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Comment Re:I just have one simple question. (Score 1) 540

Ok.... as unpopular as my comment may be? I, first of all, think there was no good justification for giving Manning the pardon and not Snowden. Should have been the other way around.

There's really zero evidence that anything Manning leaked amounted to true whistle-blowing. Yes, some of the material might have put military tactics on display that some people took issue with or were disturbed by -- yet all of them were legal activities to engage in under the law that existed at the time they happened. Meanwhile, it did give our enemies information that wasn't supposed to be revealed to them.

Snowden, by contrast, served to prove that Obama's administration was, in fact, continuing the illegal surveillance of American people that Bush's administration started. That's why Obama won't pardon him.... If he had actually changed Bush's policies upon entering office, he would have given Snowden a pardon with a quickness -- but it doesn't serve his narrative.

Comment re: FiOS (Score 1) 200

Actually, FiOS might be a good example of what I was referring to in my original post.

In the city I live in, FiOS started to be very cautiously deployed in a very limited manner -- but was essentially killed off before it got any momentum, because local city government declared it couldn't sell television services here. (They already signed an exclusive deal for Comcast to get all the TV distribution rights for our city for 10 years when they first came in.)

Verizon sold a few (like literally 3 or 4) FiOS installations in town that only had VoIP telephone and Internet, but no TV portion enabled. But to get it, you had to pay the same price as you'd pay for the "triple play" bundle they normally sold. So not that competitive against Comcast.

I can't say if the same has actually happened in a city where they have municipal Internet broadband, but it shows how local government can and does do things to block progress for competing services.

Comment I don't think this will be a huge hit either..... (Score 1) 116

One of our kids is a BIG Nintendo fan, and just from the lack of excitement about the "Switch" coming from him, I can tell this isn't a product likely to set the world on fire.

I've always been more of a computer than a console gamer, but I've owned the PS2, 3 and 4, as well as a few misc. older 8-bit consoles, back in the day.

One of the big downsides of the Switch is that multiplayer gaming will start requiring a fee, just like the XBox and Playstation do. Especially for kids with limited incomes, this really marks the end of one of the reasons to advocate for Nintendo vs. the competition. I don't know what Nintendo plans to charge, but I'm assuming it's going to be in line with today's "industry standard" of an annual price equivalent to a new release game title.

It also appears to be a situation where you'll essentially get forced to buy one, if you want to play the latest in Nintendo's most popular game sagas like Mario Brothers and Zelda. (Yes, I understand they're promising games like the new Zelda will also be available for Wii -- but good chance that's the end of the line there.) IMO, that would be completely forgivable if the Switch had great new graphics capabilities and a faster CPU, so the new titles could utilize the superior hardware resources. But that's not the direction Nintendo has gone here either.

Comment I think this one can be tough to decide..... (Score 1) 200

The bottom line is - we all want more fast, inexpensive broadband options. So when you live in a city that doesn't really have them, you jump at the first opportunity that comes along. Sometimes, that's going to be your local government proposing a roll-out of a city-wide system.

If it seems like a law is trying to block that from happening, your first reaction is to protest that law!

But like someone else on here pointed out? Municipal Internet doesn't always have the best long-term track record. It's likely funded with grants, donations and whatever else could be scraped together to do the initial build-out, and then it's all about keeping as many captive customers as possible to justify those initial costs.

If better, faster broadband alternatives pop up, your local government may not be too receptive to allowing them in, as they know that would effectively ruin their own project.

There are certainly some success stories out there, as well, though.

I guess I lean towards disliking legislation that tells your local govt. it CAN'T do such a thing. If the local residents vote for it and a plan is approved by the local city hall, I think that should be respected. But it would be wise of local voters to be aware of the potential pitfalls and to voice their opinion that a city-wide broadband project is a "non starter" if it doesn't provide really good speeds.

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 4, Insightful) 432

So what? IMO - you never have anything to lose by documenting valid reasons you left a company. I suspect that in quite a few cases, upper management doesn't really do anything about it when they receive letters or exit interview information like this. But eventually, it piles up and *someone* notices. (I used to work at a place like that, where one of the managers had a continuous history of insulting and angering the interns and assistants they hired to work with him. Many years of that went on, with everyone else who worked there long enough gossiping about it and how it would "never change". But then the economy took a nosedive and they had to make cutbacks. Guess who one of the first guys was they let go?)

