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Comment Funny, my insurance company already does this (Score 1) 637

So it can't be that difficult (it's one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield companies).
They even have the statements automatically totaling my out of pocket history since I started my current job, (even though I've switched plans within the job) and my OOP from the job I had that I had a completely different plan with them like 10 years ago that I can access online. They're big on online.

I don't have any of them but there are some 'lifetime out of pocket' riders available, mostly dealing with Big Chronic things like MS and Cancer. You can even request the rider after diagnosis, and while they won't let you have it immediately, if you are under treatment for some period (2 years? 5 years? I don't know) the rider then takes effect and also counts the backdated OOP from when you applied.

Comment Re:If uploads are expensive, cap them specifically (Score 1) 301

We do? News to me. All of my upstream bandwidth connections (admittedly I'm not big enough to be a 'peer' or 'near peer' are symmetric and the upstream side is hardly used. I only care from a last mile standpoint because most of the technology we use (Not counting our latest fiber tech we're putting in) is heavily consumption oriented (yeah I can give you 50 mb down... you want 10 up? no I can't do that.)

The only thing I see as a 'I don't really like servers there' point of view is static servers, especially web server are more likely to get attacked, slashdotted, cnn'd, or whatever and I've got specific portions of my network that are better protected against that impacting more than a small segment of my network.

Comment Odd.. (Score 1) 93

I have a 1080p 30 fps dashcam with good low light (not great) that records to SD card. It even has an hdmi out (and came with the mini-hdmi to hdmi cable, which surprised me. And the cable for composite out). It can even be switched to still picture w/flash or video with (somewhat weak) light. It's not an instrumented cam (meaning gps, speed, light indicators) but it was 100$

Comment Re:What? (Score 2) 201

Never underestimated the ingenuity of dumb. I gave a guy a hard drive to replace the one in his computer. He 'knew all about it' and I knew he had the knowledge to format and reinstall his OS no problem.
He brought the drive back to me, claiming it didn't work, in fact the power cables would not fit till he took his dremel to them, so it must not have been the right drive for his machine.

He had shaved off the corners of a standard hard drive power connector so he could fit it upside down in a used 512 MB IDE hard drive. Which of course killed the drive, but I also determined it killed that connector on the motherboard's IDE bus.
The reason for this mistake?
His computer had been built with some oddball brand of hard drive (I can't remember... Paladin or Palladium? I think it started with a P) which put the controller board on TOP of the drive instead of on the bottom.

Comment Re:Some good parts, but some rather absurd parts (Score 3, Informative) 1591

Shotguns cannot have more than a 3 round magazine if used to hunt migratory birds; commonly, this is achieved by a wooden dowel inserted in the tubular magazine to limit it's capacity. The dowel can be removed for home defense, hunting deer, or skeet shooting. A friend purchased a handgun that he understood had been the personal 'off duty' firearm of a California State Trooper. The smallest capacity magazines it takes are 15 round; his had two magazines with wooden blocks, one with wadded up paper, and would not take more than 10 rounds without their removal. (He does not live in a state that limits magazines to 10 rounds, thus removed the blocks). If this applies in the New York law's case, I don't know.

Comment not a bad deal but... (Score 1) 108

I know Kindle DRM is 'teh evilz' but I bought two of their books a few weeks ago off Amazon for my Kindle. Not on sale or anything.

50% off the O'Reilly site price for both books would have saved me about $2.

I don't know if that's relevant or anything but just commenting. (For the interested, they were of the type 'read this through for a good grounding in the subject better than what you'd get digging through 500 pages on google'. They really helped with the projects I was working on, and probably saved me 3-4 extra days of research dead ends and half truths.)

Comment Re:OMFG Reagan was right? (Score 5, Interesting) 861

Actually, it's more complicated than that, and that's the reason that the defense system was considered 'provocative'. It's also the reason the US and USSR arsenals were so 'over the top'.
(I read a book by someone involved with the so called 'nuclear calculus' of MAD a few years ago and assuming he wasn't lying through his teeth, it's interesting)
Let's say you want to nuke, say, Perth in Australia and remove it from the map. Without using the really really big ones, which were never deployed much really, you are talking about 6-10 mid 80s grade warheads. Let's say 10.
Now if you want to land 10 warheads on Perth, in the mid 80s, you need to plan to launch 18-25 or so at it.
The book went into the details of why.
Now because of some of those details, let's say that Australia deployed an ABM system that can stop 33% of the warheads that complete their ascent stage and separate from their missiles. We're not talking about shooting down the missiles themselves, just the warheads after they separate. (Interesting note, as of 80s grade tech, boosted fission weapons were fully 'fail deadly' and could detonate at full yield when struck by an interceptor weapon, before that weapon could destroy the hardware. Full Fusion weapons would probably 'fizzle' producing a much lower yield explosion than they were rated for.)
Based on his math, which was complex but did follow, assuming the underlying assumptions were correct, in order to turn Perth into a crater you now need to launch 60-80 warheads at it.
To get a 'for sure' 10 warhead kill.
Now when MIRVs were in style that doesn't seem like so much with a dozen warheads on each missile except that an iron clad rule was that those warheads each had to come off a separate missile. Because a lot of the reason for needing so many warheads was the assumption that a good percentage of those missiles carrying them would never make it to separation stage.
Add to this the fratacide problem of warheads. Any warhead hitting Perth within 'a short time (which he couldn't give exacts of because it was classified, but indicated it was longer than 3-4 minutes)' of any particular detonation would be killed by it's own brother explosion before it detonated. (And nuclear detonation waves were one of the few things fast enough to kill, for example, a boosted fission weapon before it could set itself off). So if you launched 60 warheads at Perth, not only do they all have to come from different missiles, but you have to plan for them to land over a at least a 4 hour period. Which allows the ABM system to be more effective because you can't swamp it with everything you have in one big go and, assuming Australia has deployed it's own nuclear weapons, also allows them to strike back at your missile launching fields and command and control facilities. Which means you need to target even MORE warheads at Perth if you want to evaporate it.

