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Comment Re:WoT - An ego booster for bad writers... (Score 1) 228

I read the first book, and it was the most horrible piece of shit that I have had the misfortune to read in years. The pacing was bad, the characters were forgettable, and the plot was meandering. ... am I missing something? Why are fans reading 8 or 10 books of this stuff, when it is this awful?

You were indeed missing something: specifically, the next six books, which are extremely good. I definitely felt the same as you did about book one, The Eye of the World. I hated the dream sequences, found the characters uninteresting, thought they argued too much, found the enemy somewhat lame, and so on.

But I was encouraged to keep reading by friends who loved the Wheel of Time, and who seemed like addicts trying to get me hooked on their drug of choice. So I read The Great Hunt (book two) and by the end I was an addict as well, and not out of mere habit, because the more Jordan builds his world in the early books, the better it gets, and the more you realize that he has a very thorough vision of how the world is put together. You start to trust that he knows the ending, knows every plot twist from now until the ending, and when it ends, it's going to be a bombshell. One of my favorite things to do after I got several books into the series was was to go back to read the prologue to Eye of the World, a sequence that made little sense when I first read it, but upon revisiting it, it fits right in. It reads like Jordan had already written the next seven books in his head when he started the first one.

Sadly, around book eight he becomes obsessed with forgettable minor characters, the interminable siege of Tar Valon, and other trivialities. When Jordan, amidst the most boring sequels ever, penned a prequel, I dropped out. So sad. It could have been wonderful if he'd stuck to the main story and ended it around book ten.

I am told by a few people who have more tenacity than me that the last Jordan book was a return to form, and the Sanderson sequels have been quite good.

Comment Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (Score 1) 857

You assume that Gore would have been different from Bush. That is unlikely, especially given the degree to which Obama has been no different from Bush.

That is a very strange thing to say. No one can really know what a Gore presidency would have been like, and it surely might have sucked, but there can't be much doubt that it would have been very different from Bush's. For one thing, President Bush's 2000 platform involved tax cuts, which were one of the first things he did. Gore's platform did not involve any tax cuts. So one big difference is that public debt would be about $1.8 trillion dollars less than it is, unless Gore similarly passed policies that he was not willing to pay for (Democrats, though, have tended to include means of payment into their legislation).

Also, Gore would have had a White House staff made up of Clinton veterans and a handful of new people. This would have been very different from President Bush's staff of neoconservatives, who were the driving force behind the Iraq war, so even if September 11th had happened identically during a Gore presidency, it probably would not have resulted in a conflict with Iraq. On the downside, Saddam Hussein and the Baathists would still be in power there, though fewer Americans would have been killed and we'd be about ... $800 billion? $1 trillion? more? ... less in debt than we are now. Afghanistan might also have played out very differently without a second conflict running.

We have no idea what the housing crisis would have been like under Gore, and I suspect it would still have happened because the foundational problems of the banking and finance industries were introduced during the Clinton Administration. But it is interesting to speculate whether the SEC would have acted differently in its enforcement between 2001 and 2008 if it possessed a different, and larger, staff. It is that agency's job to call foul if, say, popular and lucrative securities are actually backed by risky mortgages and ratings agencies are giving those securities AAA thumbs-up for no discernable reason. President Bush had a very clear anti-regulatory stance. The SEC under his presidency was understaffed and full of people with similar opinions. Would a Gore SEC have caused the housing bubble to pop earlier? Magic 8-ball says ... murky. But quite possibly.

These are mainly speculations based upon what Bush did that Gore would not have done, based upon his platform. Trillions of dollars, an entire eight-year war, and regulatory oversight might not seem like big differences to you, but I think they count pretty highly.

Your comment about Obama is also very strange. He's further to the right than Gore, but he has very different policies on stem cell research, gays serving in the military, and health care. He's conducting the response to the recession much differently than I think Bush would have. In particular the Affordable Care Act is much more of an industry overhaul than Bush's Medicare Part D changes, and again, they pay for themselves rather than just add to debt.

Comment Re:Congress, our representatives? (Score 1) 302

If you believe governments register guns to help solve crime, you are sadly mistaken. That is the talking point, and some of your friendly government agents might even believe that. The point of gun registration is to subsequently remove guns from citizens' hands. History indicates this is often followed by those citizens losing far more of their rights, if not their lives.

It's kinda cute that you called someone else "brainwashed." (Or did the rest of us miss the mass gun registration, collection and previous-owner-killing event you refer to in "history?")

Comment Re:Congress, our representatives? (Score 3, Insightful) 302

The NRA started as an advocacy organization, and one of the most successful in modern times. Unfortunately during their campaigns against (mostly Democrat-sponsored) gun control legislation, they lost track of the fact that they were supposed to be against gun control, not against Democrats generally.

They have still not returned to their original mission, so they're basically just partisan shills now.

Comment Re:Shhh... Listen... (Score 1) 485

Well, yes, it did go to great lengths to (very reasonably) diss Flash, but my point is that Apple's judgment should have nothing to do with whether people can install Flash of their own volition. And saying you can use another product if you don't like it, while true, doesn't really make a case in favor of Apple.

