maybe one in front of every building, if he wanted). Why not just park in the grass, if you really want to get close? Or get a Segway...

Also, I'm not sure how not having tags would help you not get a ticket. If anything, I would think you would be pulled over quite a bit for not having tags. Parking enforcement would probably cite you for not having tags. Even if you could get the tickets thrown out, that's a pretty big inconvenience. Most systems should be able to give you a ticket based on your VIN, too, which is visible through the windshield...

Comment Re:In other words, we should give up. (Score 1) 2247

Bell labs was a premier research institution so yes, it can be done.

While true, Bell also had a massive government granted-monopoly ensuring that it did not necessarily have to worry about every project turning a profit or being competitive. So yes, it can be done, but maybe only if you outlaw competition.

Gates is great. However, private donors are driven by their own motivations and are not democratically accountable, unlike (in theory) a government. This would be less of a problem if there were many Gates, with competing visions, but in many areas that's not the case. Talk to anyone in public education... Gates is far and away the biggest private funder, and the priorities that the BMGF sets shape the entire policy trajectory of the country, for better or worse.

Comment Re:There are two legitimate sides to this argument (Score 1) 917

In short, if you majored in engineering and then couldn't find a job after the economy went down the toilet while you were in school working your ass off, I feel for you. But if you spent four years in a field with ordinarily terrible job prospects and now you are shocked that you have no job prospects, I don't have much sympathy for you as you took a great opportunity and managed to squander it.

Part of the problem here may lie in poor advising. Thinking back to when I was deciding on colleges and majors, I honestly can't remember a point at which anyone told me "pick a useful degree." Oh, sure, your parents will be worried if you decide you want to major in English or Philosophy, but at least when I was going through this process, everyone seemed to say "do what makes you happy", or "do what you find interesting."

This was true of the high school guidance counselor, parents, college advisers, and in my opinion, the American culture at large. The cultural attitude seems to be that you should do what makes you happy. Money, of course, is said to make a lot of people happy, and so they end up going to law school.

There are also things that appear marketable but in reality, aren't. A law degree seems to be going that route. Maybe undergraduate business degrees, with the exception of finance and accounting.

I suspect that people doing the advising to teenagers may have to reevaluate the advice they are giving. It's nice to be happy, but what makes you happy at the age of 17 or 18 ("I want to study philosophy and understand the human condition!")* is probably not going to be the same thing that makes you happy at the age of 28 or 32, when you want to get married, buy a house, and support a family. There are probably a number of different degrees and career paths that can be satisfying to a person. I know I'll be encouraging my kids to look to useful, practical disciplines.

*Not to say that studying philosophy is never useful or beneficial; on the contrary, I highly value a liberal arts-oriented education. However, unless you want to go into academia, majoring in philosophy by itself is probably not a smart move, and unlikely to leave you happy for very long after you graduate. Yes, I know lots of philosophy majors go on to law school, but as an end point in itself, I think not.

Comment That is not a "progress bar patent" (Score 1) 130

I often bring up the progress bar patent [blogspot.com] (which expired just a few months ago.) Start with "You know when your computer boots up, or you're loading a web page on your browser? Notice that progress bar at the bottom of the screen? That's patented, and technically someone would have had to pay a license for that."

That is not the impression I get from reading the patent, which is much more specific (and the patent claims the methods to accomplish this task. In fact, the patent doesn't even mention a bar, it mentions a rectangle of twenty characters, and the characters disappear in an unspecified order (but not necessarily linearly):

The icon does not require a graphics display to be used and therefore can be used on both graphics and non-graphics displays. The icon of the prepared embodiment has five rows consisting of four percent (%) symbols surrounded by a border. At the beginning of a task, a task monitor quantifies the task into substantially equivalent task work units. All twenty "%" symbols are present and displayed to the user. When the task monitor determines that one task work unit has completed, one "%" symbol is replaced in the icon by a replacement character, such as a blank or null character. The replacement of one "%" symbol each time a task work unit completes continues until all of the "%" symbols are replaced, indicating 100% completion of the task. The order in which symbols inside the icon are replaced is determined by a pattern array and can be modified if desired. The symbols used inside the icon and for the border are selected to be available in virtually all languages, and can also be modified to meet the needs of a particular user.

Granted, it still seems pretty trivial, though it was filed in 1989. The main problem is that it makes no sense for software patents to last 20 years from filing... that's an eternity and then some in the software world.

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