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Comment Re:money grab (Score 1) 97

While I agree that credit card fraud is getting worse and we need to do something, I object to the immediate demonization of the restaurants as 'incompetent'. In this case, the restaurant group is a larger group with more money to play with, but what about single mom-and-pop restaurants? They may be extremely competent at running a restaurant..

Is it reasonable to suggest that every restaurant or store that takes credit cards must be run by certified network security geeks? No. The reason this is happening is that Visa and Mastercard hold all the cards (no pun intended). They can decide that they are not responsible for anything and who is going to tell them otherwise? Grandma of Grandma's Diner is going to understand the technical issues involved and take Visa down in court? Right.

Comment Re:Teach them how to communicate (Score 2, Insightful) 462

In defense of support people everywhere, there is a reason for the scripting. Yes, you may know what you are doing. Unfortunately, most people SAY they do even when they know nothing.

I don't have to work with a script, thankfully, but I always start at the beginning. People rarely define the problem they're having correctly. "I can't get on the Internet." can be (and has been, in my experience) the result of the computer not being plugged in. Also, I can't tell you the number of times people will say, "Yeah, I tried all that already. The cables are all plugged in. Nothing has changed." *An hour later* "Oh, this cable isn't plugged in, could that be the problem?" In fact, "Nothing has changed" is a running joke in my office.

My favorite was the guy who started the conversation by yelling at me that he had a master's degree in computer engineering, so there was absolutely no way the problem could be on his end and I better fix it right now. I explained that others were not having the same problem, so I had to check a few things on his side anyway...

"Please open up the control panel."

"What's that?"

*face hits desk*

Comment Re:The RIAA are not people (Score 1) 431

I really hate this argument. If I send money to the ACLU, that is voluntary support based on my political views. Just because I need a job does NOT mean that the CEO speaks for me. I provide labor for the company and they provide money for me. That is the end of our relationship.

This whole concept of corporations having freedom of speech is ridiculous. If a CEO wants to spend their own money on supporting a candidate or issue, then they should be free to. Even suits are people, I guess. A corporation, however, is legally not allowed to take anything into consideration except profit. They'd use slave labor in a heartbeat if they could get away with it. I don't want morally-bankrupt constructs like that anywhere near my government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Comment Re:Why (Score 1) 411

I don't need to think long and hard to come up with a reason.

I am not a Real Programmer, but I write a bunch of scripts (mostly in perl) to make certain jobs less onerous where I work. A few times, I've been asked to create small applications to help customers or non-technical departments. Instead of asking them to open a command window in XP and enter a line of arguments, I make a simple GUI. Allowing the user to just check things and put arguments in their labeled boxes means I don't have to spend hours on the phone explaining what to type where.

Comment Yes, they fail. (Score 1) 524

I work for a company that supports restaurant networks. In that environment, cables fail on a regular basis. The combination of heat, grease, smoke, and people and equipment moving around leads to constant problems. Even the wall runs aren't always safe.

Obviously, little of this applies in an office building. I would recommend evaluating your particular situation.

Comment Electronically-generated paper ballots (Score 1) 178

The only way that I see to make electronic voting machines safe is to have them create a paper ballot. This ballot would then be verified by the voter and placed in a ballot box. We could use the counts provided by the machines unless there is a close margin or someone requests a recount. At that point, we break out the ballot boxes.

Why is this so difficult? Why is this not obvious? I understand that people want to reduce costs, but, if our voting isn't secure, then what the fuck is the point of America? The security and accuracy of the voting process should be the absolute number one priority.

Comment Re:Mystery Pits (Score 2, Informative) 552

According to one of my professors, the Treaty of Versailles demanded more in reparations than the German GDP and they would have been paying until 1963. The treaty also took away Germany's main industrial region so they had even less income. That's why they decided to just print money to pay it off and that led to ridiculous inflation. Then came Hitler with his message of restoring national pride.

I believe that the economist Keynes said, at the time it was signed, that the Treaty would only put off the war for 20 years. 20 years later....

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