If you don't already use it, I'd also recommend creating an account over on and make sure you post about the issue there. At least that way, you might be helping someone else who is researching the company and considering taking the opening you left behind, or one similar.

Comment Apple makes FAR more money on the iOS side (Score 4, Insightful) 228

I think when Steve Jobs was still alive, he enforced a philosophy at Apple that the Mac was the "cornerstone" of the company, no matter what else it developed. It was all about that "halo effect", where the Mac was the control center for everything else, and everything had a symbiotic relationship with everything else Apple sold. (EG. You could be a Windows user and buy an iPod as your music player, and use it just fine. BUT, you'd eventually say, "Hey... Apple's iTunes software that manages this thing really runs better on the Mac than it does in Windows. Maybe I'll just go with a Mac in the future and use it with this?" Or you might be a Windows or even Linux user who bought an Apple Airport Extreme as your wi-fi router because it got high reviews. You *could* manage it with the Windows version of the management software, but you'd find it's easier to just set one up from an iPhone, where support is built right in.)

Back then, it was commonplace for Jobs to remind people that low overall percentages of Mac sales compared to Windows didn't concern him. It was about selling gourmet food vs. McDonalds. If you have a premium product, you concentrate on catering to those who appreciate that ... not worrying about maximizing sales numbers.

Today, it's very different. Apple under Tim Cook seems to believe iOS devices are the "future" as the traditional computer dies out, and MANY of the complaints Mac users have are direct results of this change in course. There are problems right now with PDFKit in OS X, where Apple suddenly rewrote the thing from the ground up in OS X Sierra without so much as informing developers. The reason? They wanted one with feature parity with the iOS version. This made Apple's own Preview software unsafe to use to edit PDF documents, because it causes embedded OCR layers to be stripped from them when you save them. Other applications like Mariner Paperless, which use Preview to display scanned documents in their database, crash as soon as you try to view a file in your collection. It's basically a trainwreck right now. I hear Apple is scrambling to fix a lot of this in the latest OS X beta, but this fiasco already caused many realtors to switch back to Windows because they rely so heavily on PDF as part of their daily workflow,

If rumors I've heard can be believed, Apple doesn't even have much of a Mac OS X development team left anymore. The updates to it are supposedly being done by a team that's expected to spend part of their time doing iOS related work.

I've been a big Mac proponent since the 2001 time-frame, but I'm finally reaching the point where my next computer won't be a Mac, unless there's a major change of course in the near future. As others have said, Apple has nothing for sale that I'd really want to buy. The new Macbook Pro 15" looks desirable at first glance. The touch-bar is a nice addition and it looks attractive in space gray color and all that. But in reality, it's the most expensive laptop Apple has ever sold (in a high spec configuration at least), while demanding more compromises to use it than have ever been expected of "Pro" users before. The lack of all ports except USB-C would be more acceptable if the USB-C standard was more prevalent. But putting it there today is doing it just to prove you're "cutting edge", while hampering real-world usage. And at that price? Why isn't a set of the dongle adapters included with it?? The Mag-Safe charging was a mistake to eliminate too. That's been a signature feature that made Mac laptops a step ahead of everyone else. Couldn't they at least do a USB-C variant of Mag-Safe?

Comment But.... Xeon? (Score 2) 240

The impression I'm getting in recent years is that we're transitioning towards a computing world where individual consumers primarily want portables, or alternately, "all in one" or super small form-factor desktops which just use mobile motherboards and CPUs anyway.

The high-end "power users" who tell you they still need a desktop machine for the work they do are best served by a "workstation" class system, vs. a regular desktop PC. The primary differentiation between a "desktop" and a "workstation"? Seems to be the inclusion of a Xeon class processor, originally intended to go into servers. Secondarily, workstations tend to offer the highly costly video cards optimized for use with CAD/CAM and other graphics design packages.

Comment Interesting .... but .... (Score 1) 75

Again, at least *some* of this strikes me as cases of, "Sure...the technology may let you do it, but you're still creating a trail to get caught!"

I mean, ok --- the relatively weak security might let me log in to a web portal and cancel a guy's flight. But if that's a flexible ticket (the most expensive kind) that lets me reschedule it under another name? Don't you think he might *notice* that happened? And when they investigate, it wouldn't be too tough to figure out who DID use that rescheduled flight.

