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Comment Re:Does it account for greedy homeowners? (Score 1) 93

They wouldn't dare - I know where their babies are. Most of them are speeding to a local daycare center to pick up their little snowflakes before the 6 o'clock deadline. Another idea I had was to take pictures of the speeders' kids and make big cardboard cutouts of their kids to place in the middle of the street.

Comment Re:Does it account for greedy homeowners? (Score 1) 93

Ah, the great state of PA, where the state owns many of the local roads so the township can't improve them. Where the cops can't use radar. Where 80% of the traffic ticket proceeds go to the state...

I've wondered about the legality of putting a license plate reader on a camera on my house and Facebook shaming people. Probably a bad idea.

Comment Re: Information wants to be free (Score 1) 53

I can think of better ways to "showcase" my divorce paperwork. YouTube can be used for private videos, too, but the public default does not seem to rankle. It seems like this site was trying to be the "YouTube of documents". It wouldn't surprise me if that's how it got pitched. Anyway, I hope you take a stop over to and see how grossly unsuited it is to tasks requiring security or discretion. I think this may rank up there with "do not insert into any orifice" labels on curling irons.

Comment Re:Isn't the cloud great? (Score 4, Insightful) 53

Because sometimes it's just sort of "fuck it". You can stress over every move you make online, or you can take reasonable precautions and risk recovering from something like identity theft later on. One of those reasonable precautions should probably be using something reputable and purpose-built like Dropbox or Drive rather than something that proclaims on the front page "Showcase and discover Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway, Minecraft world and PDF documents for free". Don't use a showcase site for your private files...

Along the lines of "fuck it", I regularly put my tax documents in Dropbox during tax season. It's reasonably safe, I think, compared to putting them in my pocket in an easily-lost USB stick or on a frequently-stolen laptop. It's not like the physical world is completely safe, either, and Dropbox and Google are going to be better at IT than I am.

Comment Re:As unpopular as it will be to hear... (Score 1) 155

On the surface I agree with you. In practice, I've gone the other direction and have become more pro-open-source over the years.

One example is MATLAB. I like MATLAB, and consider myself fairly good at it. People come to me to ask MATLAB questions. With that said, my company has floating licenses and these are a pain. Mathworks is very responsive in their customer service, but when you find a bug, you have to work around it or wait until they fix it. On the odd occasion where you want to actually distribute a script, you need to (maybe?) have the end-user download and install the (free as in beer) runtime separately.

I've switched the vast majority of my data analysis and other scripts to Python, and I no longer have to search for co-workers who left their copy of MATLAB open. When I find a bug, I can actually fix it myself and even return the fix to the module's project, along with any other feature that I find to be missing. When I need to distribute a script, I just make sure that I'm not using some forbidden-fruit GPL module (the ecosystem is mostly BSD) and zip the whole shebang up with one of the py-to-exe tools without consulting the frigging lawyer.

It's not all-rosy, for sure. Scientific/technical computing on Python has a higher learning curve than MATLAB. While vast help exists for Python trouble, MATLAB has all of the help concentrated in one place which makes finding solutions easier. One unexpected benefit to Python is the GUI. At first blush, MATLAB holds the high ground with its GUIDE visual GUI builder. But for anything more than a few simple controls, GUIDE is an unholy beast to work with. I've found my life much better with Python and it's wide choice of GUI frameworks. Even setting up the whole GUI with a text editor in Tkinter is worth the up-front time investment vs. the misleading initial ease of using GUIDE.

On the topic of SAS, one product that I do use of theirs is JMP. I have to admit it is faster (for me) for quick-and-dirty data analysis than using Python. I think I'd like to code up a Python application to do some of my most common JMP workflows... not try to reimplement the whole thing.

Comment Re:Huh? I use these all the time. (Score 2) 264

I just select the tabs that I want to close in gang (either with shift or ctrl/cmd) and then close them either with ctrl/cmd-w or a right click. For me it would be very rare that I want to close all but a single tab.

But I admit that I'm weird. I still can't completely let go of Firefox because of Tree Style Tabs. Tabs on the top is madness! :)

Comment Re:I guess /. still approves this crap (Score 1) 270

We set up institutions up like this all the time when the goal is a level of detachment from popular politics or cooperation across jurisdictions. In local government, they are usually set up as "authorities", such as the entities which administer the bridges between states (e.g. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delaware River Port Authority, etc.).

More broadly, every single corporation in the US gets its charter from a government. What we think of as "private" are actually entities that exist only at the whim of government.

At the end of the day, congress could dissolve the Fed with a single law, and that's what is important.

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