The Big Deal here is not that 'oh heck we may only lose half our country in a nuclear war woopie!'
The Big Provocative Deal here is that once you have that 33% kill shield in place it requires a massive expenditure of warheads on the enemies part to really for sure kill you completely. Suddenly things are not MAD and now you have to worry about 33% shield country launching conventional ground invasions of parts of your territories or spheres of influence, feeling more sure that you won't escalate the conflict to the nuclear stage because suddenly you can't ensure the destruction of the other side, when they still have the ability to annihilate you.
Now you may ask who would be insane enough to risk that nuclear war that wipes out only half their own country, given the rest of the situation, and my answer would Godwin the thread. Also, the USSR thought Reagan was that far off the rails as well. Who's to say who else would have risked such a level of brinksmanship.
90% would be enough for a country to act pretty much with impunity against anyone except the really big nuclear players, without fear of major nuclear damage. The thought of 5 or so nukes hitting the US is horrifying, but politicians and the military talk in phrases like 'acceptable losses' and 'can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs'.
Which is why, in the end, the only solution to the nuclear problem is political.
(Mind you I'm summarizing a 300 page book here so give me a little bit of a break here).

Comment These are not smart meters. They are remote read. (Score 4, Informative) 138

I know something about these meters. First of all, they give you the current meter reading in KWH, not how much current is currently in use; you would have to take multiple samples to get that.
Second of all, they are very omnidirectional and have a reasonable range, so someone can read them from the street on most houses. Which means they get several houses with any reader. The unique identifier is easily determinable, in our case it's stamped on the back side of the meter, all you have to do is pull it off the base and check it. The meters are programmed with a route and subroute number, and respond to an unencrypted transmission asking for their info by broadcasting it.
As far as the 4th amendment is concerned, the police would need a warrant to get all the bits and pieces together to connect a particular meter with a particular house in the first place.
Finally, the readers cost us roughly $8k each. While I'm sure it's doable cheaper, I don't see people putting that kind of effort into this. Especially as the same info can be gotten by walking up and looking at the meter. While I certainly have my concerns of security for real 'smart meters' these are not what we should focus on.

Comment Re:Is there any way to "beat" a sniffer dog? (Score 1) 451

I saw a documentary involving a few terrorist attacks where they covered a couple of the methods they used for getting bomb stuff past the dogs and chemical detectors. It's difficult. Based on what I saw a user or dealer would find it nigh impossible to do so. I am pretty sure I saw the mythbusters episode you speak of and nothing got through on their tests.

I got 'hit' at the gun range once; I take a prescription first thing in the morning, before I shower, eat, brush my teeth, etc that is something the dogs will hit on. If I didn't have a copy of my prescription in my wallet (I will also fail one of the half dozen things they test for in my pee-in-a-cup tests at work so keep a recent copy for the when I get random tested, or if I have an major injury (major injury means 'we get first responders or someone goes to the hospital) or property damage accident) I may have been inconvienenced mightily.

K-9 unit had his dog out there while he was shooting. Without any prompting the dog came over and did whatever constitutes him getting a 'hit'. The officer was a bit tense for a moment because he was just starting to reload magazines and I had just stepped up to start shooting. I of course simply cleared the gun while keeping it downrange, handed him my pistol and dropped the rest of my stuff in my range bag and stepped clear of reach of anyone's weapons. He was very understanding and we had things cleared up in less than 10 minutes. He even let me fire his service piece when I mentioned I had never shot that particular caliber (357 sig). (I also let him fire my WWII German army issue pistol, which he liked).

Comment Re:Deer cams (Score 5, Interesting) 340

In the US, a general piece of advice given to people who are arming themselves for self defense; When using lethal force (a gun), use it with intent to kill, not wound or disable. Not only is 'only wounding' hard, but it you are less likely to lose or even be hit with a wrongful death civil suite than a personal injury suite. One of my online buddies shotgunned three armed bad guys invading his home, killing two, the only criminal charges were misdemeanor possession of a loaded firearm (illegal, even in his own house, in his jurisdiction) which he got 3 months probation for after pleading no contest. One of the guy's families sued him for wrongful death, and it was dismissed with predjudice the first day. The surviving bad guy successfully sued him for various things (had two fingers amputated because the blast hit him in his gun hand as he was firing at my friend.), however it was overturned on appeal. But his defense has cost him roughly $100k. (and they are appealing the appeal). This is a person who is currently service a life sentence for 2 felony murders (he gets saddled with the guild of his two buddies deaths) and on trial for 6 more home invasions that had happened in the prior month.

Comment Re:Deer cams (Score 1) 340

If you're recording on your property, your own consent is implied. That law does make it illegal for someone else to record on your property without your or the targets' approval.

In my state, it's specifically illegal to use cameras to record, for example, trespassers on my property without posting signs. Yes, that's stupid.

Comment Re:Deer cams (Score 3, Informative) 340

There is only one tiny problem that you might run into, and it should be ok if you stick a couple in trees... those deer cams usually have a red light on them, if people are looking they can be found. However, they'd have to look.

Also, something to check for, in my state it's illegal to record other people on your property 'without consent of at least one party involved in the recording'. Consent is however assumed if signage is posted. (I can record at my door without a sign, because I'm recording myself and others, I'm consenting. I can't just do surveilance without posting a sign. The rules are of course, byzantine.)

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