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Comment Re:Let's have an apples to aplpes comparison (Score 1) 903

I brought up universal health care as real world example of things that are included in taxes in other countries, but it really doesn't matter what it is, just that there are things that are included in other countries that aren't included in the US.

Try this:

Plan A: I tax you 50% not to punch you or let Bob punch you.
Plan B: I tax you 30% not to punch you, and Bob charges you a 30% fee not to punch you.

Comparing only on taxes will say that plan B is better. But plan A compares all the costs not to be punched and is cheaper.

The point is that to compare, you need to compare what you are getting for the money put in, just just how much money happens to be put into a bucket marked "taxes".

Comment Re:Let's have an apples to aplpes comparison (Score 1) 903

I didn't say "we need a universal health care", that's a different issue. I said "if the taxes are covering other things that would come out of people's pockets, you need to consider them as well to get a true comparison".

How's this as an example:

I tax you 50% of your earnings not to punch or kick you.
I tax you 30% of your earning not to punch you, and charge a fee of 30% of your earnings not to kick you.

Stating the second one is better because you get taxed less isn't doing a full comparison of costs. It is misleading.

Comment Let's have an apples to aplpes comparison (Score 5, Insightful) 903

For example, if a country's taxes include universal health care, then the equivalent cost to Americans would be taxes + healthcare costs, not just taxes. Same in regards to things like universal access to education (including college), or a better social support net for elders past working age.

Comparing buckets that are supposed to cover differing things and noticing they are differing sizes really doesn't show anything at all. It's a false equivalency that's misleading at best.

Comment Re:wat (Score 2) 397

This is totally off-topic, but how is it that there seem to be so many people who live their lives in an exclusively gendered way (ie, exclusively lesbian relationships, as in the quote) but then make the claim that they are actually bi?

Picture a person who has never yet been in a relationship yet feels attraction. Do you see any problem with them describing themselves with a sexual orientation, even though they have not consummated their choice by engaging in a relationship?

I imagine that the author feels attraction to both men and women and as such describes herself as bi, even though she has not yet had the opportunity to engage in a relationship with a man.

Comment I love PwC's responses (Score 3, Insightful) 188

I love the responses PWC gave.

"ESNC did not receive authorized access or a license to use this software. The software is not publicly available and was only properly accessed by those with licenses, such as PwC clients working with trained PwC staff,"

In other words trying t discredit them. There is nothing in that about the flaw not being real.

But the one that had me laughing at the spin was:

"The code referenced in this bulletin is not included in the current version of the software which is available to all of our clients."

Makes it sounds like it's an old version that wasn't in use much anymore. But it was announced AFTER the fix. So publish the fix, which is now the "current version of the software" and since it's published "is available to all of our clients.". But really, that doesn't mean that most of your clients are running the patch, it silently sidesteps the whole thing.

And the final one:

"The bulletin describes a hypothetical and unlikely scenario -- we are not aware of any situation in which it has materialized,"

Yes, I would expect access to an admin account not to be listed on the main menu, I can believe it's an unlikely scenario. It's not actually hypothetical if it's been done by the security firm, so that part is a lie. The "we are not aware of any situation in which it has materialized" just means "we didn't catch it".

Comment I used to do this (Score 3, Insightful) 171

I worked for the company that used to provide this service (and a lot fo other 800, 866 and 900 numbers) for the NJ and NYC areas.

It was fascinating equipment. Ancient but robust. It was a constantly turning magnetic drum that had the recording on it about 6 inches tall with a little oil reservoir on top that had to be filled every few months.

It synced against the radio signal from the Navel Observatory, which was perfect but also perfectly useless. You see, there was a short delay induce by the phone lines, so if we let it set itself we'd get irate calls as people listened to it and the radio and they weren't synced. Yes, there are those people and out of the millions of population there are enough of them. So every time the time changed for daylight savings we'd set it, and then manually speed it up by a fraction of a second until it sounded right. Mind you it still wasn't perfect - the phone line induced delay varied by distance and number of trunks, but it was close enough.

Remarkable gear. Never lost time after we set it.

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 2) 760

But can 250,000 people in California get a free two-year education? Or are the grants few and far between?

It also assumes time (many work a job or two and still fall below the poverty line), regular availability (so they can't have work that assigns shift because it could overlap classes), that they don't have dependents to care for, nor does it consider the costs of mass transit to places to get this.

I applaud anyone who can pull themselves out of poverty by their bootstraps like that, but I don't think you have a general solution.

Comment Judge on the OS merits, not on nerd-rage (Score 1) 982

So, you're angry with M$ and therefore their OS sucks? Sorry, that's not causation. If you're actually someone who should be reading "News for Nerds" you can like or dislike Win10 on it's own merits, not just what the company is doing.