I'd be more worried about the possibility of mischievous hackers screwing up people's booked flights for amusement and general rabble-rousing. But even something as simple as putting your own frequent flier ID in under someone else's flights to earn their miles means you can be tracked down and caught/punished for theft of them.

Comment Re:Accounting isn't what you think it is (Score 2) 370

Yep! I don't even work in Accounting or Finance, but because I do computer support for that department and have to get slightly involved in the bill coding side of the process -- I agree completely.

I'm pretty sure that even if you *could* get a computer to do everything for Accounting automatically, people would constantly become frustrated with parts of the resulting process -- from reports requested by management not having the formatting or items desired on them, to inflexibility getting an item charged to a certain group's cost center when it's an exception to the usual process.

Automation really works best when you have a repetitive, consistent process people have to go through without any creativity or thought involved. In every profession, there's still PLENTY of that required of people each day. Those are the tasks you want to automate to improve efficiency. Attempts to get a computerized system to substitute for human THOUGHT or CREATIVITY is where it quickly falls apart.

Comment Re:another sucker (Score 1) 84

Yes.... many reasons why home ownership makes good sense in the long run.
Maybe you're still too young to get it though?

Look ... it's not about playing some kind of investment game with the home you live in, expecting you can flip it for a big profit (which mysteriously, you believe will only increase based on how much you spend upgrading everything in the house).

It's about the fact that with your home comes a chunk of land that it sits on, for starters. This means you have your own little square of space on this planet you have control over. If you decide you'd like to start growing some of your own food, you can just go out in your back yard and do it. If you want to buy a big dog, you can do it without worrying about getting your landlord's permission first, AND you can let him poop outside all you want, and clean it up again on your own time. You're not stuck running around with a bag and pooper scooper, right behind your dog, to appease the other people who live in your apartment unit. Heck, maybe you decide you'd like to build yourself a workshop or a shed to store some things in? It's your yard, so you can do it!

It's also about having control over your house itself. If you discover you'd like things much better with a wall removed between your kitchen and your living room? You can undertake that project. You don't have to worry about somebody you're renting from telling you no. You can repaint any time you like. You can redo anything you want in your kitchen or your bathroom to suit you. And if you spend the money doing it, at least you don't get stuck giving all of it away to somebody else at no charge, for them to get some of the benefit from it, when it turns out your rent has gone up and you need to find a different place to stay.

Obviously, you get the tax advantages too, such as tax credits on the mortgage interest you pay.

I don't know why you're trying to paint home ownership as some kind of political scheme? As someone else posted, it's been a popular theme for over 60 years in America. The only problems we had were when presidents decided to sell it as something EVERYONE should do, no matter their financial situation. Again, you need to have a solid, steady job that makes it viable FIRST.

Comment Re:Fanboys, defend the hive! (Score 2, Insightful) 268

0xdeadbeef, you're really just complaining about bad luck that could happen to anyone, regardless of buying Apple products.

I've been using Apple since around 2001, and owned 6 of their computers at once, at one point in time. I currently work for a company that has deployed about 60 of them to mobile workers and I do support for them (along with another 60 or so using Windows machines).

The 2007 MBP you're speaking of with the battery that swelled? There were a TON of defective Li-On batteries out there, used by all manufacturers. It's not like Apple has anything directly to do with the battery manufacturing process (certainly not back in that time-frame). So that's really nothing you can pin on Apple, as opposed to pinning on owning a laptop that used a battery. The 3D graphics card that died? That, too, was an industry-wide issue for a while, especially with one series of nVidia GPUs out there. A design flaw in the BGA (ball grid array) design of the processor, essentially. Didn't hold up under the stresses of heating and cooling cycles over time.

Your 2012 MBP with trackpad issues? I don't know what to tell you there, really? That sucks and sounds like especially bad luck if it went bad only a month after being replaced. But I'm not sure I've ever run into a similar trackpad issue with ANY of the Mac laptops in service where I work that were purchased in 2011-2013, nor with the one I owned personally. I follow sites like MacRumors pretty closely too, and don't recall trackpad problems coming up as a collective issue on their forums either.

You can complain about "AppleCare" and its cost all you like, but all you'd REALLY be saying is that you feel Macs should give you a full 3 year warranty for the price you pay for them, rather than only 1 year. The fact is, if you DO buy AppleCare, you get coverage for 3 years instead of 1 for stuff like the trackpad failures you had. It's just an "extended warranty" that may or may not turn out to be a good decision to purchase. I don't believe I got more than a 1 year warranty with the Dell XPS 13 laptop I purchased last year either though -- so not sure how this is such a major issue? It's been my experience that if you DO spend extra for the AppleCare, it adds to the resale value of the computer if you decide to resell it while it has warranty left on it. So you can recoup some of that cost in those cases.