Comment Re:Except it's quite clear why Apple chose... (Score 1) 485

Ah, but Java on the desktop was not blocked by Microsoft, Apple and Linux distros. It was blocked by its own demerits. If Steve believed his own arguments he'd have allowed people to install Flash, expecting it to lose popularity of its own accord. Instead, Flash on the phone is failing because software developers cannot distribute their software directly to the user.

Comment Re:Shhh... Listen... (Score 2) 485

Good riddance to Flash. But you know, since we're on this topic, to all the "Steve Jobs was right" fanboys: you do not understand logic. Sorry, but you don't. (Note: the following rant is not directed at parent, who makes a parallel argument to the one Steve Jobs made, and is surely correct.)

I think that letter from Steve, Thoughts on Flash, is a great way to test whether people understand logical arguments and are competent in keeping separate ideas straight in their heads. Those who see the letter as a definitive rebuttal against the use of Flash on the iPhone fail to do these things. I advise them to avoid both commenting, and voting.

To distill the logic of letter, it basically said the following: Flash sucks. You should therefore not be allowed to use it on your own phone.

Obviously it was more detailed than that, and went to great lengths to politely point out the many ways in which Flash sucks. Go ahead and read it - it's a great takedown of that wretched, ubiquitous plugin. Steve says that Flash goes against the idea of open standards on the web, that it's slow and a resource hog, that its development is way behind what market needs, and that it ran poorly on the iPhone when Apple evaluated it. All good points, and because I agree that Flash is a rotten piece of crap that should never have risen to prominence, I enjoyed reading them.

But none of this directly implies that you should not be allowed to install it on your own phone. Steve makes the case that Flash sucks, but at the end of the article a thinking person does not "better understand why [Apple] do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads." There is no logical connection to support that outcome, even if we emerge from the letter hating Flash more than ever. Again, his premises were spot-on, but his logic was broken, so he pulled a conclusion out of his butt and the masses lapped it up. And to those of you who ignore this sleight of hand and argue that Apple must do whatever it can to restore a sense of childlike wonder and superior design to humanity: shut up, you stupid fanboy zombies. Brains like yours are the reason we have the politicians we have.

Comment Re:Merger of Corporations and the State (Score 1) 388

Dems are just as bad. Notice how the pro-IP people are controlling the President?

You're right that the copyright cartels have a lot of influence in both parties, particularly with the Dems, but having bad copyright and patent policies is not morally or ethically equivalent to having bad financial and healthcare policies. The former bad policymaking pollutes our culture and makes computing less fun, and as awful as that is, the latter policies cost lives and fortunes.

Comment Re:In other news.. (Score 1) 413

So what? Really... so what? Red Hat is stable and exists as it does perfectly fine. This bizarre notion we have in this country that all companies must always be earning more and more every year than before and always growing and profits must be more than any other company is unsustainable.

Maybe this is true in the long run, but it is the way corporations function. Corporations are designed to generate increased value for their investors, and are required to do so. It's not so much a rampant ideology as it is a deliberate design of the legal system surrounding limited liability companies.

Comment Re:Gave up hope long ago (Score 1) 748

GSM is only great when you can buy an unlocked phone, choose a provider and pop in a SIM, then change on a whim while paying lower monthly prices due to the lack of a subsidy. This is one of the many benefits Europeans enjoy, along with good roaming agreements to ensure they can make a call even if their own provider doesn't cover the area well.

It's called "competition." It's one of the primary reasons we choose to have capitalism rather than communism, but for some reason a lot of people tend to forget this. Specifically, we forget that the opposite of communism is not unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism, since those two things amount to pretty much the same sort of stagnant plutocracies. The opposite of communism is regulated capitalism, since vibrant competition is the whole point of the arrangement. Sadly we keep running farther from it in the US.

Comment Re:Very, very stupid idea (Score 1) 158

Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?"

For the keyboard, the brand, the IT department support, and the Exchange integration. From a user's perspective Android support is a good thing, and a value add for BlackBerry. The real question is for developers: why produce software for BlackBerry when BB users can run Android apps? I think developers will ditch the native BB software if BBs run Android.

It's funny, I used to work for RIM and I remember chatting with another engineer over beers after Google first announced their plans for Android. We both said, "Maybe we should adopt Andoid and build BBConnect on top of that platform, since it's all available to us." RIM obviously didn't do this, and I'm not sure whether they even considered it, but it looks like they're moving toward the same outcome though the opposite strategy.

Comment Re:Texas Budget Deficit (Score 1) 811

Pretty much all states have this tax. You have a physical presence in the state you pay sales tax. Dell does it. I have no clue why Amazon thought they could skirt it.

Because they think they can skirt any tax. It's why they do business where they do business - why they create separate companies to handle some of their shipping operations so they won't have a tax liability in that state. And they can threaten to close shop and move across state lines if states consider taxing them. Texas is calling their bluff, but they have no choice. Amazon uses the state-maintained roads to ship things to us; they would call the police or fire authorities in an emergency. Clearly they should pay the taxes that support these amenities.

Comment Re:So much for the supposed iPad killer (Score 1) 429

I really dont understand the push for every device to have 3g it almost seems like a conspiracy with the cell phone providers.

That is exactly what it is. Motorola wants a distributor, and that distributor will be a wireless carrier. And wireless carriers, like cable companies, make a living bundling one or two things you really want with a dozen overpriced things you don't. It's why your cable lineup includes QVC and Verizon can charge you extra to use your phone as a wifi hotspot.

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