First, privacy issues suck. Horribly. You can turn off many of them. A few others you need to turn of on a MS website. All of that is easy to find documented on the web. That doesn't get them all. Turning off Cortona and keeping it off takes a bit of work.

Upgraded three desktops and one laptop of various powers, purpose and pedigrees. All went easy. All kept my data and software. You need to be aware that buttons that they want you to push (such as setting up a MS account) look like buttons, and buttons they don't want you to push (like setting up a local account) look like links and sometimes take a few extra screens.

None of them had cutting edge hardware, including the laptop. If you are worried about that, flex your nerd-muscles and check it out first. Everything including integrated components on the laptop had drivers from either MS or the vendor.

Haven't blue-screened once on any of the four. I have had an issue where it closed a program because it was running out of memory, which was legitimate but still unexpected.

Performance has been fine including gaming, but I don't run anything ultra-intensive. Multi-monitor support has been fine. Updates can cause reboots overnight, but won't be a surprise unless you don't touch the machine for a week.

Start menu can be made more useful without needing 3rd party, but it's a bit of work to customize it. MUCH better then 8.1, slightly worse than 7.

Edge is better than IE, but who cares because who uses a MS browser?

If you have windows 8.1, upgrade. If you have windows 7 I'd say it's up to you, but your window for free upgrades is closing. Extended support for Win7 ends Jan 24, 2020. So that's 3.5 years. I wouldn't expect that Win10 will be replaced by then, so eventually it's going to be Win10 or a non-Windows OS. Up to you if you want to take the plunge now or in a few years. Considering how hard MS was pushing to get people up to Win10, I wonder how much support the older versions are going to get from 3rd parties for anything new coming out.

Comment Re:"Did you even test this??!!!" (Score 1) 523

In reality, we should be constantly aware that 50% of our users are literally below average (by definition, not because we think they're "morons".)

By definition, 50% of coders are below average as well.

50% of coders are below average compared to other coders. That has no relevance either way if the average for coders is above or below the average for users.

Comment Re:More importantly... (Score 3, Insightful) 100

That sort of example strikes me as a classic case of legal overthinking of the problem though. It sounds like the case revolved around nonsense such as whether humans were present near or at the wreck, when really the only real legal question that actually needed answering was "Should first finders get first dibs on the wreck".

I think perhaps you are oversimplifying the problem. If I were to theorize 2352 potential shipwreck locations based on satellite imagery and publish it, am I the "first finder"? If I get odd sonar pings but don't follow it up am I the "first finder"?

I believe maritime law may specifically want to grant salvage rights to the first people at the wreck, and anything else opens doors to abuse. Can anyone who actually knows it speak to this?

Comment Re:How is that even legal? (Score 1) 202

"such as OS upgrades that you click Accept in order to install"

I just put a Post-it note over the text, saying something like "By continuing the installation after I click Accept, you grant me unlimited rights to use the product in any way I want." That way, a coercive, unnegotiated contract which is good for the goose can be turned into one which is good for the gander.

That will hold up in court, just like putting your own UPC codes on boxes in the store so they ring up differently. Hey, that price tag is an unnegotiated contract!

Oh wait, no, that doesn't work.

I'm not good little corporate shill - I strongly dislike EULAs and educated myself about how enforceable they are. The answer is "it depends", and I have at least some grasp about the particulars. It's much better than just wishful thinking.

For example I don't install any software on my kids machines or tell them to install any software - they are too young to sign a binding contract so as long as I don't tell them to do it and they act on their own behalf, there's a good chance the EULAs are null.

When you live in denial, you only have yourself to blame for the consequences of your ignorance.

Comment Re:How is that even legal? (Score 1) 202

It was never presented at sale, nor signed off on. The terms are also onerous.

They can put whatever they want in the EULA, but it doesn't mean it's enforceable.

Yes, based on it not being given at point of sale, it shouldn't be enforcable. However, many court have ruled it is. Beware of additional offerings, such as OS upgrades that you click Accept in order to install. There you are getting something new and entering into a new contract.


Comment Re: What do you mean... (Score 1) 190

If it were truly a better system I wouldn't have to switch endlessly between ribbon tabs while performing simple formatting tasks. Once configured (even minimally), the toolbar stayed *put*, allowing muscle memory to speed operation.

The ribbon is great for discovery and people who never get past "ransom letter" documents. It sucks ass for experienced users.

I'm glad that the tasks you do are so constrained that they fit into a single toolbar. As an experienced user I use many different features and being able to switch context to have a much wider selection then would fit into one toolbar is beneficial. This is even more true in Excel then Word.

Swore at it for a month when I first started using it because I needed to unlearn some habits, now find it much easier.

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