Now, I'm using a 2015 MBP "Retina" to write this message on Slashdot, right now. And yes, it will go to sleep if you close the lid if it doesn't have AC power attached. I've honestly never minded that a bit. In fact, it's served to "warn" me when I thought I was running on AC power at my desk but realized the power strip wasn't on or what-not when it went to sleep upon shutting the lid. If your cat keeps unplugging the cord while you're trying to work? I fail to see how that's a situation Apple should be expected to take care of for you? My friend's dog used to chew on his video cable to his external monitor off of his Dell laptop. Is the fact Dell didn't address that by armoring the video cords against dog bites a "Fuck you to dog owners!" on Dell's part?

I already made another post on here where I think I made it clear I'm with Consumer Reports on not recommending this latest MBP from Apple. I'm no fanboy. I've just worked with a whole lot of computers from many manufacturers over the last 2+ decades, and work in Linux, Windows and OS X all in the same day, on a regular basis. And from all of that, I can assure people that Apple made a computer that was just as good as anything else on the market, if not superior in some respects to competitors. What they're releasing in the last couple years is more suspect, IMO -- and shows their lack of focus on Macs, vs. iOS devices, watches, etc. Tim Cook clearly lacks the imagination Steve Jobs had to push the company to build new products. Apple is in decline right now, IMO ... at least at building desirable computers that are good performers AND stylish. But a 2012 or 2015 MBP wouldn't qualify in my book as an example of this problem.

Comment Probably an Engineering issue on these machines .. (Score 2) 268

I forget now where I read it (might have been over on Engadget)? But supposedly, some employees at Apple spoke about this new Macbook Pro off the record, saying it was supposed to receive a multi-tiered, custom battery in it, similar to what Apple did with the new Macbook in 2015. Except at the last minute, they ran into some issues and were told they'd have to scrap that and just make a standard battery fit inside it instead.

It wouldn't surprise me a bit if these odd power problems are a direct result. (Had no time to really re-optimize the system for a battery that wasn't going to supply as much power as what they intended all along.)

I'd have say I side with Consumer Reports on not recommending this notebook right now. I think the touch-bar is very cool and the computer looks great in the new "Space Gray" color option. Not a fan of losing all the ports besides USB-C, *but* if everything else was fine, I'd accept that as a downside I could live with. The problem is, this one seems to have fundamental flaws of the type that you won't see fully corrected until the next revision is released.

If you've been following things closely on the Mac-specific forums, you'd see there are some serious questions about this computer's video performance too. There's a guy on YouTube who put the high-end configuration through its paces running a number of modern 3D video games and the performance was, frankly, god-awful! In one title, he was only getting 3 or 4FPS! As he admitted himself, people aren't buying the new 15" Macbook Pro as a gaming machine. But they ARE paying a premium price to get the latest AMD Polaris series GPU in it, and that's supposed to be 2 generations newer than the best available mobile GPU AMD had to offer for any older laptops. The graphics performance in games is so abysmally bad though, it's clear something else is going on here. IMO, Apple probably underclocks the GPU to help conserve power and to control heat generation -- and may have done so far too aggressively, given the last minute battery change that had to be done.

Comment Another reason to avoid Seattle! (Score 2) 84

I'm all for the idea of relocating to get a better job. (I think that's increasingly necessary just to reward states with a pro-business/commerce mindset and punish the ones without it.)

But markets where real-estate gets so "hot", you can't ever imagine owning your own home without becoming a millionaire first? That's a huge negative, in my opinion. The "American dream" is all about home ownership and a good paying career type job should be one that makes that dream possible for you (even if you're still in a situation where you only want to rent, at the moment).

I moved to the DC area for a new job myself, and it has this same problem. So I compromised by moving to a small, more rural community in Western Maryland. Now I have a 50+ mile commute each direction for work, BUT we have a commuter rail system I can make use of, AND I have the option to work from home several days a week. So it's completely doable, and I get the benefit of enjoying peaceful, quiet rural living AND a regular does of the "big city" at the same time. Results may vary for others who opt to come here for a job ... but it's all stuff to consider.

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